Tuesday, May 2, 2023

Links — 2 May 2023

RT — Question More (Russian state-sponsored media)
The British are showing signs of goodwill to China, but they aren't the ones calling the shots [Like the French and Germans, the British are calculating the economic cost of decoupling from China. The US apparently hasn't done the math yet.]
Timur Fomenko

India Punchline
Whither Ukraine’s counteroffensive? [MKB argues that apparently some in the US deep state are fed up with the Biden administration's costly foreign policy and military policy mistakes, and they are taking clandestine action to limit the damage.]
M. K. Bhadrakumar | retired diplomat with the Indian Foreign Service and former ambassador

Moon of Alabama
Ukraine SitRep: Offensive In Doubt - No Talks - Social Breakdown [Poverty up from 5.5% to 24.2% in 2022,  unemployment unofficially at 36% and inflation hitting 26.6% at the end of 2022 – World Bank]

Gilbert Doctorow — International relations, Russian affairs
St Petersburg Travel Notes – Part One [no noticeable adverse economic effect of the war and sanctions in St. Petersburg.]
Gilbert Doctorow

Naked Capitalism
Chinese Companies Are Taking Advantage of United States’ Nearshoring Strategy By Setting up Shop in Mexico [adaptation]
Nick Corbishley

Naked Capitalism
“In the Coronation, Britain’s Ruling Class Will Cast Its Dark Spell on Millions” [Yes, the British royal family is the apotheosis of its class system." Read with the post below]
Yves Smith
You’re Not Deficient, You’re Just Ruled By Assholes [Summing it up with a trope (but not a cliché).]
Caitlin Johnstone

Naked Capitalism
The Collapse in Operational Capabilities in the West and Some Knock-On Effects [Caitlin Johnstone provides a trope; Yves Smith explores reasons why institutions and leaders are falling short of even failing en masse.]
Yves Smith

Marginal Revolution
Gabriel Zucman wins the John Bates Clark Medal [John Bates Clark must be twitching in his grave. He is not the only one reacting. Read the comments to Tyler Cowen's post.]
Tyler Cowen | Holbert C. Harris Chair of Economics at George Mason University and serves as chairman and general director of the Mercatus Center

Zero Hedge
How Much NATO's Citizens Pay [per capita] For NATO's Wars
Tyler Durden


Information Equilibrium (Susback)
On Hayek's 'The Use of Knowledge in Society (1945) [Longish and somewhat technical but important since market effects are significant in government economic policy, and the information that markets provide affects a government's use of its monopoly power over the currency in a way similar to the availability of real resources. "It's the complexity, stupid." Complexity is a constraint on planning.
Jason Smith's observations serve as a nudge toward a conversation about this while providing an impetus to undertake further research relating information theory to economics. Even though Hayek was on to something important in this seminal paper, he only scratched the surface of the issue. A lot has happened since then, dating his work.]
Jason Smith is a theoretical physicist whose avocation is writing on economics.

 I’ve migrated the nearly 10 years of archives — well over a million words — from:


… and will be posting on substack in the future. The name is different. It turned out information equilibrium (two processes or state spaces that require equivalent information to specify events taking place) was more important than the more general information transfer concept that allows for information loss — at least in terms of models of empirical data. However, it’s always important to keep in the back of your mind that economic systems are not thermodynamic ones — the 2nd law isn’t a thing for social systems.

PS I have two e-books on Amazon (paperback available):

A Random Physicist Takes on Economics (2017)

A Workers’ History of the United States 1948-2020 (2019)


Matt Franko said...


“Apocalypticism is the religious belief that the end of the world is imminent, even within one's own lifetime.[1] This belief is usually accompanied by the idea that civilization will soon come to a tumultuous end due to some sort of catastrophic global event.”


“ In literature, apocalypse has been used as a rhetorical device to grab the attention of readers to environmental issues (according to Lawrence Buell, “Apocalypse is the single most powerful master metaphor that the contemporary environmental imagination has at its disposal” (from George 101)
•Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring is one of the more famous examples; Cormac McCarthy’s The Road is another
•Thomas Malthus’ Essay on the Principle of Population (1798) was an influential text on the trope as well (Malthus’ work was scientific in nature)
•The use of Apocalyptic tropes in texts that offer some basis in science has become known as tragic apocalypticism because critics argue that they offer little hope (Carson was accused of both hopelessness and hyperbole when she published Silent Spring)
•One major criticism of the trope is that it can be more entertaining than informative in most cases, which creates an element of fantasy around the issues represented in environmental apocalyptic texts (if most look at such works as mainly fictional and impossible, what incentive will there be to actually address environmental issues)
•Ultimately, though, literary writers see their role as artists, not messengers (they respond to the issues of their world as artists always have, melding their imaginations with the observations of the world they live in
•For literary artists who write about environmental destruction, a reader must feel the issue in order to care about it (data isn’t enough)


“ When Prophecy Fails: A Social and Psychological Study of a Modern Group That Predicted the Destruction of the World is a classic work of social psychology by Leon Festinger, Henry Riecken, and Stanley Schachter, published in 1956, detailing a study of a small UFO religion in Chicago called the Seekers that believed in an imminent apocalypse. The authors took a particular interest in the members' coping mechanisms after the event did not occur, focusing on the cognitive dissonance between the members' beliefs and actual events, and the psychological consequences of these disconfirmed expectations. One of the first published cases of dissonance was reported in this book.”

All the same thing…

Matt Franko said...

This is how far it can go with these people:

“ Martin claimed to be receiving messages from superior beings from a planet she referred to as Clarion. These messages included a prophecy that Lake City and large portions of the United States, Canada, Central America and Europe would be destroyed by a flood before dawn on December 21st 1954. Through the restrained recruitment activities of Charles Laughead (a college doctor in Michigan) and other acquaintances, Martin was supported in her mediumship by a small group of believers. Some of the believers took significant actions that indicated a high degree of commitment to the prophecy. Some left or lost their jobs, neglected or ended their studies, ended relationships and friendships with non-believers, gave away money and/or disposed of possessions to prepare for their departure on a flying saucer, which they believed would rescue them and others in advance of the flood.”

These type of people are all out there walking around loose…. Scary!

Matt Franko said...

See here when the prophesied apocalypse never happens:

“ As anticipated by the research team, the prophesied date passed with no sign of the predicted flood, causing a dissonance between the group's commitment to the prophecy and the unfolding reality. Different members of the group reacted in different ways. Many of those with the highest levels of belief, commitment and social support became more committed to their beliefs, began to court publicity in a way they had not before, and developed various rationalisations for the absence of the flood. Some others, with less prior conviction and commitment, and/or less access to ongoing group support, were less able to sustain or increase their previous levels of belief and involvement, and several left the group. The findings of the research team were broadly in line with their initial hypothesis regarding how believers might react to a prophecy disconfirmation if certain conditions were or were not in place.”

Varied output…

But with these same type of current people who are Monetarists after 15 years of ZIRP and “printing money!” with no “inflation!” we get a global pandemic policy that severely curtails production and simultaneously provides $Ts of fiscal transfers and we experience a minor 5-10% CPI increase … which they call the Art degree figure of speech “inflation!”…

So now these Art degree monetarist morons are going to see that as confirmation of their thesis and keep the dogma going…

Same thing like the climate nutters seeing a normal hurricane or tornado or something and say “see I told you so!” and see that as confirmation of their thesis and the dogma lives on..,

Second rate intellects….

Peter Pan said...

If death is not an apocalypse, then nothing is.

Marian Ruccius said...

One can feel what one wishes about the Windsors, but it is directly opposite to the facts that the British Monarchy is reflective of the British class system -- indeed, the reverse is true. The Monarchy sits above, and has frequently had some influence in restraining, the British oligarchs (especially those tied to the City of London). One need not overstate the case, but the Republics (such as France, the US, Ireland) have tended to be MORE class-ridden, controlled by oligarchs, and corrupt. Indeed, the rise since the Cold War of the City's financial interests has gone hand-in-hand with US-style republican opposition to Monarchy, which is viewed by the financial elite as a potentially unwelcome restraint on their power, since the Monarchy does not depend, like Presidents, on regular cycles of campaign donations.

The Monarchy, as an institution, is equal to Peace, Order and Good Government, and is an important reason why Commonwealth states such as Canada, despite their vassal status, have managed to remain somewhat less corrupt than the US. Financial corruption in the UK has become kind of a branch-plant corruption based on the US "rules-based order", although one would not dispute British financialization inherent evils either. The Queen, and now King Charles, lie in opposition to both, although their position is relatively weak and tenuous.

Peter Pan said...

Who needs good policy when we can have a monarch and keep up the pretense of being a civil society?

Maybe King Chuckles can sing Kumbaya with the homeless.

Matt Franko said...

Marian the monarchy and military are there to protect the material systems…

Financial system is just a component subsystem of the material system…

They invite you into the royalty AFTER you make munnie…

Sir Paul McCartney, Sir Nick Faldo, Sir Elton John… etc… they were all commoners BEFORE they made their munnie…

Marian Ruccius said...

Matt Franko: McCartney, Faldo, Elton John are not PART of the monarchy -- just folk who have received honours.

@Peter Pan: some truth in what you say, but it is easier to attack homelessness in Britain and Canada than in the US because of the British Parliamentary system of responsible government, which allows electors to discern who is responsible, and permits failing governments to fall. All that depends a separation of the Head of State from day-to-day Cabinet business. Hence, if you wanna fight homelessness, start with rejecting republicanism

Peter Pan said...

@Marian Ruccius

A Canadian PM and his Office have more power than an American president. Add in Emergency powers and he can rule by decree. The provincial governments basically did that during the pandemic, by canceling their parliamentary sessions.

Representative democracy in Canada is a failure. But lets keep pretending it's not.

Marian Ruccius said...

@Peter Pan that is partially, and a good thing, as the PM can legitimately be held responsible. And the same goes, unlike in the US, for members of Cabinet, who need to be elected. An appointed Cabinet is necessarily a font of corruption. It is also easier for a President to send troops off for a "police action" than for a PM, even with a large majority, to obtain parliamentary support for a military campaign. If there is one area where I would give the US an edge, it is in the deep ingrained love of freedom of speech -- the US MSM may be absolutely controlled, but there has been a lot more dissenting opinion, outside the US mainstream, even accounting for population size, than in Canada. I put that down to Americans' remarkable individualism. Paradoxically, the Canadian government and legal system has been much more tolerant of alternative viewpoints, in the sense that Strategic Culture Foundation continues to operate, and the World Socialist Website is going strong here, without impediments. Maybe it is just the difference between being at the centre of empire, as opposed to on its periphery.

Peter Pan said...

@Marian Ruccius

The staff of the Prime Minister's Office are not elected. Unlike Members of Parliament outside of cabinet, they set public policy. They exercise power. This is unacceptable.

18% of the electorate voted for Justin Trudeau's Liberals. Neither they, or that sad excuse of a PM have been held accountable for the damage they have done to this country. Because losing an election is such a terrible punishment.

Canada doesn't have a military, or a foreign policy, that the rest of the world should bother learning about. 30 years ago, we actually had a reputation for peacekeeping. That is long gone, having been sold down the river by Herr Harper.

The MSM in Canada consists of the CBC, which disseminates state propaganda; and CTV, which does the same with corporate propaganda. Try getting balanced reporting on the conflict in Ukraine.

The pandemic revealed the myth of Canada and there's no going back. The Canada I grew up in as a child is dead. Remnants of that spirit remain in Atlantic Canada and perhaps the prairies. Living far away from the federal ruling class is a blessing in disguise. If it weren't for equalization payments, we'd be part of the US - or exist as regional entities. I'm starting to believe that would be a better option, despite the hardship for 'have not' provinces.

The Canadian Charter of Rights is not worth the paper it is printed on. When the people won't stand up for their rights, neither will the judiciary.