Thursday, May 6, 2021

Free Speech For Me, Not You — Blair Fix

Drawing lines is the bane of liberalism.

Economics from the top down
Free Speech For Me, Not You
Blair Fix

See also

It’s aggression when ‘they’ do it, but defense when ‘we’ do worse
Alan MacLeod

The U.S.-China Confrontation: "We Need To Avoid Stumbling into a Major War" — Bernhard Zang interviews Admiral James Stavridis

[Four star] Admiral James Stavridis has commanded U.S. warships in the South China Sea. In his new novel, he writes about a war between China and America – a scenario he considers to be extremely realistic.…
Sounds like an intriguing novel by a guy who knows whereof he writes. He says it's aim in anti-war.  This is not a situation for sleepwalking or bluff. Accidents happen and commitments can backfire.
Graham Allison [author of "Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides's Trap?"] went back 2,500 years to ancient Athens and Sparta and looked at what happens when an established power is challenged by a rising power. The last time that happened is certainly familiar to Germans: It was when the British Empire was challenged by the Kaiser’s Germany. The reason we wrote "2034" was not to predict a conflict but to warn people, to write a cautionary tale which could allow us to figure out what we need to do to avoid stumbling into a major war.…

Good read. 

Spiegel Online — English
The U.S.-China Confrontation: "We Need To Avoid Stumbling into a Major War"
Bernhard Zang interviews Admiral James Stavridis, US Navy (retired)

See also
There’s no question that, in the national security state, there’s a search for the new enemy that will maintain the ability of the national security state to lay claim to resources on a mammoth scale.
Andrew Bacevich on Ending the US’s Forever Wars
Interview with Andrew Bacevich, professor emeritus of international relations and history at Boston University

Visual Capitalist — Ranking U.S. Generations on Their Power and Influence Over Society

Boomers remain dominant in economic and political power.

Visual Capitalist
Ranking U.S. Generations on Their Power and Influence Over Society
Carmen Ang

Marx in Amerika — Branko Milanovic

But is Marx’s capitalism at all similar to the capitalism of today? Can his ideas be relevant now, more than a century since they were formulated and during which time the world’s per capita income was multiplied by seven, and US per capita income by more than eight times?

The main differences between the classical capitalist world of the 19th century and today is not however that wages are higher (Marx would not have been much surprised since he held that wages reflect “moral-historical” conditions of each country) or that the welfare state is much broader. The main differences are in the nature of the ruling class, and the effects on the middle classes in the globally dominant countries....
Global Inequality
Marx in Amerika
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

See also

MR Online
More young Japanese look to Marx amid pandemic, climate crisis
Originally published: Kyodo News (May 5 2021)

RT — China suspends economic dialogue with Australia ‘indefinitely’ amid spat over Belt & Road Initiative

Beijing has axed a high-level channel for economic talks with Canberra, blasting Australian leaders for having a “Cold War mentality” after the country canceled two contracts linked to its Belt and Road project.

In a harshly worded statement on Thursday, China’s economic planner, the National Development and Reform Commission, said the China-Australia Strategic Economic Dialogue would be paused indefinitely....

While relations have been frosty for some time, halting the negotiation channel could spell further trouble for Canberra as it seeks to resolve trade disputes that affect $20 billion in Australian exports, including in key industries such as coal, timber, seafood, wine and barley. As of March, trade between the two countries had dropped by 40% overall, compared to the period before the commerce battle, with Beijing maintaining tariffs on a number of goods....

Import substitution. 

China suspends economic dialogue with Australia ‘indefinitely’ amid spat over Belt & Road Initiative

An empire in love with its Afghan cemetery — Pepe Escobar

In a nutshell: for the US deep state, leaving Afghanistan is anathema.
All this is being withdrawn is US visible presence. The shadow war goes on as US troops pull out.
The extended troika [Russia, the United States, China and Pakistan, with Turkey poised to enter], at least rhetorically, is in favor of an “independent, sovereign, unified, peaceful, democratic, neutral and self-sufficient Afghanistan.” Talk about a lofty undertaking. It remains to be seen how Afghanistan’s “neutrality” can be guaranteed in such a nest of New Great Game serpents.

Beijing and Moscow will be under no illusions that the newly privatized, Special Forces Afghan-American experiment will eschew using Salafi-jihadis, radicalized Uighurs or other instant assets to destabilize what in effect should be the incorporation of Afghanistan to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (where it’s already an observer) and the larger Eurasia integration project.
The Vineyard of the Saker
An empire in love with its Afghan cemetery
Pepe Escobar

More "liberal" interventionism in Myanmar based on geopolitics and geostrategy to dominate. "Liberation" means installing "our guys" under the guise of liberalism and Western values (making the world safe for totalitarian capital).

Moon of Alabama

See also
During a government investigation of what went wrong back in 2015, Douglas Lute, an Army general who directed Afghan war policy for the Bush and Obama administrations, observed: “We were devoid of a fundamental understanding of Afghanistan — we didn’t know what we were doing.”
Same as Vietnam.

This is a backgrounder.

The True Meaning of the Afghan “Withdrawal”
Alfred W. McCoy | Fred Harvey Harrington Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin–Madison

See also

Sputnik International
In Historic Decision, Iran Allows Senior Military Commanders to Run for President

Russia Reminds US Its Presence in Syria is Illegal After Washington Charges Moscow With ‘Violations’

See also

Everything you were wondering about Sarmat 2

Russia To Test RS-28 Sarmat ICBM Three Times In 2021, British Media Goes Off The Rails

The Limits to US-China Climate Cooperation — Minxin Pei

A rather balanced assessment from a person with sterling US establishment credentials. It doesn't take a genius to see that as long as the US and China are competing for military and economic advantage, real cooperation in addressing climate change is on hold. There will be lip service but no commitments.

Project Syndicate
The Limits to US-China Climate Cooperation
Minxin Pei | Tom and Margot Pritzker '72 Professor of Government and George R. Roberts Fellow at Claremont McKenna College, a non-resident senior fellow with the Asia program at the German Marshall Fund of the United States and formerly a senior associate with the Asia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

See also at PS

France’s Culture War Intensifies
Brigitte Granville | Professor of International Economics and Economic Policy at Queen Mary, University of London

A Rant About Mainstream MMT Critics — Brian Romanchuk

I ran across a text written by an anonymous author who gives the air of being a neoclassical academic. I prefer not to link the article, as I do not want to draw attention to it. However, I just want to point out some salient features that seem to have become the stock response to Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) by at least some neoclassicals. From the perspective of the philosophy of science, this is perhaps interesting.
I would divide the critiques of MMT into two major categories — bad faith bashing and good faith attempts that fail owing to lack of due diligence aka unprofessionalism, chiefly lack of acquaintance with the literature and failure to consider rebuttals to objections that have already been made. There is apparently little to no reputational risk is the economics profession and one has to question why that seems to be so. 

These folks seem not to want to really engage, or else they are only willing to engage in terms of the neoclassical paradigm without being aware of the objections to this paradigm based on erroneous assumptions, for instance. 

Of course, the MMT paradigm is "incorrect" in terms of the neoclassical and MMT economists have addressed this previously. Actually, this goes back to Keynes himself in his criticism of the econometrics ics of Tinbergen, for example, as well as showing how foundational assumptions of the modeling approach are wrong. 

It should be the neoclassical economists who are their back feet in the argument, based on the obvious failures of their forecasting, such as failing to foresee financial crisis brewing as a result of erroneous assumptions the relationship of economics and finance, e.g, loanable funds and neutral money.

And some of those that do offer "good faith" engagement demand that MMT economists take time to enlighten them personally when they themselves have not done their homework. Colloquially this is called "trolling."

Bond Economics
A Rant About Mainstream MMT Critics
Brian Romanchuk

Bill Mitchell — MMT and Power – Part 1

I often read that Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) is defective because it has no theory of power relations. Some critics link this in their narrative to their claim that MMT also has no theory of inflation. They then proceed to attack concepts such as employment buffers, on the grounds, that MMT cannot propose a solution to inflation if it has no understanding of how power relations cause inflation. These criticisms don’t come from the conservative side of the policy debate but rather from the so-called Left, although I wonder just how ‘left’ some of the commentators who cast these aspersions actually are. The problem with these criticisms is that they have clearly adopted a partial approach to their understanding of what MMT is, presumably through not reading the literature widely enough, but also because of the way, some MMT proponents choose to represent our work. In this two part series, I propose to interrogate this issue and demonstrate that power and class is central to any contribution I have made to the development of the MMT literature. Part 1 sets the context and illustrates why some people might be confused....
Bill Mitchell – billy blog
MMT and Power – Part 1
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

WSWS: Margin debt at record high


The commies are skeptical....

Fed RRP vs. lumber price


Post suspension Reserve Asset flow displacing credit flow to lumber industry.... unit price increases... as commercials are normally short...

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Globalisation isn’t losing steam in China — Song Hong

Summary of one big reason that China is rising.

East Asia Forum
Globalisation isn’t losing steam in China
Song Hong | Professor, Senior Fellow and Deputy Director-General at the Institute of American Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS).

(An extended version of this article appears in the most recent edition of East Asia Forum Quarterly, ‘Reinventing global trade’, Vol. 13, No 2.)

Fundacja Lipińskiego — MMT 1st Summer School in Poznań

Organizers: Edward Lipiński Foundation and Heterodox Publishing House.
Date: 8 – 12 September, 2021
Venue: Poznań, Poland

Deadline for applications: 31 May, 2021

Event on facebook:

Alex Lo - America wants dominance, not peace

 Iran, China and Russia all want to normalise relations and avoid conflicts with the US, but Washington is not interested, not unless those regimes commit suicide, which is a very unlikely prospect

WOKE, liberalism, equality for women and ethnic minorities, people with mental and physical disabilities are treated as valued citizens: and it should be great, except it comes with endless warfare, death, and destruction. Good is evil!

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken says China has recently acted “more aggressively abroad” and was behaving “increasingly in adversarial ways”. He has previously said the same or similar thing about Russia and Iran.

In all three cases, though, it has been Washington that is committing the most aggressive and provocative acts that amount to existential threats or at least threats against the core security and territorial interests of its three main adversaries. The pattern of American aggression is too unmistakable to be denied.


LIVE Economist Michael Hudson on new cold war, Super Imperialism, China & Russia, dedollarization


Commission Finds Anti-Black Police Violence Constitutes Crimes Against Humanity Marjorie Cohn

 The International Commission of Inquiry on Systemic Racist Police Violence Against People of African Descent in the United States on Wednesday issued its long-awaited report on the U.S.’s police-perpetrated racist violence. The commissioners concluded that the systematic police killings of Black people in the U.S. constitutes a prima facie case of crimes against humanity and they asked the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to initiate an investigation of responsible police officials.

These crimes against humanity under the ICC’s Rome Statute include murder, severe deprivation of physical liberty, torture, persecution of people of African descent, and inhumane acts causing great suffering or serious injury to body or mental or physical health. All of the crimes occurred in the context of a widespread or systematic attack directed against the civilian population of Black people in the United States, as documented by the findings of fact in the 188-page report.

The 12 commissioners are eminent experts and jurists from Asia, Africa, Latin America, Europe and the Caribbean. I am one of four rapporteurs who helped draft the report. After 18 days of hearings and extensive research, the commissioners found that both U.S. law and police practices do not comply with international law....

Consortium News
Commission Finds Anti-Black Police Violence Constitutes Crimes Against Humanity
Marjorie Cohn | professor emerita at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, former president of the National Lawyers Guild, deputy secretary general of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers and a member of the advisory board of Veterans for Peace
Originally at Truthout

My new podcast episode is out

RHETORICAL QUESTION: Why Do Economists Ignore þe Greatest of All Market Failures? — Brad DeLong

Why isn’t the unequal distribution of ex ante expected lifetime income—inequality of opportunity—conceptualized by us economists as the greatest of all market failures? And why isn’t the distribution of political power that creates & preserves a property order of unequal wealth seen as the greatest of all “regulatory capture by a special interest group” flaws in the working of society, economy, and the state?"….
Conventional economics is based on ignoring embedded asymmetric power relationships stemming from class structure. Anyone who has the temerity to bring it up in the academy is considered at least a closet Marxist, someone that doesn't understand power. Discussion of money and power is ruled out.

Grasping Reality
RHETORICAL QUESTION: Why Do Economists Ignore þe Greatest of All Market Failures?
Brad DeLong | Professor of Economics, UCAL Berkeley

BRICS — Russia Turns to China to Make Sputnik V Jabs to Meet Demand

Demand exceeds supply capability in Russia.

Russia Turns to China to Make Sputnik V Jabs to Meet Demand

China and U.S. GDP: Purchasing Power Parity – chart

 China is pulling away.

Real-World Economics Review Blog
China and U.S. GDP: Purchasing Power Parity – chart

Regime Change — Technology Style — Peter Radford

Must-read. Peter Radford is onto something.

Economics is looking in the wrong direction by emphasizing capital-labor as the variables in production and supply and demand in distribution through markets and rationing scarce goods based on price. This post sets the stage for a more holistic approach to the world system in terms of key fundamentals. The more significant factors are energy and information.

In my view, the foundational element is intelligence and its creative application, which Peter Radford does not mention. It is a hidden assumption. 

Intelligence is the source of reflexivity, learning and adaptation, creativity, innovation, and organization. Intelligence turns raw data into useful information through ordering (organization). 

The evolution of intelligence and its application begins with the emergence of life from bare physicality. Even before life order can be detected in crystalline structure. 

Indeed, physicality unfolds in an ordered way, that is, in ways that exhibit invariance. It is these levels of invariance that are discovered as "the laws of nature." 

In this sense, there is intelligent design, although that doesn't necessarily imply an intelligence designer separate from and prior to nature, although it doesn't contradict it either.

The order runs from consciousness to intelligence, to its application in history, to energy, to behavior in the physical world. 

Consciousness is in essence unbounded, and intelligence is potentially unlimited. "Progress" lies in rolling back the limitations individually and socially. 

This is set forth in perennial wisdom.

The conclusion is that understanding involves grasping the nature of the system as an integrated whole, both vertically — consciousness, intelligence, energy, and action in physicality — and also horizontally. Each of these planes of existence-knowledge is "horizontal" in the sense that the horizon is never reached.

Based on this analysis, consciousness is primary. What is consciousness? There is nothing that more immediate to us than consciousness as our experience. Meditation is the laboratory for investigating its nature and potential individually. 

Meditation enables one to go beyond ordinary experience to gain ordinary levels of experience and even pure consciousness devoid of differentiation of any sort. Pure consciousness is the unitary "field" from which diversity arises.

This experience and understanding is the direction in which humanity is heading its development according to perennial wisdom, although this process is cyclical rather than linear.

The Radford Free Press
Regime Change — Technology Style
Peter Radford

Detente: The Vital Word Missing From Discourse On Russia And China — Caitlin Johnstone

“Our purpose is not to contain China, to hold it back, to keep it down: it is to uphold this rules-based order that China is posing a challenge to,” Blinken said. “Anyone who poses a challenge to that order, we’re going to stand up and defend it.”

Now, had Blinken been speaking to an actual journalist, he would have been asked in what specific ways defending “the rules-based order” against China would differ from trying to contain China and keep it down. He would have also been asked what business a nation that has killed millions and displaced tens of millions in illegal wars just since the turn of this century while deliberately starving civilians to death with sanctions and blockades has proclaiming itself the defender of any “rules-based order”.
The "rules-based order" — "My way or the highway", aka "You're either with us or against us."

Sputnik — EU Rolls Out New Strategy to Cut Dependency on Chinese Suppliers Amid Worsening Ties

 All are now focusing on economic and financial self-sufficiency now that globalization is on-hold for the foreseeable future. It's a consolidation phase to be expected in the historical dialectic. The process was getting ahead of itself and now geopolitics and geostrategy have intervened. 

Now questions arises as to whether the pause will be intensified by a new cold war and arms race, if not kinetic warfare on a regional or global scale. This implies rising uncertainty and increasing paranoia, which suggests increased military spending, probably to the disadvantage of domestic programs, although some domestic sectors will profit while others will be adversely affected. Addressing climate change will be increasingly put on hold to increase national and bloc advantages.

Sputnik International
EU Rolls Out New Strategy to Cut Dependency on Chinese Suppliers Amid Worsening Ties

Biden uses first major address to lay out his program for the working class — Walter Smolarek

FDR at home. Empire abroad. These are incompatible in today's global environment.

MR Online
Biden uses first major address to lay out his program for the working class
Walter Smolarek
Originally published: Liberation

California Bill Seeks to Prevent Hospital Administrators from Practicing Medicine Without a License — Roy Poses

Doctors are highly trained medical professionals trying to survive in a complex sociopolitical system. We have been pawns utilized by hospitals and government for our knowledge and skills, yet more recently expected not to have a voice or opinion.

As a physician in private practice for 40 years, changes in the past 10 years have been difficult. It was hard for me to hear non-medical business administrators force cut-rate medicine compromising evidence-based patient care.

Not just hospital administrators. Government and insurance administrators as well. trying to "save money" for the interests they present and that it not the public.

Naked Capitalism
California Bill Seeks to Prevent Hospital Administrators from Practicing Medicine Without a License
Roy Poses, MD, Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine at Brown University, and the President of FIRM – the Foundation for Integrity and Responsibility in Medicine. 
Originally published at Health Care Renewal

TO CONTINUE — Robert Paul Wolff

The systematic divorce of ownership from managerial control of productive resources, a process growing organically within capitalism as it develops, makes it possible for the first time to think seriously about collective ownership of the means of production. The first question that arises is: what about the surplus? Capitalism is ideally organized to extract a surplus from the annual production and consumption of commodities and to vest ownership of that surplus in private hands. But no matter who owns it, the question naturally arises, what to do with it.
What to do with it is a matter of control, which implies power.

The Philosopher's Stone
Robert Paul Wolff | Professor Emeritus, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Bill Mitchell — What exactly is a rout?

Its Wednesday and just a few items today. I have a fair number of commitments today and some writing deadlines. But I thought a brief comment on a Financial Times article last week (April 30, 2021) highlights how paradigm shift creates wedges in those devoted to the degenerative paradigm. Some embrace change more than others. Some hang on to any thread to maintain their credibility. We might write something about Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) and power tomorrow. That should appeal, eh!...
Power is the crux of economics, owing to the pervasiveness of asymmetry. Conventional economics ;ays it lip service but doesn't include it in its modeling. As a result the outcome is not only biased, but just plain wrong. Power determines distribution.

Bill Mitchell – billy blog
What exactly is a rout?
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Black and Hispanic female employment disproportionately effected by pandemic

Powell (Trump appointee) more progressive than monetarist Yellen or Biden ...

US banks move to reduce deposits


Hey really nice depository system you got there where Depositories can’t accept any deposits you f-ing morons...

EU ‘suspends’ ratification of China investment deal after sanctions — Vincent Ni

More Cold War 2.0 stuff. Blocs forming again.
The European Commission has said that efforts to ratify a massive investment deal with China have been in effect suspended after tit-for-tat sanctions were imposed over China’s treatment of its Uyghur population in March.

“We now in a sense have suspended … political outreach activities from the European Commission side,” said the commission’s executive vice-president, Valdis Dombrovskis, on Tuesday. He said that the current state of relations between Brussels and Beijing was “not conducive” for the ratification of the deal, which is known as EU-China comprehensive agreement on investment.
The cost of "standing on principle."
The European Union and China approved a controversial investment agreement in late December after seven years of marathon negotiations. The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, gave the talks a final push; the Chinese market is especially important to German carmakers and manufacturers who have a large presence in the country.

At the time, the pact was defended as a long-overdue opening to China’s vast market that would benefit European companies....
The Guardian
EU ‘suspends’ ratification of China investment deal after sanctions
Vincent Ni

Links — 4 May 2021

Dances with Bears
John Helmer

Intel Today ("an act of war")
BREAKING NEWS — Havana Syndrome — White House Official Confirms Microwave Attacks [UPDATE — Former Pentagon Chief: “It’s an Act of War!” // Press Review]
Ludwig De Braeckeleer

Reminiscence of the Future
Ships Are Just Platforms.
Andrei Martyanov

Is the US Economy Recovering or Overheating? — J. Bradford DeLong

The fact that core inflation is rising on the back of substantial GDP growth and declining unemployment should not come as a surprise. Those who are wringing their hands about economic "overheating" should remember that an absence of price increases would reflect an economy that is still struggling.
Project Syndicate
Is the US Economy Recovering or Overheating?
J. Bradford DeLong | Professor of Economics, UCAL Berkeley

Iran’s Empowered Hardliners — Djavad Salehi-Isfahani

US Iran hawks argue that Donald Trump’s re-imposition of sanctions in 2018 has given his successor, Joe Biden, leverage in the new round of negotiations over restarting the 2015 nuclear deal. In fact, Trump's approach discredited and sidelined the Iranian moderates needed to secure a new agreement.…

Did sanctions backfire? We'll know if Iran's hardliners win the coming election in Iran, which now seems baked in.

It doesn't seem that there is room to reach an agreement before the election given the intransigence on all sides (US, Iran, and Israel) anyway. The window is now closing.

Project Syndicate
Iran’s Empowered Hardliners
Djavad Salehi-Isfahani | Professor of Economics at Virginia Tech, non-resident senior fellow for Global Economy and Development at the Brookings Institution, and a research fellow at the Economic Research Forum in Cairo

'Vicious' sanctions are hurting Russia, but Moscow has plan to ditch US dollar & axe dependency on West, Foreign Ministry tells RT — Gabriel Gavin

WWIII Watch.

...Russia has warned that, if implemented, disconnecting its businesses from SWIFT would be seen as an "act of war,"...Speaking at a meeting with his Chinese counterpart last month, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said, "The United States has declared its mission is to limit the technological development opportunities of both the Russian Federation and the People's Republic of China." He added that the dollar should be de-prioritized as the default currency of international markets, and the two nations should move away from the use of "Western-controlled international payment systems."...
Decoupling of Global East/South from Global North/West underway in earnest, with consequent Cold War 2.0 and renewed arms race, including in space? This would likely also inhibit concerted action in addressing climate change, since all parties would be reluctant to harness economic growth, for one thing, and for another, the militaries of the world are the prime atmospheric polluters.

Putin previously warned about "playing with fire." He may as well have said, "Children playing with matches near an open can of gasoline."

Gabriel Gavin, in Moscow

See also

Here is the transcript.

The Vineyard of the Saker
Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova’s interview with the RT television channel, May 3, 2021

See also

"White-man speaks with forked tongue."

Sputnik International
Blinken Says Troop Pullout From Afghanistan ‘Doesn’t Mean We’re Leaving’

US Intelligence Report Claims Taliban Would ‘Roll Back’ Afghan Women's Rights After Troop Pullout

Number of unhappy wives in China more than doubled since 2012 — Mandy Zuo

One in five women in China said last year that they regret getting married
Concerns about domestic violence, household responsibilities and unequal public policies fuel their doubts about marriage
Why is this important economically? It is about a shifting informal economy as women wake up to unpaid work.  It is not only individual but also cultural and institutional. 

The revolution supposedly liberated women and it did to a great extent in that education and occupational opportunities greatly increased. But cultures shift slowly and institutions often reflect cultural biases.

While "system racism" as the new buzzword, systemic sexualism and gender-bias persist as cultural problems in most of the world to one degree or another.

This is analogous to colonization, where one cohort is treated as inferior and subject to domination, individually, socially, politically and economically.

Women of the world rise up! You have nothing to lose but your chains.

Number of unhappy wives in China more than doubled since 2012
Mandy Zuo in Shanghai

See also

Taiwan is hardly alone: the same problems are endemic across the East Asian developmentalist states. Low birth rates are also an issue in South Korea and Japan. This week analysts and the media revealed that China’s census is also showing a remarkable drop in birth rates, and that China is apparently overstating the size of its population.

The East Asian economies were all built on the same model of a modern export sector directed outward, and a domestic economy driven by a construction-industrial state that sprays concrete across the national landscape. It’s hardly surprising that they are facing the same social and demographic issues.

One thing they also share is brutal cultures of work overseen by patriarchal, authoritarian bosses. However you turn the prism to see Taiwan’s problems from a new angle, Boss Island, as Shieh Gwo-shyong’s (謝國雄) excellent 1993 book called it, remains the heart of the issue....

Yanis Varoufakis — The Eternal Marx: Reviewing Shlomo Avineri’s KARL MARX: PHILOSOPHY & RELIGION

Shlomo Avineri’s recent biography demolishes the charge that Karl Marx was a self-hating anti-Semite. And by dragging Marx, kicking and screaming, back into the Rhinish Jewish community that shaped him, Avineri yields new insights pertinent to today’s global challenges....

Bill Mitchell — The macroeconomic narrative continues to (MMT) evolve but the games not over yet

I think the general population are starting to get the message that my profession and the political class that uses it as an authority has been leading them down the garden path for decades now to cover up policies that have deliberately undermined our socio-economic prospects and allows a massive transfer of national income to the top-end-of-town. I am also watching, on a daily basis, the almost ludicrous way the mainstream economists and the politicians weave and duck as they change their story about fiscal deficits, public debt and unemployment. The paradigm shift that has been in play for a while now has accelerated in recent weeks, from a ‘6 in front of it’, to a ‘5 in front of it’, then last week a ‘4’ with some players urging a 3. That fancy talk the policy class use to talk about when the fiscal stimulus that has had capitalism on life support will start to be withdrawn and the numbers refer to the official unemployment rate that will tell the politicians the economy has recovered. Yes, I jest. And I shouldn’t because human tragedy is involved. But after years of being told I was crazy, it makes me laugh to watch the machinations unfold as the uncomfortable truth sets in that this lot had no authoritative model – it was hocus pocus all along designed to make us think they were on top of it and that TINA (prevails)....
Bill Mitchell – billy blog
The macroeconomic narrative continues to (MMT) evolve but the games not over yet
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Janet Yellen’s Deficit Preoccupation



Monday, May 3, 2021

Avineri on Marx as social democrat — Daniel Little

Book review. Argues that Marx was neither the anarchist, nor revolutionary, nor communist that he is often characterized as. His thought was much more nuanced than later caricatured.

Understanding Society
Avineri on Marx as social democrat
Daniel Little | Chancellor of the University of Michigan-Dearborn, Professor of Philosophy at UM-Dearborn and Professor of Sociology at UM-Ann Arbor

KV - CIA WOKE Recruitment Video

 As Tom said, the ruling class once used "the spreading of Christianity" as an excuse to conquer and loot the world, but now they are using liberalism as an excuse instead. 

How Will the Digital Renminbi Change China? — Shang-Jin Wei

China's new digital renminbi by itself will not help the currency to challenge the US dollar’s global dominance. Its true significance instead lies in its potential to shift the competitive balance of power between the country’s technology giants and traditional banks.…

The post also contains some interesting details about the digital RMB. (The RMB is the name of the currency, while the yuan is the unit of account.)

Project Syndicate
How Will the Digital Renminbi Change China?
Shang-Jin Wei, a former chief economist at the Asian Development Bank, is Professor of Finance and Economics at Columbia Business School and Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs

Neoliberal economists announce . . . — Ken Zimmerman

Neoliberal economists announce to all, whether they want to hear it or not regularly, those who are wealthy and powerful deserve both, and more due to their greater intelligence, commitment, foresight, and competitive spirit. They deny that prejudices of any kind, racial, ethnic, gender, political, etc. play any part in such determinations. Referencing to the old Grouhcho Marx’s joke, these economists want us to believe their theory rather than our eyes. Each day our own experiences both as ‘formal’ scientists and in everyday interactions force us to face many instances in which these and many other prejudices determine our chances in life and who and what we become. What does that make neoliberal economists? At best idiot savants. At worst dangerous liars and propagandists.
Real-World Economics Review Blog
Neoliberal economists announce . . .
Ken Zimmerman

Primer: Seasonal Adjustment And The CPI — Brian Romanchuk

Complaints about seasonal adjustment of economic data are another relatively common feature of internet chatter. The complaints are related to the discussion of the previous section {in the manuscript, which is not written yet}, which was the view that economists are messing with the data to promote some agenda. (Since these complaints are often levelled by those of a bearish temperament, the usual complaint is that economic growth is overstated, and/or inflation is understated by seasonal adjustment.)

NOTE: This is an extremely preliminary draft of a section from my inflation primer manuscript.

I do not label these complaints as a “myth” since I am unconvinced that anyone really believes that seasonal adjustment results in lower inflation rates. Rather, my feeling is that this is just exploiting the mistrust of economists and financial market commentators using a concept that is not often encountered....
Bond Economics
Primer: Seasonal Adjustment And The CPI
Brian Romanchuk

Personal saving surges to over $6T once again. Guess we all stopped going to restaurants?

 Here we go again. Personal saving surged to $6.04 trillion in March. I'm just waiting now for Neel Kashkari to come out and explain that it's because we didn't go to movie theaters and restaurants. (Hey, Neel, restaurants are open and people are spending again. Check retail sales.)

Actually, Neel's an idiot. (Seems to be a requirement to work at the Fed.) The reason for the surge in personal savings was due to those stimulus checks and other fiscal support. It works.

By the way, one byproduct of this has been a precipitous slowdown in the growth of bank loans. Not surprising. When the government supplies cash to people their need for bank credit goes down. Poor banks. Fewer customers begging for their credit. That means less fees and interest payments.

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Bill Mitchell — US and UK fiscal stimulus supporting growth while the delays in the Eurozone lead to a double-dip recession

Last week (April 29, 2021), the US Bureau of Economic Analysis published the latest national accounts data – Gross Domestic Product, First Quarter 2021 (Advance Estimate) – which showed that the US economy grew by 1. The following day (April 30, 2021), saw Eurostat announce that the Eurozone contracted by 0.6 per cent in the first-quarter 2021, which means it is now enduring a double-dip recession. The European Union, now without Britain as a member, contracted by 0.4 per cent. In contrast, with Britain now out of that mess and determining its own future, we saw the British economy return a positive GDP growth rate in February as exports rose and government stimulus sustained domestic activity. Why should we be surprised about this. In this post, I examine the US situation in more detail and reflect on some interesting trends in the UK. The Eurozone situation is too depressing to write about on a sunny day!...
Bill Mitchell – billy blog
US and UK fiscal stimulus supporting growth while the delays in the Eurozone lead to a double-dip recession
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Sputnik — Trump’s Success May Inspire More Celebrities to Run For Office, Report Says

Celebrity culture and cult of the personality.

No, Ronald Reagan doesn't count. He had experience as the governor of California, the most populous state in the US.

Same with past presidents that were generals. They all had top management experience in a large federal government organization, militaries being government organizations, after all.

Sputnik International
VIPs in the White House: Trump’s Success May Inspire More Celebrities to Run For Office, Report Says

Modern Monetary Theory For Conservatives — Jonathan Culbreath

Good article.

The American Conservative
Modern Monetary Theory For Conservatives
Jonathan Culbreath

See also

About what one would expect.
Culbreath, like most “mainstream” economists, misidentifies inflation as a "rise in the price levels." But rising price levels are an effect, not a cause, of inflation. Inflation is the very act of money creation by a central bank.
Same old, same old. End the Fed. 
Contrary to proponents of MMT, inflation’s pernicious effects are not limited to times of “full employment.” Instead, they are felt any time the central bank artificially lowers interest rates.
He must have been asleep for the last decade.

Mises Wire
No, Conservatives Should Not Embrace MMT
Ron Paul

West turns a blind eye to march honoring WW2 Nazi ‘SS’ in Kiev: Ukraine may not be a fascist state, but it has a fascism problem — Paul Robinson

Wednesday’s march in memory of the 14th SS Division ‘Galicia’ in downtown Kiev demonstrated not so much that Ukraine is a fascist state as that its leaders are guilty of turning a blind eye to the far right and of exploiting it.
The problem is that the Right Sector (Pravi Sektor), a Ukrainian ultra-right (neo-Nazi) political party and armed militia, is a dominant force in Ukrainian politics, operating on the threat of violence and use of violence. This is not widely acknowledged in the West. It is largely the Right Sektor and its supporters and fellow-travelers that are standing in the way of implementation of the Minsk 2 agreement over Eastern Ukraine (Donbas).
Making matters worse, Western powers have proven unwilling to confront Ukraine on this issue, while the Western media has, with some notable exceptions, chosen to ignore it. Last week’s march in Kiev, for instance, failed to make the news in any major English-language media outlet other than RT. Rather than admit that
Ukraine’s critics have a point, Western commentators prefer to look the other way.
Tidbit: "Commemorations of the 14th SS Division have been quite common in Western Ukraine for some time, and there is even a monument to the Division in Oakville, Ontario, in Canada." Ukrainian immigrants are a powerful political force in Canada.

West turns a blind eye to march honoring WW2 Nazi ‘SS’ in Kiev: Ukraine may not be a fascist state, but it has a fascism problem
Paul Robinson | Professor, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa

Update at his blog

Ukraine’s Fascist Problem
Paul Robinson | Professor, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa

See also
World’s Most Tyrannical Regime Can’t Stop Babbling About “Human Rights”
Caitlin Johnstone

See also

The Intercept
New Documentary "Exterminate All the Brutes" Was 500 Years of Genocide in the Making
Jon Schwarz


The Grayzone
World Police: Washington Seeks To Imprison Foreign Businesspeople
Stansfield Smith

See also

Common Dreams
End 'Forever Wars,' Biden Told as White House Releases Document on Trump's Secret Lethal Force Rules
Andrea Germanos

See also
With China now in the U.S. crosshairs, the ETIM has moved from being an adversary to being a potential asset.
Remember the Afghan "freedom fighters" against the Soviet Union funded by the US. Well, they morphed into Al Qaeda. "Blowback."

MintPress News
In 2018 the US Was at War With Uyghur Terrorists. Now It Claims They Don’t Even Exist
Alan Macleod

Brad DeLong, Noah Smith, And Others On The Cambridge Capital Controversy — Robert Vienneau

Summary of the current debate. Robert Vienneau mentions Bill Mitchell's recent blog posts on CCC.

Thoughts On Economics
Brad DeLong, Noah Smith, And Others On The Cambridge Capital Controversy
Robert Vienneau

Wealth inequality — Michael Roberts

 Wealth inequality, real and financial, dwarfs income inequality.

But as I have argued before, real wealth concentration is about the ownership of productive capital, the means of production and finance. It’s big capital (finance and business) that controls the investment, employment and financial decisions of the world. A dominant core of 147 firms through interlocking stakes in others together control 40% of the wealth in the global network according to the Swiss Institute of Technology. A total of 737 companies control 80% of it all.

This is the inequality that matters for the functioning of capitalism – the concentrated power of capital. And because inequality of wealth stems from the concentration of the means of production and finance in the hands of a few; and because that ownership structure remains untouched, any increased taxes on wealth will fall short of irreversibly changing the distribution of wealth and income in modern societies.

There is no solution in the capitalistic system. The system is designed fundamentally, just as feudalism was. Actually addressing wealth inequality to obviate asymmetry of power to save democracy requires a new system. If this new system is a liberal one, then social, political and economic liberalism need to be integrate instead of social and political liberalism being subordinated to economic liberalism, whether classical economic liberalism (laissez-faire) or neoliberalism (dominance of economic liberalism over social and political liberalism). How likely is control of the levers of power shifting without revolution?

Michael Roberts Blog — blogging from a marxist economist
Wealth inequality
Michael Roberts

See also
The welfare state wasn’t created by enlightened dialogue or “sensible” moderate politics. It was a concession won by workers against bosses through decades of struggle.
Class Struggle Built the Welfare State
Asbjørn Wahl

Saturday, May 1, 2021

Loans & Leases in bank credit

 As of April 21 close... lowest number in this series in over a year.... oh those crafty “banksters!”...

India’s New Vaccine Strategy Is Bad Economics

 Putting a price on shots could lead to unjust, lopsided distribution. The cost to the consumer should be zero.

Compare China to India on both the economy and covid.

Expanding the campaign to all adults below 45 starting next month is a late but welcome move. India’s daily infection rate of almost 350,000 is the worst any country has experienced. Even then, shifting a big part of the financial burden to 28 state governments and letting private hospitals buy shots at 600 to 1200 rupees ($8 to $16) apiece — and sell them to patients at even higher prices — are both wrong.

In a nation riddled with inequalities and swelling with 75 million newly impoverished after last year’s coronavirus lockdown, putting a price on any part of limited vaccine supplies could lead to unjust, lopsided distribution. Free, universal access, with New Delhi negotiating prices with at least four or five suppliers globally, could prepare India better for a third Covid-19 resurgence. Until herd immunity is achieved, private hospitals must continue acting as agents of the state, and impose only a limited markup on the stock they’re given free from the national pool.