Links 3/24/14

Animals losing migratory routes? Devasting consequences of scarcity of ‘knowledgeable elders’ Science Daily

The Wolves of Wall Street Project Syndicate

Banker Deaths Leave Industry Concerned As Coroners Probe Bloomberg

EU’s plans for growth to bring shadow banking in from the cold Reuters

Federal judge took Wells Fargo to task over loan filings New York Post

Further Delays Seen on Changes to Reg AB Asset-Backed Alert

Data brokers change labels describing poor FT. Where’s “Downwardly Mobile”?

Wanted: Fraud-buster with political antennae Nature

The Crime of 2010 Paul Krugman, Times. A crime with no perps named. Odd, that. Anybody who listened carefully to Obama’s 2009 inaugural speech knew Obama was in the Pain Caucus from Day One.

Economic consequences of income inequality Credit Writedowns

France election: National Front makes gains BBC

Yide Qiao: Reminbi Liberalization and China’s Economic Challenges iNet


Foreign Monitors Enter Ukraine to Observe Political Situation Times

Billionaire Sought by U.S. Holds Key to Putin Gas Cash Bloomberg

Putin is making the West’s Cold Warriors look like fools Spectator. “Like”?

Germany Inc. on Edge as EU Steps Up Response to Crimea Bloomberg

Russia Looks East as Relations with Europe Deteriorate

Iran says replica US aircraft carrier is really a movie prop Guardian. Will Lt. Gen. Paul Van Riper please pick up the white courtesy phone?

The business of borders Tim Harford

Jitters Mount Over Prospect of Catalonian Independence Testosterone Pit

Thai protesters return to streets as pro-govt forces up the ante Reuters. Also, yikes.

Is Thailand’s politics splitting the nation? The Interpreter

Who Are ‘The People’? Epoch Times

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Five-Minute Glass: What Our Government Sees When It Looks Out the Window Truthout

The FOIA Training Video That the Pentagon Redacted Gawker

All Politics Is Presidential FiveThirtyEight

The Missing Link to the Democratic Party’s Pivot to Wall Street Counterpunch

The Hope Diet: Would the Tea Party fall for this?  Thomas Frank, Salon

The strange revival of Republican America FT


What Are the “Fix It, Don’t Nix It” Democrats Planning to “Fix” in Obamacare? FDL. As they say in the Navy, “You can’t buff a turd.” Fascinating how “progressive” thought leaders have focused on expanding barebones, privatized, estate-confiscating, neo-liberal-infested Medicaid, as opposed to the still popular single payer Medicare. These clowns should try Medicaid before recommending it to others. Like that would ever happen.

AHIP President Calls For New Level Of Insurance Under Health Law Kaiser Health News. So, worse than Bronze, what, Lead? Meanwhile, the real story is that the Marketplace back-end is still broken. So Obama send the tech dudes home after they handled his PR problem by fixing the front-end, the website. It’s as if Amazon fixed its shopping cart and left the warehouse and billing screwed up.

10 States Are Critical To Administration’s Efforts To Enroll 6 Million In New Health Plans USA Today

Checkmate for cheap unconventional gas FT

ASAHI POLL: 59% oppose restart of nuclear reactors Asahi Shimbun

A grand unified theory of behavioral economics? Noahpinion

The man who destroyed America’s ego Medium (Furzy Mouse)

The 100 Best Economics Books of All TIme List Muse. Readers, what’s your take? Spoiler Alert: ECONned is #58.

Antidote du jour:


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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. Petey

    “The Crime of 2010 Paul Krugman, Times. A crime with no perps named. Odd, that. Anybody who listened carefully to Obama’s 2009 inaugural speech knew Obama was in the Pain Caucus from Day One.”

    FWIW, Krugman did listen carefully to Obama’s 2009 inaugural speech…

    (Also, for the historically minded the real crime was the WH letter to Congress under Peter Orszag’s signature on January 27, 2009 promising to make the budget pay-go, thus ensuring any stimulus passed by the progressive 111th Congress would need 60 Senate votes instead of 50 Senate votes. The way that crime has completely disappeared down the memory hole never ceases to amaze me.)

    1. lambert strether

      Not carefully enough to hear the call for austerity it plainly was. Krugman’s mistake,which many others still make, is thinking the Democrats are the good guys.

      1. Jackrabbit

        Krugman’s mistake . . . “good guys”

        If it had been a mistake, Krugman has had ample time to alter his views on the Obama Administration. Instead, if anything, he has drawn closer (e.g. now supporting TPP). Krugman’s misleading and cheerleading can only be interpreted as furthering ideological (neolib) rather than moral ends.

        For a long time now, he has been less an economist than a political operative – and a slimy one at that as he pretends to offer ‘independent’, left-leaning advice. Some day this will be more widely recognized. He really doesn’t deserve the esteem that he gets (like being in the blog-roll of many economics blogs). But then, the left is still enamored of Obama, so I’m not holding my breath.

  2. abynormal

    there it is! hadn’t realized i’ve been holding my breath since yesterday noon….just blew it out on today’s antidote. you’ve used it before Lambert…its my top 3 b/c IT WORKS. Many Thanks for the oxygen boost’)

    “The Bat that flits at close of Eve
    Has left the Brain that won’t believe.
    The Owl that calls upon the Night
    Speaks the Unbeliever’s fright.” Blake

  3. Jim Haygood

    It’s high times for the neocon leech brigade: everyone from NATO’s keystone kops looking for their ‘next Afghanistan’ to the MSM, dutifully falling in line with this month’s official enemies narrative. Bloomberg, for instance:

    ‘Among NATO’s 28 member countries, only a handful come close to the goal of spending 2 percent of gross domestic product on defense. The U.K., France, Greece and Estonia meet or almost meet the target, but the European average is about 1.5 percent. (That compares with U.S. defense spending of more than 4 percent of GDP.)’

    Instead of concluding that the U.S. is spending way more than its share on rich dependents that ought to defend themselves, Bloomberg advocates that ‘[although] the U.S. Army redeployed to Germany for training and exercises a battalion of roughly 22 M1A1 Abrams heavy tanks, it should go much further and return to Europe at least one heavy brigade, and position three to four tank brigades’ worth of equipment where it can be quickly accessed.’

    Why? So Bloomberg and the ‘defense’ parasites can loot more billions from our economy? If Europe ever emerges from its pathological state of prolonged political prepubescence, it should expel its U.S. occupiers and experience actual sovereignty for a change, which means solving its own problems.

    1. Ignim Brites

      The US should withdraw from NATO. That would get Germany to boost its defense spending and that would get Russia to standstill. Currently Russia calculates correctly that the US has no stake in the determination of the sovereign of Crimea, Ukraine, Estonia, etc. As they say, power abhors a vacuum. US membership in NATO is now destabilizing. Absent any universal sense of the significance of a conflict, the US has really only a very limited role to play in the world. The failure of the Afghan and Iraq missions is pretty much dispositive.

  4. abynormal

    sorry if this is a repost (pollen & sleep deprivation in the south is one strong drug)

    Detroit plans mass water shutoffs over $260M in delinquent bills
    The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department has a message for Detroit residents and companies more than 60 days late on their water bills: We’re coming for you.

    With more than half of the city’s customers behind on payments, the department is gearing up for an aggressive campaign to shut off service to 1,500-3,000 delinquent accounts weekly, said Darryl Latimer, the department’s deputy director.

    Including businesses, schools and commercial buildings, there are 323,900 Detroit water and sewerage accounts; 164,938 were overdue for a total of $175 million as of March 6. Residential accounts total 296,115; 154,229 were delinquent for a total of $91.7 million.

    The department halts cutoffs through the winter because of complications associated with freezing temperatures, such as damaged pipes. But this spring, a new contractor has been hired to target those who are more than two months behind or who owe more than $150 — twice the average monthly bill of $75.

    “Thirst will parch your tongue and your body will waste through lack of sleep ere you can describe in words that which painting instantly sets before the eye”
    da Vinci

      1. susan the other

        And do they monitor all central banks, our Fed, our big banksters, our big international corporations; other global corporations… do they monitor all national governments and all militaries; do they monitor themselves? I think this might be the definition of a fungus.

  5. 12312399 (Radio 4, available free worldwide after its initial broadcast)

    Why Minsky Matters

    30 minutes

    First broadcast:
    Monday 24 March 2014

    American economist Hyman Minsky died in 1996, but his theories offer one of the most compelling explanations of the 2008 financial crisis. His key idea is simple enough to be a t-shirt slogan: “Stability is destabilising”. But TUC senior economist Duncan Weldon argues it’s a radical challenge to mainstream economic theory. While the mainstream view has been that markets tend towards equilibrium and the role of banks and finance can largely be ignored, Minsky argued that in the good times the seeds of the next crisis are sown as the financial sector engages in riskier and riskier lending in pursuit of profit. In the aftermath of the financial crisis, this might seem obvious – so why did Minsky die an outsider?

    1. susan the other

      Because nobody has developed a theory of controlled instability, except nature of course.

      1. Binky Bear

        .38 Special did many years ago-“hold on loosely, but don’t let go; if you cling to tightly, you’re going to lose control.” Short and sweet.

  6. abynormal

    uhhh ‘European Commission proposals of a rehabilitation to bring out Shadow Banking Ind.’
    (another L i q u i d i t y T r a p make way)
    “But with the worst of the crisis now over, government attention has turned to growth and with it the regulatory mood music has also changed.”

    “Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and cannot remain silent”
    Victor Hugo (EC headbangin tune, again)

  7. McMike

    Filed under “the crapification of everything”: I got my annual REI cooperative board election form and when I noted that all the positions are solely board-nominated, so my red flag went up. After a little research, it became clear that board nomination is effectively the only way to get on the ballot.

    I realize now that they are a fully self-perpetuating board, one that refuses even to disclose executive salaries for a company that pays starvation wages and participates fully in the product outsourcing nightmare. sigh.

    I encourage you all to explore the concept of the stages of simulacra. I learned of it first from Kevin Depew, who was an oasis of sanity for me early in the financial meltdown. The crapification concept is simply a material consequence of the stages of simulacra.

    REI, alas, has become a distorted copy of a coop, and is no longer a coop except in name – really just another retail corporation, albeit with a different facade, and of course still leveraging goodwill from that facade, reaping undeserved goodwill based on hazy mythical remembrances (monetizing the brand) – it’s member dividends are simply akin to loyalty points. The rest is hype.

    The crisis of the real.

    1. RanDomino

      Is there any consumer ‘cooperative’ that isn’t like this? Another great example is the Willy Street Co-op in Madison which has little in the way of real democracy and pays low wages, several years ago even conspiring with UFCW iirc to break an IWW organizing drive. There needs to be more awareness among progressives and co-op boosters about how the consumer ‘cooperative’ model (in which a board is elected by the several thousand shareholders) is scarcely different from a corporation that pretends to be socially responsible.
      In contrast, I haven’t yet found a worker-owned-and-manged cooperative that’s betrayed its ideals even after many years in business.

      1. McMike

        I don’t have a lot of experience there. Seems to me that so long as the path to getting yourself on the ballot is not too onerous, that’s an important indicator.

        Self-perpetuating boards is a screaming red flag. But of course, they get there by
        degrees, and start out with modest sounding proposals to streamline elections or somesuch. Eventually, they drop the pretense entirely.

        From what I read, the REI bylaws say that if the membership somehow rejects the slate of board candidates, then what the board does is simply appoint who they want anyway. Allrighteethen.

        I do also know that employee ownership plans, which held great promise, got a reputation for being largely symbolic tax scams.

        1. RanDomino

          Hence the need for 100% worker ownership and direct worker self-management, without bureaucracy of any kind, not even bureaucracy under the nominative control of the workers- bureaucrats become bosses.

  8. Massinissa

    Hayeks Road to Serfdom is #10 in that list?!

    “An unimpeachable classic work in political philosophy, intellectual and cultural history, and economics”

    An unimpeachable work of quackery more like.

    I sort of feel like this list was created to add left and right wing economics together to try and please every reader at the same time. Because no person with any kind of coherent ideology would put Marx at #2 and then Hayek at #10. Anyone who likes one would probably detest the other.

    “Lets see, lets put Adam Smith at the top to please the neoliberals, then we put Marx to please the lefties, then…”

    1. Klassy

      I don’t think they put those two on top to satisify lefities or neolassicals. They’re important. Still, they could have maybe had some books that aren’t strictly economics books such as Manufacturing Consent. Hell, maybe they could have even had a work of fiction (one properly labeled as such).
      So, my question is is what if they did allow fiction– what would be your choice?

        1. Klassy

          Now see, I preempted you there as I said “labelled as fiction” because we know that a whole host of econ texts could fall under this category. (fairy tales or utopian fiction (for capital) dystopian (for the rest of us)

          1. ambrit

            Dear Klassy;
            Well, I was under the impression that the Chicago School stuff has been so labeled by just about the rest of the world. (Self-classification doesn’t count, I think. [Could the University of Chicago Press be the Carlton Publishing of Academia?])
            Yes, I bow down and make obeisance. You did preempt me. (Knocks head against floor three times.)

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I would add spiritual books to that list of books on economics.

        The number one book, in my book, though, is the book on Nature, by Nature…an autobiography. It’s free and easy to read…even kids can read it….not in words (think thinking-without-words), and beyond numbers.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      I went through the list pretty fast and I didn’t see The Shock Doctrine.

      Did I miss it or was it not included?

      If the latter, I’m not inclined to give this list much credence.

  9. Michael Hudson

    A really annoying Krugman column, Yves.
    Not your fault, of course. Good that you post it so that we can see where the interpretive problem lies.
    The “danger from debt” only refers to PUBLIC debt, as if the deficit adds to it (instead of the Fed simply creating greenbacks). But cutting the budget deficit drains the economy and thus INCREASES private debt.
    What is lacking is a Physiocratic type of Tableau Economique showing who pays the debt and who gets the proceeds. This is what MMT starts to do. What needs to be added is to distinguish the private sector between the FIRE sector and the production-and-consumption economy.
    The 1% are all for increased public debt (see Ireland, Greece, etc) s long as the debt is run up to pay THEM. The key is Who/Whom.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Agree on the rich for running up debt as long as it is used to pay THEM.

      The 0.01% are also for GDP growth and more societal wealth, which, ALWAYS trickles up to THEM, not just ‘as long as they trickle up’ to the rich, at least in the last few decades.

      The 0.01% are also for creating more money, which, again, ALWAYS goes to THEM.

      What they are against is a wealth tax on the rich.

    2. susan the other

      If we want an economy that serves every level it must be served at all levels by an effective feedback mechanism which removes those areas that refuse to adapt – that do not want change, let alone any evolution of their comfortable positions. TPTB need to be removed so that the rest of us can self-correct. We need many, many feedback channels; and we need to be organized, national, and political – but always decentralized in order to adapt.

    3. Doug Terpstra

      Great to see you comment here, Doctor Hudson (disregard reply below). It seems that only certain types of public debt (non-military, non-finance) are an imminent danger. And ISTM that our current monetary-fiscal scam amounts to MMT for finance and austerity for the people, or, as Dimon would put it, “MMT for me, austerity for thee” (Beef’s “trickle-up”}. Public-debt investment in long term wealth-creating assets is somehow invalid, despite the glaring needs and opportunities in infrastructure (incl. transportation), alternative energy, and climate-change mitigation, needs which are worthy of an Apollo-scale public program (didn’t Obama discuss this on his 2008 soapbox?). So instead, all that remains is state-sponsored looting based on rentier usury, resource theft, and global violence.

      Krugman states the blindingly obvious: “The best way to avoid [the problem of long term unemployment], then, is to avoid prolonged periods of high unemployment.” Whew! Thank you so much. But even more irksome, he names no suspects for this “immaculate” “Crime of 2010″, leaving us to infer the usual suspects of course — the infamous obstructionist GOP.

      But hold on there, Doctor Krugman. Let’s be clear. It was Obama, his hand-picked neoliberal Neocon regime, and his own D party who firmly held the levers of power in 2010. It was they who “squandered” their commanding majority by consolidating the Wall Street-Insurance Racket coup, and it was their —his— wholesale betrayal of hope and change voters that resurrected the walking-dead GOP … all in order to sustain the kleptocracy to which both parties have pledged allegiance.

    4. allcoppedout

      Money and debt are conventions. Even Aristotle noted we could choose not to have them tomorrow if they have lost social utility. I agree the MMT project because we need an alternative after we disestablish. I can’t see the current financial establishment as much different than I might a drug-ring. Finance should run under the moral encouragement of a population able to call ‘jubilee’. This lot have done enough to merit the call.

      Being in debt as a payer of interest and repayment has obvious behavioural effects. So any accounting the whole system to zero is clearly nuts. I’d always welcome a spreadsheet or more complex database on the money flows. My current guess though, is debt is more complex and has an “inability to earn a decent living factor” we miss. This is obvious in the usury conditions of rural India, but I’ve even discovered decent people I know selling drugs over Xmas (the trade is seasonal). We have McKinsey HR that wants to rate companies on profit per employee, but always excluding quite how this profit “mean-is-related-to” debt for the decent guy in general walking out of the job centre realising 7 out of the 10 jobs he applied for were bogus. Debt is somehow inflicted without any contract being signed. The “success” of others creates debt, obvious if kleptocrats have stashed it offshore, but also in the lack of flow back to the productive investment that might have provided meaningfully paying work to my ‘new drug dealers’. Hard to explain and I’m trying to get a handle on ‘big data’ approaches that might put more behaviour in numbers. Parasitism is the most common lifestyle on earth and I suspect we might be putting the cart before the horse on debt. The parasite may have convinced us we need to incur debt to make investment and that it needs to be personally assumed at all. It’s very common too, in social animals, for leaders to disadvantage competitors in the herd. A parasite might well ‘reduce wages in order to push its debt dependency’ on the host. There might be something we could crowd-source and “kaggle” with data driven approaches.

  10. Ignim Brites

    Who are the people? And equally important, what is their territory? Ask the Catalonians, the Scottish, the Quebecois, or the Crimeans for that matter, what they think about that. What about New Yorkers or Kansans? Are such questions inappropriate for those people?

    1. optimader

      Carter has a valid strategy, written letters are analog, consequently much more difficult to hoover up.

  11. Mel

    100 Great Books

    I’ve read a half-dozen or a dozen of these and found some enlightenment. The problem I find is that I have no background in finance or trading, and I don’t speak the lingo. I’ve got help from books that might be less great — not being on the list:

    the late Gerry “Adam ‘George Goodman’ Smith” Goodman’s trio, _The Money Game_, _Paper Money_, _Supermoney_.

    Satyajit Das’s _Extreme Money_.

    They’ve given me a point-of-view without which I wouldn’t know where to look,

  12. RanDomino

    The man who destroyed America’s ego should be today’s must-read, if only for how it notes the role of Ayn Rand in creating the self-esteem myth. Considering that her ethos was pure narcissism, it makes perfect sense. Her goal was to create a world of pure narcissists and apparently she succeeded far more than we thought.

    As for “downwardly mobile”, “declasse” is already a word; French and therefore a non-starter, but maybe its more widespread use will bring a few people to the old CrimethInc. essay “Declasse War” (pdf, page 5).

    1. jrs

      Only Karl Rodgers was very far from the first psychologist not to start with a “people are fundamentally bad” assumption. For instance Karen Horney promoted the idea as a post-Freudian WAY before Rodgers, and went to great pains to illustrate her differences with Freud. So it’s simply a very simplified limited view of the development of psychology.

    1. McMike

      I am pretty sympathetic to the “bring back some nature and risk to childhood” arguments. So, more in the spirit of snark for snark’s sake….

      I couldn’t help it, after looking at a couple photos it struck me that it looked like a Latin American favela. Then I wondered if the favela residents would think we are nuts, because they would like nothing more than a new sterile bright and utterly child-safe modern play structure system (which cost in the many tens or hundreds of thousands, by the way).

    2. curlydan

      Strange, I was reading those two articles simultaneously this morning. Stranger still is that my family’s Spring Break (well, late winter break technically) partly was spent at St. Louis’s City Museum that has many aspects of a wilder playground for children.

      Parts of the museum are specifically designed so the tag along adults cannot squeeze through the hippy welded, climbing mazes and caves. As a parent, it’s disconcerting at first, but ultimately liberating for the child and the parent with the responsibility granted to the kids to be on their own and “lose” their parents. The whole place has a mid-70s vibe that is very refreshing. After our 2nd visit there, I told my kids there are 3 rules to City Museum: (1) you will get lost, (2) you will get some bumps and bruises, and (3) you will have a lot of fun.

      One mildly disappointing aspect of our 2nd visit was that the 10-story slide is now restricted to kids 48″ and over. It was revolutionary that the first time I was at the museum, my 3 1/2 year old was the first down the huge slide. This most recent time, he was “too short” based on the restrictions, and we had to make due with the 5-story slide.

  13. McMike

    kinda o/t but…. can anyone here explain why it is so hard for Microsoft to make a laptop that can come out of hibernation promptly and reliably? I would not think this should be so difficult to do.

  14. McMike

    From the department of Shocked, Shocked….

    Mortgage Tax Breaks Trickle Up, New Study Shows
    Benefits Said to Help Wealthier People Acquire Larger Homes More Than Boost Ownership
    Wall Street Journal

    Federal tax benefits for homeowners primarily help wealthier people borrow more money to buy larger houses rather than boost homeownership, according to a new study.

  15. Doug Terpstra

    Great to see you comment here, Doctor Hudson. It seems that only certain types of public debt (non-military, non-finance) are an imminent danger. And ISTM that our current monetary-fiscal scam amounts to MMT for finance and austerity for the people, or, as Dimon would put it, “MMT for me, austerity for thee” (Beef’s “trickle-up”}. Public-debt investment in long term wealth-creating assets is somehow invalid, despite the glaring needs and opportunities in infrastructure (incl. transportation), alternative energy, and climate-change mitigation, needs which are worthy of an Apollo-scale public program (didn’t Obama discuss this on his 2008 soapbox?). So instead, all that remains is state-sponsored looting based on rentier usury, resource theft, and global violence.

    Krugman states the blindingly obvious: “The best way to avoid [the problem of long term unemployment], then, is to avoid prolonged periods of high unemployment. Whew! Thank you so much. But even more irksome, he names no suspects for this “immaculate” “Crime of 2010”, leaving us to infer the usual suspects of course — the infamous obstructionist GOP.

    But hold on there, Doctor Krugman. Let’s be clear. It was Obama, his hand-picked neoliberal Neocon regime, and his own D party who firmly held the levers of power in 2010. It was they who “squandered” their commanding majority by consolidating the Wall Street-Insurance Racket coup, and it was their —his— wholesale betrayal of hope and change voters that resurrected the walking-dead GOP … all in order to sustain the kleptocracy to which both parties have pledged allegiance.

  16. Murky

    Today’s best Ukraine links:
    1) The first is a 2 part article by Sergei Khrushchev, son of Nikita Khrushchev. Excellent historical content about Crimea with a pro-Russian slant.

    2) Recently retired US Ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul, has written an editorial in the New York Times. Please don’t conflate my opinions with Mr. McFaul’s. I am acquainted with McFaul and am frankly embarrassed by what he has written. The ‘neocon’ ideology in this piece needs some dissection. Have at it.

    3) Last item is an article by Alexander J. Motyl, a professor of political science at Rutgers University. It’s good with the question, just who are the real experts on Ukraine? Motyl argues that many who claim expertise about Ukraine really don’t have it. Moreover, he writes that these self-proclaimed experts have exaggerated the strength and activity of Svaboda and Pravyi Sektor, the worst of rightwing extremism in Ukraine. Fair assessment by Motyl?

    Okay, folks, slash and burn!

  17. Hugh

    Just a quick note. Best economics books seems like an oxymoron. That said there are probably 10 books on that list that are good explaining important points like ECONned and Debt the First 5000 Years or are classics like Wealth of Nations or Das Kapital. There are something like 5 titles by Stiglitz. I think this is an indication of where the list maker’s thinking may be centered. But it is important to remember that Stiglitz is very much an Establishment economist. He may criticize aspects of the system but he supports and remains very much a part of it. What surprised me were the omissions. No Mosler’s Seven Deadly Innocent Frauds (or any other MMT), no Bill Black’s The Best Way to Rob a Bank, No Frederic Soddy’s The Role of Money or Wealth, Virtual Wealth and Debt. Historically, in the East there is no Fan Li. In the West, no Aristotle. In the Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle treats economics as just one aspect of social morality. Seeing economics in social and moral terms is probably why thinkers like him were left out of the list. And of course, none of these books treats directly the great issues of our times: kleptocracy and class war with only some mention of inequality.

  18. Hugh

    Re Krugman, he slips in praise of Krueger’s paper on long term unemployment. Krueger has joined the movement to raise the levels of structural unemployment by tying the NAIRU to whatever the current level of unemployment is. It’s another reductionist argument by the elites to explain away the jobs crisis. It ignores the crap nature of the jobs being created, and it ignores the fact that employers could train or update the skills of the long term unemployed. They just can’t be bothered to. The end result is that the short term unemployed (a subset of a subset) become the barometer for wage inflation. You might well ask how much wage inflation hamburger flippers can generate. If you did, you would already be one up on Krueger who apparently doesn’t.

  19. bayoustjohndavid

    Since the list is supposed to 100 best in terms of understanding the economy, rather than 100 most influential, how can “Econned” and Paul Samuelson be on the same list? It’s been a few years since I read “Econned,” but didn’t Yves Smith say that much of our misunderstanding of the economy began with Samuelson?
    Anyway, for 100 books that would help anybody understand the economy, I’d certainly include “Global Trade and Conflicting. National Interests” by Ralph Gomory.

  20. JohnB

    I’m not sure how to view the regions in various EU countries seeking independence; Scotland I can understand, but Catalonia and Venice I have less knowledge of, however they both seem to be comparatively wealthy regions.

    I wonder if it could potentially be something more cynical at play: Perhaps we may see Europe starting to divide, as the crisis progresses, with more wealthy regions separating from poorer ones – leaving all the debt behind (and greatly worsening the remaining nations ability to pay that off)…

    Disclaimer: That’s a 100% completely uninformed/unbacked, and wholly speculative thought ;) but something to be prudently cynical about.

    1. abynormal

      thanks Opti, i get you even with a tiny freak flag flyin ‘)
      ex: comments (on going arguments)
      From Mike Powers:
      He always maintained that he posed live animals claiming that he used stiffened clothing and wires and a lot o patience but it simply wasn’t true although he may well have started out that way.
      In addition almost all “nature” photographs of that time are in fact of dead, stuffed animals.

      The idea that some of these images are the result of patience is clearly nonsense. He admitted that he used a shutter speed of 1/5th second which, in modern terms, is slow. Taxidermy was widespread and the Victorians weren’t concerned about it in the way that we are today. Even children thought it was cute.

      There was even a fashion for photographing dead people in poses.

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