Links 7/5/11

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  1. ambrit

    Hey Kids;
    I clicked on over to the der Spiegel site lecherously hoping for some cheap thrills, and all I got was a picture of a room full of elites! (I didn’t see the POTUS there, though I expected to, darn.)

  2. Cedric Regula

    Greens Warn against Dangerous Dildos Der Spiegel

    “Now the party wants the government to take action to protect the 20 percent of Germans who use sex toys.”

    We have the technology. Use a condom!

  3. Birch

    Aww, poor judges, having to stretch their $12,000 per so thin. If they can’t send all their kids to the best law schools (which no normal person could afford), how will the caste system survive? It must be hard to be so low on the elite totem pole.

    If they ever run out of people interested in the judge job, they can use forced labour from the prison system. More useful than making licence plates? Maybe.

  4. The lives of others

    In “how not to play the game” the author advocates voluntary poverty, sort of growing most of your food, using woodstove for heat etc, as well as the “monastic life”. He also says that having nothing valuable, you are safe from thieves.
    What rot! Women and children are “stolen” for sex and serfdom from times immemorial. Everybody else can also be stolen for forced labor or forced anything. Poverty, whether voluntary or involuntary, bears an “available for grab” billboard.
    I repeat, bringing life to existence is a harm (David Benatar, Better Never to Have Been).

    1. Eureka Springs

      The people I know who follow many of the suggestions have a very nice lifestyle. They live entirely of the grid, grow and eat a wide variety of excellent foods, have a very nice home and much more quality/leisure time including extended vacations abroad. Living off the grid and off the credit ponzi (no cards, no financed autos, no mortgage (they paid it in less than ten years) has tremendous advantages. They live a life that most who earn four or more times their income still cannot “afford”.

      Perhaps you should reconsider your definition of poverty.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        What is rich, we think of it as poor, and what is beautiful, ugly.

        Fake beauty, which we often fall for, consumes extra energy; real beauty, being natural, does not, beyond that which is there already.

        In short, I would say voluntary poverty and voluntary ugliness.

        So, sorry, no organic cosmetics for you, dear.

        And no brand new electric cars either.

        And you can forget that award-hoping eco-house you have been dreaming about.

        Go ugly!

      2. rps

        Living off the grid, grow your own food, handspin sheep fleece into yarn, use of forests for heat, well water, septic systems for waste, grow chickens, catch rabbits and deer….are all dependent on landownership of your kingdom. You own land and Bam your on the grid paying taxes and assessments until death or the states waltzes in to condemn the land paying their determined valuation. Your homestead developed into a superbox mall.

        1. Everyman

          The lifestyle advocated by the author is one I ‘voluntarily’ adopted 15-years ago when I ‘retired’ at 45 with a debt-free rural property. While not yet off the grid (the economics don’t yet stack up, ‘though we’re getting there!) we have our own chickens, sheep, two cows (one milking), a freezer full of our own meat &tc.

          Yet there are still unavoidable bills to pay – local rates, insurances, materials for property maintenance, telephone &tc – and the fund I provided for income for these things is under assault from low interest, market and FX manipulation and inflation caused by the greed, cupidity and stupidity of others.

          I also cannot ignore the fact that my life-style is supported by others. I can only have my 10 acres to support me because most can’t afford it now, and choose or have to live packed hundreds to the acre in cities and conurbations – and their taxes pay for the roads I use, the health system I can access at need (being non-US) the police, military and justice system which protects me, &tc.

          1. The lives of others

            Even half a century later, I recoil in horror at the memory of the decapitated chicken running around the yard, and later offered on a plate. Raising chickens for food!

            What is the big deal in keeping yourself alive off the grid or on the grid while embedded in a civilization in name only?

            My definition of poverty? Certainly not the self-congratulatory idyllic existence imagined by the off-gridders. Poverty is having no land, no job, no welfare, no money, and no Internet to write blogs.

            Yes, indeed, the IMF and ECB vision of life in Greece, a remembrance of the post WWII years.

      3. rps

        “Perhaps you should reconsider your definition of poverty.”

        So said the IMF to the citizens of Greece.

        In “how not to play the game” the author advocates voluntary poverty………

        In playing devil’s advocate during cocktail hour, I ponder whether this is a page out of the IMF’s handbook. Could the self-imposed austerity slogan be the newest IMF force-fed mantra for the little people?

    2. Anon

      A druid collapsnik, who knew?

      I’ve been looking at population movements in Europe post the establishment of the Hunnic empire by Atilla c450ACE, which displaced huge numbers of people west, including the Alans (fierce Georgians), the Vandals (fierce proto-Germans), and the Suebi (ditto).

      Where they ended up is quite extraordinary (all over southern Europe, and into North Africa, Morocco, Tunisia etc.)

      Population shifts brought on by massive climate destabilization will probably make all that look like a picnic.

      But the druid will probably have some way coolk spells up his/her sleeve, kind of like Obi wan Kenobi in Star Wars: “You did not see this farm. You did not see these crops. You are now a pacifist, and don’t know the meaning of pillage.”

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I am not sure but I think in Zen, they say, when you possess nothing, you own everything.

    4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      You do have a point about the monastic life being risky.

      During the monastic stage of human development, you would think Iona was pretty safe, until the Vikings found out. Then, the surviving monks thought better of the more populated Ireland.

      So, I think you have to go back to the times of the Neanderthals. Everything was much small in scale then, including marauding bands of looters, if they even existed then. Mr. Archdruid didn’t go back far enough.

  5. andrew

    Great perspective in the article on “How not to play the game,” and I mean insight into societal dynamics above all (though he makes me seriously think twice about certain upcoming practical decisions too … argh). You’ve linked to a few articles recently that have reframed current events or situations in genuinely illuminating ways; Michael Hudson’s series on Greece was one; this is another.

  6. kevinearick


    The economic motor is dead, and has been for quite some time. Now, the pony motor is dead too (illegal immigration for next generation mindless make-workers to feed the ponzi). The operators are not going to get another motor so long as the Family Law filter, which disengaged the economic gears for so long that they atrophied, remains installed.

    All they know is exploitation, moving the cattle from meadow to meadow, relying upon a planet that is becoming increasingly inhospitable. All they can do is drop the relative price of oil, which has already closed all the exits, and monetize the debt directly between them, to pump the market feedback signal. How is solar, wind, and FracGas working for everyone?

    The housing channel is already stuffed to overflowing, and, like the digestive system, the subsequent lack of circulation is spreading poison across the rest of the body. In this environment, the non-profits are now “learning” that they are losing the government funding necessary to control their properties, leaving them scrambling for real rent at 25% of their mortgages, due to the mirrored government overhead on both sides of the equation, subject to deleveraging, and their ignorant response is to seek real renters to carry both their mortgages and their pets.

    Their bosses are planning to drop the whole spoiled population off at the family farm, and the family farmers are already shutting down operations in anticipation of the move. How long before they get rid of the homeowners tax deductions, credits, and subsidies, to clear the market, when Trump owns the front yard and the driveway, paying interest on interest on interest, at 0% effective? An intelligent community does not subsidize stupid, to hide a massive surplus of McMansions within dead governments.

    “They had all benefited from the same quality education, and they shared a set of standards by which they lived, and they expected of one another adherence to these standards. Being one of the anointed elite meant belonging, meant freedom from self-doubt, meant always knowing what you thought and what you should think, meant comfort…Life can sometimes seem hopelessly complex, unpredictable, chaotic. Then a strange order makes itself known…This phase of the pattern, which benefitted him, was a wave that offered effortless surfing. Until it lost its benign character…In every complex system…just under the façade of order, which science has discovered and long thought it fully understood, lurked an eerie and disturbing chaos. But also, deep inside every chaos, an eerier kind of hidden order waited to be found.”

    Behind the façade that poses for eyes to an empty soul, you see a skull cracking from the pressure in the brain. The manager becomes increasingly arbitrary, capricious, and malicious, because the box must be controlled amidst increasingly variable input and increasingly rigid output, as the bosses race for the exits. “Why” is an integral question; “because that is the way I was taught” is a derivative answer. Best to maintain your health, to keep a gap between yourself and those derivatives.

    Peak government is the correct answer. What happens when the size of government contracts rapidly? All politics are local, aggregated into social behavior, with a feedback signal. What do you want to do with the energy in that slingshot, relative to the turbulence in the neutral line? If you owe the bank $X, you are in trouble; if you owe the bank $Y, the bank is in trouble. If the bank “owes” the me generation and its descendents $500 trillion NPV worth of entitlement promises, who is in trouble, and when does the buck break?

    I eat breakfast with the farmers, ride a bike in the rain with boots hung over the bar, to a low wage job in an automated plant, and suddenly move away, after walking across town with my backpack. What do you do? What is each type of person in that small town thinking, if anything? Every empire maximizes productivity and then debt, with alternating feedback signals, in a recursive cycle, until it doesn’t, when all the exits are shut, and all the lies pop off the stack.

    Calculate the square footage required per capita and compare it to inventory. Run a distribution for each sector and compare the result against currency carry trades. What is the economic effect of hoarding, and why does it happen?

    At the cliff abutment, you are strategically pulling the looking glass back, shaving off sections of the cliff, and leaving the momentum of gravity to do the work for you. Allow Caesar to add rigid price controls. The larger the collapse, the more ingrained the lesson, the lower the overhead cost to the next system, and the bigger the battery, but you have to hit the next orbit. Critters will be critters; big is a least-common-denominator enterprise. Adjust Democracy accordingly.

    So, you have a piston of pistons in the neutral line, with adjustable I/O surfaces, and a pathway for productive ignition of backlash…

    1. nonclassical

      ..might be better off to view “The Century of Self”..Freud,
      his nephew Bernays, propaganda, etc, etc…perhaps a little
      “Subliminal Seduction” also…

  7. Valissa

    David Graeber studied 5,000 years of debt: real dirty secret is that if the deficit ever completely went away, it would cause a major catastrophe

    Debt: The First 5,000 Years, by David Graeber – comes out 7/12. In the interview he comes across as very sensible so I pre-ordered this today… I trust anthropologists on money more than I do economists. Some here will appreciate that he’s also an anarchist.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      That sounds interesting. I wonder what he says about the reward, if there is one, for enduring such a major catastrophe?

      Of course, the book I would really like to see written is, the Complete History of Kleptocracy.

      1. Valissa

        Graeber his an interesting background…

        based on that I’m assuming he decided to research the history of debt in order to “know thy enemy”. Given that he’s an “outsider” looking forward to reading his perspective on debt, money and power.

    2. reslez

      Thanks for the link. I’ll order the book. Isn’t it funny how anthropologists understand the economy much better than 99% of economists?

      1. Cedric Regula

        Ok, I’ll bite. Economists should learn to be better anthropologists. And when they both come to the realization someday that a bill is when you get to pay for all the stupid stuff you bought on credit, then we should let them marry and start a household. But only if they have a job.

        1. Valissa

          When I was first trying to study economics I got frustrated with it’s lack of connection to anything that made sense to me. So I decided to study money instead and I bought a book called The History of Money written by an anthropologist. That made alot of sense! I’ve also learned useful info about the history of economic activity from historians. I’m an interdisciplinary sort who wants to understand the bigger picture of how money and power effect people and societies. To me, understanding the nature of money and power are more useful and interesting than trying to understand specific economic theories… I’ll happily leave that business to the economists.

          1. Cedric Regula

            I’m not that hard core so I just read historical novels for fun. But it’s amazing how much economics is in them! Without the math models, of course.

      2. David Graeber

        Economists are paid not to understand. Nobody pays me for much of anything, so there’s nothing really stopping me from employing common sense.

        1. Valissa

          Looking forward to your book. Will there be a lecture tour?

          “Economists are paid not to understand.”

          LOL, it often seems that way. You’ve inspired me to share more economist jokes/quotes.

          If all economists were laid end to end they would not reach a conclusion. – George Bernard Shaw

          “Mathematics brought rigor to Economics. Unfortunately, it also brought mortis.” (Unknown)

          An economist is an expert who will know tomorrow why the things he predicted yesterday didn’t happen today. – Laurence J. Peter

          Man walking along a road in the countryside comes across a shepherd and a huge flock of sheep. Tells the shepherd, “I will bet you $100 against one of your sheep that I can tell you the exact number in this flock.” The shepherd thinks it over; it’s a big flock so he takes the bet. “973,” says the man. The shepherd is astonished, because that is exactly right. Says “OK, I’m a man of my word, take an animal.” Man picks one up and begins to walk away.

          “Wait,” cries the shepherd, “Let me have a chance to get even. Double or nothing that I can guess your exact occupation.” Man says sure. “You are an economist for a government think tank,” says the shepherd. “Amazing!” responds the man, “You are exactly right! But tell me, how did you deduce that?”

          “Well,” says the shepherd, “put down my dog and I will tell you.”

  8. Valissa

    Sweden raises rates for seventh time this year

    Sweden’s central bank has raised interest rates for the seventh time in a year as the Scandinavian country continues to experience the fastest economic growth in western Europe. However, the Riksbank indicated that growth had peaked and highlighted the risks posed to Sweden’s export-dependent economy by the eurozone debt crisis and weak US recovery.

    Sweden’s sensible economic policy, how refreshing and almost quaint considering the other ecnomic games currently in play.

    1. Cynthia

      Sweden, the Rock Star of the Recovery:

      No doubt that Sweden made a very wise move not to join the EU. But moving to the political right has little, if anything, to do with why Sweden’s economy is doing so well today. Had Sweden not made the wise decision back in the early 1990s to take over its debt-intoxicated banks, detox them of their debt and then resell them back the private sector as debt-free entities, they too would be like America’s TBTF banks, drug addicted welfare recipients hooked on heroin from the Federal Reserve. Not a pretty sight, nor will America be a pretty sight after a lost decade or two does a number on her.

      As I have said before, when Dope Pusher Ben Bernanke stops injecting high-grade monetary heroin into the veins of Wall Street, the TBTF banks and other high-stake gamblers will be lying on the floor in the white room with black curtains, seeing silver horses ran down moonbeams in your dark eyes and other sorts of strange things:

      But hey, as any dope addict on the street knows, detox, though excruciatingly painful and sometimes deadly, is the first step towards functioning without heroin and other sorts of highly addictive drugs from the Fed.

  9. Foppe

    The credit ratings agency Moody’s Investors Service has downgraded Portugal’s debt to junk status.

    The agency said there was a growing risk the country would need a second bail-out before it was ready to borrow money from financial markets again.

    Moody’s was concerned that if there was a second bail-out, private lenders might have to contribute.

    1. Jon H

      I’ve been close up to an aroused, and masturbating, macaque.

      Trust me, that guy ain’t very aroused, if he is at all.

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