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Links 3/27/11

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Doing a bit of catch-up. There are a few older posts in here I thought worth highlighting.

Salmon run helps shape ecosystems BBC

Exploding Stars and Stripes: Pattern of X-Ray ‘Stripes’ in Supernova Remnant Could Explain How Cosmic Rays Are Produced ScienceDaily (hat tip reader furzy mouse)

Farmers Sue USDA Over Monsanto Alfalfa – Again TruthOut (hat tip reader furzy mouse)

AT&T Internet usage billing off by as much as 4,700% ITWorld. And they get to buy T-Mobile? :-(

Women Feel Old at 29 [Studies] Gawker. Wonder how the survey question was conducted. I looked older than my age in my 20s and was quite happy with that, it meant I was taken seriously. But then again, I was never concerned with being “trendy and fashionable” and it would be pretty much impossible for me to ever start “behaving like my mother.” Oh, but if you click through to the source for Gawker, the Daily Mail article, only 3% of the respondents had that as a concern! This sounds like focus group stuff (perhaps with a written survey also administered during the session, this is pretty common), which is notoriously suspect (both sample bias, results being skewed by a particularly vocal participant or two, and bias either by the moderator [directly, I've seen that on tapes I've viewed when I knew the study parameters] or via the sponsor.

Japan’s Evacuees Battle Flu, Survive on Rice Balls and Bread Bloomberg

Portugal crisis: The Eurovision singers giving voice to a nation’s anger Telegraph (hat tip reader Don B)

New row over who controls Libyan offensive Herald Scotland (hat tip reader furzy mouse)

Obama, under pressure, to explain the military mission in Libya in speech to nation Monday Washington Post. Ooh, readers may disagree, but this is as close as he’s come to officially breaking a sweat as I can recall.

US PR Firm Aiding Libya Violated Federal Law Grendel Report

Financial Market Utilities, Dodd-Frank, and JPMorgan Economics of Contempt. Comes pretty close, without crossing the line, to saying that JPM’s claims that it didn’t need a capital injection in 2008 are bunk. If the real risk of JPM lies in its clearing operation (true) and it did a crappy job of managing risks there (which certainly looks to be true), one can only conclude that another big institution failing (which is what would have happened ex the massive interventions that took place post Lehman) would have taken down JPM too.

Rich District, Poor District New York Times. This looks local but is a microcosm of national issues.

A Nation of Dropouts Shakes Europe Wall Street Journal. The failure to acknowledge the implications for the US is striking. I had a link some months ago to an article that discussed how the US is the only advanced economy to be showing a serious decline in educational attainment levels.

And one has to wonder if the fall in educational attainment is not unwelcome in some circles: The Biggest Threat Facing the Country Today Is Fast Creeping Ignorance AlterNet (hat tip reader furzy mouse)

Back to Our Future: How the 1980s Explain the World We Live in Now AlterNet (hat tip reader furzy mouse)

Paul Takes Another Swipe at MMT Lambert Strether

I, For One, Do Not Welcome Our Dumb Robot Overlords Paul Krugman

Note to Banks: It’s Not 2006 Anymore Gretchen Morgenson

Altered documents halt some Cook County foreclosures Chicago Tribune (hat tip Lisa E)

Deutsche Bank Natl. Trust Co. v Francis (hat tip Lisa E). Judge Schack strikes again!

BofA CEO Moynihan Tries Snow Job on Foreclosure Crisis in Detroit News Op-Ed Dave Dayen, Firedoglake

From Order Books to Belief Distributions Rajiv Sethi

Antidote du jour:

Screen shot 2011-03-27 at 3.50.08 AM

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63 comments

  1. kevin de bruxelles

    At least within the sexual marketplace, women start to feel old at 29 because fertility-wise they are in decline and the power they previously derived over men from being able to send high fertility cues has already started to diminish.

    For men it is a little different. The two sexes do not seek out to same traits in mates. According to evolutionary psychology, men seek high fertility cues (signs the women can procreate) and modesty (signs the offspring will actually be the man’s). Women on the other hand tend to be hypergamous, they seek high status men and are not as obsessed by looks alone. Status-cues from men are not just high social-economic status; included also confidence, stereotypical masculinity, and violent behavior function as status cues depending on the social-economic and cultural background of the woman.

    Since men’s status generally tends to increase with age (up to a limit of course) the power they derive from being able to project high status-cues continues to increase well into their 40’s.and sometimes even beyond even though men’s fertility peaks at around 18 years of age.

    Not only that but on a relative level since people tend to associate with people within their own age group (not exclusively of course and within an increasing growing range), as men and women get older, men tend to be a rising asset (status-cues increasing) while women are on the down slope (fertility-cues declining) and so the balance of power tends to favour men as they age. For example for a man and woman at 22 years of age, more often than not the balance of power is clearly with the woman. At 45, the sexual marketplace value of the average man will be much higher than that of a similarly aged woman.

    And so I think it is this sexual marketplace dynamic that this study is capturing. But don’t worry; sexual marketplace value is just one aspect of life. While men may have some advantages in this area as they get older, in other areas they have severe handicaps. For example women tend to outlive men in almost all societies by about 10% which could mean eight years in a western society. Men are imprisoned at a 20 to 1 rate over women and they are committed to insane asylums at a 6 to 1 rate over women. So men have a lot of work to do before they catch up to women in these areas.

    1. JTFaraday

      “For example for a man and woman at 22 years of age, more often than not the balance of power is clearly with the woman.”

      Oh yeah? In what world is that?

      1. kevin de bruxelles

        In what world is that

        In the world of the sexual marketplace. Generally women at 22 are at their peak of attractiveness while the majority of men are still sexually awkward and no where near their peak status level. Of course there are a minority of 22 year old men who are alpha studs and have no trouble scoring but many men are still struggling to get their first real girl friend at this age.

        One small example is my niece (22) and nephew (23) on Facebook. Every week or so my niece shows off the latest gift (boxes of make up, necklaces, etc) that some suitor lays at her feet like tribute to an emperor, while my nephew still struggles to even go out on a date. This dynamic will change over time, normally at 29 the flow of presents will have slowed down for my niece (thus making her start to feel “old”) while my nephew will normally starting gaining status and become more desirable to the opposite sex. By the time they are both 45 he will be at his peak power potential will she will be at an all time low.

        1. JTFaraday

          I don’t know. Every time Yves Smith posts an on-camera appearance, people pop up out of the woodwork to slobber all over it.

          If we’re going to do battling anecdotes, as a regular reader of this blog, you should know better.

        2. craazyman

          45 is still very viable as long as she’s hot and doesn’t look like somebody’s grandmother.

          I wouldn’t lay any tribute down, that’s too self-effacing, but I’d be attentive in a gentlemanly way. LOL.

        3. wunsacon

          Oooh… Gifts, you say? That gives me an idea for a simple-as-South-Park business plan:

          Step 1. Buy some “multiple persona software”.

          Step 2. Create Facebook accounts.

          Step 3. Profit!

    2. Jinx

      Evolutionary Psych, yeah…

      “One colleague, a male evolutionary biologist, characterized to me evolutionary psychology as “the discipline which justifies middle-aged professors sleeping with their younger graduate students.” A bit harsh, but there does seem to be a lot of extrapolation and speculation in the absence of experimental rigor…”

      http://scienceblogs.com/mikethemadbiologist/2008/03/the_other_threat_to_evolutiona.php

      Read the whole thing. Evolutionary Biology = science. Evolutionary Psych = pseudo-science. Speaking as a woman, your view of women is unsettling and sexist.

      Peace.

        1. Jinx

          This guys a piece of work huh?

          I love how he doubles down with his mansplainin’ all the while ignoring actual input from human beings who don’t fit his tidy worldview.

          Seems like a “NiceGuy(TM)”

          1. JTFaraday

            I like Kevin, but in this case I disagree. (And too much sexualized attention is not necessarily a plus).

      1. kevin de bruxelles

        I read the link but come on now, finding a hard scientist ready and willing to beef with soft science is about as news worthy as finding a Crip who wants to diss a local Blood.

        That said there is no doubt that flakiness exists within the soft sciences (as well as the hard sciences). But there is just as strong a tendency to attack science when it presents a conclusion which conflicts with one’s political beliefs. We saw this with evolution, the link between cancer and smoking, and currently with global warming among many other examples. This is not to say that science is automatically correct, far from it. What I would say is there are certainly varying levels of objectivity and credibility within any field and evolutionary psychology is no different.

        I would recommend a book like The Adapted Mind by Barkow, et al, as an example of a high quality version of evo psych.

          1. craazyman

            I started feeling old at 27 and the feeling hasn’t stopped since. Still have my hair though. And I work out like an NFL wide receiver. But so what. The whirlpool spins faster and faster the faster you run . . .

          2. kevin de bruxelles

            Just to prove that there is a God up there, I was outside a couple hours ago with my kids preparing our bikes for a ride through the park when an elderly neighbour (late 60’s – early 70’s), who I’ve seen before but never talked to, passed by. She heard me speaking English to the kids so she very politely said in English, “Oh how nice, you are taking your grandchildren for a bike ride” And I’m only 48!

            Anyway I’ll make one last attempt to explain my theory and then I’ll give up. Let’s look to see what one of the most beautiful women of the 20th century, Paulina Porizkova, has to say on the subject:

            She tells the New York Post, “Nothing ages as poorly as a beautiful woman’s ego. When you have used your beauty to get around, it’s like having extra cash in your pocket. I was so used to walking down the street and having the young guys passing by at least give me a flicker of a look. But once you’re over 40, you become invisible. You’re a brick in the building and it’s sad. It just feels like the sun went down a little bit. It got a little cloudy outside.”

            Paulina (who btw is still very beautiful) uses the metaphor of money to describe the power women derive from their beauty. She then states that when they pass 40 this beauty-cash is much depleted (just a brick in the building). All I am saying is that this beauty “account” is for the average women at its highest at around 22 and by the time they are 29 they have noticed that the world treats them slightly differently – that the amount of “extra cash” is starting to decline. And this is why they claim to feel “old” in the survey that was linked to.

          3. JTFaraday

            “All I am saying is that this beauty “account” is for the average women at its highest at around 22 and by the time they are 29 they have noticed that the world treats them slightly differently – that the amount of “extra cash” is starting to decline. And this is why they claim to feel “old” in the survey that was linked to.”

            Or maybe they feel old because seven years have passed and they’re still cute little administrative assistants.

          4. Yves Smith Post author

            Someone I know went pretty bald at 22 and had to start shaving his head! Fortunately, he has an attractive skull so the look works for him.

            I know a LOT of women who looked best in their 30s. The cubby youth fat was gone but their skin was still clear and taut. You could see the architecture of their faces. I know a woman who was doing runway modeling at the age of 13 and looks remarkably like her runway shots now in her late 40s (she was and is thin, of course, and has great bones). I have one buddy (who looks like a male model and so has wider dating options than most men) who has always dated women in their early 30s, starting when he was in college and even now that he is over 50.

            This is basically men who want to hump adolescents and will settle for the early 20s. Women in their early 20s can still look girlish, women in their 30s look like….women. This has probably gotten worse with the rise of a genre of pictures aimed at the adolescent/young adult market. Now that it has been identified and treated as a separate demographic, they may be responding to marketing signals.

          5. reslez

            What a ridiculous thread. “Beauty cash”? That only applies to young women who are fortunate enough to be beautiful.

            I have never been beautiful nor cared about my looks. And I find that as I age the only thing that has changed is less pressure to conform with men’s ideas of beauty! I suspect your remarks apply only to an elite few young women who meet the aesthetic standards of the day. As for me, I was lucky to escape the brutal socialization of U.S. middle school and high school. I now find myself respected for traits that increase with age rather than diminish — intellectual capacity and judgment. And wisdom tells me that shallow men will always be chasing after 22 year olds and complaining about their sexual power.

        1. Binky Bear

          By the same token, however, there is a lot, as in a vast proportion, of post hoc ergo propter hoc and confirmation bias in the evolutionary psych game. “Just So” stories. As a (mis)anthropologist I have to say that the narratives created by, say, David Brooks in his latest book, are simply versions of Rush Limbaugh’s “The Way Things Ought to Be” tarted up with cherry picked statistical excercises. Same story with Charles Murray and “The Bell Curve.” Acultural, ahistorical narratives calculated to justify the status quo in order to reassure threatened middle and upper economic status demographic sectors that they are truly deserving of their status and wealth.

      2. Bear Stars

        …or conversely, it is used by their female graduate students on others …

        In these situations, it is advisable to keep ones notions of pseudo-science to
        oneself.

      3. paper mac

        Evopsych is garbage. The vast majority of actual evolutionary biologists are frankly offended by the notion that “evopsych” represents a legitimate evolutionary approach to psychology. There’s nothing “evolutionary” about it- no phylogenies, no comparative behavioural studies, no genetics- just a lot of just-so stories and wankery.

    3. wunsacon

      Thanks, for this VERY interesting post. It explains a lot (e.g., Berlusconi).

      It makes me optimistic, too. I look forward to becoming a stud by the time I’m 70.

  2. Ina Deaver

    Beware of a judge who finally loses his temper. Dare we hope that the complete contempt for the law and the courts shown by the TBTFs will eventually result in decisions like Judge Schack’s en masse? It certainly sounds like he gave DB every chance before finally consulting ACRIS, which he never would have done if they’d showed up to their conference like they were supposed to.

    With prejudice – indeed.

  3. Externality

    Congressman Dennis Kucinich wrote the following in the Guardian, a liberal British newspaper:

    On November 2, 2010 France and Great Britain signed a mutual defence treaty, which included joint participation in “Southern Mistral” (www.southern-mistral.cdaoa.fr), a series of war games outlined in the bilateral agreement. Southern Mistral involved a long-range conventional air attack, called Southern Storm, against a dictatorship in a fictitious southern country called Southland. The joint military air strike was authorised by a pretend United Nations Security Council Resolution. The “Composite Air Operations” were planned for the period of 21-25 March, 2011. On 20 March, 2011, the United States joined France and Great Britain in an air attack against Gaddafi’s Libya, pursuant to UN Security Council resolution 1973.

    Have the scheduled war games simply been postponed, or are they actually under way after months of planning, under the name of Operation Odyssey Dawn? Were opposition forces in Libya informed by the US, the UK or France about the existence of Southern Mistral/Southern Storm, which may have encouraged them to violence leading to greater repression and a humanitarian crisis? In short was this war against Gaddafi’s Libya planned or a spontaneous response to the great suffering which Gaddafi was visiting upon his opposition?

    Members of the United States Congress are wondering how much planning time it took for our own government, in concert with the UK and France, to line up 10 votes in the Security Council and gain the support of the Arab League and Nato, and then launch an attack on Libya without observing the constitutional requirement of congressional authorisation.
    [...]

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/mar/27/observer-debate-intervention-libya-yes-no
    (scroll down, Kucinich is the last writer before comments)

    If you look at the proposed air corridor on the French military’s website, it goes out over the Med towards NATO airbases in Italy and Libya. http://www.southern-mistral.cdaoa.fr/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=118&Itemid=103

      1. Co Commander

        Lot of Defense Department Personnel are now salivating at the window of training opportunities for our pilots and aircraft maintenance teams. What great opportunity for our highly technical Air Force Radar. But just a word of caution, Guys, “You got to get in then get out before taxpayers get the bill for all things Mediterranean, all things Euro, all things NATO.” Has the time for US to bow out then disappear already vanished? We got to make like a tree. We got to leaf!

          1. Co Commando


            dicey training

            You bet == dicey. Don’t we have enough training already in Afghanistan, Iraq, plus rescue operations out of 立川飛行場. Enough is enough. Parenthetically, did you ever wonder who put al-Q into power? Was it the Sicilian Mob? Didn’t Libya have a king? Idris? Did Mob learn of petroleum possibilities just in time to put Q on the throne? Is he still their man? What are the possibilities?

  4. Mario P. Paluzzi

    I’m pretty sure that there is no creeping ignorance, only selective ignorance, cynical ignorance and feigned ignorance. Republicans make tons of money over feigning ignorance and taking absurd positions about climate, taxes, and religion.

    1. Jesse

      @Mario P. Paluzzi
      “I’m pretty sure that there is no creeping ignorance, only selective ignorance, cynical ignorance and feigned ignorance. Republicans make tons of money over feigning ignorance and taking absurd positions about climate, taxes, and religion.”

      Very well said, and quite to the point.

      On the other hand, regarding MMT, it is nothing new. It is a phenomenon, perhaps better said a symptom, of most latter day power structures, in thinking that they can decide by declaration what is value and what is not, while debasing the currency through various means, all of which eventually fail.

      It failed in the former Soviet Union, as the rouble quaintly was held to its official valuation against the dollar, while the black market and barter system rages, with the ‘going rate’ at about 200:1, eventually reaching 1000:1.

  5. Max424

    re: “Paul Takes Another Swipe at MMT”

    Yeah, another lackadaisical swipe from the Professor.

    I’d say I was disappointed in our brilliant Nobel Prize winner, but I’m not, When pitted against MMT, there is little the neo-liberal monetarist camp can do other than to take up the standard of the Gold Bug Academy (the Nursery School of Economics), which, when faced with a conflicting theory, simply closes its eyes, puts cotton in its ears, and bawls, “hyperinflation!”

    Note: That picture is staged! The perfect formulation of the Segmented blankie arch is a dead giveaway.

  6. smarty pants

    I’m a little confused about the dropout rate in Portugal. They claim only 28% of people 25-64 have graduated from high school but the graphic shows the dropout rate is only 37%.
    Was it much higher before? Or did they only recently institute public education?

  7. LeeAnne

    In more normal times and cultures, a man is a father with family responsibilities by his early 20s. This extended adolescence is of no benefit to anyone; least of all a nation like the US that is tragically adolescent and becoming more so by the hour. By normal, I mean biologically determined rather than manipulated by false prophets and politics.

    1. velvet smoking jacket

      Sounds like you’re equating procreation with maturity. That’s kind of 50′s, isn’t it? It’s not like the human race will go extinct if some of us decline to breed.

  8. Max424

    YS: “I looked older than my age in my 20s and was quite happy with that, it meant I was taken seriously.”

    Well, Ms. Yves looks younger than her age now, is she unhappy with that? …

    Thought not.

    1. craazyman

      Nah. I hate to be Mr. Blunt, but she really does look 35. She works too hard, so it’s understandable . . . %-)

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        That is very kind, but you have NO idea how much makeup one has to wear when on TV. Goo goo goo and hooker levels of eyeliner.

        I’ve seen Signourney Weaver on the street from time to time over the years. She’s a very good looking woman in real life, but she has surprisingly deep creases on her forehead. You never see that in the movies unless she is playing a part where that fits the character. Don’t assume what you see on camera is what you get in real life.

  9. Michael H

    Libya, Oh What a Stupid War; Fukushima, Cover-Up Amid Catastrophe

    “The war on Libya now being waged by the US, Britain and France must surely rank as one of the stupidest martial enterprises, smaller in scale to be sure, since Napoleon took it into his head to invade Russia in 1812.”

    In the United States the intervention was instigated by liberal interventionists: notably three women…

    As always, many on the left yearn for an intervention they can finally support and many of them have been murmuring ecstatically, “This is the one.” Of course the sensible position (mine) simply states that nothing good ever came out of a Western intervention by the major powers, whether humanitarian in proclaimed purpose or not….

    Fukushima: It’s Getting Worse

    Speaking personally, news of lynch parties of outraged Japanese prodding TEPCO executives into clean-up duty in the plant alongside George Monbiot and the 50 Japanese worker-martyrs would have been most welcome.

    Japan and the rest of the world indeed face “the worst case”, as we have since March 11. There’s been no let up.

    What the nuclear industry and the nuclear agencies have been aiming for is a kind of Mithridatization of the crisis. Mithridates was the king who took poison every day to immunize himself against poisoners. Crisis becomes normalcy…

    http://www.counterpunch.com/

    1. psychohistorian

      Michael H said: “Japan and the rest of the world indeed face “the worst case”, as we have since March 11. There’s been no let up.”

      “Fukushima: It’s Getting Worse”

      I agree.

      There is reportedly 10 times (180 vs 1760 tonnes) more fuel at Fukushima than at Chernobyl. Fukusima is spewing radiation into the atmosphere at a slower rate, so far, than Chernobyl but increasing and approaching or past the total Chernobyl levels for some nasties.

      There is reportedly high radiation water in multiple reactor inner rooms as well as “steam” seen coming out of multiple reactor buildings. A Japan govt. official admitted that the high level radiation water means that there is/are core leaks. I can only conjecture that those leaks are getting worse, not better. If the leaks were to foster a core breech/explosion, I suspect there would be enough force to worsen or cascade fault the rest of the reactors. Is this a worst case scenario or just the march of reality? I hope I am wrong.

      I would hope that international pressure builds to apply some serious resources to limiting the potential worldwide fallout of caesium 137 which could cause serious health problems. This says nothing of the catastrophe that my scenario would do to Japan and its close neighbors.

      1. Michael H

        Just to be clear I was quoting Alexander Cockburn from his article entitled “Libya, Oh What a Stupid War; Fukushima, Cover-Up Amid Catastrophe” that I linked to at Counterpunch.

  10. Externality

    The great Libyan resource bonanza begins. (Qatar, BTW, has been an enthusiastic supporter of the Libyan war, even offering to send planes.)

    Libyan rebels ‘sign oil export deal with Qatar’
    Libyan rebel outside oil refinery Libyan oil production has fallen by two-thirds during the ongoing unrest

    Libyan rebels say they have signed an oil contract with Qatar to export oil from rebel-held territory.

    “We are producing about 100,000 to 130,000 barrels a day, we can easily up that to about 300,000 a day,” rebel spokesman Ali Tarhouni told the Associated Press.

    He said that shipments of crude would start in “less than a week”.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-12875810

    1. sglover

      “The great Libyan resource bonanza begins. (Qatar, BTW, has been an enthusiastic supporter of the Libyan war, even offering to send planes.)”

      I almost wish this were true, because then there’d at least be a speck of forethought involved. Your comment reminds me a little of the insinuations that Bush’s 2004 victory was because of election-fixing in Ohio. I’d love to believe that: Precinct-level corruption is way better than the thought that more than half of my fellow citizens pulled the lever for the man-child. But sadly, I think Bush’s win was legit.

      Anyway, I’m pretty sure that the Sarkozy’s motives aren’t, ahem, pure, exactly, but I’m an American. As far as I can see, America is now in its THIRD war mainly because Obama can’t say “no”. I don’t see any evidence that he, or the Beltway Napoleons surrounding him, have any idea of who are new Libyan “friends” are, what they want, what they’re likely to do.

      When Bush the Lesser launched his Iraq adventure, he had reasons. Sure, they were delusional, they were based on lies, and (I believe) a lot of them centered on his Daddy issues. But half-baked as they were, they were real to him. So what the fuck is Obama’s excuse?!?! He cannot seriously believe that bombing Tripoli is going to persuade anybody that we’ve suddenly become patrons of Arab national aspirations. As far as I can tell, Obama’s war cry is, “Well, OK, if you guys think it’s a good idea, I guess so…” In this sense Obama’s done the impossible — in comparison, he almost makes Bush look thoughtful, competent.

      Astonishing, no?

  11. Glen

    So, on Monday is Obama going to finally disclose the Cheney Energy Policy?

    If you’ve got oil or gas the US military will be there to punch your “freedom and liberty” ticket – every body else gets no freedom or liberty – and this includes the American people.

    When do we start calling that the Obama “Freedom and Liberty” Energy Policy?

  12. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    …and the difference between a rich rat and a poor rat?

    A rich rat sleeps soundly.

    A poor rat is out there, even on the coldest night, trying to survive killer cats.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      A major error detected.

      Replace poor rat with middle-class rat.

      What I wrote originally might have been true 50 years ago, but is not any more.

  13. Philip Pilkington

    Krugman really knows how to destroy himself. The question you might ask is why does he do this? To explain this an analogy is in order.

    During the recent Irish elections the Labour Party spent much time and effort trying to differentiate themselves from the more left-wing parties – like Sinn Fein. Their leader, Eamonn Gilmore, expended some of his best rhetoric essentially slagging off people he should have been at least somewhat allied with. Why?

    Well, it’s complicated. But a significant factor was that Gilmore knew that he’s be hanging out with the right-wingers quite a bit. And I think that he felt that he might get into some awkward situations in which he might be accused of holding similar views – even remotely similar views – to those on his left. He feared that this might damage his credibility.

    Of course, this destroyed Labour’s credibility with anyone that was even remotely left-wing because it gave the right-wing the mandate for setting the agenda… these left-wing people are, of course, Labour’s voting base. Ultimately, I predict, this will haunt the Labour Party in years to come.

    Ditto for Krugman.

    1. YankeeFrank

      Yeah, you point out an interesting perspective on Krugman’s position: his associations constrain him. I would add that his own teachings over the past three decades also constrain him and place him in a position from which it would be hugely awkward for him to embrace MMT.

  14. Ep3

    Yves, just to throw sum sarcasm in, it’s good to see the free market working so well in the lives of the japanese. As ayn rand said, when ppl are at the lowest point in their lives as possible, they will rise up and achieve the best. Or something like that.

    1. psychohistorian

      The “free market” that the Japanese and the rest of us are and will reap the rewards of was forced on the Japanese after WWII. Japan became the new “free trade” source of cheap and compliant labor that represented today’s outsourcing relative to that time.

      This is not to denigrate the “progress” that Japan has made along with the rest of us. But the question to me is, at what long term cost? That is where the BS part of risk assessment came/comes from the nuclear industry.

      We know better. Why don’t we DO better all the time when the stakes are this high? If the US Navy has “gold plated” reactors for their ships then why aren’t all the reactors for the spaceship Earth “gold plated”?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Maybe I quibble too much, but I resent violently the term spaceship Earth.

        It’s more like space-canoe Earth.

        1. Cedric Regula

          I think it’s spaceball earth. In a spaceship, you ride on the inside. Similarly, I don’t believe the “Earth Is Canoe-Like” crowd. It sounds too much like MMT. And then Krugman will argue for the Keynesian Spaceball-Canoe Duality Hypothesis, and perhaps be right in theory. But in practice we haven’t done it that way since Clinton, and now we are headed for a Celestial Niagara Falls in a barrel. Or canoe if we must go by the MMT definition of “undistorted” reality.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I’m open minded type of guy and you have made me think a little bit about spaceball…

          2. psychohistorian

            I’ll stick with the spaceship analogy. The outer skin of our ship is called atmosphere, it is somewhat fragile and is under significant attack.

            What about the analogy is so offensive, MLTPB?

  15. David Collyer

    Hi Yves,

    Fun and games Downunder. Prosper called a first home Buyers Strike in response to Australia’s ridiculous RE prices.
    http://www.prosper.org.au/2011/03/15/prosper-calls-for-buyers-strike/

    Aussie mainstream media have ignored the call.

    Centre-left lobby group GetUp put it up as a campaign idea. In 12 days it rose through 100 suggestions to number one.
    http://suggest.getup.org.au/forums/60819-campaign-ideas/topics/61385-i-suggest-a-campaign-about-/filter/top

    Canadian commentator Greater Fool likes the idea too:
    http://www.greaterfool.ca/2011/03/27/strike/

    Now watch the speculators short the big 4 Aussie banks! They are stuffed full of giant mortgages, backed by only half the bank capital required for other loans.

    David Collyer

  16. Jack Parsons

    I grew up next to the American River, a tributary of the Sacramento River. Pacific salmon spawn in late fall, and it’s an impressive sight. Even though they’re maybe 100th or 1000th what they used to be. Giant 4-6′ orange blobs in a low-running river.

    In the old days the Pacific Northwest Indians knew when the salmon run began because the noise traveled miles upriver. There were that many fish.

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