Links 1/26/14

Mouthwashes ‘can raise risk of heart attack and strokes’: Antiseptic gargles kill good bacteria that help keep blood pressure down Daily Mail

Interplanetary dust particles could deliver water and organics to jump-start life on Earth Science Daily (FM)

Exclusive: Bank of America’s trading practices have been probed, filing shows Reuters. Ho hum, bad apples, mistakes were made, cost of doing business.

Why are US corporate profits so high? Because wages are so low Macroscope, Reuters

Listen up, talking heads: Upward mobility isn’t the answer Salon. Kirsten Gillibrand a “luminary on the left”?!

We Can’t Afford to Leave Inequality to the Economists HBR

Ignore Davos man Macrobusiness. And the suit he rode in on.

Solutions to H20 pollution elude officials in Cabot gas field Five years after blast, Pa officials continue tests in Dimock Shale Gas Review

Emerging Markets Meltdown

Contagion Spreads in Emerging Markets as Crises Grow Reuters

IMF: Taper Of US Stimulus Funds Could Mean Emerging Market Turmoil Guardian

ROUBINI: We Just Saw A ‘Mini Perfect Storm’ Business Insider

BlackRock’s Fink Warns of ‘Too Much Optimism’ in Markets Bloomberg

Singapore turns on British expat over ‘poor people’ comments Asian Correspondent. Froth.

Gold Mint Runs Overtime in Race to Meet World Coin Demand Bloomberg Luxury

British Green Party Calls for Public Control of the Money Supply David Bollier (JL)

Security Check Firm Said to Have Defrauded U.S. Times. Note that Serco, picked by the administration to handle ObamaCare processing and support, committed exactly the same kind of fraud in the UK. So, it’s not the principle, it’s payback because the “security check firm” passed Snowden.

ObamaCare Launch

Percentage of Americans lacking insurance drops in January LA Times. “[Gallup’s] numbers cannot conclusively determine whether the new law is responsible for the trend toward greater coverage.”

Little-known aspect of Medicaid now causing people to avoid coverage WaPo. Of course, NC readers have known for months that estate recovery turns Medicaid into the functional equivalent of a lien on your estate if you’re over 55 — and that you’re forced into Medicaid, so you have no choice in the matter.

Implementing Health Reform: December Data On Medicaid And CHIP Applications And Eligibility Determinations Health Affairs. As usual, incomplete data.

Insurance company, not ACA, fell short Springfield News-Leader

AHA plans to fight CMS’ ‘two-midnight rule’ this year Modern Healthcare. Codes are political.

The Next Health Care Reform Matt Yglesias, Slate. Not single payer, of course. Nurse practitioners, more doctors via immigration and training.

Tom Daschle: Obama needs to ‘show energy’ in State of the Union address The Hill

Noonan: The Sleepiness of a Hollow Legend WSJ

Thrill of Obama Home Visits Fades for Americans Cited at Events Bloomberg

What two magazine covers can tell us about Clinton ’16 Chris Cilizza, WaPo. 2016 – 2014 = 2. Kill me now.

Raw Data: It’s Elites Who Drive Polarization, Not the Working Class Mother Jones

The case for working less Piera

“If I Didn’t Sell Drugs, I’d Be Dead”: What It’s Like to Lose Unemployment Benefits Mother Jones. System D.

Brian Chesky: The ‘Sharing Economy’ and Its Enemies OnlineWSJ. If you’re renting whatever to a stranger for money, that’s not “sharing.”

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

In the wonky weeds with Marcy – more on Obama’s spy speech, three days later Corrente

‘Google outed me’ ZDNet

Ecuador firm on reducing US presence, spies AFP

Egypt revolt still ‘worth it’ despite turmoil Al Jazeera

Thailand protesters block early election vote BBC. The South and Bangkok, not completely.

Cambodian police clash with protesters Asian Correspondent

Philippines and Muslim rebels reach agreement BBC

IHI to start mass-producing disaster lifeboats Nikkei Asian Review (FM)

Creating Tastier and Healthier Fruits and Veggies with a Modern Alternative to GMOs Scientific American

The Future of UI and the Dream of the ‘90s Medium

‘We Saved the World’: WWI and America’s Rise as a Superpower Der Spiegel. First time as tragedy….

Mourning a Maestro Counterpunch. Claudio Abbado.

Antidote du jour:

Claudio Abbado bonus track. Readers more musically literate than I am are invited to leave other links in comments.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. Charles LeSeau

    I was never an enormous fan of Abbado, but it’s partly an admitted bias because he replaced one of my favorite conductors of all times, Herbert von Karajan (say what you want about the man himself, but musically, Karajan’s sound was amazing and unique, and the BPO in his time was at the height of its first class competency).

    Anyway, among my favorite ever recordings is an Abbado one:

    Abbado & Martha Argerich, Ravel Piano Concerto in G:

    1. larry

      Charles, I agree with you about Karajan but would limit your enthusiasm to his middle period. In his early and late periods, there were better conductors, Abbado being one. I also agree that, in assessing Karajan, we have to forget about the man himself and his odious character traits. As for Abbado, I think his interpretation of Mahler’s 6th with the Lucerne Festival Orchestra is wonderful. But then, of all Mahler’s symphonies, I prefer the 6th by a wide margin.

        1. Brian

          composers, they are different. They create something.
          conductors are more like coaches. They use pep talks and encourage their musicians to performance. Perform the ancient rituals.
          Musicians left to their own devices create new variations on a theme.
          I dig the latter and am never bored with the repetition.

      1. Charles LeSeau

        Ya, I don’t operate that way, “better” or “worse” with high-competence musicians. It’s more about “like/dislike” for me. The bias I alluded to was a general and not specific one, mourning the loss of the Karajan sound with the BPO at the time of the succession more than anything bad about Abbado. You’re welcome to consider Abbado better than old/young HvK, but I’m going to decline argument or comment on that one, partly because I don’t really have that kind of opinion.

        I like (and sometimes dislike) HvK more on a recording-by-recording basis than by period, and can think of what I would consider gems and stinkers from just about any point in his catalog. I’m more apt to dislike Karajan’s signature sound with certain composers, though, no matter when he recorded them. As an example, I’m no fan of what he did with Bach at almost any point in his career. My favorite recordings of HvK do tend to span from the 1963 Beethoven cycle onward though. Some of those DG recordings are among my very favorites from when I was a little boy first learning piano and have remained so.

        I agree, again, that it’s important to separate the artist from the art. If I couldn’t do that, I wouldn’t be able to appreciate Alfred Cortot or Walter Gieseking or the chess games of Bobby Fischer and Mikhail Botvinnik or the sculpture of a psychopath like Benvenuto Cellini, and on and on.

  2. Furzy Mouse

    The gold coins mint running overtime supports the notion of a distribution top in the gold market….when all the bullish small cash has glutted itself and stashed their new coins under the bed, we may well see demand diminish, as well as prices…..

  3. JCC

    “Google Outed Me” -> The sooner people realize that social networking sites like Google+ and Facebook are dangerous to their personal and private lives, and that the primary reason for existence of these sites is to monetize your privacy at any cost, the better off we all will be.

  4. eeyores enigma

    “If I Didn’t Sell Drugs, I’d Be Dead”

    Everyone at every level of the economic food chain instinctively understands the fact that…
    No Money = You Die!

    That and the fact that money has a way of disappearing no matter what you do.

    And then we point at people who do anything/everything to acquire money and more money and say “thats bad behavior”. No its appropriate behavior for the circumstances we have arranged for ourselves.

    We need to change the circumstances to change the behavior.

    As if.

    1. Carla

      “And then we point at people who do anything/everything to acquire money and more money and say “thats bad behavior”.
      Seems to me our societal reaction depends upon who those people are in the first place, to whom they were born, and who they’re currently hobnobbing with. There are some people who do anything/everything to acquire money and more money and we call them “bankers,” “industry leaders,” and (most galling of all) “public officials.” Our society calls them “role models.”

  5. diptherio

    Clicking around on the Times site, I came across an article addressing the rail v. pipeline safety issue that some of us have been discussing here:

    Accidents surge as Oil Industry Takes the Train

    While cities have historically been built up around railroads, piplines are normally sited to avoid residences (in Mayflower, the pipeline was pre-existing and the subdivision was sited on top of it, which is normally strictly verboten…I’m not sure how that was allowed to happen, but I’m told by reliable sources that it is rather exceptional). Given Murphy’s Law, this seems like an important difference.

    And while the article states that

    “Far more toxic products are shipped on trains. But those products, like chlorine, are transported in pressurized vessels designed to survive an accident.”

    the fact is that those pressurized vessels don’t always survive accidents. About 45 miles NE of my town, some years ago, we had a derailment in Alberton Gorge that released a cloud of deadly chlorine gas. One of my friends and his wife ended up driving through it, inadvertently, with predictably ill health affects.

    So, I’ll reiterate my position as regards the current debate on Keystone XL , which unruly facts have forced me adopt. So far as I can tell, the best solutions, in descending order are:
    1) Leave the oil/gas in the ground: don’t drill it, don’t ship it, don’t burn it.
    2) If it must be removed from the ground and shipped, do it in publicly owned pipelines. Private owners of pipelines have financial incentives to delay maintenance and repairs, which is a very bad thing, especially given the inability of our regulators to force timely action by pipeline owners
    3) Ship via a privately owned but heavily regulated pipeline (i.e. Keystone)
    4) Trains

    Don’t misunderstand, I think Keystone as currently proposed is bad…but it could be worse. What we should demand is that any new pipeline that is built be publicly owned, so that the safety engineers are actually working with the other workers on the pipe, rather than against them, as now.

    1. JohnL

      … or publicly owned railroads. Better yet, return the oil to public ownership, from where it was literally sold out from under us.

      1. diptherio

        Anything that is both dangerous and necessary should be publicly owned, imo. Railroads definitely fit the description. Allowing for private ownership, especially by profit-obsessed persons, is a recipe for disaster. I had a friend who used to work at MRL (MT Rail Link) on the maintenance crew. He told me they were often ordered to replace worn-out, corroded track with other worn-out track. Saved the company money and made his manager look “efficient”…also led to a number of derailments, I’m quite sure, though they’d never admit that.

      2. Synapsid


        Mineral rights (oil is included) belong to the landowner in the US, unless a landowner has sold them off. That private ownership is a good part of the reason shale gas and shale oil (being called LTO now) have been developed here; in other countries mineral ownership belongs to the state one way or another–to the province in Canada and to the national government in Mexico, as examples. Small companies can make extracting these resources work but large publically-traded companies and national oil companies have problems at so small a scale. Big Oil got its feet wet in the shales, but has pulled out now. The companies making a go of it have names that most of us have never heard before.

        The main reason LTO is being extracted in the US, though, is three years of oil priced at $100 a barrel and over on the global market.

        1. JohnL

          Thanks Synapsid. One thought. How did the private landowners get the mineral rights? And what about offshore oil? Alaska does a slightly better job.

          Note that landowners used to have flyover rights. Taken away in 1941??

          1. Synapsid


            I don’t know about flyover rights. My guess about mineral rights is that it goes back to the 18th Century when the new US decided basic property law. Good question.

    2. afisher

      The overlooked (?) part of the discussion about oil via rail is that there is a different design aka a double hull version that has been recommended for these rail cars – but somehow has not been a large part of the private rail discussion.

      I agree with leave it in the ground – but not changing the rail car is again private enterprise hasn’t seen fit to make this safety a priority, hmmm.

  6. diptherio

    Re: The Sharing Economy and Its Enemies

    The assault on the English language continues…ugh. AirBnB, Uber, and similar businesses aren’t about sharing, they’re about turning everybody into a small-time entrepreneur. This is welcomed by the populace because everyone is making so little (and has had their desires so inflated) that everyone is always looking for “a few extra bucks.” And, of course, no one offering a room using this service is ever going to make more than a few extra bucks. Chesky has just figured out a way to run a hotel chain without the inconvenience of constructing a building or hiring doormen and bellboys. He’s getting rich, his clients get a few extra bucks (or save a few) and the Wall Street Journal calls it “sharing.”

    I imagine former hedge-fund manager Kessler (author of the piece) giving his child a lesson in sharing:

    Kessler: Why don’t you share your toy with little Susie?
    Kessler Kid: I tried to but she didn’t want to share.
    K: Why not? Doesn’t she like toys?
    KK: No, she does, but she didn’t have any money to give me so I couldn’t share with her.
    K: I see, well at least you tried…

    1. JohnL

      Yes, a “sharing economy” funded by Wall St & Silicon Valley venture capitalists doing an end run around fire codes, worker protections, taxes, liabilty insurance, and all those other pesky regulations.

    2. Cal

      How about replacing “husband” and “wife” with “spouse”?
      Guess that allows any strange combination of humans to be covered and excused by language once they get the cerficate–and therefore are legitimized and coequaled.
      Then there’s the great “partner” replacing “boyfriend”, “girlfriend” and “lover”.

      Orwell would recoil.

      1. hunkerdown

        And the problem with that, aside from insufficiently respecting an invasive, authoritarian desert culture which has long since given up any right to respect, is?

  7. Brooklin Bridge

    Obama says he is going to try and get the banking industry to help with unemployment and will outline this in his upcoming state of the union speech. Wow, how brave. He’s going to really really really try; maybe if he asks the bankers really really really nicely. Just like he has for the past 6 years. Not like some government stimulus that would repair infrastructure and guarantee jobs.

    But I can’t help wondering if there isn’t more than just patently empty self flattering speeches from the lessor-of-evils cult-meister; if this isn’t yet another Trojan Horse – like everything that comes out of his mouth. Republicans, on cue, say they will resist anything that isn’t paid for by cuts elsewhere. Democrats’ eyes are sparkling and they have that funny look; you know, like if they opened their mouths, canaries would fly out. Hmmmm, how about a little incy wincy cut to Medicare and/or Medicaid or even SS? I mean why not? Who could object to such a noble cause as giving up what little security they have so as to protect those who are unable to find work? A little Divide and Slaughter campaign to add to the other giveaways Obama’s offering to the owners.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      On TRYING:

      I drop a pencil on the floor and ask you to “try” to pick it up.

      You bend down and pick it up.

      I say, ” I didn’t ask you to pick it up. I asked you to TRY to pick it up.”

      Trying is not doing. It never has been and it never will be, although it seems to get the same, if not more, respect as the actual accomplishment. A promise to “try” should be translated as a promise NOT to do.

      But then, on some level, anyone who cared to think about it knew that all along.

    2. Jackrabbit

      He can only ‘try’ (and fail) because what he really wants is to use the unemployed to ‘sell’ his trade agenda (TPP).

    3. neo-realist

      I’m not a huge fan of Obama, but in his defense, he tried to get an infrastructure and jobs bill passed; however, the congress as it stands, with its ayn randies, teabaggers, and bought and paid for grifters, wouldn’t pass it.

      1. Jackrabbit

        This point of view has been debunked here on NC many times. There many examples.

        The ‘sequester’: oh so easy to blame republicans – but Obama proposed it. He did that so that they would resolve the trumped-up ‘fiscal cliff’. that resolution? . . . made _most_ of the Bush tax cuts permanent. Do you hear much complaining from the wealthy?

        Obama’s ‘fix’ for social security? He seeks a comprise that redefines inflation in a way that reduces benefits (for no good reason).

        Also consider his 2008 ‘hope and change’ promises. Not many were fulfilled.

        I could go on and on. Many now see blaming Republicans as a convenient excuse to take policy where Obama/the Obama Administration WANTS to.

        1. neo-realist

          I’m just talking infrastructure and jobs legislation per se, but he does get the blame for the Chained CPI legislation and the sequester, bringing in those champions of deregulation–Summers and Geithner–into the economic team, as well as a lot of other soft republican approaches to policy.

          1. Jackrabbit

            Realist??? Really?

            These fell way short of what was needed. And there was no real follow-thru. I doubt that ANYONE felt that it was something that Obama really wanted ’cause he said what he had to, he never fought for it.

            Just like his faux tears after the Sandy Hook tragedy: only days later, when describing his second term agenda, he failed to mention gun control AT ALL.

            But given your perception: A PR success! (and THAT’s what’s really important to the Obama Administration).

            1. Jackrabbit

              It was Obama’s first major interview after the tragedy. Interviewer was Matt Lauer of MSNBC.

              Matt had to remind Obama about gun control and Sandy Hook. Obama looked at a deer in headlights for a moment.

              To me, it could only mean that his wiping away ‘tears’ was just a put on and proof that he is just a huckster and a fraud.

              I would’ve posted the interview but I couldn’t find it online or at the MSNBC site.

  8. Yonatan

    I thought I could not be astounded any further by the current insanity. Well, that was before I came across this. Apparently the 1% are afeered that the pwogwessives are gonna come after them Kristallnacht style. The company he founded, Kleiner Perkins, has come out agin it.

    1. Klassy

      That’s something. I don’t even think that the WSJ was being deliberately provocative in printing the letter. They probably just thought it made some great points.

      Link hopping at the WSJ I found this wonderful essay by Corey Booker. In case you don’t have time to read it, I’ll sum up key points– partisanship bad. data, data, data. fiscal responsibility, We don’t need more spending we need smarter spending. The children are our future so test them often. public private partnership. blah blah blah.

    2. Charles LeSeau

      Ya, when it suits them, progressives are either Neville Chamberlain surrender monkey peacenik kumbaya-singing treehuggers or bloodthirsty pitchfork-wielding future Stalinists. What can you do?

    3. JTFaraday

      You know, that’s interesting, because I tried to post a response this comment on today’s “new populism” thread agreeing with them about the (negative) liberal assessment of “populism,” but it didn’t go through. (I’m not complaining, I’m just saying).

      While Salvo refers to Germany, I think that “populism” has also been a largely negative term amongst liberals in the US ever since Richard Hofstadter’s work on American populism and the “Paranoid Style in American Politics,” published in 1964:

      We see this reflected in this recent 2010 article in (D-Party House organ) The American Prospect, entitled “Forget Populism”:

      This is only one of a number of such articles to appear in the American Prospect in recent years– I seem to remember a similar exchange in 2008 between co-editors Robert Kuttner (pro-populist) and Paul Starr (anti-populist), who first published his “Why I’m not a Populist” in 2001:

      I do think the adoption of this (largely reviled) term by (neo)liberal technocrats associated with the D-Party is somewhere between unlikely rebranding and something more peculiar, like another attempt to discredit the D-Party’s progressive wing Rahm Emmanuel style– as idiots who can be safely ignored– only even more negative this time around. ie., as a populist “mob” as Hugh suggests on the populism thread.

      So, not only are we stupid idiots, we’re bloodthirsty too. Didn’t Andrew Ross Sorkin just write something about Jamie Dimon being subject to (populist) blood lust recently?

      Far from the 1% being the object of “bloodlust” (where?), it seems to me that the 1% and the technocratic elites that work for them are hard at work ever more expansively demonizing all sections of the population, even as they subject us to increasing criminalization and pathologization of all sorts, not to mention subjecting us to universal surveillance.

      But, you know, but don’t dare object!

  9. JohnL

    Mouthwashes: the study is referring to mouthwashes containing chlorohexidine, an antiseptic, not mouthwashes like Listerine that contain alcohol. I make my own from vodka diluted 50% and a few drops of peppermint and eucalyptus oil. Also my own tooth powder – salt, baking soda, same oils.

    1. Bridget

      You are aware of the sad state of the environment and safety in China and the former Soviet Union?

      Much better to separate the functions of ownership and regulation.

    2. SubjectivObject

      Listerine, the yellow stuff (only) with the 27% alcohol (generics are fine).
      Been brushing with it for years. It keeps the junk down.
      Blood pressure is right in the middle of the good zone, all the time, so no correlation there.
      If your kid has a tooth ache, have them brush with listerine, wait half an hour do it again. In getting rid of the acid producing bacteria, the pain goes away. Also get the kid to eat better so they don’t get cavities and tooth aches.

      For oral abscesses, listerine and chew raw fresh comfrey leaves (fuzzy stuff, not the best texture or taste, but mondo effective).

  10. Skeptic

    Mouthwashes ‘can raise risk of heart attack and strokes’: Antiseptic gargles kill good bacteria that help keep blood pressure down Daily Mail

    This good bacteria process was discovered by

    “Louis J. Ignarro (born May 31, 1941) is an American pharmacologist. For demonstrating the signaling properties of nitric oxide, he was co-recipient of the 1998 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Robert F. Furchgott and Ferid Murad.”

    Most allopathic doctors know nothing about this. Eating various foods like kale will naturally lower blood pressure and improve blood circulation. Of course, Big Pharma hasn’t patented kale.

  11. susan the other

    Thanks for the article on the UK Greens. On seignorage. We discussed here in the US but we did not discuss the seignorage stolen from us in so many words. This post brings it all together. The private banks are living off sovereign seignorage! Duh. We knew that but we just didn’t put the fine point on it. The banksters do it just by creating loans and collecting interest. And then double dipping by charging the Treasury some interest too. James Robertson (UK) has been on this for decades. He states, “Had the government been able to create the money instead (of the banksters) then it would have been able to repay 80% of the national debt.” Interesting to think of the synergies of all the worldl’s Greens. And how our Greens were brutally sidelined, Jill was even arrested. But she is still a clear and forceful voice.

    1. JohnL

      For more on the commons see

      Currently reading Elinor Ostrom’s “Governing the Commons”. Highly recommended. Also trying to apply her principles to governance of our 163 member water system. We have to relearn true participatory democracy from the bottom up.

  12. jjmacjohnson

    Interesting article on UI Design but goes against the article since I had no idea until i looked it up what UI meant. I am not even retired yet and had no idea what it meant. I hate talk in lingo that is field driven with definitions. Seems it could be for just the field if not folks need to define.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Abbreviations usually don’t interface with anyone but the initiates of some secret order.

  13. susan the other

    Replying to myself as usual here: And kind of related to this is: The concept of “Growth” or “Degrowth” is not aggressively analyzed nor is it defined adequately. I’d love to see some serious definition of the word “growth” as it needs to be used going forward. Like gross growth v. net growth – is it a positive balance? And global growth as a global warming/poisoning factor and how to rein it in. Blahblahblah. The World Economic Forum will never touch this critical analysis with a ten foot pole. Gonifs all.

    1. JohnL

      Yes, the challenge of our age. How to manage a world with zero or negative growth when all the debt is a lien against future growth?

    2. craazyman

      if the economy grows 3% per year for 120 more years it will be 32,000 miles from the surface of the moon. That should make backyard astronomers happy. But the stars won’t be any closer and neither will the sun. Growth depends on relative distances.

      I’m working on a new theory of economics that posits the following lemma. If anybody doesn’t know what a lemma is google it. It’s not a dilemma, if you’re curious. here is my lemma: “For any given state of economic activity, S(Ec), there can be any number of different states of GDP, S(GDP). In other words, the measurement of GDP bears only an indeterminate relationship with social activity, where S(Ec) = S(GDPn) or S(GDPn+1) or S(GDPn+c) where c = 1 …. infinity. Simply put, any given state of economic activity can be associated with an infinite state of GDP measurements, depending on culturally determined and transient price levels that have no objective permanence. If you keep going with this, you’ll prove to yourself that, based on this lemma, economic growth is not a rational concept and frankly does not exist. This is very bad news for back yard astronomers but good news for the sun and the stars since they retain their privacy. QED

      1. craazyman

        I already sense some skepticism about my lemma from my colleagues at the Univeristy of Princeton and Chicago and MIT. hahah, dudes, you foggy headed fukkwads get with the program.

        Here’s proof. Tomorrow I will do something that is a rare event. I will go shopping for clothes. At the Men’s Wearhouse. But rather than spend money, I will spend my $50 “as good as cash” certificate they mailed me for being a valued customer (I bought a fake leather jacket there for $100 and I also bought two cheap suits.) is that really shopping that counts as GDP or is it just social interaction that defies quantification? deep thoughts that keep you entranced for hours.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        That may explain what I see as frivolous GDP, good GDP, bad GDP, evil GDP, irrelevant GDP, subtractive GDP, vanity GDP, cosmetic GDP, etc.

        At the end, the Zen Neanderthal Man was right – if I (the Zen Neanderthal Man) caught a mammoth and shared with others without charging a penny, did it impact the GDP at all?

      3. craazyman

        sorry to ramble on but how weird would it be if you looked up in the sky one early evening and the moon was only 32,000 miles away?

        these things can happen. I read once about a woman who looked up in the sky and saw Mars floating in the sky like a massive hot air balloon but flat with distance.. It lasted for a few minutes and then, evidently, she passed out. When she woke up it was the size it usually is. Not only is this a true story, but she was quite sane. It must have been an altered state of consciousness, possibly due to some kind of impact from a space ray of some kind. Or an earth ray.

        Don’t laugh. You’d pass out too. I know I would. Holy Smokes that must have freaked her out. I think the economy is like that. You do something for money, then you go buy something and then you think “That was weird. Why did I do that?” Then you think “I’ll never do that again. did that really happen to me?”

        I guess the other comment got censored because I used the word “fukkkwadddd”. maybe it’ll show up. No great loss if it doesn’t. hahahahahah

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I think the problem, as you described it, was that she was quite sane.

          One needs to be crazy to see clearly.

          1. MikeNY

            Much Madness is divinest Sense –
            To a discerning Eye –
            Much Sense – the starkest Madness –
            ’Tis the Majority
            In this, as all, prevail –
            Assent – and you are sane –
            Demur – you’re straightway dangerous –
            And handled with a Chain –


          1. Glenn Condell

            No movie has ever left me ‘in two minds’ like that one did. On the one hand it was maddening, especially the first half, but on the other it tackles head on the underlying, unavoidable and generally unacknowledged truth of our situation, and how contingent it really is.

            ‘how weird would it be if you looked up in the sky one early evening and the moon was only 32,000 miles away?’

            Well for millions of years after forming from the debris of the Thea collision, the moon was ten times closer than it is now, causing tides hundreds of metres high every day. Fukushima x 100 all day every day.

  14. Hugh

    It is good to see the issue of inequality being picked up in more media. The danger is that it will be distorted, redefined, and appropriated by our political and pundit classes in ways that largely neuter it. For this reason, it is important to keep in mind the other two issues I write so much about, kleptocracy and class war. This inevitable distortive effect is an aspect of class war. Also this inequality didn’t just happen. Nor is it the result of some natural agentless process. It has perpetrators. Criminality is at its very core and ultimately is its driving force.

    So the first thing we have to remember is that there is more going on here than inequality. Behind it are a thoroughly corrupt system and class structure. We can not resolve inequality separately from dealing with them.

    Second, we need to distinguish between income and wealth inequality. Wealth inequality is by far the more important of these two. If A makes $50,000 a year and B makes $250,000, that is an income inequality of $200,000. But at the end of ten years, A may only have been able to save $25,000 whereas B even if he/she spends twice A’s income a year will have $1.5 million. That is while the income inequality ratio between B and A is 5 to one, the wealth inequality ratio between them after ten years is 60 to one.

    Now B is at the far low end of rich. Those with incomes much larger than B, those in the 1% or less, have many more tax and investment vehicles available to them so that they can multiply their wealth even as they pay very little tax on it. So their wealth ratio relative to B can be what B’s looks like relative to A.

    (A minor plug. The chart used in the Harvard Business Review article is one that I was either the first or one of the first to come up with 18 months or so ago. I was surprised at the time that while the Census supplied numerous charts in its annual September report on income, it did not have one on income distribution even though the data were right there in its tables.)

    Focusing on income inequality masks the vastly larger inequality in wealth. Also income inequality can be cast in terms of an employer problem whereas wealth inequality is a problem of class and the rich. If we are seduced into looking mostly at income, then it becomes easy to shift the conversation to bogus measures like raising the minimum wage which has only a small effect on income inequality and none on wealth inequality. If we really want to address the issue of wealth inequality, then we must be willing to act to put in place a living wage for all and high marginal income tax and inheritance tax rates. And to do this, we must first replace our elites who are owned by and serve the interests of the rich.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      On the other hand, a guy making $100,000/yr for 40 years straight, saving 50%, might have $2 million saved today, as he retires at 60, for example.

      Another guy, making $300,000/yr and he’s in his 11th years, also saving 50%. He has $1,5 million saved today. He may be less wealthy today, but he will likely end up with more when he retires after another 30 years (keeping our compasrison simple).

      So, I would say wealth should be age adjusted.

      But Hugh is absolutely right.

      It’s wealth, not income.

      When you’re 80 yr old and had made your billions, you, of course, want to tax income, and not wealth (especially if you invest for capital appreciation, and not income)…so that it’s harder to those to come to make their billions.,


      It’s the same trick with calling renting sharing, more GDP growth instead of returning the loot, keeping your wealth but calling it a non-profit charity, grabbing more power with a bigger government in the name of ‘helping the people,’ brining in more foreign programmers and call yourself pro-immigration, etc.

      All Kabuki to get to the moral high ground, which, sadly reveals that moral authority or moral power can be abused and that’s why the same elites yearn for concentrated moral power – one or two guys quoted ad nauseam (to fearless free thinking iconoclasts anyway) for all occasions, in a preferred moral hierarchy.

      1. craazyman

        what if you make $400,000 per year but blow it all on frivolous stupidity, gambling, whores, cars, women, wine, vacations and trips to Vegas and Monaco and end up flat broke.

        then some sober prudent boring plodding unimaginative average in every way Joe Blow never marries or has kids and lives cheap as a miser on $80,000, hits a 10-bagger by accident and has $2.5 million free and clear by the time he’s 50.

        Then he hires the first guy to be his social advisor and dating coach. Oh man, this is almost a Hollywood B Movie!

        If only the economy worked like that there wouldn’t be any problems.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          That’s covered in Charisma Sharing.

          High school jock to nerd, “Hey, that’s my chick. Don’t even think about talking to her.’

          Years later, our down-on-his-luck high school jock to the nerdy billionaire; “Wealth sharing!”

          The moral here is, of course, no one is infallible.

          The nerdy billionaire needs to share his wealth.

          The high school jock needs to stop say ‘working girls are busier at the other party’s convention. Our convention delegates are cooler and get free love.’

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            That is to say, it doesn’t hurt for the jock to share his charisma.

            Notice I did not say girl-friend(s) sharing.

      2. Optimader
        (He leaps off his horse and runs to the door of the hut, throws the door open and enters. The little hut is now stuffed with all possible signs of wealth and all imaginable treasures.)

        Male Peasant (Michael Palin): What you got for us today then.

        Moore: Well I’ve managed to find you four very nice silver spoons Mr Jenkins.

        Male Peasant: (snatching them rudely.) Who do you think you are giving us poor this rubbish?

        Female Peasant (Terry Jones): Bloody silver. Won’t have it in the house. (throws it away) And those candlesticks you got us last week were only sixteen carat.

        Male Peasant: Yes, why don’t you go out and steal something nice like some Venetian silver.

        Female Peasant: Or a Velasquez for the outside loo.

        Moore: Oh all right. (turns purposefully)

        (Usual montage of Dennis Moore riding plus song.)
        Dennis Moore, Dennis Moore
        Riding through the land
        Dennis Moore, Dennis Moore
        Without a merry band
        He steals from the poor. And gives to the rich
        Stupid bitch.
        (Dennis Moore reins to sudden halt and looks over to camera.)

        Moore: What did you sing?

        Singers: (speaking) We sang… he steals from the poor and gives to the rich.

        Moore: Wait a tic… blimey, this redistribution of wealth is trickier than I thought.

    2. MikeNY

      Yes, Hugh is right. I would add that a living wage is a basic human right, a matter of human decency. To deny this is to deny the very concept of community and society. The right is non-negotiable.

      But it is better to advance by evolution than by revolution, to quote MLK. I hope we, collectively, have such wisdom.

      1. Walter Map

        The obscenely rich can naturally afford to clone themselves for spare parts. What’s money for, eh?

        You should see ‘The Island’ (Ewan McGregor, Scarlett Johanssen). It’s about clones who figure it out, disapprove of their destinies as organ donors, and escape. The original version is a documentary and doesn’t get screened very much.

  15. Vatch

    I always enjoy the antidote of the day, but there seems to be a tiny problem today. The URL for today’s antidote is called leopards.jpg, but I believe those cats are actually cheetahs. The clue is the black lines descending from their eyes down around their snouts.

    Examine the pictures of cheetahs and leopards in Wikipedia, and you’ll see that the cheetahs have the black lines, but the leopards don’t. Despite the issue with the file name, I appreciate the image! Please don’t stop posting the antidotes.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      My bad. I should have left the original incomprehensible URL alone, but then I couldn’t have found it. So, I asked for “Big cat with dots” and my brain returned “leopard.” Ooopsie.

    1. Walter Map

      Naturally I’d begin to suspect that automotive designers and the marketing guys have run out of their own ideas and are starting to get them from ‘The Twilight Zone’.

      Persons who pursue and can afford pricey gadgets like an Autonomous Car have loads more money than brains, are unlikely to possess any socially positive significance, and can easily be written off.

      A vehicle which quietly assures you that “I enjoy working with people” and “has the greatest enthusiasm for the mission” should be traded in at the earliest opportunity.

      People with little else but a hugely overdeveloped sense of profit motive come up with these things. They’re not to be trusted.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      More like Global Shapeshifters. Where did we get the idea that everything could be solved with more entrepreneurs, as opposed to more nurses and doctors, reference librarians, “living national treasures,” and so on? And please, nobody tell me those are all really entrepreneurs…

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