Links 2/16/09

A Comeback for Lamarckian Evolution? MIT Technology Review

Figures reveal Blair’s charity empire Guardian. Reader Tim is not impressed, calling them, “two scam artists of the first order”.

Tariff Protests in Eastern Port Rattle Kremlin New York Times. We linked to an article on this two weeks ago. Where has the Times been?

Did regulators know of dodgy deals? Times Online. A long expose of possible sanctioned chicanery in Irish banking.

Government bans executive bank bonuses Guardian

Decade at Bernie’s Paul Krugman

Should China Devalue the Yuan? Michael Pettis

Can We Transform the Auto-Industrial Society? Emma Rothschild, The New York Review of Books

Antidote du jour (hat tip reader Barbara). From PetBrags:

This Dachshund is fostering this little guy for another mom who couldn’t take care of him. He had his eyes closed, but now they are open. He is just a little bigger than her other pups. She loves this little guy as much as the other puppies and she is nursing him back to health. He is the cleanest pig-uppy ever because she licks him all the time.

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  1. Swedish Lex

    On “Did regulators know of dodgy deals?” from Times Online.

    If Irish regulators have dug a bit further than their peers in other countries, as the article suggests, then there is a probability that the rot is equally deep in other countries too. Trust will not be restored until a full clean-up has taken place. Without trust, no financial system.

  2. bionic

    Here’s a suggestive post from Jesse:

    Noting that “everybody” on the Wall Street knew that Madoff was running a scam, he asks “Why did they keep quiet?”

    “Professional courtesy amongst scumbags is not likely, because there isn’t any. More likely Bernie knew about some of their frauds, and that made him untouchable.”

    I may venture to suggest that even a band of thieves needs trust to rob a bank and that the reason top executives risk public wrath but nonetheless award bonuses is because bonuses=silence.

  3. Anonymous

    Krugman from Decade At Bernie’s:

    “If you want to see what it really takes to boot the economy out of a debt trap, look at the large public works program, otherwise known as World War II, that ended the Great Depression….
    Since nothing like that is on the table, or seems likely to get on the table any time soon, it will take years for families and firms to work off the debt they ran up so blithely.”

    Hey, Paul, maybe it was really the fact that after the War, the US was established as the World’s Superpower. The US buck the reserve currency and the US able to dominate the World economically through surrogate agencies like the IMF.

    And, even if the War Racketeers get the Big War they want and, even if they “win” it, it ain’t gonna be the same as the US WWII victory and its vast economic gains. The World Pickings just ain’t what they used to be back in the 50s.

    So downhill the Empire goes.

    It’s too bad Krugman and others do not expound on this theme more when talking about the 30s Depression and its remedy. This “solution” was certainly more costly than a bit of trade protection which everyone rails against as if that were the End Times.

    The WWII dead were 48,000,000. And, oh yeah, the permanent establishment of the War Racket in the US.

  4. Anonymous

    Bit unfair on the Blairs there, I fail to see any ‘scams’ involved in the work they’re doing?

  5. Anonymous

    Krugman is a slickster sell out and a significant part of the problem, most notable for his lies of omission that mask the real story …

    No one is feeling fine,
    Its the speed of the decline,
    Its a lunge,
    A plunge,
    A fast falling,
    The bottom is calling,
    Come on down,
    Its over!
    You can’t defy gravity,
    You can only heat it up,
    And talk about it in the papers,
    And on TV,
    Now digital and sharp,
    But no one is watching,
    Because even the electrons are falling,
    And the plasma is sagging,
    And the people are selling,
    The nation’s new meal on every corner,
    And eggs,
    Over easy,
    With a side of pain,
    Just to feed their stressed out faces,
    That have been exported to New Delhi,
    In a bag of fresh cooked derivative pies,
    With creamy centers made of lies,
    And while the Russians weep,
    Unable to now fund their new nuclear submarines,
    The predator bottom guns,
    Sit in their trailers in Nevada,
    Eating fried chicken,
    As they kill the innocent children in Pakistan,
    And then go home,
    To watch their own kids play soccer,
    And worry about the scamerican dream,
    As their bank accounts decline,
    From sea to receding shining sea,
    While the predator missile,
    Is refined,
    And smarterized,
    So that it knows your name,
    And then will be given to local cops,
    Who worship the false god of public safety,
    That feeds their ignorant faces,
    And makes them the the new,
    And improved,
    More powerful overseer,
    For the ruling elite,
    That will decimate the middle classes,
    And create a two tier,
    Perpetual conflict,
    Ruler and ruled world …

    Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

    i on the ball patriot

  6. DoctoRx

    The Krugman column appears to recommend gigantic government debt to replace private debt as a way out of the Great Recession the U.S. is enduring.

    But it was the smashing victory with an undamaged country that led to the prosperity that followed. Life in the U.S. during the war was one of privation. Let’s ignore the soldiers’ suffering.

    No, Dr. Krugman, the solution is not more government debt in peacetime. It is more saving, a tightening of the belts, and an equitable rationalization of the debt to bring debt levels down.

    The theme should be moving away from the culture of debt, and that includes the government.

  7. Anonymous

    Is it just me or is the site layout now borked on the home page. none of the posts show up only the link block above the amazon ad. i tried it with and without adblock. looks like the recent posts block was lost in the amazon ad update.

  8. DoctoRx

    I also wanted to comment on the MIT/LaMarck post. Thanks to Yves for beginning her links with scientific, non-financial matters.

    I spent a year in the Department of Ecology and Evolution before medical school. Lamarck was essentially never mentioned.

    Interestingly, the Darwinian theory of speciation via natural selection and Lamarckism are not polar opposites; from a UCal Berkeley site:

    “But Darwin also relied on much the same evidence for evolution that Lamarck did (such as vestigial structures and artificial selection through breeding). And Darwin wrongly accepted that changes acquired during an organism’s lifetime could be passed on to its offspring.”

    What we see is that even in the physical sciences, received wisdom can be incorrect. WRT econ and finance, more so.

    Lamarckian inheritance remained popular throughout the 1800s, in large part because scientists did not yet understand how heredity works. With the discovery of genes, it was finally abandoned for the most part. But Lamarck, whom Darwin described as “this justly celebrated naturalist,” remains a major figure in the history of biology for envisioning evolutionary change for

  9. Anonymous

    Yes! thank you Yves for the Science links and I appreciate DoctoRx’ comment as well.
    *With the discovery of genes, it was finally abandoned for the most part.*

    –Abandoned in favor of the manipulation and control fantasy wrought by the new genetix.

    What our friends in the social sciences are having a tough time getting their brains around can be described by Soros’ concept of *reflexivity.* Cause and effect must be seen as working in both directions. Manipulation blinds us to half of reality and we see resulting the devastation of values all around us.
    [nice word verify: ox iou]

  10. Anonymous

    Yves, why did you link to Economist’s View instead of linking directly to Krugman’s column at the Times? All EV did was copy his column verbatim with something like one sentence of commentary. It doesn’t look like “fair use” to me, more like stealing ad views. I’m sure you wouldn’t like it if someone started doing that with your articles.

  11. Demetrius

    Whose worrying? With the French nuclear submarine ramming a British one today in the Atlantic the way is open for the British to cure their problems by the age old way of declaring war on the French. At least it will keep the economic stuff off the front pages for a while.

  12. Carlosjii

    I don’t get the big deal about the bonuses at banks and now other companies. Just raise the tax rates back to 55% on a graduated basis starting at $500k or so.

    When government gets into the micro-management business……….why, the Wall fell and they defaulted on their debt.

  13. Anonymous

    Krugman, so close but so far.

    Check in next week to see if our hero can get his head out of the skittles pooper. Same claptrap time, same claptrap channel.

  14. Anonymous

    DoctoRx said – “I also wanted to comment on the MIT/LaMarck post. Thanks to Yves for beginning her links with scientific, non-financial matters.”

    I think the post is a lot more financial than meets the eye if one would reflect on it a bit …

    Not enough weight is given to the fact that humans externalize their cerebral and motor skills in the form of tools of dominance, i.e.; picks, shovels, wagons, trucks, bulldozers, rockets, etc., on the mechanical side, and broadly; language, books, pictures, printing presses, computers, television, codes of law, religious tracts, etc., on the cerebral side. Many tools of dominance are of course a blend of both. What is important is that in their essence they function as an external ‘dna’ instruction set that regulates human behaviors and viewpoints by setting and passing on the cultural rules.

    This externalization to the environment of human motor skills and cerebral skills is now taking place at an astonishing rate and, in its aggregate, has the power to control or override millions of individual human genetic dna instruction sets passed within humans. When you take a photograph for posterity you influence the emotions and behaviors of present and future generations. Ronald Reagan is still being used as a motivational tool of the wealthy elite and propagandizes us almost daily. Ditto FDR.

    Said another way, we have evolved the environment (within our sphere of influence) that we now evolve in. Evolutionary changes are really made and passed on within minutes. Lamarck was on a hotter trail.

    Observing and controlling the scam ‘rule of law’ (our external ‘dna’ developmental instruction set) is very scientific and has important financial ramifications for all of us.

    Our present financial crisis is a result of aggregate generational corruption in the scam ‘rule of law’, and a rapidly increasing present day corruption, both of which alter the external instruction set. It – the ‘rule of law’ – needs a reset.

    Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

    i on the ball patriot

  15. Anonymous

    “Can We Transform the Auto-Industrial Society?”

    Can we transform Ms. Rothschild’s tortured Jamesian syntax into English is the first question.

  16. fresno dan

    Antidote du jour said “He is the cleanest pig-uppy ever because she licks him all the time.”

    Uh, maybe because he tastes like bacon?

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