Category Archives: Species loss

Dan Kervick: Why MMT is Not a Free Lunch

By Dan Kervick, who does research in decision theory and analytic metaphysics. Cross posted from New Economic Perspectives

A common criticism of Modern Monetary Theory is that it is a naïve doctrine of free lunches.

But this criticism misses the mark. MMT does focus a good deal of attention on the monetary system and the banking system, and on the operational mechanisms of public and private finance. But the whole point of analyzing and clarifying the monetary system is to help people see through the glare of the economy’s glittering monetary surface to the social and economic fundamentals that operate below that surface.


Obama’s Second Term Agenda: Cutting Social Security, Medicare, and/or Medicaid

By Matt Stoller, a political analyst on Brand X with Russell Brand, and a fellow at the Roosevelt Institute. You can follow him at

This is probably the least important Presidential election since the 1950s. As an experienced political hand told me, the two candidates are speaking not to the voters, but to the big money. They hold the same views, pursue the same policies, and are backed by similar interests. Mitt Romney implemented Obamacare in Massachusetts, or Obama implemented Romneycare nationally. Both are pro-choice or anti-choice as political needs change, both tend to be hawkish on foreign policy, both favor tax cuts for businesses, and both believe deeply in a corrupt technocratic establishment.

So while the election lumbers on like the death rattles of the wounded animal known American democracy, no one on either side is asking what the plan is for the next term.


America’s Broken Jobs Engine

There was rending of garments and wearing of sackcloth last week when the jobs report came in at only 80,000 new jobs created in June, the third disappointing report in a row. Pundits looked to find cheer despite the disappointing outcome. For instance, the number of hours worked rose, and 25,000 temps were added, which the optimists used to contend that employers saw more demand, but weren’t quite confident enough to make permanent hires. Citigroup’s Tobias Levkovich argued that more firms are planning to add jobs. The gloomsters pointed out that global manufacturing output is weakening, and new orders in particular are signaling contraction. And John Hussman noted (hat tip Scott):


Les Leopold: How Wall Street Drives Up Gas Prices

By Les Leopold, the author of The Looting of America: How Wall Street’s Game of Fantasy Finance destroyed our Jobs, Pensions and Prosperity, and What We Can Do About It. Cross posted from Alternet

Gasoline prices have been falling in recent weeks, but they’re still close to their five-year high after climbing steeply for three years. For every penny increase at the pump, $1.4 billion per year leaves our collective pockets, creating a drag on the sluggish “recovery.” Where does it go and what caused the price explosion at the pump?


Current Rate of Ocean Acidification Worst in 300 Million Years

Science has published a troubling but not entirely surprising article on the fact that the oceans are acidifying at the fastest rate in 300 million years. Actually, it could be the fastest rate over an even longer time period, but we can only go back with any degree of accuracy for 300 million years.

We first wrote about this issue in early 2007, and this section, which quoted Stormy from Angry Bear, will help bring readers up to speed:


The Financial Zoo: An Interview with Satyajit Das – Part II

Satyajit Das is an internationally respected expert on finance with over 30 years working experience in the industry. He is also a best-selling author and a regular contributor to leading finance blogs – including our very own Naked Capitalism. His new book ‘Extreme Money: Masters of the Universe and the Cult of Risk’ is out now and available from Amazon in hardcover and Kindle versions.

Interview conducted by Philip Pilkington, a journalist and writer based in Dublin, Ireland.

Part I of the interview can be read here.

Philip Pilkington: In the book you describe ‘money shows’ which are presentations where financiers try to flog their wares to the general public. It really struck me how sleazy these shows are; like something out a carnival sideshow. Salesmen — you know, proper ‘snake oil’ salesmen — stand in front of a crowd and whip them into a frenzy, convincing them that they can all get rich.

I almost found the whole thing quite funny – that is, until I realised that many of these people were just trying to make ends meet. It’s well-known that real wages have stagnated in the last 30 years. And at the same time the financial markets have greatly expanded. These ‘money shows’ seemed to me to be the meeting point of these two toxic phenomena. Perhaps you could talk a little about this?


Video: The Bankers as the Enemy of Humanity

This video is stunning, in that it is a very articulate and well done rant that will resonate with many readers. The fact that it appeared on Karl Denninger’s site (hat tip reader Scott, Denninger’s been very critical of the TBTF banks) is an indication that the level of frustration with the major banks’ refusal to take responsibility for wrecking the global economy and their efforts to preserve their ability to loot is moving to a new level.


Get Ready for TARP 2.0

Washington DC appears to be readying itself for a repeat of the TARP, namely, the passage of unpopular legislation to appease the Market Gods (and transfer even more income from ordinary Americans to the Masters of the Universe). It isn’t yet clear whether this drama will be played out via generating bona fide financial market upheaval or mere threat-mongering (the Treasury market seems pretty confident that well-trained Congresscritters will fall into line). But unlike the TARP, which was a classic example of well-placed interests finding opportunity in the midst of upheaval, this reprise is a far more calculated affair.


What to Make of Banks’ Hesitance to Lend to Environmentally Dubious Projects

The New York Times reports on a welcome development: some banks are getting cold feet about lending to projects that are legal but still produce environmental damage: After years of legal entanglements arising from environmental messes and increased scrutiny of banks that finance the dirtiest industries, several large commercial lenders are taking a stand on […]


Is BP Rejecting Skimmers to Save Costs?

Readers may recall that we harped on BP’s refusal to try to contain oil around the site of the leak, and later, its failure to do proper booming to contain and remove oil and so reduce the amount that came ashore (note that the US also failed abjectly as a second line of defense; the […]


Concerns About BP Relief Well Success Rise Along With Evidence of Chemical Damage, Spread of Oil

The Financial Times highlights a concern we had raised early on about the effort by BP to drill a relief well to stop the flow of oil into the Gulf. While many analysts have acted as if the BP forecast, that the well would be completed by August, there is no reason to assume the […]


BP: Gulf Resident Gives Behind the Scenes Account, Slams Cleanup and Safety

Gulf resident and fisherman’s wife Kindra Arnesen took advantage of the offer extended to her to visit cleanup sites and staff meetings: At any rate, I was invited the following week to go behind “enemy lines.” They gave me, of all people, security clearance to go into the base of operations meetings in Venice, Louisiana […]


It’s Official: Gulf “Top Kill” Fails

From the Washington Post, as foretold earlier by George Washington: BP Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles said the company determined the “top kill” method had failed after studying it for three days. The method involved pumping heavy drilling mud into a crippled well 5,000 feet underwater. “We have not been able to stop the flow,” […]


Why is the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill an Information Dead Zone?

It isn’t hard to see that the lack of decent information about how serious the Deepwater Horizon oil spill is is almost certainly due to obfuscation on the part of BP. The puzzling part is how BP can fantasize that it ultimately gains from this conduct, and why the Obama Administration tolerates it. The frustration […]