Marshall Auerback: Get Ready for a Global Growth Slowdown

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By Marshall Auerback, a portfolio strategist and hedge fund manager. Cross posted from New Deal 2.0.

Governments across the globe are headed for a disaster entirely of their own making.

Though capital markets remain strong, the global economic backdrop continues to deteriorate as fiscal retrenchment takes hold. Commodity markets have rallied in tandem with the fall in the dollar even though there are signs that growth in the emerging world is slowing. Japan’s economy is in the soup, the U.S. economy has failed to pick up as many thought (with a mere 2% growth rate expected to be released for Q1 shortly), and the European economy is overdue for its own slowdown. The U.S. stock market has also rallied despite the threat of a very high gasoline price, disappointing economic growth data, and a fairly mixed earnings picture.

The new theme in the market seems to be that the Fed, unlike other central banks, will stick with super easy money policies, hence the tendency to push the weak dollar, rising equity prices, and soaring commodity prices. But the news that real GDP growth has fallen sharply in the first three months of 2011 is evidence that the current policy mix, with its emphasis on public spending cuts, is not working. If gasoline prices spike as high as they did in June 2008, they will further weaken an already feeble economy. Consumers did not show up at Walmart at the end of the month because they ran out of money. House prices are still falling.

At the same time, the political debate is focused on the public debt limit, which expires in a few weeks. Conservatives are once again threatening not to extend this limit, even though no less a figure than Warren Buffett has said the failure to do so would be the “most asinine act” the U.S. Congress has ever committed.

The evidence of an increasingly imploding euro zone (which continues to embrace fiscal austerity with the zeal of a religious fanatic) does not seem to have shifted the debate much in this country. Many European governments are facing a fiscal crisis due to their failure to advance public purpose and raise the funds needed to maintain existing programs. Only the interventions of the ECB are saving the whole system from total meltdown, but the underlying solvency problem for the individual member states is getting worse as the days go by. The Euro bosses are failing, and with any luck, so is political resistance to rational economic policy.

Last week, we got a whopping negative surprise with real retail sales down 2.1% in Germany, Europe’s largest economy. Since analysts had been hoping for no change, this is troubling and suggests that the problems of the euro zone are now extending beyond the periphery problem children, like Ireland, Portugal and Greece, into the core countries. The stronger euro, slowdowns in some emerging economies, and fiscal tightening could all add up to weaker-than-expected German exports, and weak German household spending could lead to a significant disappointment in the rest of Europe.

While Germany looms on the horizon, the euro disaster de jour is an eight percent year on year decline in Spanish retail sales. This in a country with a 21.3% unemployment rate. Their construction industry is probably still in decline, and there will be further government cutbacks. The Spanish trade account is now deteriorating and should continue to do so at this exchange rate, short of a disastrous decline in domestic demand. Spain was the domino that wasn’t supposed to fall in Euroland. So much for that idea.

Meanwhile, what is happening in Ireland makes a Samuel Beckett play look like a Restoration Comedy by comparison. The issue being faced there is akin to the problem faced by Iceland last year: should voters reject a taxpayer bailout of foreign creditors? Like Iceland, it faces a crushing debt because its government took on the liabilities of its oversized banks, who had lent indiscriminately throughout Euroland. However, unlike Iceland, Irish bank liabilities are denominated in the currency used in Ireland, the euro. Like every other country in the euro zone, the “Celtic Tiger” abandoned its sovereign currency when it joined the Euro. Effectively, it became like a U.S. state within Euroland, which means that it has little domestic policy space to use monetary or fiscal policy to deal with this crisis. The Irish economy continues to deflate into the ground, and default seems like an increasingly likely option unless debt relief is provided by the ECB or the EMU through some other entity. That is actually in the EMU’s interests, since much of the bank debt guaranteed by Ireland’s government is held externally by EU banks, but huge political opposition in some of the wealthier EU states (e.g. Finland and Germany) makes this an increasingly unlikely scenario. Default and possible expulsion from the euro zone (and all of the attendant systemic problems this would pose for Europe) are increasingly likely possibilities.

In Asia, things are not much better. Japan’s industrial production is down far, far more than anyone imagined, as is household consumption. Destructive IMF-style thinking still predominates in Tokyo, where the government is in thrall to a gaggle of deficit terrorists who think they can’t afford to fund a proper reconstruction in the country.

The economic data coming out of China is so bad it is hard to assess what is happening, but there is enough evidence to suggest that the Chinese economy too slowed in the fourth quarter of last year and has slowed further in the first quarter of this year. It seems that there are two reasons to expect further slowing:

1. The Chinese keep tightening monetary policy in response to rising inflationary pressures. Unfortunately, hiking rates via direct rate rises is the wrong way to go about it, because the resultant rise in interest income for savers ADDS to aggregate demand through the interest income channels, making their inflation that much worse. In response, Beijing is also beginning to deploy credit controls, which do slow demand, as do automatic stabilizers that work through higher nominal growth, including reduced transfer payments and higher tax receipts. In general, this type of policy response constitutes a significant tightening of fiscal policy and leads to a very hard landing.

2. The ratio of Chinese fixed investment to GDP is so high it is very difficult to sustain. A rising real effective exchange rate is surely squeezing many companies and that should curb their fixed investment. There has been a big shift in the composition of Chinese fixed investment from profitable industries that can self-finance to local government projects which are highly debt-dependent and have minimal ability to self-finance. This shift to more debt-dependent sectors should have an adverse impact on fixed investment, though with some lag.

All in all, not a pretty global picture. It’s only made worse by the fact that virtually all economic debates remain heavily skewed to further cutting government spending at a time when growth rates are falling and unemployment claims are rising. In short, the human tragedy we are now experiencing is totally self-inflicted policy stupidity. But then again, when have the neo-liberals ever let facts get in the way of a good theory?

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  1. F. Beard

    But then again, when have the neo-liberals ever let facts get in the way of a good theory? Marshall Auerback

    “Good theory”? How odd then that the Austerians neglect morality in their “good” theories. Shall the poor suffer because of rich bankers?

    1. Carla

      “Shall the poor suffer because of rich bankers?” Has it ever been any other way?

      The rich bankers do not seem inclined to unclench their fists even a little.

      Nor, alas, do the rest of us seem inclined to work together to help the rich move in a more enlightened direction. It is discouraging, depressing, frightening and enraging.

  2. kevinearick

    Does it get any better?

    We are about to change the economy from low frequency dc to high frequency ac, because that is the only way to bring this baby through 0 volts in the neutral line, and everyone has had three years to prepare, yet I am still getting threats from individual sexists (do not be disobedient to my God … or else) who have never seen economic change in their lives, who are all about to get whiplash, most of whom are going to lose everything and have no adaptive skills with which to recover. They are all going to be toast. The Ryan bill is more extend and pretend, and we are all done with extend and pretend. Yes, volatility, as perceived by the sub-humans, is about to go through the roof. For Congress, it’s going to be a hard landing. For those who have been preparing, it’s going to be a fast take-off.

    You never know who is going to be the boss tomorrow, so you might want to show a little respect, but then again that’s old school thinking, isn’t it?

    What can I say, but have a nice day? Thanks for flying.

    1. F. Beard

      We are about to change the economy from low frequency dc to high frequency ac, kevinearick

      The definition of DC (direct current) is that its frequency is zero. There is no such thing as “low frequency dc”.

      1. kevinearick

        what’s the input?

        definitions, definitions, definitions; knowledge gets you in trouble every time..

        1. kevinearick

          what do they say over at zero, ” on a long enough …”

          Time is what you make of it, as is frequency.

          1. kevinearick

            Many European governments are facing a fiscal crisis due to their failure to advance public purpose and raise the funds needed to maintain existing programs.

            Need I say more?

    2. eric anderson

      Could you be a little more cryptic, Kevin. I think I may have extracted a half-ounce of meaning from that post, which is apparently more than you intended.

          1. kevinearick

            from Harvey

            Message from Interactive Brokers to clients:
            To NYMEX,NYSELIFFE traders:
            Tue May 3 04:38:47 2011 EST
            In light of the recent extreme volatility on the silver contracts, the various exchanges that trade silver derivatives are expected to increase margin requirements on these contracts. As the increase is anticipated to be approximately 20%, we will be requiring an additional 25% cushion of margin on top of the exchange-mandated maintenance margin requirement. We anticipate this change will become effective as early as 12pm EST on 3 May 11.
            For example, for the SI futures on NYMEX, as the expected NYMEX-mandated margin requirement will be US$12,000 for each contract, we will be requiring US$15,000 maintenance margin for each contract.
            To anticipate the sudden increase in these margin requirements, our initial margin requirements on the affected contracts were raised to 180% of current maintenance margin levels. The aim of this preemptive change is to avoid adverse impact from the expected maintenance margin increase. Thank you for your understanding.

            crack me up.

  3. don

    If there is one notion that stands above all others, that goes unquestioned, that is presumed to be intrinsically good, is the BELIEF in economic growth. This is the belief in an economic system that is structurally dependent on growth, where social relations serve the economy rather than the economy serving society. This is the belief in god: grow or die. The belief that any notion of sustainability and of a steady state economy is either naive or that it won’t provide for the poor, the disadvantaged.

    In view of the human population explosion, of the extinction of species and the loss of biodiversity, and of overdevelopment in general as wild nature is further colonized, perhaps economic contraction is not only desirable but absolute necessary for our long term survival, one at least with a quality of life.

    1. F. Beard

      perhaps economic contraction is not only desirable but absolute necessary for our long term survival, one at least with a quality of life. don

      May your job be the first to go then.

      It’s funny how bankers screw up the economy and suddenly everyone and everything else is to blame. How convenient!

      1. john

        I’ve been marveling for thirty years now watching misanthropic “environmentalists” try to convince people that we should all just die to make the world a better place, it still does not strike me as a winning argument.

        I wonder if don noticed that environmentalism, like civil rights peaked right at the end of the post war growth. Since the incomes of most people have stagnated they have become more resistant to both. Hmmmmm

        1. skippy

          Man made systems 100ish years (post industrial decades) vs. the Universe 13.75 ± 0.11 billion years – equals – stellar / geological / animal record, of which, we probably only can claim to know .01% of.

          On this site and others, photos of a large sea of plastics, congregating near the center of the pacific (origins from all points of the globe). Now think of all the chemicals we introduce, in countless combinations, transforming within an ever changing climate, never seen in this planets history. Old saying, what you do to you body in your 20s will manifest its self in your 30s, 30s to 40s, etc.

          Sally forth, goest humanity, in its own egos bright backlit greatness *winningly* see:

          Skippy…”Well, normal procedure, Lieutenant, is to jump 200 feet into the air and scatter yourself over a wide area”. — Apropos methinks.

          One for the road:

        2. Anon

          All just die? Nah. Mandate a one-child policy. Let’s get the population down to something more sustainable, such as early 20th century levels of about a billion people. I have no desire to breed, so I’ll happily sell my one-child allotment to a rich Catholic for a million dollars.

          1. Robert Dudek

            Birth rates are very low in the industrialized world. Those who are living “closer to nature” tend to have many more children.

            How to solve this conundrum?

          2. gegensätzlichen Theorien

            living “closer to nature” tend to have many more children.

            How to solve this conundrum?

            ~~Robert Dudek~

            Will next generation need more of the Jungle Jeans or more of the Genetically engineered but civilization modified chromosomes? Could it be better for the banksters and math majors to fade out by attrition to make space for traits needed for survival in the post-peak-civilization-World? If I am wrong, should we be bank-rolling Chinese to teach one-child-ism to the outback indigenous?

            What is the consensus

          3. Carla

            @R. Dudek: “Birth rates are very low in the industrialized world. Those who are living “closer to nature” tend to have many more children.

            How to solve this conundrum?”

            We know exactly how to solve it. Educate women. They’ll figure out how to have fewer children.

            But then of course, those educated women and their fewer children will actually want to eat, and perhaps (gasp!) live meaningful lives.

            You’re right. It is a terrible conundrum for the rich of the world because…because….we do not want to share.

        3. Mighty Booosh

          Environmental concerns peak when people are being poisoned by human activity in their environment. In the good old days, rivers (e.g. Cuyahoga) caught fire. The first smoke ordinances were in the 1880s. In the 1950s toxic fogs killed people in the UK (Great Smog). I dare say that people were well justified to demand a cleaner environment and we still are.
          Civil rights peaked in 1776, when the rights of men triumphed over the divine right of kings. Everything else you call civil rights has just been the adjustment of the people to the proposition put forth in those documents-that all people are equal and endowed with rights greater than those bestowed by other men.

      2. virginia

        It depends upon your definition of quality of life; Some can’t do without a paycheck, trustfundies can’t do without a sudsidized tax shelter and a “dependable maid”.

    2. jake chase

      Economic growth is measured by capacity utilization in the parking lots at Walmart. These days people are buying less worthless shit. The serious question is how many are starving. I haven’t seen any figures on that one.

  4. F. Beard

    The evidence of an increasingly imploding euro zone (which continues to embrace fiscal austerity with the zeal of a religious fanatic) Marshall Auerback

    But with none of the moral authority.

    Our money system is basically a government backed counterfeiting cartel that has driven the population into debt slavery. The moral solution is debt relief, not austerity.

  5. KnotRP

    Wait, what? Beatings don’t improve morale?

    (clearly the beatings weren’t large enough!)

  6. KnotRP

    Incidentally, the top 1% have most of the wealth…so why do we think beating the bottom 99% will shake enough pocket change lose to matter to the economy? Do you search for things you’ve lost where the light is better, rather than the last place you saw it?

    And if we make a promise, today, to beat future tax payers at a later date, are we not threating today’s tax payers today in a way which encourages them to hunker down and save more for an austere non-retirement old age?

    1000 monkeys could produce a better plan that this,
    on the first attempt.

  7. joebhed

    Economists will somehow manage to metric the thing as a global growth slowdown, but the reality will be much more harsh for the real economies. Following Marshall’s cogent observations to their certain conclusion does not bring anything like a global growth slowdown.
    It is obviously, again, financial armageddon, only this time without the policy wiggle-room that allowed this 3-year period to somehow appear recovery-like.

    Impossible debt structures will lead to defaults, which tumble up this now financialized structure that used to be an economy, with cross-party defaulting a-go-go .
    And then what?

    Begin again?

    There is a structural flaw to the debt-money system that has pre-determined our present arrival. The only solution is to end the system where we can’t have money to operate the national economy unless banks are willing to make loans.

    That is a system that can only be both understood and sane to those who represent the top 1 percent of what Dr. Bernd Senf calls the owners of monetary assets which result from financialization.

    Debt-free money is the solution proffered by a number of noted economists throughout history.

    It ought to be included on the list of actions possible.

  8. ambrit

    Financial Fiendes;
    Well, it looks like History is yet again going to smack the human species in the face. If the top 1% thinks it’s going to escape the fallout, they should remember the “Trickle Up” theory of economics. When things get really bad, the poor and desperate ‘trickle up’ into the rich neighbourhoods to plunder and pillage. No matter who “wins” everyone suffers. A classic ‘lose lose’ situation.

  9. pezhead9000

    “But the news that real GDP growth has fallen sharply in the first three months of 2011 is evidence that the current policy mix, with its emphasis on public spending cuts, is not working”
    — Auerback ND2.0 – just keep spending – it solves everything. LOL!

  10. Cahal

    We need huge debt write offs, both public (in the EZ) and private (everywhere). Couple this with Land Value Taxes, higher capital gains and a general shift of the tax burden onto rent instead of labour and far reaching financial reforms and Anglo-American economies might actually start producing something again.

    If this means short term recession, so be it.

  11. Hugh

    I have been pointing this out for months. All the major economic players: the US, UK, Europe, China, and Japan have all been engaged in extend and pretend while their fundamentals have continued to worsen. Emerging markets were never big enough to make up for all the negatives in all these areas. They have always been a convenient fiction to entice saps into believing that the casino could go on.

    Then there are the externals. The Japanese earthquake and tsunami and the Arab revolts.

    And there is the countercurrent of budget cutting going on which is completely antithetical to extend and pretend, and/or sanity for that matter. This is really what will do the world economy in. Again I predicted this part something like 2 years ago.

    Finally, and it is a point I think needs to be brought up with all these economic analyses, Auerback ignores the kleptocratic nature of the world’s economic system. Policymakers are not making choices which might be poor or wrong but at some point they might be amenable to better options. They are making that are right for them and further the looting. Sure, it will all fall in on itself at some point. As I have said, kleptocracy has no brakes. It will go until it crashes. It will then pick itself up and loot until everything crashes again. It is its nature.

    It is rather like the goose that lays the golden eggs. The kleptocrats will steal all the eggs and when there are no more they will kill the goose.

    The problem with economists of all stripes nowadays is that they portray what is going on as vast impersonal processes and policies decided on in good faith. But nothing could be further from the truth. Looting is intensely personal to those it affects. It does not simply change digits in a ledger. It destroys lives and livelihoods. What we see is not a stable functioning system currently going through a rough patch. It is a massive criminal enterprise that will crash itself and us until there is nothing left to crash, or until we take action and stop it.

    Economists, those who are not at the beck and call of the kleptocrats, need to get off the fence, come out of their ivory towers and start calling things what they really are. As it is, we are being told that the patient suffered a cut, not that they were attacked by an axe murderer. Causation does make a difference to understanding. It also improves prediction. There are many things our elites might do to turn our and the world’s economy around, but they aren’t going to happen because they get in the way of their looting. Until economists understand this, they understand nothing.

    1. skippy

      Concur…Kleptocrats = Charlie Sheen = there is never enough coke in the world once your endorphin levels are permanently modified and you have means to secure more (coercive power).

      The alternative is a emotional darkness unsurpassed.

      Skippy…seriously, how many in history have abdicated power for the good of all, hens teeth!

    2. Patricia

      “The problem with economists of all stripes nowadays is that they portray what is going on as vast impersonal processes…Looting is intensely personal to those it affects. It does not simply change digits in a ledger. It destroys lives and livelihoods.”

      It has been made impersonal by distance and expanse, and it suffers the same dissociation of “soldiers” shooting people in Afghanistan while sitting in Nevada at a computer screen.

      The further the actual distance, and the larger the size of the endeavor, the easier it is for humans to avoid the reality of their actions. We are, in most ways, simple physical creatures and it is only sensible to provide structures that accommodate our natures.

    3. Dirk77

      The few economists I know certainly know about the BS that passes for knowledge in their profession and the lies and theft that pass for policy in DC. But they are relatively small fry, and frankly are just worn out and want just to make it to retirement. Perhaps there are others though. On the other hand, I suspect that this is like a fever that needs to run its course like communism and facsism in the last century. Waiting for the present group of proponents of a bankrupt philosophy to die, etc. Posts like Marshall’s and blogs like Yves’ hastening a better understaning and shortening the dark times.

  12. attempter

    The evidence of an increasingly imploding euro zone (which continues to embrace fiscal austerity with the zeal of a religious fanatic) does not seem to have shifted the debate much in this country.

    Why would it? They’re the same totalitarians who want the same total destruction everywhere. Although most of them are thugs rather than convinced ideologues, the analogy to religious fanaticism still applies since the behavior and the result is the same.

    Can you argue with religious fanatics intent on enslaving and murdering? No. Can you reform their systems? No. Are such fanatics “representative” of humanity because they hold the reins of a structure of fraudulent elections? No. So should any citizen anywhere consider them legitimate, consider them anything other than usurping tyrants who by all moral and practical rights may and must be destroyed? No.

  13. Toby

    It is not perpetual growth we want, it is steady state growth. To be mature enough as a species to progress beyond our debt-money-generated addiction to linear growth, we must, as joebhed says, get rid of debt-based money. I too, like joebhed, have been impressed by Bernd Senf’s analysis of usury, and recommend to all German readers Professor Franz Hoermann, who takes Senf’s arguments to the next level.

    Because we can no longer afford, environmentally speaking, perpetual growth, and because disembarking from the growth gravy-train will necessarily revolutionize everything, it is time to consider seriously an economy without punitive debt. Growth, ossified hierarchy, concentrated power to the point of rampant decadence and criminality, are killing us and the ecosystems which give us life. It is literally insane to beat the drum of growth these days, as if all that mattered were producing ever more cars and fridges, employing ever more people for ever longer hours at ever increasing rates of productivity, just so we can consume ever more fridges and cars, infinitely.

    Enough already. To regurgitate a tired cliche; it’s time for change.

  14. Toby

    I read this on the train in the way in this morning, and find it both pertinent to the debate, as well as powerfully prescient:

    “Unless all signs deceive us, we are marching with giant strides toward an epoch of state capitalism, which is likely to assume for the workers the shape of a modern system of bondage in which man may be regarded as merely an instrument of production, and all personal freedom will be absolutely extinguished.” Rudolf Rocker, 1937 (“Nationalism and Culture”).

    The question is, can capitalism, since it is powered by competition and growth, have any other outcome?

    1. KnotRP

      What is this capitalism you speak of?

      Capture of all three branches of our government,
      rendering checks-and-balances inoperable (SEC/DOJ
      and Angelo, anyone? Congress passing laws written
      by others that they haven’t read, anyone?…the list
      could go on for pages), goes by a different name,
      and the problem has nothing to do with market structure.

      I believe someone warned us of such things….
      “if you can keep it….”

  15. pjwrites

    You know, it’s interesting. I’m of an age where there is a bit of life to look back on. Let me share some thoughts.

    I was raised in the day when you put your money in the bank and the bank gave you a toaster and offered free services like checking and savings, which both earned 6% interest for you.
    I was raised in the day when you had a problem with a product or service and the repairman showed up the next day to find and fix the problem, no charge.
    I was raised in the day when the customer was always right and never questioned.
    I was raised in the day when people who sued others were considered low-life scum, and you solved your problems by talking things out until you reached an equitable solution or you simply lived with and tolerated the situation as best you could.
    I was raised in the day when companies offered health insurance, pensions, annual cost-of-living raises, vacations and sick days, and considered their employees a cherished asset, encouraging them to improve their skills through education grants, and encouraging their employees to commit to the company for as long as they wished to work.

    I read about a global “growth” slowdown and I wonder, how have we “grown” over the past 50 years?

    Today, my bank charges me to get access to my money and plays games with dates and times of deposits and withdrawals in order to extract bigger fees and penalties.
    The other day I spent 2 and a half hours on the phone solving an issue with my cable service, going from box to box, plugging and unplugging and even going outside to check routers and servers and turn this off and on and so on. In the end, the problem was on their end, of course. You would think the nearly $300 I send them each month for phone and internet and cable would include customer service ad repairs, but it doesn’t.
    Today, suing others is a way of making a living and many people actively seek out opportunities to do just that.
    Last year, the company I worked for over the past 24 years, acting as a key player in taking it from nothing to one of the fasted-growing and most profitable in its field, laid me off because they found a younger, hipper replacement for my job.

    Is this really the kind of “growth” we are mourning? If so, maybe we’ve got it all wrong.

  16. Steve Bradley

    While I agree that this may not be the best time to “reduce spending” dramatically (much of which means, “reduce the Federal workforce,”), it seems there is never a good time. I believe that if a larger percentage of the people in the US GET a gov’t check than there are who pay the bills, that this is a truly unsustainable course. The math is not difficult. I am 66 this year, a newly-minted social security recipient. The money that I’m paid (not much, since for many years I was a minister, and didn’t make much) is not “savings,” or “investment,” as it was once characterized (yes it was, I’m old enough to remember…), but simply a tax on other people’s production. I think that this sorry state of affairs, brought on by gov’t duplicity and failure to handle the bank accounts of the gov’t correctly, MUST be fixed. Same for us being the “world cop.” Same for all the defined benefit pension plans that put the taxpayers on the hook. In other words, we do have a productive country that makes enough money. It’s misspent, overspent, and underutilized.
    In addition (and I expect to be “flamed” for this by some enterprising environmentalist), our country RUNS on fossil fuels. It appears that there’s a somewhat less than secret government policy to raise energy costs to the taxpayer, so that he will use less of the precious stuff, rather than finding new energy sources and developing them. Perhaps the GREATEST contribution the Federal government could make to the present mess is to authorize new exploration for fossil fuels, mandate that any oil or gas discovered or removed from anyplace in the continental US or its waters to 250 miles out(!!) be used here, and that 10% of all revenues realized be used to fund renewable or extractable energy sources ANYWHERE (think Yellowstone’s supervolcano) in the US, we would soon be OUT of the economic slowdown and into an era of increased productivity and job growth.
    Add in a mandate that we “make our own stuff” (think computers, TV’s, etc. which is enforced by a simple means:
    1. No corporate tax (they don’t pay it anyway) for domestic corporations that make everything here (they may import SOME raw goods).
    2. Low corporate tax for foreign corporations that make stuff here.
    3. GIGANTIC corporate tax (read, “onerous,” “oppressive,” “crushing”) for domestic corporations that have manufacturing, assembling, or research facilities abroad…we might have a beginning to the solution of unemployment, of low tax revenues (driven by unemployment, dontcha know), and the need for a welfare state.
    Lots of other things are needed, but I don’t expect to be made lifetime dictator soon, so probably none of the above, or the other things that are needed, will ever get done.

  17. IA

    Your thoughts are well noted. You’ve age-dated yourself a bit, and obviously long for the days of the 50’s and 60’s where there corporate ethics and business conduct, although not perfect, were nowhere near as sociopathic as today.

    Although we have grown many new technologies and innovations in the last 30 years, we have also ‘grown’ a lot of personal nihilism, cognitive dissonance and myopic, short term self interest. Why so? That’s a tougher question, and while its easy to point at corrupt politicians, corporate theives and security state thugs as enchancers/enablers, I still wonder why their techniques gain the traction they do.

    Part of the answer lies in the ebb of flow of the human evolutionary struggle. Sites like generational dynamics (John Xenakis), even though they are angling for sales, do provide some good food for thought. And one should take note of the limitations of the human animal. Coming here and reading all the posts you might think it would a piece of cake to overcome said tendencies, however most here are far, far from the average.

    However, in any case that does not mean we should take a defeatist attitude and just to try to exploit it for profit (a very nihilistic rationalization itself). Coming here, reading and sharing an occasional, cogent thought adds to an ongoing library of methods that will eventually free us from this cyclical struggle. Why – with much easier access to information like this (via internet, social media) it will be much harder to ‘forget’ the good lessons of deceased generations that got key parts right. While this is merely just a piece of what needs to be done, there is no reason to at least get the ball rolling here.

    A little off topic from the main post, my apologies…

    1. KnotRP

      99% continue to select what’s worst for them, largely
      because of the application of this guy’s work:

      Search for documentaries on him at youtube.
      Focus groups also came out of his work.
      Why do politicians, in general, make lots of
      campaign promises they have no intention
      of keep? Because getting elected has nothing
      to do with accountability.

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