Archive for the ‘Globalism’ Category
Excellent article at Naked Capitalism: Free Trade and Unrestricted Capital Flow: How Billionaires Get Rich and Destroy the Rest of Us
tho I wonder if some who could benefit from reading this would quit too early because of finance-specific language? Take heart! read at least as far as this part:
There’s a straight line between “free-trade” — a prime tenet of both right-wing Milton Friedman thinking and left-wing Bill Clinton–Robert Rubin neoliberalism — and wealth inequality in America. In fact, if the billionaires didn’t have the one (a global free-trade regime) they couldn’t have the other (your money in their pocket). And the whole global “all your money are belong to us” process has only three moving parts. Read on to see them. Once you “get it,” you’ll get it for a long time…
And this part:
In its simplest terms, “free trade” means one thing only — the ability of people with capital to move that capital freely, anywhere in the world, seeking the highest profit. It’s been said of Bush II, for example, that “when Bush talks of ‘freedom’, he doesn’t mean human freedom, he means freedom to move money.” (Sorry, can’t find a link.)
At its heart, free trade doesn’t mean the ability to trade freely per se; that’s just a byproduct. It means the ability to invest freely without governmental constraint. Free trade is why factories in China have American investors and partners — because you can’t bring down manufacturing wages in Michigan and Alabama if you can’t set up slave factories somewhere else and get your government to make that capital move cost-free, or even tax-incentivized, out of your supposed home country and into a place ripe for predation.
Welcome to the Brave New World of pump and dump.
and another: When Capitalism only works for the wealthy
Maybe this all seems self-evident to me because I worked with the CETA program in 1974 etc and saw many who had convinced themselves that sitting on the corner was what they wanted to do, instead sign up for subsidized training for real jobs that had a future. (Most had to sit on a waiting list for 6 months, then show up daily for another 6 months of training before job placement. And they did it.)
The Economist May 12th 2012 Hope springs a trap
An absence of optimism plays a large role in keeping people trapped in poverty
THE idea that an infusion of hope can make a big difference to the lives of wretchedly poor people sounds like something dreamed up by a well-meaning activist or a tub-thumping politician. Yet this was the central thrust of a lecture at Harvard University on May 3rd by Esther Duflo, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology known for her data-driven analysis of poverty. Ms Duflo argued that the effects of some anti-poverty programmes go beyond the direct impact of the resources they provide. These programmes also make it possible for the very poor to hope for more than mere survival.
She and her colleagues evaluated a programme in the Indian state of West Bengal, where Bandhan, an Indian microfinance institution, worked with people who lived in extreme penury. They were reckoned to be unable to handle the demands of repaying a loan. Instead, Bandhan gave each of them a small productive asset—a cow, a couple of goats or some chickens. It also provided a small stipend to reduce the temptation to eat or sell the asset immediately, as well as weekly training sessions to teach them how to tend to animals and manage their households. Bandhan hoped that there would be a small increase in income from selling the products of the farm animals provided, and that people would become more adept at managing their own finances.
The results were far more dramatic. Well after the financial help and hand-holding had stopped, the families of those who had been randomly chosen for the Bandhan programme were eating 15% more, earning 20% more each month and skipping fewer meals than people in a comparison group. They were also saving a lot. The effects were so large and persistent that they could not be attributed to the direct effects of the grants: people could not have sold enough milk, eggs or meat to explain the income gains. Nor were they simply selling the assets (although some did).
by Charles Hugh Smith Of Two Minds November 3, 2011
Financialization has led to a “hothouse” global economy where the slightest disruption in central bank/Central State intervention will cause the sickly flowers to wilt and expire.
Of the three great financial truths that have been left unspoken for the past four years out of sheer dread, lest their mere mention collapse our economy, let’s start with the most obvious: if the Federal Reserve and Federal government ever crimped the dripline of “easing” and bailouts, America’s financial sector would promptly roll over and expire.
Does this strike you as a robust, flexible, transparent system? Of course not. Rather, it is a “hothouse” financial sector, one that needs constant injections and a carefully controlled environment just
to keep it alive.
And since the U.S. economy has been fully financialized, it is now dependent on financial machinations and skimming for its “growth,” profits and the debt expansion that fuels everything else, including the metastasizing Savior State, a gargantuan aggregation of an unaccountable National Security State with crony-capitalist cartels and a dependency-inducing Welfare State.
Without the debt conjured into existence by the Fed, Treasury and the financial sector, even the mighty multi-tenacled Savior State would quickly starve.
As a result of our dependence on financialization and exponential debt, our entire economy has become a weak, sickly “hothouse” economy which can only survive in a narrow band of temperature, debt injections and opaque manipulations of data and what’s left of the nation’s shriveled markets.
Once exposed to Nature, i.e. “wild” transparent markets that are allowed to discover the price of all assets naturally, then both the nation’s financial sector and its economy would implode.
The second great financial truth is that the financial sector has long been detached from the real economy. The real economy is for chumps; the “no-risk” skimming of monetary legerdemaine is the raison d’etre of the entire financial sector, a point brilliantly made in this “must read” essay posted on Zero Hedge: MF Global Shines A Light On Monetarism’s Incapacity To Enhance The Real Economy
Granted, some of the financialization schemes described are not that easy to grasp, but here’s the primary point:
That is why this system has to change at some point. It is exactly designed to be misleading, and the reason is so very simple. In any fractional system there will be a desire to amplify that fraction to the maximum degree. But in doing so, participants recognize that the process of maximization entails creating negative human emotions and perceptions since history is not really that kind to this manner of fractionalization. So the system has institutionalized, abetted by the very regulators that are supposed to cap fractions and leverage, these methodologies of hiding just how much financial entities have engaged in maximizing themselves under the cover of mathematical precision.
The Panic of 2008 was supposed to correct these excesses and remedy the fact that risks have not been accurately priced for decades. Yet the system has resisted every effort, simply settling for redefining the appearance of safety yet again. Somewhere in that mathematical pursuit of maximum fractions, the very goal of finance changed, as if traditional banking was no longer sufficient to support the pursuit’s ever-growing ambitions. So the financial economy has broken away from the real economy, using the ironic cover story of enhancing price discovery to the process of intermediation.
The fact that money is disconnected from the real economy never enters the consciousness of monetarists since money is always the answer. But make no mistake, the primary reasons for this global malaise are that money has lost its productive capacity and its proper place as a tool within the system.
The third great unspoken truth is that the conventional Status Quo– the financial punditry, the Cargo Cult of Keynesianism, the
incestuous academic community, the PhDs in the Fed and Treasury, the politico lackeys, the self-serving think-tanks of both empty ideologies (“which is better, Bud or Bud Light?”), not to mention the lobbyists, revolving door toadies and all the other hangers-on in New York and Washington– have no Plan B and certainly no Plan C. In other words, they are utterly clueless about what
to do when their abject and total failure becomes unavoidably obvious.
It is of course a crisis of self-service; nobody dares put their own status, wealth, power and perks at risk by thinking independently, much less speaking All That Cannot Be Spoken Lest This Sucker Implode.
But it is also a monumental lack of imagination; the lackeys and toadies cannot imagine any other Beast other than the one whose teat they have sucked all their lives. They live in mortal fear not of being ignorant or lacking in imagination–those deficiencies are too obvious to contest–but of the truth of the system’s increasing weakness and vulnerability being openly revealed.
America’s (and the world’s) financial sector is a fragile, sickly hybrid which will shrivel and expire the moment it is placed in the real, dynamic world. And because the global economy has become dependent on the slouching beast of financialization, it too is fragile and sickly, sensitive to the slightest perturbations and exquisitely vulnerable to any disruption of the constant life support offered by central banks and Central
It is neither capitalism nor socialism, but a twisted hybrid of the worst traits of each.
I happened to catch a brief interview on DW TV (German TV, with English announcers and subtitles) of one of the few ECB (European
Central Bank) officials with the integrity to resign in protest at the ECB’s blatant interventions in the bond market (buying Italian bonds to prop up a market that would implode the second ECB support vanished) and the central bank’s slippage toward money-printing as the answer to every problem.
This gentleman said that the ECB had to monitor the global economy 24 hours a day lest some tiny policy mistake bring the entire shaky edifice down.
Does that strike you as a description of a robust, adaptable, capitalist system based on transparancy and price discovery of assets? Of course not; it describes a hothouse economy, always on the ragged edge of collapse if its central bank and Central State minders make the tiniest error in its care.
For four precious years we have been force-fed nothing but lies, obfuscation, misdirection, fear-mongering, spin, sins of omission, misinformation, propaganda, false rumors and false hopes. The hothouse is slowly falling apart, and the sickly global financial sector is wilting. The financial media is heralding every “save” and every “rescue” with ever-shriller enthusiasm, lest a contagion of truth spread through the hothouse like a chill wind.
But we can be sure of one thing: those who know better have already sold, and it is now the job of the politico lackeys and the
toadies of the Mainstream Media to convince the bagholders to hold on and not sell, because “everything’s been rescued.” Distilled to its essence,
that is their one and only job: to convince you not to sell. That keeps the bid up for their Masters to sell into.
If history is any guide, the final collapse will be triggered by an apparently “controllable” event, something like the bankruptcy of MF Global. All eyes are on Greece’s referendum, apparently scheduled for December 4 or 5; but regardless of the vote, does a “yes” or “no” change that nation’s fundamental insolvency? No, it doesn’t.
Does the passage of some toothless law in Italy magically render that nation solvent? No, no, a thousand time no; none of these public-relations tricks can change the fact that all these nations are insolvent, the banks are insolvent, and even France and Germany are staggering under unprecedented burdens of debt.
The smart money sold in May, 2010, and the disbelievers among the Power Elite sold in May 2011, or perhaps August. Now those below the
smart money (but still above the dumb money) are sniffing the fetid hothouse air, where the rank, sweaty desperation of the minders is now everpresent.
So the apparatchiks and foot soldiers have been ordered to keep the dumb money from selling, until their “betters” can sell into a rumor-juiced bid. This explains the sudden jump in the S&P 500 on every rumor of rescue, as if an over-indebted and leveraged-26-to-1 financial system can be rescued with “belt-tightening” and ECB intervention with taxpayer money.
The entire euro “project” was a scam that enabled a vast new scale of financialization. Now that the “project” is falling apart, the bagholders who bought into the shuck-and-jive are nervous and fearful; has it all really been “saved”?
No, it hasn’t; it cannot be saved. The only “solution” available is to sell: sell now, while there is still a bid. Sell fast, sell hard, sell everything denominated in euros. That is precisely what the Status Quo fears the most: an awakening continent of bagholders and debt-serfs.
Anyone thinking the euro (and eurozone) can’t possibly go down until after the Greek referendum may well find their confidence in the
Status Quo’s “rescue” has been sorely misplaced.
500 Million Debt-Serfs: The European Union Is a Neo-Feudal Kleptocracy (July 22,
The Dynamics of Doom: Why the Eurozone Fix Will Fail (July 25, 2011)
The European Model Is Also Doomed (February 7, 2009)
When Debt-Junkies Go Broke, So Do Mercantilist Pushers (March 1, 2010)
Why the Euro Might Devolve into Euro1 and Euro2 (March 2, 2010)
Why the Eurozone Is Doomed (May 10, 2010)
Ireland, Please Do the World a Favor and Default (November 29, 2010)
Why The European Union Is Doomed (March 28, 2011)
Greece, Please Do The Right Thing: Default Now (June 1, 2011)
Why the Eurozone and the Euro Are Both Doomed (June 23, 2011)
Greece Is a Kleptocracy (June 28, 2011)
The Atlantic 10/17/11
The Occupy Wall Street movement continues to grow and has now spread across the world, motivating thousands to voice their anger at financial and social inequality, and in some places merging with existing anti-government protests. On Saturday, a global “Day of Rage” was observed, and demonstrations took place in more than 80 countries around the world. Protesters took their messages and anger to the streets from Hong Kong to Fairbanks, from Miami to London, from Berlin to Sydney, and hundreds more cities large and small. The demonstrations were largely peaceful — with the exception of some violent clashes in Rome. Collected here are some images from the past several days as the Occupy Wall Street message continues to resonate and grow. [50 photos]
Amy Lee Huffington Post 10/10/11
Occupy Wall Street got some Slovenian philosopher star power on Sunday, as Marxist academic Slavoj Zizek joined the movement.
“We are not destroying anything,” he said. “We are only witnessing how the system is destroying itself.”
Using the “Human Microphone” system, where protestors repeat back the words of the speaker so that others can hear, Zizek spoke for over an hour to the enthusiastic crowd, who whooped and cheered as he went on.
While in China, entertainment programming that depicts alternate reality and time travel has been banned, in the U.S., we have a different problem, according to Zizek.
“Here we don’t think of prohibition, because the ruling system has even oppressed our capacity to dream, ” he said. “Look at the movies that we see all the time — It’s easy to imagine the end of the world, an asteroid destroying a whole life, but you cannot imagine the end of capitalism. So what are we doing here?”
Zizek also advised the people to see the Tea Party as a sister movement — “They may be stupid, but don’t look at them as the enemy,” he said.
But he warned the protestors against succumbing to the excitement of the immediate events instead of keeping their eye on the prize: True social change.
Zizek is just the latest of the prominent figures who have come to lend their voice in Zuccotti Park, alongside activists like Michael Moore, writer Naomi Klein as well as actors including Mark Ruffalo, Susan Sarandon, and Roseanne Barr.
Also: Slavoj Zizek: The Delusion of Green Capitalism
Taibbi: “Orwellian” SEC May Have Been Hiding Big Wall Street Crimes
By Sarah Seltzer | AlterNet
By Naomi Klein / The Nation When you rob people of what little they have, in order to protect the interests of those who have more than anyone deserves, you should expect resistance.
By David Graeber
Anthropologist David Graeber argues that it is only with a general historical understanding of debt and its relationship to violence that we can begin to appreciate our emerging epoch. Here he begins to fill in our historical knowledge gap
By David DeGraw | Amped Status
By Leonard Cohen
Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
Everybody knows that the war is over
Everybody knows the good guys lost
Everybody knows the fight was fixed
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
Thats how it goes
Everybody knows that the boat is leaking
Everybody knows that the captain lied
Everybody got this broken feeling
Like their father or their dog just died
Everybody talking to their pockets
Everybody wants a box of chocolates
And a long stem rose
Everybody knows that you love me baby
Everybody knows that you really do
Everybody knows that youve been faithful
Ah give or take a night or two
Everybody knows youve been discreet
But there were so many people you just had to meet
Without your clothes
And everybody knows
Everybody knows, everybody knows
Thats how it goes
Everybody knows, everybody knows
Thats how it goes
And everybody knows that it’s now or never
Everybody knows that it’s me or you
And everybody knows that you live forever
Ah when youve done a line or two
Everybody knows the deal is rotten
Old black Joe’s still pickin cotton
For your ribbons and bows
And everybody knows
And everybody knows that the plague is coming
Everybody knows that it’s moving fast
Everybody knows that the naked man and woman
Are just a shining artifact of the past
Everybody knows the scene is dead
But theres gonna be a meter on your bed
That will disclose
What everybody knows
And everybody knows that you’re in trouble
Everybody knows what youve been through
From the bloody cross on top of Calvary
To the beach of Malibu
Everybody knows it’s coming apart
Take one last look at this sacred heart
Before it blows
And everybody knows
Everybody knows, everybody knows
Thats how it goes
Oh everybody knows, everybody knows
Thats how it goes
Wardak government spokesman Shahidullah Shahid says Dr. Aqeela Hekmat and two of her family members were killed in their vehicle. Aqeela was the head of gynecology and maternal health for neighboring Ghazni province.
A year-long military-led investigation has concluded that U.S. taxpayer money has been indirectly funneled to the Taliban under a $2.16 billion transportation contract that the United States has funded in part to promote Afghan businesses.
By Glenn Greenwald
Al Qaeda is always to blame, even when it isn’t, even when it’s allegedly the work of a Nordic, Muslim-hating, right-wing European nationalist.
The United States has wasted some $34 billion on service contracts with the private sector in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to a study being finalized for Congress.
The two rulings are just the latest from an an appeals court that has consistently sided with the Obama Administration in cases related to Guantanamo Bay detainees
The Pentagon which is fighting yesterday’s war, funding military operations that don’t address the fact that we are in the 21 century currency war. It has nothing to do with the land based war; it has nothing to do with missiles, rockets, and submarines. It is about the currency.
The youngsters were working in a field in Helmand province when they were hit by “stray bullets” from an Apache gunship which was targeting the Taliban.
One upshot of the debt-ceiling debate is that politicians might finally be ready to trim the outrageously bloated U.S. military budget. That’s the story, anyway, being told by the Washington Post
Post Carbon Institute June, 2011
Last weekend, the New York Times published a series of articles that — through leaks from EIA officials and natural gas industry insiders — corroborated the findings of our landmark report, Will Natural Gas Fuel America in the 21st Century?: Don’t believe the hype about plentiful U.S. natural gas supplies.
Of course, the controversy over natural gas is far from over, and PCI continues to provide energy realism and literacy to the debate. This week, PCI Fellow David Hughes published an analysis of two contradictory studies assessing the greenhouse gas emissions of shale gas vs. coal. The conclusion? Shale gas is worse for the climate over a 30-50 year timeframe.
From hot air to deflating (economic) balloons… We were blown away to receive nearly 600 orders in the span of 12 hours for Senior Fellow Richard Heinberg’s newest book, The End of Growth: Adapting to Our New Economic Reality. In the video above, Richard Heinberg, author of “The Party’s Over” and leading peak oil educator, talks about the future of our ‘growth’ society.