Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Bill Mitchell — Forget the record deficits and public debt – focus on what the net spending is doing to advance well-being

Yesterday (October 21, 2020), the British Office of National Statistics (ONS) released the latest – Public sector finances, UK: September 2020 – which, predictably tells us that government borrowing was “£28.4 billion more than in September 2019 and the third-highest borrowing in any month since records began in 1993” and that the public debt ratio has risen to “103.5% of … GDP … this was the highest debt to GDP ratio since … 1960.” Shock horror. While I yawn. The financial media went to town on the data. The Financial Times article (October 22, 2020) – UK government borrowing reaches record in first half of fiscal year – claimed the second wave that is now sweeping the northern hemisphere “have dampened hopes” that the stimulus “could be quickly scaled back” which has “fuelled concerns over the US’s mounting public debt”. It didn’t clarify as to who was concerned or why. The old canards seem to die slowly. Meanwhile, the IMF has changed tack somewhat after its tawdry display during the GFC. Overall, we should be relaxed about the records being set (deficits, public debt) and focus on what the net spending is doing to advance our interests. Focusing on the financial parameters will just divert our attention away from what is important....
Bill Mitchell – billy blog
Forget the record deficits and public debt – focus on what the net spending is doing to advance well-being
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

My new podcast episode is out.

DW - More long-term damage caused by COVID-19 than expected | COVID-19 Special

 Viral load seems to make a big difference as to whether you recover quickly, or not. 

Thousands of people of all ages are staying sick for weeks -- even months. A study by Denmark's Aarhus University found a third of corona patients suffered long-term side effects. For some, the virus doesn't just come and go. It stays. The disease can damage the lungs, heart and brain, increasing the risk of long-term health problems.




US to offer developing countries aid to ditch Huawei

The US is also warning developing countries against using Chinese finance agencies


The US praised capitalism, free markets, and globalisation while it was out on top, but now it's rigging the market.

The US is planning to offer billions of dollars in loans to developing countries in the hope of persuading them to use Western alternatives to Chinese companies...

The Telegraph 

The Battle For More Efficient Energy — Haley Zaremba

There is a war going on. And no, it’s not the one you think. This is a war against energy efficiency. The attack is on two fronts: a battle against energy efficiency standards on the part of the current United States administration which is generally anti-regulation, and an attack on the part of everyone’s favorite new common enemy, the novel coronavirus. The global pandemic has hurt nearly every economic sector, and it’s certainly not doing energy efficiency any favors, either.…
Oilprice
The Battle For More Efficient Energy
Haley Zaremba

Sputnik — NATO Military Budgets Rise, But Germany Lags Behind Alliance Defense Spending Goal

A new report by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) shows that more member nations are increasing their defense budgets to reach the alliance’s spending goals, but Germany, which has attracted US President Donald Trump’s ire, has yet to do so....
Sputnik International
NATO Military Budgets Rise, But Germany Lags Behind Alliance Defense Spending Goal

Sputnik — A World Without Oil and Uranium: Russian Scientists Research Clean, Safe Nuclear Power Generation

The ITER will use a mixture of hydrogen isotopes, deuterium and tritium, as fuel....
 Sputnik International

Sputnik — Tech Analyst Calls Jio Partnership With Qualcomm to Bring 5G to India a 'Breath of Fresh Air'

US-based chipmaker Qualcomm hosted a virtual event on Tuesday night and announced that in partnership with the Indian telco Jio, they were able to achieve a superfast internet speed of 1GBPS while working on developing independent 5G tech for India. Jio, with 385 million users, is India’s largest telco, headed by Asia’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani.
Sputnik International
Tech Analyst Calls Jio Partnership With Qualcomm to Bring 5G to India a 'Breath of Fresh Air'

U.S. Broadens Sanctions On Russia-Led Nord Stream 2 Pipeline — Charles Kennedy

It won't stop the project and will further alienate German and other European firms, who will view this as anti-competitive regardless of what spin the US puts on it.

Oilprice
U.S. Broadens Sanctions On Russia-Led Nord Stream 2 Pipeline
Charles Kennedy

See also

TASS
Kremlin slams US sanctions against Nord Stream 2 as 'hostile takeover competition'

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Streams On Twitch With Hasan Piker And Pokimane, Draws Over 430,000 Viewers — Nathan Grayson


AOC has embraced MMT and is advised by MMT economists. What Stephani Kelton has done to popularize MMT generally, AOC is likely to do with the younger generations of digital natives.

Kotaku
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Streams On Twitch With Hasan Piker And Pokimane, Draws Over 430,000 Viewers
Nathan Grayson

See also

Sputnik International
AOC Calls on People to Vote While Twitch Streaming, Sets Twitter Abuzz

What MMT says: a chance for the critics to take a pop — Richard Murphy

One of the regular stream of commentators who claim that MMT is wrong about everything it says has appeared on the blog.

So, I issue a challenge. What is wrong about the following, which is what MMT says?…,

Several MMT point follow. 

Tax Research UK
What MMT says: a chance for the critics to take a pop
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

Lawrence Summers attempts to criticise MMT – try not to die of laughter. Ralph Musgrave


Has Larry Summers actually read any MMT literature? MMT economists have already counter all his objections. 

My guess. This is political. The man cannot be that obtuse economically, can he? With the prospect of a Biden win, Summers is trying to head off MMT politically as a Democratic Establishment  stalwart vying for power and position.

RALPHONOMICS
Lawrence Summers attempts to criticise MMT – try not to die of laughter.
Ralph Musgrave


Lars P. Syll — What is ‘effective demand’?

Jesper Jespersen untangles the concept and shows how Keynes, by taking uncertainty seriously, contributed to forming an analytical alternative to the prevailing mainstream general equilibrium framework:
Lars P. Syll’s Blog
What is ‘effective demand’?
Lars P. Syll | Professor, Malmo University

Monnaie, pouvoir et régimes monétaires — Pavlina R. Tcherneva

For the record.

MMT France
Monnaie, pouvoir et régimes monétaires
par
Pavlina R. Tcherneva
Levy Economics Institute of Bard College
Mars 2016
Traduction par Robert Cauneau – MMT France

World’s vaccine testing ground deems Chinese COVID candidate ‘the safest, most promising’

Of five top candidates, authorities have singled out an experimental Chinese vaccine.


Brazil is one of the world’s top COVID-19 vaccine testing grounds. Now officials there say that CoronaVac, the experimental COVID-19 vaccine from Chinese developer Sinovac, is the safest of the coronavirus immunizations evaluated in the country so far.


“The first results of the clinical study conducted in Brazil prove that among all the vaccines tested in the country, CoronaVac is the safest, the one with the best and most promising rates,” São Paulo Gov. João Doria told reporters in Brazil on Monday.

 Fortune 

World’s vaccine testing ground deems Chinese COVID candidate ‘the safest, most promising’

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Bill Mitchell — Video – An economy that guarantees health and wellbeing for all

Today, on my blog-light day, I have a video of a recent event where I spoke (with other speakers being John Quiggin and Noel Pearson). The event was in conjunction with the Public Health Association of Australia’s annual conference and we are discussing the interface between health and the economy and the right to work and income security. It was an interesting and very civilised discussion. And when you are through watching that, we also have a ‘provocation’ to consider and then some jazz. All the interests of advancing humanity!
Bill Mitchell – billy blog
Video – An economy that guarantees health and wellbeing for all
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Nathan Rich - USA COVID-19 Timeline Part 1

How the Trump administration failed to deal effectively with Covid-19.




IMF Admits China Has Overtaken The US As The World’s Largest Economy; But Why Is The Media Silent?

The world is waking up to a new reality post the devastating pandemic that brought everything to a grinding halt. One of them is the rise of China as the undisputed new economic superpower.


It looks like state planning works much better than the neoliberal free market, and I'm sure everyone knew that anyway, but the elite wanted to have their finger in everything, so it all got privatised. 

The West's handling of the Covid pandemic was disastrous, so China is now out at front. 


China’s economic growth rate has been growing at a mind-boggling rate of around 10% for almost the last 30 years. The country has witnessed startling growth in every sector, with the manufacturing sector being the engine of overall resurgence. It has made unstoppable advances in its military power, building and accumulating world-class defence equipment.

The world can no longer deny China’s superpower. It’s now the world’s most powerful economy, a fact we can no longer brush under the carpet. The country’s rise to the top was inevitable, but no one had expected it to be so swift.

Nonlinear Models Give No Escape From r* — Brian Romanchuk

The dynamic stochastic general equilibrium (DSGE) model literature is ever-growing, and new features are being continuously added. This makes it difficult to make generalisations about the literature. However, from a macro modelling perspective, we are mainly interested in models that might be used by a central bank to set interest rates. Even if we are not central bankers ourselves, we presumably want to understand how central bankers see their policy lever as working....
Bond Economics
Nonlinear Models Give No Escape From r*
Brian Romanchuk

Power >>>>> money — Scott Sumner

How about letting the market work? Why not let the price of monoclonal antibodies rise until supply equals demand?

If we did so, a thousands medical ethicists would scream about how rationing by price favors the rich.

Suppose instead that we ration by political power—give it first to people with lots of clout:
The Money Illusion
Power >>>>> money
Scott Sumner | Ralph G. Hawtrey Chair of Monetary Policy at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University

Another Thomas Palley Critique Of Neochartalism — Ramanan

For the record.

My view on this is that it fails to correctly present the MMT position (again). 

MMT is a macroeconomic theory based on institutional analysis rather than being either an axiomatic system like conventional economics or a socio-economic and political analysis like Marxian economics. That is to say, MMT is framed in terms of the existing world system. It is an alternative to "neoliberalism," in so far as it is in the Paleo-Keynesian tradition (versus the New Keynesian or Samuelson New Synthesis). That is to say, as a macroeconomic theory it does not deal directly with social and political issues that go beyond the field of economics as it is currently practiced.

However, MMT also has implications for political economy and policy, although as an economic theory it doesn't venture into these domains. For example, the adoption of the MMT JG is not a policy choice. It is an economic requirement for optimizing use of available real resource to reduce or eliminate waste as a form of inefficiency.

Individual MMT economists also take policy stances based on potential that MMT shows but independently of MMT as an economic theory. This can be obscured by their appealing to MMT in many cases to justify their views. But there is nothing in principle preventing different political approaches using the knowledge generated by MMT.

The arguments and rationale criticizing MMT presented here are generally social and political rather than concerned with economic economic theory. That is they involved economic understanding applied to policy. 

The economic issue here is at bottom economic rent, rent-seeking, and rent extraction based on asymmetry and leading to greater asymmetry. Almost MMT economists and MMT allies like Michael Hudson, James K. Galbraith, and Steve Keen address such issues, as well as other social and political issues. Their views of these matters is diverse.

Warren Mosler comes in for specific criticism, but the record in incorrect. I have discussed this with him and his position is rathe to preempt economic rent, rent-seeking, and rent extraction to address inequality and its social, political and economic effects before clawing back the residual using taxation. Using taxation as the first tool is not the most efficient or most effective way to go.

Bill Mitchell addresses the totalitarian effects of neoliberalism and the necessity for national sovereignty including currency sovereignty to address this scourge that threatens the world system socially, politically and economically. Of course, Michael Hudson reputation in this regard is well-known.

The Case for Concerted Action
Another Thomas Palley Critique Of Neochartalism
V. Ramanan

India’s loss of Farzad-B is only the beginning — M. K. Bhadrakumar

But the loss of Farzad-B is only the beginning. The India-Iran relationship awaits a strategic setback. Looking ahead, the forthcoming Malabar Exercise with Australia’s participation heralds a tumultuous period ahead where India and Iran’s core interests will no longer be reconcilable.

Without doubt, India’s Quad strategy will complicate its relations with Iran. None of the Persian Gulf states (or Israel) will want to be part of the Quad, either, since they are in the same predicament as the ASEAN countries — stakeholders in a thriving economic partnership with China.…

India, struggling economically, is throwing in with the other "democracies," against China and Iran. This vastly complicates India's relations with Russia. Brilliant move or monumental blunder. Only time will tell. 

PM Modi is trying to play both the US and Russia. Not going to work. India will have to make a strategic choice, which potentially excludes it from much of Asia. The US, Australia and Japan, the other members of the Quad, are not going to do much to help India economically. India is too unstable politically, for one thing, and it is in the midst of sectarian struggle between the Hindu majority and the Islamic minority (backed by nuclear Pakistan).

And then there is this:

To be sure, the unfolding militarisation of the Indian Ocean” will only be seen as an expansionist policy by a host of regional powers — not only China but also Pakistan, Iran and, possibly, Russia — and most littoral states along Africa’s east coast.

It will isolate India in its region and will provoke counter-strategies eventually to contain India’s ambitions. After all, there is nothing like absolute security. No amount of waffling by Indian diplomats that Quad is not be regarded as anything more than the BRICS or SCO will convince India’s neighbours.

All this is especially significant  for the world system since India and China both have a billon plus population. The degree of their success or failure, or just limping along, will have a broad and deep influence on the rest of the world in this century, either pushing the ROW forward or creating a drag. 

However, the comparison between India and China is not one-to-one. They are very different systems. So far, China is kicking ass economically with the largest economy in the world measured on the basis of purchasing power parity (PPP). Conversely, India is still struggling as a developing country that hasn't yet hit on a successful development strategy or a political system that is manageable.

Both are civilizational states with very ancient histories. But China has a single language and long imperial history underlying its meritocratic administrative system. India was not united under one rule until the British Raj and that has turned out to be a very mixed blessing, for it puts India at odds with its civilizational history. In addition, only the upper tiers adopted the British manner of life, creating a separation between the tiers of society that does not exist in China. Social mobility is further limited by the remnant of a caste system, making liberal reform difficult.

India Punchline
India’s loss of Farzad-B is only the beginning
M. K. Bhadrakumar | retired diplomat with the Indian Foreign Service

See also

The Hindu (India)
Quad should eventually become formalised, says top U.S. Official (Asian NATO under US)
Sriram Lakshman

Russophrenia – or How a Collapsing Country Runs the World — Patrick Armstrong

Funny.

Strategic Culture Foundation (allegedly a Russian government front)
Russophrenia – or How a Collapsing Country Runs the World
Patrick Armstrong

See also at SCF

Why You Won’t Find Us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube

See also from Patrick Lawrence.

Consortium News
PATRICK LAWRENCE: The Damage Russiagate Has Done
October 19, 2020

Monday, October 19, 2020

Empirical Testing Of Macro Models — Brian Romanchuk

From a bond market practitioner's perspective, model testing is straightforward: does it make money? The ability to make money after model implementation (and not just "out of sample") is a simple quantitative metric -- although one might need to wait for a large enough sample to test this. Not everyone is a market participant, and they want to evaluate models on other metrics (e.g., does it help guide policy decisions?). However, the key insight of the "does is make money?" metric is that it is related to the more vague: "does it offer useful information about the future?" It is entirely possible for a model to have some statistical properties that are seen as "good" -- yet offer no useful information about the future.
Usefulness in Forecasting and Pricing
Although one might be able to make money from a mathematical model any number of ways, I am considering two types of financial models that are of interest.
  • Forecasting models that generate buy/sell signals.
  • Pricing models. Although this sounds unusual in a macroeconomics context, this is related to DSGE models, given their similarity to arbitrage-free pricing models (link to previous discussion).
Forecasting models are probably what most people would think of, the structure of DSGE models implies a need to worrying about pricing concepts. The key observation one can make about financial forecasting models is that they are not evaluated based on statistical tests (r-squared, whatever), rather the profits they generate after model creation. That is, passing statistical tests does not translate into a useful model.

Since there is less to say about pricing models, I will discuss them first....
Bond Economics
Empirical Testing Of Macro Models
Brian Romanchuk

An open letter to the Hon. Minister for Finance and Economic Planning: Can Ghana afford it? — Papa Sam Blankson and Anita Yankey

 MMT continues to get around. Now Ghana. Good letter.

Seems that The Deficit Myth is sweeping the earth.

JoyOnline
An open letter to the Hon. Minister for Finance and Economic Planning: Can Ghana afford it?
Papa Sam Blankson, MSc. Economics (Money, Banking & Finance)/ over 8 Years of Combined Experience in Banking & Asset Management. Anita Yankey, MSc. Finance/ BSc. Economics & Finance/ over eight years of combined experience in Asset Management and Corporate Communication

How will we repay our vast debt pile? Do we even need to? — David C Stevenson

And the fact that we are even discussing a once-outlandish theory such as MMT so openly today stems precisely from the difficulties that central banks have encountered in generating sustainable inflation.

So while it’s certainly an issue to watch, it’s perhaps also wise to be wary of taking an inflationary future for granted....
Money Week
How will we repay our vast debt pile? Do we even need to?
David C Stevenson in association with PIMCO

ZH — "Americans Must Wake Up To The Ugly Reality" - China Is Now The World's Largest Economy

 

I was aware of PPP versus NGDP/exchange rate but not that the IMF and CIA are on to it, too.

Recognizing this reality, over the past decade, the CIA and the IMF have developed a more appropriate yardstick for comparing national economies, which is called PPP (purchasing power parity).

As the IMF Report explains, PPP “eliminates differences in price levels between economies” and thus compares national economies in terms of how much each nation can buy with its own currency at the prices items sell for there. While MER answers how much Chinese would get at American prices, PPP answers how much Chinese do get at Chinese prices....
Explaining its decision to switch from MER to PPP in its annual assessment of national economies—which is available online in the CIA Factbook—the CIA noted that “GDP at the official exchange rate [MER GDP] substantially understates the actual level of China's output vis-a-vis the rest of the world.” Thus, in its view, PPP “provides the best available starting point for comparisons of economic strength and wellbeing between economies.”...
Mixing economics and finance often obscures the economic reality, economics being "really" about the production, distribution and consumption cycle. So economic comparison involves breaking this out. by deconstructing the aggregates for comparison. 

Zero Hedge
"Americans Must Wake Up To The Ugly Reality" - China Is Now The World's Largest Economy
Tyler Durden

Is Pope Francis’s new encyclical an attack on capitalism? — Philip Booth


Peter Booth explains the key features of the pope's recent encyclical. 

It is not an attack on "capitalism" as such but rather an attack on neoliberalism as a political theory based on economic liberalism ("bourgeois" liberalism). There are many varieties of "capitalism" and "socialism," and also a combination thereof. 

I would say that it is an approach to "left" liberalism intended as an antidote to the excesses of "right" liberalism. Right liberalism focuses on individuality and freedom, whereas left liberalism is about harmonizing freedom, equality and community, e.g, through distributivism with respect to Catholic social teaching. Right liberalism is the predominant variety in the US and UK, whereas left liberalism is predominant in Europe, or at least was until the rise of neoliberalism.

This encyclical is also an attempt to harmonize liberalism and traditionalism. Implicit is the view that this century is about the historical dialectic involving liberalism as championing individuality and individual freedom and traditionalism as championing wisdom as the integration of values in a culture or civilization. There have been many varieties of each on the table historically. 

It is essentially a document on the foundations of politics and economics in a values system underlying a socio-economic system — local, national, regional, and global. The pope views the "golden rule" as the common basis and unitary principle, some version of which is found in all traditions. 

This has been called "enlightened self-interest," which is different from "altruism." Altruism requires a highly developed cognitive-affective level of awareness, whereas enlightened self-interest applies to all rational beings. It's beginnings are found in sub-rational and less than fully rational creatures, too, as the dawning of reciprocity. Reciprocity also underlies market behavior.

IEA
Is Pope Francis’s new encyclical an attack on capitalism?
Philip Booth | Senior Academic Fellow at the Institute of Economic Affairs and Professor of Finance, Public Policy and Ethics at St. Mary’s University, Twickenham. He also holds the position of Dean of Education, Humanities and Social Sciences at St. Mary's having previously been Director of Research and Public Engagement
Originally published in The Tablet (Catholic newspaper)

FRED — Renewables have increased the capacity for electricity production : So, capacity utilization has decreased

As we’ve discussed in a previous post, electricity production has outpaced sales. That suggests a growing number of households and businesses generate some or most of their own electricity. Today, a related idea sparks our curiosity: the ongoing decrease in capacity utilization of electric power generation, transmission, and distribution....

FRED Blog
Renewables have increased the capacity for electricity production : So, capacity utilization has decreased

Estimated “house effects” (biases of pre-election surveys from different pollsters) and here’s why you have to be careful not to overinterpret them — Andrew Gelman


I am refraining from posting on political matters during the heat of the election. 

But here is some statistical analysis of polls that is interesting from the point of view of signal to noise ratio. Polling is inherently rather noisy.

Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science
Estimated “house effects” (biases of pre-election surveys from different pollsters) and here’s why you have to be careful not to overinterpret them
Andrew Gelman | Professor of Statistics and Political Science and Director of the Applied Statistics Center, Columbia University


The long-term unemployed are not an inflation constraint in a recovery — Bill Mitchell

I gave some advice to a politician last week who had read some MMT literature that he said indicated that using the Job Guarantee reduces inflationary pressures in a recovery relative to a situation where a nation had an unemployment buffer stock. I was surprised by the question because the assertions didn’t appear congruent with the facts. It appeared to be rehearsing and endorsing the standard neoliberal supply-side agenda that defined the so-called ‘activation’ approach to unemployment, which militated against job creation programs in favour of training initiatives – the full employability rather than the full employment mindset. The fact is that long-term unemployment always lags behind the overall unemployment movements given it takes time for people to work their way through the duration categories until they get to 52 weeks, after which the national statistician terms a person long-term unemployed. The longer the recession the higher average duration of unemployment becomes and the larger the pool of long-term unemployed as people start to flow into that category. However, the way we think about solutions has been influenced by the myths about the way long-term unemployment behaves, which we summarise as the – ‘irreversibility hypothesis’. This idea has influenced governments to rely on training approaches rather than job creation as solutions to unemployment. And, it has led to the various pernicious unemployment management policies where the victims of the system’s failure to create enough jobs are considered culpable in their own misfortune and shunted through a series of compliance processes in order to receive income support, which do little to get them work....
Bill Mitchell – billy blog
The long-term unemployed are not an inflation constraint in a recovery
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Adam Payne - Sweden is moving away from its no-lockdown strategy and preparing strict new rules amid rising coronavirus cases

Dr. Joacim Rocklov of Umea University told The Telegraph that after being an outlier earlier in the year, Sweden was shifting to a strategy closer to those adopted by most other governments.

Adam Payne - Sweden is moving away from its no-lockdown strategy and preparing strict new rules amid rising coronavirus cases

Sunday, October 18, 2020

The One-Chart Summary Of All That Is Wrong With The US Financial System: Deposits Over Loans — Tyler Durden

However, while it is hardly surprising that loan growth has refused to pick up during the worst economic depression since the "Great" one, what is certainly remarkable is when one looks at the corresponding bank liability: deposits. Here, there is no such problem, and in fact, in recent quarter (and years), deposits have exploded higher and continued to do so last quarter too.

Why is this notable? Well, for one, it crushes the socialism-enabling "theory" known as MMT, or Modern Money Theory, also known as Helicopter Money. Recall that according to the hodgepodge of confused concerts that were thrown at the wall in hopes of coming up with some comprehensive monetary theory, from the perspective of Modern Monetary Theory private bank lending is unconstrained by the quantity of reserves the bank holds at any point in time. In other words, according to MMT loans create deposits (see here, here, and here). Only... clearly in reality that's not the case.

More financial illiteracy. 

What is actually happening is increased liquidity preference (reducing velocity), tighter credit owing to rising risk and uncertainty in an economic contraction based on an exogenous factor (pandemic) that is poorly understood so far, along with historically high (like humongous) government spending (fiscal injection) in relation to taxation (fiscal withdrawal). So the stock of deposits is increasing over the stock of loans.

Zero Hedge
The One-Chart Summary Of All That Is Wrong With The US Financial System: Deposits Over Loans
Tyler Durden

The four failure modes of Enlightenment values — Jason Smith


Something to think from a physicist about on applying a scientific approach in philosophy, ethics and qualitative values being "philosophy."

Be forewarned that MMT comes in for some criticism. I will leave to the reader to judge how valid it is.

Information Transfer Economics
The four failure modes of Enlightenment values
Jason Smith

See also

The Vineyard of the Saker (quite a bit about the paradoxes of liberalism)
Allen Yu

Dr Joe Campbell is - Covid-19 and Zinc

Extra zinc may only be necessary if you are deficient in it, just the same, studies show it can reduce inflammation, so doctors are giving it to Trump to treat his coronavirus infection. 




Saturday, October 17, 2020

Central Banks Are Always Involved With Government Finance — Brian Romanchuk

I have been seeing quite a few comments to the effect that central banks are propping up government bond markets now, and what happens if that stops? This is akin to saying the Bears 46 defence was not that good if they did not have all those players who were tackling their unlucky opponents. That is, that is how the system works, and it is a basic misunderstanding to expect things to be different....
Bond Economics
Central Banks Are Always Involved With Government Finance
Brian Romanchuk

Nika Dubrovsky - My opinion on David's cause of death

 Many people asked me what the reason for David's death was. The Venetian hospital stated in autopsy results that the cause of death is massive internal bleeding caused by pancreatitis necrosis. Many people asked me what the reason for David's death was. The Venetian hospital stated in autopsy results that the cause of death is massive internal bleeding caused by pancreatitis necrosis. 


My conspiracy theory, which has no medical justification, is that it is associated with Covid.

Nika Dubrovsky - My opinion on David's cause of death


The Reality of Modern India: Recurrence of Corporate-State — Straight-Bat

 Backgrounder.

I want to establish the following hypothesis:
a) English East India Company (EIC) created world’s first ‘corporate-state’ in Indian Subcontinent – that fete is being repeated now by Indian oligarchy

b) Behaviour of wealthy elites didn’t change over time – EIC’s primary objective of exploitation and extortion now taken up by Indian oligarchy

The journey will begin with review of Indian society as well as economy during Maratha domination and British era, then discuss the post-independence Social Democracy, and Neoliberal Oligarchy era. I will end with current semi-fascist corporatocracy, but won’t discuss future possibilities. 

The Vineyard of the Saker
The Reality of Modern India: Recurrence of Corporate-State
Straight-Bat for the Saker Blog

See also

Peoples Dispatch
One hundred years of Indian communism
Prabhat Patnaik

Also of interest

SouthFront
The Stormtroops Of Regime Change And Counter-Revolution

See also

Backgrounder on Central Asia.

India Punchline
Arc of instability on Russia’s periphery
M. K. Bhadrakumar | retired diplomat with the Indian Foreign Service

Hyperinflation is here — Alasdair Macleod

Not much to report so I am digging deep.
Meanwhile, the Fed announced unlimited monetary inflation on 23 March. Shortly after, China began to accelerate sales of dollars in favour of stockpiling commodities, exhibiting the change in behaviour we can expect from the wider American public when it collectively realises it is money going down and not the prices of everything rising. Did 23 March, following which China is reported to have started dumping dollars at an increased pace for commodities, mark the beginning of the final flight into goods?

It is certainly possible, in which case hyperinflation of the dollar and of most other paper currencies will likely end in a final, unexpected collapse in purchasing power in a matter of only a few months.

Let's see how that works out. 

Gold Money
Hyperinflation is here
Alasdair Macleod

Friday, October 16, 2020

Strategic Culture Foundation — Why You Won’t Find Us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube

 In September 2020, the Strategic Culture Foundation was banned from Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube following unsubstantiated claims that it was connected with Russian intelligence services and interfered in the US presidential elections on their orders. It means that you can’t find us on these platforms and, moreover, if you try to post any links leading to SCF on your personal page, you will most likely not be allowed to do that. This case provides a glimpse into the dystopian future of suppressing dissident voices by governments previously known as democratic. The overall picture is not that dire, though. You can follow us on Telegram and VK and sign up for our newsletter. Please spread the message if you value the freedom of information as we do.

Public service post. Who cares if they are associated with Russian intelligence, or Chinese intelligence for that matter. A whole lot of news organization and other news information sources in the West are associated with Western intelligence services. Don't believe anything you read with out verifying it, when it is all about controlling the narrative and disinformation is a tool.

Strategic Culture Foundation
Why You Won’t Find Us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube

Truth and science — Lars P. Syll


This is still a controversial area in philosophy of science. There are two major categories of approach, the instrumental or pragmatic and the realist or causal. Each has pros and cons, advantages and disadvantages.

This debate has a long history. Mary B. Hesse explores it in Forces and Fields (Dover, 1961), for those interested.

Lars P. Syll’s Blog
Truth and science
Lars P. Syll | Professor, Malmo University

Thursday, October 15, 2020

JV Charmary - Religion Makes Children More Selfish, Say Scientists

Morality is often associated with religion, but new research reveals that children from religious households are actually less generous than kids from a secular background.

Why are religious people less moral? One factor is a psychological phenomenon known as ‘moral licensing’: a person will justify doing something bad or immoral – like being racist – because they’ve already done something ‘good’, such as praying. “It’s an unconscious bias,” Decety explains. “They don’t even see that’s not compatible with what they’ve been learning in church.”




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"... and if granted absolute power, I promise I won't abuse it, ever.." 





Milton Friedman and labor-managed enterprises — Branko Milanovic

Problems in Yugoslavia that indicate a need to thinking worker-managed firms through carefully. The solution is workers that are not only managers but also shareholders.

Global Inequality
Milton Friedman and labor-managed enterprises
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

Zero Hedge — Airline Crew Spots 'Guy In Jetpack' Flying 6,000 Feet Over LAX In 2nd 'Dangerous' Incident


For your enjoyment on a slow news day (other than political stuff).

The Lancet - China's successful control of COVID-19

 “The speed of China's response was the crucial factor”, explains Gregory Poland, director of the Vaccine Research Group at the Mayo Clinic (Rochester, Minnesota, USA). “They moved very quickly to stop transmission. Other countries, even though they had much longer to prepare for the arrival of the virus, delayed their response and that meant they lost control”. The first reported cases of the disease that came to be known as COVID-19 occurred in Wuhan, Hubei province, in late December 2019. China released the genomic sequence of the virus on Jan 10, 2020, and began enacting a raft of rigorous countermeasures later in the same month.


The Lancet - China's successful control of COVID-19

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

My new podcast episode is out.

France reinstates digital tax, courting trade war — Bjarke Smith-Meyer, Elisa Braun

Washington is pushing to make the tax regime voluntary — a position Le Maire strongly opposes, as most of the biggest tech firms hail from the U.S.

A voluntary "tax" is not a tax. Simple as that. If it's voluntary, it's charity (philanthropy).

POLITICO
France reinstates digital tax, courting trade war
Bjarke Smith-Meyer, Elisa Braun

Moon of Alabama — U.S. Fails To Find Allies For Waging War On China

What the U.S. still could do is to honestly compete with China. But that would require humility, a strong industrial policy and a well paid and competitive work force.

Neither of that is in sight.…

Easier said than done. Owing to national security issues. as well as cultural and institutional differences, neither country is interested in a level playing field, and both are preparing for a lose-lose scenario to unfold for the foreseeable future. This will, of course, impact the rest of the world, and different countries are considering their options.

Moon of Alabama
U.S. Fails To Find Allies For Waging War On China

Frei Betto: “It is Totally Naive to Want to Humanize Capitalism — Bárbara Schijman

Carlos Alberto Libanio Christo, better known as Frei Betto, is a recognized Latin American progressive reference and one of the main figures of the Theology of Liberation.
Catholic socialism. Liberation theology tends to be to the left of Catholic social teaching, which steers a middle course between capitalism and socialism. Brazilian Frei Betto views neoliberalism as leaning toward neo-fascism, in particular in Brazil.

Robert Lighthizer Blew Up 60 Years of Trade Policy. Nobody Knows What Happens Next. — Lydia DePillis

Robert Lighthizer and the Trump administration (for whom Steve Bannon was the initial spokesman before he was forced out) pitted themselves against neoliberal globalization on one hand, and the capitalist establishment on the other. Big chunk to bite off, to be sure. 

They made some inroads, but none that are permanent, lasting beyond a change of administrations. If DJT wins the election, they might have more success. If not, it's likely back to business as usual.

ProPublica
Robert Lighthizer Blew Up 60 Years of Trade Policy. Nobody Knows What Happens Next.

Mainstream economics then: classical political economy — David F. Ruccio

In this post, I continue the draft of sections of my forthcoming book, “Marxian Economics: An Introduction.” The first five posts (here, here, here, here, and here) will serve as the basis for chapter 1, Marxian Economics Today. The text of this post is for Chapter 2, Marxian Economics Versus Mainstream Economics (following on from the previous posts, here, here, here, here, and here).
Occasional Links & Commentary
Mainstream economics then: classical political economy
David F. Ruccio | Professor Emeritus of Economics, University of Notre Dame

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Zero Hedge — Which Came First: Loans Or Deposits? An Unexpected Answer From JPMorgan's Balance Sheet

We will update this analysis tomorrow once we have the full bank data, however the take home message for now is that the next time someone says that under fractional reserve banking deposits are always a consequence of loan creation - one of the core pillar of such idiotic theories as MMT - just show them the chart above.

"Loans create deposits," doesn't specify a quantifier. ZH assumes this says that all loans create all deposits, whereas it is plain that the MMT assertion is that all bank loans create some bank deposits." For example, MMT asserts that government spending creates bank deposits independently of bank lending. So the total of bank loans will not necessarily be the total of bank deposits in a period.

ZH has the MMT position wrong.

Zero Hedge
Which Came First: Loans Or Deposits? An Unexpected Answer From JPMorgan's Balance SheetTyler Durden

China Inexplicably Cancels iPhone Launch Livestream — Tyler Durden


Shot across the bow.

Zero Hedge
China Inexplicably Cancels iPhone Launch Livestream
Tyler Durden

The Real Reason China Is Betting Big On Renewables — Haley Zaremba

Energy security. It's more about alternatives to imported energy supplies than renewables. China is going nuclear.

Oilprice
The Real Reason China Is Betting Big On Renewables
Haley Zaremba

Sputnik International
Trade War Heats Up as China Threatens to Cut Off Coal Imports From Australia

Primer: Teaching Models Versus Empirical Models — Brian Romanchuk

I divide macroeconomic models into two classes: teaching models, and empirical models. Teaching models are far more common, and most economic arguing about these models. An alternative name for them is "toy models," which points to the weakness of this class. They are not fit to real-world data, and so there is no reason to expect them to offer useful predictions. More dangerously, the class of teaching models is so wide that almost all scenarios can be seen as the result of such a model (barring things like violating accounting identities). This explains why we can find neoclassical economists arguing the opposite sides of political issues, despite being in the same theoretical school of thought. Empirical models offer predictive content, and to what extent they are accurate, can possibly offer concrete measures of trade-offs between policy choices. The problem is that fitting these models to data is difficult. Certain teaching models can be fit to data -- and thus fall into this class -- but one needs to be very careful about what model we are talking about.

(Note: this article is a digression explaining my distinction between empirical and teaching models. This matters a lot for the discussion of DSGE macro models.. With this topic out of the way, I will then take up with some deeper analysis.)
Bond Economics
Primer: Teaching Models Versus Empirical Models
Brian Romanchuk

Jerry Goode - Minor OUTBREAK Sparks MASS TESTING in Qingdao

Nine people have developed asymptomatic Coronavirus in Qingdao, China, so the city is going to test all of its 10 million inhabitants within the next five days. It's amazing, but also look at the quality of the city's beautiful infrastructure. The whole place is like it.



Dining out in Xinjiang 

Anne Gurley takes us on a guided tour of the restaurants in Xinjiang, and shows us some delicious Uyghur specialities. 








https://t.co/zkfZG9Dobi

Five Eyes group demands ‘backdoor’ access to WhatsApp and other encrypted apps - AFP

Justice officials in Australia, Britain, Canada, New Zealand and the US say they need access to encrypted apps to police online criminality.

India and Japan, which cooperate in intelligence with the Five Eyes group, added their names to the statement.

Geopolitics of American Elections — Alexander Dugan


A view from abroad. How some others see us.

Not as much about the election as the state of the union.

Katehon
Geopolitics of American Elections
Alexander Dugan

Sputnik— US Moves to ‘Secure the Oil’ in Syria by Building New Base in Crude-Rich Deir ez-Zor

Well, at least now we know unambiguously why we are there.

Sputnik International
US Moves to ‘Secure the Oil’ in Syria by Building New Base in Crude-Rich Deir ez-Zor

Quad won’t fly. This is why. — M.K. Bhadrakumar

Why there will be no Asian alliance with the US (and Australia) against China. The game is already over. The dragon has flown.

India Punchline
Quad won’t fly. This is why.
M.K. Bhadrakumar | retired diplomat with the Indian Foreign Service

See also

RT
Beijing urges Asian nations to unite against Washington’s ‘old-fashioned cold war mentality’

Coronavirus outbreaks reported at 70 Michigan K-12 schools and 29 colleges in Oct. 12 report

 More than 5,000 Michigan residents have been infected by coronavirus in new and ongoing school-related outbreaks, according to data released Monday, Oct. 12, by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

That includes 346 students and staff at outbreaks in 46 schools serving preschoolers through high school. The K-12 clusters include outbreaks involving before- and after-school programs.

The bulk of the cases -- 4,862 -- involve outbreaks on or around 29 college campuses.

Coronavirus outbreaks reported at 70 Michigan K-12 schools and 29 colleges in Oct. 12 reportct-12-report.html


Coronavirus - Red States vs Blue States 



Monday, October 12, 2020

Bill Mitchell — When disaster strikes the poorest nations, the IMF guarantees to make it worse

When a nation or region is experiencing the worst crisis the IMF always comes to the party and makes it worse. The latest evidence from those who study the detail of IMF interventions across the globe have found that the IMF has imposed harsh conditionalities (healthcare spending cuts, cuts to jobless assistance, cuts to public service wages and employment) in 76 out of the 91 loans it has extended to nations in peril as a result of the pandemic. On the other hand, data show that the wealth of billionaires has scaled new heights between April 2020 to July 2020 – a 42.4 per cent increase in their total wealth. If all that doesn’t tell us that the neoliberal system has overextended it indecency and rebellion is required then what else would? The point is that when disaster strikes the poorest nations, the IMF guarantees to make it worse. It should be dissolved immediately through defunding from national states and a new progressive, multilateral institution created that helps people not punishes them....
Bill Mitchell – billy blog
When disaster strikes the poorest nations, the IMF guarantees to make it worse
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

The rise and rise of creativity — Steven Shapin

 Creativity is a relatively new concept. It is largely a psychological one and denotes an ability whose application leads to innovation, either discovery or invention. Creativity doesn't exist in a vacuum, but it is part of a system that falls under the category of human potential.

Creativity thrives on curiosity, and in this regard, every child is a creative genius. Unfortunately, this is an ability that doesn't necessary grow and stick as one matures. The challenge of education is how to let that happen by not getting in the way of its natural progression. Once the ability is diminished or lost, it is difficult to recover.

Steven Shapin tours the history of the concept.

Aeon
The rise and rise of creativity
Steven Shapin | Franklin L. Ford Research Professor of the History of Science at Harvard University.
 

DSGE Models As Arbitrage-Free Pricing Models — Brian Romanchuk

From the perspective of a fixed income practitioner, the easiest way to interpret dynamic stochastic general equilibrium (DSGE) models is that they are a form of arbitrage-free pricing models, albeit with a novel definition of arbitrage. This is not too controversial, as DSGE models are an extremely wide classification of models, and pricing models are one recognised sub-category. The issue is that if we look at DSGE macro models -- models which have some resemblance to a core real business cycle (RBC) model -- they inherit some of the limitations of such models. Furthermore, since there is no way to engage in such arbitrage trades in the real world, one is faced with the question why one would insist upon the required mathematical complexity needed to support them.

(Note: this article follows up one that discusses arbitrage-free pricing for fixed income instruments without optionality. It is a digression within a cycle of articles about DSGE macro models that I outlined in this piece. The arguments here are somewhat orthogonal to the discussion that will appear in other articles, but they do explain how I visualise these models. My feeling is that there is too much mysticism attached to these models, and so one needs to understand the big picture before going after more technical arguments.)
Bond Economics
DSGE Models As Arbitrage-Free Pricing Models
Brian Romanchuk

Mainland Chinese bankers are taking over Hong Kong’s financial sector, displacing their local peers in top roles — Bloomberg

And that is a good thing. 

Were you ever in HK under the UK colonial governor? I was–several times. Great for the established, awful for most of the population considering HK wealth disparity. And no, HK was not democratic then. It was governed by a British-run colonial administration. 

The quicker HK becomes Chinese, the better off the people will be, and this will involve those now benefitting from the remnant of the British raj either changing or leaving. Most will likely leave as the gravy train ends and HK as a tax haven and money laundering center winds down.

Bloomberg

Trump Promised A Break With GOP Trickle-Down Economics. He Delivered More Of The Same. The president is paying a political price for pursuing conventional Republican economic policies. — Daniel Marans

Trump can thank his inability or unwillingness to challenge traditional Republican ideology for his consistent polling deficit against Democratic nominee Joe Biden during this year’s election cycle, according to Saagar Enjeti, co-author of “The Populist’s Guide to 2020: A New Right and New Left Are Rising.”


Enjeti ― who, like Krein, identifies as a right-wing populist ― believes that pro-corporate, trickle-down economics has been an especially tough sell amid the destruction caused by the coronavirus pandemic and the economic recession that has come with it.


“Trump became a real Republican at the very worst time ― a time when Republican orthodoxy could not be less wanted by the American people,” Enjeti said. “That is why you see such devastation in terms of his public support ― even among people who supported him last time.”...
"Are you better off than four years ago," is the relevant question politically, and if not, who gets the blame? 

IMF Seizes on Pandemic to Pave Way for Privatization in 81 Countries — Alan Macleod

Imposing the market state (neoliberalism).

Mint Press
IMF Seizes on Pandemic to Pave Way for Privatization in 81 Countries
Alan Macleod

New Clues to Chemical Origins of Metabolism at Dawn of Life — John Rennie

Interesting for two reasons. First, it takes us a step further in discovering the how of the origin of life on Earth. Secondly, it shows how science discovery works inductively by starting with observation to arrive at new hypotheses, rather than deductively by proceeding from existing theory.

Quanta Magazine
New Clues to Chemical Origins of Metabolism at Dawn of Life
John Rennie

MMT and Tax : a new narrative – Jim Osborne

I have been arguing within the Scottish Currency Group recently, through a number of OPs and comments, that the MMT narrative about taxation is incomplete and presents a serious weakness in the MMT proposition. I want to explain why this weakness needs to be addressed….

 Back to the Noble Lie. 

Progressive Pulse
MMT and Tax : a new narrative – A guest post by Jim Osborne

The Logic of Sino-Western Détente — Jim O'Neill

A contrarian view of China.
It might be cathartic to opine noisily about another country’s standards and practices, but there is substantial historical evidence to suggest that a country’s citizens will tend to value economic opportunity over most other issues. That axiom applies as much to the US, the UK, and Europe as it does to China....
China is kicking ass economically. Might it be foolish to keep poking a dragon (along with a bear and griffin (huma in Persian)?

Project Syndicate
The Logic of Sino-Western Détente
Jim O'Neill

China is a huge country and it has learned to deal with both opportunities and challenges of scale by using a systems approach.

RT
9 million in 5 days: China's Qingdao launches citywide Covid-19 testing campaign after new cases arrive from abroad

Richard Murphy — Corruption

Corruption is just another form of economic rent extraction.

Tax Research UK
Lawyers understand that this country is corrupt. So do medics. It’s time other professions did as well.

I can accuse the government of being corrupt without fear now, because the evidence supports my case. And that’s profoundly worrying.
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

See also

Renegade, Inc.
Corruption at the Heart of the Prison System
Lubnaa Joomun

The Daily Poster (as much about the Roberts Court as DJT, who seized the opportunity created by the court. Barrett will likely add to the problem based on her record)
Trump Built His Swamp In A Marsh Of Legalized Corruption
David Sirota

Limits of mainstream economics today — David F. Ruccio

In this post, I continue the draft of sections of my forthcoming book, “Marxian Economics: An Introduction.” The first five posts (here, here, here, here, and here) will serve as the basis for chapter 1, Marxian Economics Today. The text of this post is for Chapter 2, Marxian Economics Versus Mainstream Economics (following on from the previous posts, here, here, here, and here).
Occasional Links & Commentary
Limits of mainstream economics today
David F. Ruccio | Professor Emeritus of Economics, University of Notre Dame

My comment over there.

A major distinction between mainstream "orthodox" economics from "fringe" heterodox economics lies in the way that treat economic rents and rent-seeking behavior. Classical economics was concerned with economic rent, and this analysis culminated in Marx. 

I would feature economic rent and rent extraction, e.g., as surplus value in a "monetary production economy" (Keynes), that is similar to rent extraction by landlords in a feudal economy. Rent extraction explains worker (producer) exploitation. For example, Robert Paul Wolff uses the term "expropriation" rather than "exploitation" in his quantitative analysis showing how this works.

Neoclassical economics can be viewed a reaction to this earlier focus on rents, e.g., Marx and George. This is important since the neoclassical argument is based on Pareto equilibrium, with all factors receiving their "just deserts" based on productive contribution, which is then illogically imputed to individual firms and workers.

Heterodox economics–Marxism and Marxianism, institutionalism (Veblen), Keynes and Post Keynesianism all take up the earlier classical consideration of rent extraction, buttressed by economic sociology, economic anthropology, and economic history.

For example, sociologist C. Wright Mills showed how economic rent extraction led to class structure socially, asymmetry politically, and vastly unequal distribution economically.  From the economic POV, this is founded on rent extraction of one form or another, with capitalism having its own unique characteristics.

I would also not characterize Krugman et all as "Keynesian." Their school is called New Keynesianism but such a bastardization of Keynes that it is misleading to feature the association. Rather, it is based on Samuelson's  new synthesis of Keynes and neoclassical economics, with emphasis on formal modeling, which Keynes eschewed in his criticism of Tinbergen, owing to economics being a "moral science" (social science) rather than akin to natural science. Radical uncertainty and all that. So it seems to me that the association of this school with Keynes is superficial. Especially, since Samuelson's approach was an acceptable replacement of Tarkis, after he was attacked by McCarthyites for presenting a genuine view of Keynes in his textbook, Elements of Economics.

I realize that this is difficult to do in a primer like this, but as Aquinas said in De ente et essentia,  paraphrasing Aristotle, "A small mistake in the beginning becomes a big one by the end." So why not start on a stronger footing?

Also, I think that using economic rent and its expropriation instead of exploitation may be better suited to distinguishing Marxian economics from Marxist economics. Some Marxians at any rate don't consider themselves "Marxists," that is, like people they view as overly dogmatic, whereas Marx himself emphasized the historicity and dynamism of economics as socially embedded in societies that change over time.

Anne Gurley - More Happy Uyghurs in Xinjiang

 These could be propaganda videos but somehow I don't think they are because they are far too casual. I'm not sure who Anne Gurley is, but I think she might be a Uyghur model who makes lots of videos of herself, her family, and her community for her fans. 


Pompeo and CJ Werlerman say 8 million Uyghurs are in concentration camps or have gone missing, but there are only 12.3 million Uyghurs in Xinjiang, so all their communities would be stressed if that were true. There is no distress being shown in these videos. 




Out and about in the Uyghur community. 




A fun day out shopping in Xinjiang. 




Barratt - Chinese Automated Car Factory of the FUTURE!

Someone I follow put a tweet out under a Republican thread. The thread was very disturbing and was full of conservatives foaming at the mouth baying for China’s blood. They were saying that the CPC had taken over many Americans institutions, including the Democrats, the media, ect, and was underming American democracy. How can they believe this when nothing could be further from the truth. The media hammers China daily. It's like a replay of the Democrat Russiagate conspiracy theory. I lost many Democrats followers on Twitter who liked the way I had debated with climate change deniers, but they soon unfollowed me when I said Russiagate was a hoax, and put out articles proving it. Two got very angry with me. 


The Dems have been almost at the point of wanting war with Russia, and many Republicans want the same with China, at least in the threads I've seen.  


Chinese Automated Car Factory of the FUTURE!


China plans twenty-five, fifty, one-hundred years in advance. The Chinese system of a mixed economy can not be beaten. Massive long-term investment must have gone into this plant. China is simply modern. 






A Chinese sorting office. 









James Murdoch says he quit father’s news empire because it legitimises ‘disinformation’

 ‘Great news organisations … should introduce fact to disperse doubt’


In an interview with the New York Times, Mr Murdoch expanded on the statement he gave when he left his father Rupert Murdoch’s company earlier this year, expressing his discomfort with the toxicity of Fox News and other media outlets owned by the company.

The Independent 

Sunday, October 11, 2020

The next big shift in economics takes shape under coronavirus shadow — Alaa Shahine

And in the world of economics, the new school of Modern Monetary Theory -- which says governments usually have more room to spend in times of low inflation -- has gained traction by advocating bold fiscally-financed programs like a Green New Deal.It all points toward the revamp of economic management that should have happened after the financial crisis a decade ago, according to Paul McCulley, former chief economist at bond giant Pacific Investment Management Co. Back then, politicians balked at the size of deficits and debt, he told Bloomberg’s Odd Lots podcast. Now he thinks the coronavirus has completed the regime-change.“Any pretense is over," he said. “We’re clearly living in a fiscal-policy dominated world."...
For the record. Appears at the end of the article.

LiveMint
The next big shift in economics takes shape under coronavirus shadow
Alaa Shahine , Bloomberg

Bill Mitchell — Governments should use their fiscal capacity to ensure our youth always can find a job

In my monthly labour market updates for Australia, I always examine the teenage labour market. Not much media coverage is given to that cohort in this context. But as our societies age and require our younger workers to be more productive than their parents to maintain material living standards (even though we should be reappraising what is an environmentally feasible benchmark to maintain), how we deal with school-to-work transitions, vocational training, university education is a major issue. The fact that governments all around the world have been prepared to impose massive costs on the younger generation as they obsessively pursue fiscal surpluses is one of the scandals of the period and will have long-term consequences for society. Recent Australian research evidence, which is consistent with outcomes from similar international studies, provides strong evidence to support the case that governments should always ensure there are enough jobs for our young population and that fiscal austerity undermines that requirement. Running fiscal deficits doesn’t undermine our children’s futures. Starving them of job opportunities at crucial transition points in their lives definitely undermines their future. We should understand that and stop listening to economists who say otherwise....
Bill Mitchell – billy blog
Governments should use their fiscal capacity to ensure our youth always can find a job
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

White House Blocked C.D.C. From Requiring Masks on Public Transportation

 The order would have mandated that both passengers and employees wear face coverings on planes, trains, buses and subways and in airports, stations and depots.








The order would have been the toughest federal mandate to date aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus, which continues to infect more than 40,000 Americans a day. The officials said that it was drafted under the agency’s “quarantine powers” and that it had the support of the secretary of health and human services, Alex M. Azar II, but the White House Coronavirus Task Force, led by Vice President Mike Pence, declined to even discuss it.

The New Yorker



Chinese React To Viral Wuhan Pool Party Video And China's Handling Of COVID-19 | STREET INTERVIEW

Steve Keen tweeted at the beginning of the pandemic saying that a strict lockdown, with food being delivered, with only one person being allowed out the house once a day, would cause Covid to die out within weeks. He said that Amazon drivers could be used to deliver food. China did not go that far, but it was pretty close. Now Covid is virtually eliminated in China. It was tough going, but worth it, say the Chinese interviewed in this video. 


The Chinese here are very thoughtful, relaxed, and trusting of their government. They found it easy to cooperate with the government's instructions for the benefit of their society and themselves. 




The World NEEDS to LEARN from China! 🇨🇳 谢谢你中国赞一个

A young Englishman who lives in China loves the country. In this video, he visits one of China's poorest regions. The infrastructure is excellent, the crime is low, the people are civil, and the atmosphere is very relaxed. Plus, Covid is over and done with in China.




Saturday, October 10, 2020

We’ve Completely Misunderstood ‘Survival of the Fittest,’ Evolutionary Biologists Say

We have evolved to have soft, friendly looking faces because we are very cooperative and gregarious creatures, say researchers. Our ability to cooperate is probably more important than our intelligence for the survival of our species. 

British naturalist Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution and natural selection often gets broken down into one simple phrase: ‘Survival of the fittest,’ which we’ve come to understand as the survival of the strongest, meanest, most aggressive, and selfish. It’s a concept that thrives even today, as invoked in the Covid19 pandemic to shrug our shoulders at the plight of the elderly or to bolster anti-science politicians talking about their strength as a tool to fight off the virus. But evolutionary biologists say we’ve grossly misunderstood the concept of ‘fittest,’ and it’s hurting our lives and livelihoods.

We’ve Completely Misunderstood ‘Survival of the Fittest,’ Evolutionary Biologists Say


Wisdom teeth disappear and arteries are added as human beings enter next stage of evolution

Study finds our anatomy has evolved faster than any time in the past 250 years. 

When I was a boy it was genuinely believed that the human race was not evolving anymore because of medicines and vaccines stopping the vulnerable from dying, but it seems we are still evolving.

I hope we are evolving into kinder creatures too. 

Babies are no longer being born with wisdom teeth as the human race continues to evolve faster than at any time in the past 250 years, according to a study. 


The Telegraph 


Wisdom teeth disappear and arteries are added as human beings enter next stage of evolution


Cyrus Janssen: The Real Reason Western Media Lies about China

 There are many lies that are told about China, but why is it so hard for Western Media to tell the truth? I first went to China in January 2007, from that moment until now, I've never read or heard a single piece of positive content about China from Western media. Can China really be as bad as Western media wants us to believe?





David Kyle Johnson Ph.D:Yes, Masks Work: Debunking the Pseudoscience

Professor Tim Anderson is debating Professor Dennis Rancourt tonight in an event staged by the Off-Guardian. I hope Tim got my tweet in time, where I sent him the article below, but he's probably fully clued up on it all anyway.


Dennis Rancourt, a physics professor, wrote an article saying that masks did not work, but when you clicked on the science articles he referred to, they said the opposite. How did he make such a crazy mistake, David Kyle Johnson has a few theories?


When my colleague asked for scientific evidence to back this denial, the poster directed her to an article by Denis Rancourt, entitled “Masks Don’t Work.” And, indeed, Rancourt’s paper cited eight peer-reviewed essays, all from reputable journals.  But when she actually clicked on the links provided, she found something very curious.  None of the studies cited concluded what Rancourt says they did.  For example, six of the eight studies measured the effectiveness of N95 respirators compared to surgical masks—not, as Rancourt implied, the effectiveness of wearing a mask vs. not wearing a mask.


A full debunking of Rancourt’s entire article would take more space and time than I have here (I have published one here), but at this point one would be justified in concluding that his entire argument is bunk.

Psychology Today 

David Kyle Johnson Ph.D:Yes, Masks Work: Debunking the Pseudoscience

Climate Science Denial Network Behind Great Barrington Declaration, Nafeez Ahmed

 The ‘think-tank’ behind the Great Barrington Declaration is part-funded by right-wing American billionaire Charles Koch


'Herd immunity' is under question too. 


The claim that “thousands of scientists” are supporting the Barrington Declaration was reported far and wide by major media outlets from the BBC to the Daily Mail. But when I attempted to check how the signatory process works, I discovered that there was no vetting procedure in place for signatories – anybody could become a confirmed signatory of the Declaration and be categorised as a scientist or medic by falsifying entry information and ticking a box. By experimenting with the process myself, I was able to add myself as a signatory under the ‘Medical & Public Health Scientists’ category and received an automated email confirming this.


It is unsurprising in this context to find that the scientific quality and integrity of the Declaration has been harshly criticised by many other public health experts. For instance, Dr Rupert Beale – Group Leader of Cell Biology at the Francis Crick Institute’s Infection Laboratory – described the Declaration’s idea that “we can safely build up ‘herd immunity’ in the rest of the population” as “wishful thinking”.

Byline Times 

Climate Science Denial Network Behind Great Barrington Declaration, Nafeez Ahmed


Is a Cure for COVID-19 Already Sold at a Pharmacy Near You? Some Experts Believe So

Around the world, evidence mounts that vitamin D can protect against infection by COVID-19 and ease the virus' symptoms, but the medical establishment isn't convinced. Is it time to think outside the box?


It's behind a paywall, but the heading is good enough. 

You should publish the article as quickly as possible,” I was advised by Dr. Shaul Lev, who heads the general intensive care unit at Hasharon Hospital in Petah Tikva, and chairman of the Israel Society for Clinical Nutrition, at the conclusion of our interview. “Every week of delay in publishing this information can result in thousands of unnecessary infections, some of them serious and even fatal. It can save lives.”


Haaretz


Friday, October 9, 2020

Alan Macleod - Critics Say New Iran Sanctions Designed To “Choke off Humanitarian Exports” Amid Pandemic

 The Trump administration’s new sanctions on Iran are so wide-reaching that many fear they are meant to directly harm the Iranian people as they struggle to cope with the coronavirus pandemic.


Heartless and Sadistic 



Iran was one of the first countries to be hit badly by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the U.S. used the opportunity to cause maximum devastation by intimidating other nations into refusing to sell or donate them medical supplies, lest they be hit with secondary sanctions. As a result, Iran was woefully under equipped to deal with the problem. In the end, the World Health Organization stepped in, sending supplies themselves — part of the reason the Trump administration was so keen to leave the organization. Washington insiders openly discussed using the pandemic to force the Iranian government out of office and implement a regime more suited to their needs.

Mintpress 

Alan Macleod - Critics Say New Iran Sanctions Designed To “Choke off Humanitarian Exports” Amid Pandemic


Bill Mitchell: job guarantee will suppress working class power — David Sligar


A critique of the MMT JG from the left.

This is interesting in that the author seems to be arguing with leaving the system in place because doing so is more favorable for labor market power. It is interesting because his real desire is to transform the existing system away from "capitalism," at least the neoliberal variety that is presently in place. I am left assuming that he thinks either that workers are better able to transform "capitalism" from within without a JG, or something else that he doesn't reveal in this post. Anyway, it's an argument that we are likely to see more of as MMT takes hold.

Western Sydney Wonk—Social policy, economics and politics from a social democratic perspective
Bill Mitchell: job guarantee will suppress working class power
David Sligar, social democrat, influenced by market socialism, with hope to promote a strong and protective welfare state.
h/t Naked Capitalism

FT - ICO’s final report into Cambridge Analytica invites regulatory questions

ICO report into Cambridge Analytica finds no Russian connections, no Brexit link, and largely ineffective predictive analytics that were wildly overhyped.


FT - ICO’s final report into Cambridge Analytica invites regulatory questions/

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Mainstreaming MMT — Aaron Wistar

THE PAST FEW YEARS have been good ones for Modern Monetary Theory (MMT). A decade ago, you would have been hard-pressed to find a mainstream economist who had even heard of this fringe school of left-Keynesian economics. But ever since Bernie Sanders made MMT proponent Stephanie Kelton a senior economic advisor for his 2016 presidential campaign, it has gradually trickled into the mainstream. In June, Kelton’s new book, The Deficit Myth: Modern Monetary Theory and the Birth of the People’s Economy, landed on the New York Times Best Sellers list, no small feat for a tome about monetary issues.

The meteoric rise of MMT may be surprising to its many detractors (Clintonite liberals hate MMT as much as Senate Republicans do), but it shouldn’t be. Its basic message — that the spending of currency-issuing governments is not constrained by tax income — is uniquely resonant in a moment when trillion-dollar stimulus packages and zero-percent interest rates are becoming the new normal. Most of us need money in our bank accounts right now. MMT tells us that the only thing keeping the federal government from providing the kind of fiscal support we need to weather this pandemic is that they don’t want to. There is no objective economic constraint, only a lack of political will....

Should-read. Interesting comparison and contrast of MMT with the contemporary Marxian and socialist left in the US.

Los Angeles Review of Books
Mainstreaming MMT
Aaron Wistar. PhD candidate in History of Consciousness at UC Santa Cruz, who focuses on the history of central banking

Arbitrage In Practice And Theory — Brian Romanchuk

The textbook "The Mathematics of Financial Derivatives: A Student Introduction" by Paul Wilmott, Sam Howison, and Jeff Dewynne (Amazon affiliate link) is a standard introductory text, and describes arbitrage in the following fashion.

This [arbitrage] can be loosely stated as "there is no such thing as a free lunch." More formally, in financial terms, there are never any opportunities to make an instantaneous risk-free profit. (More correctly, such opportunities cannot exist for a significant length of time before prices move to eliminate them.)...
Bond Economics
Arbitrage In Practice And Theory
Brian Romanchuk

The limits of Chinese power — Pepe Escobar

Very few Chinese analysts are better positioned to survey the geopolitical and geoeconomic chessboard than Lanxin Xiang: expert on relations between China, US and Europe, professor of History and International Relations at the IHEID in Geneva and director of the Center for One Belt, One Road Studies in Shanghai.

Xiang got his PhD at SAIS at Johns Hopkins, and is as well respected in the US as in China. During a recent webinar he laid out the lineaments of an analysis the West ignores at its own peril.
The Vineyard of the Saker
The limits of Chinese power
Pepe Escobar

Cutting-Edge COVID-19 Care For Trump, Not Available For Regular Folks


Fewer than ten people have received this intervention outside of clinical trials, Alexandra Bowie, a spokesperson for Regeneron wrote to NPR in an email. "The only way to access the drug at this point is through a Compassionate Use request or clinical trial participation," she adds, and compassionate use requests are only approved in rare and exceptional circumstances.


"And we still do not know if they are effective," notes Schaffner, as the drug is still being studied in a clinical trial. "That was kind of a chance they took."


The President and his physicians have maintained that his symptoms were mild and he was generally healthy during his hospital stay. But both remdesivir and dexamethasone are usually only given to patients who are severely ill with COVID-19 and often later in the course of their illness.


Cutting-Edge COVID-19 Care For Trump, Not Available For Regular Folksegular-folks