Links 4/3/15

Apologies for thin links today. I needed to turn in hours ago.

Overpopulation, overconsumption – in pictures Guardian

Google faces lawsuit concerning Google Wallet privacy Thai Visa (furzy mouse)

Looming China bond defaults test Beijing Financial Times

Michel Barnier: “Europeans have paid 13% of their GDP to save the banks” Le nouvel economiste (Swedish Lex)


Greek Alternate FinMin: If creditor talks collapse, other solutions can be found ekathimerini

Barroso says ‘Grexit’ would threaten euro The Times

A parallel currency for Greece? The comments to the Andresen and Parenteau post. Real World Economics

Dijsselbloem says ‘still long way’ to go on Greek proposals Ekathimerini


Iran nuclear talks: Obama hails ‘historic’ agreement BBC

Iran agrees tentatively to massive cuts in nuclear capabilities; experts surprised McClatchy

Al-Shabab attacks Kenyan university, killing at least 147 Washington Post

Indiana ‘Anti-Gay Law’: Firms Criticizing Pence Funded Him As He Fought LGBT Rights International Business Times (Chuck L)

Shockingly Bad Fiscal Health of Chicago (and the Financial Engineering Chicago Uses to Hide that Fact) Michael Shedlock (EM)

HSBC is ‘cast-iron certain’ to breach banking rules again, executive admits Guardian

Thrown Under the Bus: Another Look at the Self-Serving Launch of Ben Bernanke’s Blog and the Brookings Institute’s Pandering Role Michael Shedlock

Class Warfare

Student Loan Victims Pay the Price of DOE Inaction Huffington Post (Chuck L)

Fed’s Yellen says research needed to understand inequality issue – Reuters. Bill C: “Such a perplexing complex issue! More study!!! LOLz”

Antidote du jour:


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. rjs

    this is paywalled on a industry site & doesnt seem to be elsewhere:
    Senate Finance Committee Aims For TPA Mark-Up During Week Of April 20 

    The Senate Finance Committee has set April 21 as a target date for marking up a bill to renew Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), also called “fast track,” an action that is expected to be preceded by the introduction of the legislation and a Finance Committee hearing just a week beforehand, according to informed sources.

    1. Vatch

      Here is a list of the members of the Senate Finance Committee:

      Here’s the contact information for all Senators:

      Here’s the contact information for the leaders of the committee:

      Check our frequently asked questions for the answer to your question. To send other questions, comments, or concerns to members of the Senate Finance Committee or staff, please call (202-224-4515), fax (202-228-0554) or write to:

      The Honorable Orrin G. Hatch
      Committee on Finance
      United States Senate
      219 Dirksen Senate Office Building
      Washington, D.C. 20510

      The Honorable Ron Wyden
      Ranking Member
      Committee on Finance
      United States Senate
      219 Dirksen Senate Office Building
      Washington, D.C. 20510

      Note: Due to security precautions taken by the U.S. Senate, outside mail is delayed 7-10 days; therefore, whenever possible, you may also consider faxing your letter(s) to 202-228-0554.

  2. Ned Ludd

    Iceland looks at ending boom and bust with radical money plan

    According to a study by four central bankers, the country has had “over 20 instances of financial crises of different types” since 1875, with “six serious multiple financial crisis episodes occurring every 15 years on average”.

    Mr Sigurjonsson said the problem each time arose from ballooning credit during a strong economic cycle.

    1. Oakchair

      The argument for the central banking controlling credit, etc is that its mandate is to ensure steady economic growth not short term profits. The central bank having more power vrs. private banks would allow interest rates to stay low and also allow the central bank to reject credit for certain sectors (or to mandate that loans for those sectors required more upfront money etc.) that it views as in speculative bubbles.

      1. sd

        More info:
        There is a bit of tension between the two ruling coalition parties at the moment. The finance minister Bjarni Ben is from one party while the report author, Frosti is from the other coalition party.

        The collapse in Iceland was the largely the result of privatization and deregulation from David Oddssons days, large unsecured loans to members of icelands prominent families many of whom have lovely digs in London’s most expensive neighborhood, accompanied by easy credit to ordinary Icelanders to mask the looting.

        Wiki leaks exposed the entire loan book of one bank which is why Wikileaks has a history of ties in Iceland. The pots and pans revolution was about ordinary Icelanders who didn’t want to foot the bill for the wealthy’s games.

        Today, the left wing Pirate Party is rapidly growing in strength as services continue to decline for ordinary Icelanders which is a huge threat to the two ruling legacy parties.

        Just some things to keep in mind when reading the Telegraph article (which, is of course, published out of London, so you have to wonder who talked to whom and got the Telegraph to publish the story….)

  3. jgordon

    This week’s Archdruid Report was brilliant; I was disappointed to not see it show up in links.

    Atlantis Won’t Sink, Experts Agree

    Tarc Omed looked weary again, and leaned back in his great chair of gold and ivory. “We have to be realistic,” he said. “Right now, Atlantean society depends on human sacrifice, and transitioning away from that isn’t something we can do overnight. We need to get those more sustainable forms of worship up and running first, and that can’t be done without negotiated compromises and the support of as many stakeholders as possible. Alarmism doesn’t further that.”

    1. vidimi

      fun read for sure. alas, archaeological evidence points to the minoans having predicted the disaster and evacuated thera prior to the eruption as hardly any bodies were found in the ash. they were an amazing civilisation, though: we are no minoans.

      1. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

        They were smarter than the people at Pompeii, who like us, just kept on partying, apparently.
        Also, there actually was a large island around 10,000 years ago (before the last big glacial meltdown) where the Azores are now (they’re the last bits sticking up out of the ocean) and if they were inhabited (there’s more than a little evidence to suggest they were) then there’s your real Atlantis right there, minus the crystal healing and flying saucers.

        1. bruno marr

          The end of the last ice age was 18,000 YA. The oceans have been rising episodically ever since. The Channel Islands off the coast of SoCal were a mere 11 miles from the coast about 8,000 YA, but after an ocean rise of some 300′ are now ~30 miles from the coast. An ocean rise of 300′ would easily “disappear” any low lying Atlantis.

  4. Steve H.

    人間国宝 need their sleep:

    Lack of Sleep Promotes Alzheimer’s by Preventing Critical Detoxification

    1. Foppe

      Mercola tends to overly rely on single studies, and enjoys selling fud. I wouldn’t use them as a source for anything, tbh.

  5. Jim Haygood

    The Economist on Microsoft:

    [New apps] are unlikely to be as much of a cash cow as Windows and Office, which still generate 44% of revenues and 58% of profits.

    Meanwhile, the weekly sales brochure from Micro Center still features tons of new and refurbed PCs with Windows 7, MSFT’s last generation operating system. And Win 8 has been out for how long now?

    ‘Agile’ does not describe Microsoft. Neither does ‘customer focused.’

    p.s. I hate Word.

    1. Ned Ludd

      I used to use Ami Pro, in the days before Lotus bought & ruined it. It was easier to use than Word, more powerful, and had less quirky behavior with page breaks and page layout. Unfortunately, it did not have Microsoft’s marketing budget behind it.

      1. diptherio

        Libre Office suite. I really don’t know why anyone still uses MS Office when there is a superior, free, alternative readily available.

          1. lord koos

            Thanks for that, I’ve been using Open Office but this looks like it could be better.

            1. diptherio

              Libre is the standard office suite installed with the Ubuntu OS. I love it. I’ve even had good luck saving in MS formats and having others be able to actually open them in Word, which was always a problem with Open Office.

              1. Propertius

                I’ve been using Libre/Open/StarOffice/StarWriter since it was,first ported to Linux (mid-1990s). Unfortunately, its handling of bulleted/list items and other tricky formatting in Word documents continues to be inconsistent with Word itself – which can cause some issues if you’re forced to collaborate with those clueless enough to continue to use Microsoft products.

  6. Jim Haygood

    U rate 5.5%, 126,000 jobs added.

    Interesting twist is hourly wages up 2.1% in past 12 months, with past 12 months inflation at zero.

    Peeps getting higher real wages? Who ever heard of such a thing.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Where did this seemingly good news get extracted from? The links would be interesting to a lot of people. I see the 2.1% number widely reported but not very referentially supported. As to inflation, what index? Milk is up, bread is up, pork products are up. Cat food is flat, I guess that’s a good thing. As for U,, ?

      And I’ve heard of a lot of peeps getting higher pay, if not wages — they mostly inhabit the “C” suites. My wages as a nurse have been flat for over 4 years and practically flat before that, while my actual living is quite affected by the real inflation in necessities of life. But that’s just an anecdote, of course.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      A title from Marketwatch yesterday: Nothing will get Fed hiking faster than pickup in wages

      There is you “War On Raising Wages.”

      Food, energy, billionaire’s portfolios, Malibu real estate, bond values —- They are A-Okay to pick up.

  7. Paul Tioxon

    Without deep voiced Hollywood announcers as the dramatic backdrop to job actions that go on daily throughout the nation by fast food workers striking, Wal-Mart workers demonstrating, dock workers slow downs, teachers in the street in Philly and Chicago, airport workers, and numerous municipal and state governments either proposing or passing increases in the minimum wage, it can be hard to believe wages are inching up.


    Fight for $15

    On April 14, we’re holding the BIGGEST rally in history to support $15 an hour and a union. Believe me, you want to be there.

    We’re standing together on April 14 to scream, “Enough!” All of us: fast food cashiers and cooks, home care and childcare providers, college and university faculty, retail employees, airport workers, and anyone else struggling to get by regardless of industry or location.

    Non stop pressure, not settling for $9 or $10 from WalMart or MickeyDs, what do they want, MORE! When do the want it, NOW!!

  8. JCC

    Not being able to read and understand the French Language I’m not able to comment directly on the “Europeans have paid 13%…” article, but out of curiosity, if the US Govt’s budget has increased by around $8T since the last blowup and we’ve given the Banking Industry approx $7T in bailouts and guarantees, where does that leave us, percentage-wise?

  9. Cheezyhead

    Michael Shedlock’s solution to the Chicago financial problems? 1. Eliminate collective bargaining. 2. Right to work legislation. 3. Get rid of prevailing wage. Yup, it’s all because of those lazy workers. It’s ALL their fault that banksters came in and sold those swaps, bonds and whatever to Chicago.

    Here is a direct link to the article that he reproduces in the post.

    I think the original author, Kristi Culpepper deserves the traffic

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      1. They are lazy workers.

      2. (actually this is also 1, basically the same claim) – workers must be incentivized. They can’t be given free money. And after the bankers have feasted on excessive money or credit creation, to combat inflation, let’s tax He-can-eat-or-take-anything-Mikey, sorry, workers. (Really, no penalty for the banksters?)

      1. JTFaraday

        “workers must be incentivized”

        Nothing wrong with incentivizing workers!

        Any day now…

    2. norm de plume

      Mish’s anti-labour animus really is something to behold. A little further on he also suggests:

      1 End defined benefit pension plans
      2 Allow municipalities to set their own benefits (benefits are now set at the state level as if the state knows what’s best for every municipality)

      To be fair he doesn’t just blame workers for the crisis, giving the bankers and government stick on a regular basis as well, but he is unable to see workers as victims of what has occurred and wastes no opportunity to trumpet examples of the minutiae of union greed or malfeasance without a leavening awareness of the vast unjustness of the lot of the exploited American worker for at least the last generation. Plus he seems to have no feeling at all for the notion that money in the hands of the 99% helps drive aggregate demand and so is ultimately healthy. The Protestant, Austrian, union-hating ‘no free lunch’ mentality, disallows that sort of thinking. But it does loves a race to the bottom for those at the sharp end of capital.

      I wonder what he thinks of ideas like MMT or Steve Keen’s debt jubilee. And his reaction to Frosti Sigurdsson’s ideas would I’m sure be worth bottling.

      1. andyb

        The problem with your comments is that hard working non-union workers have to pay for some of the most outlandish pension giveaways through higher local and municipal taxes. In my town, police, firefighter, and EMT personnel can retire at 45, and receive benefits equal to $80k/year (CPI adjusted) for the rest of their lives, while the rest of us live in poverty on SS and savings which, thanks to the criminal FED, produce negative returns when accounting for inflation

        1. bob

          The problem with your “analysis” is jealousy. Instead of (honestly) demanding more for yourself, you set up strawmen and demand that “they” get less– much to the delight of “those” who are really in control.

          The only way to equality is down?

  10. Vatch

    Thanks for the article with pictures “Overpopulation, overconsumption – in pictures Guardian”. A good picture really is worth a thousand words. I’m also grateful that the author combines both overpopulation and overconsumption in the same article; too often people will a claim that one but not the other is the real problem. People on both sides make this mistake. Both are severe problems which must be solved if our descendants are to have a decent future.

    1. Llewelyn Moss

      Yes, that’s an eye opener. IMO, Over-Population is the over arching issue causing the extreme severity of the rest of our planet destruction problems. And when is the last time you heard it mentioned in MSM. Hint: Correct answer is Almost Never.

      1. fresno dan

        When I was young (no, not 1850 but 1970) the population was about half of what it is now. It doesn’t rain twice as much (if anything, one could make a pretty good argument that it rains HALF as much).

        The biggest obstacle is just an obstinate refusal to accept that WATER is a limited resource.
        It seems to be a problem aided and abetted by economics, techno lust, and the incentives of politics to promise more, more, always more.

        You can’t fix the problem with more dams (to dam what??? There is no snow to turn into melt water). And that the lack of water means you can’t plant more vineyards, and orchards, and everything else.

        Until no more water can be sucked out of the aquifer, you have a stubborn refusal to accept you can’t have everything you want.

        “Some of the largest water-guzzling communities are in the Southern California desert. Palm Springs, for instance, averaged 347 gallons.”

        1. evodevo

          We used to grow our fruits and veggies in the eastern half of the country (Hey! they used to call NEW JERSEY the truck garden state) …. and we ate seasonally, not year-round. I think that’s what we’ll be forced to return to in the near future. That is, if global warming doesn’t turn the Midwest into a desert and the South into the tropics…..

        2. Ivy

          While consumers have a role to play in water use reduction, there won’t be material long-term change without revising the agriculture sector water use. That will require a lot of spade work to dig into the sources and uses. More market-related pricing would help, but Governor Brown hasn’t taken on the tough issues yet.

          1. Foppe

            Off the top of my head, Animal again uses 55% of all water used in the US, whereas residential use adds up to a measly five percent. (the production of one pound of dead cow involves something like 25k liters of water.) Given that the consumption of animal products is at best wholly unnecessary from a nutritional perspective, the switch to a plant based diet would save a whole lot more fresh water than showering less ever could… The more important question is why the government isn’t pointing this out to people.

            1. Foppe

              (By contrast, the production of 1 pound of grain protein (for whatever reason, the unit of measurement is always protein ; fibre etc. are always ignored, even though they’re just as relevant nutritionally as protein is) requires only about 1kliter water, and 80% of all corn and 30% of grain produced in the US is currently used as fodder rather than for human consumption, so it is not like there is a shortage of land that could be used for the production of human food crops.)

        3. bruno marr

          The population of California has grown from 8M when I was born to 36M today. And I certainly notice the difference. My grandfather’s dry land ranch in Sonoma is now a grape vineyard. ALL the “freeways” are packed ALL the time.

          As for water in California, agriculture uses 80% of it, homeowners about 11% (half of that is used on landscapes). Agriculture in California feeds a huge portion of the nation and is the largest economic element in the state. The mandated 25% reduction in city water usage is aimed at getting folks to stop watering lawns with potable (treated) water that is better served for drinking, bathing, etc. However, as pointed out, 36 million people drinking and bathing use much more water than 8 million people drinking and bathing.

          As for Palm Springs, the Coachella Valley sits on a humongous acquifer and all those golf courses are included in the usage stats.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Interesting…a humongous aquifer.

            It’s their water and their decision to make to use that water for keeping golf courses green.

            Sure can use their help though.

      1. different clue

        How much of that growth of Mexico City’s population is due to NAFTA destroying the farm livelihoods of several million small-farm farm families all over Mexico? How much of MC’s population was simply lateral transfer into the city from off of the land . . . . as against actual reproduction by the people already in the city?

        1. ambrit

          A good observation. Besides being Americas ‘Hollowing Out’ mechanism, NAFTA is also Mexico’s ‘Enclosure Movement.’ As for basic population growth, I believe that urbanized populations generally stabilize at lower birthrates. (Many rural peasant cultures view children essentially as extra ‘work units’ for tilling the land. Read any unromanticized version of the Brothers Grimm stories for examples.)

  11. Jackrabbit

    Iran: Deal or no deal?

    From the document entitled “Parameters for a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action”:

    “Important implementation details are still subject to negotiation, and nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.”

    This is only a framework for possibly reaching a deal. Whether a deal is actually reached or not, Obama gets to bank a political and propaganda victory. That is why it is being hailed as a peace agreement by MSM.

    In the vein of ‘you-can-not-be-too-cynical’, I’d guess that the “deadline” for this deal gets extended again as negotiating the details will take longer than expected (as has been the case with all Iran negotiations). Neither side to be blamed for ending these talks.

    We’ve seen political finessing and faux landmark agreements from the Obama Administration before. They have been masterful at the Big Lie that leaves the ‘details’ for later.

    “Change You Can Believe In”
    A ‘deal’ with the American people that Obama later backtracked on due to implementation ‘details’. So no closing of Guantanamo. We are still in Afghanistan. We still support (proxy) wars that don’t make us safer. NSA spying is greater than ever. Executive signing statements continue. There has been no closing of the ‘carried interest’ tax give-away. The Administration is anything but transparent, etc.

    Whose details were left for later negotiation – to the detriment of prudent regulation. Now there is concern about the possibility of another ‘Lehman moment’.

    Fiscal Cliff
    Which left negotiations on cut-backs for a later time – ultimately leading to the sequester which cut social spend as much as it did a bloated defense budget (which needed to be cut after the Iraq War, anyway)

    One might also add TPP (corporate takeover sold as a trade agreement) and even “Minsk 2.0” (though the US was not directly involved) which is now in doubt as the US is set to arm Ukraine. No doubt NC readers could add other examples.

    H O P

    1. Jackrabbit

      Its also important to appreciate the arm-twisting that it took just to get to this point. From US naval exercises in the Gulf, to US ‘help’ against ISIS (the effectiveness of US action is questionable, and the goals debatable), to Netanyahu/Congressional belligerence – signalling a hardening of policy if there is no progress.

    2. Working Class Nero

      As you will recall I have been calling this for some time.

      But nothing is signed yet so we have to keep in mind Harvey Keitel’s admonition in Pulp Fiction abour premature celebrations:

      No need to get too worried; it’s not like peace is about to break out everywhere and we will all live as one happy shining world. No, in order to understand what is happening you need to became aware of the old real estate concept called “churn” and then simply apply it to foreign policy.

      Churn in housing is when real estate interests push neighborhoods from white to black and then gentrified back to white, with perhaps some Mexican immigrants displacing hard to move blacks on occasion. The real estate interests profit all the way across the entire process.

      In foreign policy it is backing Iran, then fighting Iran, then backing Iran and perhaps turning against some Sunni elements. Or by backing the Baathists, then imposing regime change on them, and then eventually bringing a new generation of them back. New enemies are constantly needed in order to justify new weapons system and new foreign adventures.

      The key concept is that stability is to be avoided at all costs.

      One has to assume that Israel is doing on this Iran deal what the Republicans did on ObamaCare. That is the secretly support it but publicly they have to be seen as irrationally against it in order to get it passed.

      If the deal is signed in June one would expect the ISIS to be history by Christmas and for Bashar Assad to keep power in Syria. I would not be surprised to see an invasion of Saudi Arabia rolled out as new product in say spring of 2018…

    1. fresno dan

      “Mortgage servicers were supposed to have stopped robo-signing foreclosure documents when state and federal authorities cracked down on the practice years ago, but it seems some have not learned their lesson.”

      Ohhhh!!!! They were SUPPOSE to have stopped!!!!

      “The case in which the settlement was entered is a good illustration. The homeowners in the case received a large bill increase. They didn’t know why and they asked Chase, which couldn’t explain why. They tried to go back in court and we asked to have Chase produce the person who signed the notice, and Chase couldn’t produce such a person because the person didn’t exist at the bank. Payment change notices should be signed properly by a person who can then be accountable.”

      Gee, call me naive, but I would have thought that legal documents signed by people who don’t exist is…oh, what is the word???? Oh yeah, FORGERY. And that is has been against the law for decades if not centuries.

      “Why, from your standpoint, have servicers not fixed the problems?
      It’s hard to generalize, and I’m not going to speak to any (specific) servicer. It appears there remains a problem with regard to taking the regular servicing platforms and applying them to default services in bankruptcy, which does have different rules.”

      Laws not enforced are laws that are ignored. Funny how important making sure “loosies” laws are enforced to every nit and jottle, but millions of cases of forgery, affecting billions of dollars of transactions, can be rationalized away. Whats the saying??? When you owe the bank 6,000$ you have a big problem, when the bank owes the country 6 trillion dollars, it has the FED/US Treasury.

      1. susan the other

        “the problem” isn’t a little lack of translation between lenders and servicers. It is a giant vacuum of actual documents, commonly known as contracts… you know, the legal stuff.

      2. GuyFawkesLives

        The USA continues its lawlessness……without prosecutions of the largest financial crime spree ever, why would any businessman follow and obey our laws? Because of honor? Ethics? Pshaw.

        If businessmen can make more money breaking our laws, and our DOJ doesn’t uphold our laws, we are looking at more massive crime sprees occurring.

        Welcome to the new Wild West where anything goes.

  12. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Chicago…Financial Engineering…Hide

    Finance – that sounds like some intellectual college thing to do.

    Engineering – again, some intellectual college thing to do.

    Now, there was something about abstraction and intelligence here not too long ago. Now, in Chicago, we have abstraction upon abstraction – I think you can sense the distancing from reality…because that’s what abstraction does, abstracting…leaving things behind.

    The end result is to be expected – not really hiding, per se, but away from the what you want to see or observe in the first place, which is already hard enough, because seeing – or observing, in physics terms – the very act itself, is distorting, without adding layers and layers of abstraction.

  13. DJG

    Shedlock on Chicago’s fiscal disaster. The diagnosis is correct, but the political plan listed at the bottom of the posting is pure Shock Doctrine. Chicago has fiscal problems, so the solution is reduction to the third-world plantation economies–by means of right-to-work laws, defunding of defined-benefit pensions, and so on. And this is the “creative destruction” of capitalist thinking? Or is Shedlock just malign and greedy?

    1. NOTaREALmerican

      Shedlock is a libertarian, he lives in a fantasy world where normal humans don’t exist. Exactly the same as “Conservative” and “Liberals” (and, of course “Progressives” and neo-something-or-others).

      The only real-world (aka human) “political solution” is one where the self-serving confident extroverts screw the dumbasses.

    2. Brian

      He is not in favor of workers or their rights and has said things to get himself enshrined in the 1% without understanding he isn’t welcome.

    3. vidimi

      shedlock is a true believer: i don’t think he’s malicious, just brainwashed.

      the same is true of most right wingers not in the 1%: they’re mostly just ignorant. if you can find a way to reach them through the wall of fear, bigotry, laziness, mistrust, cognitive dissonance they have constructed, you will have found the early stages of a solution.

    4. OIFVet

      People like Mish will never learn, despite the fact that shock doctrine never did anything other than impoverish the masses and further enrich the elites. He probably thinks that the Baltics are a great success story despite their decimated populations.

  14. linda amick

    I hate the whole “overpopulation” meme. Due to a growing population plus societal training we do have an overpopulation of predators, however, if we found ourselves in a hospitality economic systems where the greatest rewards were to the most generous people, we could support several more billion folks.

    1. NOTaREALmerican

      Re: however, if we found ourselves in a hospitality economic systems

      Sounds wonderful. But, isn’t that what the socialist (“liberal”, “Progressive”) fantasy is all about? The nice people somehow wrestling permanent control of society from the higher-evolved assholes who have been winning for the last 500,000+ years?

      1. fresno dan

        Not to mention that keeping a campaign promise like “passing financial reform” does not mean what most people think it means, and pretty much means the exact opposite (e.g., “free” trade reform).

        We had plenty of laws to prosecute bankers – what we didn’t have was the will (let me amend that – “we” had the will, the “choice” we had was one from column a – tax cuts cause high taxes cause fraud — OR, one from column b – we have to pass different laws because somehow, those bankers are SO goshdarn clever, they somehow managed to forge millions of documents and somehow we just can’t prove it.

      2. Invient

        Capitalism has been around for 400 years. Authoritarians, though have been around since we became “wise.” Although, I think the naming of our species is off, we should be homo callidus… a wise species would be able to address millennial problems let alone century ones (climate change).

        Liberals and progressives fight to keep capitalism from destroying itself. They want to institute welfare programs which tame the revolutionary potential of the proletariate, or keep the same production arrangement (i.e. higher wages, which will then be inflated away as has been done since the 70’s as the min-wage has decreased in purchasing power by 2/3).

        I think the proletariate has been through enough long-waves in capitalist production to realize any benefit capitulated by the political process will be rolled back eventually. That the only way to make long lasting change, is by changing the nature of economic relations. Worker democracies will take over, either peacefully like the co-ops in the rust belt, or through revolutionary actions within current workplaces.

        These highly-evolved assholes are nothing but yeast in a bottle, beholden to historical momentum. We have to be the force that pushes back.

    2. Vatch

      How are we going to support billions more people?

      Here’s a link that I posted a few months ago, but it’s worth looking at the graphics again. You’ll have to scroll down a bit, I’m afraid. If everyone on Earth lived like the average person in China, we’d need 1.1 Earths to sustain ourselves. If everyone on Earth lived like the average person in Costa Rica, 1.4 Earths would be needed. Like France? 2.5 Earths!

      The Big Squeeze

      I guess if we’re all willing to live like the average person in Bangladesh or India, we could support more people. How many of us are willing to do that? Half the people in India are so poor that they lack toilets!

      I own a refrigerator and some other appliances. I do not live a luxurious life, but if we’re required to live like people in Bangladesh, so that our world can support more people, we’re going to have to give up luxuries like refrigerators, washing machines, water heaters, and televisions.

      1. craazyboy

        Except that I don’t think refrigerators are luxuries. In fact, if we wished to quickly eliminate 1/3 of the earth’s population, eliminating refrigeration would probably do it.

        Like many people in the developed world, I’ve also grown fond of toilets.

        1. Vatch

          “Fridges are transforming women’s lives in India and other emerging markets, just as they did in developed countries decades ago. They are next on families’ wishlists after mobile phones and televisions, usually becoming affordable when household incomes pass around $3,000 a year.”

          “Nearly half the world’s population, 2.8 billion people, survive on less than $2 a day.

          “About 20 percent of the world’s population, 1.2 billion people, live on less than $1 a day.”

          If a family of 5 lives on $2 per day, that adds up to a household income of more than $3000 per year, so maybe they would be able to afford a refrigerator. But that still leaves more than a billion people who can’t afford a refrigerator.

          Once every family in Bangladesh, India, and Africa has a refrigerator and a toilet, their standard of living will probably have risen to the point where we can’t sustain a world of 7.3 billion people living at their economic level. It’s absolutely necessary that the world’s rich people stop wasting resources, but that’s not enough to save us. At our current population, to achieve sustainability, we would have to reduce our consumption to levels that few would tolerate.

          1. craazyboy

            Dunno about that. Chicago humidity, remember. In AZ swamp coolers on home rooftops is common (they do need electricity) and I read they only cool the interior of the house by 3 degrees or so.

            But if you drink British beer (or those other British countries) you are supposed to drink it “warm”. But not hot. In AZ I’m afraid we will need to lug the beer up the 9000 ft mountain in the summer time.

            1. optimader

              In AZ I’m afraid we will need to lug the beer up the 9000 ft mountain in the summer time
              Mt Lemmon, what a great place, I have relatives there.

              When I was a kid I remember visiting my Gparents in Tucson circa 1967. We drove there in July is a Chrysler Newport with no AC I remember the futility of rolling down the window to let in the convection oven breeze.
              At that the time swamp coolers were transitioning to modern AC. Some movie theaters and other public venues still used SCoolers. They were reasonably effective w/the big difference in wet bulb/dry bulb temperatures. I remember it was pretty damn cold to get out of a pool.

              As well I remember people tended toward a more nocturnal schedule in the summer.
              In the end, Its all about the perception of needs vs wants. Could you imagine people driving around w/o AC in Arizona in the summertime?

              W/ regard to Guinness, Chicago basement temperature is perfect for me, but I think they actually recommend very cold these days.. It’s all marketing I guess.

              Side note, in Vienna in July it is popular in outdoor cafes type venues under umbrellas to run large revolving air mover fans equipped w/ water aerosol spray headers. Very effective cooling.

              1. craazyboy

                We do it here same as Vienna. The other good part is we do get a 30 degree temp swing from day to night.

                Ya, Mt Lemmon is cool. You start out in desert, and as you drive up to the peak it slowly changes to pine forests. Then a ski hill on top.

          2. susan the other

            there was a blurb last year or so on how the ancient arabians managed to create ice in summer by cultivating it at night on the always-shady side of the building

    3. Eureka Springs

      Several more billion? You don’t get out much, do you? My home birthplace Arkansas has tripled in population over 50 years from roughly 1 to 3 million and that has been disastrous ecologically speaking. My Uncle, a botanist, was paid by the Nature Conservancy in the 70’s to conduct a search and document every square foot, every rare plant and animal in the entire state.The first/only such documentation of its kind as far as I know. I spent a lot of time tagging along and I have little doubt I would be lucky to find 20 percent of those rare plants thirty some years later.. He wouldn’t recognize much of the State today. I never saw him shed a tear, even in the death throes of melanoma, but I sincerely believe he would weep if he saw it now.

      There is a move by Forestry Service to burn much of Mark Twain National Forrest in Southern Missouri right now. The purpose of burning the entire thing (eleven percent of Missouri lands) is current and future exploitation labeled as preserving the forest. I’ve been checking and there is so little documentation of the area in its original state a mere couple hundred years ago… it’s all a guess as to what restoring would mean. Nevertheless, somehow I doubt a few billion more, living better as you imply would save this forest or any other.

      Maybe this doesn’t apply to you, but so few people have any understanding of nature, much less how dramatic the changes humanity’s growth causes. It takes a lot of time and there are fewer places much further between where one can experience it.

      But then I absorb the photo of Chinese agriculture or Spanish Greenhouses with people crammed into living/working areas like sardines in a can and I thank all which might be holy I wont experience that kind of life, much less with several billion more inhabiting our shrinking planet. There are about a dozen homes in five miles around mine…and at least one bulldozer constantly leveling the mountains and forest before burning it all… and I feel great sadness, compelled to move further into the woods while I still can.

      Perhaps you hate the meme because it is so spot on.

  15. optimader

    Chicago…Financial Engineering —> Revenue and spending whackamole.
    Long term bonds to buy paperclips, pay Sleepy McBeef to lean on a broom at McCormick Place and Walsh construction et al to demo a perfectly good park to put up a shit on shit design (Maggie Daley Park). Bidnez as usual, sadly the misuse of revenue bonds is a canary in the coalmine and mostly not news unfortunately –except for the unseemly potential non exempt tax implication on the bonds? An interesting and ugly implication that’s news to me anyway.
    I applaud Mish for putting it out there, at least he is trying.

    I have been puzzling for at least ten years why the deep pocket realestate place holders have not been quietly influencing the direction of this decaying orbit away from the flaming reentry?

    The Chicago media will relate the facts but seemingly it is too abstract to gain traction w/ rank and file in Chicago to recognize their own peril. I applaud Mish for putting it out there… again.
    The choice of Rahm or Chuy is of course an object lesson to the bond market.

    1. Lambert Strether

      “why the deep pocket realestate place holders have not been quietly influencing the direction of this decaying orbit away from the flaming reentry”

      Perhaps they have lifeboats?

      1. optimader

        Perhaps they have lifeboats?
        Yes, well that may explain some disconnected REIT owners. Maybe I’m no expert on this, but without some intervention this is a situation that doesn’t end well for anyone with skin in the game in Chicago, including anyone supporting a family that depends on stable employment.
        Real Estate holders tend to be from the high time preference crowd and in my observation most politicians (Chicago’s specifically /Illinois’s generally) tend to be low time preference operators.

        I am just pretty surprised their seemingly is not a higher level NGO group knocking heads behind the political curtain on this issue.

        Chicago has huge special interest logjams.

  16. JEHR

    Re: Overpopulation, overconsumption–in pictures
    I grew up in British Columbia and every time I visited home, I noticed more and more barren mountains as more and more clear-cutting took place. When I look at the the pictures of mountains in Afghanistan, I often wonder whether or not hundreds of years ago, they too, were covered with trees. When the BC mountainsides are bathed in the next rainstorm or when the snow melts, all the nutrients for future growth will wash to the valleys below and the new growth will be retarded. Will BC eventually look like Afghanistan?

    I now live in NB and recently the government pretty much handed over the control of Crown lands for 25 years to the Irvings who are our Buffets:

    “We were told that giving up an additional 660,000 cubic metres of our forest every year for the next 25 years to the industry would translate into 500 jobs, mostly through mill upgrades.” (from link below)

    Soon NB will look like Afghanistan too. We are an evil race or we are in an evil race–same thing.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      500 jobs…

      I think here, we wonder if basic income guarantee would be better than job guarantee?

      “Dear Amazonians, we will pay for you not to cut down trees…guarantee in writing.”

      1. Lambert Strether

        Given them a jobs guarantee to make the Amazon basin the edible forest it once was (see Charles Mann, 1491). Then, they’ll be able to walk into the forest and pick fruit off the trees.

        Perfect illustration of the difference between BIG and JG. BIG is bread and circuses, case closed. “Here’s a check.” JG looks for the human potential to change the world through work (which, no matter what the BIG people think, will continue to be required in the forseeable future).

        1. jrs

          Yes work is fine but work for a distantly not directly worker-owned means of production (and let’s face it the fed gov is pretty distant) not so much.

          Human beings want to change the world anyway, you don’t really need to force them “or else starvation”. But they would probably like freedom to do that and have a life and jobs have little tolerance for life.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Norway is paying Guyana to not cut down its trees. That was from an article in 2013.

          What would be a good alternative for Norway?

        3. ambrit

          The fly in that ointment is carrying capacity. Absent some catastrophic population reduction, the population trends of Homo Sap will thwart the best laid plans of mice and men. Perhaps this is the CT scheme; destroy public medicine and reap the reward of more resources per person for the ‘survivors.’ Oddly enough, old Emperor Mao was on the right track with the “One Family, One Child” laws.

          1. different clue

            That was not Mao. Mao wanted the fastest possible population rise. It was post-Mao rulers who instituted one child per family.

            1. ambrit

              I stand corrected. The history of the One Child movement and all its’ attendant complications, as per the Wiki, is fascinating. Especially grim is the chart showing Chinas’ population doubling since 1961, inclusive of the last thirty plus years of One Child policies.

    2. jonboinAR

      As I understand, many centuries ago the entire region from Southern and Central Asia westward across North Africa was verdant similar to North America when the Europeans arrived here. The relatively denuded conditions existing there today are attributed pretty much to human activity, particularly cutting down all the trees and overgrazing livestock. It seems that when forests are levelled they don’t necessarily grow back, even a couple of thousand years later. Tragically, it appears that BC, like the rest of this fairly recently paradisical continent, is well on its way to becoming as stripped as those more earlier plundered-by-civilization regions of the world.

    1. Yves Smith Post author


      The Greeks have no realistic choice other than to play ball with the Troika, since a Grexit would be hard and they’ve misplayed their hand (as in if they had laid the groundwork, particularly imposing capital controls in January, they’d be in a better position). This review will be seen as more leftie histrionics. Argentina had a MUCH better case than Greece that its debt was not legit. They did not even bother making the argument because they knew it would go nowhere.

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