Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Top 10 Most-read Economic Sociology and Political Economy Posts of 2019 — Oleg Komlik

As 2019 (already) comes to an end, I rounded up the top 10 most-read posts of the year on the Economic Sociology and Political Economy community blog. You are welcome to (re)read and share them. And, let’s try something new, this list are followed by the 10 least-read posts of the year which are surely worth reading.... 
Economic Sociology and Political Economy
Top 10 Most-read Economic Sociology and Political Economy Posts of 2019
Oleg Komlik | founder and editor-in-chief of the ES/PE, Chairman of the Junior Sociologists Network at the International Sociological Association, a PhD Candidate in Economic Sociology in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Ben-Gurion University, and a Lecturer in the School of Behavioral Sciences at the College of Management Academic Studies

CGTN's Wang Guan: What's China's 're-education camp' in Xinjiang really about?

It's China’s side of the story, and it makes some good points.

Many in the West believe that China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region is plagued by "ethnic repression" instead of facing a terrorism challenge. The "re-education camps" are the most recent case in point. These views are based on reports and studies from largely western sources, which can be seriously flawed and painfully uninformative. CGTN's Wang Guan investigates these biases as he travels deep inside Xinjiang.

Physicists Just Achieved The First-Ever Quantum Teleportation Between Computer Chips

A signal not sent through space and time, but by quantum entanglement. What happens to one happens to the other - the distance is unimportant.

As 2019 winds to a close, the journey towards fully realised quantum computing continues: physicists have been able to demonstrate quantum teleportation between two computer chips for the first time.

Science Alert

Physicists Just Achieved The First-Ever Quantum Teleportation Between Computer Chips

Joe Biden tells coal miners they should 'learn to program' — Kathryn Krawczyk

"Retraining." Another reason why Joe Biden should not be president of the United States.
Joe Biden may have just fallen for a fatal argument from Hillary Clinton's 2016 run.
Unemployment is a systemic issue and needs to be addressed systemically. The MMT JG is a first step in this since it addresses unemployment locally and immediately. The MMT JG is not the solution to unemployment however, since alone it is merely an ad hoc measure.

Societies are social systems embedded in the larger global social system called "humanity, which is itself embedded in the ecological system of Planet Earth.

Economies, financial systems, and political systems, etc., are are subsystems embedded instrumentally in social systems as life-support systems. The chief purpose of biological systems, which included social systems, is reproduction of the system. This occurs on two levels. The first level is individual reproduction, which is biological. The second level is social reproduction, which involves transmission of knowledge systems and cultural systems.

One major aspect of the social reproduction of social system involves production, which involves "work." The type of work is determined by the economic system that is in place and functioning. This is a necessary social institution that forms a key aspect of a society's culture.

Societies are ever in flux since they are complex adaptive systems that respond to changing conditions. Thus the nature of work is also subject to change and a resilient society will respond to change quickly and successfully, while one that is less resilient will not. In addition, the response affects the quality of a society.

Conventional economic assumes near perfect elasticity of supply and demand that results in general equilibrium. However, this is only achieved by assuming a natural rate of employment consistent with price stability that results is a buffer stock of unemployed. This entails idling available real resources, which is wasteful, or in economic terms, inefficient.

The MMT JG addresses this based on replacing the buffer stock of unemployed that is assumed to control wage pressure with a buffer stock of employed and compensation package that serves as a price anchor. This eliminates the need to idle available resources and is superior on the economic level alone owing to improved efficiency, without even considering the social and political ramifications that affect the larger system and other subsystems.

The Week

History Lesson: Why China Wants to Become a Military Superpower — Harry J. Kazianis

Understanding the Chinese mindset means understanding their history.
Key Point: China plans on never being humiliated ever again.
Bingo. Harry J. Kazianis nails it.

The US-initiated "trade war" and the manufactured Hong Kong separatist revolt are eerily reminiscent of the British colonization of China and the Opium War. It is blazingly obvious to all Chinese people but is lost on the West that the intention is to keep China down and make it subservient to the the West, led by the US.

China is determined not to let this happen again.

There is not only a nationalistic factor here, but also a racial component. Explosive.

Needless to say, this is creating a very dangerous situation for the world.

The National Interest

“You Can Put the Monopoly Tiger in a Cage but You Cannot Transform a Tiger Into a Vegan” — TheMarket interviews Luigi G. Zingales

Even from a conservative point of view, the concentration of power at large tech companies is scary. As a true conservative, you’re afraid of the constitutional power in the government. Not because the government is evil per se, but because you don’t trust human nature and concentration of power. So if you have the same concentration of power in the private sector it doesn’t become fine all of a sudden. If anything, it becomes more dangerous. At least, we have ways to address the concentration of power in the public sector. In contrast, we have none in the private sector, especially with regard to such large companies like Google and Facebook where the control is in the hands of only three people because of the dual stock class structure. In the case of Google, they are Larry Page and Sergey Brin, at Facebook it’s Mark Zuckerberg....
How to deal with natural monopolies.

ProMarket — The blog of the Stigler Center at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business
“You Can Put the Monopoly Tiger in a Cage but You Cannot Transform a Tiger Into a Vegan”
TheMarket interviews Luigi G. Zingales, professor of finance at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business

Donald Trump tweet about Putin

I thought this was good.

President Putin of Russia called to thank me and the U.S. for informing them of a planned terrorist attack in the very beautiful city of Saint Petersburg. They were able to quickly apprehend the suspects, with many lives being saved. Great & important coordination!

Trigger's Well Maintained Broom | Only Fools and Horses

It's very dry!

Eric Zuesse - Russiagate Investigation Now Endangers Obama

Could the Democrat Russia-gate nonsense backfire? Could Obama be in the dock? Who was it that really tried to interfere in US democracy?

Former US President Barack Obama is now in severe legal jeopardy, because the Russiagate investigation has turned 180 degrees; and he, instead of the current President, Donald Trump, is in its cross-hairs.

Stategic Cultures

Eric Zuesse - Russiagate Investigation Now Endangers Obama

Happy New Year to all!

Happy New Year to all!

Let's make it prosperous!

Happy New Year from Mike Norman Economics

Left Behind: How Privatization Disenfranchises the Poor and Endangers Democracies

Public services are dividing countries instead of uniting them.

I remember how I loved the old British Rail, well, I just liked trains, I guess, and train bridges. There was a lovely enchantment to the old British Rail. I also loved the London Underground. Public utilities were a service to the citizens because we deserved it, we were valued, but now a person's only worth is his money.

In Democracies Are Fighting for Their Lives, Joergen Oerstroem Moeller described how democracies are under pressure. The following article is an analysis of how he came to that conclusion. 

Public services used to serve a double purpose. The first one was to deliver electricity, water, transport, postal services, etc. These services could in principle be offered by the private sector, but that option was rejected in favor of uniform quality of services nationwide. Public services aimed to establish that all citizens were equal, connoting that national solidarity overruled a business model. Keeping the nation together legitimized that citizens in big cities paid more than the cost price and by doing so subsidized the periphery. On average, they were richer than their fellow compatriots, so it amounted to progressive taxation.

The National Interest

Left Behind: How Privatization Disenfranchises the Poor and Endangers Democracies

Monday, December 30, 2019

Links — 30 Dec 2019

The Grayzone
Facebook Censorship of Alternative Media “Just the Beginning,” Says Top Neocon Insider

Sic Semper Tyrannis
We Were Warned About the Deep State, but Refused to Listen
Larry C. Johnson | CEO and co-founder of BERG Associates, LLC, an international business-consulting firm with expertise combating terrorism and investigating money laundering, formerly Deputy Director in the U.S. State Department’s Office of Counter Terrorism (1989-1993, and CIA operations (1984-1989)

Checkpoint Asia
China Nears Completion of Its GPS Alternative, Chinese-Made Phones Already Compatible
Shunsuke Tabeta

Bill Mitchell — A response to Greg Mankiw – Part 3

On the MMT JG and the buffer stock approach to controlling inflation. Important. For some reason, most critics ignore this approach, which is central to the MMT approach to both macroeconomics and policy formulation and policy space.

Interestingly, both Paul Krugman and Greg Mankiw, who come from different ideological perspectives (left and right respectively), but share much of the conventional paradigm (New Keynesianism), have difficulty coming to grips with what MMT economists are saying, apparently because they are trying to view it in terms of their own approach and conceptual frame instead of the very different MMT approach and framing.

This demonstrates the value of a pluralist and historical approach to the study of economics in learning to appreciate different perspectives and approaches on their own terms before critiquing them on the basis of one's own position. To do otherwise is an elementary mistake.

Bill Mitchell – billy blog
A response to Greg Mankiw – Part 3
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Cuba found to be the most sustainably developed country in the world, new research finds — Matt Trinder

The Sustainable Development Index (SDI), designed by anthropologist and author Dr Jason Hickel, calculates its results by dividing a nation’s “human development” score, obtained by looking at statistics on life expectancy, health and education, by its “ecological overshoot,” the extent to which the per capita carbon footprint exceeds Earth’s natural limits.
Countries with strong human development and a lower environmental impact score highly, but countries with poorer life expectancies and literacy rates as well as those which exceed ecological limits are marked down.
Based on the most recent figures, from 2015, Cuba is top with a score of 0.859, while Venezuela is 12th and Argentina 18th....
Britain, ranked 14th in 2018’s HDI, falls to 131st in the SDI, while the US, 13th in the ul Haq index, is 159th out of 163 countries featured in the new system.
Mr [sic, should be Dr.] Hickel added: “The SDI ranking reveals that all countries are still “developing” – countries with the highest levels of human development still need to significantly reduce their ecological impact, while countries with the lowest levels of ecological impact still need to significantly improve their performance on social indicators.”...

Neoliberalism: Are We Sure That's the Right Word?: Talking to Noah Smith —Brad DeLong

Defining "neoliberalism" as social democracy lite. This not The Onion.

Grasping Reality
Neoliberalism: Are We Sure That's the Right Word?: Talking to Noah Smith
Brad DeLong | Professor of Economics, UCAL Berkeley

Nafeez Ahmed - West’s ‘dust bowl’ future now ‘locked in’, as world risks imminent food crisis

Past climate emissions mean parts of US and Europe will experience devastating drought in 80 years, and a global food crisis could be triggered in the 2020s — yet it’s not too late to build resilience and avert the worst

The Independent 

Gallup: Trump and Obama tie as America's most admired man

Divided America.


“At the Heart of Democratic Socialism Is the Ethic of Solidarity” — Nikil Saval

The foundation of the 18th century liberalism that spread globally as "Western values" and "freedom and democracy" is the motto of the French Revolution, Liberté, égalité, fraternité. It translates as "liberty, equality and fraternity." 

"Liberty" means personal freedom based on the "natural rights of man." "Equality" means equal rights and equality before the law (equal justice). "Fraternity" means the "brotherhood of man." It is expressed as community and "solidarity." 

"Solidarity" has not been a key term in the US and UK, which emphasize personal liberty. However, it is a key concept in Europe, which manifested as social democracy, which the US and UK opposed as "socialism." 

“At the Heart of Democratic Socialism Is the Ethic of Solidarity”
Nikil Saval, union campaigner, leftist magazine editor, and a democratic socialist who is running for Pennsylvania State House

Nina Montgomery — Does capitalism need a radical redesign to become more inclusive?

Earlier this year, I worked on two books—featuring insights from 40 executives—exploring corporate purpose and impact. A clear theme emerged: To ensure that new capitalism doesn’t look a lot like old capitalism, we need more than just good intentions. We need a radical redesign of business at the structural level. Here are three big design questions that I encourage all leaders to ask themselves if they’re serious about inclusive capitalism:
I don't think that use of highly abstract terms like "capitalism" and "socialism" are helpful without careful definition that involves articulation of the fundamentals of social, political and economic systems, in particular in relation to contemporary living and emergent opportunities/challenges.

This is about revisiting the design of a life-support system that developed organically but not naturally in the sense of not being influenced by human intervention.

Assumption that "natural laws" comparable to natural systems studied by the natural science also govern complex adaptive systems has not played well so far, especially in the case of social systems and the social systems, including economics.

The organic approach has not worked out satisfactorily either, as humanity now faces several existential crises of its own making — climate change, epidemics and technological poisoning, and nuclear winter.

There are three major issues to face. The first is analyzing the design problem correctly, the second is developing a satisfactory solution, and the third is scaling it up. This latter involves two major issues, the first being technological, scaling at this level is a huge challenge, and the second being political, getting global concerted action from governments of nations with diverse interests has been elusive.

Fast Company
Does capitalism need a radical redesign to become more inclusive?
Nina Montgomery, designer at IDEO and a PhD candidate at the University of Oxford where she studies business and systems change

Climate change could render assets ‘worthless’, Bank of England governor warns

Financial sector ‘not moving fast enough’ to divest from fossil fuels, Mark Carney says

It is said the wealthy aren't so worried much about climate change because they think their wealth will protect them, but I always thought their investments would be precarious in a world ravaged by climate change. 

Climate breakdown could render investments held by millions of people “worthless”, the outgoing governor of the Bank of England has warned.

Mark Carney suggested the financial sector had not yet woken up to the looming crisis and was “not moving fast enough” to divest from fossil fuels.

The Independent 

Tyler Cowen — *Capital and Ideology*, by Thomas Piketty

Ha ha. Libertarian-Austrian economist criticizes a left-leaning economist for being "highly partisan" in an analytic book that is about the socio-economic effects of ideology.

Marginal Revolution
*Capital and Ideology*, by Thomas Piketty
Tyler Cowen | Holbert C. Harris Chair of Economics at George Mason University and serves as chairman and general director of the Mercatus Center

Richard Murphy on the need for sustainable cost accounting

Sustainable cost accounting and the political necessity of addressing reality.

Tax Research UK
Business has to change its accounting for the climate crisis and Mark Carney needs to go further than he’s suggesting is necessary

Labour needs to drop the Green Industrial Revolution: we need a Green New Deal, and they’re nothing like the same thing
Richard Murphy | Professor of Practice in International Political Economy at City University, London; Director of Tax Research UK; non-executive director of Cambridge Econometrics, and a member of the Progressive Economy Forum

The Paradox of Tolerance

I came across this on twiter, but they didn't say who the quote was from.

"The paradox of tolerance states that if a society is tolerant without limit, its ability to be tolerant is eventually seized or destroyed by the intolerant" - "In order to maintain a tolerant society, the society must be intolerant of intolerance."

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Bill Mitchell — How to discuss MMT without discussing it – BIS style

On October 13, 2019, the Bank of International Settlements published a paper – Exiting low inflation traps by “consensus”: nominal wages and price stability – (which was based on a speech one of the authors was to make in late November at a conference in Colombia). The reason I cite this paper is because it talks about Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) – in pejorative terms, without really knowing what MMT is. But the most interesting aspect of it was the admission that the mainstream theory that they use to set up the ‘straw person’ they tear down cannot explain real world events. The BIS unwittingly admits that the mainstream macroeconomics really is adrift and the analytical frameworks that arise from it (DSGE etc) are incapable of explaining real world developments. So I thought that was worth documenting....
Bill Mitchell – billy blog
How to discuss MMT without discussing it – BIS style
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, AustraliaBill Mitchell – billy blog

What Do Americans Think of ‘Socialized’ Medicine? | NowThis

Most Americans have no idea, it seems, what they are losing out on. 

‘If everybody has something for free, who’s gonna pay for it?’ — We took to the streets of NYC to find out how Americans feel about socialized health care.

John Siddel - Private firms invited to run NHS services with cancer and kids treatments on sale

EXCLUSIVE: The Conservatives are inviting private firms to bid for NHS cardiology, gynaecology, paediatrics and oncology services in big sell out

Boris Johnson lied and the public believed him. Business as usual!

NHS cancer care and kids’ ­treatments are up for grabs in a stealth Tory sell-off, the Sunday Mirror can reveal.

Private firms are being invited to bid for chunks of our health service – in complete contrast to Boris Johnson ’s repeated election campaign denials.

Cardiology, gynaecology, paediatrics and oncology are among the services being offered to companies.

John Siddel - Private firms invited to run NHS services with cancer and kids treatments on sale

Wage growth

For "low wage" industries, up > 4% YoY.

All above the typical 2% "inflation!" rate the Art Degree trained economorons typically talk about as some sort of threshold...

Finnish Prime Minister Marin calls for a 4-day-week and 6-hour-day for her country

Finland’s new head of state caused enthusiasm in the country: Sanna Marin (34) is the youngest female head of government worldwide. She leads a centre-left coalition in which all 5 government parties have women at the top. Her aim: To introduce the 4-day-week and the 6-hour-working day in Finland.

Finnish Prime Minister Marin calls for a 4-day-week and 6-hour-day for her country

Triggernometry: Why Labour Lost the Election

Identity politics doesn't win...

Barrett - China Steals Technology!

Barrett says that American companies agreed to share some of their technology with Chinese companies if they were allowed to move their production there. They didn't have to agree, no one was forcing them. This is how capitalism works, where you try to get the best deal, contract, or the best price. Simple as that! American companies needn’t have gone to China.

In this video I discuss how China is accused by many countries of stealing technology and intellectual property. This is not actually true in many cases, and I explore some of the facts surrounding this.

Niles Niemuth - New WikiLeaks documents expose doctoring of chemical weapons report to justify 2018 US attack on Syria

The MSM isn't interested. 

Just as extraordinary as the leaks themselves is the fact that they have been completely blacked out by the mainstream media in the United States and Europe. Despite the explosive character of the documents that have been published so far, exposing the ostensibly objective and neutral OPCW as a tool of the US and its imperialist allies, there has been no significant coverage in the mainstream media nor any effort by the New York Times, Washington Post or any other major outlet to debunk the documents or their contents.

Last month, Newsweek reporter Tareq Haddad resigned in protest after his editors forcefully rebuffed his efforts to report on the leaks. Given the apparently enforced silence about these now publicly available documents, the question must be asked if the equivalent of a British-style D-notice has been sent by the CIA and the State Department to editorial boards in the US, Europe and elsewhere in an effort to bury any exposure of the lies whipped up in the years-long effort to overthrow Assad.


Niles Niemuth - New WikiLeaks documents expose doctoring of chemical weapons report to justify 2018 US attack on Syria

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Links — 28 Dec 2019

Zero Hedge
Senior OPCW Official Busted: Leaked Email Exposes Orders To "Delete All Traces" Of Dissent On Douma
Tyler Durden

Caitlin Johnstone — Rogue Journalist
Media’s Deafening Silence On Latest WikiLeaks Drops Is Its Own Scandal
Caitlin Johnstone

Eurasia Review
Wikileaks Leaks Info On OPCW ‘Dissenting’ Report About Syrian Chemical Attack
Al Bawaba News

Oops for Google Apps? Huawei seeks an alliance with other Chinese firms to push US giant out of Asia

Sputnik International
Huawei May Sell 100 Million 5G Smartphones in China in 2020, Japanese CEO Claims

Russia Insider
THOUSANDS of Christians Celebrate Christmas in Aleppo Thanks to Russia and Assad Crushing ISIS

Sputnik International
US Navy Chief Says Only ‘Regime Change’ in Iran Can Stop Country’s ‘Provocative Actions’ in Gulf

The Grayzone
Evo Morales’ potential successor speaks out after far-right Bolivia coup: Interview with union leader Andrónico Rodríguez
Wyatt Reed

Sputnik International
Fed Study Finds Trump’s Trade Wars Backfired, Leading to Lost Jobs and Price Hikes

The Indedpendent
Socialism declining in Europe as populism support grows
Flavia Krause-Jackson

TYT - Why Jeremy Corbyn Lost

Some good analysis.

The Labour Party of the UK took a DEVASTATING loss in last night's election. Cenk Uygur, John Iadarola, and Hasan Piker, hosts of The Young Turks, break it down

Everything You Need To Know About MMT...In One Thousand Words? — Brian Romanchuk

One of the things that Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) obviously needs are good short "explainers" aimed at people who already consider themselves experts in economics. (In addition to people trained as economists, that would include market practitioners -- like myself -- who consider themselves macro experts.) There are plenty of primers aimed at people unfamiliar with economics, and academic journal articles -- but not a lot in between. The new textbook -- Macroeconomics, by Mitchell, Wray, and Watts -- covers this ground, but it is lengthy (a textbook), as well as being introductory. As can be seen in an earlier discussion of the book, that misses the mark.
I would obviously like to write such an explainer, but the need for brevity is the problem I face.
If the reader has stumbled onto this article and looking for such an explainer, all I can offer is the following: instead of looking for a one thousand word summary of MMT, look for a one thousand word summary of MMT views on a particular topic.

It seems to me that what is needed is a statement of the framework for theorizing, e.g, scope and scale, and a list of specific assumptions, both methodological and substantial, that distinguish MMT from other theoretical approaches to macroeconomics.

For example, neoclassically oriented economics including New Keynesianism assumes equilibrium and maximization (Krugman). MMT assumes a monetary production economy using "modern money." The two theories differ based on articulating the implications of the foundational assumptions.

Bond Economics
Everything You Need To Know About MMT...In One Thousand Words?
Brian Romanchuk

Russia's new hypersonic weapon becomes operational

The US is two or three years behind.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu confirmed Friday that the Avangard, the country's new intercontinental hypersonic weapon, became operational and entered combat duty, per the AP.

Why it matters: Russian President Vladimir Putin has emphasized that Russia is the only country armed with hypersonic weapons. He also has compared the success of the Avangard's development to the Soviet Union's first satellite launch in 1957.


Anti-war.com - Assad Plans To Sue US Over Stealing Syrian Oil

Syrian officials say that they are looking at filing an international lawsuit against the United States government over the intended theft of Syrian oil from fields in the country’s northeast.

Since October, President Trump has totally revised the goals of the US war in Syria, entirely around the idea of “securing” the oil, and has been very public about intending to have the US take the oil for themselves.

Anti-war.com - Assad Plans To Sue US Over Stealing Syrian Oil

Friday, December 27, 2019

How they destroyed Corbyn’s Labour Party

Joe Glasman, CAA head of political and government investigations congratulating activists who "helped defeat" UK Labour party in 2019 General Election (The video they didn't want you to see!)

This policy makes absolutely no sense whatsoever—neither social sense, economic sense, or political sense. — Brad DeLong

This policy makes absolutely no sense whatsoever—neither social sense, economic sense, or political sense. Yet it rolls forward, with no resistance from legislators of the president's party: American Progress: Cruelty for Cruelty's Sake: 'This week, President Donald Trump issued a new, cruel rule that will strip nearly 700,000 struggling people of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP) benefits. In its announcement of the rule, the U.S. Department of Agriculture cited a strong economy and protection of U.S. taxpayer money as reasons for the changes to SNAP benefits. But a new CAP survey on voter opinions on the economy, government, and poverty finds that despite headlines touting a booming economy, a majority of voters are still struggling economically/….
Actually, this policy makes perfect sense in terms of economic liberalism aka "capitalism." The basic premise is that when the economy is doing well, wage pressure increases, so welfare benefits should be curtailed in order to force the unemployed into the labor market to increase competition for available jobs, thereby oversetting wage pressure.

Grasping Reality
This policy makes absolutely no sense whatsoever—neither social sense, economic sense, or political sense.
Brad DeLong | Professor of Economics, UCAL Berkeley

UK Colomn News - Bill Binney: British Interference In US Election

Bill Binney says all of our mainstream media is controlled by the intelligence agencies.

UK Column's Mike Robinson speaks to former NSA analyst William Binney about the Trump impreachment, Russiagate and UK, not Russian, interference in the US election process.

“Is the Market Actually Efficient? No, It Is Only a Very Powerful Narrative” — Christoph Gisiger interviews Robert Shiller

Christoph Gisiger interviews Robert Shiller about his new book, Narrative Economics. Robert Shiller also provides some general financial advice based on CAPE.

Interestingly, Robert Shiller is one of the chief influencers of the economic and financial narratives of both the day and the times, and his influence spills over into the social and political narratives, too. One of the powerful influencers of those narratives is the Nobel Prize, which Riksbank undoubtedly knew when they established the "Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel."

The commonly held view is that there is an objective reality in which we all live and that it is knowable by all. This is the commonsense view or naïve view in epistemology. It doesn't hold up on reflection which has been known for millennia and alternatives debated. 

Basically, humans see through the lens of their "hardware" and "software," the hardware being the common natural characteristic that human's share and the software being the lens that human acquire through social conditioning, which is also influenced by personal disposition. 

Far from seeing reality more of less "as it is," humans use language to construct worldviews that they identify with reality. Humans share worldviews to some extent based on social exposure and interaction, but even here the various worldviews differ based on each persons uniqueness as an individual.

Narratives a "teaching stories" are prehistorical. Humans have always shaped their "reality." Science is an attempt to minimize the subjective and isolate the objective. But many people give science much more credit in this regard than is due, since humans have to operate through the distorted lens of human perception and cognition, and the influence of affect. Philosophers explored this since the begining of reflection on experience and behavior and only recently has this also been investigated "scientifically," in psychology and cognitive science.

Presently, narrative control is big business. Think, for example, public relations, and marketing & advertising, not to mention political strategy, propaganda and the like. Many, many people are employed in this conscious and intentional endeavor not only to shape the narrative but to dominate it.

ProMarket — The blog of the Stigler Center at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business
“Is the Market Actually Efficient? No, It Is Only a Very Powerful Narrative”
Christoph Gisiger interviews Robert Shiller

David Wallace-Wells - The Uninhabitable Earth

Famine, economic collapse, a sun that cooks us: What climate change could wreak —

There has been five mass extinctions, but only one was caused by an asteroid, all the others were caused by rising levels of carbon, and each of these occasions the extinction was near total with 97% of all life on Earth being destroyed. We are putting carbon into the atmosphere at a rate that is 10 x faster than has ever occurred in the past. 

The Intelligencer

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Austerity, not the populists, destroyed Europe’s centre ground

Some people in Europe saw the Far East zooming ahead and decided the answer was to increase competition and immigration at home to lower wages, and to destroy Europe's welfare state and social democracy. But was it really necessary, surely we could have chugged along quite nicely, which suited us, as most of us never wanted to be that rich, just happy? 

If there was one widespread coverage that accelerated that development, it was austerity. We have now come to guage austerity primarily by way of its financial affect. However it’s the political fallout from public spending cuts that’s most probably to persist.

Austerity as a coverage is the consequence of a poor understanding of economics coupled with a self-righteous thoughts and a bent to spend an excessive amount of time along with your friends at locations like Davos.

Luxorr Media

WORLD NEWSAusterity, not the populists, destroyed Europe’s centre ground

Edward Luttwak - Why Fascism is the Wave of the Future

Written in 1994, and yet it's the most pertinent article I've read in a long time. Neoliberalism is causing enormous change, destroying communities and traditional ways of life, while jobs have become much more insecure, much harder, and with less pay.

As societies advanced, it was said that the service industries would replace lost manufacturing jobs, but they didn't tell you that the high-tech jobs would pay much less than the old manual ones.

On the whole, people don't like change, they prefer security and familiarity, the safety of a regular job, the family, and community.

The Conservatives offer even more change, and tell people to be more dynamic and fleet-of-foot, while the socialists offer more benefits for the disadvantaged, but those in precarious work, often on low pay, and maxed out with huge mortgages and rents, might feel they don't qualify as disadvantaged, so many of them turn towards fascism instead, or proto-fascism, hoping it will turn the clock back to the better days, or at least resist further change. They think the 'Strong Men' will fight off the rest of the world, and conserve the old ways of life.

That capitalism unobstructed by public regulations, cartels, monopolies, oligopolies, effective trade unions, cultural inhibitions or kinship obligations is the ultimate engine of economic growth is an old-hat truth now disputed only by a few cryogenically-preserved Gosplan enthusiasts and a fair number of poorly-paid Anglo-Saxon academics. That the capitalist engine achieves growth as well as it does because its relentless competition destroys old structures and methods, thus allowing more efficient structures and methods to rise in their place, is the most famous bit of Schumpeteriana, even better-known than the amorous escapades of the former University of Czernowitz professor. And, finally, that structural change can inflict more disruption on working lives, firms, entire industries and their localities than individuals can absorb, or the connective tissue of friendships, families, clans, elective groupings, neighbourhoods, villages, towns, cities or even nations can withstand, is another old-hat truth more easily recognised than Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft can be spelled. 

London Review of Books

Edward Luttwak - Why Fascism is the Wave of the Future

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Steve Keen - Five Big Myths of Classical Economics

Bored with Trek, or another re-run of Ghostbusters, or can't face another beer, or a mince pie, well, Steve Keen saves the day with another excellent podcast? A free one for Christmas.

It’s taken us a few years to tackle the obvious topic for the Debunking Economics podcast, what are the biggest failings of neoclassical economics. Prof Steve Keen tells Phil Dobbie that it starts on page one of rudimentary economics textbooks, which the idea of the demand curve.  Having debunked that, he moves on to the capital market line, used to determine investment decisions. Then it’s the models being used to determine the impact of climate change. Then the concept of diminishing marginal productivity. And finally, the process of simplifying assumptions. Having dismissed all the major tenants of economics Phil asks Steve if there any laws that apply to the ‘science’, in the same way that gravity applies to physics. Or is it all lost in the realm of unproven speculation?

Five Big Myths of Classical Economics

Good Luck Everyone - Blackadder - BBC

From the excellent Black Adder series, and although there is no scintillating comedy here, it has a powerful anti-war message. This is how they end the series.

Baldrick's cunning plan will have to wait as Blackadder and his troops go over the top in a poignant and powerful finale to the series.

The classic anti-war song that became a Christmas hit single.



They’re not mystics. But materialism is not giving good answers so they are looking around

It’s easy to mock the idea. But consider what neuroscientists studying consciousness are up against:
Traditionally, scientists have been stalwart materialists. But doing so has caused them to slam up against the limitations of materialism. Consider the chasm between relativity and quantum mechanics, or Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, and you quickly start to recognize these incongruities.
Mind Matters


Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Sibile Marcellus - 'We squandered a major economic recovery': Harvard professor

The nation wasted the major economic recovery, according to a new report by Harvard Business School on U.S. competitiveness.

“We had this wonderful recovery. It could have given us the chance to take some significant resources and devote them to some of our well-known challenges, like infrastructure or health care...none of that happened. Instead, we squandered a major economic recovery and didn’t use it to make things better,” said Harvard Business School professor Michael Porter, a co-author of the study.

The business community’s role in politics has made a significant contribution to Washington’s dysfunction, according to HBS’s report. The majority of the business leaders surveyed said businesses’ overall engagement worsened the political system by advancing policies that benefited special interests.

Yahoo Finance

Sibile Marcellus - 'We squandered a major economic recovery': Harvard professor

Monday, December 23, 2019

Bill Mitchell — A response to Greg Mankiw – Parts 1 & 2

On October 2, 2019, I received an E-mail from Gregory Mankiw. It was sent to me, Randy Wray and Martin Watts and asked us some questions about our textbook – Macroeconomics – which had been published by leading textbook publisher Macmillan in March 2019. The book has been selling strongly with a third printing already in the pipeline and a second edition coming, hopefully, later next year. Macmillan also publish Greg Mankiw’s macroeconomics textbook, which has been the dominant teaching book in undergraduate programs. I will take you through the E-mail correspondence that followed because it puts in context what Greg Mankiw decided to do next. Instead of continuing the correspondence on academic terms, which was a reasonable expectation at the time, given the initial approach and our replies, he decided to submit a paper – A Skeptic’s Guide to Modern Monetary Theory (December 12, 2019) – to the American Economic Association meeting in early January, which purports to be a ‘guide’ (meaning in English – a framework to convey an appreciation of something) to Modern Monetary Theory (MMT). After his initial entreaty and our responses in good faith, Greg Mankiw clearly decided that engaging with us on the terms he initially set out was not going to be in his interests and thus took another tack, without any further consultation or reference to his initial contact with us. I wasn’t impressed with that strategy. I was less impressed with the ‘guide’ that emerged. It says very little about MMT. It demonstrates how hard it is for someone deeply locked into a dominant but failing paradigm to think outside the ‘box’ for a while and try to understand that the ideas of a new and emerging paradigm cannot be meaningfully reduced back into the conceptual framework of the failing paradigm that the contender is seeking to usurp. I guess his strategy is understandable – after all – our book is now a direct competitor for his textbook and offers a new approach that has much stronger empirical correspondence. In that context, it is in Greg Mankiw’s self interest to attack our book in any way he can. The problem is that attacks have to have some foundation to resonate. Greg Mankiw’s attack is so lateral that he would have been better to have remained silent. Sure, he is playing to the mainstream groupthink echo chamber. But the echoes will die eventually as more and more people realise the mainstream is in its last death throes. This is Part 1 of a two-part response to Greg Mankiw’s paper. In Part 1, we review the E-mail trail that started all this. In Part 2, I will discuss his response.
Bill Mitchell – billy blog
A response to Greg Mankiw – Part 1

A response to Greg Mankiw – Part 2
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

America Turns From Tea Party to MMT in a Decade — Brian Chappatta

Another good summary. Winning.

Yahoo News
America Turns From Tea Party to MMT in a Decade
Brian Chappatta, Bloomberg

The Collapse of Neoliberalism — Ganesh Sitaraman

The long-dominant ideology brought us forever wars, the Great Recession, and extreme inequality. Good riddance.
Useful summary.

The New Republic
The Collapse of Neoliberalism
Ganesh Sitaraman, Professor at Vanderbilt Law School and the author of The Great Democracy: How to Fix Our Politics, Unrig the Economy, and Unite America

The most amazing drone holographic light show in China

It's all done with drones - and the music is excellent!

The technology is so good now, and yet I fear we are at the end of civilization. Let's hope not!

One of the comments from YouTube.

Western: drones can drop bombs China: drones can fireworks

Del Boy Falls Through the Bar | Only Fools and Horses | BBC Comedy Greats

Another fun one for Christmas.

I might put out a classic comedy sketch on Saturday evenings from now on, but only if it's good enough. I see how it goes.

We asked Russians: Socialism or Capitalism?│ Means TV

Were we told a pack of lies about the miserable, old grey Soviet Union and the monotony of communism?

Many Russians are nostalgic for the old days when life was much easier and more peaceful, where there was more equality, love, companionship, and friendship, and lots of things were free.

But now they have capitalism and life is hard.

Scott Snowden - China Plans To Build The World's First Solar Power Station In Space

China plans for the long term.

China is planning to build the world’s first solar power station in space to provide “inexhaustible clean energy” according to a story in Science and Technology Daily, the official newspaper of China’s Ministry of Science and Technology.

Pang Zhihao, from the China Academy of Space Technology said that a space solar power system orbiting the Earth at an altitude of 36,000 kilometers could tap the energy of the sun’s rays without disruption from atmospheric conditions or loss of sunlight at night.

They claim to be already testing the technology and intend to build the station by 2050.


Scott Snowden - China Plans To Build The World's First Solar Power Station In Space

China wants to put a solar farm in space by 2025

John Stone - British press dramatically cut criticism of ruling Tories for 2019 election, study finds

Coverage of Labour was also over twice as hostile compared to previous poll

British press dramatically cut criticism of ruling Tories for 2019 election, study finds
Coverage of Labour was also over twice as hostile compared to previous poll

Hostile press coverage aimed at the Labour Party at the 2019 election was more than double the intensity found during 2017’s poll, according to a study of the two campaigns. 

Researchers at Loughborough University, who have been tracking political news coverage, also found that British newspapers were half as critical of the Conservative Party in this month’s election as they were in the one two years ago.

The Independent 

John Stone - British press dramatically cut criticism of ruling Tories for 2019 election, study finds

Economics Explained - The Economy of The United Kingdom

This video talks about the City of London in glowing terms, but... Well, that's for another video.

The economy of the united kingdom is really a tale of two cities, it was the best of times and it was the worst of times, it is an economy with the highest levels of foreign investment per capita in the world and it is an economy with a major poverty crisis. It is an economy that is home to the second largest financial centre in the world and yet its entire economy is smaller than that of California.

It’s this one that I really want to focus on though, the united kingdom as a country is heavily dependent on its financial services industry to a level that brings it in line with nations like Singapore and hong kong which in and of themselves are basically just giant cities full of banks. 

This for the most part sounds brilliant, a strong financial services sector is hugely beneficial to a national economy. It creates thousands of extremely high paying jobs and can attract profits from all over the world to be introduced to the local economy and the United Kingdom is a great example of this.

London is home to the offices of over 500 banks from small banks with local operations in the country to major international banks like HSBC
In this video we will explore why these financial institutions decide to call London home. 

Why Labour Lost: Oligarchs are Gaming Democracy 💰🗳 | George Monbiot

The oligarchs own the media and decide who gets elected, says George Monbiot. Funnily enough, just prior to finding this video, I tweeted this:

Many people might not have liked Corbyn, seeing him as anti the imperialist British establishment and 'friend of terrorists', which the media repeatedly drummed in. 
Now here's a thought experiment: 
If the Establishment wanted Jeremy in, he would have won with flying colours.

 George Monbiot -

“The oligarchs have discovered the formula for persuading the poor to vote for the interests of the very rich”

Economics Explained - The Historic Economy of China

Has China reclaimed its throne? 

This is china. The second largest economy in the world, home to the largest population in the world and the most aggressive economic expansion in modern history. Most people watching this video now would have seen china go from a collection of mostly peasent farmers into the economic powerhouse it is today within their lifetimes. The economic development of china has amongst other things also contributed heavily to the massive drop in absolute global poverty we have seen today. Modern day china is so massive and influential that a rundown of its economy will not fit into a single video so just like the previous video’s on the united states we will be breaking it down into a video series with a particular focus per video

Father Ted - I Hear You're A Racist Now, Father!

This Father Ted video clip tickled me today!

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Millennials Are Poorer Than Any Living Generation

Debt data reveals the true cost of putting career before family.

Millennials (born between 1981 and 1996) are in worse financial condition than any previous living generation, according to data published by the Wall Street Journal last month. Although highly educated, they are staying in school longer, making harmful personal financial choices, and taking longer to start families. The true cost of these decisions is starting to be recognized.

Men and women in their 30s are not only having fewer children, they are also marrying later—or not at all. Millennials are marrying less than any previous generation. Many blame their financial condition for the lack of impetus to get married. 

The Trumpet


West Point Professor Builds a Case Against the U.S. Army, By David Swanson

Philip Giraldi writes -

The Post investigative report coincides with an interesting deconstruction of the US military & how it operates. 
David Swanson provides a lengthy review of West Point Professor Tim Bakken’s new book The Cost of Loyalty: Dishonesty, Hubris, & Failure... 

But why does the public go along with out of control militarism? Why are so few speaking out and raising hell against wars that only 16% of the public tell pollsters they support? Well, the Pentagon spent $4.7 billion in 2009, and likely more in each year since, on propaganda and public relations. Sports leagues are paid with public dollars to stage “rituals that are akin to worship,” as Bakken appropriately describes the fly-overs, weapons shows, troop honorings, and war hymn screechings that precede professional athletics events. The peace movement has far superior materials but comes up a little short of $4.7 billion each year for advertising.

Speaking out against war can get you attacked as unpatriotic or “a Russian asset,” which helps explain why environmentalists don’t mention one of the worst polluters, refugee aid groups don’t mention the primary cause of the problem, activists trying to end mass-shootings never mention that the shooters are disproportionately veterans, anti-racist groups avoid noticing the way militarism spreads racism, plans for green new deals or free college or healthcare usually manage not to mention the place where most of the money is now, etc. Overcoming this hurdle is the work being taken on by World BEYOND War.

Art Exhibition Winner, Kawasaka, 2018

This came from twitter, but I was unable to upload in higher quality. I thought it was fascinating. The Japanese woman walking alongside the second to last human picture is the artist.

Last year, at the end of October, the 22nd annual Halloween parade was held in the Japanese city of Kawasaki.

The contest for the best costume was won by "living pictures" from the famous body art artist Amazing Jiro.

China Is Still Building an Insane Number of New Coal Plants

Three years ago this month, the Paris climate agreement went into effect, and so far things aren’t looking great.

But most of the plants aren't being fully utilised, and some are not being used at all, so they probably are for emergency. It says in the article how China often over builds and under utilises. 

China has the biggest carbon footprint of all countries, but it is the industrial factory for the world. 

Many countries are struggling to hit their emission reduction goals, the United States confirmed its intention to withdraw from the agreement, and tech giants are cozying up to the fossil fuel industry and climate change deniers. Meanwhile, entire cities are sinking into the ocean, wildfires are ravaging the West Coast of the US, glaciers are melting, and the ocean is dying. The writing is on the wall: If something doesn’t change soon, our goose is cooked.


China Is Still Building an Insane Number of New Coal Plants