Saturday, May 15, 2021

Gower Initiative for Modern Money Studies — Dealing with crucial issues must triumph over the bogus ‘need’ to balance the books

Availability of real resources.
This is our challenge: to learn to live and flourish within the boundaries set by the planet’s finite resources. We can make a start by understanding how we can deliver that through the lens of MMT.
The Gower Initiative for Modern Money Studies
Dealing with crucial issues must triumph over the bogus ‘need’ to balance the books

Ali Velshi: The right to exist goes both ways

 I didn't think I've ever see this on the MSM. Video embedded. 

Israel has a right to exist and to defend itself. That’s a fact. The same is true for Palestinians - that point seems to get missed. Palestinians are, at best, third class citizens in the nation of their birth. The Israeli government, on an ongoing basis, declares parcels of land on which Palestinians live to be either of military or archeological importance, causing residents to be evicted. Sometimes there’s a court case, and almost always, the Palestinians lose. Yet months or weeks later, that same “important” land suddenly becomes home to a brand-new Israeli settlement. As more and more Jewish settlers take over land on which Arabs lived, the Occupied West Bank becomes de facto more Israeli and, in the explicit hopes of the Israeli government, more Jewish. This is a long-standing and deliberate attempt to force Arabs - who have lived in that land sometimes for hundreds of years - out. It is an attempt to dilute their presence, because to have Arabs as full participants is, in the opinion of the Israeli government and courts, diluting Israel.

May 15, 2021

Ali Velshi: The right to exist goes both ways

April Industrial Production slightly disappoints – but only due to supply chain bottlenecks — NewDealdemocrat

Industrial production is the King of Coincident Indicators, and is the one whose peaks and troughs most frequently mark the beginning and end of recessions. It had been bouncing back strongly, but in the last several months, has hit something of a snag....

The good news for the near future is that these supply chain difficulties are going to be resolved, and as they are resolved, production can be expected to pick up swiftly, given the surge in demand. The important issue will be that the issues get resolved quickly enough so that there is not an episode of “stagnation” caused by resource constraints (a la the gas-fueled stagflation of the 1970s).  

Angry Bear
April Industrial Production slightly disappoints – but only due to supply chain bottlenecks

So what if the Ottomans shaped the modern world? — The Saker

Historical backgrounder. Largely a summary of God’s Shadow: The Ottoman Sultan Who Shaped the Modern World (Faber & Faber) by Alan Mikhail, chair of the Department of History at Yale.

Most people in the West are only familiar with the history of Western civilization, ignoring what shaped its place in the world historically, including the Mongol empire and the Ottoman empire, which rivaled or surpassed the Hellenistic empire created by Alexander's conquests and the Roman empire. The British empire was the largest formal empire historically, and the remnant was taken over by the US as the informal "American empire" in which Britain is still a major player and active clandestinely through Five Eyes.

Oh, and yes, "follow the money," as always. It was and is about controlling trade routes and thereby trade, as Pepe explains. Why did Columbus sail West. The Ottomans controlled eastern trade routes, e.g. the Silk Road.

Most people in the West are also ignorant of the historical dialectic (conflict) between Christian civilization and Islamic civilization. Presently, events are required some catching up on history, which involves debunking some myths about it regrading Western exceptionalism, which stems from its rooting in Christianity as "the one, true faith." That is a very one-sided picture of history and it still shapes events under the American empire that is now dominant but cresting.

The old region of historical contest and conquest, the Near East Central Asia and the Caucus, is back on the front burner. The contest is now largely between the West (the "grand chessboard") and China (BRI), with the Russian empire, the Persian empire, the Ottoman empire, and the Moghul empire. These were the primary regional power prior to the rise of the concept of the nation-state in Europe that was institutionalized by the Treaty of Westphalia (1648). Previously, local organization and governance was largely tribal and remains so in many areas today.

This is the subject not only of history and international relations but also of political and economic geography.

The Vineyard of the Saker
So what if the Ottomans shaped the modern world?
The Saker

Friday, May 14, 2021

TASS — Russian government approves list of unfriendly countries.

The Russian government has approved a list of unfriendly countries. There are two names on the list - the United States and the Czech Republic. The instruction was uploaded to the official portal of legal information on Friday....
"Partners" no more.

Russian government approves list of unfriendly countries.

Did the pandemic shake Chinese citizens’ trust in their government? We surveyed nearly 20,000 people to find out. — Cary Wu

98% approval of the CCP's management. Up from 95% in 2018.

Interesting in that the CCP resorted to draconian measure to address the challenge and managed to get on top if it a matter of months. The priorities of governance are security, order, welfare, and distributed prosperity in that order. Liberties are adjusted to meet these priorities.

The Washington Post
Did the pandemic shake Chinese citizens’ trust in their government? We surveyed nearly 20,000 people to find out.
Cary Wu | professor of sociology, York University, Ontario, Canada

See also
Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, said the Party's 100-year history is a history of dedication to people's well-being and aspirations.
Xi stresses striving for people's well-being


Xi visits resettled residents of China's mega water diversion project

Inflation Myths and the US Economic Rebound 2021 — Jack Rasmus

Republicans, conservatives, and business interests are using the fact of recent rising prices to attack legislative proposals to increase government spending. They argue the recently passed $1.8 trillion ‘American Rescue Plan’ (Covid Relief Plan) by the Biden administration was too generous. And proposals to spend on Infrastructure ($2.2T) and American Families ($1.5T) will only stoke consumer spending and boost inflation further.

They and their mainstream media friends are arguing that fiscal stimulus putting money in the hands of households is driving up prices. In other words, consumer DEMAND is now causing prices to rise sharply, they argue.

But is it? Or is the problem of rising inflation a business SUPPLY problem?...
Demand remains rather weak judging by the trend of retail sales. In addition, the saving rate is still elevated. Prices rises can be traced to supply shortages owing to the effects of the pandemic, e.g., on employment as well as bottlenecks, e.g, semiconductors are affecting new car production.

Jack Rasmus
Inflation Myths and the US Economic Rebound 2021
Jack Rasmus, professor of political economy, St. Mary’s College, Moraga, California

Biden’s Foreign Policy Needs a Course Correction — Charles A. Kupchan

By defining today's geopolitics as a clash between democracy and autocracy, the Biden administration risks both empowering America's adversaries and undercutting its allies. And an us-versus-them approach will make it impossible to confront shared global challenges.…
Biden's foreign policy is determined by the MICIMATT (Military-Industrial-Congressional-Intelligence-Media-Academia-Think-Tank complex). Strategic blunder. These are the same types that gave the US Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria. 

Why expect something different from doing the same thing? "This time it will be different. We've learned. We're the best." Right.

Project Syndicate
Biden’s Foreign Policy Needs a Course Correction
Charles A. Kupchan, Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, is Professor of International Affairs at Georgetown University

See also

India Punchline
China blocks US bases in Central Asia
M. K. Bhadrakumar | retired diplomat with the Indian Foreign Service

See also

Sputnik International
China Says ‘Coercive Diplomacy is a Specialty of the United States’ in a Counterpunch at Blinken

See also

Civil War 2.0 Watch
The letter concludes with a grim prediction as to where the former military leaders believe the nation, should it continue along its course, is heading: “Under a Democrat Congress and the Current Administration, our Country has taken a hard left turn toward Socialism and a Marxist form of tyrannical government which must be countered now by electing congressional and presidential candidates who will always act to defend our Constitutional Republic.

“The survival of our Nation and its cherished freedoms, liberty, and historic values are at stake.”
And Biden is not even a progressive.  Moreover, his foreign policy is that of the MICIMATT (Military-Industrial-Congressional-Intelligence-Media-Academia-Think-Tank complex).

Some notes on the world economy now — Michael Roberts

Even with a strong recovery from the pandemic, creative destruction is needed to increase profitability of capital investment owing to debt overhang and excessive financialization of the global economy.

Michael Roberts Blog — blogging from a marxist economist
Some notes on the world economy now
Michael Roberts

The sources and size of tax evasion in the United States — Corey Husak

Tens of millions of Americans will duly pay the taxes they owe and file for their refunds by Tax Day in 2021, which was delayed until May 17. Meanwhile, some of the wealthiest Americans will engage in complicated tax evasion schemes that will cost the U.S. government $700 billion this year, according to U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.

Tax evasion has reached such heights that the Biden administration is proposing bold measures to crack down on rich tax cheats. And academic research is leading the way in exposing the schemes and frauds that the rich use to evade taxes and how to close the so-called tax gap.

The tax gap is the difference between what taxpayers owe to the IRS and what is actually paid. Because unreported or hidden income cannot be directly observed, academic research is key in documenting the sources and size of the tax gap. For instance, Natasha Sarin, now at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, and Larry Summers at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government corroborate Secretary Yellen’s assertion that the tax gap is about $700 billion this year and outline many steps to close it.

This issue brief examines the following factors that help determine the size of the tax gap:
WCEG — The Equitablog
Corey Husak

Marxian economics—an update — David F. Ruccio

Professor Ruccio has been quiet for awhile So I haven't been posting anything. But he has been working on the Marx book in the meantime. Here is a link that links to the updates at his place.

Occasional Links & Commentary
Marxian economics—an update
David F. Ruccio | Professor Emeritus of Economics, University of Notre Dame

Gigantic machine used to construct residential building in Chongqing, China

Many Westerners and economists have been predicteding China’s economic crash for many years now, but it always seems to hold up. Now an aging population without enough young people is often quoted as a reason for the next crash. But China thinks out of the box, and dramatic projects, unthinkable in the West due to short terminism, can occur in China. AI and equipment like this is reducing the need for labour. 

1 floor in 3 days! A gigantic high-rise building machine is used to construct residential buildings in Chongqing, China

The Telegraph: Watch: the 580-ton monster machine contructing bridges in China

The episode above shares some fascinating facts about the SLJ900/32 Segmental Bridge Launching Machine.
Created by Beijing Wowjoint Machinery Co, this colossal 580-ton machine is used to construct bridges in China, extending itself between pillars and placing beams along the way.

Thursday, May 13, 2021

The Blemishes of John Stuart Mill’s Liberalism — Evan Jones

While John Stuart Mill is remembered as a philosopher (Utilitarianism and On Liberty), he is also numbered among the prominent classical economists along with Smith and Ricardo. His Principles of Political Economy was widely taught until it was replaced by Alfred Marshall's Principles of Economics.

The article observes that while Mill was "progressive for his day," his day was not at all progressive. While he was a bit of a radical at the time, now his work seems quite conservative on comparison with contemporary works.

Even so, he was a founder of British liberalism, shaped American liberalism, and is still read today.

The Blemishes of John Stuart Mill’s Liberalism
Evan Jones

What is economic growth? And why is it so important? — Max Roser

Poverty, prosperity, and growth are often measured in monetary terms, most commonly as people’s income. But while monetary measures have some important advantages, they have the big disadvantage that they are abstract. In the worst case monetary measures – like GDP per capita – are so abstract that we forget what they are actually about: people’s access to goods and services. 
The point of this text is to show why economic growth is important and how the abstract monetary measures tell us about the reality of people’s material living conditions around the world and throughout history:
In the first part I want to explain what economic growth is and why it is so difficult to measure.

In the second part I will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of several measures of growth and you will find the latest data on several of these measures so that we can see what they tell us about how people’s material living conditions have changed.
What are these goods and services that I’m talking about?...
Our World in Data
What is economic growth? And why is it so important?
Max Roser

Tech-Tonic Shift in Sino-Russian Cooperation — Nivedita Kapoor

Russia-China engagement in the military-technical field has ‘strategic importance’ for both parties, with bilateral cooperation on the upswing since 2010. This has gained momentum in the aftermath of the 2014 Ukrainian crisis, with Russia shedding its earlier reluctance to sell latest technology to China, signing deals for supply of Su-35 fighter jets and the S-400 missile defence system. The two sides are also engaged in joint projects, and Russia has agreed to help China develop its ballistic missile early-warning system. In fact, the latter development has been interpreted as a sign of increasing closeness between the two countries, which while not an alliance, does signal deepening engagement.

Another traditional area of cooperation has been space, where in 2019 the two countries declared their intention to jointly build an International Scientific Lunar Station. The two sides have agreed to cooperate in peaceful use of GLONASS and BeiDou navigation, in order to promote interoperability of the two systems. Several scientific projects are ongoing, which has been supplemented by a common position on issues like the US-led Artemis Accords that seeks to build principles for space exploration and potential utilisation of resources. Russia and China have opposed the agreement, labelling the move as creating a ‘US-led space order’ that also brings in private players.

Apart from these traditional bilateral engagements, Russia-China cooperation has now expanded to include Artificial Intelligence (AI), big data, 5G, robotics, digital economy, biotechnology, and Information and Communications Technology (ICT). These form a particular focus of the ongoing Year of Russian-Chinese Scientific, Technical and Innovation Cooperation....
Russian technology combined with Chinese manufacturing capability. Arms-race on.

BRICS - Joint Site of Ministries of Foreign Affairs of BRICS Member States
Tech-Tonic Shift in Sino-Russian Cooperation
Nivedita Kapoor

See also

One World
Russia Is Seriously Concerned About US Biolabs In Former Soviet States
Andrew Korybko

See also

Unz Review
American Pravda: "The Truth" and "The Whole Truth" About the Origins of Covid-19
Ron Unz

Cryptocurrency Short Comment — Brian Romanchuk

Although I had written a couple of theoretical articles some time ago, I have largely ignored cryptocurrencies. However, there has been enough newsflow about them that I decided I could do a drive-by comment. In case one wants an investment recommendation, all I can say is that the underlying problems they face are straightforward, I have no way of knowing the timing.

The thing I find most interesting is that attention has switched to Dogecoin, which is a meme coin. The reason why this has happened is solely based on the fact that its price rose by more than Bitcoin. This deflates much of the propaganda being emitted by Bitcoin enthusiasts, who insist that Bitcoin will replace fiat currencies and lead to a libertarian economic utopia. Instead, most people are buying it because the price went up. The doggy coin price went up? Well, buy that one.…

The greater fool strategy.

Bond Economics
Cryptocurrency Short Comment
Brian Romanchuk

Bill Mitchell — Central bank writes off government currency transfer

Someone in Mauritius has been reading up on MMT?

Bill Mitchell – billy blog
Central bank writes off government currency transfer
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

America’s Multi-Trillion Dollar Infrastructure Security Crisis — Irina Slav


America’s Multi-Trillion Dollar Infrastructure Security Crisis
Irina Slav

See also

Sputnik International
Biden Signs Executive Order Improving Cybersecurity After Recent Hackings

Andrew Batson — China census reveals the true scale of the Northeast’s decline

Young people moving to more hospitable places, in addition to declining birthrate.

Andrew Batson's Blog
China census reveals the true scale of the Northeast’s decline

My new podcast episode is out.

Insider View: The Tragedy of the U.S. Deep State — Pepe Escobar

Like it says, view of a high-placed insider in the US deep state aka MICIMATT (Military-Industrial-Congressional-Intelligence-Media-Academia-Think-Tank complex). It confirms what you have been reading here for some time.

Strategic Culture Foundation
Insider View: The Tragedy of the U.S. Deep State
Pepe Escobar

ZH — Goldman Scrambles To Comfort Its Clients Who Are Freaking Out About China's Soaring Prices

Factors putting upward pressure on commodity prices:

1. China is switching emphasis to "dual circulation," that is, focusing on domestic consumption in addition to exports. This increases domestic demand. In addition, as decolonization proceeds globally and the emerging world begins to increase domestic consumption generally, commodities in limited supply will increase in price.

2. Dc-carbonization will involve a shift in energy sources and also affect energy prices. Coal has been a relatively inexpensive energy source and it is on the way out.

3. The increasingly precarious international situation is also increasing the military share of commodities as a new arms race develops.

4. A lot of the low hanging fruit has already been picked and more resources are increasingly required per unit of output.

The handwriting is on the wall. The culprit is consumerism amplified by manufactured wants through marketing and advertising. The whole world cannot consume at the level of the presently developed countries but that is the aspiration without drastically affecting the world system with respect to both resource availability and negative externalities. But consumerism is what contemporary capitalism is based on. Something has to give somewhere.

Although most contemporary inflation has been a result of cost-push rather than demand pull, it will be popularly attributed to "too much money chasing to few goods," with consequent calls for fiscal austerity by reducing expenditure and fiscal deficits to address it. Good luck with that.

We aren't there yet by a long shot but it is something to begin watching. GS is apparently not yet concerned, nor is the Fed. The Fed has not even begun to raise the interest rate from rock bottom. The Fed still assumes a central bank has the ability of  to address inflation by raising interest rates—as do most conventional economists—even though MMT explains otherwise. So the thinking appears to be that inflationary pressure is not a problem yet.

Anyway, while there are still many screaming about the "unsustainable" fiscal deficit, the emphasis has shifted largely to concern with "inflation," the conception of which is quite different across the board. So reactions are somewhat irrational based on these assumptions.

The major issue to be aware of now is that rising prices are due to supply shortage rather than "too much money chasing too few goods," so the measures to address this issue have to be designed accordingly. The bottom line is that eventually consumerism has to moderate or the population of the world has to decrease. Another solution proposed by some is to prevent the emerging world from emerging and creating increasing demand for scarce resources, based on "we got here first."

Cathie’s ARKK


Popular Tech ETF... The Fed’s CCAR regulations have the ‘big five” (JPM, C, WFC, BAC, GS) price setters somehow hedged down to a 55% equity price reduction so for this thing that’s the $72 level from its recent high of about $160... probably significant support down at that level (if it gets there) ... currently down about 35% from recent high so 20% above there now...

PFE chart


Left wing commie unqualified incompetent  Art degree lunatics complaining PFE gets $20 per dose and they’re making all of this munnie... meanwhile stock hasn’t gone up in over 20 years.... pays a nice dividend though...

Super WOKE CIA Commercial

Is conservatism finished in America? 


Americans handing out GERM WARFARE weaponry that could wipe out millions across world, Russian Security Council official claims

 The WOKE nation brings mega death too. Equality for woman, racial minorities, and the physically and mentally handicapped; a society where everyone is valued, except it comes with evil and mega death. The Military-Industrial Complex has hijacked liberalism, in the same way that the ruling elite hijacked democracy. Now they use 'democracy and liberalism' as a cover to conquer the world. 

Yuri Averyanov, the first deputy secretary of the country’s top national defense body, used an interview with RIA Novosti on Tuesday to warn that “lethal and dangerous microorganisms... could potentially be released into the environment, allegedly by mistake.” He added that such an attack, if used against Russia, “would lead to a massive destruction of the civilian population” both within the country and in neighboring states.

He added that Washington is currently working to increase biological weapons capabilities in a number of states around the world, including some close to Russia. These programs, he says, weaponize viruses and other pathogens “primarily for military purposes.”

WOKE Nation comes with the Kiss of Death! 

Americans handing out GERM WARFARE weaponry that could wipe out millions across world, Russian Security Council official claims

Type 2 diabetes preventive effects with a 12-months sardine-enriched diet in elderly population with prediabetes: An interventional, randomized and controlled trial


We conclude that a year T2D-prevention diet with sardine supplementation has a greater protective effect against developing T2D and CV events.

Type 2 diabetes preventive effects with a 12-months sardine-enriched diet in elderly population with prediabetes: An interventional, randomized and controlled trial

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

The 'Too Much Money Chasing Too Few Goods' Myth — NeilW

The 'Too Much Money Chasing Too Few Goods' meme is replacing the "The Government Is Broke" meme. Both are nonsense (except in some special cases that don't apply generally) when they are viewed through the MMT lens.

New Wayland
The 'Too Much Money Chasing Too Few Goods' Myth

Pictures of a Ukrainian Dream — Pepe Escobar

 While this is speculative, it is what Michael Hudson said would happen some time ago. It's taken some time but if this is true it is in full swing. As Pepe says, it's plausible. I would add it is also in character. This is what empires do. Hey, what is the purpose of having an empire if you can't use it?

The Vineyard of the Saker
Pictures of a Ukrainian Dream
Pepe Escobar

Class — Chris Dillow

What the ruling class does not like to talk about and does everything it can to submerge as vital to maintaining political control in a nominally democratic society.

The pretense is that the concept of class that lies at the heart of Marx's analysis no longer is true. That may be true, but the sociological reality remains even though it has morphed with the maturing of capitalism.

Chris Dillow has a message for the Labour Party. Oh, wait, the establishment of the Labour Party that controls the party (ask Jeremy Corbin about this) is part of the elite, isn't it.

Stumbling and Mumbling
Chris Dillow | Investors Chronicle

Sputnik — Craig Murray Jailed for Eight Months for Contempt of Court Over Alex Salmond Trial

 First Assange and now Murray. Free speech and free press in UK no more?

Both of these cases, along with several others, are likely to prove to have been strategic blunders when the debris settles. More hemorrhaging of  soft power.

Sputnik International
Craig Murray Jailed for Eight Months for Contempt of Court Over Alex Salmond Trial

See also

Consortium News
Murray Sentenced to 8 Months in Prison
Joe Lauria

Monday, May 10, 2021

Cost of Living Versus Inflation — Brian Romanchuk

One thing I have discovered when discussing inflation is that discussions very rapidly get derailed into discussions of the “cost of living.” I take a view that is conventional within market and economic discussion: inflation is a macroeconomic concept, and the consumer price index is one way to measure it. However, many people view inflation as rising cost of living.

There is a link between these two ideas, but they are not the same thing. It is entirely possible that the reader might disagree with my views on the distinction, but if they are to get any value from this book at all, they need to understand what I am referring to....
Bond Economics
Cost of Living Versus Inflation
Brian Romanchuk

China on the horizon as ‘world’s pharmacy’ — M. K. Bhadrakumar


India Punchline
China on the horizon as ‘world’s pharmacy’
M. K. Bhadrakumar | retired diplomat with the Indian Foreign Service

Michael Hudson & Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove — Imagining An End to Poverty and Economic Dependence

Interview and transcript.

Yves here. We are delighted to feature another talk by Michael Hudson and Jonathan Wilson-Hargrove of the Poor People’s Campaign, hosted by Jim Vrettos of The Radical Imagination. Topics include an assessment of the Biden Administration and who really benefited from its relief to lower-wage workers. They also discuss the role of preachers in promoting economic justice, and how the business community enlisted some as early as the Great Depression to promote “free market” ideology.

Naked Capitalism
Michael Hudson & Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove: Imagining An End to Poverty and Economic Dependence

How America Became the Money Laundering Capital of the World — Peter Stone

Experts and former prosecutors say that such fines have essentially become the cost of doing business, and that America’s entire approach to money laundering needs radical rethinking....
"Capitalism" again.

The New Republic
Peter Stone

What are the real reasons behind the New Cold War? — William I. Robinson

The US is launching a New Cold War against Russia and China in an attempt to deflect our attention from the escalating crisis of global capitalism....

Making the world safe for democracy capitalism. 

On the systemic level, it is about Western resistance to losing the half-millennium of dominance the West enjoyed during an age of imperialism and colonization, as well as enclosure (privatization) of the commons domestically. 

When a moment expires in the historical dialectic, resistance is futile. (See link below)


What are the real reasons behind the New Cold War?
William I. Robinson | professor of sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara

See also

East Asia Forum
US Pacific Deterrence Initiative too little, too late to counter China
Hugh White | Emeritus Professor at the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, The Australian National University

Matt Stolller - Why Joe Biden Punched Big Pharma in the Nose Over Covid Vaccines

 Last week, the Biden administration asked for a global waiver on vaccine intellectual property protections. What is this waiver? Why does it matter? And why did Biden stand up to big pharma? 

Unless Covid is brought under control, if could near bankrupt the rest of the world, with much of the cost falling back on the United States, but Big Pharma only cared about its bottom line. Even the Biden administration thought letting neoliberalism run amok was too much in the middle a global pandemic. But there are other reasons why Biden took the decision he did - see below. 

There are two reasons the administration then supported the waiver. The first is that the Biden administration really does not want Covid variants to return and force another lockdown. The second is, geopolitics, and ‘vaccine diplomacy.’ China’s vaccines, which use traditional methods, are not as effective as the mRNA treatments, but they exist. And China is sending its vaccines to more than 80 countries, with Russia also pushing its influence through its own effective vaccine. These countries are, rightfully, making a big deal of how the U.S. isn’t doing any exporting, and generating leverage as a reliable partner when the West is absent.

As a result, the traditional calculation within the U.S. government changed from pro-pharma to anti-pharma. The people in charge of money and guns took the progressive position, because the progressive position was a way to counter Russian and Chinese vaccine diplomacy, and to keep the economy free from a renewed pandemic threat. Treasury and State Departments, the National Security Council, and the National Economic Council, all supported the waiver. So did the United States Trade Representative Office, led by Katherine Tai, who made the final case to Biden.

(As an aside, I worked on the Hill for six years, and USTR was always the center of corporate power in government. For USTR to go against pharma is truly the world turned upside down.)

Matt Stolller - Why Joe Biden Punched Big Pharma in the Nose Over Covid Vaccines

Sunday, May 9, 2021

Two problems with Modern Monetary Theory — John Quiggin

I spend quite a bit of time (more than I should) engaged in Twitter debates with advocates of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT). Some are generally sensible, while others are convinced they have learned a deep secret which enables us to have whatever we want without paying for it. Unfortunately, the sensible ones (Meaningful Monetary Theory) don’t do the hard work of correcting the others (Magical Monetary Theory)….
I think MMT economists and advocates face a problem from two directions. The first is, of course, criticism of MMT that more caricature than fact. The second is MMT advocates that don't understand the nuances of MMT. Both are unqualified.

I don't think that it is reasonable to suggest, however, that MMT economists or others highly literate in MMT should spend time addressing such misunderstandings or misrepresentations, since they abound on social media.

John Quiggin's Blog
Two problems with Modern Monetary Theory
John Quiggin | Professor and an Australian Research Council Laureate Fellow at the University of Queensland, and a member of the Board of the Climate Change Authority of the Australian Government

Bill Mitchell — US labour market goes backwards with mixed signals – but significant slack remains

Last Friday (May 7, 2021), the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released their latest labour market data – Employment Situation Summary – April 2021 – which showed that the recovery since the catastrophic labour market collapse in March and April 2020, has substantially slowed after signs in March that the revovery was accelerating. The change in payroll employment fell from 770 thousand in March 2021 to a miserly 266 thousand and unemployment edged up slightly to 6.1 per cent. The broader labour wastage captured by the BLS U6 measure fell by 0.4 points to 10.7 per cent. The US labour market is still 8,215 thousand jobs short from where it was at the end of February 2020 and the unemployment to job openings ratio also suggests significant slack remains....
Bill Mitchell – billy blog
US labour market goes backwards with mixed signals – but significant slack remains
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

How weak US jobs data could hurt emerging markets, but boost China's exports — Wang Bozun

A bit of a mishmash economically but it mentions MMT anyway. 

The major point of the article is that a lot of the fiscal relief that the US federal government is into the economy is likely to flow to Chinese exporters in that they already have a significant share of the US market and now the pandemic has resulted in economic contraction that is not yet moving very swiftly toward recovering. 

Global Times (Chinese state-sponsored media)
How weak US jobs data could hurt emerging markets, but boost China's exports

Alex Krainer - Is The Age Of Permanent War Finally Over?

Recent events in the world have given me great hope that we might finally emerge from the century of permanent war.

The Great Reset agenda seems to be losing steam and those in charge of implementing it are losing conviction (with the exception, perhaps, of the very top echelon in power). At the same time, the ranks of people who are opposed to it and are willing to take a stand, appear to be swelling.

Russia’s build-up of an overwhelming military force on its border with Ukraine was therefore not a preparation for war. To the contrary, it was a move to prevent one from erupting. As Victor David Hanson recently wrote, “Wars often arise from uncertainty. When strong countries appear weak, truly weaker ones take risks they otherwise would not.” Thus for now, the Ukraine tensions have abated – but had Ukraine faced a weak and indecisive Russia, the leadership in Kiev and their Western backers might have made a very different gamble and today the war might already have started. 

The cabal that’s been dominating the western world for the past two centuries is rapidly running out of time and out of options. Their plans for the one world government are now in tatters and without a new world war, the best they can hope to achieve is to carve out a geopolitical block and erect a new iron curtain around it. The most likely candidate for that block is Western Europe consisting of the old colonial powers and their satellites. However, even this consolation prize will not be viable. As the Soviet experience has taught us, even with an iron fist and heavy-handed repression, the edifice can sustain itself at best for a few decades. But as populations awaken, and awakening they are, the sun will finally set on their system, hopefully for good.

Renegade Inc

Debt Ceiling July 31


Summer recess from end July thru after Labor Day... recent analysis projects “extraordinary measures“ can allow Treasury to function somewhat normally until October so no real problem until then...

They keep doing the same thing so you can’t expect a different result...

Saturday, May 8, 2021

The Concept of an Optimal Currency Area, and why the EU has failed to create it. — Carlos García Hernández

 In his book “Eurozone Dystopia”, Bill Mitchell quotes the three conditions that Mundell believed were necessary to achieve an OCA...

From the outset, and today more than ever, it was clear that none of these three conditions is even remotely fulfilled in Europe....

The Gower Initiative for Modern Money Studies
The Concept of an Optimal Currency Area, and why the EU has failed to create it.
Carlos García Hernández

Washington is playing a losing game with China — Ambassador Charles W. Freeman, Jr.

Foreign policy realism.

East Asia Forum
Washington is playing a losing game with China
Ambassador Charles W. Freeman, Jr. | visiting fellow at Brown University's Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, and retired US Foreign Service

Ford on Wages — NeilW

Henry Ford quote.

New Wayland
Ford on Wages

Nobel prize-winning economist Paul Krugman on inflation, Modern Monetary Theory, and why ... Ben Winck interviews — Paul Krugman

Same old New Keynesian monetarism and reliance on IS-LM model.

Nobel prize-winning economist Paul Krugman on inflation, Modern Monetary Theory, and why ...
Ben Winck interviews Paul Krugman

Existential Economic Threats: How US States Can Survive Without Federal Money — Brandon Smith

Bonkers Watch.

ZH outdoes itself. States can save the day by 1) taking over federal property and 2) issuing commodity-backed money.

Zero Hedge
Existential Economic Threats: How US States Can Survive Without Federal Money
Brandon Smith via

Abby Martin - The Woke CIA PsyOp

WOKE CIA: The vast majority of the American youth are liberal, anti-racist, pro LGBT, for minority rights, and are anti-imperialist. So what's the CIA up to? Abby Martin explains what's behind the cringe ‘Humans of CIA’ recruitment ad promoting themselves as a place of ‘intersectional’ social progress

(45) The Woke CIA PsyOp - YouTube

Susan K. Sell - What COVID-19 Reveals About Twenty-First Century Capitalism: Adversity and Opportunity

 A brilliant article, which captures much of what is wrong with our present economic and political system.

The neoliberal/libertarian mantra of individual responsi-bility and self-reliance has tattered social bonds and commu­nal responsibility. It provides an excuse or rationale for the public sector to step back. Social safety has been removed as a legitimate public responsibility (Azmanova 2014: 361). And yet, as Bregman points out, ‘humankind evolved to cooperate’ and this insight can provide the basis for moving toward ‘a government based on trust, a tax system rooted in solidarity, and the sustainable investments needed to secure our future’ (Bregman 2020). Around the globe, governments have stepped up to provide temporary social protection in the pandemic at a massive scale. This has demonstrated that the public sector can mobilize vast resources in times of crisis— this time not to bail out banks that were too-big-to-fail, but to provide more social safety nets. The crisis has resuscitated serious conversations about a Universal Basic Income (UBI) to create conditions of economic certainty.

The rise of populism on the left and the right reflects a fear of freedom in a world that seems out of control. In the centre many are calling for reform to make capitalism more inclusive. But some call for a radical overhaul of the socio-economic system to develop a ‘political economy of trust’ to counter the ‘systemic logic of domination at work in the contemporary modality of capitalism’ (Azmanova 2014: 362). To begin to build such a system of trust, Azmanova advocates that those seeking to transform contemporary cap­italism should challenge the rules that generate and sustain injustice rather than political actors (parties, states, foreign­ers etc.) (Azmanova 2018: 10).

Susan K. Sell - What COVID-19 Reveals About Twenty-First Century Capitalism: Adversity and Opportunity

Friday, May 7, 2021

Chris Kanthan: China, China, Chyyna!: Greatest Disruption to American Century

The book has six long chapters debunking the Uyghur/ Xinjiang myth. 

Why 100,000+ words in this book to talk about China? First, we are living through a historic geopolitical disruption that happens once every century or so — a rising power is poised to surpass an established hegemon as the largest economy in the world. Mainstream media and experts are living in denial, but China’s GDP will be #1 within five years. Second, the inexorable rise of China and a multipolar world will have profound consequences: end of the American Century and erosion of dollar supremacy. Third, great power rivalry could lead to catastrophic wars.

Thirty years ago, most Chinese didn’t have basic home appliances. How did this poor communist country become the world’s #1 manufacturer, largest trading nation, and the largest market for e-commerce, electric cars, and mobile payments? China now publishes more scientific papers and international patents than anyone else. It leads in critical technologies like 5G, AI, drones, and blockchain.

China eradicated extreme poverty and created the world’s largest middle class. There are more Chinese than Americans in the Top 10% of the world’s richest individuals. China has even surpassed the U.S. in the Fortune Global 500 firms list.

America missed the rise of China and still doesn’t understand China.

Through the lenses of geopolitics, economics, trade, history, and culture, this book explains the rise of China and how the U.S. must reinvent its strategies for a multipolar world. While America’s primacy is on a relative decline, China is not going to rule the world. Eschewing Cold War ideology, America must compete and cooperate with China. And we can even learn a few things from China.


 BRI opening up Central Asia through mountains and deserts with Chinese engineering.

Xinjiang's Alataw Pass sees robust rise in China-Europe freight train trips

Xinjiang's Alataw Pass sees robust rise in China-Europe freight train trips

Aerial view of Guozigou Bridge in NW China's Xinjiang

Video of highway across sand desert in Xinjiang

ECNS — Digital RMB unveiled at China International Consumer Products Expo in Haikou

Another pilot

Space Colonization Is A Capitalist Perception Management Op — Caitlin Johnstone

Space colonization is largely a capitalist perception management op promoted by the likes of Musk and Bezos to strengthen the narrative that it’s okay to continue the world-raping global capitalist principle of infinite growth on a finite world because we can escape the catastrophic ecological consequences of that paradigm by fleeing to space.

“Ecocidal capitalism is fine, we’ll just go to space before it kills us!” is the message we’re all meant to absorb. And too many do. A large obstacle to waking people up to the existential crises we are facing as a species is the blind faith that technology will save us from the consequences of our mass-scale behavior, and therefore we don’t need to change. Which suits the world’s richest men perfectly.
Contemporary capitalism is based on advertising-driven consumerism to fuel "growth," which results in massive unnecessary overuse of limited resources by manufacturing wants, together with negative externalities of production that are socialized. It's a dumb system based on greed and selfishness that is supposed to result in spontaneous natural ordering for the great good. Does anyone actually believe that stupid story?

See also
By destroying traditional social habits of the people, by dissolving their natural collective consciousness into individual constituents, by licensing the opinions of the most foolish, by substituting instruction for education, by encouraging cleverness rather than wisdom, the upstart rather than the qualified, by fostering a notion of getting on to which the alternative is a hopeless apathy, Liberalism can prepare the way for that which is its own negation: the artificial, mechanized or brutalized control which is a desperate remedy for its chaos.
– TS Eliot
Well-written article on liberal overreach. How liberalism got unhinged from rationality and spun off into unenlightened self-interest with destructive consequences.

In terms of the historical dialectic, 18th century classical liberalism can be view as a reaction to the dogmatism prevalent in the West since the rise of Christendom as a social and political force. IN such reactions, the pendulum often swing too far in the other direction and stands in need of correction. Then another moment in the historical dialectic supervenes to restore balance. Then the cycle repeats in the new moment.
Liberalism is paradox. This is the conclusion drawn by Domenico Losurdo in his “counter-history” of the project. There’s the contradiction just alluded to: its unencumbered economy being born from, and dependent on, ravaging its accompanying society in order to survive. (The host has the unenviable task of regulating its own devourment.) But there’s also the uncomfortable fact that, right at the moment liberalism was most vociferously demanding liberty, it did so while upholding the most depraved chattel slavery. When it declared the necessity of self-determination, its ideologues were undertaking the almost total annihilation of North America’s first nations. The continent had to be made safe for the free market.
But today’s [neo]liberals can’t countenance this reality, it doesn’t fit with their cognitive maps. To them, the logic of the market — that leviathan that they will sacrifice everything to — is above criticism. After all, through it we have equality (in that, with enough money, intrinsic qualities are no constraint), freedom (regardless of previous error there’s always the option of succumbing to exploitation or starving), and smart phones (late modernity’s bread). This perfect system, which works best of all in minds poisoned by game theory, is forced into every part of society. The idea of a moral economy — i.e. all economies that existed before the Industrial Revolution — is lost; a dangerously utopian one is born....
Utopian thinking is a type of magical thinking.

Liberalism’s Last Legs?
Luke O'Brien 

See also
"Incredibly but while openly undermining international law Western politicians don’t hesitate to say that the key task of global politics is to counter Russia’s and China’s attempts to change the rule-based order," he told an online UN Security Council meeting. "Such statements came after a recent G7 ministerial meeting in London. In other words, this is nothing but double-talk. The West no longer cares for norms of international law and now insists everyone obey by its rules and stick to the order based on these rules."

"We think that such steps geared to impose totalitarianism in global affairs are inadmissible but they are widely practiced by our Western colleagues, first of all, the United States, the European Union and its other allies, who reject all principles of democracy and multilateralism insisting on everything be done their way and threatening punishment," Lavrov said.…
"My way or the highway" aka "You're either with us or against us."

Adam Smith On The Source Of Profits And Rents In The Exploitation Of The Worker — Robert Vienneau

Adam Smith's labor theory of value in a nutshell. Short.

Why is is this significant now? Because rising income and wealth inequality are breathing life into defunct economists that dealt with these issues.

Economic rent was front and center in classical economics and, of course, Marx. It was treated by Veblen also, who can be viewed as the forerunner of what came to be institutional economics. Economic rent is explained away in neoclassical economics (marginalism) based on marginal productivity and "just deserts" in the (free) marketplace by assuming that free markets are perfect markets, that is, minimal asymmetry of power and information.

Thoughts On Economics
Adam Smith On The Source Of Profits And Rents In The Exploitation Of The Worker
Robert Vienneau

Fed warns of risk of asset price drop


When the price monopolist (MMT 101)  has prepared its system to withstand a 55% price reduction it increases the likelihood of it happening...

2 states end unemployment benefits

Dominoes falling... Chamber of Commerce POV winning.... 

And no more stimmy until probably October:

We’re on our own for a while....

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 ...