2:00PM Water Cooler 7/5/2018

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Readers, this will be a bit light, partly because the news flow is light and I did a pantry clearout on Tuesday, partly because it’s the day after a holiday, and I’m being lazy. –lambert

Trade

“The global trade slowdown that businesses have been watching for may already be underway” [Wall Street Journal]. “Business surveys published this week show that global export growth has slowed to a relative crawl after strong and synchronized expansion in 2017…. [T]he slowdown across markets world-wide is likely to have a greater impact on trade than the developing conflict among the U.S., China and other major economies. J.P. Morgan Asset Management latest survey of manufacturing purchasing managers showed new exports were barely above growth level last month, with that measure at its weakest point in nearly two years after weakening every month since a January peak. That’s been reflected in recent subdued growth numbers at some U.S. seaports. The broader trade figures suggest last year’s 4.8% rise in global merchandise trade—the strongest since 2011—is unlikely to be repeated.”

Politics

2018

“Court vacancy fuels abortion politics in midterm elections” [Associated Press]. “A pair of recent abortion restrictions in Iowa have made the state a focal point in the national debate. A late-June decision by the Iowa Supreme Court to strike down a required 72-hour waiting period before an abortion sparked outrage among Christian conservatives, a potent force in the Iowa GOP. It also emboldened Democratic nominee for governor, Fred Hubbell, who is a past Iowa leader of Planned Parenthood, and underscored the contrast with Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds, who opposes abortion in all cases except to save a mother’s life. The decision, which asserted ‘autonomy and dominion over one’s body go to the very heart of what it means to be free,’ also bodes ill for the even more restrictive law [Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds] signed in May but was blocked pending court review.” • Hmm. If this doctrine ever became Supreme Court precedent (unlikely), some clever leftie might apply it to alienatedl labor.

“The Uncertain Political Ramifications of Justice Kennedy’s Exit” [Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball]. “The modern procedural arms race over judicial nomination norms, which one can trace all the way back to the Senate Democrats’ successful defeat of Robert Bork in 1987 (Kennedy ultimately got that seat), shows no signs of abating. This will be another vicious fight at a time when the nation is deeply divided and partisanly polarized. It’s not going to be pretty or fun.”

“Senators Collins and Murkowski, It’s Time to Leave the G.O.P.” [New York Times]. “Republicans have a one-vote majority in the Senate. Their number includes two female moderates, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, both of whom support abortion rights, and one of whom — Ms. Collins — has already declared this week that she would not support a candidate hostile to Roe v. Wade…. Since 1890, 21 senators have switched party affiliation during their time in office, some for matters of conscience, some to advance careers. … By leaving the G.O.P. — either to join the other party or, more plausibly, to become independents and caucus with the Democrats — Ms. Collins* and Ms. Murkowski wouldn’t simply be registering their opposition to a single Supreme Court justice. They’d be taking a powerful stand against their party’s escalating betrayals of the country.” NOTE * What Collins said: “U.S. Sen. Susan Collins said Sunday that she won’t support a U.S. Supreme Court nominee who has ‘demonstrated hostility’ to Roe v. Wade.” Lotta wiggle room there. • A Democrat Party composed of moderate Republicans and democratic socialists will be divided against itself and will not stand.

UPDATE “The working-class struggles that propelled Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to victory” [WaPo]. “It’s no surprise, then, that voters here were pulled over by Ocasio-Cortez’s platform of Medicare for all, free education and a livable minimum wage.” • Mirabile dictu, a WaPo writer mentions policy instead of identity!

UPDATE “Democrats Underperforming With Hispanic Voters” [National Journal]. “Even during the heat of the family-separation crisis, Democrats are underperforming in heavily Hispanic constituencies, from GOP-held border battlegrounds in Texas to diversifying districts in Southern California to the nation’s most populous Senate battleground in Florida. Those results mirror the results from the March Texas primaries, in which the Democrats’ Senate nominee Beto O’Rourke, a progressive favorite [not], badly underperformed in many border towns with large Hispanic populations… Move to the West Coast, and the results look similar. One of the Democrats’ must-win targets in California, the seat of retiring Rep. Ed Royce, is looking surprisingly competitive. Even though this is a plurality-Hispanic district that Clinton comfortably carried, a recent poll commissioned by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee found Republican Young Kim leading Democrat Gil Cisneros by 2 points (45-43 percent). It’s another sign that Hispanics may not be turning out to vote at a level commensurate to their representation. Florida is offering an even bigger shock to the Democrats’ system, given its perennial battleground status.” • If Democrat internal polling confirms this, watch for this deeply principled party — is it just barely possible that Hispanic voters remember what Obama actually did yesterday, and retain some skepticism about liberal virtue-signaling today? — to deep-six the “baby jails” talking point tout suite, and move on to abortion, in their (perennial) quest to appeal to suburban Republican voters, this time women. After all, there are still 123 days until the election. Plenty of time to find a message. And nobody pays attention until after Labor Day.

UPDATE “Democrats in Disarray? No, That’s the Myopic Media.” [Michael Tomaskey, The Daily Beast]. “The general idea here was that a) the Democrats are weak because they can’t block President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee and b) the primary election victory of one self-avowed socialist, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, means that the left is taking over. Yes, those things happened—Democrats can’t block the nominee, and a socialist did win a congressional race. But you know what else happened last week? The generic ballot widened in favor of the Democrats, according to FiveThirtyEight—from about six-and-a-half points to about eight… Also in the past week, Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball changed the ratings of half a dozen House races in the favor of the Democratic candidates.” • This is very funny; note how Tomasky manages to seamlessly pivot to the meta: the generic ballot and Larry Sabato — who I just linked to, because I like a good horserace as much as anyone else. But I don’t conflate an actual race that has been run with what the touts and the Daily Racing Form say, and I think covering “things” that “happened” is more important than speculating about things that might happen, or are devoutly wished to hapen. YMMV, and liberal pundit Tomaskey’s obviously does.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“The history of Black Socialism in America” [The Nib]. • A comic book, but well worth a read. Great material from progressive icon, Democrat Woodrow Wilson (here): “…the President said…that if the present government of Germany is recognizing the soldiers and workers councils, it is delivering itself into the hands of the bolshevists [sic]. He said the American negro returning from abroad would be our greatest medium in conveying bolshevism to America. For example, a friend recently related the experience of a lady friend wanting to employ a negro laundress offering to pay the usual wage in that community. The negress demands that she be given more money than was offered for the reason that ‘money is as much mine as it is yours.’ Furthermore, he called attention to the fact that the French people have placed the negro soldier in France on an equality with the white men, and ‘it has gone to their heads.'” Wowsers.

Stats Watch

Purchasing Managers Services Index, June 2018: “[A] small dip… to signal very solid growth for the bulk of the U.S. economy” [Econoday]. “New orders remain strong but did slow slightly in June while backlogs are at 3-year high…. This report has been running a little less hot than the ISM non-manufacturing survey which tracks not only services but mining and construction as well.”

Institute For Supply Management Non-Manufacturing Index, June 2018: “Business continues to boom for ISM’s non-manufacturing sample where the headline composite just tops Econoday’s consensus range” [Econoday]. “[C]omments from the sample remain very heated, centered on tariff worries and tariff effects as well as trouble in shipping especially a lack of truckers…. The pace of this report is very strong and the slight cooling in the supply chain readings points to sustainably for a sample that continues to show steady and outstanding strength.”

Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index, week of July 1, 2018: “rose 3 tenths” [Econoday]. “The gains suggest that tariffs and talk of trade wars are having no significant effect on the U.S. consumer in contrast, however, to both the consumer confidence and consumer sentiment reports which are showing a step back in expectations.”

Jobless Claims, week of June 30, 2018: “After hitting deep lows in mid June, initial jobless claims have been inching higher” [Econoday]. “The increases, however, are limited and should have no effect on expectations for tomorrow’s monthly employment report.”

ADP Employment Report, June 2018: “A steady and strong… gain is ADP’s private payroll call for June’s employment report on Friday” [Econoday].

Challenger Job-Cut Report, June 2018: “June layoff announcements came in steady and low” [Econoday].

Shipping: “Survey data highlights strong economy, freight challenges” [Freight Waves]. “Survey data in both the manufacturing and service sectors continued to point to strong economic growth at the end of the 2nd quarter. Details in the survey responses continue to suggest that high transportation costs, labor shortages, and tariff uncertainty remain significant issues in the economy.”

Shipping: “Truck-Factory Backlogs Soar on Heavy Demand for Big Rigs” [Wall Street Journal]. “Fleets ordered 42,200 trucks in June, more than double the number they bought in the same month a year ago, according to preliminary figures from ACT Research, and 18.5% more than they ordered in May. ‘We’re expecting in June that the backlog will rise to a level we haven’t seen since about 1999,” said Kenny Vieth, president of Columbus, Ind.-based [ACT Research]. The backlog-to-build ratio was about 9.6 months at the end of May, he said, meaning most trucks ordered in June won’t arrive until the first half of 2019. June is typically a weak month for truck orders. But the persistent robust demand for the heavy-duty vehicles used for long hauls meant carriers ordered new trucks at a seasonally adjusted rate of 492,000 vehicles in the first six months of this year—’the strongest six-month order period that we have in our database, which goes back to 1982,’ Mr. Vieth said…. Truck operators are racing to meet unrelenting shipping demand in a strong U.S. economy.'”

Shipping: “`Nuclear’ verdicts take toll on insurance firms’ appetite to underwrite trucking risk” [DC Velocity]. “Truckers and the companies that insure them have grown accustomed to increasingly adverse jury awards stemming from truck-related accidents… Insurance companies have also been thinking, and several have thought better of staying in a business where “nuclear” verdicts in the many millions of dollars have wreaked havoc with their claims-loss ratios….. Premiums are one of the ingredients baked into freight rates, which given today’s sellers’ market for freight, has made it easier for fleets to pass on. However, being a cyclical business, trucking demand will at some future point turn down. At that time, said Richard Malchow, an editor for consultancy and media firm J.J. Keller & Associates, Inc., ‘carriers will very much be affected by the high insurance premiums and deductibles.” • Presumably, robot vehicle lobbyists are working hard, even now, to make sure that algo designers and implementers are immune from liability….

UPDATE The Bezzle: “Self-driving cars are headed toward an AI roadblock” [The Verge]. “But the dream of a fully autonomous car may be further than we realize. There’s growing concern among AI experts that it may be years, if not decades, before self-driving systems can reliably avoid accidents. As self-trained systems grapple with the chaos of the real world, experts like NYU’s Gary Marcus are bracing for a painful recalibration in expectations, a correction sometimes called ‘AI winter.’ That delay could have disastrous consequences for companies banking on self-driving technology, putting full autonomy out of reach for an entire generation…. Each accident seems like an edge case, the kind of thing engineers couldn’t be expected to predict in advance. But nearly every car accident involves some sort of unforeseen circumstance, and without the power to generalize, self-driving cars will have to confront each of these scenarios as if for the first time. The result would be a string of fluke-y accidents that don’t get less common or less dangerous as time goes on. For skeptics, a turn through the manual disengagement reports shows that scenario already well under way, with progress already reaching a plateau.” • Important! Because “banking on” really does mean banking on…

Transportation: “GM Puts Pieces in Place for Robo-Taxis in San Francisco” [Industry Week]. “General Motors Co. has created its own ride-hailing platform and quietly built one of the largest charging stations in the U.S. to get its Cruise self-driving car unit ready to enter the robo-taxi business next year. Cruise has installed 18 fast chargers in a parking facility near San Francisco’s Embarcadero… ‘It’s an indication that Cruise is getting ready to commercialize autonomous ride-hailing services for the public and it will be in San Francisco,” said Grayson Brulte, co-founder of autonomy consulting firm Brulte & Co. “I imagine they would want to own and operate the service.'” • Well, at least GM knows how to manufacture cars. That said, let’s watch for how San Francisco’s built environment is optimized for robots, at the expense of MUNI and BART. Because honestly, who wants to share space with smelly proles?

Transportation: “Boeing, Embraer Forge $4.75 Billion Commercial Jet Venture” [Industry Week]. “Under a preliminary deal, Boeing will own 80% of a partnership controlling Embraer’s commercial airplane and services business while the Brazilian manufacturer holds 20%, the companies said in a statement Thursday. The tie-up caps years of talks between the two, while extending the duopoly held by Boeing and Airbus SE as competitive threats emerge from rivals in Russia, Japan and China. By adding Embraer’s E-Jet family to its portfolio, Boeing bolsters its arsenal in the newest battlefront with Airbus: the market for 100-seat planes….. Embraer brings engineering talent that Boeing could tap for the new midrange jet on its drawing board, dubbed the 797 by analysts. Embraer also has lower-cost production capabilities that the Chicago-based planemaker could use to build components such as actuators and landing gear as it brings more supplier work in-house.” • Just like textiles: First the mills moved South (Boeing to South Carolina), then they moved off-shore (Boeing to Brazil).

Capital Investment: “The bad news for the economy is also good news” [MarketWatch]. “‘[S]luggish investment deprives businesses of productivity-enhancing physical capital, but if investment does not boom it may also not bust,’ point out analysts at Credit Suisse. ‘The ratio of business to GDP is not historically high even after a decade of recovery.'” Handy chart:

If only there were some body of scholarly work that could give insight into this, er, tendency.

Five Horsemen: “At late morning, the Fab Five are managing only a modest bounce following Tuesday’s pre-holiday wilt” [Hat Tip, Jim Haygood].

Five Horsemen July 5 2018

NakedCap Mania-Panic Index: “The mania-panic index remained flat at 34 (worry) after Tuesday’s weak showing, with the put-call ratio remaining high at 1.07” [Hat Tip, Jim Haygood]. (The NakedCap mania-panic index is an equally-weighted average of seven technical indicators derived from stock indexes, volatility (VIX), Treasuries, junk bonds, equity options, and internal measures of new highs vs new lows and up volume vs down volume … each converted to a scale of 0 to 100 before averaging, using thirty years of history for five of the seven series.)

Mania panic index July 3 2018

Guillotine Watch

“Tech Elites Recreate Burning Man Inside Their Living Rooms” [New York Times]. “Tech elites who are looking for more than extra zeros in their bank statements are finding it in an unlikely place: so-called songversations, emotion-heavy gatherings that combine philosophical rap sessions with improvised music, run by a ukulele-strumming songstress who describes herself as a ‘heartist.’ Branded as ‘Soul Salons,’ they import the cosmic-explorer sensibility of Burning Man’s dusty playa into the cozy living rooms of prominent entrepreneurs, where they sing freestyle on topics as diverse as environmental degradation and heartbreak…. The tech A-list is a curious place to land for Ms. [Jess] Magic, 37, who speaks in the soothing tones of a massage therapist and divides her time between Cardiff, Calif., and Bali, Indonesia.” • Put down your coffee and read the whole thing. These are the ninnyhammers who are making enormous capital allocation decisions that will affect all of us.

“Why capitalism won’t survive without socialism” (interview) [Eric Weinstein, Vox]. • This is utterly extraordinary, a must-read. Weinstein is very smart and perceptive, but his work for Thiel Capital has left him with a certain and to-be-expected degree of deformation professionelle. This quote gives the flavor:

I believe that once our top creative class is unshackled from those impediments which are socially negative, they will be able to choose whether capitalism proceeds by evolution or revolution, and I am hopeful that the enlightened self-interest of the billionaire class will cause them to take the enlightened path toward finding a rethinking of work that honors the vast majority of fellow citizens and humans on which their country depends.

Note the explicit assertion of class power on behalf of the 0.1% (“top”) within the 10% (“creative class,” themselves the 9.9%). Weinstein is, of course, a UBI supporter (prole consumption) and doesn’t mention a Jobs Guarantee (a different baseline for production). One also wonders just what those “shackles” might be. Anyhow, when I imagine rolling back all the innovation these guys introduced, all the way back to the 90s, the only thing I would have a hard time living without would be the personal computer, which empowered and enabled me to write. And these guys didn’t invent it. I mean, does what these guys do really compare, as innovation, to potable water? Soap? The weekend? The eight-hour day? I don’t think so. I would be very happy if Thiel, Musk, and the whole innovative pother of ’em were sealed into a rocket ship and shot off to the ultimate in gated communities, Mars. Which they seem to want anyhow. So that would be win-win. Let’s do it!

Class Warfare

“What 9 Instagram Employees Wore to Their New Offices” [New York Times]. • Hipster job titles in the user manipulation, data extraction, and data exploitation field (UMDE2, I suppose): Curator, Fashion partnerships, Co-founder and chief executive, Technical program manager in machine learning, Product manager, Culture lead, iOS software engineer.

“Why aren’t most Americans rich? These theories may help explain it” [MarketWatch]. “Interestingly, the Wealth Index study found that more millennials partake in financial planning than baby boomers, most of whom are now in their 50s and 60s. Millennials are much more likely to take advantage of free financial planning resources and money management apps, Stein said. ‘Baby boomers don’t have the same trust in the financial-planning industry as millennials do,’ he added.” • Oh.

“Why Rebellions and Revolutions Don’t Work Very Well” [Benjamin Studebaker]. “When people stop believing in these stories and begin to see themselves as enslaved people subjected everyday to a sophisticated brainwashing apparatus, they tend to want to do something about it. And if they are angry–and really, anger is a very understandable response to realising our society has played them in this way–they might want to use violence to emancipate the slaves. After all, there are more slaves than there are masters. If the slaves rise up together, won’t they inevitably prevail?” • I’m suspicious of claims that “Order is built on two types of social technology” (with abbreviations). Still, worth a read.

UPDATE “How Wealth Reduces Compassion” [Scientific American]. “Who is more likely to lie, cheat, and steal—the poor person or the rich one? It’s temping to think that the wealthier you are, the more likely you are to act fairly. After all, if you already have enough for yourself, it’s easier to think about what others may need. But research suggests the opposite is true: as people climb the social ladder, their compassionate feelings towards other people decline….” • This is a review of the literature from 2012 (2016; 2017; 2018). My question is this: Will something like “Capital-Induced Empathy Deficit” go into the next version of “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders”? If not, why not?

Good point:

News of The Wired

“The scientist who coined “stress” wished he had chosen a different word for it” [Quartz]. “His work was not immediately recognized as paradigm-changing. Conventional belief held that specific diseases led to a specific pathology, end of story. But [Hans Selye, the late Hungarian-Canadian endocrinologist and so-called “father of stress,”] found that in every disease, stress also played a role, and in some cases a decisive one. The general adaptation syndrome, he said, unfolded in three stages: alarm, resistance, and exhaustion. By 1950, he had rebranded the whole bundle of behaviors as stress.” • See under Deaths of Despair.

Maps (1): “Brooklyn Pirate Radio Sound Map” [Waves Over Flatbush].

Maps (2):

I hope your Fouth of July was a pleasant one:

* * *

Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, (c) how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal, and (d) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. Today’s plant (Carla):

* * *

Readers: Water Cooler is a standalone entity not covered by the annual NC fundraiser. So do feel free to make a contribution today or any day. Here is why: Regular positive feedback both makes me feel good and lets me know I’m on the right track with coverage. When I get no donations for five or ten days I get worried. More tangibly, a constant trickle of small donations helps me with expenses, and I factor that trickle in when setting fundraising goals. So if you see something you especially appreciate, do feel free to click the hat!


To give more, click on the arrow heads to the right of the amount.

Donate

If you hate PayPal — even though you can use a credit card or debit card on PayPal — you can email me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, and I will give you directions on how to send a check.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Guest Post, Water Cooler on by .

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.

162 comments

  1. Wukchumni

    “Challenger, go for throttle op.”
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Challenger Job-Cut Report, June 2018: “June layoff announcements came in steady and low” [Econoday].

    Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        We used to tell jokes when bad stuff happened, remember all the Challenger ones?

        And then when the other one blew up, about 15 years ago, there wasn’t any.

        Reply
  2. Wukchumni

    “Tech Elites Recreate Burning Man Inside Their Living Rooms” [New York Times].
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Unless you’re under the constant threat of dust storms lasting hours, with visibility down to 100 feet, why fake the real thing in your living room?

    As always, the onus is upon the uber wealthy tech types when it comes to a Burning Man story. How come they didn’t mention all of the smaller regional BM events held outdoors all over the country, that regular Burners attend?

    One such as Lakes Of Fire, held a few weeks ago in Michigan, that sort of thing:

    http://lakesoffire.org/the-event/

    Reply
  3. WobblyTelomeres

    Re: “Capital-Induced Empathy Deficit”

    Capital doesn’t induce psychopathy, it selects for it. There is a difference.

    Reply
    1. False Solace

      There’s tons of research that demonstrates when people gain high status they lose empathy for people of low status. In our society, having lots of capital also grants lots of status, so calling it “capital-induced” is accurate. Being a sociopath to start with is just a bonus.

      Reply
      1. Jeremy Grimm

        I hope that ton of research contains a more convincing demonstration than the candy experiment.

        Reply
        1. Richard

          Not sure what the candy experiment was, but I believe there have been studies showing a correlation between income/class and how likely someone was to pick up on social cues related to empathy (face or body showing distress or need). I now want to go look this up!

          I suppose I’m less skeptical about this, or have a touch of confirmation bias, because well why wouldn’t I be? Like every other human I’ve seen or heard from countless millionaires and billionaires. It’s almost like they surround me with their ideas, values and aethetic on purpose! So all day long they preen, ponder, whine, pontificate and PRETEND in front of me. The quite natural result? I know a lot more about them than they know about me. And I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if full access to the cash spigot turned off your empathy
          But luckily for them, there’s an easy way to win it back.

          Reply
          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Best laugh of my day, by far:

            …the enlightened self-interest of the billionaire class”

            LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL
            LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL
            +100

            stop it yer killin’ me

            Reply
      2. WobblyTelomeres

        When/If I ever encounter a peer-reviewed study showing the percentage of psychopaths in the population of $10M+ lottery winners is significantly greater than the percentage of psychopaths in, say, a run-of-the-mill southern baptist congregation, then I might believe you. Short of that, I suspect that psychopathy is, to some degree, inheritable which reinforces my assertion.

        Reply
  4. Wukchumni

    Tulare County will receive more than $3.5 million in the Payments in Lieu of Taxes program, making it the state’s highest recipient of the federal funding.

    The funding provides money to local governments that are unable to collect property taxes on federally-owned land.

    https://www.visaliatimesdelta.com/story/news/2018/07/04/county-get-3-5-million-federal-funding/756685002/

    How interesting, one of the poorest counties in the state gets the most money of all. And funny seeing how it’s Devin Nunes turf~

    Reply
  5. Henry Moon Pie

    “Weinstein is, of course, a UBI supporter (prole consumption) and doesn’t mention a Jobs Guarantee (a different baseline for production)..”

    Let me edit that for you:

    Weinstein is, of course, a UBI supporter (you decide how you’ll spend their time) and doesn’t mention a Jobs Guarantee (some government–fed, state or local–decides how you’ll spend your time).

    I’m not too keen about having governments who spend most of their effort making war on brown people here and abroad deciding more than they already do, and having been lucky enough to avoid a draft by dint of a good lottery number on an earlier occasion, I have no interest in submitting myself or anyone else to that procedure again.

    Reply
    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      If you think that the UBI will stop the government from “making war on brown people here and abroad,” I feel you are likely to be sadly mistaken. If you feel that, absent at least more control over the workplace, working people will ever gain the political power to be treated better than they are, I feel you are also likely to be mistaken. Given your confusion between big gummint and “democratic control over the workplace,” it seems likely that you will not embody a solution to the free-rider problem for the benefits of collective effort, but so be it.

      Reply
      1. djrichard

        Hey Lambert, as long as I have an option to opt out, I’m good, lol. In fact, I have that option already and I’ve just been too timid to take that step. But I see that as my exit path – in a way early early retirement. As I’ve gotten older, I’m reaching the conclusion that I’m not cut out for working for others in authority. Would a “democratic control over the workplace” achieve what I’m looking for? To be honest, it’s hard for me to hang my hat on that concept. I think the closest I would come would simply be working for myself. But even then, I would want it to be in ways that I would want to serve rather than ways other’s would want me (require me) to serve. How do I monetize that? I don’t think I can. And even if I could, does it still keep me from trusting/connecting with others? Maybe the best outcome is to focus on volunteering. And just squeeze in work as I have to, keeping it to a minimum.

        Reply
      2. Freethinker

        Hear, hear. Now, if one could only embody a solution whereby big gummint finds a solution to the free-rider problem for the benefits of collective effort, ie, democratic control of the workplace…

        Oh wait, such a solution was ventured in the Civil Sevice Reform Act of 1978 which called for collectively-negotiated, agency-paid union time to conduct internal agency business. Prez Trump recently throttled the past implementation of the CSRA that allowed some (admittedly limited) democratic control of the federal workplace by signing three, separate Executive Orders. Under the new law of the land, union time in the federal sector will be sharply reduced by the Prez and rebranded, thanks to the Brookings Institute, as “tax-payer funded union time.” Employee rights and the range of negotiable subjects also will be sharply cutailed. With the stroke of a pen, democratic control of a federal gummint workplace equals wasteful gummint spending!

        Reply
    2. Chris

      One basic problem with UBI is that the cost of basic subsistence living will increase until it is just above the level of the UBI. The 17 mega-corporations that provision America’s Fourth of July festivities will increase their margins appropriately, and ‘user pays’ will replace publicly funded social services. The good people of Flint MI will now be able to buy their own potable water.

      In Australia, we had a lying rat prime minister who bought votes by providing a $7,000 grant to first-time home buyers. Overnight, the cost of low end ‘starter home’ properties went up by a little over $7,000.

      Go for the jobs guarantee.

      Reply
      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        How does it compare with extra hourly wage (to bring it to $15/hr), or free college tuition?

        Reply
          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            That’s a good, but separate question.

            Here, are people assumed to lose the purchasing power of any free money, so that, the people are not to be given any free (or free, additional*) money?

            *Free money would be UBI or free college tuition.
            Free additional money would be $15/hr – his/her current hourly wage, with $15/hr being the new min. wage.

            Reply
      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        If we had a FJG ( Federal Jobs Guarantee), why wouldn’t the cost of basic subsistence living increase until it is just above the level of the FJG? In just exactly the same way?

        Reply
        1. YankeeFrank

          As I understand it, the work performed under a jobs guarantee adds real resources to the economy which offsets the additional wages earned/spent thus reducing any inflationary impact.

          Reply
          1. Procopius

            Hahahahahahaha! You make the comedy. I have this mental image of Martin Shkreli before he was weeping in front of the judge.

            Reply
          2. drumlin woodchuckles

            But if a UBI put money in the hands of several million people with nearly no money at all, they would buy things they wish they could have bought, but heretofore could not have. If there was absolutely no, none, zero-anywhere spare unused capacity and ability to make things or do things; then that “more money” in the hands of the moneyless would merely let them bid against everyone else who had money for a fixed and ungrowable amount of things or services.

            But if there was spare unused capacity to make things and do things, idle thingmakers and thingdoers ( or current thingmakers and thingdoers who COULD make and do MORE things) would be recruited BACK into action to sell things and services to this new group of UBI-given people to buy with their newly (for them) given dollars. Money would velocitize faster, permitting more money-mediated exchanges of money for stuff for money for things-done for money for etc. It it happened THAT way, then UBI would be just as non-inflationary as FJG (paid for with newly issued MMT dollars) would be.

            Is there something wrong with my thinking?

            Reply
    3. skippy

      I’m always bemused by the UBI crowd, seems they have never have taken the time to look though the proponents of the last 100 years larger ideological view. Per se removing more democratic rights because of the fear that voters [consumers] would just vote for more money. Not that Corporatist lobbyists and duopoly political party’s don’t do just that.

      Additionally the atomistic individualism aspect with regard to freedom and self [tm] actualization with in a market place. By this a wedge is created which pits everyone against each other within a social construct. Namely the removal of targeted social programs to shrink the size of – social – government programs in the name of market efficiency [looting] and and user pays [gotta have skin in the game].

      For myself I not surprised that the far left and far right find common ground WRT a UBI.

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        As to your last line…the Fuhrer did lead the National Socialist German Workers Party. And Mussolini made the trains run on time, etc. etc.
        I still haven’t been able to get a “free” copy of Bill Moyers’ program comparing Franklin D Roosevelts’ and Hitlers’ initial economic policies. Almost too close for comfort.

        Reply
  6. lyman alpha blob

    At the risk of trespassing, I wanted to note something from this morning’s The Alt-Right, the Ctrl-Left, and the Esc-Center link in the Water Cooler in the hopes it might interst Lambert and spark some ideas among the solidarity and agriculturally-minded. The Druid notes:

    Government action isn’t the best solution to every problem; in many cases, voluntary private organizations do a much better job. When Alexis de Tocqueville toured the young United States in the very early 19th century, one of the things he found that set the new republic apart from other nations was the enthusiasm with which Americans founded voluntary organizations to address social problems. That habit faded with the metastatic expansion of the federal government after the Second World War, but the framework remains in place and deserves much more use than it received during America’s misguided age of empire.

    To which I say, reinvigorate The Grange ! Its original mission when it was founded about 150 years ago as a political advocacy group for small time agricultural interests was a good one and the organization still exists although it isn’t particularly active. This is something I’ve been thinking about for a few years but I’m definitely not an organizer so not sure how this or something similar might happen, but my thought was to try to involve current Grange members (whoever they might be) and see if they would be interested in having community gardeners get involved as they have in may ways taken the place of the small farmer of the 19th century. Plus there are more and more young people taking up farming, especially in Maine. But rather than just promoting agricultural interests as happened in the 19th century when much of the working class was working in agriculture, the hope here would be to eventually involve the non-agricultural working class along with the farmers.

    There is definitely a need for organizations like this and we have discussed repeatedly at NC the pros and cons of starting a new organization v. working within an existing framework. Here’s an existing framework that’s long overdue for some rejuvenation. If done properly, it could really bring back the notion of communities again, connect the young and old, show the left and right they have a lot on common, and get some solidarity going so we can replace this neoliberal nightmare before it all goes to hell.

    Reply
        1. Michael Hudson

          OK, I should point out that when I worked for Augustus Kelley I reprinted the work on the Grangers and wrote the introduction covering their history. I think it was my first published work.

          Reply
        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          In the days of the Original Grange, weren’t almost all the farmers in America what we would call small farmers? And wasn’t the farm population a way huger percent of the population than what it is now? And so wouldn’t a Grange 2.0 recruiting all the neo-small farmers of today be a relatively smaller and much less powerful institution in terms of political combat war-fighting and war-winning than was the Original Grange of yesteryear?

          That’s not to wet-blanket the idea of a Grange 2.0 for the neo-small farmers of today. If they all co-organized themselves and eachother into a Grange 2.0, they could at least see what kind of political combat war-fighting and war-winning capability they could develop. And in the meantime, they could provide eachother a framework of social and cultural cross-cosolidarity which would allow them to develop all kinds of intangible cultural and psycho-social power. They could be an undigestible and unco-optable lump eagerly sought after to add power to larger coalitions. In return for lending their power to larger coalitions on a strictly transactional case-by-case basis, they could extract survival and stability benefits for themselves from an unwilling and largely hostile basically anti-farmeritic urban society.

          They could increase their self-defensive and self-protective power by inspiring and advising those suburbanites who wished to do so . . . to organize suburban-based Grange 2.0 Lite organizations. Growing some food of one’s own in one’s own suburban garden would be a necessary pre-requisite for being permitted to join.

          Urban agriculturists/ urban farmers and gardeners in places like Detroit, who do their growing on various forms of locally collective land rather than on tiny insufficient urban house micro-lots could form their own Urban Peasant Associations, either associated with the Grange 2.0 movements or separate from them, as they decide which pathway helps them build up their own social power in a world of various big and little power blocs.

          And you know . . . people in all these granges and associations could also share all kinds of agronomic and food-handling/ food-preserving information with eachother as well. They could begin to build Free UnMarket CounterEconomies to protect themselves against the Forced Market Economy.

          Reply
          1. Amfortas the Hippie

            The only way I’ve found to talk about unions and solidarity against giant corps in my small rural area is via the language of farmer co-ops/the Grange. The people in the feed store understand that readily.
            what they haven’t grasped is that maybe growing for export(the province of the very large) isn’t the best thing for the medium and the small, and that local/regional ag would be a better thing to pursue.
            the problem is how to compete with the giants, and/or mexico, etc, when it comes to the price of a tomato or a head of lettuce.
            I’ve tinkered with everything from local currency to some kind of regional farmer’s co-op/market, but find it difficult to make the case when lettuce is 79 cents a head, and the grocer won’t even talk to the local farmer.
            The “traditional” farmers advocates(farm bureau, etc) are stuck in giantism and chem, with it’s attendant financialism.
            my time in the feedstore definitely indicates that there is a great hunger for change.
            when i relate the story(familiar to all of the feedstore denizens) of driving past 10,000 sheep to buy lambchops from australia, all heads nod. but when i then try to explore potential options, we get bogged down in terminology, unexamined assumptions and prejudice against anything that has “social” in it…the fruits of 100 years of propaganda.

            Reply
      1. Procopius

        So am I, but I don’t think there are enough farmers left to make it a viable organization. I also don’t think there are enough farmers left to influence Congress. Most of the agricultural production is now in the hands of huge agribusinesses. My grandfather had 360 acres of rich Iowa corn land, and he was a very progressive advocate of modern scientific farming methods, so after the Ever Normal Granary was established in 1948 or 9 he was able to make a living. Heck, even back in the 1930s he prospered enough to pay part of his son’s college costs, although Dad found jobs even in the Depression. I think if more of the new activists running against the New Democrats succeed private organizations might get a boost.

        Reply
        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Charles Walters of Acres USA noted decades ago that there were no longer enough farmers to have any effect on politics or policy; in particular not enough SMALL farmers to have any effect of SMALL farmer politics or policy.

          He felt the concerted social-economic engineering plans undertaken ever since WWII were designed on purpose with malice aforethought to drive so many millions of farmers out of farming that that result ( zero political influence) would be achieved against farmers ON PURPOSE, in pursuit of long-range antifarmeritic policies and bigotries.

          Reply
    1. False Solace

      There’s been a lot of discussion of how involvement in social organizations plummeted starting in the 80s. Maybe coinciding with women’s entrance into the workforce and the neoliberal machinations of the time? People who work 2-3 jobs without a set schedule don’t have a lot of time for outside activities.

      Reply
      1. lyman alpha blob

        That, plus it just occurs to me that one reason for declining wages and the increase in people working multiple jobs to compensate is due to the convenience factor in the US where everything is now open all the time just in case someone wants to buy something and hasn’t planned ahead. That surely has played a huge part in declining wages because sales don’t increase 3x just because a store is open for 24 hours rather than 8 and employers aren;t going to just eat the added labor costs out of the goodness of their hearts.

        It would be an interesting study to see how much revenue was generated per hour when stores were closed for more hours of the day compared to today. My guess is the bulk of revenue is still generated during traditional hours.

        Maybe just limiting the hours of operation would solve any number of social ills that have cropped up since neoliberalism began back in the 80s although how to put that genie back in the bottle is beyond me.

        All I know is I much prefer the work ethic in Europe where at 3 PM a lot of stores are closed. Only mad dogs and Englishmen work in the noonday sun.

        Reply
        1. kgw

          One of the things I like about some of the states, for the wrong reasons! Personal experience of PA and MA, and their basically closing down on Sunday…

          Reply
    2. Adam Eran

      There was an effort to revive the Grange in California, particularly lobbying for sustainable agricultural practices. The Grange was the framework within which local political activists organized, but the national organization objected, so those activists are now with the “California Guild.”

      Reply
      1. lyman alpha blob

        Thanks – good to know!

        I’m not sure that the current Grange does much other than rent out its buildings for other group functions these days. If they do, they’re very quiet about it. Any Grange members out there?

        One of my hesitations is ‘taking over’ the current organization from otherwise nice people who may not want it taken over. Thus my thinking that rejuvenating it with some agriculturally minded people first rather than having it ‘taken over’ by labor activists might be a good idea. Let everybody get to know each other first, build the community back up, and then get more political again once people realize they’re all in this together and have something to protect.

        Reply
    3. RUKidding

      I can’t speak for other parts of the country, but the Grange is still an active organization in many western states, including CA. I have friends who belong to the local Grange in the Sacramento area. They joined for the reasons stated by the commenter. I can recommend joining.

      Can’t speak how the Grange is in other parts of the country, but maybe now is good time to revive it?

      Reply
    4. Eclair

      The old Cedar Valley Grange Hall, just north of Seattle, has an active rental program. I am not aware of any political activity. But, suburban lawns now surround the building and local agriculture seems limited to Weed and Feed and mow.

      We dance with a group that that rents the hall a couple of times a month and it is a great place for community gatherings. The upstair has a beautiful wood floor that is perfect for dancing, as well as a roomy stage that will hold a large group of local musicians. The basement has a kitchen and a big space filled with picnic tables.

      It is becoming difficult to find reasonably-priced places for community events, like dances. Used to be that ethnic groups, like Wasa, Sons of Norway, Sons of Italy, Armenian-American Civic Association, etc., had large memberships and owned a meeting hall. You could dance, cook, eat, play music, talk, have speakers … and be politically active. Much better to have everyone at home on their couches in front of their smart TV’s or glued to their iPhones.

      Reply
  7. Katniss Everdeen

    Ed Schultz has died at age 64. Of “natural causes.”

    Many links. Some say he died at his lake home in Minnesota. Some say he died at his home in washington, d.c.

    “Natural causes” at age 64. Yikes!

    Reply
    1. Carla

      Yikes is right! I’m going on record right now. When I die, I don’t want a funeral, or a memorial service, or a burial (burn me please), or a headstone. But please, when you announce it, please just say whatever killed me, no matter how old I am.

      Reply
    2. katiebird

      My dad really liked “Mr Ed” and we spent a lot of time talking about things he said over the years. Dad has been gone just 2 months and it was a real shock that he wasn’t there to talk to about this.

      Among my first thoughts…. Natural causes at 64?

      Reply
    3. ChiGal in Carolina

      Well, if he had a heart condition that led to a stroke or heart attack, that would be a natural cause (disease process). As opposed to say a car accident or being knifed in the street.

      Ed Schultz always seemed like the definition of apoplectic.

      Reply
  8. Synoia

    enlightened self-interest of the billionaire class = greed

    Please correct me if I’m wrong. Please do not use the Gates Foundation as an example, because I believe Public Education is a common good. Or an integral part of the commons.

    Reply
      1. skippy

        I posted an article on NC back in the day on CC, the post argued that CC was more about privatizing [IP] the knowlage and information used in education than the process of education itself. This begins at the IP and the format used to deliver it, per se text books, and then some wonder about all the drive to fill schools with tablets [Ipads et al].

        Now why do I have this thought about handing out free drugs around the corner from the school yard…..

        Reply
        1. Procopius

          Now why do I have this thought about handing out free drugs around the corner from the school yard…..

          I don’t know why you have that thought, either. That was never a business model, only a propaganda hook. Like the story about “pushers” handing out candy laced with heroin on Halloween.

          Reply
          1. skippy

            I think all the evidence WRT CC and problems with Tablets in schools paints a different picture. The bit about handing out freebies is a basic tool for any pusher [tm] looking to gain market share, some even promote that it will make you smarter.

            Reply
  9. JerryB

    Lambert- Excellent point:

    “A Democrat Party composed of moderate Republicans and democratic socialists will be divided against itself and will not stand.”

    I believe the US is a right of center country (with a growing right and far right segment) and has been for most of it’s history. If some of the right of center move to left of center that may look good as far as “not Republican” but as Lambert points out does nothing for the progressive movement. I read an article where Noam Chomsky mentioned that people in the USA who call themselves liberals are more moderates and are not the same as liberals in Europe. If I remember my reading of Thomas Frank’s Listen Liberal, his expose’ of segments of the liberal class was to show that calling yourself liberal does not mean much if your actions say otherwise, i.e Obama and Hillary.

    The sluggish business investment chart just supports what Yves wrote in 2005 about the Incredible Shrinking Corporation. One thing that jumps out is the increasing size of the booms and busts since 1980 i.e. the Neoliberal Era compared to 1950-1980. In the late 1980’s I worked at a large medical device company. In 1990 I was laid off as part of a restructuring after an Merger/Acquisition . I remember when the layoffs were announced the director of our group said he feared the US was becoming “a short term quarter to quarter economy”. Hence booms and busts or casino capitalism. As we’re finding out booms followed by busts, i.e. instability, leads to severe social consequences: inequality, job loss, breakdown of the family and communities etc.

    Reply
    1. skippy

      I’m reminded of an old acquaintance that headed a forward M&A team. Once told of an experience in an elevator where some lady asked if he was the same guy that came around at her last employer. He responded yes. She then tentatively asked if she should start looking for new employment. His answer was again yes.

      This was in little more space than 6 months for the middle aged lady.

      This also coincides with the great Calif M&A episode during the late 80s and early 90s. Huge wave of wage earners selling houses and migrating to states on eastern boarders due to RE affordability and cost of living. Experienced this in the Denver – Boulder CO. corridor at the time, storage tech et al. Funny thing, took less than 10 years before everything reverted to the state of affairs which drove them to leave Calif. Which then promoted me to move to Oz after marrying native wife.

      Reply
    2. clarky90

      Years ago I got an email from an acquaintance; “…. I am deathly sick in a hospital in East Africa.….please help by….”

      His identity had been stolen by con artists.

      The identity of the “Democratic Party” has also been stolen. They are not the FDR-JFK Democratic Party of my childhood. but rather, Neo-Toxoplasma Gondii-ists, the “Mind Invaders”.

      Back in the early 1980s, the NZ Labour Party (of Mickey Savage and Norman Kirk) was taken over by Neo-liberal, Roger Douglas and his henchmen/women.

      “…the New Zealand dollar was floated, corporate practices were introduced to state services, state assets were sold off, and a swathe of regulations and subsidies were removed. Douglas’s economic policies were regarded as a betrayal of Labour’s left-wing policy platform, and were deeply unpopular…”

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_Douglas

      Our NZ Labour Party is finally back to it’s old self, after about 35 years.

      NZ Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern is Labour as it used to be. The Big Political Tent with room for all.

      https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/watch-worlds-media-reacted-news-jacinda-ardern-s-baby

      I believe that the actual political spectrum is an Axis (coalition) of the Neo-Liberals with the Neo-Conservatives.

      Who are (in a perfect World) opposed by The Alliance of Everybody Else.

      The Axis (a puny minority) are able to exist because they sow constant discord among the The Alliance. (What is the definition of “abortion” or “healthcare” or “security” or “love”…..???? Let’s scream at each other! That will help!)

      In New Zealand, we have a coalition Government of (1) Labour (Unions), (2) NZ First (populist) and (3) The Greens.

      The out-of-power, NZ National Party (Neo-Con/Lib Axis) spend their time trying to conflate and invent “disagreements” within our Labour Coalition Government.

      But, it is like a healthy, extended family. You agree to disagree and ENJOY the lively discussions. Parties compromise and life goes on.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        I was in NZ after Rogernomics made the Kiwi $ plunge to about 35 cents US in the 1980’s, and everything was so cheap, dinners were like US $4, motel rooms US $15, homes in Auckland US $25k.

        I dread seeing the prices now, when we visit next year…

        Reply
    3. drumlin woodchuckles

      If a Democratic Party composed of Romneyfeller Republicans and Democratic Socialists will not stand, then eventually the two separated fighting halves will fight to the death over which half gets to keep the name “Democratic Party”.

      Meanwhile, the Woodrow Wilson quote above gives some evidence as to why some people have long called Wilson “America’s most evil President”. His bringing official Jim Crow to the Federal Workforce in Washington DC might be another piece of evidence. His unleashing of a vicious and bigoted campaign of anti-germanitic cultural and social pogroms all over America might be another piece of evidence. The fact that he did this as part of his World War I program, after having worked with Great Britain to lie and manipulate America into World War I ( some would say on the wrong side . . . ) is another piece of evidence. His political “extermination” campaign against the American Left ( Debs in prison, etc) thereby reducing the Left toward its tiny size of today is another such piece of evidence.

      The actions of America’s most evil President ( Woodrow Wilson) may help explain why America is a center-right country today.

      Reply
      1. Procopius

        Don’t know if it’s quite right right to say that the identity of the Democratic Party was stolen. According to Al From’s book Bill Clinton was pretty clear in his campaign that he was a “reform” candidate, who intended to end the coalition with Labor and abandon the principles of the New Deal. I don’t know if people understood that was what he was saying, but that’s what Al From, founder of the Democratic Leadership Council (of which Clinton was the president before his campaign), says he was saying and what From was telling him to say. That whole bunch are opposed to the FDR/New Deal Democratic Party, and they are now the party’s leaders.

        Reply
  10. Synoia

    “The scientist who coined “stress” wished he had chosen a different word for it”

    Funny thing that:

    In engineering, stress is a force, a cause, and strain an effect, stretching, leading to a failure or break.

    Or cause, effect and result. The definitions for the human condition are not so precise.

    Reply
    1. flora

      The line that caught my attention:

      The general adaptation syndrome, he said, unfolded in three stages: alarm, resistance, and exhaustion.

      First thought was that’s what political party elites use to keep their base from changing their party elites policies: ‘alarm’ the base about the horribleness of the ‘other side’, rally the base to ‘resist’ any actions by ‘the other side’ (while not changing course and not offering policies the base wants/needs), and finally, ‘exhaust’ the base with resistance movements designed not to succeed politically but to exhaust the base so they’ll ‘adapt’ to whatever the party elites dictate as policy.

      OK, I’m trying to force a comparison here, straining the metaphor, which is stressful. ;)

      Reply
    2. Jim Haygood

      Thus “strain gauges” not stress gauges.

      There’s a telemetry patch and an app for that.

      But it’s spyware …

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        [on Dave’s return to the ship, after HAL has killed the rest of the crew]

        HAL 9000: Look Dave, I can see you’re really upset about this. I honestly think you ought to sit down calmly, take a stress test, and think things over.

        Reply
  11. djrichard

    “Why capitalism won’t survive without socialism” (interview) [Eric Weinstein, Vox]

    So much to chew on in that article. Just to start on the bit that you quoted

    I believe that once our top creative class is unshackled from those impediments which are socially negative

    Code for: stop complaining about how disruptive our gig economy transformation is. Also, we want to continue to outsource to the global supply chain out the wazoo (hey there might be some repetitive work that we still haven’t automated yet, and we’ll still want to pay bottom dollar for that. Look we’re saving you from that repetitive work, stop complaining!).

    they will be able to choose whether capitalism proceeds by evolution or revolution

    They’re the masters of the universe and their awesome entitles them to go big. (contrast to the small-ball game played by the Dems.)

    and I am hopeful that the enlightened self-interest of the billionaire class will cause them to take the enlightened path toward finding a rethinking of work that honors the vast majority of fellow citizens and humans on which their country depends.

    As long as it doesn’t conflict with “show me the money”, aka “all your surplus are belong to us!”. Bankers left wondering if they’re still at the table … can they continue to “honor” the vast majority of citizens?

    Reply
      1. Carey

        Notable, maybe, that the Eric Weinstein article is again by Sean Illing.

        “We do it all for you, Our Little People.”

        From so many angles and in so many ways are they softening us up…

        Reply
      2. Left in Wisconsin

        What shackles? AYFKM?

        Also, the BS about public schools. I know some are better than others – I’m not talking here about schools that don’t have enough teachers or can’t afford supplies – but the notion that the (intended) point of public schools is (still) to turn people into automatons for the industrial age is entirely wrong. If anything, there is too much emphasis on self-actualization – everyone off to college, no good voc ed, etc. I would guess this guy hasn’t set foot in a public school in many a year, if ever.

        Reply
    1. JohnnyGL

      Was just reading that same interview….enjoyed this analogy….

      A friend of mine said to me, “The modern airport is the perfect metaphor for the class warfare to come.” And I asked, “How do you see it that way?” He said, “The rich in first and business class are seated first so that the poor may be paraded past them into economy to note their privilege.” I said, “I think the metaphor is better than you give it credit for, because those people in first and business are actually the fake rich. The real rich are in another terminal or in another airport altogether.”

      Reply
      1. Jim Haygood

        The real rich travel in private jets and do not encounter the single-digit millionaires of first class at all.

        NYC’s elite fly out of Teterboro, invisible to the masses at EWR/LGA/JFK — places they avoid for fear of contagious diseases.

        Reply
        1. allan

          From a review of Robert Frank’s Richistan (2007):

          …Frank argues that the rich are “financial foreigners” within their own country. They have their own health care system, staffed by “concierge doctors.” They have their own travel network of timeshare (or private) jets and destination clubs. For her birthday, one 11-year-old “aristokid” pleads to fly commercial, “to ride on a big plane with other people. I want to see what an airport looks like on the inside.” …

          No you don’t, kiddo.

          Reply
          1. AbateMagicThinking but Not Money

            Re Allan’s ‘No you don’t, kiddo’.

            I am with you on LAX (an institutional slum – which from my outsider point of view embodies US culture and politics), but I recently went through Changi (Singapore) in transit* and it remains as good as ever for a cattle-class traveler – mostly on one level, and very roomy (ahem) facilities. You can fault Singapore’s or anybody else’s politics but as a window on a polity, major airports are pretty good in my view.

            Pip-Pip!

            *Lack of transit lounges in US airports are one of those great puzzles. Why put people who have no intention of staying in the U.S. through immigration procedures? It is almost as if the outside world does not exist – despite all those international flights on the board.

            Reply
        2. skippy

          To paraphrase Jay Leno upon winning at Pebble car show back in the day…. its an honor as a few hundred million type of guy winning against those with billions and the networks it affords….

          Or my Fav line from ‘dirty rotten scoundrels’ – so your argument is the poor should not be allowed into museums because they will get the art dirty…. ummm

          Reply
      2. RUKidding

        I’m not complaining, but recently – due to having a lot of stored up travel points – I was able to fly business class from Australia to the USA. It was certainly better than being in steerage, but believe, me it was not all that luxurious. They’ve squeezed the business class seats in a lot of planes these days, just like in the rest of the plane. Plus the food pretty much sucked. I was surprised, frankly, at how crummy the food was. However, it as definitely more comfortable than anywhere else on the plane. Grateful to be able to fly that way.

        There’s NO WAY the 1% would “put up” with that. Certainly declasse in comparison to what they’re used to.

        Reply
    2. Rosario

      Yeah, there is too much nobless oblige for my tastes.

      I’ve had plenty of experiences with people flush with money and power where I walked away scratching my head wondering what the hell made them so special. Maybe they walked away scratching their head wondering why I wasn’t. I doubt it…

      Probably a worn out question by now but why is particular ability constantly extrapolated to general ability? I’m all for nurturing particular talent in an appropriate way, that is prudent and rational, but extending decision making power to a particular class/person based on an assumption of some mythical ability seems old fashioned nowadays and far less appropriate given how legalistic and procedural the accumulation of power has become. As in, is there really any comparison between the likes of Caesar/Alexander/Khan and Gates/Buffett/Bezos? The former required a multitude of skills to acquire their power and wealth, the latter were skilled at gaming a model of economy/law. If we’re gonna force ourselves to apply the hackneyed assumption of noble right to any group of people in history it sure as hell shouldn’t be the barons of late stage capitalism.

      Anyway, it is all an age old view of nobility and power that cannot stop begging the question.

      Reply
    3. JerryDenim

      Yep, that same bit jumped out at me as well.

      The longer form of that quote: “I believe capitalism will need to be much more unfettered. Certain fields will need to undergo a process of radical deregulation in order to give the minority of minds that are capable of our greatest feats of creation the leeway to experiment and to play, as they deliver us the wonders on which our future economy will be based.”

      Wow. Eric Weinstein speaks of “hypersocialism” and “hypercapitalism” but all I’m hearing is more Neoliberal Capitalism with some pretty ‘I-feel-your-pain-regular-people’ talk. Sounds like a ‘Golden Straitjacket’ double-down burger ala Friedman with an extra small side of UBI fries to me.

      ‘Radical deregulation’ and ‘deliver us the wonders’ in the same sentence – Sheez! I’ve had enough of ‘the wonders’- I would much prefer some good old fashioned jobs, financial security and some effective government regulation instead.

      Reply
      1. djrichard

        Eric Weinstein speaks of “hypersocialism” and “hypercapitalism”

        Shades of Baudrillard’s hyper-reality? I’ve seen elsewhere that at least some in the billionaire class in Silicon Valley believe life is a simulation. Seems to be consistent with the mind-set revealed in this article. So it wouldn’t surprise me if the prefixing with “hyper” is on purpose, specifically as an allusion to Baudrillard.

        Because if life is a simulation [technically Baudrillard wasn’t saying life is a simulation so much as we construct our reality out of meaning, authority, game theory, etc, which in ways are thus just as real if not more real. But to continue …], then the world is your playground: “let’s make it the way we want it to be – make mistakes quickly. We need to be unfettered!” – LoL.

        Now that said, at least it doesn’t come across so much as wanting to make people their playthings. At least not as bad as what communism did to people. And I guess in a sense the saving grace is that corporations don’t need people to generate profits. At least not from a labor perspective in this brave new world. So, “as long as labor stays out of the way, then we can live in peaceful co-existence” seems to be the proposition. And actually the saving grace is they still need us as consumers, in order to make that profit that makes the wheels go round in their part of the simulation. “Here we’ll even give you a stipend so you can buy all the goodies we create – after all we’re creating them for you!”

        And I guess we should be thankful they still want us as consumers. Would they might not be so gracious otherwise? Consider that they can already generate cash flows in US dollars without us in the US as consumers. Simply generate cash flows in foreign currencies by selling to consumers in foreign countries. And then convert those cash flows to USD through currency exchange. China is awfully a big consumer market. Perhaps they don’t need us in the US as much as we think they do. “If only there was a way to export you little people to China.”

        P.S. that stipend they’ll give us will come from them using their profits to buy treasuries sold by the Fed Gov. A nice virtuous cycle as they say :-).

        P.P.S., I’m a big fan of Baudrillard’s. But for me, I try to reconcile him with my religious faith – that that’s the fettered reality.

        Reply
        1. djrichard

          By the way, there’s another concept from Baudrillard which I think applies here and that’s his concept of “The Remainder”, that which has been discarded by society. I view it as akin to being native american and being on the Indian Reservation.

          Anyways, I think we would find that those receiving a UBI would be considered socially ghettoized, just like those on the Indian Reservation were. And just like those on welfare are now. Even if they did receive a decent stipend.

          That said, Jesus hung with those in the ghetto. If the stipend is decent enough, maybe being in the ghetto isn’t a bad option for us that want to opt out.

          Reply
        2. Procopius

          Well, despite all their creativity, if they don’t have us digging the ore and the coal out of the ground and growing the food and actually fabricating stuff, they starve to death. I’ve seen actual primitive subsistence farming in action in an area where there was still a little bit of jungle left for gathering and even a little bit of hunting — small mammals. I do not believe Bill Gates or Wossisname Thiel or Bezos or Pruitt would survive a year in those circumstances. Which is probably what we’re going to have if the neocons in charge of our foreigh policy get their war with Iran, much less the war they’re trying to start with Russia.

          Reply
          1. Wukchumni

            Was just reading a book on the Maya, and they were able to support large populations whilst ensconced in a rain forest with poor soils, something we’re incapable of doing presently.

            And i’m in the same boat as Bill Gates et al, in fact i’ve never ever gone hungry in my life, as in missing meals en masse.

            I have a fledgling orchard full of toddlers and 5 year olds that occasionally throw temper tantrums as all the various beasties mess with them, and when you’re growing food for humans, everything in the forest for the trees thinks it’s theirs.

            Reply
  12. Buck Eschaton

    I was thinking when I saw that Iowa abortion decision that if it ever became national law that it would foreclose any kind of military draft.
    “autonomy and dominion over one’s body go to the very heart of what it means to be free,”

    Reply
    1. a different chris

      …and…

      >who opposes abortion in all cases except to save a mother’s life.

      Ok so you can’t kill any “person”, only God can do that, except if they are an adult then Capital Punishment Yeah! but if an adult is expendable and a fetus isn’t then how do they square the circle above? Without playing God?

      Idiots. Or at least the people that support them are, the politicians that wrap themselves in these ridiculous standards are just lying sociopaths.

      Reply
      1. Steely Glint

        The flip side of saying that “you must have that baby” is “you can’t have that baby”; ie; you have given up agency of your womb. Besides deaths from self-abortions, you also have given the state the right to tell you to abort, or more importantly allowed involuntary sterilization. Don’t take this lightly, involuntary sterilization was on the books and gradually taken off, for 33 states until around 1970. Reasons for sterilization ranged from genetics (easily identified now), to immigrants, and economic interests.

        Reply
      2. Mo's Bike Shop

        Logic is not important in politics. Precedent is.

        Imagine how outrageous the Individual Mandate would have been without 40 years of ‘conservatives’ demanding that a constitutional republic owns the bodies of its citizens from conception.

        And yes, ‘you trust their axe, but not their tax’ is mind-bogglingly contradictory. But people will always fight much harder for those of their beliefs that did not come from rational decision making.

        Reply
    2. Summer

      Women can have that, they may just have to exercise the control more than ever on the front end (before sex) of the relationship negotiation instead of the back end (after sex) ….if Roe bites the dust. A re-negotiation, not a return to the old.

      Reply
  13. cm

    Each accident seems like an edge case

    BS. The Tempe accident was completely avoidable, and the Tempe Police are corrupt in immediately placing all blame on the pedestrian.

    In SF at least one car blatantly blew a red light.

    Reply
    1. Arizona Slim

      Blaming the pedestrian? Well, she wasn’t just any pedestrian, she was a pedestrian who was pushing a bicycle across the road, and this wasn’t being done in a crosswalk.

      How far away was she from a crosswalk? Well, I haven’t noticed much discussion of that particular detail. It could have been a half mile away. Or even further.

      One more thing: I don’t know how things are in other states, but there’s nothing magical about crosswalks in Arizona. You can be killed in them just as easily as you can be killed outside of them.

      Reply
      1. kgw

        I have people in the Seattle area, and when I was on Bainbridge Island to pick up a Wharram Catamaran, I learned that drivers must stop at the earliest opportunity available to ease pedestrian passage. That , or a large fine.

        Reply
        1. Left in Wisconsin

          I believe that is the law virtually everywhere. Only not enforced and actively disbelieved by car drivers in most places. I used to give the finger to cars that sped by me in the cross walk. Now I give a peace sign.

          Reply
      2. cm

        As a Tucson resident, you should know Maricopa County is not at all pedestrian friendly.

        Regardless of crosswalk, the vehicle knew for six seconds there was an obstruction on the road, but did not apply the brakes.

        This was a totally avoidable accident, yet Uber has successfully controlled the narrative.

        Reply
      3. cripes

        None of which absolves a driver from the legal, ethical and obvious DUTY TO STOP when approaching a baby in a stroller, a senior on a walker or even you, Slim.

        Aside from the probability that Tempe street design is deficient in pedestrian accommodations such as sidewalks, lights and crosswalks, your position is absurd.

        Reply
  14. allan

    Is FDA’s revolving door open too wide? [Science]

    Shockingly, a violation of Betteridge’s Law:

    Summary

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says its rules, along with federal laws, stop employees from improperly cashing in on their government service. But how adequate are those revolving door controls? Much like outside advisers (see main story, p. 16), however, regular employees at the agency, headquartered in Silver Spring, Maryland, often reap later rewards—jobs or consulting work—from the makers of the drugs they previously regulated. Through web searches and online services such as LinkedIn, Science has discovered that 11 of 16 FDA medical examiners who worked on 28 drug approvals and then left the agency for new jobs are now employed by or consult for the companies they recently regulated. This can create at least the appearance of conflicts of interest.

    Reply
  15. False Solace

    Re: Eric Weinstein interview in Vox

    > I think it’s possible that this is merely the end of the beginning of capitalism, and that its next stage will continue many of its basic tenets, but in an almost unrecognizable form.

    Nah feudalism is very recognizable.

    > there’s also a coincidence between the ability to train briefly in one’s youth so as to acquire a reliable skill … leading to what we’ve typically called a career

    “Training briefly in one’s youth” was never a thing except in this guy’s imagination. Employers used to train their employees throughout their careers. That was a thing.”Careers” were a thing too. Employers abandoned both. And in what era did workers not need constant training to adjust to new tech and changes in industry? Medieval times?

    > Since the Industrial Revolution, technology has been a helpful pursuer, chasing workers from the activities of lowest value into repetitive behaviors of far higher value.

    Interesting how an impersonal market force gets the credit for driving peasants from the commons into urban ghettos for the convenience of industrialists who wanted their workers cheap and desperate. The actual process was gritty, violent and very very personal.

    > our educational system was designed to produce employable products suitable for jobs

    Oh… this is actually true! Now I understand why this guy is considered a visionary.

    > I believe capitalism will need to be much more unfettered. Certain fields will need to undergo a process of radical deregulation in order to give the minority of minds that are capable of our greatest feats of creation the leeway to experiment and to play

    “Certain fields” will need “radical deregulation”: Uber unfettered! After all, if you want to make an omelet you have to kill some people….

    By “minority of minds” he means creative class billionaires, right? I assume that by “greatest feats of creation” he’s referring to bribing Congress for contracts, amassing private databases on people and pocketing all the equity, because that’s the greatest achievement of the billionaire creative class so far.

    > People will have to be engaged in socially positive activities, but not all of those socially positive activities may be able to command a sufficient share of the market

    His vision of the future boils down to “exactly like now, but more so”: People in First World countries will have no actual work to do and will need BI. This means people in Third World countries will be doing all the industrial production behind the scenes, without any complaints and no geopolitical consequences whatsoever.

    > the truly rich, I’m talking nine and 10 figures rich, are increasingly separated from the lives of the rest of us so that they become largely insensitive to the concerns of those who still earn by the hour.

    Straight out of Tainter’s Collapse of Complex Societies.

    > Thankfully, those [Occupy] protesters were smart enough to realize that a peaceful demonstration is the best way to advertise the potential for instability

    Those peaceful demonstrators were defeated with violence before they could voice any concrete demands. So how is that supposed to work as a feedback mechanism?

    > We have a system-wide problem with embedded growth hypotheses that is turning us all into scoundrels and liars.

    On a finite planet nothing grows forever. Piketty says we get 1% a year. I sometimes wonder if the idea of “infinite growth” has been so popular for so many decades is that science fiction taught everyone we’d soon escape into space. No wonder the billionaires are all funding space missions.

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      See how many of the 11 causes Tainter postulated on of previous collapses of complex societies, pertain to us right now:

      Resource depletion
      New resources
      Catastrophes
      Insufficient response to circumstances
      Other complex societies
      Intruders
      Conflict/contradictions/mismanagement
      Social dysfunction
      Mystical factors
      Chance concatenation of events
      Economic explanations
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      Yes, all of them.

      Reply
      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        I liked the bit in Homo Deus where the author pointed out that having passably healthy soldiers was a prime driver of many “populist” measures that were allowed to pass in the past. Billionaires of the day needed functioning cannon fodder as they pursued their hegemonic rent-capturing bloodsport. But in the near future (drones, autonomous, cyber-warfare) there will be no such need to keep the peasantry in any kind of serviceable condition…so watch out below.

        Reply
  16. a different chris

    >[T]he slowdown across markets world-wide is likely to have a greater impact on trade than the developing conflict among the U.S., China and other

    And once again we see, despite the “Smoot-Hawley caused the Depression” whiners, that the global economy is so complex, complex to the point where I claim it is a nearly un-understandable machine and you just, like driving a car, need to pay attention to the small picture and hope the big picture doesn’t go to far awry.

    And the small picture is making sure that your economy is varied and within some reasonable distance of self-sufficient.

    Reply
  17. dcblogger

    Bork was a notorious Nixon hatched man who carried out the Saturday Night Massacre, a right wing nut, and entirely deserved what happened to him. Shame on Sabato to suggest otherwise.

    Reply
    1. Lee

      I apologize for this but thanks for image of Nixon sitting on an egg and clucking over his odious chick. .

      Reply
  18. fresno dan

    Donald J. Trump

    Verified account

    @realDonaldTrump
    Follow Follow @realDonaldTrump
    More
    I have accepted the resignation of Scott Pruitt as the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. Within the Agency Scott has done an outstanding job, and I will always be thankful to him for this. The Senate confirmed Deputy at EPA, Andrew Wheeler, will…

    12:37 PM – 5 Jul 2018
    =====================================================
    Saw it first on Zero Hedge, but its on the link I have to twitter as well….

    Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          I’m sure that the real reason for resigning was that he wanted to spend more time with his money.

          Reply
    1. RUKidding

      Too little, too late.

      Outstanding job at raping the environment & ripping off US Taxpayers & at massively sucking up to Trump. No wonder Trump loved him so much.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        Worry not, we get a coal lobbyist in our stocking for an early xmas gift as head honcho now, or as some might call it: an EPA (Extra Pruitt Accessory)

        Reply
        1. RUKidding

          No kidding. One swamp creature replaced with another one. Probably someone equally as crooked and rapacious but perhaps smarter. The latter wouldn’t be hard. So then we’ll really get screwed… and how.

          Wonder if Pruitt finally found some dupe to hire his wife. What’s he gonna do now that he’s offa the gravy train??? Rumor has that the Pruitt’s are in deep debt.

          Find out how the rest of the peasants live…

          Reply
          1. Skip Intro

            It may be more like a game show:
            Each contestant gets 6 months to stuff as much loot and ‘future consideration’ into their shopping cart as possible, then rush back out through the revolving door without any serious convictions, as it were.

            Reply
        2. fresno dan

          Wukchumni
          July 5, 2018 at 6:14 pm

          http://www.businessinsider.com/photos-america-before-epa-documerica-2017-10

          ironic that EPA began during the Nixon administration.
          I can remember as a kid in Fresno that the ONLY time one could see the Sierra was in the winter after a heavy rain. And when I was a kid one couldn’t hardly ever see the Security Bank building in downtown Fresno from Blackstone and Shields. After decades of being away I was gobsmacked when I happened to be at Blackstone and Shields that I could see that building clearly in JULY.

          Reply
          1. Wukchumni

            Kevin McCarthy is unfortunately our congressman, and a few times he’s sent his young charges to come and listen to us, and then completely ignore us, and the last time I went, I said something along the lines of:

            “It would be a great tragedy to have a Republican idea such as the EPA, to be dismantled under the auspices of this administration, and I expect Congressman McCarthy to make sure it isn’t.”

            My dad who would’ve been on Nixon’s enemy list, if Tricky Dick had only known of his existence, would have been horrified that his son used him as a bulwark against the Republican Party, ha!

            Reply
  19. lyman alpha blob

    This will be another vicious fight at a time when the nation is deeply divided and partisanly polarized.

    Ha! I was thinking more along the lines of an ineffective mewling followed by licking of wounds and an increase in dry powder supplies if the recent past is any guide.

    And that’s if Trump follows the beltway expectations with his nomination, which he often does not. If I were Trump, I’d nominate Susan Sarandon just to watch all the heads underneath the pink pussy hats explode.

    Reply
    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      nation is deeply divided and partisanly polarized

      Forty five percent of the country votes with the ‘none of the above’ party. What is polarized about that? The minor parties are fighting to stay above fifty percent combined.

      Reply
  20. BoyDownTheLane

    Having “‘autonomy and dominion over one’s body go to the very heart of what it means to be free” is just a re-statement of the same old, same old which neatly sidesteps the issue/question/reality that there are more than one heart involved. In loco parentis taken to the extreme, which is chilling in light of https://commission.itnj.org.

    Reply
  21. Lunker Walleye

    Kim Reynolds

    Does anyone know what Kim Reynolds relationship with David Jamison was? She fired him from the Iowa Finance Authority. There are stories out there which I do not want to repeat but am curious about.

    Reply
  22. redleg

    Re. Senators switching parties:
    Shouldn’t the same DNC rule that excludes progressives like Sanders also exclude GOP converts?
    Not that the DNC world ever enforce it that way or anything.

    Reply
  23. Lee

    But nearly every car accident involves some sort of unforeseen circumstance, and without the power to generalize, self-driving cars will have to confront each of these scenarios as if for the first time. [Emphasis added]

    Score one for the human brain.

    Reply
    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      This so feels like the hydrogen economy. But as far as I know that didn’t kill as many people. Can anyone disabuse me of the notion that this is the blowback from some DARPA initiatives that have gone straight to the marketing guys’ heads?

      Every time I wonder if there might be something to SDC, I take a favorite song and run it through a random language and back in Google translate.

      The label Artificial Intelligence really oversells the product. What they have is a breakthrough in pattern recognition. So far I’ve heard nothing about breakthroughs in making decisions with that data. Not that I should expect any of that to make it to the press release level.

      Tens of millions of self driving cars. All from competing corporations, based on rapidly evolving proprietary hardware and software. Software that is constantly upgraded in response to Marketing promises of better mileage, faster, more aggressive in tests against competing AIs, and sexier. Upgraded until your car is out of Support. Will lack of Support keep hacked cars off the road? Can some civil defense bozo accidentally just shut off the Interstate?

      Hilarious as the possibilities are, I don’t see it happening. I do expect to see self driving supply trucks soon at one of our upcoming bivouacs of empire.

      Reply
  24. Summer

    Re: Why Rebellions and Revolutions Don’t Work Very Well…

    There hasn’t been a narrative/mythology revolution. Maybe that has to take hold first?

    The way stories are spread has changed, ditribution methods, but not the overall messages about expectations and what “normal” people are “supposed” to desire.

    Reply
  25. Tom Stone

    That Ukelele playing “Heartist” is wonderful!
    I grew up having people try to feed my happy horseshit of many flavors and it always finds a well paying audience among a certain class.
    If you have the right look and can project sincerity and warmth you have what’s needed to succeed!
    A “Double Your Money back GUARANTEED Church of God” would sell.
    Guarantee all those that Tithe double their contribution in GOLD if they don’t make it to Heaven when they die.
    You’re welcome.

    Reply
    1. freedomny

      Stuff like this just makes me shake my head. This pseudo spirituality crap – that you’re right – a “certain class” buys into because they are completely isolated in their small little bubbles. Go out and volunteer at a soup kitchen and feed the homeless. Get a dog and train it to become a therapy dog. Anyone can dance around their livingroom – but these are people who want to dance around a livingroom WITH an audience. That’s the point – they need an audience.

      Reply
    2. RUKidding

      If you’ve ever watched the show Silicon Valley, they do a great send-up of this type of thing. One of the Head Honchos of a Google-type of business had his own personal – very greedy grifting suck up – “guru” who followed him around singing his praises constantly.

      Pretty funny. Sad thing is, I think a LOT of the stuff that they send up and satirize in that show actually happens. Some exaggeration but probably not much.

      Good show. Recommended.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        I was kayaking the Colorado River (the flatwater section below Hoover Dam) with a couple of Silicon Valley types and asked them how real to life the tv show was, and one told me, “maybe not out there enough, but close”.

        Reply
      2. freedomny

        I used to work at a private bank – City National Bank – that is mostly known in CA as the Bank to the Stars as a majority of Hollywood banks there.

        I was considered a good employee and in fact handled most of the loans on the east coast for the bank’s biggest client. What is interesting is that one of the few times I received a complaint…it was from a colleague who didn’t feel I was “sucking up” enough to her powerful, famous and well known clients. I was – in her words – being too “familiar” with them. What she really objected to is that I automatically assumed I was equal to these people. So even though I was taking work off her hands because her clients were so comfortable with me (and bringing in repeat business, referrals etc) – all that she could focus on was that I wasn’t a boot licker. And I knew the real problem was that she didn’t know how to be anything but a boot licker for her own survival/class status.

        I learned a lot about power, wealth, class and status from working at City National Bank.

        Thanks for the Silicon Valley recommendation…looking forward to watching it for some nostalgic laughs.

        Reply
  26. Summer

    Re: Revolutions/Rebellions …”I’m suspicious of claims that “Order is built on two types of social technology” (with abbreviations). Still, worth a read.”

    It is almost like saying you can have Huxley or Orwell, but you can’t choose neither.

    And there hasn’t been a revolution in narrative in hundreds, maybe thousands of years. Just changes in the way stories are distributed.

    Reply
    1. Jeff W

      It is almost like saying you can have Huxley or Orwell, but you can’t choose neither.

      I think Benjamin Studebaker is saying that.

      I would not have worded the typology as Studebaker does: Surveillance + Coercion/Biology + Sociology. I’d say behavior is managed either through aversive consequences or reinforcing ones. Reinforcing consequences are usually preferable—you’d rather give your money to a one-armed bandit in a casino than an actual bandit on a dark highway—but that doesn’t mean they lead to good results in the long-run—the casino’s business model is based on that—and it’s more difficult to exert effective counter-control against reinforcing consequences than aversive ones—you basically don’t want to.

      That’s what Peter Thiel recognizes when he talks about “honor[ing] the vast majority of fellow citizens and humans”—let’s give the vast majority of people enough reinforcement so that they don’t exert counter-control (e.g., revolt) against us. Of course, the better system would be “the vast majority of people” arranging the consequences they are subject to themselves (e.g., democracy) rather than relying on what Thiel refers to as “the enlightened self-interest of the billionaire class.”

      Reply
    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      “Facebook Thought” At what point, given modern corporate management, does the definitional consistency of the algorithm become the smartest, toughest actor in the room? How many members of any meeting feel superior to the algo? It probably doesn’t golf, of course.

      Reply
      1. Katsue

        To be fair, the “merciless Indian savages” bit is very definitely hate speech – an incitement to genocide.

        Reply
  27. ewmayer

    o “The history of Black Socialism in America” [The Nib] … Great material from progressive icon, Democrat Woodrow Wilson” — More on this theme, many readers may have seen this Talking Points Memo piece on Wilson’s purge of black federal workers when it first appeared. Bankster whore and virulent racist – quite someone to look up, was Mr. Wilson.

    o “How Wealth Reduces Compassion [Scientific American]. ‘Who is more likely to lie, cheat, and steal—the poor person or the rich one?'” — Balzac figured this out a couple centuries before the SciAm writer seems to have done, via his famous “behind every great fortune is a great crime” aphorism. IOW, how do you think most rich people got that way to begin with? Via some form of theft, even if it happens to be a legalized one in our oligrach-ruled modern world.

    Reply
  28. Lambert Strether Post author

    Readers, help!

    I have just spotted two foxes on the other side of the main road from the house. A few days ago, I spotted one running across the road with something the size of a pigeon in its mouth.

    Beautiful animals, and I have nothing against apex predators in principle, being one, but do I have to worry about the foxes attacking and killing the cat?

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      We had a family of 4 foxes living under our deck a few years ago, with free range cats in close vicinity, and nothing ever happened.

      Reply
    2. Jen

      I live in the woods with all manner of predators. In my experience (and supported by my neighbors game cam), non predator-savvy cats in our area tend to be disappeared by fisher cats and coyotes.

      The predator savvy cats are fine. I have a neighbor who lives half a mile away. His cat patrols my property regularly – fisher cats, fox, and coyotes be damned. If the cat is of a mature age, it’s probably figured out how to avoid getting eaten.

      Reply
      1. Darthbobber

        Fortunately, foxes (like cats) are sensibly cowardly predators, generally preferring prey that has not the slightest chance of hurting them even a little. Hereabouts the foxes and cats leave each other alone. A cats more likely to get in trouble by annoying a racoon.

        Reply
  29. marym

    Trump Administration in Chaotic Scramble to Reunify Migrant Families

    Faced with a court-imposed deadline to reunite families separated at the southwest border, federal authorities are calling in volunteers to sort through records and resorting to DNA tests to match children with parents. And they acknowledged for the first time Thursday that of the nearly 3,000 children who are still in federal custody, about 100 are under the age of 5.

    Records linking children to their parents have disappeared, and in some cases have been destroyed, according to two officials of the Department of Homeland Security, leaving the authorities struggling to identify connections between family members.

    Reply
  30. Jessica

    “Why capitalism won’t survive without socialism” (interview) [Eric Weinstein, Vox]

    “I believe that once our top creative class is unshackled from those impediments which are socially negative.”
    There is a tiny nugget of truth hidden in all this bull__t: Once the creative force that is currently trapped in the form of a dominator creative class that serves as top minions of our parasitic directing class is released and that creative force takes the form of truly free creators, then they will be able to create the good that the current deformed creative class can only pretend to.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *