Links 9/19/14

Why the NFL conversation about Ray Rice is so important to me Cathy O’Neil

Ig Nobels: British researchers take coveted science humour prize Guardian

World population to hit 11bn in 2100 – with 70% chance of continuous rise Guardian. Repeat after me: trees do not grow to the sky.

The Dark Web Gets Darker With Rise of the ‘Evolution’ Drug Market Wired (Robert M)

Big money calls for carbon price MacroBusiness

Does Abenomics Work? – The Doubts Grow Edward Hugh

ECB Throws a Party, Nobody Shows Up Bloomberg

Italy to Remain in Recession This Year, Says IMF Wall Street Journal

Madrid ready to act if Catalonia takes final step toward referendum El Pais

Poor people prefer shit things, explains Cameron Daily Mash

President Obama is open to talking with Iran president, official says Los Angeles Times


Boost from Scots ‘no’ may be short-lived Financial Times

Scottish referendum: Out of the frying pan into the fire Telegraph

Scotland votes to reject independence – but the United Kingdom still may never be the same again Washington Post

What ‘No’ means for PM Cameron CNN


Who’s Your Daddy, ISIS? Black Agenda Report, Glen Ford, Black Agenda Report

How the Media Gets It Wrong CounterPunch. Important and needs a better headline.

7.3 million in Obamacare plans, beats CBO forecast Politico

Gallup: GOP’s Favorable Rating Almost as Good as Democrats’ Jon Walker, Firedoglake

Chris Christie lies yet again. Tells press conference that Sirota was fired by Pando over inaccuracies Pando. Christie is looking more and more desperate in dealing with the escalating pay to play scandal. As a politically savvy longstanding New Jersey resident put it, “Republicans in New Jersey are like Pinochet’s torture squad. They are good at administering pressure but not so hot on the receiving end.” But the local press is still amplifying some serious Christie administration misrepresentations.

Shale Fracking Is a “Ponzi Scheme” … “This Decade’s Version of The Dotcom Bubble” … “A Lot In Common With the Subprime Mortgage Market Just Before It Melted Down” George Washington

Whither Fed?

Bond markets ‘join the dots’ on Fed rates Financial Times

Wall Street Sees Holes In Fed’s New Policy-tightening Plan Reuters

The Fed’s Risky Bet on Growth Mohamed El-Erian, Bloomberg

The return of the American borrower FT Alphaville

Class Warfare

The rapid pace of technology is hollowing out the middle class South China Morning Post

Pay pressure Financial Times. Thick with neoliberal shibboleths, yet also advocates a basic income.

Poverty Unchanged By Wall Street Recovery DSWright, Firedoglake

Piketty’s Missing Rentiers Project Syndicate

Antidote du jour (furzy mouse):

image loony cat

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Michael Robinson

    Re: neoliberal shibboleths

    Can someone explain this argument to me? Variations seem to be everywhere:

    “The problem is that all the benefit of increased productivity over the last four decades have gone to capital, not labor; the solution to which is greater public investment in increased productivity.”

    Quoting, for example, from the FT: “During the past 40 years, average worker productivity in the US has roughly doubled, while real wages have stagnated….There is no silver bullet solution. But focusing on better public education could improve the lives of ordinary people.”

    It’s all bait and switch. When they talk about the beneficiaries of better education, it is “countries that had good mass education systems, such as the US, have been economically successful”, but “economic success” here is capital gains, not median household income.

    And this:

    “What we should not do is focus on inequality. It doesn’t matter, ethically speaking, if the heiress to the L’Oréal fortune has six yachts or none. True, she ought to be ashamed that she spends her wealth on baubles and not on good works. But her wealth is not what made people poor. Taking it will not much improve their condition.”

    The point isn’t that the wealth of the wealthy makes the poor poorer; the point is that the poverty of the poor makes the wealthy wealthier.

    1. ambrit

      Re your last line: “The point isn’t that the wealth of the wealthy makes the poor poorer; the point is that the poverty of the poor makes the wealthy wealthier.”
      Each is just a description of a situation. More important is how those situations came about. They influence each other, sure, but neither created the other. Try some Manichaean economics, better yet, Daoist Social Economics.

      1. diptherio

        I have to disagree here. The wealth of the wealthy is, in fact, the cause of poverty…or perhaps the desire for that wealth. Hume pointed out long ago that while nature provides plenty for all, the many are nonetheless deprived of bread so that a few may have their whims fulfilled.

        Consider history: the enclosure movement was a necessary precursor to the creation of capitalism as we know it, and entailed a fencing off of what had been common property supporting many families, and turning it into the private property of “nobles” (though they were not, in point of fact, all that noble). Many had to be deprived of the essentials of life so that those who had already been made wealthy by existing social arrangements could become more wealthy.

        Examples are many, right up to the present day. All those imported goods we get so cheaply: their cheapness for us is directly related to the poverty of those who produce them. Our gain is their loss, sad to say.

        And to take a more philosophical approach: the seeking after material wealth is the direct cause of spiritual poverty in an individual. Not the only one, to be sure, but a widespread one in our culture.

        Wealth and poverty are two sides of one coin, whether we like to admit it or not. Why do you think Buddha walked away from a kingdom to seek enlightenment? Why do you suppose he didn’t try to get it back after he became enlightened? Why did Jesus tell his disciples to take nothing with them when they went to preach the gospel? Why did the first Christians share all their possessions in common and “no one called any thing their own”? Because they understood that wealth and poverty are directly related, and they sought true wealth, which necessitated a certain attitude towards the other kind of wealth–the kind that can be stolen by thieves or ruined by flood or fire. It’s an attitude, I need hardly add, that is rather rare in today’s world.

        1. jagger

          ———–Examples are many, right up to the present day. All those imported goods we get so cheaply: their cheapness for us is directly related to the poverty of those who produce them. Our gain is their loss, sad to say.———-

          Our gain is limited to those with increased profits and those with the jobs or income to purchase cheaper goods. Those here that no longer have jobs because they were shipped overseas, also lost. While those overseas who took those jobs gained at the expense of those here who lost there jobs.

        2. different clue

          About those cheap foreign goods, “our gain is their loss” makes it sound better than it is. In many cases their loss is our loss too. Our loss of what? Our loss of okay-paying jobs making things in this country which were then sold for others in this country at an okay price. A price okay enough to keep the okay-paying jobs in existence in this country. And THAT is the cycle which Free Trade was designed to destroy.

          Middle-class identified consumers thought they were gaining something by paying a China Price while still making an American Wage, and Saving the Difference . . . or spending it on yet more consumables. But when so many of their fellow Americans bought Chinese to get the China Price that the okay-paying jobs making things in America itself went extinct, then
          many middle-class identified thingmakers lost their jobs. They are now poor, even if they still identify middle-class. And the China Price is the new American Price to them, now that they work for a China Wage, if they have any work to do for any wage at all.
          So its even worse than Diptherio’s comment understands it to be.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            If money came before barter, then trade-for-non-available-raw-materials came before trade-for-cheaper-made products.

            You always want to make things yourself.

            Look at any healthy kid. He or she sees some thing done, the first reaction is to want to be able to do it him/herself.

            Go trade for the obsidian or tin you don’t have. But make your own stone age tools or tin pots.

    2. Banger

      The propaganda organs aimed at the “better” educated parts of the population love these sorts of sentences/phrases–they accept the reality that some rich people are assholes but that has nothing to do with poverty or the class system–we should all just get “better” educations. We should go out and learn how to give better blowjobs–because there is definitely a shortage of experts in that area–where there is a demand there are people needed to fill those jobs.

      1. cwaltz

        The irony is that those “educated” souls don’t seem to recognize that the law of supply and demand also applies to the educated. If you have 1 educated person then they can command a higher salary because they aren’t competing with anyone. If you have 2 then they have to compete for that salary. If you have 10 then the competition for the higher paid position can drive wages down and that wage drop is reflected in the market. People should, by all means, educate themselves if they want to. However, they shouldn’t delude themselves into thinking that education is a solution for anyone other than business OWNERS who then don’t have to invest that money into training a pool of labor.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          ‘Only love can be divided endlessly and still not diminish.’


          Wisdom can also be divided endlessly and sill not diminish.

          Of course, an educated person might argue over whether love can be divided or what does it mean to divide love.

          And he or she is likely to be smart about what divided wisdom looks like.

        2. proximity1

          By dividing wisdom, I suppose that with each new “split,” the resulting division has half the wisdom of the complement from which it ensued. Original wisdom, “divided,” results in 2 products, each half as wise as the source—and so on and so. IIRC, after about eight or nine divisions, what remains is very, very, little wisdom–huh?

          Maybe “shared” wisdom was what was intended.

    3. Katniss Everdeen

      Not sure to which link you refer.

      As to your quotes, the reason to “take” the heiress’ money from her is not because she bought six yachts, it’s because she bought six “law”-makers, and probably more since, in America, they sell themselves pretty cheaply considering the “services” they provide their “owners.”

      With regard to 40 years of experience in increasing “productivity” for ZERO benefit to labor, asking for “greater public investment in increased productivity” is just stupid and arrogant.

      Of course, they’ll probably pass a “law”…..

      1. cwaltz

        Hey, if that heiress can get the rubes-er I mean the PUBLIC to pay for the training and upgrades for her workforce then perhaps next year she can buy that 7th yacht she’s been dreaming about.

        It isn’t like the person who already owns 6 yachts hasn’t demonstrated that what they believe in is greed, but hey paying for stuff that she needs to earn a profit will totally fix that.

    4. Johann Sebastian Schminson

      Labor is the source of all capital. The working class has been robbed by acts of official policy.

    5. Calgacus

      But her wealth is not what made people poor. Taking it will not much improve their condition.
      The wealthy systematically prevent the poor from helping themselves. Wealth and power systematically, incessantly, violently but invisibly attacking the poor is what makes them poor.

      The point isn’t that the wealth of the wealthy makes the poor poorer; the point is that the poverty of the poor makes the wealthy wealthier.
      Things are worse than that. The poverty of the poor doesn’t make the wealthy wealthier. In most ways, it makes them poorer. But that’s a small price for them to pay. For

      The poverty of the poor makes the wealthy happier.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        One day, with robots, the poverty of the poor will have nothing to do with the wealth of the wealthy.

        And the ultimate tragedy will happen upon the poor – Total Robotic Care, the happiness of the wealth is completely divorced from the poor. They become oblivious to the poor. They don’t even see those wretched creatures…they don’t see them, they don’t come into contact with, they don’t hear about them (Fredo, I don’t want to know about you, I don’t want you to see mama, you are not a brother anymore)… much less thinking that the poverty of the poor will make them happier.

    6. reslez

      “Worker productivity has doubled. Yet wages remain stagnant. The solution is… make workers more productive??” The non sequitor in the article is really odd, yet it’s somehow never questioned.

      “We need more education.” Perhaps they mean when people are better educated, they become more aware of how they are being ripped off and will work to change society to win better pay. But I think what they really mean is this:

      1) It’s your fault for not educating yourself enough. Or for choosing the wrong field. Or graduating during a depression. Or taking out student loans instead of getting born into a wealthy family. Anyway, everything is your own individual fault. (The voice of a sociopath with zero empathy for others. Manifestly when the rich get in trouble it’s everybody’s problem to solve and nobody’s fault.)
      2) What we (owners) want is more people qualified to compete for the same jobs. More education for you = larger pool of desperate labor for us.

      1. jrs

        “Worker productivity has doubled. Yet wages remain stagnant. The solution is… make workers more productive??”

        The solution of course is quite obviously the opposite: to make workers LESS productive (aka going on strike, sabotage (esp if coordinated) etc..) That has always been the solution.

  2. ambrit

    The Daily Mash got it precisely right yet again. I refer to the item listed at the page bottom among “Latest Stories”: Brigadoon vanishes for another 100 years. (All singing, all dancing ourselves to perdition.)

    1. OIFVet

      Look at the cat’s eyes: I often get that look after perusing the links du jour. It is an overwhelming assault on one’s ability to process the sheer awfulness of TPTB.

    2. Wat Tyler

      The cat photo is the last one found in a collar cam attached to a local mouse who was discovered half eaten on the cat owners doorstep. The death is under investigation.

    3. bob

      People live with those things in their houses? That’s the look of sheer joy they get when they finally eat the 200 lb food delivering bag of meat.


          1. bob

            Dinner bell.

            Look at the angle of the photo, it’s clearly a human using an iHole to try and leave a posthumous clue for investigators.

            “you’ve brought me dinner for 10 years. I want dessert now!”

            1. OIFVet

              Gents, having coexisted with felines my entire life, I assure you: they are experienced criminals and know how to stage a murder so it looks like an accident. They certainly won’t allow a measly human to leave behind crumbtrails proving their criminality. Don’t believe me? Check this out: “DAY 761 – Today my attempt to kill my captors by weaving around their feet while they were walking almost succeeded, must try this at the top of the stairs. In an attempt to disgust and repulse these vile oppressors, I once again induced myself to vomit on their favorite chair…must try this on their bed (again).” The rest of it is just as shocking and cruel:

  3. Ed

    “World population to hit 11bn in 2100 – with 70% chance of continuous rise”

    I’ve found the Guardian to be more willing than most outlets to publish these sorts of “we’re f—–” articles.

    World population will rise to just over the limits of carrying capacity, then collapse, just as Malthus said.

    The question is what is carrying capacity. However, peak oil reduces world carrying capacity. In fact, as populations increase, they start to degrade the resources, such as fossil fuels, that have sustained the increase, so when the population crashes its always to a level lower than it was before the increase started. This has been shown by numerous studies of animal populations.

    From what I’ve been reading about the biosphere, eleven billion people would mess it up too much to be able to sustain higher forms of life, so I think the crash will start before the world reaches that point.

    1. Eeyores enigma

      The biggest problem with that kind of article is they always quote a date way out in the future.

      The truth is we are well into overshoot right now. We can’t feed the current Global population, or I should say we can not and are not able to NOURISH the current population.

      We are in the anthropocene where mankind is having a dominant and negative effect on the biosphere.

      All of the warnings are always said to be so far out in the future that most people simply dismiss them as something they do not have to worry about. This is less than helpful.

      1. Ed

        To be fair, this situation is unprecedented for humans. There have been famines and plagues before, but not world wide. There has been serious climate change before, but not in recorded history. And human population only reached two billion in the 1930s. The current global population has no precedence in terms of sheer scale or how fast it happened.

        So except that there will be a crash (this is really just a matter of basic arithmetic), no one really has idea about when, how fast, or how it will play out.

        The effects on the biosphere up to now has meant lots of animals and plants dying, but no reduction in human population. The main effect on humans has been increased unemployment, since the global labor market could never handle this rapid an increase in the inflex of workers, and a big reduction in privacy. So its easy to ignore what is going on, which frankly is really depressing anyway.

        1. cnchal

          The main effect on humans has been increased unemployment, since the global labor market could never handle this rapid an increase in the inflex of workers

          Yep. Having an extra few billion people over there make stuff for the “old world” that the “old world” used to make for itself sure beat down wages. It is getting so bad, that dead chickens will cross the Pacific Ocean twice before hitting the dinner plate. Go efficiency and productivity.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      “so when the population crashes its always to a level lower than it was before the increase started.”

      It matters how the process is played out.

      If you are thinking ‘I’m far removed from the culling…I am safe,’ you might even think about accelerating the process to a ‘more beautiful’ tomorrow.


        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          They have super-computed where future climate sanctuaries will be located.

          ‘Bring on climate change!’

          It’ll be a good show.

          Little People fear climate change.

          Rich, smart (I have everything under control, I am in charge, I am educated to the nth degree) people welcome climate change….new climate Eden’s will be created…

          “In every crisis, there is opportunity.’

    3. Garrett Pace

      I’ll say it again today: one of the study’s extrapolations is that by 2100 Nigeria, (currently a net food importer, I understand), will more than quadruple to 900 million people.

      That tells me all I need to know to evaluate the claim. I don’t know what WILL happen, but am comfortably certain that that won’t.

      1. JohnL

        You’re right there. I think the key item of interest in this article is that the consensus has been “Oh, population will stabilize around 2050 at 9 million, so no need to worry about population control, famines, or plagues. We’ll just all drive hybrids and eat organic and the planet will support us all.”
        Not so much. A lot of people are going to die from disease, famine, or war. The unknown is who and when. I think the 1% figured this out a long time ago and are determined to make sure it’s not them. War in the middle east and a plague in west Africa are just a sampler of what’s to come.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Who and when.

          As I said above, the rich will have bigger and fancier tombstones…even in the long run.

          But like GDP, income, government spending, it’s not the size but the distribution.

          The rich, secure in their fortified domed cities, cared for by robots, powered by energy sources supplied by the empire, might welcome a little climate change to ‘improve the scenery.’


    4. Banger

      We could feed and provide nurturing to the entire global population but we choose not to. The population “bomb” is a red-herring and needs to be tossed for a lot of reasons–the issue is not population but how much that population is involved in “working it” that is, who are joining together to create a better world. Creative healthy people and cultures bring a net benefit to all of us–the problem is with ethics, i.e., that life is about fulfilling your fantasies and pursuing your interests to the exclusion of the commons.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Not sure about population not being a problem.

        But as far as food quantity (not quality), yes, it’s not the size but distribution.

        Basically, these are all distribution related problems:

        Government spending
        Medical care (worsened by waste)
        Food (waste is also a problem here)

    5. BondsOfSteel

      We’re already past carrying capacity… if you assume that technology and the associated carbon footprint will be extended to all. Right now, our global carbon output is unsustainable. This is with the majority of people on Earth living a low carbon lifestyle.

      If say people in the highly developed world reduce their footprint say 20%, if the rest of the world raises to that level, the global carbon output would be way too high.

      We can either choose to reduce our individual carbon footprint, reduce individuals, or reduce both. If we don’t choose, nature will choose for us in a way that will affect all life on the planet.

      1. Robert Dudek

        We will never have enough cheap fossil fuel production to come anywhere near that. The rich world will slowly ween itself off fossil fuels and wars will be fought to ensure that the poor never get reach consumption rates that the rich world has grown accustomed to.

    6. Eclair

      I also admire illustrations chosen for these articles on ‘over-population.’ Almost always, they are of crowds of black or brown, ‘foreign-looking’ people in Africa or India. Maybe they’re in outdoor markets or in crowded refugee camps, living in tents on a bowl of rice per day.

      So, it’s not ‘our’ problem because we’re white, educated and have only 2.3 babies per family. Phew.

      There seem to be few pictures of crowded, smoggy freeways jammed with cars (with people in them, not yet driverless), or of acres of jammed parking lots on Black Friday, with lines of cars circling for the next free space, like vultures looking for a foothold on a carcase. Never pictures of skyscrapers packed with thousands of bodies, breathing cooled air, drinking water imported from hundreds of miles upstream, and flushing tons of bodily wastes with more expensively-produced water that must be decontaminated and filtered before returning to rivers already polluted with oil slicks from ship traffic.

      The point being, that probably an entire village of those ‘uneducated’ black women who insist on popping out little black babies use up fewer of our earth’s resources and produce less pollution than one highly ‘educated’ white westerner.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Interesting observation.

        I see Jevon’s Paradox in there.

        The thinking has always been ‘have fewer children so you can give them more.’

        More love – good.

        More attention – good.

        More toys – not so good :<

        So, now, one (my parents can give me more toys) kid consumes more than a bunch of (my parents can't give each of us more) kids, when they grow and can't kick the (I am used to more toys) habit.

        I think that's Jevon's Paradox.

  4. JTFaraday


    “From the very beginning, Uber attracted drivers with a bait-and-switch. Take the company’s launch in LA: In May 2013, Uber charged customers a fare of $2.75 per mile (with an additional 60¢ per minute under eleven mph). Drivers got to keep 80 percent of the fare. Working full time, drivers could make a living wage: between 15 and $20 an hour.

    Drivers rushed to sign up, and thousands leased and bought cars just to work for Uber — especially immigrants and low-income people desperate for a well-paying job in a terrible economy. But over the last year, the company has faced stiff competition from its arch-rival, Lyft. To raise demand and push Lyft out of the LA market, Uber has cut UberX fares nearly in half: to $1.10 per mile, plus 21¢ a minute.”

    All in a day’s work.

    You do have to ask yourself however, “how is this any different from any other (crap) job to which you need to commute? How is it any different from losing a $15-20 an hour job and getting a minimum wage replacement?”

    One difference is the hype, I guess. But at least the hype has people talking.

    1. barrisj

      The Jacobin article ends with this comment:

      “There’s nothing innovative or new about this business model. Uber is just capitalism, in its most naked form.”

      Exactly spot on, as this “sharing bidness comes out of the “libertarian” SV, where “capitalism in its most naked form”, and exploitation of one’s fellow man is a feature, not a bug. It’s really a form of rebadged Randism, plus a healthy dose of social Darwinism plus clever PR – oh, wait, isn’t that a sort of fascism?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        They are just too smart…and too educated.

        Low income people and immigrant are no match for them.

      2. JTFaraday

        “There’s nothing innovative or new about this business model. Uber is just capitalism, in its most naked form.”

        I don’t see how Uber is any more naked than any other crap job entailing a similarly pricey commute.

  5. barrisj

    Several years ago, Thomas Frank attempted to address the curious American habit of citizens continuing to vote against their most basic interests in favour of those who simply exploit them in his “What’s the Matter with Kansas?”. A rather lengthy article appeared this week on the Club Orlov blog that further explores the nature of peoples’ thought processes who live in a top-down hierarchical society. The article was entitled (appropriately enough!), “Understanding Organisational Stupidity”. or “Why are we being so fucking stupid?”. Well, the answer may lie in what is termed “functional stupidity”, defined thusly:
    “Functional stupidity refers to an absence of reflexivity, a refusal to use intellectual capacities in other than myopic ways, and avoidance of justifications.”. And, in fact the elites use strategies of “stupidity management” in order to perpetuate their own power and their own values at the expense of those who they “manage”. Fascinating read, and especially after the events of this week, which the satirist Charles Pierce calls, “…having a bit of stupid for lunch”.

    Understanding Organizational Stupidity
    Is it morning in America again, or is the bubble that is the American economy about to pop (again), this time perhaps tipping it into full-blown collapse in five stages with symphonic accompaniment and fireworks? A country blowing itself up is quite a sight to behold, and it makes us wonder about lots of things. For instance, it makes us wonder whether the people who are doing the blowing up happen to be criminals. (Sure, they may be in a manner of speaking—as a moral judgment passed on the powerful by the powerless—but since none of them are likely to see the inside of a jail cell or even a courtroom any time soon, the point is moot. Let’s be sure to hunt them down once they try to run and hide, though.) But at a much more basic and fundamental level, a better question to ask is this one:

    “Why are we being so fucking stupid?”

    What do I mean when I use the term “fucking stupid”? I do not mean it as a term of abuse but as a precise, if unflattering, diagnosis. Here is as good a definition as any, excerpted from American Eulogy by Jim Quinn:

    If you had told someone on September 10, 2001 that ten years later America would be running $1.5 trillion annual deficits, fighting two wars of choice in countries that despise our presence, and had not only not addressed the $100 [trillion] of unfunded welfare liabilities but added billions more with Medicare D and Obamacare, they would have thought you were a crazy doomster predicting the end of the world. They would have put you away in a padded cell if you had further predicted that politicians would cut taxes three separate times, that the Wall Street banks that leveraged themselves 40 to 1 and destroyed the financial system [would be] handed $2 trillion of taxpayer funds so they could pay themselves multi-million dollar bonuses, and that the Federal Reserve would triple its balance sheet to $2.45 trillion by running its printing presses at hyper-speed and handing the money to those same Wall Street Mega-Banks.

    Well, the evidence is in, and that crazy doomster in his padded cell has turned out to be amazingly prescient, so perhaps we should listen to him. And what would that crazy doomster have to say now? I would venture to guess that it would be something along these lines:

    There is no reason to think that those who failed to take corrective action up until now, but remain in control, will ever do so. But it should be perfectly obvious that this situation cannot continue ad infinitum. And, as a matter of general principle, things that can’t go on forever—don’t.

    Back to the question of stupidity: Why are we (as a country) being so fucking stupid? This question has puzzled me for some time. It appears that the problem of stupidity is quite pervasive: look at any large human organization, and you will find that it is ruled by stupidity.
    [more, much more…]

    1. reslez

      > ten years later America would be running $1.5 trillion annual deficits

      You say that like it’s a bad thing. I agree about the wars, but a country that runs an external trade deficit needs to run a budget deficit. Otherwise the private sector is going to be up to its ears in debt and the economy will collapse. (Oh, wait… ) This is why a lot of Club Orlov is useless.

      > blah blah unfunded liabilities

      It’s impossible to save present day resources to pay for future needs. It’s like you think we need to stockpile doctors and medicine for when they’re needed 50 years from now. Obviously that won’t work. It’s equally ludicrous to imagine that storing numbers in an electronic account somewhere is going to be any more useful. The best way we can prepare for the health care needs of tomorrow is to ensure we have a high functioning economy today, with prosperous and educated workers well able to care for their elders (as people have done since time immemorial). Sadly, that will require giving a little less welfare to billionaires.

    2. different clue

      People keep disunderstanding and disinterpreting What’s The Matter With Kansas. Those people didn’t start voting “against their economic interests” until the Democratic Party adopted Republican economic policies, most especially Free Trade. The Clintonites showed working class voters that there was NO party representing working class interests anymore; and since cultural conservative workers had no economic reason left to vote for these new Democrats who betrayed every working class interest there is, these working class voters switched support to the Republican party which at least pretended to honor and respect their cultural beliefs and standards. Tom Franks is telling us that Clintocratic betrayal and Clintocratic anti-workeritic aggression is what’s “the matter with Kansas.”

  6. Garrett Pace

    Shale article was interesting, but the comparison to subprime mortgages doesn’t seem sensible. For housing, you owned a static and rapidly depreciating asset, while in the other scenario you own OIL, which has neither problem.

    If you estimate continuing increase in fossil fuel demand, and rising prices (eventually), then of course the rights and properties will be worth more than current operations.

    1. reslez

      They don’t own oil. They own wells which produce much less oil than the estimate which backs the loan they took out. The situations are extremely similar.

  7. barrisj

    CNBC doing a massive collective wank-off over BABA…Jack Ma sez, “there’s one born every minute”, and all is right on “The Street”.

    1. trinity river

      I have noticed that in most organizations, the people who have the greatest urge to have control over others are the ones who get to the top first. So, this describes those on wall street too. The issue for me is what determines whether one uses physical force vs psychological manipulations vs economic force.

      1. Eclair

        This describes Wall Street, this describes corporations, this is now describing certain areas of our government, trinity river. The notion of ‘hierarchy’, of their being a ‘top’ to which those who have the overwhelming urge to be ‘in control’, can lust after, is a feature of our System, call it Capitalism, call it Patriarchy, call it Oligarchy or Totalitarianism. It provides huge rewards for the psychopaths and sociopaths who can claw themselves to that pinnacle.

        Perhaps you could simply look at the various forms of violence – physical, emotional, psychological, economic, as being the ‘weapons’ in the quiver of the psychopaths and sociopaths who run the System. Some people become compliant with a couples of punches to the stomach, others after a prolonged campaign of emotional abuse. Others can tolerate physical pain but must be pacified by the economic pain of losing their jobs. One just choses the appropriate weapon to achieve maximum results.

          1. Eclair

            Do you mean ‘people who inflict emotional violence on others?’ Or, people who experience violent emotions?

            As a small, older, relatively physically weak female, I am certainly all in favor of physical non-violence. At least, when I’m dealing with people who are bigger and/or more heavily armed than I am.

            Now, if I were a psychopath, with my same body, I could certainly see myself picking only those who were smaller and physically weaker than myself to beat up on. Small children, for example. If I, as a psychopath, wanted to dominate someone who was physically larger and stronger, I might chose emotional/psychological violence. But, no matter what my size, if I had huge financial resources, I would chose economic means of domination. Less messy than physical violence and actually legal. Or, if not currently legal, I could buy the legislators to make the laws that made it legal.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Mostly the former but some of the latter as well, as negative energy from people experience violent emotions can impact others.

              My cat can sense when I am sad, for example.

              As you went on to comment, the important thing is to recognize violence is not just physical, so, economic sanctions, for example, can kill (the young, the weak, the sick, etc) as well.

            2. cnchal

              At least, when I’m dealing with people who are bigger and/or more heavily armed than I am.

              Where do you live, so i can steer clear of your neighborhood?

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Some countries, those under occupation, for example, suffer more from foreign abuse than domestic abuse.

    3. Katniss Everdeen

      “If there’s any job that domestic abuse should disqualify a person from holding, isn’t it the one job that gives you a lethal weapon, trains you to stalk people without their noticing, and relies on your judgment and discretion to protect the abused against domestic abusers?”


      Forget solutions, this problem demands low-hanging fruit, and Ray Rice and he NFL have apparently been chosen. (Not unlike Lynndie England and Charles Granier at Abu Ghraib.)

      1. Eclair

        Yeah, Katniss, the NFL are the low hanging fruit. We don’t want to disturb the System that works so well for so few. And, you gotta admit, it’s much more fun (and safer) to shake the finger at millionaire sports figures than at the relatively low-paid people who can have a SWAT team battering down your door, throwing you to the ground, and yelling “Spread your legs, F**ker!” faster than you can dial ‘911.’

        Welcome back, BTW :-)

  8. thump

    With regard to “Piketty’s Missing Rentiers,” Frankel cites what I have seen others do, namely that “today’s rich work.” That is, we have dominance by people with huge corporate incomes, not interest from huge estates. But many (I recall only Joe Stiglitz and Dean Baker right now) have said that a lot of the US economy is based on extraction of rents in the more general sense, e.g., though market share power or by simply looting the companies the well-paid executives control. Has anyone tried to refute the counter-Piketty “today’s rich work” meme through a quantitative comparison between these sorts of rent extraction and the more traditional kind?

    1. reslez

      Such an analysis would be revealing, but I think it’s more on the point to say that “today’s rich work” very hard at committing fraud and bribing public officials. I mean, I don’t dispute their diligence (at committing evil) or effectiveness (trillions in bailouts). I just object to the rigged rules, unprosecuted crimes, sociopathic justifications, and immoral outcomes. As for the “disruptors” and “innovators” they mostly seem to be capturing value stolen from workers by arbitraging labor regulations (employee vs contract) and fleecing investors. Yet to say someone “works” is to impute some sort of Calvinist glow to them, as though there were not also evil work to be done.

      1. skippy

        reslez… if I may offer… its not the bail[p]uts that are so egregious, but, whomever took the principle write downs and whomever did not imo…

  9. john c. halasz

    The Jeffery Frankel article is itself bizarre. Why is it that economists are so frequently functional illiterates and have no idea how to read outside their own narrow blinkered framework?

    1. ex-PFC Chuck

      I haven’t read the link yet but your comment reminds me that sometime during the past week I read of a Brit remarking about an acquaintance’s recently acquired economics degree that it was a nine thousand pound lobotomy.

  10. Luke The Debtor

    Referring fracking as a ponzi scheme implies intent to commit fraud. There have been some very successful horizontal programs (Barnett, Bakken, Eagle Ford). They aren’t all winners. There is no magic rule or formulae to apply to every field to determine its success factor.

    No one has had an Enron moment. Not even EOG, which is going very strong.

    1. hunkerdown

      Evolution… “The libertarian ideals behind Silk Road were about giving everyone free choice. Now it’s gone past drugs to fraud. It’s just about making money.”

      It, dark marketplaces, or it, libertarian ideals?

    2. bob

      Successful on what time frame? And what does successful mean? Profitable? For whom?

      How much are they leaving behind in legacy costs and lost property values associated with deliberately polluting fresh water, then shoving it underground?

      You need a much longer time frame. Algos and day trading not allowed or viable.

      Magic rule number one- access to free water. Without that, they can’t even make the ponzi argument.

      1. cnchal

        How much are they leaving behind in legacy costs and lost property values associated with deliberately polluting fresh water, then shoving it underground?

        Totally agree. The true cost will never be known, and never show up on a fracker’s expense statement.
        The commercials that claim the safety of fracking, because they put “steel pipe in the ground” are not comforting. Steel rusts, and there will be a price paid. Just not by frackers.

  11. optimader

    Who has who over the barrel?
    September 19, 2014
    (Bloomberg) — Pabst Brewing Co., the 170-year-old American brewer founded in Milwaukee and once based in the Chicago area, is being sold to Russian drinks company Oasis Beverages.

    Private-equity firm TSG Consumer Partners LLC will acquire a minority stake in Pabst as part of the transaction, the companies said yesterday in a statement. While the deal’s terms weren’t officially disclosed, the sale price was between $700 million and $750 million, according to a person familiar with the situation.

    Pabst, which also brews Schlitz and Old Style beers, was acquired by Metropoulos & Co. four years ago for about $250 million. Metropoulos moved the company’s headquarters from the Chicago suburb of Woodridge to Los Angeles in 2011.

      1. optimader

        Exxxcellent choice for fall afternoon beverage on the patio tomorrow. I’ll be watching some Italian friends in Chicago make their annual batch of wine in the morning

  12. fresnodan

    Does Abenomics Work? – The Doubts Grow Edward Hugh
    Something odd is going on with Japan’s labour market. Unemployment is at 3.7 per cent. Recently, it has been as low as 3.5 per cent, considered by some economists to be pretty much full employment……. You would have thought that wage inflation would be going crazy as a result. Unfortunately for Japan, you would be wrong. The government has badgered companies, which are making record profits, to share the love. Some have responded with modest wage increases, but not enough to keep pace with prices, which are rising thanks to monetary stimulus and a 3 percentage-point increase in sales tax……

    Japanese wages do not seem to be responding to normal market pressures. Why not? The conundrum has its roots in the altered structure of the labour market. Contrary to common perception, Japan has an exceptionally flexible workforce. Outside the ranks of the protected “job-for-lifers” – a much rarer breed these days – nearly 40 per cent of workers are about as flexible as you get. They work in poorly paid jobs for hourly rates. Benefits are all but non-existent.

    The labor market…..I used to believe in markets, but not so much anymore.
    I was in a restaurant, and the waiter was talking with a friend about an “additional” job he was trying to get at the “Old Spaghettis Factory” – he was saying that the restaurant ‘had’ a position for him that would be ready in…..4 to 8 weeks. THIS WAS A PART TIME POSITION. He and his friend commiserated, but he felt “lucky” that he had this part time job at this restaurant to try and get by….I wonder if he has health insurance…
    There is no wage pressure up, only DOWN.

  13. Winston–finance.html
    US wealth gap putting the squeeze on state revenue
    Here’s How Unfair The Tax System Is In Each State
    An Investment Manager’s View on the Top 1%
    An Investment Manager’s 2014 Update on the Top 1%

  14. jrs

    So who has caught some of that Ken Burns Roosevelt’s stuff? Seems a very schoolbook textbook conventional (yes I find it propagandist) telling. It’s your old high school textbook dramatized. I know how shocking, it’s not revisionist history on corporate supported television (and viewers like you!). But instead the commentators we must take most seriously are George Will and Goodwin Kerne Johnson (wait that pair of hacks? Isn’t one effect of this documentary just to legitimize their hackery?).

    It’s about World War II this time, which afterall seems the fountainhead of and reoccuring leitmotif of ALL American propaganda, and so you kind of have to do it very unconventionally for that story not to have the ring of propaganda, and unconventional does not seem Ken Burn’s style. Issues are mentioned but barely in passing (immigration restrictions on Jews,etc.) at least they mostly admit FDR knew about Pearl Harbor ahead of time (like W about 911? Maybe he took lessons? the second time as complete farce of course, if it wasn’t so tragic). So this episode seemed very much in the fabric of American propaganda, a retreat into the mythical past, which is the perfect propaganda for the really screwed up present. The past was screwed up in it’s way, but this is not the real but the mythical past where all the messy details of war for example, are glossed over. Sigh, my fellow citizens getting a booster shot of propaganda (like tetanus shots, it may wear off after 10 years out of school!)

    But I saw the pictures of the factories in the documentary, cranking about massive planes, one every 60 minutes (don’t quote me) and I thought: maybe it REALLY IS all about war. I mean maybe the whole carbon economy really is about war. I mean sure it produces lots of wasteful consumer doodads, a new ipad every few years, planned obsolescence, marketing, consumer capitalism. But how could one produce a plane every 60 second without a carbon based economy? And maybe it’s those planes that are the real priority of clinging to a carbon based economy.

  15. JohnB

    If you look carefully at the antidote picture, you can see in the background that it is probably a camera flash in the dark, that is scaring the living crap out of the cat – if the owner did that deliberately, then (in my view) that’d be a form of animal cruelty (I only know this, because I stumbled upon a site full of pictures where owners deliberately did that, to create ‘funny’ pictures, years back).

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