Countering the Neocon Comeback
Leslie H. Gelb | President Emeritus and Board Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations
Lars Syll seems to have started a perpetual conversation when he posted a comment about Tony Lawson’s longstanding complaints about realism in economics. I don’t want to get dragged into what appears to be an endless, and pointless, debate … but.The Radford Free Press
MMT provides an organising framework for understanding the possibilities available to a currency-issuing government and the limitations that a currency-using government (such as a Member State of the Eurozone) faces. It allows us to understand in a deeply-grained way, the relationships between the treasury and the central bank and the relationship between the government sector in aggregate and the non-government sector.
No ‘Keynesian’ literature up until the 1990s (or beyond for that matter) provides the level of granularity that the MMT literature that we have developed over the last 20 years provides.…
A common misconception seen in the derivative literature on MMT (which is dominated these days by blogs, social media pages and tweets) seems to think that MMT says that currency-issuing governments are omnipotent and can solve any crisis just by spending. None of the main proponents of MMT over the last 2 decades has ever made statements to justify such a view.…
A nation with limited real resources has limited prospects for material welfare. That is the fact. The constraint is real and the infinite financial capacity the government might have in its own currency cannot alter that.
Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) provides no further understanding than that in these sorts of cases.…
It's obvious that economists aren't paying much attention to the obvious ...... (even now, not just for the past 200 years, or even all the way back to before Alexander the Great & Hannibal formally glorified the dynamic power of organization; not that it hadn't been documented before, for those with the wit & experience to discern it).
What could be more obvious?
“The hottest places in Hell are reserved for those who in time of moral crisis preserve their neutrality. He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.”
Most people have probably wondered, at one time or another, why national currencies gain wide acceptance. Why, for instance, do so many Americans choose to hold and transact in dollars rather than some other currency?...Heteconomist
I just came across a very interesting bit of research, A Guide to Paradigmatic Self-Marginalization: Lessons for Post-Keynesian Economists by Leonhard Dobusch and Jakob Kapeller; you can find it here.
I realize this is not going to be of interest to many of our readers, as it is a sort of “inside the halls of academia” analysis. What the authors do is to look at the strategies of editors running the top orthodox and the top heterodox journals in economics. Actually it might be a bit unfair to label these strategies, as the authors do not mean to imply that editorial policy knowingly pursues the strategies. Instead, the article looks at the ex post results.
In a nutshell, what they find is that the articles published in orthodox journals do not cite the research published in heterodox journals. NO SURPRISE THERE! But they also find some startling self-defeating practices pursued by heterodox journals....New Economic Perspecives
Economists admit "humans are .. a social species with interaction patterns that shape their behaviors."Well duh! Talk about what is obvious to everyone else!
That is the most sweepingly damning condemnation of the economics field ever heard on planet earth.Weepin' Buddha on a decline! That's a pathetic admission by economists, but at least they finally admit it, and that they've blithely ignored the near totality of other human knowledge for hundreds of years, and actually for far longer.
The plunging ruble is a signal for the Russian economy to adapt to new conditions, Russia’s Central Bank Chair Elvira Nabiullina said, following the surprise midnight decision to hike the key interest rate to 17 percent.…
“We must learn to live in a new reality, to focus more on our own resources to finance projects and give import substitution a chance,” the bank chief said in a televised address Tuesday.…
Nabiullina said that the Central Bank has special tools not to restrict development and growth within Russia, citing finance of investment projects, and small and medium-sized business and commodity exports as target industries.RT
Here's something I didn't know, from Jane Mayer's piece this week in the New Yorker:
There was a way to address the matter that might have avoided much of the partisan trivialization. In a White House meeting in early 2009, Greg Craig, President Obama’s White House Counsel, recommended the formation of an independent commission. Nearly every adviser in the room endorsed the idea, including such national-security hawks as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, and the President’s chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel. Leon Panetta, the C.I.A. director at the time, also supported it. Obama, however, said that he didn’t want to seem to be taking punitive measures against his predecessor, apparently because he still hoped to reach bipartisan agreement on issues such as closing Guantánamo.
We can't know what was going through his mind. But if this is true, it was one of his biggest errors in judgement. We are now living in a country that endorses torture and, at best, sees it as a political issue. And the world knows that if the US Government continues to use it, the people will back it. That has made us far more vulnerable and far less safe. We are an extremely powerful rogue nation that openly says we don't care about the rule of law or international norms of behavior.…
Back in the day people used to rhetorically ask: "Why do they hate us?" and people would either shrug their shoulders or sputter about how we are misunderstood. Today if someone asks the question, the ready answer is: Because the US is a barbaric superpower that will stop at nothing, not even torture. I can't argue against that.Hullabaloo
Hillary Clinton thinks our problem as a culture is that we don't tell the good stories about ourselves anymore. Since more than half the people in this country are torture advocates, I'm not sure how you make any case for our "goodness" anymore. Good luck with trying to paper this over.
So we're having a discussion about the new Management College at Bucknell. Traditionally resources are the main problem in the relation between business schools and economics departments. Often, as in the University of Utah, were I was before, there are issues related to the curriculum, in particular if the economics department is heterodox. In a liberal arts environment, the issues are not only associated to resources, but also to the teaching of what is assumed to be more practical knowledge or marketable skills in a milieu in which the main goal of education is to develop the essentials for civic life, where critical thinking and the ability of learning how to learn are at the center of the curriculum.
Is it possible? Or would the management goals undermine the liberal arts experience. Note that many think that liberal arts education is doomed anyway (an old topic by the way). The fear is that students cannot (given tuition costs) afford the luxury of an education for education's sake, but need 'practical knowledge,' that would be useful in the market (the market analogy was used freely in the faculty meeting). I have my doubts about how useful 'practical knowledge' is compared to a broad education that prepares citizens to think independently and critically about the world, but that's difficult to evaluate, I guess.It's only difficult to evaluate because of different standards based on different views of human being — homo economicus versus homo socialis — and different context — chiefly economic or chiefly social and political. This depends on whether one adopts methodological individualism and rational choice theory based on the philosophical assumption of ontological individualism or a system approach based on a complex web of variable networks and feedback, in which families are fundamental rather than individuals "rationally" pursuing maximum utility.
I think that the thrust of my book, The Price of Inequality, and a lot of other work has been to question the margin of productivity theory, which is a theory that has been prevalent for 200 years. A lot of people have questioned it, but my work is a renewal of questioning. And I think that some of the very interesting work that Piketty and his associates have done is providing some empirical basis for doing it. Not only the example that I just gave that if you look at the people at the top, monopolists actually constrain output. People who make the most productive contributions, people who make lasers or transistors, or the inventor of the computer, DNA researchers, none of these are the top wealthiest people in the country. So if you look at the people who contributed the most, and the people who are there at the top, they’re not the same. That’s the second piece.
A very interesting study that Piketty and his associates did was on the effect of an increase in taxes on the top 1 percent. If you had the hypothesis that these were people who were working hard and contributing more, you might say, ok, that’s going to significantly slow down the economy. But if you say it’s rent-seeking, then you’re just capturing for the government some of the rents.INET
Torture is not publicized domestically even as it is ‘understood’ by ‘knowing’ Congressional committees. But among the colonized, occupied people, through word and experience, CIAand military torture and violence against suspects, seized in neighborhood round-ups, is aweapon to intimidate a hostile population. The torture of a family member spreads fear (and loathing) among relatives, acquaintances, neighbors and colleagues. Torture is an integral element in spreading mass intimidation – an attempt to minimize co-operation between an active minority of resistance fighters and a majority of passive sympathizers.People often think of torture as applying exclusively or predominantly to interrogation. However, this is not the case. It is also used institutionally for control and also retribution.
My interview with Justin Santopietro. Great conversation. We cover politics, economics and the strength and failings of MMT. Justin is a contributor here and specializes in political commentary.
Dec 16. Interview with Justin Santopietro.
Economic hardship is being created by the foreign-controlled Bank of Russia's monetary policies, to spread mass discontent and facilitate a Maidan in 2015 to remove Putin. So claims Evgeny Fedorov, citing the colonialist Central Bank law, established after Washington's victory in the Cold War, and the system of fifth-column levers, methodically operated to steer the revolution.Fort Russ
2:59 Foreign banks own the production in Russia.
8:23 Putin has no authority over the Central Bank.
13:56 Bank of Russia is legally a foreign-controlled Central Bank.
15:21 Road map to Maidan 2015.
Multi-billion dollar lending to Ukraine by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank has stopped amid growing doubts among country board directors at the two international organizations that the Ukrainian Government can meet repayment commitments and loan covenants for 2015, or deliver on reform promises and budget financing targets tabled in Kiev this week.
For the first time since the change of government in Ukraine last February led to civil war in the east of the country, European bankers and multilateral fund sources acknowledge that Kiev is now likely to default on its international debts, and will seek a reorganization of its bond debt.
Ahead of Lipton’s visit to Kiev, William Murray (right), a spokesman for IMF managing director, Christine Lagarde,revealed that because of doubt that Ukraine can meet current IMF financing requirements, conditional lending by the Fund may be suspended, while a fresh bailout is pursued outside the Fund’s member states without conditions. According to Murray, “we need financing assurances, programs have to be funded, and it’s a 12 month horizon… it’s really important that the donor community step up and provide financing to Ukraine.”US and EU on the hook for Ukraine's bill, with tips to the oligarchs.
Following the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on CIA interrogation practices in the period following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, 51% of the public says they think the CIA methods were justified, compared with just 29% who say they were not justified; 20% do not express an opinion.
The new national survey by the Pew Research Center, conducted Dec. 11-14 among 1,001 adults, finds that amid competing claims over the effectiveness of CIA interrogation methods, 56% believe they provided intelligence that helped prevent terrorist attacks, while just half as many (28%) say they did not provide this type of intelligence.…
Overall, the public expresses the most doubt not about the CIA methods and program itself, but about the Senate committee’s decision to release its report: as many call the decision to publicly release the findings the wrong decision (43%) as the right decision (42%).Pew Research Center
How did we get to this point? Are NeoLiberals the ONLY humans that think that Sectoral Balances apply only to currency - and even then, only when they want them to, for personal gain?
Jerrit: "The short version is that he was questioned about the innocent victims of the CIA rendition program, some of whom died, and said he was more concerned with the guilty ones who we mistakenly let free.
I was stunned. Isn't there an opposite quote from either Jefferson or Franklin? I was thinking it's one thing to have such a thought if you're a bitter, spiteful person, but another level of brazen, insensitive sociopathy to say it on national TV."An honest answer isn't long in coming, if we actually are honest.
“It is more important that innocence be protected than it is that guilt be punished, for guilt and crimes are so frequent in this world that they cannot all be punished.
But if innocence itself is brought to the bar and condemned, perhaps to die, then the citizen will say, 'whether I do good or whether I do evil is immaterial, for innocence itself is no protection,' and if such an idea as that were to take hold in the mind of the citizen that would be the end of security whatsoever.”
― John Adams, The Portable John Adams
“Should any American soldier be so base and infamous as to injure any [prisoner]. . . I do most earnestly enjoin you to bring him to such severe and exemplary punishment as the enormity of the crime may require. Should it extend to death itself, it will not be disproportional to its guilt at such a time and in such a cause… for by such conduct they bring shame, disgrace and ruin to themselves and their country.” - George Washington, charge to the Northern Expeditionary Force, Sept. 14, 1775
Dick Cheney can't procure security by practicing treason.People like Cheney showing up in our history are a sure sign of cultural decline and cultural death. He'll be linked in our history the same way Nero & the fall of Rome were.
In a surprise announcement just before 1 a.m. in Moscow, the Russian central bank said it would raise its key interest rate to 17 percent from 10.5 percent, effective today. The move was the largest single increase since 1998, when Russian rates soared past 100 percent and the government defaulted on debt.
The news prompted an immediate gain in the ruble, with one-month ruble forwards up 1.6 percent in Asian trading.
There has been a recent shift amongst those predicting the collapse of the Japanese economy to switch away from the so-called "widowmaker trade" - short Japanese Government Bonds (JGBs) - towards forecasts of a collapse in the Japanese yen (pictured above). Although this may result from learning a lesson from roughly two decades of failed "JGB collapse" predictions, I suspect that this is the result of learning the wrong things. Being structurally short the yen is hardly the safest trade in the world either.…Bond Economics
The theft of our freedom, liberty, wealth and futures by the elites has become brazen to the point where they are not even trying to hide, in the least bit, what they are stealing from us.
Podcast for Dec 15.