Sunday, January 31, 2021

China doing anal covid testing


Fact or Fiction: The Great Reset Conspiracy — Eric van de Beek

Based on my surveying the evidence, this conspiracy theory seems to be far more wide-spread and much more unhinged than the article makes out, at least at the fringes. The issue now is distinguishing the morons from the crazies.

I have not been posting on this so far, but it is getting to be pretty huge.

At the same time, as the article points out also, conspiracy theories are not necessarily totally wrong and often are based on an element of truth that exaggerated so greatly as to distort the picture.

But the world does seem to be at a turning point for several reasons, including the pandemic and the potential for more pandemics, the pace of climate change increasing, hybrid and kinetic warfare and an emerging new cold war and arms race, and a shift in the basis of the world order from unipolarism to multipolarism, along growing inequality and systemic dysfunction. 

Further complicating matters, this is all taking place at a moment in the historical dialectic when liberalism, traditionalism, authoritarianism, and socialism are butting up against neoliberalism, neo-imperialism, and neocolonialism in an age of decolonization. And, of course, as resetters point out, this is all taking place during a transition from an industrial to a post-industrial age, and from modernism to post-modernism.

The elites — chiefly Western — have deputized themselves as the ones best equipped to deal with this, , based on past performance, but one wonders whether they are up to it. After all, who got us here?

Eric van de Beek's op-ed looks like a pretty good summary of where matters stand.

I would quibble with this statement, however.
All it took was a global mass hysteria, peer pressured governments that overreacted or simply took the wrong measures, and - last but not least - fear struck, paralyzed citizens that - without offering considerable resistance - let their civil rights and liberties be taken away from them step by step, one by one.
In my view, it is more complicated than this and involves tradeoffs. It is not yet clear what choices were beneficial and what choices harmful, and what choices were meaningless in effect. All that is clear at this point is that the elites were winners and the rest were losers. Whether the facts will ever be established objectively is questionable. It is even more questionable whether blame will be assigned correctly. More uncertain is future developments.

Sputnik International — Opinion
Fact or Fiction: The Great Reset Conspiracy
Eric van de Beek, Dutch journalist

Bill Mitchell — It’s hard to conceive of anything the EU could manage properly

Since Britain left the European Union, the Remainer Woke Brigade (RWB) has associated every little bit of bad news that has been published about that nation to the decision to leave the EU. Op Ed articles, Tweets and the like. All scathing of the decision, indicating a failure to accept the democratic volition of the 2016 Referendum. They lost. They can’t get over it. But in the last few weeks there has been an extraordinary silence from this media ‘traffic’. It is of no surprise to me that this should be so. Their beloved EU has been demonstrating across multiple fronts why no sensible nation would want to be part of it bungling and dysfunctional membership. I also admit that I have been astounded how bad things have become under this European administration. Britain did the right thing in getting free of it even though its political scene is not yet capable of dealing with the new scope it now has. But the events of the last few weeks in Europe have been nothing short of breathtaking in their hypocrisy, incompetence and venality. The cosmopolitan progressive set have surely now realised that their dreams of pan-national workers paradise led by Brussels is just a figment of their own imagination....

Bill Mitchell – billy blog
It’s hard to conceive of anything the EU could manage properly
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

The Old Roots of China’s New-Look Finance — Li Dan

 Chinese tradition confirms David Graeber's anthropological hypothesis about the creditary theory of money.

Sixth Tone
The Old Roots of China’s New-Look Finance
Li Dan | Ph.D. student in anthropology at London School of Economics and Political Science

China newsbrief and sitrep — Godfree Roberts

China continues to rise.

The Vineyard of the Saker
China newsbrief and sitrep
Godfree Roberts

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Voters are starting to act like hard-core sports fans — with dangerous repercussions for democracy — Michael Devlin and Natalie Brown Devlin

Interesting take. It would tend to account for the curious lapses of rationality on both sides, even among usually highly rational people in their own fields.
How did American politics get to this point?

As sports communication researchers who have written extensively on the vast and powerful influence of identity on attitudes and behavior, we believe our work can offer some ways to understand recent events....
Administering a questionnaire that's used by sport communication researchers, we were able to show "team identification" – when applied to politics – can help explain certain beliefs and behaviors after the election.... 
Voters are starting to act like hard-core sports fans — with dangerous repercussions for democracy
Michael Devlin, Associate Professor of Communication, Texas State University, and Natalie Brown Devlin, Assistant Professor of Advertising, University of Texas at Austin

Moon of Alabama — Navalny Scam Sells Empty Concrete Shell As 'Putin's Luxurious Palace'

"Putin's Palace." 

Moon of Alabama
Navalny Scam Sells Empty Concrete Shell As 'Putin's Luxurious Palace'

See also

This was linked to previously but it is relevant here.

Dances with Bears
Alexei Navalnys telling mistake
John Helmer

From the other side. Meduza is a Russian private opposition media venue that publishes in Russian and English. (You may have to select the EN option in the nav bar.)

After the raids State investigators arrest Navalny’s associates as suspects in a criminal case

‘The power is on your side now — but this won’t last forever’ Alexey Navalny’s statement in court during the hearing challenging his detention

BBC - Russian billionaire Arkady Rotenberg says 'Putin Palace' is his

Russian oligarch Arkady Rotenberg says he is the owner of an opulent Black Sea mansion, not President Vladimir Putin, as the leaders' critics had alleged.

Mr Rotenberg said the property will be completed "in a couple of years" and is expected to become an apartment hotel.

Earlier this week, the Russian president directly denied that he or his family owned it and described the video about it as "boring".

BBC News

A Desktop Quantum Computer for Just $5,000

A cheap, portable quantum computer, aimed at schools and colleges will be launched later this year.

But is not very powerful and is mainly for universities to teach quantum computing.

A Chinese start-up has unveiled plans to sell a desktop quantum computer costing less than $5,000. The new portable device is one of a range called SpinQ, aimed at schools and colleges. It is made by the Shenzhen SpinQ Technology, based in Shenzhen, China.

Discovery Magazine 

Links — 30 Jan 2021 (Reality Check)

Bracing Views (chicken hawks)

Zero Hedge
Former Navy SEAL: The Miseducation Of Antony Blinken
Kenny MacDonald via The Libertarian Institute

The Hill
Texas state Republican seeks to rename prisons named for slave owners
Cameron Jenkins
Being willing to lose everything for what you believe, being willing to possibly die for your values and principles means you are no longer a spectator in history, but an actor that can affect the future. Anything less is not enough to win the war that is coming.
Zero Hedge 
Conservatives Must Now Draw A Line In The Sand And Stop The "Great Reset"
Tyler Durden

Zero Hedge — Mark Cuban Presents A "Little Trick" For Creating The Mother Of All Short Squeezes

 The "rabble" are learning about the power in numbers. Occupy Wall Street on steroids (munnie).

Zero Hedge
Mark Cuban Presents A "Little Trick" For Creating The Mother Of All Short Squeezes
Tyler Durden

Traitor to his class?

Wall Street On Parade
GameStop Promoter Keith Gill Was No “Amateur” Trader; He Held Sophisticated Trading Licenses and Worked in the Finance Industry
Pam Martens and Russ Martens

Negative January


January actually ended down for these indexes...

Is China Now Number One? — J. Barkley Rosser

PPP versus GDP, and other economic factors.

Barkley Rosser asserts that the US is militarily superior. That is true on paper, but there is more to war fighting than numbers on paper, especially funds spent. The US no longer has a decisive military advantage over China strategically or tactically, especially if Russia were to get involved logistically. Oh wait, Russia is already involved logistically. Getting involved in a kinetic war with China would be insane. (Game theory, which is big in military analysis, assumes rationality.)

Is China Now Number One?
J. Barkley Rosser | Professor of Economics and Business Administration James Madison University

Short covering thread


Looks like a pretty good thread on what has been going on this past week with the highly shorted stocks...

I would just add that this is happening in a current environment of banking system equity/capital (the numerator) suddenly being reduced by $100b...

And also realize that the market for US government securities operates in a similar fashion...  so if you think the Reddit people are trading directly with the Melvin people then you are as stupid as the people saying “we’re borrowing from China!”.. hate to break the news to you... it’s complicated...

Friday, January 29, 2021

UK Borrowed Foreign Currency from the IMF in 1976 — NeilW

The 1976 IMF debacle in the UK was a defining moment when the promotion of full employment ended. Fundamentally though it was a political mistake by people who didn’t understand that floating the UK pound fundamentally changed how it behaved....
New Wayland
UK Borrowed Foreign Currency from the IMF in 1976

All In One John Tasioulas

Human rights, health, the rule of law – why are these concepts inflated to the status of totalising, secular religions?
18th century liberalism raised to the status of revealed religion.

Conceptual overreach
One prominent form taken by this degradation of public reason is the phenomenon I call ‘conceptual overreach’. This occurs when a particular concept undergoes a process of expansion or inflation in which it absorbs ideas and demands that are foreign to it. In its most extreme manifestation, conceptual overreach morphs into a totalising ‘all in one’ dogma. A single concept – say, human rights or the rule of law – is taken to offer a comprehensive political ideology, as opposed to picking out one among many elements upon which our political thinking needs to draw and hold in balance when arriving at justified responses to the problems of our time. Of course, we’ll always need some very general concepts to refer to vast domains of value – the ideas of ethics, justice and morality, for example, have traditionally served this function. The problem is when there is a systematic trend for more specific concepts of value to aspire to the same level of generality....

This kind of thinking leads to the many paradoxes of liberalism that often make "liberalism" illiberal. The fundamental notion of liberalism is toleration and not imposition.

All In One
John Tasioulas | professor of ethics and legal philosophy and director of the Institute for Ethics in AI at the University of Oxford

Happy 25th birthday, Modern Money Theory! — Dirk Ehnts

On Monday, January 29, 1996, Warren B. Mosler, Director of Economic Analysis at III Finance, wrote a message on a message board in which he asks academics for references and help regarding his model. The model was spelled out in his text “Soft Currency Economics” (SCE), which Warren Mosler worked on in the early 1990s. The following collaboration of Warren Mosler with academics like Randall Wray, Bill Mitchell and many others led to the (further) development of an empirical theory of money now know as Modern Money Theory. In this article, I quote some juicy passages from SCE to highlight the early foundations of MMT....
You've come a long way, baby! 

The Gower Initiative for Modern Money Studies
Happy 25th birthday, Modern Money Theory!
Dirk Ehnts

War Clouds (Updated)

Hotting up. Where might all this be leading from the perspective of history?
The Biden administration has reoriented its foreign policy priorities with a new focus on China and Asia, and reduced the number of staff devoted to the Middle East, Politico reported.

The US-based website reported on Friday that National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan downsized the team working on the Middle East and expanded a unit that focuses on policy towards the region that stretches from the Indian to Pacific Ocean.

Politico reported that Indo-Pacific coordinator Kurt Campbell will now have three senior directors, while Middle East coordinator Brett McGurk will just have one....
Middle East Eye
Biden administration shifts focus from Middle East to confronting China: Report

Sputnik International
Chinese Bombers Staged Simulated Attacks on US Aircraft Carrier Near Taiwan, Report Says

China Tells Taiwan “Independence Means War” As Rival Wargames Ongoing



Blinken Says Iran Must Comply With Nuclear Deal Before the US Does
Dave DeCamp

Sputnik International
Israel to Send Investigators After New Delhi Embassy Bombing, Suspects Iran's IRGC Responsible



Ray McGovern
Time to Take China Seriously

Sputnik — Huawei, SMIC to Join Chipmaking Standards Group as China Pushes Foreign Tech Decoupling in Trade War

National self-sufficiency.

Sputnik International
Huawei, SMIC to Join Chipmaking Standards Group as China Pushes Foreign Tech Decoupling in Trade War

How to Do “Regime Change” Correctly: a Blueprint for the Biden Administration — Sasan Fayazmanesh

 How to deal with Iran intelligently instead of stupidly. Remember the Obama Doctrine: "Don't do stupid shit."

Backgrounder, too.

How to Do “Regime Change” Correctly: a Blueprint for the Biden Administration
Sasan Fayazmanesh

Jiu-Jitsu Comes to the Stock Market — Jan Kregel


Multiplier Effect
Jiu-Jitsu Comes to the Stock Market
Jan Kregel, director of research at the Levy Economics Institute, director of the Levy Institute master's program in economic theory and policy, and head of the Institute's Monetary Policy and Financial Structure program

See also

Zero Hedge
GameStop Squeeze Was Helped By 34 Year Old YouTubing CFA Who Turned $50,000 Into $48 Million
Tyler Durden

Thursday, January 28, 2021

EU announces de-dollarization plan — Lucas Leiroz

The European Union recently announced a new economic plan, focused on strengthening the euro as a world reserve currency opposed to the dollar, including in its project targets such as the issuance of special euro bonds and the creation of a digital euro. All the countries in the bloc are called upon to foster the growth of the euro as a method of protecting the European financial system.

Although the decrease in the use of the dollar is a recent global trend, it is necessary to investigate which factors influenced European decision most directly. Undoubtedly, the American sanctions policy is among these factors, considering that such sanctions immediately affect the European market. The constant measures of economic restrictions on people, companies, organizations, or states that do business with Washington's enemy countries, such as Iran, or with projects like Nord Stream 2, could have pushed the European bloc to the limit of tolerance, therefore having urged the EU to develop an economic plan that provides for greater autonomy. For this, however, monetary autonomy is essential.…
Monetary sovereignty and monetary autonomy. 

BRICS Information Portal
EU announces de-dollarization plan
Lucas Leiroz, research fellow in international law at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro

Planning for Tax Rises — NeilW

Political ploy. (short)

New Wayland
Planning for Tax Rises

Zero Hedge — US Weighing Action Against Russia For Navalny Detention: Secretary Of State Blinken

Pushing the "color revolution."

Either delusion or hybrid warfare, or both? Whatever, it doesn't appear to be normal behavior.
Secretary Blinken asserts, ""It remains striking to me how concerned and maybe even scared the Russian government seems to be of one man, Mr. Navalny." It is striking to others how the US appears to be so afraid of Russia and its leader.

Zero Hedge

US Weighing Action Against Russia For Navalny Detention: Secretary Of State Blinken
Tyler Durden

See also
The trick for the Biden administration will be to respond with sufficient firmness and cross-Atlantic coordination to puncture Putin’s apparent sense of impunity while leaving space for cooperation with Russia where that makes sense.

The Atlantic Council
Navalny’s arrest is Biden’s first big test. Here’s how he can pass it.
New Atlanticist by Daniel Fried, Anders Åslund

See also

The Atlantic Council
Toward a new American China strategy
Anonymous (yes, it really is signed this way)

TASS — Kremlin: Internet companies may be penalized for allowing calls for unauthorized protests

According to the Kremlin spokesman, large Internet companies are becoming platforms for echoing calls to hold illegitimate activities, that’s why they are warned
The fine line between liberty and license, freedom and responsibility, rights and duties, individual and social, personal freedom and the rule of law.

It seems that advocating illegal activity, promoting it,  or enabling it may be stepping over the line.

Kremlin: Internet companies may be penalized for allowing calls for unauthorized protests


On notice.

Moscow Prosecutor’s Office sends warnings to January 31 rally organizers, social media


Spoiling the fun?

Sputnik International
Social Networks Remove Calls on Teenagers to Participate in Rallies, Russian Watchdog Says

In London

Sputnik International
HS2 Protester: The Only Tactic to Achieve Social Change is Through Civil Disobedience
Sputnik News 

See also

Henry Thoreau


Zero Hedge — China Tells Taiwan "Independence Means War" As Rival Wargames Ongoing

China's red line just got drawn redder.

This is probably the biggest risk:

Earlier this week Reuters observers painted a picture of each side flexing its muscles in a dangerous build-up which itself could trigger inadvertent war, given the number of aerial and naval assets potentially crisscrossing….

Zero Hedge — "One Hell Of An Invention": Ray Dalio Reveals Bridgewater May Soon Buy Bitcoin

Kiss of death? Maybe he'll be buying tulip bulbs soon too.

"Crypto" is being hyped not as currency in the sense of a unit of account, a medium of exchange, or a record of debt,  but rather as an asset class in the sense of being a store of value. What could go wrong?

Zero Hedge
"One Hell Of An Invention": Ray Dalio Reveals Bridgewater May Soon Buy Bitcoin
Tyler Durden

Why the US Deep State Won’t Forgive Russia and Iran — Pepe Escobar

Outfoxed in Syria, which was supposed to be the next domino to fall after Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, on the way to doing Iran and Russia in preparation to confront China and seal global domination.

The Unz Review
Why the US Deep State Won’t Forgive Russia and Iran
Pepe Escobar

See also

Game stop 2: What are stock markets for? — Peter Radford

The sudden attention being given to the gyrations of Game Stop stock prices has caused all sorts of hand wringing within the hallowed walls of high finance. In typical fashion the people who like to carry on their trading and associated activities beyond the public gaze are all a twitter because a bunch of apparently crazy outsiders are not adhering to the sedate rules of the game. This produces truly odd results. Normally virulently anti-government voices are suddenly calling for SEC investigations and even regulation to prevent outsiders spoiling things. Some are swooning over the event as a demonstration of the awful greed and selfishness that has overtaken even average Americans — rather than just Wall Street denizens.

How dare average people become as greedy as Wall Street bankers! The horror of it all. Whatever next?
Another clown show.

Real-World Economics Review Blog
Game stop 2: What are stock markets for?
Peter Radford

See also

Michael Roberts Blog — blogging from a marxist economist
Stop the game – I want to get off!
Michael Roberts

It gets even better (weirder) if that is possible.

Sputnik International
Twitter Giggles as Analysts Quickly Assume 'Foreign Powers' Are Behind the GameStop Short Squeeze
Sputnik News

Marjorie Taylor Greene [R-GA] penned conspiracy theory that a laser beam from space started deadly 2018 California wildfires — Eric Hananoki

 The latest from la-la land.

Rep. Greene is a proponent of the Camp Fire laser beam conspiracy theory. She wrote a November 17, 2018, Facebook post -- which is no longer available online -- in which she said that she was speculating “because there are too many coincidences to ignore” regarding the fire, including that then-California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) wanted to build the high-speed rail project and “oddly there are all these people who have said they saw what looked like lasers or blue beams of light causing the fires.” She also speculated that a vice chairman at “Rothschild Inc, international investment banking firm” was somehow involved, and suggested the fire was caused by a beam from “space solar generators.”

Greene added: “If they are beaming the suns energy back to Earth, I’m sure they wouldn’t ever miss a transmitter receiving station right??!! I mean mistakes are never made when anything new is invented. What would that look like anyway? A laser beam or light beam coming down to Earth I guess. Could that cause a fire? Hmmm, I don’t know. I hope not! That wouldn’t look so good for PG&E, Rothschild Inc, Solaren or Jerry Brown who sure does seem fond of PG&E.”

Academic Finance Destroys Yet More Capital — Brian Romanchuk

The recent equity market shenanigans has confirmed one of my biases: modern academic finance has been very good at destroying capital. If one were of a conspiratorial bent, one might guess that finance faculties were being secretly backed by the enemies of capitalism. (I have been currently watching a documentary series on secret societies, and such misdirection is not unprecedented.) The simultaneous advocacy of efficient markets as well as the ability of hedge funds to continuously outperform created the backdrop for short squeezes that even gamers can participate in.…

Bond Economics
Academic Finance Destroys Yet More Capital
Brian Romanchuk

Biden’s Grand Opening — James K. Galbraith

With an economic rescue plan that is both ambitious and well targeted, US President Joe Biden and his team have demonstrated a clear understanding of the scale and range of action that the current situation requires. A broader reconstruction plan can and must come later; but crisis management remains the order of the day....
Project Syndicate
Biden’s Grand Opening
James K. Galbraith | Lloyd M. Bentsen Jr. Chair in Government/Business Relations and Professor of Government at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, The University of Texas at Austin

Introduction To Budget ‘Reconciliation’ — Richard Kogan and David Reich

With majorities in the House and Senate, Democratic leaders may well use a special legislative process called “reconciliation” to quickly advance high-priority fiscal legislation. Created by the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, reconciliation allows for expedited consideration of certain tax, spending, and debt limit legislation. In the Senate, reconciliation bills aren’t subject to filibuster and the scope of amendments is limited, giving this process real advantages for enacting controversial budget and tax measures. This paper addresses some frequently asked questions about reconciliation....
Popular Resistance
Introduction To Budget ‘Reconciliation’
Richard Kogan and David Reich, Center for Budget and Policy Priorities

The Economy Was Broken Before the Pandemic Hit — Robert Urie

Graph: Following WWII, the U.S. had the only industrial economy left standing. The relative prosperity that this produced isn’t replicable outside of those historical circumstances. Neoliberalism is the capitalist response to diminished relative prosperity as global economic competition re-emerged. It brought capitalist competition home through deregulation, deindustrialization, and financialized looting. This produced a series of intermediate crises before the crash of 2008. As detailed below, the crash was never adequately addressed, and therefore it hasn’t ended. The pandemic is excluded from the graph to capture the state of the pre-pandemic economy. Units are 10 year rolling average percentage changes in inflation-adjusted GDP. Source: St. Louis Federal Reserve....
The US had two huge boosts. First, the frontier, and secondly, emerging in a preeminent position at the close of WWII. When those exceptional conditions ended, decline set in, especially with decolonization and the rise of the emerging world, Asia in particular.

Merrick Garland Wants Former Facebook Lawyer to Top Antitrust Division — Ryan Grim, David Dayen

Susan Davies has spent much of the last decade working on behalf of major mergers and fending off antitrust enforcement.
Conflict of interest?

Bill Mitchell — How come the principles supported austerity one day but fiscal dominance the next?

As part of the paradigmic turmoil that is confronting mainstream economists, we are witnessing some very interesting strategies. Imagine you establish a set of principles that are seemingly inviolable. They are the bedrock of the belief system, even though it is not called that. These principles then offer all sorts of predictions about, yes, the real world. They are without nuance. The predictions are so worrying, that politicians, whether they are knowing or not, proceed with caution in some cases, and, in other cases, openly damage the well-being of citizens because they have been told that shock therapy is better than a long drawn out demise into ‘le marasme’. The authority for all the carnage that follows (unemployment, poverty, pension cuts, degraded public infrastructure and services, etc) is these ‘inviolable principles’. Economists swan around the world preaching them and bullying students and others into accepting them as gospel. The policy advice is hard and fast. Governments must stay credible. Except one day they completely change tack and all the policy advice that established certain actions to be totally taboo become the norm. We observe things are better as a result. Does this mean those ‘inviolable principles’ were bunk all along? Not according to the mainstream economists who are trying to position themselves on the right side of history. Apparently, their optimising New Keynesian models can totally justify fiscal dominance and central bank funding fiscal deficits when yesterday such actions were taboo. Which leg are they trying to pull?...
Chameleon "science."

Bill Mitchell – billy blog
How come the principles supported austerity one day but fiscal dominance the next?
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Nasdaq 100


From a sentiment perspective, the high on September 2 at around 303.50 looks interesting as that represents the high after the large summer rally off a bottom in bullish sentiment and before any of the nascent “blue wave!” bullish sentiment came in after Labor Day and through the election... still $13 above that summer rally high.... 5 months later...

Short covering and indexes


If it was all about short covering then why would indexes go down?

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

The 50 Most Visited Websites in the World — Dorothy Neufeld

Google and Facebook rule.

Visual Capitalist
The 50 Most Visited Websites in the World
Dorothy Neufeld

My new podcast episode is out.

World Economic Forum — Full Text of Xi Jinping keynote at the World Economic Forum (English Translation)

Read online or download PDF.

Special Address by H.E. Xi Jinping President of the People’s Republic of China
At the World Economic Forum Virtual Event of the Davos Agenda
25 January 2021 

Venezuela: DGCIM Neutralizes Operation Red October, a Terrorist Plan Directed by Guaidó — Mision Verdad

 Another bust.

Internationalist 360º
Venezuela: DGCIM Neutralizes Operation Red October, a Terrorist Plan Directed by Guaidó
Mision Verdad (Spanish)

Internationalist 360º — Putin: “The Era of Trying to Build a Unipolar World is Over”

“Obviously, the era associated with attempts to build a unipolar, centralized world order (…) has ended. But, in reality, it did not begin. Only one attempt in this direction was undertaken. But that too has passed,” the Russian president added.

“Such a monopoly by its nature went against the historical cultural plurality of our civilization,” Putin specified....
Internationalist 360º
Putin: “The Era of Trying to Build a Unipolar World is Over”
Sputnik| ALBA
Translation by Internationalist 360°

Full address given by President Putin at the World Economic Forum.


President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Schwab, dear Klaus,


I have been to Davos many times, attending the events organised by Mr Schwab, even back in the 1990s. Klaus [Schwab] just recalled that we met in 1992. Indeed, during my time in St Petersburg, I visited this important forum many times. I would like to thank you for this opportunity today to convey my point of view to the expert community that gathers at this world-renowned platform thanks to the efforts of Mr Schwab.

First of all, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to greet all the World Economic Forum participants.

It is gratifying that this year, despite the pandemic, despite all the restrictions, the forum is still continuing its work. Although it is limited to online participation, the forum is taking place anyway, providing an opportunity for participants to exchange their assessments and forecasts during an open and free discussion, partially compensating for the increasing lack of in-person meetings between leaders of states, representatives of international business and the public in recent months. All this is very important now, when we have so many difficult questions to answer.

The current forum is the first one in the beginning of the third decade of the 21st century and, naturally, the majority of its topics are devoted to the profound changes that are taking place in the world.

Indeed, it is difficult to overlook the fundamental changes in the global economy, politics, social life and technology. The coronavirus pandemic, which Klaus just mentioned, which became a serious challenge for humankind, only spurred and accelerated the structural changes, the conditions for which had been created long ago. The pandemic has exacerbated the problems and imbalances that built up in the world before. There is every reason to believe that differences are likely to grow stronger. These trends may appear practically in all areas.

Needless to say, there are no direct parallels in history. However, some experts – and I respect their opinion – compare the current situation to the 1930s. One can agree or disagree, but certain analogies are still suggested by many parameters, including the comprehensive, systemic nature of the challenges and potential threats.

We are seeing a crisis of the previous models and instruments of economic development. Social stratification is growing stronger both globally and in individual countries. We have spoken about this before as well. But this, in turn, is causing today a sharp polarisation of public views, provoking the growth of populism, right- and left-wing radicalism and other extremes, and the exacerbation of domestic political processes including in the leading countries.

All this is inevitably affecting the nature of international relations and is not making them more stable or predictable. International institutions are becoming weaker, regional conflicts are emerging one after another, and the system of global security is deteriorating.

Klaus has mentioned the conversation I had yesterday with the US President on extending the New START. This is, without a doubt, a step in the right direction. Nevertheless, the differences are leading to a downward spiral. As you are aware, the inability and unwillingness to find substantive solutions to problems like this in the 20th century led to the WWII catastrophe.

Of course, such a heated global conflict is impossible in principle, I hope. This is what I am pinning my hopes on, because this would be the end of humanity. However, as I have said, the situation could take an unexpected and uncontrollable turn – unless we do something to prevent this. There is a chance that we will face a formidable break-down in global development, which will be fraught with a war of all against all and attempts to deal with contradictions through the appointment of internal and external enemies and the destruction of not only traditional values such as the family, which we hold dear in Russia, but fundamental freedoms such as the right of choice and privacy.

I would like to point out the negative demographic consequences of the ongoing social crisis and the crisis of values, which could result in humanity losing entire civilisational and cultural continents.

We have a shared responsibility to prevent this scenario, which looks like a grim dystopia, and to ensure instead that our development takes a different trajectory – positive, harmonious and creative.

In this context, I would like to speak in more detail about the main challenges which, I believe, the international community is facing.

The first one is socioeconomic.

Indeed, judging by the statistics, even despite the deep crises in 2008 and 2020, the last 40 years can be referred to as successful or even super successful for the global economy. Starting from 1980, global per capita GDP has doubled in terms of real purchasing power parity. This is definitely a positive indicator.

Globalisation and domestic growth have led to strong growth in developing countries and lifted over a billion people out of poverty. So, if we take an income level of $5.50 per person per day (in terms of PPP) then, according to the World Bank, in China, for example, the number of people with lower incomes went from 1.1 billion in 1990 down to less than 300 million in recent years. This is definitely China's success. In Russia, this number went from 64 million people in 1999 to about 5 million now. We believe this is also progress in our country, and in the most important area, by the way.

Still, the main question, the answer to which can, in many respects, provide a clue to today’s problems, is what was the nature of this global growth and who benefitted from it most.

Of course, as I mentioned earlier, developing countries benefitted a lot from the growing demand for their traditional and even new products. However, this integration into the global economy has resulted in more than just new jobs or greater export earnings. It also had its social costs, including a significant gap in individual incomes.

What about the developed economies where average incomes are much higher? It may sound ironic, but stratification in the developed countries is even deeper. According to the World Bank, 3.6 million people subsisted on incomes of under $5.50 per day in the United States in 2000, but in 2016 this number grew to 5.6 million people.

Meanwhile, globalisation led to a significant increase in the revenue of large multinational, primarily US and European, companies.

By the way, in terms of individual income, the developed economies in Europe show the same trend as the United States.

But then again, in terms of corporate profits, who got hold of the revenue? The answer is clear: one percent of the population.

And what has happened in the lives of other people? In the past 30 years, in a number of developed countries, the real incomes of over half of the citizens have been stagnating, not growing. Meanwhile, the cost of education and healthcare services has gone up. Do you know by how much? Three times.

In other words, millions of people even in wealthy countries have stopped hoping for an increase of their incomes. In the meantime, they are faced with the problem of how to keep themselves and their parents healthy and how to provide their children with a decent education.

There is no call for a huge mass of people and their number keeps growing. Thus, according to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), in 2019, 21 percent or 267 million young people in the world did not study or work anywhere. Even among those who had jobs (these are interesting figures) 30 percent had an income below $3.2 per day in terms of purchasing power parity.

These imbalances in global socioeconomic development are a direct result of the policy pursued in the 1980s, which was often vulgar or dogmatic. This policy rested on the so-called Washington Consensus with its unwritten rules, when the priority was given to the economic growth based on a private debt in conditions of deregulation and low taxes on the wealthy and the corporations.

As I have already mentioned, the coronavirus pandemic has only exacerbated these problems. In the last year, the global economy sustained its biggest decline since WWII. By July, the labour market had lost almost 500 million jobs. Yes, half of them were restored by the end of the year but still almost 250 million jobs were lost. This is a big and very alarming figure. In the first nine months of the past year alone, the losses of earnings amounted to $3.5 trillion. This figure is going up and, hence, social tension is on the rise.

At the same time, post-crisis recovery is not simple at all. If some 20 or 30 years ago, we would have solved the problem through stimulating macroeconomic policies (incidentally, this is still being done), today such mechanisms have reached their limits and are no longer effective. This resource has outlived its usefulness. This is not an unsubstantiated personal conclusion.

According to the IMF, the aggregate sovereign and private debt level has approached 200 percent of global GDP, and has even exceeded 300 percent of national GDP in some countries. At the same time, interest rates in developed market economies are kept at almost zero and are at a historic low in emerging market economies.

Taken together, this makes economic stimulation with traditional methods, through an increase in private loans virtually impossible. The so-called quantitative easing is only increasing the bubble of the value of financial assets and deepening the social divide. The widening gap between the real and virtual economies (incidentally, representatives of the real economy sector from many countries have told me about this on numerous occasions, and I believe that the business representatives attending this meeting will agree with me) presents a very real threat and is fraught with serious and unpredictable shocks.

Hopes that it will be possible to reboot the old growth model are connected with rapid technological development. Indeed, during the past 20 years we have created a foundation for the so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution based on the wide use of AI and automation and robotics. The coronavirus pandemic has greatly accelerated such projects and their implementation.

However, this process is leading to new structural changes, I am thinking in particular of the labour market. This means that very many people could lose their jobs unless the state takes effective measures to prevent this. Most of these people are from the so-called middle class, which is the basis of any modern society.

In this context, I would like to mention the second fundamental challenge of the forthcoming decade – the socio-political one. The rise of economic problems and inequality is splitting society, triggering social, racial and ethnic intolerance. Indicatively, these tensions are bursting out even in the countries with seemingly civil and democratic institutions that are designed to alleviate and stop such phenomena and excesses.

The systemic socioeconomic problems are evoking such social discontent that they require special attention and real solutions. The dangerous illusion that they may be ignored or pushed into the corner is fraught with serious consequences.

In this case, society will still be divided politically and socially. This is bound to happen because people are dissatisfied not by some abstract issues but by real problems that concern everyone regardless of the political views that people have or think they have. Meanwhile, real problems evoke discontent.

I would like to emphasise one more important point. Modern technological giants, especially digital companies, have started playing an increasing role in the life of society. Much is being said about this now, especially regarding the events that took place during the election campaign in the US. They are not just some economic giants. In some areas, they are de facto competing with states. Their audiences consist of billions of users that pass a considerable part of their lives in these eco systems.

In the opinion of these companies, their monopoly is optimal for organising technological and business processes. Maybe so but society is wondering whether such monopolism meets public interests. Where is the border between successful global business, in-demand services and big data consolidation and the attempts to manage society at one’s own discretion and in a tough manner, replace legal democratic institutions and essentially usurp or restrict the natural right of people to decide for themselves how to live, what to choose and what position to express freely? We have just seen all of these phenomena in the US and everyone understands what I am talking about now. I am confident that the overwhelming majority of people share this position, including the participants in the current event.

And finally, the third challenge, or rather, a clear threat that we may well run into in the coming decade is the further exacerbation of many international problems. After all, unresolved and mounting internal socioeconomic problems may push people to look for someone to blame for all their troubles and to redirect their irritation and discontent. We can already see this. We feel that the degree of foreign policy propaganda rhetoric is growing.

We can expect the nature of practical actions to also become more aggressive, including pressure on the countries that do not agree with a role of obedient controlled satellites, use of trade barriers, illegitimate sanctions and restrictions in the financial, technological and cyber spheres.

Such a game with no rules critically increases the risk of unilateral use of military force. The use of force under a far-fetched pretext is what this danger is all about. This multiplies the likelihood of new hot spots flaring up on our planet. This concerns us.

Colleagues, despite this tangle of differences and challenges, we certainly should keep a positive outlook on the future and remain committed to a constructive agenda. It would be naive to come up with universal miraculous recipes for resolving the above problems. But we certainly need to try to work out common approaches, bring our positions as close as possible and identify sources that generate global tensions.

Once again, I want to emphasise my thesis that accumulated socioeconomic problems are the fundamental reason for unstable global growth.

So, the key question today is how to build a programme of actions in order to not only quickly restore the global and national economies affected by the pandemic, but to ensure that this recovery is sustainable in the long run, relies on a high-quality structure and helps overcome the burden of social imbalances. Clearly, with the above restrictions and macroeconomic policy in mind, economic growth will largely rely on fiscal incentives with state budgets and central banks playing the key role.

Actually, we can see these kinds of trends in the developed countries and also in some developing economies as well. An increasing role of the state in the socioeconomic sphere at the national level obviously implies greater responsibility and close interstate interaction when it comes to issues on the global agenda.

Calls for inclusive growth and for creating decent standards of living for everyone are regularly made at various international forums. This is how it should be, and this is an absolutely correct view of our joint efforts.

It is clear that the world cannot continue creating an economy that will only benefit a million people, or even the golden billion. This is a destructive precept. This model is unbalanced by default. The recent developments, including migration crises, have reaffirmed this once again.

We must now proceed from stating facts to action, investing our efforts and resources into reducing social inequality in individual countries and into gradually balancing the economic development standards of different countries and regions in the world. This would put an end to migration crises.

The essence and focus of this policy aimed at ensuring sustainable and harmonious development are clear. They imply the creation of new opportunities for everyone, conditions under which everyone will be able to develop and realise their potential regardless of where they were born and are living

I would like to point out four key priorities, as I see them. This might be old news, but since Klaus has allowed me to present Russia’s position, my position, I will certainly do so.

First, everyone must have comfortable living conditions, including housing and affordable transport, energy and public utility infrastructure. Plus environmental welfare, something that must not be overlooked.

Second, everyone must be sure that they will have a job that can ensure sustainable growth of income and, hence, decent standards of living. Everyone must have access to an effective system of lifelong education, which is absolutely indispensable now and which will allow people to develop, make a career and receive a decent pension and social benefits upon retirement.

Third, people must be confident that they will receive high-quality and effective medical care whenever necessary, and that the national healthcare system will guarantee access to modern medical services.

Fourth, regardless of the family income, children must be able to receive a decent education and realise their potential. Every child has potential.

This is the only way to guarantee the cost-effective development of the modern economy, in which people are perceived as the end, rather than the means. Only those countries capable of attaining progress in at least these four areas will facilitate their own sustainable and all-inclusive development. These areas are not exhaustive, and I have just mentioned the main aspects.

A strategy, also being implemented by my country, hinges on precisely these approaches. Our priorities revolve around people, their families, and they aim to ensure demographic development, to protect the people, to improve their well-being and to protect their health. We are now working to create favourable conditions for worthy and cost-effective work and successful entrepreneurship and to ensure digital transformation as the foundation of a high-tech future for the entire country, rather than that of a narrow group of companies.

We intend to focus the efforts of the state, the business community and civil society on these tasks and to implement a budgetary policy with the relevant incentives in the years ahead.

We are open to the broadest international cooperation, while achieving our national goals, and we are confident that cooperation on matters of the global socioeconomic agenda would have a positive influence on the overall atmosphere in global affairs, and that interdependence in addressing acute current problems would also increase mutual trust which is particularly important and particularly topical today.

Obviously, the era linked with attempts to build a centralised and unipolar world order has ended. To be honest, this era did not even begin. A mere attempt was made in this direction, but this, too, is now history. The essence of this monopoly ran counter to our civilisation’s cultural and historical diversity.

The reality is such that really different development centres with their distinctive models, political systems and public institutions have taken shape in the world. Today, it is very important to create mechanisms for harmonising their interests to prevent the diversity and natural competition of the development poles from triggering anarchy and a series of protracted conflicts.

To achieve this we must, in part, consolidate and develop universal institutions that bear special responsibility for ensuring stability and security in the world and for formulating and defining the rules of conduct both in the global economy and trade.

I have mentioned more than once that many of these institutions are not going through the best of times. We have been bringing this up at various summits. Of course, these institutions were established in a different era. This is clear. Probably, they even find it difficult to parry modern challenges for objective reasons. However, I would like to emphasise that this is not an excuse to give up on them without offering anything in exchange, all the more so since these structures have unique experience of work and a huge but largely untapped potential. And it certainly needs to be carefully adapted to modern realities. It is too early to dump it in the dustbin of history. It is essential to work with it and to use it.

Naturally, in addition to this, it is important to use new, additional formats of cooperation. I am referring to such phenomenon as multiversity. Of course, it is also possible to interpret it differently, in one’s own way. It may be viewed as an attempt to push one’s own interests or feign the legitimacy of one’s own actions when all others can merely nod in approval. Or it may be a concerted effort of sovereign states to resolve specific problems for common benefit. In this case, this may refer to the efforts to settle regional conflicts, establish technological alliances and resolve many other issues, including the formation of cross-border transport and energy corridors and so on and so forth.


Ladies and gentlemen,

This opens wide possibilities for collaboration. Multi-faceted approaches do work. We know from practice that they work. As you may be aware, within the framework of, for example, the Astana format, Russia, Iran and Turkey are doing much to stabilise the situation in Syria and are now helping establish a political dialogue in that country, of course, alongside other countries. We are doing this together. And, importantly, not without success.

For example, Russia has undertaken energetic mediation efforts to stop the armed conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, in which peoples and states that are close to us – Azerbaijan and Armenia – are involved. We strived to follow the key agreements reached by the OSCE Minsk Group, in particular between its co-chairs – Russia, the United States and France. This is also a very good example of cooperation.

As you may be aware, a trilateral Statement by Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia was signed in November. Importantly, by and large, it is being steadily implemented. The bloodshed was stopped. This is the most important thing. We managed to stop the bloodshed, achieve a complete ceasefire and start the stabilisation process.

Now the international community and, undoubtedly, the countries involved in crisis resolution are faced with the task of helping the affected areas overcome humanitarian challenges related to returning refugees, rebuilding destroyed infrastructure, protecting and restoring historical, religious and cultural landmarks.

Or, another example. I will note the role of Russia, Saudi Arabia, the United States and a number of other countries in stabilising the global energy market. This format has become a productive example of interaction between the states with different, sometimes even diametrically opposite assessments of global processes, and with their own outlooks on the world.

At the same time there are certainly problems that concern every state without exception. One example is cooperation in studying and countering the coronavirus infection. As you know, several strains of this dangerous virus have emerged. The international community must create conditions for cooperation between scientists and other specialists to understand how and why coronavirus mutations occur, as well as the difference between the various strains.

Of course, we need to coordinate the efforts of the entire world, as the UN Secretary-General suggests and as we urged recently at the G20 summit. It is essential to join and coordinate the efforts of the world in countering the spread of the virus and making the much needed vaccines more accessible. We need to help the countries that need support, including the African nations. I am referring to expanding the scale of testing and vaccinations.

We see that mass vaccination is accessible today, primarily to people in the developed countries. Meanwhile, millions of people in the world are deprived even of the hope for this protection. In practice, such inequality could create a common threat because this is well known and has been said many times that it will drag out the epidemic and uncontrolled hotbeds will continue. The epidemic has no borders.

There are no borders for infections or pandemics. Therefore, we must learn the lessons from the current situation and suggest measures aimed at improving the monitoring of the emergence of such diseases and the development of such cases in the world.

Another important area that requires coordination, in fact, the coordination of the efforts of the entire international community, is to preserve the climate and nature of our planet. I will not say anything new in this respect.

Only together can we achieve progress in resolving such critical problems as global warming, the reduction of forestlands, the loss of biodiversity, the increase in waste, the pollution of the ocean with plastic and so on, and find an optimal balance between economic development and the preservation of the environment for the current and future generations.

My friends,

We all know that competition and rivalry between countries in world history never stopped, do not stop and will never stop. Differences and a clash of interests are also natural for such a complicated body as human civilisation. However, in critical times this did not prevent it from pooling its efforts – on the contrary, it united in the most important destinies of humankind. I believe this is the period we are going through today.

It is very important to honestly assess the situation, to concentrate on real rather than artificial global problems, on removing the imbalances that are critical for the entire international community. I am sure that in this way we will be able to achieve success and befittingly parry the challenges of the third decade of the 21st century.

I would like to finish my speech at this point and thank all of you for your patience and attention.

Thank you very much.

Klaus Schwab: Thank you very much, Mr President.

Many of the issues raised, certainly, are part of our discussions here during the Davos Week. We complement the speeches also by task forces which address some of the issues you mentioned, like not leaving the developing world behind, taking care of, let’s say, creating the skills for tomorrow, and so on. Mr President, we prepare for the discussion afterwards, but I have one very short question. It is a question which we discussed when I visited you in St Petersburg 14 months ago. How do you see the future of European-Russian relations? Just a short answer.

Vladimir Putin: You know there are things of an absolutely fundamental nature such as our common culture. Major European political figures have talked in the recent past about the need to expand relations between Europe and Russia, saying that Russia is part of Europe. Geographically and, most importantly, culturally, we are one civilisation. French leaders have spoken of the need to create a single space from Lisbon to the Urals. I believe, and I mentioned this, why the Urals? To Vladivostok.

I personally heard the outstanding European politician, former Chancellor Helmut Kohl, say that if we want European culture to survive and remain a centre of world civilisation in the future, keeping in mind the challenges and trends underlying the world civilisation, then of course, Western Europe and Russia must be together. It is hard to disagree with that. We hold exactly the same point of view.

Clearly, today’s situation is not normal. We need to return to a positive agenda. This is in the interests of Russia and, I am confident, the European countries. Clearly, the pandemic has also played a negative role. Our trade with the European Union is down, although the EU is one of our key trade and economic partners. Our agenda includes returning to positive trends and building up trade and economic cooperation.

Europe and Russia are absolutely natural partners from the point of view of the economy, research, technology and spatial development for European culture, since Russia, being a country of European culture, is a little larger than the entire EU in terms of territory. Russia’s resources and human potential are enormous. I will not go over everything that is positive in Europe, which can also benefit the Russian Federation.

Only one thing matters: we need to approach the dialogue with each other honestly. We need to discard the phobias of the past, stop using the problems that we inherited from past centuries in internal political processes and look to the future. If we can rise above these problems of the past and get rid of these phobias, then we will certainly enjoy a positive stage in our relations.

We are ready for this, we want this, and we will strive to make this happen. But love is impossible if it is declared only by one side. It must be mutual.

Klaus Schwab: Thank you very much, Mr President.

RT — RT's Ruptly was MOST-WATCHED news agency on YouTube in 2020, raking in nearly 430mn views

Ruptly, RT’s video agency, bested AFP, Reuters, the Associated Press and others to become the most-watched news agency on YouTube in 2020, a triumph attributed to its exclusive footage of some of the biggest stories of the year.

According to data from online video measurement company Tubular Labs, Ruptly outperformed all of its competitors, with its content receiving 429 million views over the past 12 months. The company enjoyed a comfortable lead over second-ranked Yonhap, which raked in 367 million views.

Ruptly Chief Digital Officer Dmitry Keshishev said in a statement that the figures reflect the “huge demand” for the agency’s content around the world. He went on to praise the “skill and determination of all our journalists,” noting that Ruptly has been able to source and deliver “quality content” despite the restrictions and challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic....

Moon of Alabama — More Cyber Crimes, Attributed To Russia, Are Shown To Have Come From Elsewhere

Ukraine and Israel?

Moon of Alabama
More Cyber Crimes, Attributed To Russia, Are Shown To Have Come From Elsewhere

McKinsey — Joining the next generation of digital banks in Asia

Not every Asian digital bank is a success story, of course, but those that have developed a productive business model and scaled effectively have thrived. Once established, digital banks can generate higher revenues at a lower cost to serve than incumbents, putting them in a position to expand market share. In addition, their digital architecture enables them to access ecosystems of businesses and customers, bringing exponential benefits in terms of knowledge and data.

While digital banks in other geographies are often startups, Asian digital banking is being driven largely by established companies and consortia. Despite structural challenges with regard to governance, consortia bring significant advantages in terms of achieving scale. Just five years after launch, Tencent-backed WeBank serves some 200 million people, and Alibaba-supported MYbank has more than 20 million SME customers.
Over a short period, China’s digital banks now have a roughly 5 percent share of the country’s RMB 5 trillion (~$700 billion) unsecured consumer loan market and more than 7 percent of online SME loans. South Korea’s KakaoBank, launched in 2017, attracted more than 10 million customers in its first year and now has a roughly 5 percent share of the country’s unsecured consumer loan market....
Joining the next generation of digital banks in Asia
Raphael Bick, Denis Bugrov, Hernán Gerson, Alexander McFaull, and Alexander Pariyskiy

Top 10 American Misconceptions about China — Frank Li

There is just too much American dis-information about China! Three main reasons:
  1. The U.S. is losing badly against China in almost all fronts of competition, from the ideology to the economy.
  2. China-bashing is a bipartisan sport, with impunity.
  3. A crippling American tradition of media distortion.
Top 10 American Misconceptions about China
Frank Li | Chinese ex-pat, Founder and President of W.E.I. (West-East International), a Chicago-based import & export company, B.E. from Zhejiang University (China) in 1982, M.E. from the University of Tokyo in 1985, and Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University in 1988, all in Electrical Engineering

The Oregon Republican Party Issues a Condemnation — Peter Dorman

 WTF Watch.

This would be funny if it were not existential. America coming apart at the seams. 

ROW ROFLTAO (The rest of the world rolling on the floor laughing their asses off.)

The Oregon Republican Party Issues a Condemnation
Peter Dorman | Professor of Political Economy, The Evergreen State College

Should deficits matter any more? — Marc Joffe

Clueless. Interesting only because of where it is published.

Reason Foundation is a Libertarian institution.

The Hill — Opinion
Should deficits matter any more?
Marc Joffe is a policy analyst at Reason Foundation, former senior director at Moody's Analytics

Bill Mitchell — Video: Political Economy thought and praxis post pandemic

It’s Wednesday and I have been tied up most of the day on things that keep me from writing. But I offer some comments on today’s inflation data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics which will help you understand that we have to be very careful in analysing that data because quite often CPI increases are driven by government policy which allows administered prices to rise. Short conclusion: a rising inflation rate does not signal a growing economy necessarily. I also provide details about my current lecture series at the University of Helsinko, which the broader public are invited to participate in. And then some fusion....
Bill Mitchell – billy blog
Video – Political Economy thought and praxis post pandemic
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Lars P. Syll — Truth and rationality

Rational choice theory, like Bayseianism in statistics, is based on informed opinion (rational expectations), but it is opinion none the less. Therefore, it is a heuristic device subject to YMMV rather than being determinative, that is, leading to knowledge rather than opinion or belief. This condition determines the scope of the method.

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

See also today

Mainstream economics — nonsense masquerading as science

Michael Hudson — The rentier resurgence and takeover: Finance Capitalism vs. Industrial Capitalism

This was linked to yesterday at Naked Capitalism. Here is the link to it at Michael Hudson's site for the record. The article is based on his forthcoming book.
This article is based on Chapter 1 of Cold War 2.0. The Geopolitical Economics of Finance Capitalism vs. Industrial Capitalism (Dresden, ISLET: in press; Chinese translation 2021). © 2020. All rights reserved.
Michael Hudson — On Finance, Real Estate And The Powers Of Neoliberalism
The rentier resurgence and takeover: Finance Capitalism vs. Industrial Capitalism
Michael Hudson | President of The Institute for the Study of Long-Term Economic Trends (ISLET), a Wall Street Financial Analyst, Distinguished Research Professor of Economics at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, and Guest Professor at Peking University

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

McKinsey The risks and challenges of the global COVID-19-vaccine rollout

The scale is global. This requires a systems approach, which McKinsey is famous for.

The risks and challenges of the global COVID-19-vaccine rollout
Gaurav Agrawal, partner in McKinsey’s New York office; Tara Azimi, partner in the Washington, DC, office; Jennifer Heller and Parag Patel, partners in the Chicago office, Adam Sabow is a senior partner n the Chicago office; Pooja Kumar, partner in the Philadelphia office; Mihir Mysore, a partner in the Houston office; Shubham Singhal, a senior partner in the Detroit office; and Joseph Truesdale, associate partner in the Boston office.

Biden directs DOJ to phase out use of private prisons — Rebecca Beitsch

The executive order, signed alongside three others as part of an effort to address racial inequality, largely returns the department to the policy adopted under the Obama administration.

To decrease incarceration levels, we must reduce profit-based incentives to incarcerate by phasing out the federal government's reliance on privately operated criminal detention facilities,” Biden wrote in the order.

The order directs DOJ not to renew any of the contracts with private prisons that house federal inmates, roughly 14,000 out of the 2 million people incarcerated in America.

Criminal justice reform advocates say the move is an important first step in reducing reliance on private prisons, which critics argue have little accountability and whose models are incompatible with efforts to rehabilitate offenders....
The Hill

Tony Kevin - The war against China is largely facilitated by propaganda.

 I was looking for something about US propaganda against China on twitter, and page after page nothing turned up, so I went to Duck and Go and found something on the first page, in fact, it was the third item. I have found lots of interesting stuff on Duck and Go recently which I was unable to find in Google, so are they suppressing stuff?

We are indeed now in the thick of a Third World War. It has been started by US and UK, aided by minor Five Eyes allies  Canada and Australia. They have chosen their preferred strategic fighting terrain –  information warfare

There is a slow-motion Third World War underway between the US-centralized power alliance and the nations like China which have resisted being absorbed into it, and that war is being largely facilitated by propaganda. If one doesn’t wish to become a propagandist themselves, one ought to withhold belief from the stories they are told about the terrible, awful things the unabsorbed nations are doing which require extensive sanctions, subversion and interventionism in response.“

We are indeed now in the thick of a Third World War. It has been started by US and UK, aided by minor Five Eyes allies  Canada and Australia. They have chosen their preferred strategic fighting terrain –  information warfare – because they know that on conventional military terrain they would be unable even to begin to prevail over Russia and China.

So it is a war confined to hostile rhetoric, sanctions and subversion. It is fought with words by people like Pompeo and his obedient British acolytes Starmer and Raab and a myriad of indoctrinated news editors  . It features continued recycling of old discredited anti-Russian and anti-Chinese propaganda myths like the Skripals and Uighur genocide .

The target audience is not Russian or Chinese people – our new warriors have long given up trying to influence the latter with their obvious lies. No, the target is us. As Orwell foretold in ‘1984‘ : in Oceania’s never- ending unwinnable war against Eurasia and Eastasia,  the main theatre is propaganda aimed at we citizens of Oceania. We are the gullible recipients of fake narratives . Remember the inflammatory newsreels, the five minute hate sessions as Orwell described them. We are there now,  in much of our MSM product.

Russia and China are patiently avoiding being goaded by this new kind of world war started by the West into similar retaliatory actions on their part. They know they enjoy superior strategic deterrence, and are quietly sitting tight on their deterrence assets. They choose the terrain on which they want to engage.

Thus, China humiliated India with stones and clubs in the Himalayas, and will find appropriate ways to humiliate US and allied navies‘ provocations in the South China Sea. Iran humiliated America in its telegraphed non-lethal missile attack on the US base in Iraq after the US had murdered Soleimani. Russia safely neutralised Ukraine’s foolish naval provocation at Kerch Bridge in Crimea, thereby sealing Poroshenko’s political demise.

Tony Kevin is a former Australian ambassador to Poland and Cambodia, an Emeritus Fellow at Australian  National University, Canberra, and the author of ‘Return to Moscow’ (2017)

Tony Kevin - The war against China is largely facilitated by propaganda.


UN Independent Expert Alfred de Zayas: ‘This is How the Human Rights Industry Works’ Geraldina Colotti interviews — Alfred de Zayas



Yield Curve Slope Correlations — Brian Romanchuk

When looking at bond yields, one should keep in mind that the entire yield curve is a mathematical object. A venerable research approach is to attempt to use time series econometrics to either isolated tenors or slopes. This approach leads to misleading degrees of freedom in bond yield dynamics.

In this article, I will do the simplest step towards modelling the yield curve -- looking at the relationships between selected slopes. We see that slopes move together, which pins down how disjointed various parts of the curve can get. Digging further would require access to a fitted curve....
Bond Economics
Yield Curve Slope Correlations
Brian Romanchuk

Oligarchy In Russia – Alexei Navalny’s Telling Mistake — John Helmer

Should-read. A bit longish but essential in understanding the dynamic. Requires some familiarity with the situation for full appreciation, but even if one doesn't have that, it is still useful as an introduction. About much more than the Navalny affair.

Dances with Bears
John Helmer


About Navalny.

Sputnik International
West’s Navalny Hypocrisy a Gas

Sputnik — Is Bellingcat Played by the CIA?

Does anyone seriously think that Bellingcat is not a front?

MI6 not mentioned?

Sputnik International
Is Bellingcat Played by the CIA?

RT — After Rupert Murdoch slams ‘woke orthodoxy’ & social media censorship, critics lambast tycoon’s own ‘malign influence’

Among the outlets in his media empire are the American Wall Street Journal, the New York Post and the Fox News channel, as well as the UK’s Sun and the Times, and around 70 percent of Australia’s major news outlets.

In November, ex-Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd pushed for an inquiry to be set up into the massive influence the Australian-born tycoon has over politics there....
After Rupert Murdoch slams ‘woke orthodoxy’ & social media censorship, critics lambast tycoon’s own ‘malign influence’

Sputnik — India Stunned as Protesters Hoist Their Flag at Iconic Red Fort

US Capitol protest catching?

Sputnik International
India Stunned as Protesters Hoist Their Flag at Iconic Red Fort

Violence, Death & Invasion of Delhi: Here's How the 72nd Republic Day Unfolded in India’s Capital

Peoples Dispatch — US federal agency launches probe into alleged bid by Trump to undermine election results

More shoes dropping.
The probe by the Office of the Inspector General of the US Department of Justice comes in light of a report that Trump had planned to fire his acting attorney general and launch an electoral fraud investigation to pressure Georgia State officials….
Peoples Dispatch 

Sputnik — The Task: China Must Rally 'Whole Country' to Defeat US 'Technology Blockade', Top CCP Official Says

Building national self-sufficiency for the dragon to escape the eagles talons (economic sanctions) without the need to breath fire (go to war).

Semiconductor technology. China produces 7% and consumes 33% of global production. Given the level of its consumption, it is worth investing heavily in developing self-sufficiency.

Sputnik International
The Task: China Must Rally 'Whole Country' to Defeat US 'Technology Blockade', Top CCP Official Says

Michael Shermer - Is Life After Death Possible

Some interesting politics here: extremism is the problem. And I never thought of religion as a powerful way of cementing a group. It's tribal. 

Truth After Trump — Yanis Varoufakis

Yanis Varoufakis is on to something here, but he could not do it justice in 500 words. But the BS factor in political persuasion is worth thinking about, and it's not just conspiracy theory and gaslighting. Pseudoscience also plays a role in it, particularly in economics as a policy science. 

Project Syndicate
Truth After Trump
Yanis Varoufakis

Michael Hudson — Finance Capitalism vs. Industrial Capitalism – The Rentier Resurgence and Takeover

Marx and many of his less radical contemporary reformers saw the historical role of industrial capitalism as being to clear away the legacy of feudalism – the landlords, bankers and monopolists extracting economic rent without producing real value. But that reform movement failed. Today, the Finance, Insurance and Real Estate (FIRE) sector has regained control of government, creating neo-rentier economies.

The aim of this post-industrial finance capitalism is the oppositeof that of industrial capitalism as known to 19th-century economists: It seeks wealth primarily through the extraction of economic rent, not industrial capital formation. Tax favoritism for real estate, privatization of oil and mineral extraction, banking and infrastructure monopolies add to the cost of living and doing business. Labor is being exploited increasingly by bank debt, student debt, credit-card debt, while housing and other prices are inflated on credit, leaving less income to spend on goods and services as economies suffer debt deflation.

Today’s New Cold War is a fight to internationalize this rentier capitalism by globally privatizing and financializing transportation, education, health care, prisons and policing, the post office and communications, and other sectors that formerly were kept in the public domain of European and American economies so as to keep their costs low and minimize their cost structure.
Neo feudalism and neo-fascism go hand in hand.
The result is a war to change the character of capitalism as well as that of social democracy. The British Labour Party, European Social Democrats and the U.S. Democratic Party all have jumped on the neoliberal bandwagon. They are all complicit in the austerity that has spread from the Mediterranean to America’s Midwestern rust belt.

Finance capitalism exploits labor, but via a rentier sector, which also ends up cannibalizing industrial capital. This drive has become internationalized into a fight against nations that restrict the predatory dynamics of finance capital seeking to privatize and dismantle government regulatory power. The New Cold War is not merely a war being waged by finance capitalism against socialism and public ownership of the means of production. In view of the inherent dynamics of industrial capitalism requiring strong state regulatory and taxing power to check the intrusiveness of finance capital, this post-industrial global conflict is between socialism evolving out of industrial capitalism, and fascism, defined as a rentier reaction to mobilize government to roll back social democracy and restore control to the rentier financial and monopoly classes....
Naked Capitalism
Michael Hudson: Finance Capitalism vs. Industrial Capitalism – The Rentier Resurgence and Takeover
Michael Hudson | President of The Institute for the Study of Long-Term Economic Trends (ISLET), a Wall Street Financial Analyst, Distinguished Research Professor of Economics at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, and Guest Professor at Peking University