Links 10/6/10

Dinosaur origins pushed further back in time BBC (hat tip reader John M)

Indian language is new to science BBC (hat tip reader John M)

Rare Oasis of Life Discovered Near Geothermal Vents on Floor of Yellowstone Lake Science Daily (hat tip reader John M)

Man fined $1B for sending Facebook spam CNews

The Face of An American Lost Generation Andy Kroll

Crony Capitalism: Wall Street’s Favorite Politicians Zach Carter (hat tip Mike Konczal)

Cuts threaten to knock recovery as jobs ‘flatline‘ Independent

Barbarians at the gates of complexity John Kay, Financial Times

Bailout Loss Estimated at $29 Billion Louise Story, New York Times. The Treasury says $29 billion, estimates by other governmental bodies say $36 to $50 billion. Who would you believe?

At Flagging Tribune, Tales of a Bankrupt Culture New York Times

The Incidence of Unemployment and Underemployment, by Income Menzie Chinn, Econbrowser

Where are Young Grads Finding Jobs? Mark Thoma

How a financial crisis morphs into a currency war Ed Harrison

Wondering How Lenders Are Making Up for Missing Credit Card Fees? Check Your Home Escrow Natalie Martin, Credit Slips

Everything’s Going Up? Not Quite John Lounsbury

The effect of a renminbi appreciation on the US-China trade balance Willem Thorbecke, VoxEU

The costs of rising economic inequality Steve Perlstein, Washington Post. An efficiency based argument against income inequality.

Who Wins? Michael Hudson

Antidote du jour:

Picture 3

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  1. Debra

    Wow.. catch that dinosaur article.. I wonder if maybe the dinosaurs COULD HAVE BEEN running around in gigantic mass manufactured cars (the fact that we haven’t found them doesn’t prove anything…) on gigantic highways (that we know nothing about either…)
    Did they get wiped out for THEIR HUBRIS ?
    Questions, questions…

    1. Glen

      I always wondered if Polymetallic nodules found on the sea floor everywhere were tentative proof that dinosaurs tossed their empty beer cans overboard while out boating. Strangely, this hypothesis has never caught on with modern science.

  2. Debra

    A regular cornucopia of ideological bias this morning..
    “Indian language new to SCIENCE” ??
    Not even… scientists, and not even.. WHICH scientists.. like the ones living in Western countries, for example…
    Yawn. Waiting around for the implosion of this extraordinary western faith in science, and its capacity to totally organize and explain our world.

    1. Kevin de Bruxelles

      I remember reading somewhere that there are four modes of thinking: mythical, poetic, philosophic, and scientific. People who live within their myth accept the truth absolutely, and the myth is repeatedly proven to be true by its apparent power to facilitate the control of nature. In fact the idea of true or false is incomprehensible in this way of thinking and so there is no conception of the world beyond the myth. The goal of myth is to help the users return to an imagined Golden Age, which is really nothing more than a return to the womb. Obviously this was a common mode of thought in the primitive world but it is still quite common today among people of all walks of life. Poets attempt to verbalize the myth to those who live outside of it. They live somewhere near the boundary between myth and the beyond but they do not necessarily critique the myth. That is the job of philosophers, who seek deeper truth and meaning within the myth but are also free to reject elements of it as well in a process called demythologization Furthest away from the circle of myth is science, but paradoxically these are the two most similar modes of thought. Science is so far way from myth that it is hardly aware of its existence and so scientific thinkers are hardly aware of any boundaries. So the truth of scientific thinking is accepted absolutely because this truth is confirmed by the apparent power it gives its users to control nature. The goal of science is to reach a technologically perfect Golden Age in the future, which is really nothing more than death.

      So the progress of man from his his primitive mythical roots which he cast off during the Enlightenment towards a more perfect scientific future is nothing more than the simple act of replacing the flickering flame of a torch with the steadier beam of a flashlight in order to illuminate the dark recesses of our existence. Just as primitive societies profited from bouts of demythologization, our modern society could stand a little descientifcation to get to the deeper meanings of our times.

      1. craazyman

        Kevin you might be interested in a book titlted “Daimonic Reality” by Patrick Harpur.

        I believe it is out of print, but I ran across it in the New York Public Library a few years ago.

        It’s unlikley it would be found in a small public library, but possibly in larger ones.

        1. craazyman

          actually it’s on Amazon. Just don’t read it when you’re home alone on a dark and stormy night, or you’ll scare yourself half to death with every creak of the floorboards. That’s what happened to me. :)

          1. Kevin de Bruxelles

            Thanks craazyman, it looks really interesting. They even have it on so I’ll order it from there.

      2. psychohistorian

        Kevin, I have to respond.

        I question whether we have evolved past the Enlightenment as you state. The American dream was an attempt to do so but instead of E Pluribus Unum we are back to In Gawd we Trust and faith based Free Markets. We developed “scientific” control of our financial excesses and applied them successfully until they were eroded by the mythological faith breathers.

        I do not believe that science has a societal control goal but gives structure to our insatiable curiosity.

        I will take the consensus of science over the fiat of religion always.

        I would posit that we need more demythologization to rid ourselves of the societal control models that accompany it.

        1. Kevin de Bruxelles

          I don’t think I was trying to play up religion as superior to science. I think they are both neutral tools, one to satisfy our curiosity, as you say, and the other to satisfy our need for answers where so far there are no answers. Both of these tools can be used for societal control in the hands of a powerful elite. For example, I’m not so sure your example of free markets falls purely into the faith-based category, there are many economists who present forms of this myth as science. And so the best defense from science being used as a tool of control is a critical attitude which enables one to call it out when it is being used so. Which is exactly the same attitude to take towards religion.

      3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        In Zen, it’s all about non-thinking.

        I wonder if there are many types of non-thinking and/or if non-thinking is just another type of thinking?

  3. eric anderson

    re Who Wins? Michael Hudson: “At issue are proposals to drastically change the laws and structure of how European society will function for the next generation. If the anti-labor forces succeed, they will break up Europe, destroy the internal market, and render that continent a backwater.”

    And if the pro-labor forces succeed? There is no proof that alternative won’t introduce different kinds of distortions and general pain. We are to look to Latvia as a model, according to Hudson. Instead of the “tyranny of neoliberalism” that Hudson rants against, there they have the tyranny of courts who are dictating the repeal of measures of fiscal discipline like the reduction of transfer payments. Ugh.

    Apparently some are loathe to admit that there are no good alternatives left. Propping up the bad banks was wrong. Now regulations are being written, according to a link Yves posted recently IIRC, to prop up bad derivatives bets. We propped up real estate, auto makers. It created distortions. If we prop up wages, welfare, transfer payments, government make-work programs, and other budgetary items beyond our capacity to pay for them, it will create a different set of problems. The scilla or the charybdis?

  4. does it matter?

    That tom’s dispatch article on the long-term unemployed really pissed me off using that boomer as an example. The guy owns loads of unnecessary stuff but refuses job offers because the pay sucks. It really makes me feel dirty because I agree with the article’s essential premise and given my druthers the US would look A LOT more like a western social democracy than it does today, but using a boomer as an example ruins it for me.

    Regarding the dude, tough luck. Any money is better than no money and I would kill to be able to have that much expensive junk to sell. It’d be great: get rid of everything unnecessary (incl.the house) and put the money towards something that makes money today instead of pining away for the 70s and bitching about selling ONE of your motorcycles. Figure it out. The elites that past generations (ie. yours) allowed to control national policy sold us out a long time ago and now you’re competing with the entire world on anything that can’t be outsourced. Anything.

    That old period of American prosperity is never coming back so what’s the point of complaining? Boomers kill me. As a generation they killed the country with their insane political, foreign policy, military and economic choices and now they complain.

    Terrible example. The author should have chose someone much younger if he really wanted a cutting article that gets to the nub of the issue.

    1. alex

      Clearly it’s all the fault of “those people”. You know, the b*****s. Damn political correctness, you can’t even say it anymore. Oh hell, I know they’re not all alike, but most of them, if you scratch the surface, have made similarly insane political, foreign policy, military and economic choices.

    2. ginnie nyc

      You are so eager to throw a temper tantrum that you missed the point of the piece, which is that the “boomer” generation is the most screwed in the current Depression. If you disagree with this premise, give evidence.

  5. attempter

    Hudson hits it out of the park again.

    His basic message, the thesis of every piece, is clear and ringing:

    Shift all taxation (using that term in the broadest sense) off of production and onto “property”, interest, and all other parasitism.

    That’s the only practical solution and the only moral one.

    As he says, the elites know this and wage total war to achieve the opposite:

    European politicians now view this as being truly a fight to the death.

    Their actions prove that. The inertia of those under assault, including those who have a little but are being liquidated from above as we speak, is truly incomprehensible and suicidal.

    And this is true of all politicians and all elites.

  6. xtc

    Barbarians at the gates of complexity, by John Kay, Financial Times: “The sack of Rome, who’s 1,600-year anniversary also occurred last month…”
    I don’t know who this male is, perhaps he’s respected in his profession, but he lost me at “whose anniversary”.(And English is not even my mother’s tongue.)

  7. Stelios Theoharidis

    The post article isn’t a comprehensive enough argument against inequality. I think if you take a look at relative crime rates, related costs of incarceration you can see the obvious case for investing in the public early rather than imprisoning them for robbing you later. Highly unequal states like Brazil, Mexico, and South Africa require massive private security structures to supplement the state security apparatus.

    There is also some scholarship into the government revenue losses due to informal economies, the increasingly high toll that curruption has on transaction costs, as well as difficulties in business scenarios for collaboration to occur.

    The latter is probably one of the big reasons for familial nepotism in developing countries with high levels of inequality, trust is not as likely. Although it is chicken or the egg, does inequality cause nepotism due to lack of trust in business relationships or does nepotism cause inequality.

    Nevertheless there are serious inefficiencies created from highly unequal societies that are not referenced in this article that would bolster the case.

  8. inese

    Hudson do not understand the situation in Latvia. There are many other things should be taken into account.

  9. Jeff Larson

    I have a picture you might like to post; how can I get it to you? BTW, I really enjoy your website.

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