Links 9/13/10

Scientists find drugs that may fight bat disease Associated Press (hat tip reader John M)

Pharmaceutical Industry Funded Study Shows that Unauthorized Drug Copies Save Tens of Millions CEPR (hat tip reader John M)

In Ad Wars, Democrats Shy From Ties to Own Party New York Times. Another indictment of Obama

Catholics, Muslims, and the Mosque John T. McGreevy and R. Scott Appleby, New York Review of Books

The Two Categories of American Corporation — And Their Politics Robert Reich (hat tip reader John M)

Inequality and Growth, Revisited Chevelle

Corporate Tax Rates and Unemployment Mike Kimel, Angry Bear

Confusion is Recursive Paul Kedrosky

Resale Fees That Only Developers Could Love New York Times (hat tip reader Fred A). This is a new “gotcha” fee, and will simply lead to lower home prices on properties with these charges once buyers wise up.

Anticipating the End of a Weak Recovery Ed Harrison

China, Japan, America Paul Krugman, New York Times

Antidote du jour:

Picture 22

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  1. attempter

    Re builders fee

    I was going to mention that in my comment in the other thread but forgot. Quite a testimony to the value added by “capitalism”. Have you seen how you don’t actually own the physical software, DVDs, books etc. that you think you buy but really just “lease”?

    E.g. here

    So as Yves asks, how long before people wise up to how this parasitic builder still wants a piece of you in perpetuity even after you buy the house? And the banksters will probably follow suit; it’s of course against their interest, but they just can’t help themselves.

    Re Reich and the one type of corporation he pretends are two:

    Can anyone still believe that the globalizers including Reich himself didn’t always know and intend that this was going to be the effect? (The intent is of course enfolded in being a supporter of something while lying about what one knows the malign effects will be.)

    At least in his lugubrious way Reich is grudgingly, indirectly confessing his crimes. Unlike e.g. ex-cheerleader Krugman, who’s simply gone mute on his beloved globalization and the factory farms he singled out for praise. (Just like he’s gone mute on Bush’s war now that it’s Obama’s war.)

    Re the Kedrosky graphic:

    Now that made the most sense of anything I’ve read today.

    1. craazyman

      The Kedrosky graphic makes perfect sense to anyone who watched the Cowboys-Redskins game last night.

      The graphic describes action on the field during the last play of the game, when a holding call against the Dallas Cowboys negated what would have been a game-winning touchdown — thus driving all momentum lines down to zero.

      It’s amazing how everything in the universe just makes sense with the appropriate analytical framework. The fact that the graph was composed in 1965 using a typewriter only reinforces the fact that space-time is a contiguous entity whose features can be apprehended at will by the practiced mind from any point along its continuum. However, like in quantum mechanics with its Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, one can know either the event or the point along the continuum, but not both, with certainty.

      Clearly the graph makers were channeling the NFL’s opening day in 2010. This clarifies it all. :)

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I was watching Werner Herzon’s The Wild Blue Yonder about aliens from the Andromeda galaxy having arrived here even as we earthlings send explorers who, through the theory of chaotic tunnels developed by Dr. Lo (I think) who came up with the idea after noticing the orbits of the planets in our solar system in reality were chaotic tunnels that resembled the labyrinth at the Versailles, finally land on the aliens’ home planet that’s covered with a frozen atmosphere.

        Now, I read Kedrosky’s confusion chart.

        First chaotic tunnels for space travel and now this.


        I think no.

        Be afraid, very afraid…unless you have phobophobia.

        By the way, if you have a fear of eating the Vietnamese dish called Pho, you have phophobia – I mention this because many people confuse phobophobia with phophobia.

        To add to more confusion, if you fear Pho and boba (another exotic Asian treat), you have phobobaphobia, which should not be confused with phophobia or phobophobia.

        Of course, if you are the type who enjoy being afraid, then you can have philphobophobia, philphophobia and philphobobaphobia.

        I hope I make myself clear.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Thanks Craazyman.

            They say writing is the best way to confront one’s phobia.

            So I had to mention phophobia.

    2. scraping_by

      Heck, through the magic of the legal system, even sales aren’t sales.

      The ability of creditors, mostly banks and other financials, to disrupt the real economy and its real people with a low-risk gamble (can they be countersued? Think not.) comes courtesy of the political system. The current quiet crisis isn’t just economic, it’s legal and political. Moral, too, but there’s not much you can do with governance for that.

  2. Neil D

    Excellent link from CEPR on the differnce between “unauthorized copies” of drugs and fake drugs.

    It is of course true that someone who appropriately takes the real thing will get better no matter the source or the selling price. If you have a company willing to make an “unauthorized copy” what guarantee do we have they will not drift into making fakes?

  3. EmilianoZ

    Chris Hedges’ column today is really good, it’s a must read. He’s basically saying: forget about politics, the only way to beat corporate power is to build a new alternative economy ourselves from the ground up.

    Excerpt 1:
    “Investing emotional and intellectual energy in electoral politics is a waste of time. Resistance means a radical break with the formal structures of American society. We must cut as many ties with consumer society and corporations as possible. We must build a new political and economic consciousness centered on the tangible issues of sustainable agriculture, self-sufficiency and radical environmental reform.”

    Excerpt 2:
    “The failure of liberals to defend the interests of working men and women as our manufacturing sector was dismantled, labor unions were destroyed and social services were slashed has proved to be a disastrous and fatal misjudgment. Liberals, who betrayed the working class, have no credibility. This is one of the principle reasons the anti-war movement cannot attract the families whose sons and daughters are fighting and dying in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

    Excerpt 3:
    ““The corporate state is the ultimate maturation of American-type fascism,” Nader said. “They leave wide areas of personal freedom so that people can confuse personal freedom with civic freedom—the freedom to go where you want, eat where you want, associate with who you want, buy what you want, work where you want, sleep when you want, play when you want. If people have given up on any civic or political role for themselves there is a sufficient amount of elbow room to get through the day. They do not have the freedom to participate in the decisions about war, foreign policy, domestic health and safety issues, taxes or transportation. That is its genius.”

    Excerpt 4:
    “It is anti-corporate movements as exemplified by the Scandinavian energy firm Kraft&Kultur that we must emulate. Kraft&Kultur sells electricity exclusively from solar and water power. It has begun to merge clean energy with cultural events, bookstores and a political consciousness that actively defies corporate hegemony. The failure by the Obama administration to use the bailout and stimulus money to build public works such as schools, libraries, roads, clinics, highways, public transit and reclaiming dams, as well as create green jobs, has snuffed out any hope of serious economic, political or environmental reform coming from the centralized bureaucracy of the corporate state.”

    1. Valissa

      Thanks for the link! I agree with Hedges on this as I came to the same realization myself. However, I have not seen this or and other economic/finance/money blog go in this MUCH NEEDED direction. The fashion in such blogs is to complain about the economic system we have and suggest “fixes” that come out of the same kind of economic thinking that has produced the problem. I have gotten bored with arguments for or against MMT, Austrian Economics, austerity versus targeted spending, whether or not we are experiencing inflation, deflation or biflation, etc. Despite trying my best to understand the various economics ideas behind these arguments I see no “answers” to real life daily economics in them… just lots of theorizing, intellectualizing, moralizing and the need to win arguments. This certainly can be fun and I understand the need to commiserate with people of similar beliefs, but that in itself provides no solutions. Personally I am more interested in putting my energy into understanding and investigating solutions than wasting more time bitching about the current system (I have observed that none of my bitching about the political-economic system these past years, or my attempts to donate to “better” candidates has produced a single useful “change” so I no longer waste my time on it).

      An example I think is relevant here is the rise of alternative/complementary medicine, many aspects of which have now finally become somewhat mainstream because people were willing to pay out of their own pockets for it, and because it worked (obviously not all alternative medicine has equal credibility).

      Much as many people mix conventional and complementary medicine, I think they will mix their spending on both products from the mainstream economy and any emerging alternatives if those are more available (some small amount of this is happening already). I try and buy American and I try and buy local as much as I can (that includes locally made clothing in a store I shop at), but it would be great to have more resources to figure out where I can get more American (and other non-third world produced) products, and where I can spend my money in ways that support the growth of an alternative economics system. Of course I will still buy the products of globalization, as I love things like tropical fruit, etc, etc, but I would love to have more choices/options to buy “local” as well to help maintain a better “balance of power” between local and global.

      Will enough people choose to start up or work in more humane businesses in order to build a complementary economic sub-system? Some good news here in MA… Farming surges in state with new crop of devotees

    2. craazyman

      I think there is a threshold where economic problems become spiritual problems and the toxicities we observe in economic relationships are simply projections of the toxicities in our relationships with self and other.

      I am not sure any economic system can address these issues completely.

      History is strewn with tensions and conflicts between collectives and small groups. Sometimes it would seem that justice is on one side, sometimes on the other side.

      It seems to me that justice is an independent variable that forms no causal or even correlative relationship with orginazational size. The only structural correlation is the somewhat positive inverse correspondence between separation of power and tendency of the group to descend into total lunacy.

      I have commented that Mr. Hedges seem more a poet than a political philosopher. Even so, I am a bit surprised a man with his resume would be swayed by such romantic ideals, as appealing as they are.

      1. attempter

        Wherever the center of power moves upward (as opposed to remaining at soil level, with higher levels of federation being only consultative), the larger the size, the more centralized power must be, therefore the less participatory democracy, the more coercion, the less justice.

        All that’s by the definition of justice, that those who create the wealth and power maintain complete control and enjoyment of it.

  4. Tom Shillock

    RE: Inequality and growth, revisited

    “Globalization is hard to stop unless one is ready to face major disruptions in the global economy and setbacks in our standards of living. On top of that, you would be intellectually dishonest to be calling for its interruption, if you’re the type who argues for more equality: From a strictly intellectual perspective, you shouldn’t care if the person whose income is converging with yours is American or Chinese.”

    Actually globalization is more disruptive that productive because its current form it is being driven by massive unrestrained capital flows. Soros, Stiglitz and others have argued for the benefits to growth of regulating / restraining it.

    From the perspective of the average American worker—especially unemployed worker—it is not inconsistent to advocate more equality but resist the zero sum game of labor arbitrage the major beneficiaries of which are the upper classes.

    More broadly, to the extent that globalization has meant the proliferation of my low cost trinkets and trash it has caused a decline in standard of living given a sane conception of what it is to have a life. Unfortunately, this is something economists cannot adequate factor so they make a virtue of a fault.

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