Sovereignty – betrayals and lies.

Today the art of politics is to take public concern,  anger or bigotry and create a channel for it so that like flood water you can destroy one place or group while protecting another. Mr Cameron and his flag waving concern to restore Britain’s lost sovereignty is a case in point. The Conservative party has, for years, loved to hate Europe. Their rallying cry, now, is to claim back sovereignty from those johnny foreigners in Brussels.

Imagine the righteousness of reclaiming what was lost. Like a modern Henry V riding out to meet the dastardly French on the field of Agincourt.  And yet…

This concern for sovereignty rings very hollow to me. Because whatever sovereignty this nation has ceded to Europe, and it has, it is little compared to that which we gave away without a murmur, without discussion to what is now the WTO (World Trade Organization).  And no one, ever, talks about offering the people a referendum about that do they?

When Britain signed the Uruguay Round of the GATT agreement (The General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs) it set us on a course to help create the WTO and to give it powers over us. Do people even know what powers it has? The WTO and the agreements which it oversees are by far the most powerful and far reaching constraints on what we can and cannot do economically and in some ways politically as well. We gave away far more of our sovereignty to the WTO than we have ever given to Europe. But no Conservative, nor Labour nor LibDem will ever say so.

I suggest that David Cameron’s’ motivation in Europe is not about sovereignty. If it was he would be arguing to repatriate powers given to the WTO first and foremost. But he is not. His concern with Europe lies elsewhere.  The answer, I suggest, is easy to see if we just look at what powers he mentions when speaking about Europe. Always on his lips and those of his ministers are labour laws. He mentions the need for the UK to be able to be more ‘flexible’. We all know what that means.

I think what Cameron and his ilk hate about Europe are those few remaining aspects of the European Experiment which are to do with enforcing minimum standards and protections for working people – the legal underpinnings of what is often called the Social Market model. The model largely followed by Germany after WWII, which sought to mix and temper the market with rules and protections for labour. This model is the only challenger in the Western world to the Anglo-Saxon, Free-Market model of Reagan-Thatcher, London-Washington fame.

I do not believe Cameron has any great concern for the supremacy of British sovereignty except where appealing to it can generate jingoistic anti-European sentiment. His aim is to channel that  sentiment and use it to undermine the ability of organized labour to use the European rules to stem the  pressures for lower wages, longer working hours, easier hiring and firing, fewer regulations of any kind but especially concerning working conditions and appeals to tribunals as well as pension rights and any sort of collective bargaining. All these things find support of some kind from Europe. The ‘sovereignty’ Cameron  and Co. want to reclaim, is the ability to destroy all those social market restrains on the ‘Free-market’.

Cameron has zero interest in reclaiming any powers from the WTO. Has anyone ever heard anyone from any party suggest there was anything wrong at all with the WTO and its powers over us? Cameron, like virtually all of our present political class, is very happy to be bound by its rules and decisions made by unelected, anonymous ‘panels’ behind closed doors sealed from any direct democratic oversight, scrutiny or appeal. Decisions  about what support a nation can and cannot give to its own industries, what tariffs it may and may not set on its trade, what environmental considerations may or may not be allowed or be outlawed on the grounds of being non-trade distortions.  NONE of these does he have any wish to question, raise, or have anyone discuss, let alone to reclaim any of these powers to the sovereign nation and its parliament and people. NONE. A referendum on the sovereign powers ceded to the WTO? An in/out vote for the people? The pigs will not fly on that one because they are already the ones in charge.

This is about advancing and achieving a familiar free-market agenda via undermining those powers which the ‘Free-market’ agenda does not like, like labour laws and rights, and leaving safely remote from sovereign, democratic control those things it does like.

And for those who think this push will falter because our European ‘partners’ will not allow  a la carte membership, I would not be so sure. There are huge forces within Europe which have steadily transformed the European experiment from something with a social dimension into a corporate charter and playground, who agree with Cameron. Think about how many labour and pension rights are already being rolled back in those parts of Europe where economic conditions ‘require’ them to be.

I think Cameron’s speech was not greeted with howls of anger and cries of ‘perfidious Albion’ because many of those European leaders would be most interested to have the UK spearhead a questioning and re-writing of some of those remaining social market aspects of Europe. I think the discussions will not be about IF such a re-writing should be allowed for the UK but how it could be fed into Europe’s own discourse in such a way that it can be applied more widely.

The real surrender of our sovereignty was and is to the WTO and the plethora of trade agreements which it oversees. Has any party mentioned this? Would any admit it? Would any suggest, let alone support a referendum on that loss of sovereignty? Or are they all very happy for those aspects of sovereignty and democratic control to be removed from us completely and without discussion? I suggest this is the real discussion we should be having. But I believe we will not have it and that fact is, for me the measure and proof that our current political leadership has betrayed us and sold us.

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240 Responses to Sovereignty – betrayals and lies.

  1. bill40 January 25, 2013 at 1:23 pm #

    Golem,

    You really do have a knack for articulating what I’m thinking. Neo liberals always have an ulterior motive. The best recent example was the 5.2% rise in benefits. I wrote at the time does this sound like the sort of thing an austerity party would do, why have they done this?

    The answer came in January this year with a slew of articles by IDS slating the skivers for having benefits rising faster than wages. Even with the inflation busting 5.2% rise it still took the chicanary of carefully chosen dates to make this assertation. All out assault on the automatic stabalisers is now in full swing.

    I think the election of Hollande (socialist, boo, hiss) put a spanner in the German works and Cameron has taken the mantle. He, like Blair, is typically described as a belife free zone, well nothing could be further from the truth.

    They believe in elites and the 1%. Their agenda could hardly be clearer. Kiss ass, get rich and screw the people.

  2. Pat Flannery January 25, 2013 at 1:35 pm #

    The first step in the Thatcherization of Europe? You are undoubtedly right. Unfortunately Ireland, which is a favorite “sovereign” puppet of the multinationals, will be an echo chamber for Cameron and the City of London. Good call.

    • Golem XIV January 25, 2013 at 1:47 pm #

      If I could break in to one place in this world it would be Dame Street.

      • Pat Flannery January 26, 2013 at 11:10 am #

        I would hold the flashlight for you.

      • OpenThePodBayDoorHAL February 1, 2013 at 7:00 am #

        In case people haven’t seen this, a prophetic interview with Sir James Goldsmith in 1994 when all of this was foretold: Uruguay Round, GATT etc
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4PQrz8F0dBI

        • backwardsevolution February 3, 2013 at 3:28 am #

          Open – Sir James Goldsmith hit the nail on the head. You just don’t end up with a society if you ship all the jobs overseas.

          I’ve posted Ross Perot’s speech re NAFTA on here before (where he talks about “the giant sucking sound”), but just in case you haven’t seen it, he pretty much parrots what Mr. Goldsmith was saying. The video is just 3 minutes long.

          They were both right.

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KhogWKlm-c0

  3. simoncz January 25, 2013 at 2:01 pm #

    Excellent insight. These elites still believe that the threat of starvation is the best way to control the masses.

  4. steviefinn January 25, 2013 at 2:29 pm #

    Japan seem to be ahead of the pack ( as in a group of ravening beings devoid of any qualities that make human beings worthwhile ) in as much as their finance minister Aso ( short for asshole I presume) delivered these words to those who were mostly responsible for his countries prosperity, before cash registers in human form screwed it all up :

    “Heaven forbid if you are forced to live on when you want to die. I would wake up feeling increasingly bad knowing that [treatment] was all being paid for by the government,” he said during a meeting of the national council on social security reforms. “The problem won’t be solved unless you let them hurry up and die.”

    Saying what all his like, at the moment are only thinking ?

    http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2013/01/25/japa-j25.html

  5. Diogenis January 25, 2013 at 3:51 pm #

    They have total control of the state and private media.Murdoch,Berlusconi,Bertelsmann,Springer,Vivendi..in the USA,japan and ofcourse russia,china it is not very different.

    They have learned a lot about propaganda & modern media during the last hundred years.
    And they know how to pass “their truth” and thir definitions of everything slowly to the masses.

    The only “sovereignity” they care about is the sovereignity of their class.During the last 1-2 years they speak more clearly about what they really want.As Merkel speaks about a “market-conforming democracy”
    http://www.spd.de/profil/4173/blog/merkels-unwort-des-jahres-die-marktkonforme-demokratie-der-kanzlerin

    and Draghi about that the “european welfare state has come to its end”
    http://www.presseurop.eu/en/content/article/1555361-draghi-buries-european-social-model

    while the japanese finance minister says “hurry up and die” to the old people..just wait what we will hear soon.

    This fear mongering nationalism of Cameron is just the beginning.

    • Golem XIV January 25, 2013 at 4:17 pm #

      Diogenis,

      Thank you for the links. I am due to give an interview to Telesud in a couple of weeks. The Draghi remarks will be very uselful.

      • Diogenis January 25, 2013 at 4:55 pm #

        You are welcomed David.I have collected a lot more of demasking comments from our so called “elites”.

        My problem is that I see history repeating.As time passes by they speak as openly about their madness as the insane “elites” 80 years back.

        edit

        Max Frisch,The Fire Raisers

        ^^

        Most of you have read this book in your youth for sure.But maybe the time has come to read it again.

      • Joe R January 26, 2013 at 11:22 am #

        Draghi didn’t say that. He didn’t use such extreme langauge.

        He did not use the word ‘dead’ – that is an obvious and deliberate mistranslation.

        In Latin based languages dead is mort / morto or somthing similar from the same latin root as the english word mortal. I note your link is double translated Italian to French to English and both translations come from blogs.

        This is a deliberate mistranslation which seeks to polarise opinion as far I as I can tell.

        Dragahi said this -

        Draghi: “Il modello sociale europeo è superato
        servono liberalizzazioni e riforma del lavoro”

        http://www.repubblica.it/economia/2012/02/23/news/draghi_modello_sociale_europeo-30403432/

        ‘Superato’ is the key word – it roughly means superseded or outdated.

        No death is mentioned here in the English language version – Wall Street journal version – http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203960804577241221244896782.html

        Those two sources I have linked are written by journalists, properly translated and were included in the print editions of very large circulation newspapers.

        • Joe R January 26, 2013 at 11:29 am #

          While we are on the general topic of inaccuracy here is something fresh from the Guardian on libel and the “abusive, anonymous blogger in his underpants”.

          http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2013/jan/24/google-facebook-twitter-eu-privacy

          • Golem XIV January 26, 2013 at 11:58 am #

            That could be interesting.

            You do have to be really careful about libel and even more so of defamation. One slip when dealing with big companies and you leave yourself open to losing everything.

            Luckily I tend to wear more than just my underpants. Maybe that helps.

          • Joe R January 26, 2013 at 4:38 pm #

            On libel – I believe from basic tort law courses and exerience the ones you must avoid are those which are actionable without proving damages – usually calling a specific person or persons corrupt or a prostitute. Also I think calling someone gay ( or lesbian ) is still an actionable libel.

            Innuendo where the intent is clear can can be a libel too so comments don’t even need to be direct to commit it.

            Opinion is not usually acepted as a defence in the UK/Ireland.

            There are some more important points probably, my memory isn’t complete on the topic – so don’t trust me completely here.

            The most accurate and simple way to read up on this are via concise tort law study notes that law students use – a decent sized library should have a copy of such a little book. What have to read to get a very good overview will probably only run to 2 or 3 pages – which you could easily then photocopy for just a few shillings. Lawyers are expensive afterall and I don’t like giving them work if it can be avoided.

        • Golem XIV January 26, 2013 at 11:53 am #

          Hello Joe,

          Thank you for the clarification and the WSJ link. I will make sure I quote the ‘obsolete’ translation of what he said.

          It is less visceral than ‘dead’ but in terms of what he meant, it does amount to the same thing doesn’t it?

          • Joe R January 26, 2013 at 4:53 pm #

            On Draghi,

            He doesn’t trade in specifics and his comments are reasonably nuanced reflecting the complexity of commenting on an EU wide basis so no, I don’t fully know what he means exacly. But he isn’t making any simplistic black and white declarations to be applied EU wide, of that I am sure.

            Just skimming through the interview linked below I picked out one piece (also below) that seems like fair comment to me and has a strong touch of social justice about it. He is refering to Spain for sure but I don’t know which other countries he is trying to include in the comment.

            http://blogs.wsj.com/eurocrisis/2012/02/23/qa-ecb-president-mario-draghi/

            “WSJ: Which do you think are the most important structural reforms?

            Draghi: In Europe first is the product and services markets reform. And the second is the labour market reform which takes different shapes in different countries. In some of them one has to make labour markets more flexible and also fairer than they are today. In these countries there is a dual labour market: highly flexible for the young part of the population where labour contracts are three-month, six-month contracts that may be renewed for years. The same labour market is highly inflexible for the protected part of the population where salaries follow seniority rather than productivity. In a sense labour markets at the present time are unfair in such a setting because they put all the weight of flexibility on the young part of the population.”

          • John Souter January 27, 2013 at 10:20 am #

            It is not libellous to say (calumny; slander or write; libellouse) that all lawyers are thieves. To name either directly or indirectly any Lawyer specifically requires specific proof and contextual integrity.

          • Joe R January 27, 2013 at 10:43 am #

            Yes John – identification is key. Though painting groups of peole broad strokes I think is alienating too.

            I presume you have heard that joke about lawyers – that it’s the 99% that give the other 1% a bad name? Slight overstatement, but funny. It always makes me chuckle.

          • steviefinn January 27, 2013 at 4:41 pm #

            Perhaps that nice chap Mr. Draghi is worried about the increasing evidence that as in the false Arab spring, it tends to be young unemployed graduates that are first to man the barricades.

            Typical lawyer comment assuming that people in Ireland can afford to pay a heating bill that would make it possible for them to be able to sit around in their underpants, like those very well paid & no doubt wonderful guardians of justice are easily able to do.

            My kind of underpants :)

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=wMtZGMHNNb8

          • Joe R January 27, 2013 at 11:38 pm #

            If you built your house properly then the heating bill shouldn’t be much of an issue!

            http://www.phai.ie/

          • steviefinn January 28, 2013 at 1:22 pm #

            That would be wonderful Joe, but I am afraid not possible, I did once have one similar.

        • Diogenis January 26, 2013 at 5:45 pm #

          So what is the difference between “obsolete” and saying that something has “come to its end”?

          This word twisting is more interesting for lawyers than for anything else.

          And I will tell you why:Democracy=social network aka “welfare state”.

          Without a state social network democracy is NOT POSSIBLE.This is what every sane person will tell you.This is even written in the constitutions of most democratic countries.

          • Golem XIV January 26, 2013 at 6:02 pm #

            Joe R,

            Thnanks for teh info on tort. I shall look that up. I feel I am often less informed that I should be about where the line in the danger line is.

            As for the difference between the market for tthose already in and thoe young trying to break in – I was told exaclty this by colleagues in the televivion buseinss when I was in Italy.

            Thay said exactly what you have described. It had got to the point for them that they were considering leaving Italy even though they really did not want to.

            My worry, however, is that under-cover of doing something to rid the labour market of what are truely restrictive abuses, they will also attack a lot of good and often vital protections which they will lump together as if they were all ‘restrictiuve abuses’.

          • Joe R January 27, 2013 at 11:05 am #

            That is a fair worry I would say. These types of comments have often been hijacked in the past by people with agendas.

            I don’t have time to look at Draghi’s comments and actions in full but I think from the interview his comments seem to be coming from a center right position and are based on a normal economics take of a complex situation. I don’t see the nasty agenda in the above, but saying that, I haven’t looked that hard.

            Coming back to Spain in relation to all of this, the generation of young people who are trapped by the construct of low income flexible contracts that Draghi mentioned above are called in Soanish the ‘mileuristas’ , the ’1000 euro-ers’ more or less, and here is a piece from El Pais on their situation in English.

            http://www.presseurop.eu/en/content/article/1619071-thousand-euros-dream-salary

            My feeling is Draghi would like to liberate this educated younger generation from the low income trap they are in and free their spending potential. The young spend more than the old, because they need to a lot of the time like for example to have kids and create a new generation. This is a plain and simple economic fact.

            It is also has a moral aspect for him. This is why it is interesting for me that he speaks about all of this in terms of “fairness” not economics.

          • Joe R January 27, 2013 at 12:22 pm #

            superato (supeˈrato) = “outmoded”

            This is an analysis.

            Because something (in this case) is figuratively obsolete or outmoded does not mean it has come to an end of its useful life. They are not mutally exclusive ideas. The outmoded model in this case can be altered to make it relevant. Some thing which is obsolete for its intended use may have another use in another place. It is not at an end strictly.

            I have said it before, it is polarising langauge and I feel it prevents true debate.

            The European Social model which is applied differently in every country in Europe has a good deal of its origins in the earlier part of the 20th century. The world has moved on since and problems are appearing so perhaps a rethink is in order. I think a non polarised debate about this is a good thing. That is my position.

          • Joe R February 15, 2013 at 4:34 am #

            My translation comes from an Italian Dictionary, so take a hike.

            Draghi has no direct power in individual member states. Plus what is wrong with perhaps suggesting it is? Perhaps it is as he spoke about socially unjust . Did you actually read what he said before you laid into me here? Yes or no ?

            You know who set the retirement age at 65? Bismark. You know why? Because people didn’t live that long normally. Things have moved on. Perhaps a review is in order. Perhaps some things are unfair?

            So can you take your shrill intolerance and go stuff it where the sun doesn’t shine please.

        • Shahar Kazara February 13, 2013 at 1:36 pm #

          Joe R January 27, 2013 at 12:22 pm #
          superato (supeˈrato) = “outmoded”

          Superato means overrated! Not outdated, obsolete or outmoded Joe R !
          So when the chair of the ECB states that the European Social Model is Overrated then he only means one thing. Off with its heads !
          You may think that this model is passe but i must remind you here that it is based on Democratic values of post war consciousness and what Draghi states is that we must loose these democratic approaches to labour life as they stand barrier to free markets and their objectives. Draghi, Merkel, Cameron and the likes are calling indirectly Democracy Superata (overrated) and the living proof of that is Greece today.

          • Shahar Kazara February 13, 2013 at 1:56 pm #

            You can translate the word as you like or suits you but Draghi’s statement is a direct call to bending democratic values and models that have built the European idea after WW2. His statement was done a year ago. Look at what his and his friends (Merkel, Rajoi, etc) ideas about the european social model have done a year later (today) in Spain, Greece (where they have been and continue being applied to the max), Italy et. So look at the rise of Fascism all over Europe which, not only to me, is a result of the idea that the European Social Model is “Superato”!

  6. KathyP January 25, 2013 at 4:30 pm #

    “Today the art of politics is to take public concern, anger or bigotry and create a channel for it so that like flood water you can destroy one place while protecting another.”

    How well stated! I would replace the word “place” with “group” to characterize US politics.

    • Golem XIV January 25, 2013 at 5:11 pm #

      Yes, that is more accurate. I shall change it now. Thank you.

      • Johnny Appleseed January 27, 2013 at 4:40 am #

        You might consider as well replacing the word ‘take,’ as in ‘take public concern,’ with ‘manufacture,’ as in ‘manufacture public concern,’ a la Machiavelli’s observations on the activities and purposes of princes.

  7. backwardsevolution January 25, 2013 at 7:38 pm #

    Golem – very, very well put! Thank you.

    From James Quinn:

    “Government, at the behest of the owners, has been steadily assuming more power and control over the everyday lives of citizens who just want to be left to live their lives. Government has used propaganda, fear and misinformation to convince large swaths of the populace to voluntarily sacrifice their freedom and liberty for the promise of safety and security. Warrantless surveillance, imprisonment without charges, molestation by TSA agents, military exercises in cities, drones in our skies, cameras watching our every move, overseas torture, undeclared wars, cyber-attacks on sovereign countries, and now the threat of disarmament of the people have all contributed to the darkening skies above. A harsh winter lies ahead.”

    Too many people TRUST their government; they think the government is their friend and will look out for them. A few years back, because of my own indoctrination, I know I struggled with wrapping my mind around the fact that government would ever hurt the people. But the more I read, the more I heard, it slowly became obvious to me that they were not on our side. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.

    “It is a sin to believe evil of others, but it is seldom a mistake.”

  8. backwardsevolution January 25, 2013 at 9:40 pm #

    Engineered Slavery: Do you think slavery died in the 1800s? Think again. Economic hitmen (lenders) have successfully enslaved-by-debt everything from nations, entire industries, state and local governments and nearly every person on the planet. And they bought your servitude with money they never had, they simply created it out of thin air. Even if an individual doesn’t have any bank financing or credit cards, they still pay the private Federal Reserve through inflation and income taxes.

    As author of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, John Perkins, would say: the time has come for the banks to collect their “pound of flesh” from average citizens by way of higher taxes, less social services, and taking your pensions — “austerity.” For an enlightening explanation of how economic hitmen work their dark magic please watch this video.”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=37Dvt2EqXF4&feature=player_embedded

  9. backwardsevolution January 25, 2013 at 9:44 pm #

    Ian Fletcher on “Why Free Trade Doesn’t Work” – food for thought:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xWZkHozvDfM

  10. adams January 25, 2013 at 10:41 pm #

    yes the UK has two straight jackets on ,not just one . So does the EU Empire have impositions from the NWO . however the WTO is not the one imposing ethnic cleansing on the suicidally tolerant English . Cameron of course is a EU fanatic and all this posturing is to try and stop his skittish followers defecting to UKIP. The FPTP see-saw will ensure that the Liebour lot take up the motheaten reins at the next GE .
    However Britain does not have a seat on the WTO committee unlike Norway which I believe does . We are represented by the EU Empire . Snookered on all fronts .
    LiblabCon are the enemy now . The WTO will have to wait its turn !

  11. Pat Flannery January 26, 2013 at 11:52 am #

    I recently disabled my brower’s “cookies” and put everything on “prompt” so that I could smoke out the myriad creepy crawlies hiding on the right-hand side of virtually every web site nowadays. Try it. It will scare you.

    Our personal browsers now combine into one massive global bugging system. It is a whole new spy industry as huge and as hidden as dark matter.

    Our governments and their corporate masters discovered that by placing myriads of these “cookies” on our computers they could have a global spy network with which they can know more about us than we could ever know about ourselves because individually we can only see a tiny piece of the whole picture.

    How are we going to fight that? Personally I take the time to block every single “cookie” except those I approve on a trusted site. It’s maddening but I don’t know any other way.

    • Johnny Appleseed January 27, 2013 at 4:43 am #

      Disabling cookies helps somewhat, but logs of your IP address plus the IP addresses you visited are created on computers other than your own every time you surf.
      A VPN is your best chance for anonymity, but don’t bet your life on one.

      • Pat Flannery January 27, 2013 at 12:34 pm #

        Thanks Johnny.

        Questions: (1) does deleting cookies on exit ensure that there is no legitimate spyware left on my computer after each browsing session? (2) is my IP address any good to them as DHCP allocates a different IP address each time I log onto my ISP?

        The reason I put cookies on “prompt” was to see the domain names of the trackers. They now need my input which forces them to show their faces. It is amazing how many there are operating on a typical news or ecommerce site.

        Virtually every web site is now an e-commerce site as most are allowing operators like google ads or other “advertisers” to use pooper-scoopers-like cookies.

        As I understand it VPN cannot be used for general browsing, just fixed point-to-point communication. As VPN require a fixed IP address, does a basic LAN with DHCP and NAT create a real firewall or just a sham?

        • Johnny Appleseed January 30, 2013 at 2:01 am #

          There are two types of cookies; standard and Local Shared Object super cookies (Flash). Worth your time to research them.
          Cookies aren’t software, just bits of tracking and behavorial information. Deleting cookies has nothing to do with executable programs such as viruses and spyware.
          Web software reads your cookies and responds with appropriate ads, etc.
          DHCP doesn’t really protect you – your ISP logs which addresses are assigned and when. But it can reduce targeted ads.
          VPNs enable you to browse by proxy, where the other end of your connection is the browser.
          There is no ‘real firewall vs sham’ dichotomy, rather it’s a spectrum, ranging from fully secure (with little functionality) to completely unsecure (maximum function, maximum risk).

          • Wirplit January 30, 2013 at 11:19 pm #

            I loaded a free program called Ghostery.. shows up who is tracking your movements. You can then choose to block them if you dojt appreciate them. Google alone has about a dozen trackers… very surprising at times how many are doing it..

            nb not all are bad..the Flattr button comes up for example, but you can leave them unblocked.

  12. Buck Turgidson January 26, 2013 at 6:51 pm #

    From the comments on this blog I can see that the readers are a high minded bunch interested in the common good. Like the Golem they are for people being paid a fair wage, working in a safe environmentally friendly workplace. I’m sure that many readers of this blog prefer to buy locally and recycle responsibility.

    Here’s the problem with that outlook. Millions like me enjoy buying cheap stuff from China. I have a contact in China Mr “Forever Honest” who looks after my electronic needs. With Pay Pal and Mr Forever Honest store I can,with just one click of the mouse I get a great deal on whatever I’m looking for. Sooooooooooo.. It’s not the WTO! …………it’s me it’s me it’s me Oh Lord standin in the need of prayer. Not my brother not my sister but it’s me Oh Lord standin in the need of prayer.

    • Diogenis January 26, 2013 at 9:39 pm #

      Ofcourse it is you,me and all of us.We were born into this.Before we were able to make our first steps as a baby we were looking for cheap,chinese made toys our aunt or uncle brought us every time they came to the family meetings.

      Now what?Don´t we have any right to discuss about what is wrong or what to do for the future?What is your idea,your proposal?Doing nothing untill all of us live on some mountain making our own ecological cleared,certificated clothes,mobil phones and TV´s without buying stuff made by anyone working for 1$/day in the 3rd world?

      This sounds much like saying “better we do nothing”.

      In the end most of us already or sooner or later will not have the money left for buying even the cheapest electronic gadgets from anywhere.In most developed countries the rents for a roof above your head,taxes,food prices and energy costs will rise at a degree where we will spent almost all of our money for these things.Not even a cent will be left for the newest iphone.

      Maybe we should wait untill this happens before we care?

    • Golem XIV January 26, 2013 at 9:57 pm #

      Buck you are a sinner! One of my favourite ones as it turns out.

      Of course it’s you. And a lot of other people.

      People who don’t earn a lot want cheap as do the people who do earn enough but don’t think a lot. Those who have plenty sometimes afford themselves better – or at least more expensive.

      Perhaps we could start thinking of starting to charge the ‘real cost’ of transporting goods from china to here and those Chinese goods might just start to get a little more expensive. Only problem – the WTO specifically outlaws putting what it would call a non-trade tarrif upon cheap Chinese imports to reflect the real environmental cost of transport.

      So the WTO does sneak in there alongside you.

      You can also impose tarrifs on good that you feel are produced by means of exploitative child labour – such as….Oh – underage workers found working at…Foxconn! Yes come on down Apple and take a bow! Of course you didn’t know. We trust you.

      Would such a tarrif be considered a restraint on trade? Well we could wait an age for the WTO to decide – OR a sovereign nation that hadn’t given away its powers could just slap a tarrif on such goods and on all teh goods made but taht ‘rogue’ employer.

      Of course that would raise the prospect of a trade war or a war of retaliatory tarrifs.

      Shock horror! That’s the cue for every free trade Chicken Little to come racing out screaming about how global trade would grind to a halt if such things were allowed.

      Yadda Yadda yadda.

      Or as we say here, BOLLOCKS!

      Either we use trade barriers and tarrifs to stop the race to the bottom in terms of environmental and labour conditions and practices or we don’t and instead allow free trade to run blindly towards the cliff it has had us running towards for the last 20 years.

      In the game of Free Market Prisoner’s Dillemma many, many people like old Buck – not necessarily the greedy so much as the needy – will always defect and selfishly choose the cheapest at-point-of-purchase no matter how expensive it is in the longer, broader, unaccounted picture. That, I would say is THE argument for saying the unfettered free market is as blind and doomed as the comletely unfettered centrally planned state controlled economy.

      Tarrifs have a role. As do barriers and borders.

      I personally reject the free amrket, globalization wet dream as what it surely is – a gigantic wank.

  13. ch-ch-changes January 27, 2013 at 1:09 am #

    “Saving” – the legal underpinnings of what is often called the Social Market model – excellently put as usual!
    Everyone I’ve worked with in Europe is aware of the value they bring, more consciously than those of us in the Anglo US doctrine. Slowly we are realising it’s value more collectively here – the con is becoming more visibly wizards of oz as reality continues to bite.
    We have to change our ways and support those smaller businesses that employ 50% of our private sector by spending more in their direction and those larger companies who make a virtue of paying full uk taxes – Justin King sees it as a great marketing strength. And so it should be! Nick Shaxson provides a link to the C4 News piece http://treasureislands.org/sainsburys-boss-justin-king-slams-tax-avoidance/
    These can be affordable choices – our local butcher takes half hour of queuing before we get served – and they’re both cheaper and way better than the supermarket. And they almost certainly pay relatively more of their income back as tax than Amazon et al! And employ more pro rata too.
    At least for non finance companies, the profits are usually in the finer margins with substantial breakevens to contend with. Relatively small % change in behaviours forces change of itself drives change to happen. It’s the only way we can carry on the fight – the political class was bought by the wizards a long time back.
    In our town, word of mouth drove the butchers success – we have many means to promote the benefits of positive corporate avoidance – needs a better description :)

  14. ch-ch-changes January 27, 2013 at 1:33 am #

    Missed the edit deadline – apologies. Hope the thought process worth re-typing.. Meant to be…
    Relatively small % change in customer behaviours of itself makes change happen. We need to grasp – & define – the way the Social Market model can work for us if we’re to avoid the full ramifications of what David writes about. It’s the only way we can carry any fight to the 1% – the wizards bought the politicians a long time back

  15. Bardo January 27, 2013 at 1:36 am #

    Interview with Charles Eisenstein, (author of the book ‘Sacred Economics) on the potential for the Gift Economy as a viable alternative to debt based.

    Enjoy!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CR4GXN9B_Lc

  16. backwardsevolution January 27, 2013 at 10:39 am #

    Iceland’s President, Olafur Grimsson, at Davos Conference: “Let Banks Go Bankrupt”.

    Very good 3 minute video.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=51-Jfh6ADH0

    • Joe R January 28, 2013 at 4:08 pm #

      That piece is bang on and direct from the horses mouth!

  17. bill40 January 27, 2013 at 11:02 am #

    Golem,

    It appears you have some explaining to do after I read this http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/9828433/Forget-Brussels-now-we-are-ruled-by-the-giants-of-Geneva.html Christopher Booker and our David singing from the same hymn sheet? Never thought they’d get in bed together.

    Or does this obvious conspiracy run deeper? Have they ever been seen in the same room together?

    I think we should be told.

    • Golem XIV January 27, 2013 at 9:08 pm #

      That’s worrisome. Also interesting.

  18. backwardsevolution January 27, 2013 at 8:31 pm #

    Max Keiser and Stacey Herbert – through a Freedom of Information request, the Federal Reserve released its minutes from five years ago (I believe they release their minutes five years later, anyway).

    Have a listen to the first part of this video. President of the New York Federal Reserve at that time, Tim Geithner, apparently released insider information to the bankers that he was going to lower the Fed discount rate. Karl Denninger personally lost $30,000.00 because of this.

    Max said that, as a broker, you buy thousands of options, but don’t give a number to the account. If the inside information pans out and you win, you give the account a number and keep the proceeds for yourself. If it doesn’t pan out and the trade is a loser, then you assign that account a number in a teachers union or retirement account somewhere, and they get to eat the loss. It’s no-lose trading for the banks.

    Banks cherry-pick their trades. The ones that are winners, they put in their account. The ones that are losers, they put in our accounts.

    At 12:37 he says that in the U.K. it’s the same thing, and that Cameron is a looter. The back half of the video is very good too and talks about the rule of law.

    http://market-ticker.org/akcs-www?post=216691

    • Roger January 28, 2013 at 7:57 am #

      Cameron as Looter, I saw Max Kaiser on the daily politics the other day, I was disappointed that he didn’t make as much of an impact as I would have liked. The two other panel members were very zombie main stream and Andrew Neil never changes.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ky0TRkS0tIY

    • Roger January 28, 2013 at 8:01 am #

      Heres Max on Looting and David Cameron.
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ky0TRkS0tIY
      He was on the daily politics the other day, very difficult to make an impact Andrew Neil was his usual self and the other two panelists were MSM zombie squad central casting.

    • Hawkeye January 28, 2013 at 10:48 am #

      Hi backwardsevolution,

      It seems that the UK regulators already know about certain banks undertaking the failure to separate trading accounts.

      Back in 2010 JP Morgan was fined £33m for not properly segregating accounts. I likened it to being “caught with their hands in the till”, but the BBC moderators didn’t like that (hence the blocked my comment #10). I was more circumspect an hour later:

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/newsnight/fromthewebteam/2010/06/friday_4_june_2010.html?postId=96866858#comment_96866858

      Again, more evidence of regulatory capture. Which means that at best our regulators are asleep at the wheel, at worst complicit fraudsters.

      • backwardsevolution January 28, 2013 at 8:30 pm #

        Hawkeye – great post to the BBC! I hate to say it, hate to even entertain it actually, but I think “complicit fraudsters” nails it on the head. The good regulators (some of which have tried to blow the whistle) are demoted or told by their higher-ups that they will look seriously into the matter (and the topic is never brought up again). This is coming from the top.

        On the last thread I linked Frontline’s “The Untouchables” (which you said you couldn’t get). I said that Eric Holder, the Attorney General of the United States, the Assistant Attorney General, as well as his assistant were all from one law firm (check out the last thread for the info). The day after that Frontline show aired, the Assistant Attorney General said he was stepping down from his position.

        These guys were all defense counsel for white collar criminals while at the same law firm. Who put them into these government positions, and why? Perhaps so they could loot with impunity and get away with it? It appears to have worked.

        As Karl Denninger said, “If everyone knew they wouldn’t serve jail time for robbing a bank, and they knew they’d just get slapped with say 10% of the bank robbery proceeds in the form of a fine, there’d be a line-up down the road as far as the eye could see.”

  19. backwardsevolution January 28, 2013 at 1:16 am #

    Paul Craig Roberts (former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy in the U.S.) – “Attack on Sovereignty”:

    “Those concerned about “The New World Order” speak as if the United States is coming under the control of an outside conspiratorial force. In fact, it is the US that is the New World Order. That is what the American unipolar world, about which China, Russia, and Iran complain, is all about. [...]

    Last week the Obama regime warned the British government that it was a violation of US interests for the UK to pull out of the European Union or reduce its ties to the EU in any way.

    In other words, the sovereignty of Great Britain is not a choice to be made by the British government or people. The decision is made by Washington in keeping with Washington’s interest.

    The British are so accustomed to being Washington’s colony that deputy prime minister Nick Clegg and a group of UK business executives quickly lined up with Washington.

    This leaves Great Britain in a quandary. The British economy, once a manufacturing powerhouse, has been reduced to the City of London, Britain’s equivalent to Wall Street. London, like New York, is a world financial center of which there are none in Europe. Without its financial status, there wouldn’t be much left of the UK.

    It is because of the City’s financial importance that the UK, alone of the EU member states, kept the British pound as its currency and did not join the euro. Because the UK has its own currency and central bank, the UK was spared the sovereign debt crisis that has plagued other EU member states. The Bank of England, like the Federal Reserve in the US, was able to bail out its own banks, whereas other EU states sharing a common currency could not create money, and the European Central Bank is prohibited by its charter (at Germany’s insistence) from bailing out member states.

    The quandary for the UK is that the solution to the sovereign debt crisis toward which the EU is moving is to strip the member governments of their fiscal sovereignty. For the individual countries, the spending, taxing and, thereby, deficit or surplus positions of the member countries’ budgets will be set by EU central authority. This would mean the end of national sovereignty for European countries.

    For Britain to remain an EU member while retaining its own currency and central bank would mean special status for Great Britain. The UK would be the only member of the EU that remained a sovereign country. What are the chances that the UK will be permitted such exceptional status? Is this acceptable to Germany and France?

    If the British are to fold themselves into Europe, they will have to give up their currency, central bank, their law, and their economic status as a world financial center and accept governance by the EU bureaucracy. The British will have to give up being somebody and become nobody.

    It would, however, free the UK from being Washington’s puppet unless the EU itself is Washington’s puppet.”

    http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2013/01/15/attack-on-sovereignty-paul-craig-roberts/

    Unless the EU itself is Washington’s puppet? It sure looks as if it is, especially with all of the ex-Goldman Sachs people in there. And look where Mark Carney (formerly from Goldman Sachs) is now – from Canada to the U.K. I’d especially watch what Mr. Carney does.

  20. averagejoe January 28, 2013 at 3:57 pm #

    backwardsevolution
    The EU has actually bailed out its banks, not that it said as much, by creating 1 trillion ish euros in the form of loans to the banks, much of which is being used to buy government debt.

    I’m interested to watch what Carney does and some thoughts came to me. Osbourne is in trouble. Government debt is still rising. Carney has talked a lot about unconventional QE. I think this means writing off the Government bonds that have been QEd. Now that would allow Osbourne to claim the debt has been reduced on his watch, and that austerity is ‘working’, before he runs out of time, on the run up to the next election. What do the others think of this idea?
    The downside is the pound will take a hammering in the markets. However, it wont in theory be inflationary because the money has been created already and given to the banks. Further monetising of the debt beyond this could be inflationary, but if the private debt (money supply) continues to drop this could offset the inflationary effects for quite a long time.

    • Mike Hall January 28, 2013 at 5:45 pm #

      Where did you see Carney talking about ‘unconventional QE’ or some such?

      A supposed (by media) candidate to replace King mentioned something like this in a speech in late 2012 (name escapes me), but I haven’t seen this from Carney?

      • backwardsevolution January 28, 2013 at 7:55 pm #

        Carney was brought in for a reason. Watch what he does.

        The media likes to portray that Canada (where he came from) did not have to bail out its banks, but this is completely wrong. It was done very, very quietly (I believe a day after our election in 2008). Per capita, Canada bailed out our banks as much as the United States bailed out their banks ($1.25 Trillion for the U.S. and $125 Billion for Canada – we are ten times smaller than the U.S.)

        “The following report by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives looks at the $114 billion bailout of our INSOLVENT CANADIAN BANKS ($3,400.00 for every man, woman and child). Take a look at the chart on page 6.

        Three of Canada’s banks—CIBC, BMO, and Scotiabank—were at some
        point completely under water, with government support exceeding the value
        of the company. In March 2009, CIBC stood out for receiving support worth almost one and a half times the value of all outstanding shares. It would have taken less money to have simply bought all the shares in CIBC instead of providing it with support.

        Over the aid period (from the fourth quarter of 2008 through the second
        quarter of 2010), the Canadian banks remained profitable, reporting $27
        billion in total profits between them. Only two banks saw a single quarter
        with losses, CIBC and RBC. All the other banks were consistently profitable
        throughout the period of government aid.

        To top it off, the CEO of each of Canada’s big banks ranked among the
        highest paid 100 CEOs of Canada’s public companies, and at the height of
        government support between 2008 and 2009 each CEO of each bank received raises in total compensation. For instance, Edmund Clark of TD Bank saw his overall compensation jump from $11.1 million in 2008 to $15.2 million in 2009.”

        http://www.policyalternatives.ca/sites/default/files/uploads/publications/National%20Office/2012/04/Big%20Banks%20Big%20Secret.pdf

        I believe the U.S. (or whoever is calling the shots in this financial mess) wants Carney where he is for a reason. He wasn’t just looking for a new job.

        • backwardsevolution January 28, 2013 at 8:37 pm #

          The above article also speaks to the money that Canadian banks took from the U.S. Federal Reserve:

          “Despite the U.S. Federal Reserve preference to keep its loan details secret, it has been far more transparent than the Canadian government — in large part due to enterprising journalists and a two-year legal battle to make the details public. U.S. Federal Reserve bailout details, broken down by bank, are available online.13

          At their peak, Canadian banks borrowed $33 billion from the U.S. Federal Reserve in December 2008 (all American dollar figures are converted to Canadian dollars).”

        • Mike Hall January 28, 2013 at 8:45 pm #

          Oh I see. That’s something different to what I’d had in mind. You mean essentially gifting created money direct to banks – nothing to do with Gov spending or budgets as such.

          Yes, I’m sure you are right that Carney is a placement. Isn’t there a Bilderberg connection, & with Osborne too?

        • OpenThePodBayDoorHAL February 1, 2013 at 7:13 am #

          “Three of Canada’s banks—CIBC, BMO, and Scotiabank—were at some
          point completely under water, with government support exceeding the value
          of the company.”
          This is a point that just irritates the hell out of me. The taxpayers of Canada, like the US, bought and paid for these banks in full, and should now own them. We could pry open their books, shine the light of day in all the corners, fire the guilty (even if they won’t be prosecuted), then break them up, down to a size where any one failing does not pose a systemic threat. While you’re at it, net out and root out their derivatives portfolios.
          Instead we still have predatory zombie vampires holding the world hostage…

          • backwardsevolution February 2, 2013 at 10:55 am #

            Open – good post; I totally agree with you.

  21. Andrea January 28, 2013 at 4:24 pm #

    Did not listen to Cameron’s speech. I read this affair as very much internal politics – the EU as scapegoat – pandering to Eurosceptics etc. – pretty empty at any other level, particularly the regulatory one, as Golem points out. WTO, etc.

    1) I am convinced that the US will not let GB leave the EU. They want that influence there, and want to deal with the EU as one body, not x countries (that is a kind interpretation), and to control the EU through an opaque, upper body, mostly unelected and divorced from ‘home rule’ – an invisible hand at one remove.

    2) EFTA (Norway, CH -Switz, Iceland, Lichtenstein) and the EEA (same without CH + EU countries) are vestiges of old pre-EU agreements, and sort of ways round the EU, and they are weak. Norway, Iceland, Licht. have access to the free market of the EU, CH does not. The three adopt EU legislation bang off, that is the return, well with some exceptions they negotiate – fisheries etc. (CH is in another, weaker position.) It is really not a position to be recommended unless it comes from a great hand of strength. On the conventional face of it, of course, and for trade. Other considerations may play predominant role. (For ex. CH cannot give up its citizen’s right to referendum.)

    The position of outsider can be used to good advantage, and exploited. Norway and CH are in competition here, and take great pains to hide it (as they want to share the benefits.) The dress of Neutrality, of Proper Gvmt, etc. gets one places where some clout can be used.

    But that is not what Cameron or the GB is considering. Imho.

    – venn diagram of the MAIN (not exhaustive) European Orgs., useful:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Supranational_European_Bodies.png

    Several EU countries do not use the Euro:

    http://www.ecb.int/euro/intro/html/map.en.html

    At least 3 non-EU ‘countries’ use the Euro officially: Monaco, San Marino, the Vatican City. Ok, they are small, special, and embedded. Others (non EU) such as Kosovo have an insecure status.

  22. ArtSmith January 28, 2013 at 5:04 pm #

    Hi David
    I don’t see it quite like that. From what I can tell Cameron and many in business controlling the levers of power don’t want us to leave the EU at all. It suits the city quite nicely to keep things as they are.

    I believe repeal of worker protection is being bundled up with an ‘OUT’ vote to make it unpalatable for the average UK worker. I think it’s an attempt to frame break up of the status quo as an attack on the working man or woman’s rights.

    I could be wrong.

    • Golem XIV January 31, 2013 at 9:33 am #

      Hello ArtSmith

      The gyrations over Europe have become so byzantine we could both be missing the real game. All I think we can do is offer up possibilities and keep alert. Thanks for your idea. You could be right.

  23. averagejoe January 28, 2013 at 5:46 pm #

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-21231535
    Demonstrates that we should not be held to account for the actions of bankers. Although the Iceland story is not as good as it could have been, at least the people managed to prevent the Government from bailing out the banks.

  24. Mike Hall January 28, 2013 at 8:53 pm #

    Just a heads up on a particularly good series on Real News with former MI5 whistleblower Annie Machon (who was a former partner of another MI5 whistleblower, David Shaylor).

    I’d regard the 3 pieces with Annie as a must watch. What she has to say about MI6 funding of a Libyan islamist group to assassinate Gaddafi seems very relevant background to recent events.

    What she says about UK media control, Leveson, MI5 law breaking & other stuff is very interesting too.

    http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=33&Itemid=74&jumival=937

    • Joe Taylor January 29, 2013 at 11:27 am #

      I agree Mike, a must watch. I’d go as far as to say that The Real News is a daily must watch. I wish they could get established here in the UK though Media Lens do a damn good job too.

  25. Phil T. January 29, 2013 at 4:11 am #

    re: Iceland (from upthread…)

    Iceland wins Dutch compensation battle over Icesave guarantees
    http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2013/01/iceland_wins_dutch_compensatio.php

    A few of the comments following the brief article might be of interest …

    Best wishes to all — P.T.

  26. steviefinn January 29, 2013 at 11:46 am #

    ( Short version ) This paper describes the cost to the Irish state of its bailout of the Irish Bank Resolution
    Corporation (IBRC). The paper discusses the IBRC’s balance sheet, its ELA debts to the Central Bank
    of Ireland and the promissory notes provided to it by the Irish government to pay off its liabilities.
    Options for reducing these costs are discussed.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/karlwhelan/2012/09/17/irelands-promissory-notes-an-updated-primer/

    • Mike Hall January 29, 2013 at 2:29 pm #

      On the subject of Ireland, I should have linked this piece before by Michael Taft (an Irish trade union economist) comparing the bank bail out costs of different EU countries in relation to their size/populations/GDP etc.

      On any of these metrics Ireland is thus far being asked to pay orders of magnitude more than any other for the losses of the banksters criminality & gambling.

      http://www.thejournal.ie/readme/banking-crisis-bill-ireland-755464-Jan2013/

      • Joe R January 29, 2013 at 5:07 pm #

        I see from the graph the Greeks are MAKING money out of the banking crisis.

        Ha ha….I knew something funny was going on there. Sneaky Greeks! I never would have thought that…imagine!

        Oh – the Spain figure is way, way out too at 2.5 k per capita.

        That is far as I looked

        Hard left or union econonists are always a barrel of laughs, I find.

    • Joe R January 30, 2013 at 12:37 pm #

      Short version = 19 pages. Karl Whelan is viewed as a reliable commentator but I think a much shortened shorter version is in order for us non- economics academics.

      My biggest question is that I wonder where the incoming mortgage and personal credit default tsunami in Ireland will impact in relation to this?

      I don’t know how much of that has been ‘booked’ to date or if you like taken into account in terms of these losses. I have a nasty feeling that the can has been kicked down the road in an even bigger way than on this issue than was on Anglo, etc.

  27. steviefinn January 29, 2013 at 11:51 am #

    Ireland, Iceland & Cyprus.

    http://www.philip-atticus.com/2013/01/an-abbreviated-tale-of-two-banks.html

  28. Mike Hall January 29, 2013 at 4:50 pm #

    Got to recommend a Monbiot piece in the Guardian today about the socio-pathology of the elites, very well described imo. He’s talking about the UK, but it applies much everywhere I think:

    An extract:

    “Last year the former Republican staffer Mike Lofgren wrote something very similar about the dominant classes of the US: “the rich elites of this country have far more in common with their counterparts in London, Paris, and Tokyo than with their fellow American citizens … the rich disconnect themselves from the civic life of the nation and from any concern about its well being except as a place to extract loot. Our plutocracy now lives like the British in colonial India: in the place and ruling it, but not of it.”

    Secession from the concerns and norms of the rest of society characterises any well established elite. Our own ruling caste, schooled separately, brought up to believe in justifying fairytales, lives in a world of its own, from which it can project power without understanding or even noticing the consequences. A removal from the life of the rest of the nation is no barrier to the desire to dominate it. In fact, it appears to be associated with a powerful sense of entitlement.

    So if you have wondered how the current government can blithely engage in the wholesale transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich, how its frontbench can rock with laughter as it truncates the livelihoods of the poorest people of this country, why it commits troops to ever more pointless post-colonial wars, here, I think, is part of the answer. Many of those who govern us do not in their hearts belong here. They belong to a different culture, a different world, which knows as little of its own acts as it knows of those who suffer them.”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jan/28/rich-born-to-rule-fatal

  29. Roger Lewis January 29, 2013 at 7:35 pm #

    Parcel of Rogues

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0lV_5Cdt4pQ

    Fareweel to a’ our Scottish fame,
    Fareweel our ancient glory;
    Fareweel ev’n to the Scottish name,
    Sae fam’d in martial story.
    Now Sark rins over Solway sands,
    An’ Tweed rins to the ocean,
    To mark where England’s province stands-
    Such a parcel of rogues in a nation!

    What force or guile could not subdue,
    Thro’ many warlike ages,
    Is wrought now by a coward few,
    For hireling traitor’s wages.
    The English stell we could disdain,
    Secure in valour’s station;
    But English gold has been our bane-
    Such a parcel of rogues in a nation!

    O would, ere I had seen the day
    That Treason thus could sell us,
    My auld grey head had lien in clay,
    Wi’ Bruce and loyal Wallace!
    But pith and power, till my last hour,
    I’ll mak this declaration;
    We’re bought and sold for English gold-
    Such a parcel of rogues in a nation![1]

    • steviefinn January 30, 2013 at 1:56 am #

      ‘ Such a parcel of rogues in a nation ‘ – A beautiful rhythm of a line. The parcels appear to be distributed just about everywhere these days.

      Debtors prisons are making a comeback in the US according to this :

      http://www.dailyfinance.com/2012/08/30/debtors-prison-is-back-and-just-as-cruel-as-ever/

      The link was featured as part of the article below that relates the history of early debt generations in the US. A story of usury, greed, rebellion & eventual political resistance to avoid becoming a nation of, as Warren Buffet put it, sharecroppers.

      According to the piece there existed household debt of 36% in 1952, but by 2006 debt servitude had increased to 127%, which of course was before the financial crisis. Not exactly history repeating itself but close. As the UK tends to eventually import a lot of the least positive developments from across the Atlantic, could we possibly one day see a return of privately run modern versions of Marshalsea.

      http://www.thenation.com/article/172497/politics-debt-america#

  30. Diogenis January 29, 2013 at 9:45 pm #

    http://www.financialsense.com/contributors/brian-pretti/will-qe-affect-the-effect

    “Over the past four years we have heard more than a number of commentators tell us that “the stock market is doing well so the economy must be doing well”. Unfortunately this has not proven to be the case as we continue with one of the most anemic economic recoveries on record when compared to the character of historic recoveries. Although we are certainly not there yet with equities (we are there with bonds), the danger is that this current round of truly extraordinary excess central banker liquidity creates further asset bubbles, very much as happened with the late 1990’s tech stock bubble and the clear bubble in mortgage lending in the middle of the last decade. By the Fed’s own admission, they missed “seeing” the last two asset bubbles they had a hand in creating. Now that we have moved into the endgame of global central bank monetary expansion, let’s hope central bankers globally have had their annual optometrist visit, no?”

  31. David Morey January 29, 2013 at 10:25 pm #

    Quite right, what is the alternative? -some ideas here:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=msnk1FgzbKg

    Of course, explaining all this to enough people to make a difference
    is an enormous task!

  32. Susan Archibald January 30, 2013 at 12:30 pm #

    Just read your blog x fantastic keep up the good work

    you can find me on twitter@susanas4321

  33. averagejoe January 30, 2013 at 12:43 pm #

    Diogenis
    Inevitably the stock markets have been put into bubble land. The new money created has to go somewhere, and banks due seem to act with a herd mentality. Eventually, like all bubbles it will pop. And when that happens the only place the money can go, as I see it, is commodities. This will have a significant impact on people’s standard of living. I noticed this article the other day.

    “The Bank of England has defended its QE policy on several occasions.

    It has argued that without QE, savers, including pension funds, would now be worse off because their other assets such as shares would probably be much lower in value than is the case.”

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-21242738

    And this

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-21226344

    Reading between the lines;

    Why this?
    “The ADB granted $512m (£325m), while the World Bank approved a $440m credit.

    The loans were made possible after Burma cleared overdue arrears to the two banks with the aid of Japan.”

    Oh, I see

    “However, it has huge growth potential, not least because its rich in resources such as natural gas reserves.
    At the same time, it has a big agricultural potential as well as the availability of low-cost labour.”

    Then the propaganda

    “Much work remains to be done. We are committed to helping the government accelerate poverty reduction and build shared prosperity.”

    Its so predictable.

    • Mike Hall January 30, 2013 at 5:55 pm #

      (I know English isn’t your 1st language Diogenis & Shlicter’s verbosity doesn’t help….but…)

      ?? No, unless you are some free-market-fantasy believing ideologue, who couldn’t give a sh1t about human life (except their own), it’s not ‘very’ interesting.

      Well, ok, there’s a few factual points about the current fiat monetary systems & in his criticisms of Positivemoney’s proposals, but throughout, his assertion as ‘fact’ that free markets, always & everywhere, if left unregulated, naturally produce optimal outcomes is a recurring and nauseating theme.

      The important point to note here is that ‘always & everywhere’ is a totally fair description of his position & the fundamental underlying assumption for all his proposals. Principle among which is that there is pretty much no role whatever for government or the state (presumably beyond police & army).

      Schlicter likes to use the word ‘absurd’ quite a lot. I find it ‘absurd’ that anyone can peddle this (natural, always, everywhere) ‘free markets’ cr@p after the events of the last few years. Not even Alan Greenspan in cosy multi-million retirement could muster enough chutzpah for that, after following the mantra his entire career.

      Part of this is of course that labour operates & can be treated just like any other ‘market’. Sure, don’t we know all the unemployed are just sojourning prior to someone offering a ‘price’ they like?

      Another key finding from this assumption of Schlicter’s is that if bankers had simply had the right price-of-money/credit signals (from ‘the market’, ie interest rates) then they would have automatically & everywhere shunned pyramid/ponzi short term cut & run asset bubble scams & perfectly allocated all capital to worthy real economy investments.

      So, no banker’s at fault in Mr Schlicter’s world. Enron didn’t happen. The ’29 crash didn’t happen & oh, the 19th century was probably near perfect, as it fits much of Schlicter’s desires for the future, in economics terms.

      I suppose that, despite his socio-pathic mentality, Schlicter’s trashing the idea of a gold standard was a decent effort. But coming from such an @sshole, not exactly an endorsement I’ll be referencing much.

      • Golem XIV January 30, 2013 at 6:15 pm #

        Mike,

        Your points are fine but could you PLEASE cut out the offensive stereotyping of people on the basis that they hold beliefs you do not like.

        I personally do not subsrcribe to free market beliefs. I, like you, find them silly and laregely unfounded. BUT I find your eagerness to link together in one descriptive, people who do believe in free arkets with ‘not giving a shit about human life’ to be not only offensive and bigotted but also slightly frightening. Demonizing people in groups is the first pre-requisit to deciding that they aren’t deserving of the same treatment and rights as those who are found to have the ‘correct’ beliefs.

        Please stop writing such stuff on this blog.

        The same goes for deciding he has a ‘socio-pathic mentality’.

        Writing these things does not benefit you argument. They undermine it.

        Mostly what they do is make me concerned about intollerance and hate.

        • Mike Hall January 30, 2013 at 6:51 pm #

          I don’t agree Golem.

          If you read Schlicter’s piece it is quite extreme in it’s ultra libertarian advocacy of ‘free’ markets. (You didn’t read it did you?)

          The logical conclusion & empirical +facts+ of such views put into practice is, literally, people dying. This is happening right now – just not in front of you, clearly.

          If Schlicter or someone who likes his vile garbage doesn’t like my plain English criticism, then let them defend it.

          In my view, people who believe Schlicter’s extreme free market fantasy – & advocate such a society – are quite probably clinically pshycopathic, lacking in normal empathy & deserving my description of them.

          I also think it’s rather hypocritical of you to whine about my taking a moral stance when you quite clearly have yourself with regards to bankers & others in previous blogs.

          • Golem XIV January 30, 2013 at 8:54 pm #

            MIke,

            I had not read it. Because my points were not based on a defence of what he had to say but rather a criticism of your demonizing of people who disagree with you.

            I have now read his piece. Over all I do not agree with his view. I do find of interest the places where he agrees about the distortions that can occur when money is injected in to an economy. I also agree with him that such injections of money can be poorly, even fraudulently allocated by either private banks or by governments.

            But mainly I still find your willingness to demonize those who disagree with you, very unsettling. Being unsettled by your willingness to demonize has nothing to do with supporting a rival argument.

            Two examples of your style of arguing and demonizing.

            First Mr Schlicter – you have now decided that not only are his beliefs about the nature of money and its supply enough to conclude that he is very likely to be clinically psychopathic, but you now also feel able to declare he is quitel probably ‘lacking in normal empathy’.

            Declaring people somehow unfit, abnormal, or clinically unwell on the basis of the beliefs they hold on a given intellectual subject is a dangerous and deeply unpleasant habit. It is redolent of Soviet psychiatry. They were as clear as you that certain beliefs led to terrible social outcomes and therefore those who held those beliefs were mentally unwell and enemies of the people.

            Obviously you do not hear in your own comments an echo of this. I do.

            Second – in reference to me. “…just not in front of you, clearly”

            What was the point or intent behind this? It seems clear to me, it is there to suggest that I live a sheltered life where I either don’t know of the suffering of those less fortunate than myself or I chose not to look.

            Either way it is clearly a snide comment designed to suggest a lack of caring on my part. A bold statement for a man who knows next to nothing about me, where I live, who I know, what I see and what I do and do not care about. It is a snide and slightly vicious aside.

            As for suggesting I am taking exception to your ‘moral’ stance – I have no problem with a moral stance – mine, yours anhyone’s. It is, as I have said, the disquieting demonizing and describing people as defective on the basis of some belief they have, that I have severe doubts about for the reasons I hope I have made clear.

            If you want to talk about this in private, by all means contact me.

  34. Golem XIV January 30, 2013 at 4:15 pm #

    Sorry for the silence. I am busy writing a piece for Reuters. I’ll be back just as soon as I can.

  35. averagejoe January 30, 2013 at 5:23 pm #

    Diogenus
    Interesting but I spot some weaknesses in the arguments. It also fails to take into account the history, and how we got to where we are.
    For example.
    “Moreover, there is also little need to ban it as we can, in my view, rely on market forces and the superior regulators of capitalism – profit and loss – to ultimately keep it in check.” thats pretty weak. History shows us otherwise. Intervention only happened because the market failed to keep it in check. In fact a serious flaw of neoclassical economics is the assumption that it will always seek to be in balance. The opposite is true.

    “should we not – as a first step and before we even consider such authoritarian measures as universal bans – take away the state-run support system for fractional-reserve banking by which the banks and their clients are systematically shielded from the consequences of their activities”. You mean like the 1930s where lots of banks went bust?

    “Positive Money creates the impression that bloated bank balance sheets, real estate bubbles and excessive debt levels had all been created by scheming and out-of-control private banks, entirely on their own accord and behind the back of an unwitting and clueless state, rather than constitute the inevitable consequences of an institutional framework built on the widespread belief that constant bank credit expansion is a boon to the economy”
    Attempts were made in the 70s to control private money creation, but they all failed. Thats why no attempt was made to keep it in check, in fact the opposite, with a central bank to provide back up if necessary over the last 30 years.

    Not enough time to read it all. But the essence is one of letting the market decide, and allow banks to fail. This has been tried in the past, but didn’t work either. Steve Keen has demonstrated that banks create the debt first, then seek reserves second. They have used various tricks, as set out by David, to get the liabilities off the balance sheet to allow them to create even more debt. They will always create as much debt as they can get away with. That much is certain. The problem is what the debt is used for. If its used for buying shares or property it will always lead to asset bubbles. Only if the lending is for production purposes will it increase wealth (GDP) and be sustainable/servicable.

    The purpose of the article seems to me, is to discredit Positive Money, and the idea of state money creation, with its potential for democratic oversight. Given that the market has been allowed to create the money supply for hundreds of years, and failed badly to create currency stability. I dont see any reason for not giving it a go.

  36. backwardsevolution January 30, 2013 at 7:11 pm #

    Re Mark Carney and how the Canadian banks WERE silently bailed out by the Bank of Canada AND the U.S. Federal Reserve in 2008/2009 (see above), contrary to popular belief. It now appears that the Bank of Canada, under Carney’s direction, has been silently QE’ing. ZeroHedge has this piece:

    “As Mark Carney steps aside from his role at the Bank of Canada to undertake all manner of easy money in the UK, we thought a reflection on the ‘stealth’ QE that he has been engaged with, very much under the radar, in the US’ neighbor-to-the-north was worthwhile. It seems quietly and with little aplomb, Carney’s BoC [Bank of Canada] has grown its balance sheet by over 21% YoY – the most since 2009. If that was not enough to make someone nervous, the quantity of Canadian government bonds on the BoC’s balance sheet has grown at a remarkable 46% YoY! All of this has taken place during a time when ‘supposedly’ the Canadian economy has been reasonably strong and foreign demand for debt high. With Canada’s CAD267bn debt due in 2013, we suspect this ‘stealth’ QE will continue to rise.”

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-01-28/mark-carney-leaves-canada-stealth-qe-rising-fastest-pace-2009

    Where is our media? Bought off and silent. Like I said before, Mark Carney did not need a new job in Britain (he already had a lucrative one in Canada). He’s been sent for a reason.

  37. backwardsevolution January 30, 2013 at 10:45 pm #

    Mike Hall – I have not read all of Schlicter’s piece, but, like Golem, I noticed where he described fractional reserve banking as disruptive.

    “If fractional-reserve banking is disruptive – and I agree with Positive Money that it is – should we not – as a first step and before we even consider such authoritarian measures as universal bans – take away the state-run support system for fractional-reserve banking by which the banks and their clients are systematically shielded from the consequences of their activities, and through which the true costs of fractional-reserve banking are persistently being socialized?”

    The government has its hand in there, not to help the people, but to help their friends.

    He also says:

    “Let it suffice to say that the extra money created by banks lowers interest rates on credit markets and expands the supply of investible funds beyond the volume of available true savings. Thus, investment and saving get out of line, misallocations of capital ensue, and what appears like a solid economic expansion for a while is ultimately revealed as an artificial and unsustainable credit boom that will end in a recession. Sustainable growth requires investment funded by proper saving, i.e. by the voluntary reallocation of real resources from present consumption to future consumption (that is saving). Bank credit expansion creates a dangerous and fleeting illusion of the availability of more savings, which means more resources for investment projects that are in fact not there.“

    Sustainable growth requires proper saving – yes!

    A few years ago I didn’t know economics from a hole in the ground, but I am learning. And the more I read, the more I see the insidious hand of government. I’m reading a book right now entitled “The Malign Hand of the Markets – the dark side of the invisible hand that Adam Smith didn’t talk about”. I think we can all agree that there is a malign hand. Let’s understand this malign hand before jumping to conclusions.

    I’ve personally read articles that I didn’t want to agree with, could barely force myself to read, and yet they have made some good points. They got me thinking and questioning my own simple beliefs. Because of what I’ve previously read, so far I am agreeing with what Schlicter says (but I have not finished his article yet). I’ll quote some articles to back his points up later.

    No, I`m not an Austrian. I am a concerned mother.

  38. steviefinn January 30, 2013 at 11:07 pm #

    A series of infographs from the transnational Institution illustrating World corporate power.

    A – Planet Earth : A Corporate World.

    B – The Global 0.001%.

    C – Finance & Fossil Fuel Web.

    http://www.tni.org/report/state-power-2013

    A picture of ours & David’s Goliath.

  39. Diogenis January 30, 2013 at 11:30 pm #

    @averagejoe & @MikeHall

    I did not say that I agree with mr Schlichter.I just said it is “very interesting”.And this because I like to hear and read the arguements from “all sides”.

    Nothing more,nothing less.

    Greetings,Diogenis

  40. averagejoe January 31, 2013 at 12:08 pm #

    backwardsevolution
    Good article, but rhere are flaws in that article, as I point out above. I recommend Steve Keens ‘Debunking Economics’. A tough read, but an massive incite into what is going wrong. Probably the best book on economics I have ever read.

    Diogenis
    Yes I noted that. But I wanted to set out its flaws, its the first time I have seen an article challenging Positive Money, so I wanted to carefully study what the proposed alternative would be. In this case free markets and or the gold standard, which of course has been tried before and failed.

  41. backwardsevolution January 31, 2013 at 8:45 pm #

    averagejoe – I am still learning. The strongest branch is the one that bends, so they say. But I like systems, feel an innate intuition toward them, toward truth, and I do not find truth in a system with no check, no restraint. In fact, it ceases to be a system without a constraint. Every single system is constrained, across all disciplines. There is a price to pay in everything we do; it is the law of nature. Otherwise we end up getting “something for nothing,” and nature does not look favorably upon such a situation for long.

    You quote above: “Moreover, there is also little need to ban it as we can, in my view, rely on market forces and the superior regulators of capitalism – profit and loss – to ultimately keep it in check.” thats pretty weak. History shows us otherwise. Intervention only happened because the market failed to keep it in check. In fact a serious flaw of neoclassical economics is the assumption that it will always seek to be in balance. The opposite is true.”

    Mish Shedlock hates unions. He contends that unions caused inflation by asking for wage increases, which necessitated businessmen raising prices. I argued that it was the opposite, that inflation occurred first, then unions asked for wage increases. Kind of like today where few are seeing raises, yet prices continue to rise in everything we buy. Which came first?

    It IS important to know which came first. From everything I’ve read and observed, it is the government/Central Bank (whether it’s because they’re trying to buy votes/trying to save their banker bosses/trying to enrich themselves/whatever) meddling that first gets us into trouble, AND THEN things get out of balance.

    I agree with Schlicter when he says:

    “The truth is that the state, beholden to the generally accepted fallacy that cheap money – and even artificially cheapened money- is a source of prosperity and that we should never allow credit contraction or deflation, has actively supported the gigantic money creation of recent decades. Without an essentially unlimited and ever cheaper supply of bank reserves from the state central banks, private banks could never have expanded their balance sheets so aggressively and issued such vast amounts of deposit money.

    Or, to put this differently, had the state wanted to stop or restrict the creation of deposit money by the banks at any point, the state – in form of the central bank – could have done this at the drop of a hat. Restricting the availability of new bank reserves and/or making bank reserves more expensive would have instantly put the brakes on fractional-reserve banking. Not only did the state not choose to do this (at least not for the past few decades), to the contrary, whenever the banks had maneuvered themselves into a position where they thought it themselves prudent to stop or at least slow down their balance sheet expansion for a while in order to protect limited capital or their limited reserves, the central banks invariably cheapened bank reserves further, specifically to encourage further deposit money creation.”

    The State COULD have stopped this “at the drop of a hat”. Yes, they could have, but they didn’t. Over and over this is the case.

    Which came first? Who makes the laws? Bringing it down even further, who elects the people who make the laws?

  42. backwardsevolution January 31, 2013 at 9:07 pm #

    averagejoe – “Positive Money creates the impression that bloated bank balance sheets, real estate bubbles and excessive debt levels had all been created by scheming and out-of-control private banks, entirely on their own accord and behind the back of an unwitting and clueless state, rather than constitute the inevitable consequences of an institutional framework built on the widespread belief that constant bank credit expansion is a boon to the economy.”

    I agree that the State is anything but unwitting and clueless. Who attends the Bilderberg meetings? Follow the money. A virtually unheard-of senator from Illinois becomes President of the United States on his own? Oh, I don’t think so, not in this day and age. There is collusion at the highest levels, and someone is pulling the strings.

    One could even say that MMT and Positive Money are playing right into their hands. They have expanded the money base for the last 40 years, and the people have been boomed/busted and inflated repeatedly. It will be stopped only if it’s in THEIR interest to stop it.

    Look at how quantitative easing is portrayed as saving the system, helping the people. Who is it really trying to save? Automatic Earth speaks to this:

    “Stephen Roach talks about the failure of QE in repairing Joe Blow’s finances (household debt), but neglects the reality that no QE was ever intended to do that. In fact, it’s exactly because Joe and Jill Blow’s – and their children’s – money is used not to save them from ruin, but to save the banks that rule their world, that their money has gone zombie. As in not real, perhaps appearing to be real, but in essence empty and out for your blood.

    It’s attractive and tempting to watch all the news and opinions on offer right now that promise you recovery, but there’s no substance in them, they’re as zombie as the economy they try so hard to celebrate. It really is simple: The debt is still there, nothing’s been fully marked to market, all that’s happened over the past five years is that your money has been used to cover up a whole bunch of bottomless holes. And precisely and ironically because it’s your money has been used for the cover up, it’s your children who are going to fall into those holes.”

  43. backwardsevolution January 31, 2013 at 10:56 pm #

    Look at the student debt in the States. The government backstops student loans (no risk for banks), which means the banks don’t ask the hard questions re loans (like how are you going to pay this money back when there’s no demand for the course you’re taking) and hand out loans to almost anybody. The amount of people now going to college and university increases (because loans are so easy to get), which causes prices to escalate out of control. Now the guy who doesn’t want a loan, but who has saved for a few years so he can go to school (and works a part-time job while going to school) ends up paying a lot more than he would have a few years ago.

    Now you’ve got yourself a bubble. Who caused it? Yes, the banks were right in there, but it was the government who set up the game by backstopping the banks and keeping interest rates below what they should be.

    Did the bubble just happen purely by accident, or was it greatly assisted? The same is true with housing, with everything that gets into a bubble. The 1930′s was caused by the speculative frenzy in the 1920′s (again, buying on margin, levering up, which could have been stopped).

    And it seems that if the government isn’t in there guaranteeing loans, the banks just turn around and securitize them to get rid of the risk (which could and should be stopped immediately).

    You are right that the State comes in after the bubbles, but I would argue that they come in BEFORE the bubble as well. In fact, they’re always in there, which is why we’re in the mess we’re in.

    It is the State in collusion with the Central Banks and the financial elite.

  44. syzygy February 1, 2013 at 3:11 am #

    The elephant in the room has always been the GATT treaty which contained the blueprint for all the massive changes that have since occurred.. including the need to dismantle the NHS and state education slowly and with stealth. The desire was for a global ‘free market’ abiding by the same rules and regulations, imposed by the WTO. The US argued that the public services of Europe and the UK did not provide a level playing field for their private health and education private providers, and sure enough the UK is well on the way to obliging.

    There is clearly a corporate-financial-political nexus originating from the US. The financial sector provides the crisis. The politicians organise the recovery by selling the country’s assets to the corporates.. and derugulating/desupervising the financial sector. All along the way, individuals are creaming off their own financial rewards.

    Interesting stuff from Prof. Bill Black about financial fraud on New Economic Perspectives. He gave the Keynote speech awarding the shame ‘Public eye’ award to Goldman Sachs.

    He also confirmed the capacity of the too-big-to-fail institutions to hyperinflate bubbles and then cause them to crash by selling at the top of the market. The FTSE and Dow are doing very well at the moment .. Max Keiser predicts the next crash later this spring.

    My concern is about the threatened bi-lateral agreement between the EU and the US. The Trans-pacific one contains all sorts of bits of legislation for regulating the internet .. and just like the GATT the negotiations take place in secret between the corporations and governments. And just like the GATT, the treaties do not have to be ratified by parliament.

  45. syzygy February 1, 2013 at 3:24 am #

    There is a EU-FTA with India which has been expected to be signed for the last year. This largely concerns the UK and will allow Indian workers to be employed in the UK without the EU social chapter rules applying. So these workers will be used to undercut British workers and undermine collective bargaining. However, as always, there is great secrecy (commercial secrecy) and it is very difficult to get much information about it. Just as the MEPs had great difficulty in getting information from the Commissioners when the EU signed up to the WTO.

    The impact on India is perhaps even more dire. Bi-lateral agreements are the solution to the failed Doha round of the GATT.

    • Golem XIV February 1, 2013 at 10:53 am #

      syzygy,

      Agree thet the work-around for the failed Doha round is this series of bi-lateral agreements and that they are hugely dangerous and massively, not just un-democratic, but ANTI-democratic.

      I truely believe, as I have since the Uruguay round, that we are in the twilight of the all-too-brief democratic age. People can of course scoff that only a naive fool would regard what we had as democratic. I find such ‘I’m so much more radical than you’ cynicism to be unimpressive.

      Of course it was limited and flawed. But compared to what we have now and what we will find being force upon us, we will realize how much we had and have surrendered.

      People laugh at those who speak of revolution. But we are entering a time when revolution – a radical pulling up by the roots – will be the only option left to us.

      • steviefinn February 1, 2013 at 11:33 am #

        Reading this regarding Spain it’s not hard to believe that it will be make or break. If anyone had predicted the situation there, in Greece & other places 10 yrs ago they would have been considered mad.

        No man is an island,
        Entire of itself.
        Each is a piece of the continent,
        A part of the main.
        If a clod be washed away by the sea,
        Europe is the less.
        As well as if a promontory were.
        As well as if a manner of thine own
        Or of thine friend’s were.
        Each man’s death diminishes me,
        For I am involved in mankind.
        Therefore, send not to know
        For whom the bell tolls,
        It tolls for thee

        John Donne.

        http://www.progressive.org/austerity-through-my-ten-year-old-s-eyes?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+progressivefeed+%28The+Progressive+Main+Feed%29

        • backwardsevolution February 1, 2013 at 6:53 pm #

          steviefinn – such a good poem! So true!

      • syzygy February 2, 2013 at 5:05 am #

        David/Golem

        I share your assessment. Unfortunately the most positive view is that, by things getting worse, the population will become politicised/ demanding radical change. .. the manner in which the bi-lateral agreements, GATT and the EU have ham-strung us forces a confrontation of equal force.

        I do wonder at what point this government would dare to abandon elections and impose a national government in view of the ‘crisis’ (that they, the banks and super-rich have created).

        Nevertheless, I was really heartened by Len McClusky’s speech at the LSE and I just wish that we had a LP saying the same – given that they are the only ones currently capable of removing these asset-strippers. Like you I find ‘I’m so much more radical than you’ cynicism to be unimpressive… IMO the first priority has to be to remove this government.. if it is still possible.

        Whoever designed the legislation for dismantling the NHS, welfare reform bill and the cuts to legal aid, judicial review and orchestrated their passage through parliament is extremely sophisticated and totally ruthless. This is a completely anti-democratic government. They do not consult people in the field. They over-rule the Lords. They follow none of the HoC conventions on cross-party agreement on voting reform. All their policies are about undermining and wrecking the existing social structures and working relations. And the lying! They hardly even bother to conceal their ‘misspeaking’. I cannot believe that they have ever expected to get re-elected, and as a result their policies have none of Margaret Thatcher’s ‘restraint’. Thom Hartman’s description of the Republican ‘Two Santa Clauses’ and Stockman’s ‘Starving the beast’ is being enacted before our eyes. We have our own Paul Ryan in George Osborne.. and the harm he/they are doing is unspeakably appalling.

        • Ian Cropper February 5, 2013 at 2:10 pm #

          “And the lying!”

          Absolutely! Politicians have bever had a reputation for honesty, but I can understand the desire to ‘spin’ and that often the simple question asked by a reporter is not simple at all but quite loaded. But I have never known a government where ministers have told such barefaced lies. Incredible!

  46. Joe Taylor February 1, 2013 at 2:14 pm #

    You can get a free preview of Positive Money’s new book ‘Modernising Money’ here http://www.positivemoney.org/shop/modernising-money/

    Golem, I’ve just checked with them and they will be sending you a copy shortly.

    A few quotes from How The West Was Lost here http://bit.ly/XQoZBz

    • Joe R February 2, 2013 at 2:18 pm #

      I read through Positive Money’s plain English explaination of their proposal.

      I think the proposal is ridiculous, top to bottom. I don’t see what is ‘positive’ about it. This is marketing by them, I feel, and it has no substance as an actual claim.

      As a prosposal ( or set of proposals if you like ) it is really conservative in all parts of its thinking. And here are huge, giant sized holes in all parts of the proposal or proposals.

      It has unsupported presumptions left , right and centre built into its ‘logic’ and and no real exploration of the effects of critical suggestons in it – such as slashing private taxes across the board, or of how handing over wads of newly invented or freshly printed cash to the public ( each citizen?) would impact the economy or currency in general. It had fantasical presumptions included at that part, in particular.

      Then there is the question that UNELECTED quango controling all money printing would work? In their interests only. That part is pure selfish fantasy. It is a totalarian fantasy at that.

      And there are many more.

      I think it is incredibly selfish overall in its base motivations and viewpoints, as a proposal.

      It isn’t radical at all, though it it may sound a bit like it is. In fact it is just protective of the limited viewpoint of its authors.

      It dosen’t analyse what is ailing the economy well and then respond in the least. A sincere big proposal should be expansive in my view, this is is not.

      The worked examples are as limited as they are ridiculous too. It panders hugely to free market economic ideas at key points, but in the worse possible way. In a me, me, me way.

      The role of housing market and mortgages relative to income, debt, inflation and growth are completely misunderstood. And they ignored in the worked examples too even though Positive Money allude to it being critical in destabilizing the economy.

      I can believe they trying this on, or that people are being taking in by this!

      • Roger February 2, 2013 at 2:52 pm #

        Hi Joe R,

        Have you read the IMF paper on the Chicago Plan re visited and also John Tomlinsons excellent, Honest Money. There is also James Robertsons Future Money.
        http://www.jamesrobertson.com/books.htm

        Other excellent sources are the Institute of Public Finance and Ellen Browns various articles on the Federal Reserve.
        Positive Money I think are doing an excellent job bringing the private creation of the bulk of the money supply into the public eye. Once people understand what money is, how it is created then , how it is best regulated in the Economy, is a debate that may be had. I believe it is one of the most important debates required to establish some sort of functional democracy.

        Steve Keen has done a lot of modeling on a debt jubilee solution to the current continuing crisis, his work bears examination particularly on the inflationary concerns and those of oversight of money creation( personally I am not a gold bug and believe in the Commons and that the money supply is rightly part of that commons). Happily I do not think the establishment will get this one back in the box before it is properly addressed, Positive money are to be congratulated in their efforts to ensure that this problem is addressed.

        • Joe R February 2, 2013 at 5:10 pm #

          Thanks for the link to all that PDFed info, Roger. I only can only free reading in economics now, so it is appreciated!

          I’m going to have to agree to disagree with you about ‘Positive Money’ though. And I don’t think they should be congratulated for their work.

          For me, they are deeply misleading and I don’t like people behaving like false prophets in the confusion that exists out there. It doesn’t help it does quite the opposite, I think.

          I would be interested in seeing a mainstream balanced economics commentator give an opinion on the contents. However, I think such commentors might well take one look and basically not bother, it because it so poor – so maybe there will never be such an evaluation.

          • Roger February 3, 2013 at 8:13 am #

            Most main stream economists have no training that accords with how money operates , or rather what operates as money in the modern economy. Also much main stream economics history also starts off with the money replaces Barter for efficiency fallacy, many here have read David Greibers Debt the first 5000 years and I think are more in line with his chronology also there is an excellent free paper from the Levy institute on the Hstory of money that Hawkeye recoommended for me some time ago

            http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=l.randall%20wray%20alternative%20money%20histroy%20levy%20economics%20institute&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&ved=0CEAQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.levyinstitute.org%2Fpubs%2Fwp_717.pdf&ei=owwOUZaQGKr_4QTZvYD4Aw&usg=AFQjCNFMPqtB2wzO_H7kj0GzoigHAV8EWw&sig2=AgPIRRCzpOl15Txw9G2Xeg&bvm=bv.41867550,d.bGE

            Steve Keens endogenous money modeling is very important and as yet very much a bit part player in the main stream which is I am afraid in my eyes tainted by client based patrons bias in much of its analysis.

            Steve Keen regrettably has gone over to the more modern ROck Star of academia approach with his Debunking site I watched his initial live web cast for that project and was not impressed ( it simply was not radical enough for me) HIs old site I have been reading for several years now and here is a link.

            http://www.debtdeflation.com/blogs/

            Just going to watch this Minsky video on You Tube,
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=UdOgHtu5Plk

          • Roger February 3, 2013 at 8:24 am #

            Just one more link I have really found studying Steve Keens output
            very helpful.

            http://www.debtdeflation.com/blogs/2012/09/12/new-zealand-seminar-schumpeter-minsky-endogenous-money/

          • Joe R February 3, 2013 at 1:38 pm #

            Thanks for the links Roger, I will take a look.

            I hear you about economists you have to look at there pedigree and who the paymaster is. Academics are freer to speak up but they can be a bit distanced from reality.

          • Joe Taylor February 5, 2013 at 6:56 pm #

            Hi JoeR

            I’ve got the book today and when I have read it I will give an opinion based on the contents, thought I don’t classify myself as ‘a mainstream balanced economics commentator’ – far from it. I don’t think we should take any notice of economists’ opinions of the economy. I feel much safer listening to non-economists opinions of the economy, such as Golem – and others on this blog.

          • Joe R February 6, 2013 at 7:47 am #

            Joe Taylor,

            I think that is very unfair as I have posted above on a simpler summary document that is freely available and you haven’t responded.

            I am not going to waste any more time reading their publications.

            There were 3 central problems I indentified with their document, nothing to do with the ramblings about the origin of money and money creation. To remind you they are as follows -

            1) The highly undemocratic nature of the quango proposed to be in charge of money printing along with the prescribed limits defined for its actions which only appear to benefit already well-off groups in society, including I presume, the authors and that can’t be tailored to the economic situation and hence good of the whole of society. Inflation limits vs debt reduction is an example of this.

            2) The proposal to slashing taxes across the board, a neo-liberal prescription which has ALWAYS served to damage the poorer members society, the working underclass, which looking as Positive Money’s leadership profiles are not represented there or by Positive Money in general.

            This idea is particularly galling given they haven’t said where the money will be found to cover government services for that lost revenue or the affect such other taxation could have.

            Actually, I’m presuming that will take the form of cuts in government services which disproportionally effect the poor – because they appear to be against debt and banks.

            Plus the first thing that happens when you slash personal taxes in an economy is that real inflation and personal debt spike up, as per what happened in Ireland between 1997-2007. Not the outlined and fantastical presumptions for how population behaves as outlined in their document.

            3) The housing market, construction and development as a resource in an economy, and how this relates to current economic problems. They mentioned as the most significant part of personal indebtness and then jumped completely over in every way. Why haven’t they addressed it if it is so significant? ( And it is ).

            I could list more. The consequences of their concept of how to use money printing, pops up for example.

            Or why are their proposals positive? Simple question.

            My problems is not with all this waffle about money production and the history of it. For me they make no sense, they are undemocratic in their proposals and frankly, if they were to be ever taken seriously, their concept of ‘economics’ is stupidly dangerous.

            Be fair and respond to those simple 3 points above please, Joe.

  47. backwardsevolution February 1, 2013 at 7:21 pm #

    The following article describes how the stock market has been the “food stamps” for the 1%: “The stock market is like slop in a pigpen. It is a key instrument used to keep the 1% from getting antsy. Unlike the middle class (a group that isn’t falling for any of the tricks), many of the 1% work on Wall Street or related industries and own stocks. Many of the people in the 1% are at least wealthy and connected enough to still cause serious problems for the oligarchs. They must be kept quiet as the coup that started in 2008 is brought to fruition. Then they will be left high and dry like everyone else. This is the role that the stock market is playing at the moment.”

    The poor are being taken care of: “…food stamps are just a payoff to the poor. While I think a permanent and expanding welfare state is completely and utterly destructive to an economy and culture, I do not demonize these folks. The vast majority of them would like to work and be productive. They are victims and this is being done to them quite intentionally. It creates dependency. It keeps them off the streets. It’s an unspoken bribe plain and simple. The oligarchs do not want angry, roving, hungry masses on the streets while they strip mine what’s left of the economy. Food stamps, disability and all sorts of other freebies take care of this segment of the population as the oligarchs continue on with their crimes and prepare for the day of reckoning (hence the surveillance grid).”

    The two book ends have been taken care of. It is the middle class that is getting squeezed: “The average person can feel themselves getting poorer despite the nonsense spewed by the mainstream media.”

    It is the 0.01 who have really benefited, those who make the laws and rules: “As much as people like to talk about the 1% versus the 99%, the real winners since 2008 have been the oligarchs. The 0.01% have benefited much more than any other class in terms of both money and power. It’s the 0.01% versus everyone else and the quicker we recognize that, stop fighting amongst ourselves, and push them aside the better it will be for our species.”

    I have talked to people who are doing quite well. They tell me their house is paid off, they have money in the bank. Their faces are smug until I remind them that the oligarchs want a continuing stream of money. Once the easy stuff is picked, they will come looking for them, and I told them not to be surprised when they are simply taxed out of their homes. Then their faces change.

    The 0.01 are ecstatic, the 1% are happy, and the poor are placated and none the wiser. If there is to be change, if the oligarchs are to be stopped, it will be up to the middle class.

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-01-31/how-stock-market-became-food-stamps-1

  48. princesschipchopz February 2, 2013 at 7:02 pm #

    Brilliant article – totally agree. I’d go further than calling them neo-liberals – this lot are proto fascists. They flirt with eugenic arguments, they are using seriously strong propoganda and lies against the sick and disabled and they are dismantling as much of the safety net as quickly as they can and forcing people into work for money which most people have more than paid for with their NI contributions!

    Stevie Finn gives the example of the Japanese minister – more and more of those in power are saying things which would have been unthinkable a few years ago. People cry fowl if you mention the F-word but they are definitly flirting with many elements of fasistic thought – and they are definitely corporatists. We don’t have democracy anymore in nearly all of the developed world – we have corporatism. Every thing is run by and for corporations and sod the people.

    As Max Keisers guest said today – all governments know that mass corporate and financial fraud is taking place and none of them want to do anything about it, they just want it to carry on. Disgusting.

    • Roger February 3, 2013 at 11:51 am #

      Its Fascism pure and simple in the Grand Mussolini sense, it´s very difficult for anyone to argue against the charge that the Aligned Western World is laboring under, Corporate state monopoly Capitalism.

      Its not really a case for invoking Godwins law.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwin's_law

  49. Wirplit February 3, 2013 at 7:16 pm #

    A frightening update on what is happening in Greece.

    “One third of the country’s 165,000 commercial firms shut down; a third can no longer pay “wages. In Athens, thousands of yellow signs with “Enoikiazetai” – “For Rent” – in red letters.”

    ” Dramatic price hikes in the last 15 months (100 percent for fuel oil and petrol, 50 percent for electricity, heating, gas, public transport).”

    “State officials or officials in quasi-state enterprises, such as Olympic Airlines or hospitals, have been getting no salary for months and are being put off until October – or “next year”. The record is currently held by the Ministry of Culture, where many employees who worked on the Acropolis have not been paid a salary for 22 months. As they protested this (peacefully!) in a demonstration that closed off the Acropolis, they were promptly provided for in abundance – but only in tear gas.”

    And among the at times bizarre measures to grub up money..any money from the citizens this stood out as the weirdest…

    “• New fees have been invented; to report an offence to the police, 150 euros are due immediately. The victim has to pay up before a complaint is even recorded. On the other hand, police have to pool their private money to buy petrol for the police cars.”

    http://www.presseurop.eu/en/content/article/978261-financial-genocide

    • Diogenis February 3, 2013 at 10:48 pm #

      Hi my friend @Wirplit

      What do they mean with “one third of the country´s 165,000 commercial firms”??

      Maybe they mean that greece had nearly one million firms before the crisis and that 165.000 shut down or are in crisis since 2009?

      I ask because right now we have over 800.000 active firms:
      http://21dreamlife.blogspot.de/2012/07/blog-post_14.html

      http://www.capital.gr/news.asp?id=1451852

      ..most of them ofcourse small/family buisness with 3-4 employees.

      Greetings

      • steviefinn February 4, 2013 at 12:04 am #

        Diogenes – What do you make of this ? New Democracy & Pasok being bailed out by the banks they were so keen to bailout.

        http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/01/us-greece-parties-idUSBRE91010O20130201

        Considering that the Euro crisis is supposedly sorted it doesn’t half stink over there, what with Rajoy & this lot :

        http://www.testosteronepit.com/home/2013/2/1/the-putrid-smell-suddenly-emanating-from-european-banks.html

        • Joe R February 5, 2013 at 10:06 am #

          Rajoy and friends should take one out of Bertie Ahern’s book and say that they won the money fair and square on the horses ( and he said that under oath too )…from 2008;

          http://www.independent.ie/national-news/mahon-tribunal/ahern-i-won-my-sterling-backing-horses-1398535.html

          He was re-elected after that too. The Irish people looked the other way and voted with their pockets…

          • steviefinn February 5, 2013 at 1:48 pm #

            I remember when I lived in Kerry being amazed at most of the locals attitude to the `Teflon taoiseach ` & previous to that in Westmeath being horrified at the tolerance toward ` Brown envelopes ` in regard to local domestic planning decisions. I even had to give a small sculpture to a phone engineer to avoid having to wait months for an installation.

            We did live in a place called Lycomprane where the real incident occurred that John B Keane used for his play ` The Field `, later made into a film, which I think explains to some extent the Irish obsession with land & property. That & the tolerance of corruption built up over centuries of hardship, I think, ran riot during Ireland’s only & very short period of prosperity leading to what we see today.

            I wonder if Rajoy has ever hung out in a tent at a race meeting.

          • Joe R February 6, 2013 at 1:16 am #

            The Spanish have a similar property and land obsession to the Irish, despite multiple booms and busts.

            But that particularly parochial Irish version – all the lads together in the tent drinking beer, blackslapping, etc, once a year betting on the horses, ogglling the women, didn’t happen there I think. Nothing so public or obvious. Ostentation is not a Spanish idea.

            It reminds me of the Jimmy Savile thing – the idea of hiding in the light. For the Galway tent people if the word corrupt was mentioned by the genuine opposition solicitors could threaten seriously and immediately thanks to defamation/slander law. Lesser critics were told to go top themselves or described as begrudgers. Situation sorted, carry on drinking, lads!

            In Spain the money seemed to be pooled neatly in a Swiss bank account and paid out fairly evenly over time and according to each politican’s ‘pull’ – from what I can make of it at least. It appeared simple, sophisicated and calm. Unfortunately for them that meant the payments were also tracked centrally and the accountant who tracked them seems to have had a grumbling conscience about it all. D’oh!

            There is tons of detailed coverage in El Pais who broke it.However I can’t get through through it all and I haven’t come across a good punchy summary article so I’m a bit lost on some detail still.

            Maybe in a few weeks one will emerge? Keep an eye out. Should be juicy!

  50. Diogenis February 4, 2013 at 1:06 am #

    @steviefinn

    These news are nothing compared to what we hear and read these days.And there is only one possible reaction:Flooding the streets.

    I dont know how to explain my friend.Right now I just try to keep cool and I know that most of the people I know in my country do the same.We wait and have patience untill the right time has come.

    Let me explain:

    As soon as this(mass demonstrations in Athens and Saloniki) happens the neoliberaly controlled media in europe will bring these news and they will ofcourse not report about the hundreds of thousands of peacefully demonstrating people but about the few hundred hooligans and fascists sent by the deep state to cause trouble which will lead again to blows for example to our tourism.The european elite and their dogs in the media openly threat us with a military junta and chaos if we dare to resist and to demonstrate.Similiar to what happend back in 1967.

    My personal feeling as that as soon as the protests will grow in germany,UK or france we greeks and spaniards will explode and bring all our beloved politicians into jail.

    But right now we cant do this.Me and most others think we here in greece are to small to kickstart the “revolution”.They will use us greeks again as the “negative example” of what will happen every where when the people in europe or the USA dare to hit the streets and protest.And we greeks learned that lesson in the last 2-3 years.While the system media every where reported about even the smallest demonstration in greece and made a “anarchistic revolt” out of it they did not lost a word about the huge mass demonstrations in spain months ago.My friends from germany sent me these news:

    http://meedia.de/internet/tagesschau-in-spanischer-shitstorm-falle/2012/09/26.html

    ^^

    It says that thousands of germans sent angry messages via mail to german state TV ARD that they did not report about the millions spaniards which were on the street against social cuts in late september last year.The german state TV ARD answered saying “yes we have been late but now we report about it” and that “the other (private)german media did not even report a single word about this”….

    Obviously right now the elites of europe live in fear of what will happen when millions of people will go out and demonstrate against social cuts in germany,france,UK and so on.They do everything to prevent this.But it will happen sooner or later.And if this happens to “our” terms “their” game will be lost.If it will happen as “they” want they will turn the anger into chaos and disorder..the “leftists” vs “rightists”,the “patriots” vs the “foreigners”,the “christian majority” vs the “muslim minority” and so on..And they will win when everyone cries and shouts for law and order on the streets.

    Anyway.The anger about these soziopaths grows from day to day.They will not have a place to hide here in greece when the time has come.

    Greetings

    • steviefinn February 5, 2013 at 1:36 am #

      Diogenes

      Thank you for your insight. I think something has got to give. I am certainly no expert on economics but it just strikes me as plain common sense that things are going to get worse despite the media cheerleading. Add this to the other factors it seems to me that the situation could be best represented as a Hydra.

      The powers that be succeed in cutting off some heads that represent resistance which will eventually grow back again, but ever larger. The heads that represent the never satisfied banks they keep feeding with that which sustains the people & imaginary money. An old very ugly head named Berlusconi pops up again to cause havoc & many others which represent corruption on the part of the banks, & scum like Rajoy & other politicians, also suddenly appear & spit on their efforts to calm the beast as they pretend to the largest monster – The Market, that the Hydra has been defeated.

      As you well know the Greek head has been supposedly cut off & therefore solved countless times, only to constantly grow back each time with it’s head ever larger filled with yet more debt & at one stage sporting an extra set of nasty sharp teeth courtesy of Golden Dawn. Even the Irish head that looks a bit like Barney is with each decapitation re-growing & starting to look a bit pissed off. All this while those who are mainly responsible for the birth & growth of this thing that is capable of devouring itself still prosper, as it shits out the skeletons of it’s many largely ignored, for the most part blameless victims.

      They will keep trying to put it in a cage. If they succeed we will be in there with it.

      Good luck.

      • Diogenis February 5, 2013 at 3:00 pm #

        @steviefinn

        After all this talk about this funny panic mongering-thing with the “imminent military coup” failed badly (all higher military staff since the fall of the junta is aligned to nea dimokratia and more so to the left-centre pasok) they needed a new threat to make us fear a new 1967-1974 era to keep the people away from the streets.

        As much as they try to make golden dawn appear in the media as “big and dangerous” this will fail too.According to latest surveys 90% of greeks demand that this party should be banned.No “negotiations”,no “last chance”,just banned.In the last parliament elections only half of the voters went to the ballot boxes and this way these fascists got their 7%.

        We greeks know who they are.The guys (and their children) who participated and supported the military junta from 1967.These pricks had till 2011 a nationalist party called LAOS under the leadership of a guy with the name Karatzaferis.This party got 6-8% in the years 1990-2010 and does not really exist anymore.They got not even 1% in the last elections.They all left LAOS and now they vote for the more extremist golden dawn.They are just tools in the hands of the ruling class.

        • steviefinn February 5, 2013 at 10:44 pm #

          That’s good to know, thanks.

    • Roger February 5, 2013 at 10:54 am #

      I downloaded the movie yesterday.

      “and in the eyes of the people there is the failure; and in the eyes of the hungry there is a growing wrath. In the souls of the people the grapes of wrath are filling and growing heavy, growing heavy for the vintage.”
      ― John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath
      “Sure, cried the tenant men,but it’s our land…We were born on it, and we got killed on it, died on it. Even if it’s no good, it’s still ours….That’s what makes ownership, not a paper with numbers on it.”

      “We’re sorry. It’s not us. It’s the monster. The bank isn’t like a man.”

      “Yes, but the bank is only made of men.”

      “No, you’re wrong there—quite wrong there. The bank is something else than men. It happens that every man in a bank hates what the bank does, and yet the bank does it. The bank is something more than men, I tell you. It’s the monster. Men made it, but they can’t control it.”
      ― John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath

  51. averagejoe February 4, 2013 at 3:36 pm #

    backwardsevolution
    “Or, to put this differently, had the state wanted to stop or restrict the creation of deposit money by the banks at any point, the state – in form of the central bank – could have done this at the drop of a hat. Restricting the availability of new bank reserves and/or making bank reserves more expensive would have instantly put the brakes on fractional-reserve banking. ”

    If you read Steve Keens books, he argues that the Government/Central bank, were effectively held to ransom, and were not in a position to restricted the creation of deposit money

    • backwardsevolution February 5, 2013 at 11:36 pm #

      averagejoe – “If you read Steve Keens books, he argues that the Government/Central bank were effectively held to ransom, and were not in a position to restricted the creation of deposit money.”

      The State was held to ransom? Really? Somehow I don’t buy that. This is what I was getting at above: the State is in bed with the Central Bank and the major corporations. The State has blood all over its hands BEFORE the boom, DURING the boom, and then they swoop in again AFTER the crisis hits. They never “don’t” have their hands in the cake batter.

      I still continue to read, but at this point I am seriously doubting if there has ever been a “free market”. From what I’ve read so far, it appears that what we’ve had for decades now is a totally “engineered market” of booms and busts, constant inflation, all aided and abetted by the State. And this makes sense, doesn’t it? How could the banks have looted like they did if they didn’t have State support? They couldn’t have.

      If the State was held to ransom then, have they done anything to change this? NO! The banks are bigger than ever. Nothing has been done to constrain them.

      I’ll keep reading, averagejoe. Thanks.

      • Hawkeye February 6, 2013 at 11:02 am #

        There will be much ink spilled (and maybe blood and tears too) over whether it is the “state” or the “free market” that has caused the crisis.

        Much evidence does point to an unholy collusion between these two sources. Again, much ink could get spilled in unpicking whether there has always been this alliance of interests.

        In the end, both the state and the free market are both ambiguous social conventions, and so straw men of only moderately differing qualities but also of nebulous identity will be attacked and defended in equal measure.

        At their core, both social conventions of state and market are ultimately comprised of individuals. Many of these individuals deftly segue between private & public roles (e.g. Rubin, Paulson and our own Mr Blair) to the point that they can effortlessly appear on whichever side of the argument they choose.

        However, what none of these people can avoid is their personal accountability for specific decisions and actions that they took whilst in positions of power and influence (whether privately employed or state representatives). They may proclaim that they made decisions in good faith, just a shame about the outcomes. However, they cannot be allowed to absolve themselves entirely from blame. At best their defence could only consist of admitting “economic manslaughter through diminished responsibility”.

        If we allow ourselves to engage in theoretic debate, we merely grant them immunity from their specific and individual culpability.

  52. averagejoe February 6, 2013 at 12:02 pm #

    backwardsevolution
    Like I say, you have to read the book as it is too complicated to set out here in the level of detail required to fully explain it.

    But as I understand it, the central bank is put in an impossible position during the boom. The boom is due to an explosion in the availability of private credit/debt. This initially gives a boost to the economy, which is fine as long as it increases the productive side of the economy (products and services), which increases gdp (meaning the extra debt is serviceable), but not if it increases the value of assets, eg real estate, and share prices, as that leads to a (self propellelled) asset bubble (and ultimately debt levels that are not serviceable). If the BoE had sought to restrict lending, it would have caused the boom to end, and a recession would have commenced. They would then have got the blame for causing that. There is no way the BoE or the Government, would have wished to have put themselves in that position. That aside, neither the BoE or the government or their economic advisors saw the explosion in debt a problem. Because conventional economic theory says that debt does not matter, and it assumes that for every borrower there is a saver. This is one of many assumptions that steve keen pulls apart in his book. At best the BoE and the Government were simply ignorant of the fact that the boom was unsustainable. This is backed up by the fact that the government and the BoE are still desperately trying to “get banks lending again”, despite the fact that there is simply too much private debt in the economy, resulting in a reduction in demand, and the inevitable recession that causes.

  53. Joe Taylor February 6, 2013 at 3:48 pm #

    The snips below are taken from a blog post by Gerry Gold. Note the mention of debt peonage:

    >

    Journalist Chris Hedges is a passionate and principled man, and these attributes have brought him into a direct conflict with the Obama administration and the US state over the dubious “legality” of anti-terror laws.

    The appeal, which opens in court today coincides, with the publication of a hitherto 16-page secret memo prepared by Obama’s Department of Justice that sets out to justify the president’s power to target even Americans for assassination by drone without due process.

    Glenn Greenwald, noted writer on civil liberties and constitutional issues, commented:

    The core distortion of the War on Terror under both Bush and Obama is the Orwellian practice of equating government accusations of terrorism with proof of guilt. One constantly hears US government defenders referring to ‘terrorists’ when what they actually mean is: those accused by the government of terrorism. This entire memo is grounded in this deceit.

    This debt peonage must be broken if we are going to build a mass movement to paralyze systems of corporate power. And the most effective weapon we have to liberate ourselves as well as the 30 million Americans who make up the working poor is a sustained movement to raise the minimum wage nationally to at least $11 an hour.

    >

    See the entire thing here http://bit.ly/X3DepH.

  54. backwardsevolution February 6, 2013 at 11:37 pm #

    Joe Taylor – the elite would like to point out to you that your spelling is incorrect. Here’s how they spell it: The Department of Just-us! :)

  55. steviefinn February 7, 2013 at 2:51 pm #

    I regularly check out the Business Insider website as it does occasionally throw up some good stuff. The last few weeks it has been very bullish announcing that everything has been fixed & there is a part of me that wants to believe this view. However the mood has changed over the last week with the unfortunate reality coming through, although the site as ever is full of contradictory information.

    Europe :

    http://www.businessinsider.com/willem-buiter-europe-is-in-a-bubble-2013-2

    From the Burning Platform – The US.

    http://www.theburningplatform.com/?p=48126

    One hell of a potential sneeze & the rest of us will likely catch much more than a cold.

    Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to truthfully post something positive.

    • Joe Taylor February 7, 2013 at 5:29 pm #

      I couldn’t get to the right place on your first link steviefinn but that second link – wow!

      So now they are creating a car-loan bubble and an education bubble to keep the Ponzi Scheme rolling for another round? It make me think that either I’m an utter moron because I can’t understand what they are up to, or many of them must be certifiably insane.

      Hope the rest of you read that Burning Platform link – here’s a snip:

      When subprime mortgages blew up, at least there was collateral to alleviate some of the losses. When the subprime auto loans blow up, at least there will be vehicles to repossess. Student loan debts are the ultimate in subprime, with no collateral and millions of jobless debtors. The situation is much worse than the delinquency numbers reveal. More than half of the student loans are in deferment, grace periods, or forbearance, meaning they are not currently requiring repayment. This means the true delinquency rates are twice as high as the reported figure of 15%. What happens next can be succinctly summed up by the esteemed economist John Kenneth Galbraith:

      “Then the shit hit the fan.” – John Kenneth Galbraith

      • steviefinn February 7, 2013 at 6:28 pm #

        Joe

        I wish I could see some flaws in that article but unfortunately all the pieces seem to fit horribly together. Even with the benefit of being educated by the likes of David seeing the situation described in all it’s stark reality still has the power to shock me.

        Perhaps one of the reasons they are getting away with it is because the average person being informed of this or reading it would probably come to the conclusion that it had come from the mind of a lunatic, such is the difference between the MSM view & the actual ghastly reality.

        • backwardsevolution February 8, 2013 at 9:41 am #

          Joe and steviefinn – Jim Quinn of The Burning Platform is one of the best writers out there (and one of the smartest). Not much gets past him. He is a master at seeing the big picture. A prolific poster (under “Latest Posts” on the right-hand side of the page), he has a finger on the pulse of what’s happening, and is able to cut through all of the lies we are being told.

          Here’s a four-minute video on the student loan situation in the States (over $1 Trillion in student loans outstanding). Jim Quinn would be quick to point out that this is one of the reasons the U.S. is going down.

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=FhgAPKY7R_I

        • Joe Taylor February 8, 2013 at 12:12 pm #

          Stevie

          I was also quite taken back by that article.

          I’ve posted it for discussion on the Community Activists website here.
          http://bit.ly/XcOFvo

          If you ever get a break in the traffic could you please paste your comment there or is it okay for me to do that for you?

          Cheers Joe

          • steviefinn February 8, 2013 at 12:42 pm #

            Better you do it Joe, I would probably cock it up. Feel free whenever :)

  56. Diogenis February 8, 2013 at 1:44 am #

    @Joe

    Yes.Insane,psychopaths..

    I already posted this movie but in the case you guys missed the post in the other thread here it is again:

    http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/i-am-fishead-are-corporate-leaders-psychopaths/

  57. averagejoe February 8, 2013 at 12:20 pm #

    That is a very good article. For a while I’ve been expecting the whole thing to collapse, but I think I have been underestimating the determination of the ‘elite’ to keep the whole status quo going as long as possible. I think they will go to enormous lengths to keep it going. Through the use of the MSM they will use propaganda to keep the sheeple from revolting. Japan is a good example. They have been using QE for 20 years, and yet the whole thing keeps trundling on at a glacial pace. It must be the slowest car crash in history. How long will this last I don’t know. But 20 years is possible. Time is also on their side. The longer something is dragged out, the more it becomes accepted as ‘normal’ and the less notice people pay. Situations that develop rapidly, are noticed by the masses more. So a slow drawn out painful death, I think, is the way it is heading. Because its in the best interests of the elite, to do it this way.

    • steviefinn February 8, 2013 at 2:44 pm #

      I could be wrong Joe, I often am, but I would think that the situation in the US & EU is much more volatile both financially & politically than it has been in Japan. Looking at all the factors involved regarding the real state of the banks books, the various potential bubbles, the political uncertainty in Europe & the general economic situation which it seems to me can only be kickstarted by yet another bubble, it puts me in mind of a house of cards. They are so far succeeding in holding the hole shaky structure together, but the fall of one card could quite easily bring the whole lot down.

      I do not know that much about Japan, except that the Japanese have a history of incredible stoicism based on nationalism or patriotism combined with, as was shown in WW2 a strong belief in their leadership. Perhaps this has now diminished but compared to the US where judging by one of the arguments that is being used against gun control, a lot of people are actually in increasing fear of those who supposedly have their best interests at heart. Possibly illustrated by the recent massive increase in sales of automatic weapons to beat a possible ban imposed by an administration bringing in NDAA & drone control. Just one example of a situation that with the help of something unexpected could reach a tipping point.

      Europe I think has reverted to a situation where eventually political self interest will tear through the sticking plaster that has been desperately used to try & keep the whole thing together, triggered either by political or financial events whether expected or unexpected.

      I would suggest that keeping a lid on a single entity like Japan, is a totally different kettle of fish than doing the same for the multi faceted Western world. One of my fears is that they will unleash the dogs of war. The ultimate distraction from the underlying reality that will in most ways serve the most powerful elites who will be very well protected ( so they think ) & in no way will they be called on to send their own children.

      Some would probably say, & rightly so, who am I to state my opinion on this ? Obviously I am a nobody, just someone trying to draw all the strands together from information provided by those who have consistently been proven to have been on the mark or very close to the mark over the last few years. My long love affair with history also has informed me that it is not so much the events that take place, but how people react to them that is important. Common sense as usual has been trampled by hubris & single minded serving of the self.

      • Joe R February 13, 2013 at 3:28 pm #

        “My long love affair with history also has informed me that it is not so much the events that take place, but how people react to them that is important.”

        - Bang on there, Stevie.

        A critical point on Japan is that debt (which is huge) is by in large held internally and this is a lot more stable than externally held debt. Externally held debt is more likely to be subject to panic buying and selling and swings in rates of interest and is much more unstable. Thus the possibility of Japan of being locked out of debt markets at any point is therefore a lot lower, meaning also the government there dosen’t feel the need to buy into the BS austerity mantra of the EU or US.

  58. averagejoe February 11, 2013 at 10:53 am #

    Some interesting thoughts Stevie. There is of course always the “results of unintended consequences”. Clearly the FT100 is in a bubble right now due to all the QE going on. The banks are keen to make a return on there money. But like all bubbles it wont last. When it pops I expect commodities to rocket, including gold, as the money seeks a safe haven. The standard of living will then dive.

    I read a book by Rava Batra a few years ago. Although fairly far fetched a few things stuck with me. And one was that the situation would continue until the middle classes became impoverished, and the standard of living and value of money was eroded. I think this will prove to be correct. Revolution tends to happen, when eveyone except the elite, becomes impoverished. This of course could be a quiet revolution. As the middle classes are more educated these days.

    Keep the comments flowing. Doesn’t matter if we get it wrong some of the time. The important thing is to constantly question, the info fed from the MSM.

  59. ballymichael February 13, 2013 at 12:58 pm #

    An interesting article. The “Social Market” model in germany is interesting, in its history, because both “right-of-centre” (christian democratic union) and “left-of-centre” (social democrats) lay claim to it.

    In its origins in the 1940′s (the “Freiburg School” / “Ordoliberals”) it comes from the CDU, most particularly Ludwig Erhard.

    But the interesting thing is that the CDU had (and still has) a faction with a pretty sceptical bent towards the free-market. And in fact, what Erhard and the Ordoliberals were doing, in the 1940′s, was fighting an internal ideological battle with the Christian Socialists, who inspired the quite overtly anti-capitalist 1946 Ahlen Program of the CDU.

    These ideological and historical details are mostly ignored, in the english-language media. Merkel is even often portrayed as a “neo-liberal”. It would be news to the conservative and liberals factions in the CDU, I know.

  60. Phil (Mcr) February 14, 2013 at 4:43 am #

    Martin Wolf in the FT

    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/9bcf0eea-6f98-11e2-b906-00144feab49a.html#ixzz2KqDyEdgc

    The case for helicopter money

    I fail to see any moral force to the idea that fiat money should only promote private spending

    “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” This comment of Mark Twain applies with great force to policy on money and banking. Some are sure that the troubled western economies suffer from a surfeit of money. Meanwhile, orthodox policy makers believe that the right way to revive economies is by forcing private spending back up. Almost everybody agrees that monetary financing of governments is lethal. These beliefs are all false.

    When arguing that monetary policy is already too loose, critics point to exceptionally low interest rates and the expansion of central bank balance sheets. Yet Milton Friedman himself, doyen of postwar monetary economists, argued that the quantity of money alone matters.

    Measures of broad money have stagnated since the crisis began, despite ultra-low interest rates and rapid growth in the balance sheets of central banks. Data on “divisia money” (a well-known way of aggregating the components of broad money), computed by the Center for Financial Stability in New York, show that broad money (M4) was 17 per cent below its 1967-2008 trend in December 2012. The US has suffered from famine, not surfeit.

    As Claudio Borio of the Bank for International Settlements puts it in a recent paper, “The financial cycle and macroeconomics: what have we learnt?”, “deposits are not endowments that precede loan formation; it is loans that create deposits”. Thus, when banks cease to lend, deposits stagnate. In the UK, the lending counterpart of M4 was 17 per cent lower at the end of 2012 than in March 2009. (See charts.)

    Those convinced hyperinflation is around the corner believe that banks expand their lending in direct response to their holdings of reserves at the central bank. Under a gold standard, reserves are indeed limited. Banks need to look at them rather carefully.
    Under fiat (that is, government-made) money, however, the supply of reserves is potentially infinite. True, central banks can pretend reserves are limited. In practice, however, central banks will advance reserves without limit to any solvent bank (and, as we have seen, to insolvent ones). With central banks able to supply reserves at will, the constraints on lending are solvency and profitability. Expanding banking reserves is an ineffective way to increase lending, not a dangerous one.

    In normal circumstances, bank lending responds to changes in interest rates set by central banks. But, as Lord Turner, chairman of the UK’s Financial Services Authority, argued in an important lecture given last week, “Debt, Money and Mephistopheles”, this lever is broken.

    The response of policy makers is to try even harder to make the private sector lend and spend. Central banks can indeed drive the prices of bonds, equities, foreign currency and other assets to the moon, thereby stimulating private spending. But, as Lord Turner also argues, the costs of this approach might turn out to be high. There is “a danger that in seeking to escape from the deleveraging trap created by past excesses we may build up future vulnerabilities”. William White, former BIS chief economist, expressed a similar concern in a paper on “Ultra Easy Monetary Policy and the Law of Unintended Consequences”, last year.

    Alternatives exist. As Lord Turner notes, a group of economists at the University of Chicago responded to the Depression by arguing for severing the link between the supply of credit to the private sector and creation of money. Henry Simons was the main proponent. But Irving Fisher of Yale University supported the idea, as did Friedman in “A Monetary and Fiscal Framework for Economic Stability”, published in 1948.

    The essence of this plan was 100 per cent backing of deposits by public debt. This scheme, they argued, would eliminate the instability of private credit and debt, dramatically reduce overt public debt and largely eliminate the many defects of current forms of private debt. “The Chicago Plan Revisited”, a recent working paper from the International Monetary Fund, concludes that the scheme would indeed bring these benefits.

    Let us not go so far. But this plan still brings out two important points.

    First, it is impossible to justify the conventional view that fiat money should operate almost exclusively via today’s system of private borrowing and lending. Why should state-created currency be predominantly employed to back the money created by banks as a byproduct of often irresponsible lending? Why is it good to support the leveraging of private property, but not the supply of public infrastructure? I fail to see any moral force to the idea that fiat money should only promote private, not public, spending.

    Second, in the present exceptional circumstances, when expanding private credit and spending is so hard, if not downright dangerous, the case for using the state’s power to create credit and money in support of public spending is strong. The quantity of extra central bank money required would surely be smaller than under today’s scattergun quantitative easing. Why not employ monetary financing to recapitalise commercial banks, build infrastructure or cut taxes? The case for letting fiscal deficits facilitate private deleveraging, without undue expansion in overt public debt, is surely also strong.

    What makes this policy so powerful is the combination of fiscal spending with monetary expansion: Keynesians can enjoy the former; monetarists the latter. Provided the decision on the scale of financing rests in the hands of the central bank and it, in turn, looks at the impact of the policy on the economy, this need not even generate high inflation, let alone hyperinflation. This would require discussions between the ministry of finance and the independent central bank. So be it. That cannot be avoided in extreme predicaments.

    Cancer sufferers have to undergo dangerous treatments. Yet the result can still be a cure. As Lord Turner notes, “Japan should have done some outright monetary financing over the last 20 years, and if it had done so would now have a higher nominal gross domestic product, some combination of a higher price level and a higher real output level, and a lower debt to gross domestic product ratio”. The conventional policy turned out to be dangerous. Whether this is also true of troubled countries today can be debated. But the view that it is never right to respond to a financial crisis with monetary financing of a consciously expanded fiscal deficit – helicopter money, in brief – is wrong. It simply has to be in the tool kit.

  61. Joe R February 14, 2013 at 7:55 pm #

    “Cancer sufferers have to undergo dangerous treatments. Yet the result can still be a cure.”

    = standard neo-liberal excuse offered just prior to inflicting nasty spending cuts, which have a greater affect proportionally on the income of the poor.

    The sliding of the term ‘cancer’ into the article is a deliberate use of scare language, it is intended to elevate your notion of what the porported threat is so that YOU overeact the way THEY want.

    I mean who the f**k is dying!

    And Milton Friedman? Do you really want anything that guy wanted?

  62. backwardsevolution February 14, 2013 at 8:18 pm #

    Phil – there we go with “something for nothing” again. It’s called “let’s inflate”. Easy money was what got us into this mess in the first place, and now apparently everybody wants to knock on easy money’s door again to bail them out.

    There is always enough money around. It’s just that in a deflation, money is now worth more. The fear of deflation is what causes people to think twice when buying during a boom; it is what stops people from levering up.

    U.S. banks are only lending to people who are backstopped by the government through FHA; the banks are already insolvent and they can’t take the risk of more bad loans. The people are losing their jobs right, left and center, and the only ones taking on loans are again the ones who have nothing down and nothing to lose.

    We all can continue eating and expanding our waistlines, buying new pants as we get bigger, but what good does it do? It merely puts off the pain into the future where we either die or smarten up. Same with an alcoholic or any addict.

    The way I see it (and I’ve been reading a lot of monetary history) is the government has and is always in there causing these problems by loose monetary policy. They’re providing everybody with a new pair of pants when their old ones no longer fit. They’re giving the addict another bottle, some more crack.

    The cancer mentioned in the article you posted above isn’t cured by adding more cancer. It’s cured by arresting the cancer, cutting it out, stopping its GROWTH.

    The cancer in the monetary system is the politicians and the central banks. The politicians write the laws, and they could take away the power of the central banks tomorrow if they wanted to. The central banks and their loose monetary policies are causing cancer in the commodities markets, housing markets, and pretty much every market you can think of.

  63. David Morey February 14, 2013 at 9:13 pm #

    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/9bcf0eea-6f98-11e2-b906-00144feab49a.html#axzz2KuCkNAVd

    Dangerous or not?

  64. averagejoe February 15, 2013 at 3:21 pm #

    backwardsevolution

    Your comments are welcomed, but they seem to highlight your lack of knowledge in how our money supply is created, and what it has and is being used for. Also I don’t believe you would take such a position if you had read Steve Keens book. And if you have, please tell me what you think its flaws are, that lead you to your anti regulation views.

    In my view the cause of this crisis, is the banks creating excessive debt leading to an asset bubble that has burst. Yes, regulation (the fed and the government) was insufficient. But without any regulation the booms and busts would still exist, and possibly be even worse. The actions of the central banks are not working and are making matters worse. But it’s the wrong actions that are the problem. The idea that doing away with central banks is a solution, I think is just naive. Regulation and central banks only came about, when it became clear that an unregulated system was even worse. The failure to take the right courses of action, is because the economic theory on which those actions are based is rubbish, and has been thoroughly debunked by Steve Keen.

    Here is a good recent article by Keen. Well worth a read. Also helps to show why the so called solutions are not working.
    http://www.businessspectator.com.au/bs.nsf/Article/UK-GDP-growth-markets-recession-debt-pd20130204-4KMTS?OpenDocument&src=sph

    • Joe R February 16, 2013 at 3:11 am #

      Thoroughly patronising response.Have you read all the brilliant books I have? Keen has been ‘debunked’ on more than one occassion. What a cliche!. Keen is out to make money, end of.

      • averagejoe February 19, 2013 at 12:09 pm #

        I was not intending to be patronising, but I have become frustrated by the same points being made, suggesting its the governments involvement, and that it should not interfer in the market. I have made counter arguments, and yet the points I have made previously seem to be ignored.

        Your dismissal of Keen, is sweeping, and cynical. In fact many of your posts are very cynical. You will have to do better than that if you wish to convince me Keen’s work is rubbish. I’ve read some of Krugman’s critique, and its not credible. So can you provide better examples? Until you can I will stick to my views.

        • Joe R February 20, 2013 at 3:57 pm #

          Do you like talking down to people?

          Krugman has real authority in the matter, you don´t.

          The personal jibe here that you have directed at me is similar to how Keen reacted to Krugman´s. He showed himself to be petty and intolerant. Do you need a messiah average joe? Is Steve Keen the messiah?

          Your posts for me are a load of non specific generalizing waffle. I can´t see any clear points. For example you talk about all the central banks ( there are over a hundred in the world ) as a group as though they are all acting the same way, and indeed that they can.

          How is anybody supposed debate that?

          That isn´t CYNICAL thinking it is is simple critical thinking.

  65. Joe Taylor February 16, 2013 at 11:55 pm #

    Has anyone else read Modernising Money?
    http://bit.ly/Vgx2uh

    • Joe R February 17, 2013 at 5:48 pm #

      A link to your own faux-review, how wonderful!

      There is a twenty page document available with their prosposals on the internet for download by anybody, no £15.99 to be paid.

      I made points above about how right wing, generally idiotic and particularly UNDEMOCRATIC their proposals are in theat document and you on here have refused to answer those fundamental points.

      Frankly, if the book is SO IMPORTANT perhaps like the bible they should be giving it away for free.

      Ah but then there would be no profit it in it for Dyson.

      One question for you are making money out of this promotion?

      • averagejoe February 19, 2013 at 12:11 pm #

        Yet another cynical response. I dont find that particularly helpful, or necessary, to allow a thorough debate, about the merits or otherwise of a proposal.

        • Joe R February 20, 2013 at 3:42 pm #

          You are debating what exactly?

          There are two detailed post above clearly DEBATING the issue which were unresponded to – so lay off.

  66. Roger February 17, 2013 at 1:14 pm #

    The Swedish Folk and Punk Classic . Stadt och Kapitalet.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-AW9T_dt8D4

  67. steviefinn February 17, 2013 at 4:05 pm #

    Interesting analysis – QE & Oil & why we should be working now on an alternative to fossil fuels. Only part of the picture in my view, but perhaps a big part.

    http://www.peakprosperity.com/insider/80883/real-reason-economy-broken-and-will-stay-way

  68. averagejoe February 19, 2013 at 12:16 pm #

    Thanks Stevie. Having read Heinbergs The End of Growth, I see the financial issues as merely a distraction of the underlying problem, that we are bumping up against the limits of earths resources. And in particular, maxing out the oil/energy supply. As a result, whatever financial ‘solution’s are implemented, they will fail unless, they accept that we have reached the end of growth.

    • StevieFinn February 19, 2013 at 8:10 pm #

      You are very welcome.

      Here is an article by Gail Tverburg on similar lines. She adds outsourcing jobs as another problem which reduces employment & wages, as does high oil prices. I remember years ago, as I watched the mass outsourcing of the giftware industry, thinking that it would end badly one day. A process not just used to cut direct labour costs but also to compensate for top heavy long term, on the whole bad management. Also as I witnessed in Ireland, outsourcing a profitable company in order to lay off approx. 60 workers to the sole benefit of one already very wealthy man.

      Her last paragraph contains a very ominous line :

      ‘We may be able to find partial solutions, such as making survival possible for a subset of humanity, if not everyone’

      . http://ourfiniteworld.com/2013/02/14/the-connection-of-depressed-wages-to-high-oil-prices-and-limits-to-growth/#more-37774

  69. Roger February 20, 2013 at 11:35 am #

    The growth paradigm is part of the lifeblood of the money system based on Usury, it is a conceptual construct. Distribution of the planets resources fairly and recognising what resources there are, many of which are infinite( in the sense of being renewable), and therefore have been sidelined so as to promote monopoly resources. A construction again convenient for our Financialised Oligarchy.

    Moving away from the current Paradigm involves challenging many perceptions and I think philosophy really holds a lot of the answers. I believe it is a mistake to think we are looking for something new. I do not believe we are looking to solve a unique problem that has only ever been faced by this generation at this time.

    What we do need is a new Broom.

    http://letthemconfectsweeterlies.blogspot.se/2013/02/the-ship-of-theseus-good-ship.html

  70. averagejoe February 20, 2013 at 3:16 pm #

    Some good stuff there Stevie and Roger. The financial system, specifically debt, really is just a tool for allowing ever more accumulation of ‘wealth’ in the hands of the few. And wealth really means ‘earths resources’. Our current lifestyle, and the population of the planet are really only possible thanks to the use of oil as an energy source, which is running out. I envisage the carrying capacity of the planet is being reduced ever year. When the reduction in oil supply kicks in properly (at the moment its roughly flat lined), the cost of using oil will start to rise rapidly and change will be inevitable.

    Here is an example. At the moment a farmer uses a tractor and other diesel powered equipment to grow crops, plus oil based pesticides, fertilisers etc. But, he will only do this as long as the cost is less than employing a bunch of people and animals to do the work. Eventually, labour will costs less, and we will adapt accordingly. I doubt history will be repeated. But certain aspects of life in the pre oil era are bound to return.

    I now see modern life styles as being a blip, in the history of man, before we are forced to live in a more sustainable manner again.

    • Roger February 21, 2013 at 9:32 am #

      Hi AJ,

      I personally do not buy the Oil Mythology. Oil became dominant back in the 20′s and 30′s it was favoured over alternatives at the time, ask why and keep going.
      In the same way that JP Morgan destroyed Telsa’s Wireless transmission:( and Telsa himself,( a true Genius reduced to digging ditches to feed his family) of Electricity as it would interfere with his monopoly on Copper. The monopolisation of oil supply was the chosen route of the Capitalists as it had the pre -requisite barriers to entry so beloved of the Dragons in the Dragons Den.
      I must re read the Biography I have of John P Gettyhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._Paul_Getty. Sustainable energy is renewable energy is ultimately free energy. Free and Capitalism do not mix.

      Must Fly.

      • Hawkeye February 21, 2013 at 12:55 pm #

        Hi Roger

        There are some very practical reasons why oil has held sway as a dominant energy source. It is a highly compact and dense storage medium (not just a source of energy):

        http://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.cfm?id=9991

        Even if we could liberate a bounty of “free” energy, there are consequences and limits to what we can exploit:

        http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/2011/07/galactic-scale-energy/

        None of this undermines your valid point about Capitalism requiring monopoly access to energy inputs though. And they are certainly very good at that !! But the monopolisation doesn’t prove that there is a better / bountiful alternative.

        In olden times, it was sunlight that mainly provided energy, mostly in the forms of agriculture and working animals. Hence the wars at that time were over monopolisation of land (e.g. empire expansion). Monopolisation has always exploited abundance, not suppressed it.

        What we should work towards is the democratisation of energy resources (regardless of any limitations, but especially accepting that there probably are real limits to what is available), and the equitable distribution of it.

        • Roger February 21, 2013 at 1:18 pm #

          Hi Hawkeye,

          I’m still not buying the

          ” It is a highly compact and dense storage medium (not just a source of energy):´´

          Line.

          http://letthemconfectsweeterlies.blogspot.se/2012/12/so-whats-so-special-about-crude-oil.html

          Last line of this blog I did on this question. Having seen the oil Claim her previously,

          ´´The standard line is that it is portable and relatively cheap to extract , when one starts off down that road incredulity is but a few steps around the corner.”

    • Hawkeye February 21, 2013 at 1:59 pm #

      Hi AJ

      You would enjoy Rob Newman’s History of Oil, if you haven’t come across it before:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GIpm_8v80hw

  71. Roger February 21, 2013 at 1:31 pm #

    Hi Hawkeye,

    The second link is much more credible and I follow and agree with that Logic, Finite Physicist and Infinite Economist springs to mind.
    The first Link strikes me as being the usual self serving apologia for the Big Oil and Finance
    brigade.

    All the best

    Roger

    • Hawkeye February 21, 2013 at 1:57 pm #

      Hi Roger

      Tom Murphy’s blog is exceptionally good. He has excellent credentials as a physicist and is highly articulate (if a little technical at times!).

      This article of his might help to reassure you of the storage / density argument, as he factors in a variety of other parameters to evaluate various energy sources:

      http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/2012/02/the-alternative-energy-matrix/

      Richard Heinberg’s “Searching for a miracle” report uses a similar but slightly different sets of evaluation criteria and energy sources, but does net out at the same conclusion, namely nothing on the horizon can compete with fossil fuels:

      http://www.postcarbon.org/new-site-files/Reports/Searching_for_a_Miracle_web10nov09.pdf

      They are both well researched articles.

      The oil industry is not engineering scarcity. Mother nature is doing a pretty fine job of that on her own!

      All fossil fuel companies are in fact desperately scrambling to produce as much as they can, while they can, all the while pretending everything is OK (e.g. “US has enough gas for 500 years”, “US will be energy independent by 2015-2020″, “Saudi America!”).

      • Roger February 21, 2013 at 2:28 pm #

        Thanks Hawkeye,

        I will work through all of the Links they look very interesting.

        It is apparent that Alternative sources have suffered from Under-investment, its never a bad starting point to state the Bleeding Obvious.

        I look forward to some further discussion, this is a field in which I have been doing quite a lot of reading and which Deserves more than a few cursory lines.

        All the best

        Roger

        • Hawkeye February 21, 2013 at 3:03 pm #

          Hi Roger

          Happy to discuss in more length when you’ve read through these pieces. Might be best to post any comments at my wordpress site as I’m more likely to spot it:

          http://forensicstatistician.wordpress.com/2011/11/04/it%E2%80%99s-de-ja-va-all-over-again/

          You raise an interesting point about under-investment. This was raised by the physicists at Culham doing research on Fusion energy. I wrote about it on Tom’s blog last year:

          http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/2012/01/nuclear-fusion/#comment-3245

          If an energy source requires a phenomenal amount of energy investment in the first place, then the pay-back doesn’t look good. Remember that fire wood, coal and even oil, were lying around and could be obtained with very little energetic investment (initially). A high investment (in energy terms rather than money) hampers the denominator of your EROEI equation:

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_returned_on_energy_invested

          • Roger February 22, 2013 at 8:03 am #

            Hi Hawkeye,

            I would like to see the various metrics adopted for Energy Returned on Energy invested. I have a few hours reading and then several days thinking to do. The Wikipedia Article looks like the obvious place to start.

            Are the Externalities factored in and to what extent ( War is hugely Profitable whilst at the same time massively Expensive. I’ll be diving in with huge enthusiasm, as this has been a bug bear of mine for quite some time now. In a former existence I worked for Shell UK, amongst other things I was involved with The Local Tax Assessment of the St Fergus Gas terminal in Peterhead, my earliest encounter with Lotus 123.

          • Roger July 24, 2013 at 7:30 am #

            Hi Hawkeye,

            finally got around to focussing on reading the links you posted at Golem XIV. Where I posted today regarding my reading so far this summer on Reality.
            On the subject of reality from a scientific perspective Poppers Falsifiability is very powerful and poses very challenging questions regarding testing hypothesis and theories.
            A revelation for me in this direction is the notion of Fossil Fuels, It never occurred to me that this was a theory. Long chain Hydrocarbons isn’t so compact but is actually more correct usage. Callling Liquid Hydrocarbons Fossil Fuels, whilst it may be true that some are is a prohibition on thinking outside of the box on the issues ( not least the environmental issues) which seem crowded out of much of the thinking we are allowed to do as a civic society.

            Anyway these three articles are worth reading.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abiogenic_petroleum_origin

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nikolai_Kudryavtsev

            https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#search/peak+oil/13fd8bdc3ed61520

            As an aside my father in law is a mobile combine harvester engineer and was telling me about a client who grows Malt 10 hours drive North of Stockholm. The planting season is Late May early June, The Snow goes around the second week of May and is back some time in October. But he plants and harvests along with his neighbors several thousand acres most years ( Last Year the Snow beat the Harvest window.) The point being there is 22 hrs of Sunlight June July August September. This made me think about the Solar energy implications in a linked system Nothern and southern hemispheres. Obviously its an interesting example of how our pre disposed notions of what is possible can be chalklenged?

      • Roger February 25, 2013 at 8:10 am #

        On the Case I will be using the reading as part of the thematic content of my Essay on the Universeum in Gothenberg, where I visited with my Family on Friday. Truly a magnificent museum/science centre and the Building itself is a work of Architectural Genius.
        http://letthemconfectsweeterlies.blogspot.se/2013/02/the-universeum-gotenberg-ecological.html

        • steviefinn February 26, 2013 at 2:11 pm #

          Roger

          Not sure if you can get this – Excellent tribute to Steinbeck from Mervyn Bragg, very pertinent to today’s issues:

          http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b017j50x/John_Steinbeck_Voice_of_America/

          • Roger February 26, 2013 at 6:50 pm #

            Hi Stevie,
            Foxy proxy is my friend, BBC content is easily accessible in Firefox that way, i tend to get my public proxies these days from Hidemyass.com where they publish fast and reliable free proxy’s you can just paste into the Foxyproxy screen. I hope its still live , I’ll take a look.
            Thanks for the tip.

  72. averagejoe February 22, 2013 at 12:05 pm #

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_returned_on_energy_invested
    “A solar breeder is a photovoltaic panel manufacturing plant which can be made energy-independent by using energy derived from its own roof using its own panels. Such a plant becomes not only energy self-sufficient but a major supplier of new energy, hence the name solar breeder. ”

    Interesting idea but doesn’t seem right. There is always inefficiencies. And a solar panel is in no way 100% efficient in its conversion of light to energy. Maybe I’m not thinking deeply enough.

    • Hawkeye February 22, 2013 at 12:56 pm #

      Hi AJ

      There is already a vast array of solar breeders on the planet that captures about 130 terrawatts of energy. They only rely on a current flow of solar radiation and take this energy and convert it into a chemical compound / fuel available for subsequent work by humans, animals or machines. These “solar breeders” can replicate themselves (mostly by themselves, but occasionally through minor external assistance), thus expanding and transporting themselves without any human or machine intervention. They are also entirely biogradable and recyclable.

      Most of us see them, use them and benefit from them everyday in our daily lives. But rather than encourage the expansion and preservation of these solar breeders it seems that we are actually systematically destroying them on a monumental scale.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photosynthesis

      If we want, we can replace all of these with manufactured silicon based products, but the planet might not look so nice though.

  73. averagejoe February 22, 2013 at 3:48 pm #

    Hawkeye,
    LOL. Yes, photosynthesis had crossed my mind. Its ironic. All our technology and yet nature has already found the optimum way of doing it already.

    From time to time I like to optimistically ponder. How will humanity look in say 1/200 years time, post oil phase. And I always come to the conclusion, similar to 200 years ago, but with technology used sparingly where its most sensible to apply it. And its hard to see how the world’s population will stay the same. Realistically its too high already.

    I think we may end up using wood as our main source of fuel for heat. Electricity will continue but with less use, it will be used for the most important things. High energy cost mean repair rather than replace, so lower tech solutions seem more probable. I just love my 50 year old VW. Easy to fix and will last almost forever.

    As for what to encourage my children to do in terms of careers, lol. Assuming they listen, farming, energy related, or hand skills seem most relevant. We may have to train to relearn skills lost through development of technology though. How many can still use a lathe or shape stone etc?

    Of course this is assuming we can survive the collapse of the global capitalist empire. Although history shows we usually do eg Roman, Egyptian etc.

    • Hawkeye February 22, 2013 at 4:24 pm #

      AJ

      Glad I didn’t offend, was a bit worried that my comment might have seemed sarcastic. You are certainly pondering many things that I have considered too. I think that practical (but truly sustainable) skills such as those you mention are invaluable. I would probably add in mechanical engineering skills, medicine and wine making!

      Not sure if you have come across John Michael Greer’s work, but his books are especially well written on the subject. I really enjoyed “The ecotechnic future”:

      http://www.amazon.co.uk/Ecotechnic-Future-Envisioning-Post-Peak-World/dp/0865716390/

      If you prefer fiction, then Robert Llewellyn’s (yes, Kryten) book “News from Gardenia” is along the lines that you describe too.

      I was also blown away recently by a very good interview featuring Paul Kingsnorth, explaining the flaws in the current environmental movement and why we shouldn’t expect technology to be our salvation:

      http://c-realmpodcast.podomatic.com/entry/2013-02-07T07_28_00-08_00

  74. average February 25, 2013 at 10:43 am #

    Hawkeye
    Thanks for that book suggestion on Ecotech. That book is exactly what I’m interested in. I’ve read John Seamour’s book. http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-New-Complete-Book-Self-Sufficiency/dp/0751364428. I doubt I will ever have the chance to try it but enjoyable and informative read. I think in a lower energy supply world, we will need to be more self sufficient in general. I’ll try and find some time to listen to that interview. I have young children so my spare time is somewhat limited. I thinks its import to look at positive aspects, and how we can respond to postively to change, rather than focus on the negative, “its all going to pot” stuff. Inevitably as individuals we can only have a small impact on the big picture. Improving our own food and energy security, is something we can all do more directly.

    • Joe R February 25, 2013 at 10:08 pm #

      Re; “it is all going to pot stuff´´.

      Recognize this AJ? From above –

      “Of course this is assuming we can survive the collapse of the global capitalist empire.´´

      I must say it is very positive of you to be rooting for the collapse of civilization as we know it! Would you be standing there amidst global chaos smugly telling everybody “ well! I told you so´´ ! Would it make you happy?

      And I see you are planning to instruct your kids with this great wisdom straight from your crystal ball. I hope for them, they will rebel and ignore you. You know like the Sean Connors character in T2? Truth and fiction – it is all so confusing!

      • averagejoe February 26, 2013 at 11:50 am #

        I do despair at your relentless sarcastic comments. You make broad sweeping assumptions as well, for example, you suggest I would smugly gloat during the collapse of civilisation. I do not say that nor have I any intension of doing that, and I resent your comment. Furthermore the collapse of capitalism would not be the end of civilisation, just a new chapter. Or can you not envisage a post capitalistic system? I hope my kids can make their own minds up with full access to information. Perhaps they will teach me a thing or two in the fullness of time. I welcome that. You also seem to be disparaging of anyone who does not share your views. You are quite entitled to your views, but there is no justification for insulting others that disagree with you. I’m willing to reconsider my views in light of compelling evidence, but are you?

        I assume you are referring to Iceland. Indeed it does have an advantage in terms of renewable power, and I am sure it will do well in the future. But a lot of the country is volcanic, and unstable. So its not perfect. And how much farming land do they have? I would have thought it could only support a limited population as it stands. Still, an interesting example.

        I would ask that you refrain from making insulting sarcastic comments against me in future. I welcome stimulating debate, but draw the line at insults.

        • Joe R February 26, 2013 at 1:54 pm #

          Yes. Iceland’s economy is bigger than the UK’s. You have me. It is obvously Iceland.

          Sorry, was that sarcasm?

          You are speaking down to me again, I see. I quoted you here. You want society to fail. Just so it would prove you right. This is moronic. It is terrible for everyone, including your children!

          I don’t like you HARASSING me and insulting me because I disagree with you. I have posted clear debating comments above which where unresponded to by you in ANY meaningful way.

  75. Joe R February 25, 2013 at 10:32 pm #

    Hawkeye & AJ and the other eco-commentators hereabouts.

    There is a major world economy which is larger than the UK´s, with more than 90% of its national electrical supply generated off hydroelectricity, and I think just 4% or less from fossil fuels.

    And public buses there often run on ethanol or are hooked up to the clean public electricity supply too. And many cars run on ethanol too. You guys know of where I speak?

    However despite these shocking good stats, I have found Western ( I mean mainly Anglo-phone media ) like to occasionally bash the place as a serious contributor to global warming – which it isn´t by any kind of real measure. Mainly I have found this to be because THAT one global warming story which they love to repeat every now and again is one of the stereotypical stories that plays in the world media about that country. The national clean energy statistic never gets mentioned.

    Oh – it is in general a poor place too and has had problems in the past securing investment. But it still managed that 90%+ hydro statistic.

    So my lads, can you name that non fossil fuel dependent country?

    P.S. Note: it has its own reserves of fossil fuels too so it could have done it differently.

    • Hawkeye February 26, 2013 at 12:40 pm #

      Joe R

      This game sounds like fun.

      Can anyone join in, or is it only restricted to people that you (presumably pejoratively) refer to as “eco-commentators”?

      Oh, and what is the prize if we correctly guess? And more importantly what will happen if someone gives a wrong answer?

      • Joe R February 26, 2013 at 1:59 pm #

        What is pejorative about the phrase eco-commentators exactly?

        Do like to smear Wankeye?

      • Joe R February 26, 2013 at 2:22 pm #

        If I want to be perjorative it quite easy for me. Was it clear for you there – the pejorative bit? Are you happy with the outcome of your playground baiting?

        You scored some points. You look good now. Did you enjoy the game? Do you feel smug now? Do you feel good? King of the playground?

        I offered the first comment in all sincerity, for the adults in the room. You haven’t answered in that vein – so shame on you.

        • averagejoe February 26, 2013 at 2:52 pm #

          Seems to me your happy to make insults but not receive them.

          • Joe R February 26, 2013 at 3:19 pm #

            AJ,

            What is pejorative about the phrase eco-commentators exactly?

            Answer me please.

        • Hawkeye February 26, 2013 at 3:25 pm #

          Of course Joe R. You are an adult and the rest of us are silly children. Thank you for the parental smack down.

          I certainly wanted to be clear about the terms of your playground taunting of “can you guess what country I am thinking of?” game. The fact that you have resorted to insults suggests that you are in no position to say “shame on you”. It also reflects poorly on the spirit in which you wish to engage with people.

          Moving on though, I am prepared to provide a guess. If I am wrong then please feel free to use playground jeers.

          I would say that Brazil is probably the correct answer. Based on the information you provided it sounds like it has much to be proud of. No-one here has been disparaging about it, so I’m a bit confused at why you have asked us to play this guessing game.

          Before the mud slinging began, I had mainly been commenting about EROEI, and how fossil fuels are very efficient, I’ve not made much reference to “externalities” such as global warming, so I’m not clear why this has been singled out, or what the relevance of Brazil is.

          I made quite a clear statement of my views in this paragraph here:

          “What we should work towards is the democratisation of energy resources (regardless of any limitations, but especially accepting that there probably are real limits to what is available), and the equitable distribution of it.”

          So I’m not sure whether you are critiquing something that I have written, and what in particular you are taking issue with?

          • Hawkeye February 26, 2013 at 4:48 pm #

            And that reply was meant to encourage me to answer your question?

          • Joe R February 26, 2013 at 6:22 pm #

            And your snide opening comment to me answered what and encouraged what?

  76. Joe Taylor February 26, 2013 at 10:49 am #

    I recently (Feb 16th) asked if anyone had read the newly published book ‘Modernising Money’

    Apparently no one had at that stage.

    We got this comment about the book from one of NatCAN’s more informed (and outspoken) members who has just finished reading it:

    >>

    I have read the Positive Money book, Modernising Money. Skimmed it in places I must admit. I can not find any great fault in the technicalities of changing from a debt based issuance of money by the private banking system to a debt free issuance by an independent Monetary Control Panel. It is common sense really.
    The one item which got my attention was that during the sudden transition, bank reserves at the Bank of England are converted to real cash and credited to the private banks. There is no doubt that they will speculate with this windfall and create chaos again. Some stiff regulation is required here to rein them in.
    I believe that all derivative and money market speculation should be outlawed and the role of money given its rightful place as mainly financing wealth creation in the productive economy. At present only 8% of bank money is invested in industry. This is the reason why we have seen an inexorable decline in the fortunes of Britain and the accompanying unemployment and social disintegration.

    The present system is dysfunctional clearly and has led to many financial crashes, wars and famines, in various continents. But it has been in place for a few hundred years and the Money Powers have enormous influence because of their ability to create money from nothing and issue it at compound interest. In fact the bankers have more power than our elected Government and in reality, control our economy.

    Problem is that bankers have a short-term, profit driven view and are certainly not altruistic in their motives. Their only loyalty is to their shareholders and their enormous bonuses derived from gouging money from the real economy. They truly are predators on a nation’s well-being and wealth.

    But they have a fatal weakness inherent in the system as, Karl Marx observed, and that is greed. This is why they have chased down the last penny in the system and crashed the world financial system. Somehow they have convinced the inept politicians to bail them out at the expense of the citizenry, without even a discussion in the House of Parliament. We get austerity and they continue playing roulette in the markets, which they have rigged with their Libor manipulation, money laundering, interest rate swaps fraud, mortgage fraud , credit default obligations and PPI fraud. They certainly are risk averse and only gamble on certainties.

    It is absurd that such a system is in place and the majority of people are deliberately kept unaware of such a system .
    As Henry Ford opined in 1928, ‘If the people ever realise that the issue of their money is such a monumental fraud, they will rise up and hang the bankers from every lamppost’.

    The problem is how to get a new monetary system in place, that is to the benefit of the population and not a predator upon them. The politicians of every party do not have the will to carry out this essential reform and the Government itself must be deduced as being dysfunctional.
    It is an elected Government’s duty to ensure the security and welfare of its citizens. Our many Governements, of every political persuasion, have failed manifestly in this regard. The question must be asked, is this because of economic and monetary ignorance or have they been suborned by the many temptations and influences exerted by various financial lobbyists?

    The influences used are well known and have been used for centuries by those who wish to retain power and influence events. Bribery, titles, promises of sinecures in the banking establishment, membership of exclusive societies/clubs, character assassination and their favourite and most effective of all – blackmail. If the aforementioned methods fail, they are not above using the ultimate weapon of elimination.

    These people are Machiavellian in their pursuit and retention of their privileges and power and will not roll over and surrender easily. They are beyond greedy, they want it all. They wish everyone on the planet to be in their debt and paying into their system. The term is debt peonage, the modern form of serfdom.

    We have only to look at the European Monetary system, where the private banks finance the various countries. The bankers are prepared to standby and watch countries disintegrate, such as Greece and Spain, as long as they get their Shylock pound of flesh. These countries are no longer Sovereign and do not control their own economies but are in the vice like grip of the money lenders. They are persuaded to privatise their national industries, gas, water, electricicity, transport, to pay their debts. This is extortion as practised by the Mafia and a form of hostage taking of the citizens, who are forced to pay ever escalating charges for these essential utilities. The ultimate destination of these payments end up in the bank coffers as interest charged on the privatisation financing, a double whammy.

    This is not Freedom.

    Freedom for a country is where it controls it destiny. Without Government control of its Sovereign Money, a country is not free, but subservient to the banking cartel. This is where we and the other European countries have arrived. A bleak future awaits our children unless this is changed.
    The issue is rarely discussed in the mainstream media newspapers or TV, again we must deduce that these are toothless puppets of the financial power. Only in the blogosphere can you find the information required to formulate a honest opinion.

    The mainstream media carries out its mandate of keeping the masses in their cuddly pink teddy bear world of unreality, while they are picked clean of their money.

    We are dealing with really evil people and we must realise this clearly. They have no loyalty to any country. Money is their God and “all of it” is their creed.

    >>

    Please note Ben Dyson’s response the question raised above http://bit.ly/Yv330T

    • averagejoe February 26, 2013 at 11:53 am #

      Thats a good summary, and broadly in line with my thinking on the issue.

    • Joe R February 26, 2013 at 2:03 pm #

      Somebody else is reading off the script too.

      You were challenged up above about this sham several times and you haven’t responded. For me that says a lot.

      • averagejoe February 26, 2013 at 2:39 pm #

        You have failed to respond to my points with regard to the flaws in Steve Keens work. That says a lot. Details and references please. Also your comments against Positive Money were along the lines, they are all in it for themselves to make money, if I recall correctly. Pretty weak argument that. You will have to do better than that.

        To be honest, dont bother. I cant be bothered with your insults any more.

        • Joe R February 26, 2013 at 3:22 pm #

          It is all over the internet about Keen. I am not going to waste my time.

          I critiqued Postive Moneys hogwash above and GOT NO REAL ANSWER.

          • averagejoe February 26, 2013 at 4:15 pm #

            If you cant be bothered steering me to a relevant article, I see no reason to waste my time stripping out your relevant comments from the insults about Positive Money either. Lets just say we disagree and leave it at that.

        • Joe R February 26, 2013 at 7:25 pm #

          Keen is engaged in irrelevant nit picking that is the consensus by real economists of his work. Economics is not science, simple as that.

          “Oh My, Steve Keen Edition

          Update update: Ah, so Keen didn’t mean DSGE — a term that refers only to New Keynesian models — when he said DSGE; he meant New Classical, which he somehow regards as the underlying principles for models that aren’t New Classical at all. OK. Anyway, enough of that. I’m all for listening to heretics when they offer insights I can use, but I’m not finding that at all in this conversation, just word games and continual insistence that the members of the sect have insights denied to us lesser mortals. Time to move on.”

          Paul Krugman
          http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/04/02/oh-my-steve-keen-edition/

          From Forbes -

          http://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2012/09/10/debunking-steve-keens-debunking-economics/

          There are more but I could’nt locate my favorites for you.

          Positive money is UNDEMOCRATIC in its core suggestions about control of money printing. It suggests cutting taxes and not replacing them ( a far right prescription which damages the poor ) and is fanciful at very best in any of its presumptions about the affect of free money for the masses. It is idiotic as an idea, and I’m not convinced of any good underlying intentions so it can’t be excused by that either.

          It is not ‘positive’ is just stupid and so right wing the Daily Mail is far to the center compared to it. But you like that in the UK don’t you? And as a populace you can’t understand economic positions from what I can see or their consequences ( e.g. the Lib Dems in Government ).

          • Hawkeye February 26, 2013 at 8:03 pm #

            Far from nit picking, Keen actually uses mainstream economists’ logic against them. Whereas Krugman was the one undertaking the nitpicking (as well as resorting to Ad Hominem rhetoric).

            For instance, this is Krugman’s take on the issue of money creation:

            “Now, I’m all for including the banking sector in stories where it’s relevant; but why is it so crucial to a story about debt and leverage?”

            This post tackles the debate between Keen and Krugman, and why banks are extremely relevant in relation to debt and leverage:

            http://www.golemxiv.co.uk/2012/11/money-makes-our-heads-go-round-guest-post-by-hawkeye/

            Krugman tries to airbrush banks out of economic analysis, and Keen is trying to put them back in. Rather than explain why they are not important, Krugman just seems to parrot the statement that “they are not relevant”, eventually throwing his toys out the pram (if you read the comments on Krugman’s “Wonkish” post you will see that the debate was not a conclusive victory for Krugman).

            In fact, Keen’s thesis is supported by various Central bankers and economists, as per:

            http://rwer.wordpress.com/2012/04/03/who-is-right-krugman-or-keen-or-and-9-central-bank-economists/

            Lord Adair Turner also supports this view:

            “The most distinctive thing banks do, the essence of their function within the economy, is that they create credit and as a result create spending power.”

            http://www.mondovisione.com/_assets/files/Credit-Creation-Social-Optimality-Southampton-Uni-20110929.pdf

            Whether you have doubts about the personal integrity of Ben Dyson, or quite how right wing Positive Money is, is irrelevant to the question of the accuracy of their thesis; that banks create spending power without forfeiture.

          • Joe R February 27, 2013 at 2:27 am #

            You are truly a gobshite, Wankeye. A dangerously ignorant gobshite.

            IMF and the Chicago plan ‘revisited’? Is this new then? It is not.

            It has been tried as one part of a neo-liberal therapy, in a live lab with real people backed up by a dictatorships guns.

            One word for you;

            CHILE.

            Yes – this dogmatic nonsense has been tried before. It is not a harmless theory loving concocted by your monetarist IMF nerds. People died. From firing squad bullets, torture and what not. THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE. There was a fella there called Pinochet, have you heard of him? Bad bastard. Nasty story and still lied about and ignored by idiots like you.

            You imperialistic Brits like this sort of thing though don’t you? Maggie was good friends with the murdering bastard wasn’t she?

            Are you a closet Maggie lover, Wankeye?

            Do you like the sweet pain?

          • Hawkeye February 27, 2013 at 11:18 am #

            The Chicago Plan referred to in that article relates to the 1930s discussion on banking reform, and has nothing to do with the Friedmanite Chicago Boys henchmen era of the 70s/80s:

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicago_plan

            Also the paper is not official IMF policy and I suspect that they are doing their damnedest to ignore / bury it. So you are making a completely spurious assertion and ignoring the substance of the argument being made which relates to whether or not we do currently have a system of endogenous money, and who controls it:

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Endogenous_money

            The neoliberal project demands that the public does not understand the basis of endogenous money creation. Private bank created credit is precisely the modus operandi of imperialistic repression (both militarily and financial). Supporting one, supports the other. It allows them to blame the borrower for all debts incurred:

            http://www.golemxiv.co.uk/2011/06/guest-post-by-hawkeye-irresponsible-borrowing-and-irresponsible-lending/

            This requires us to be ignorant of endogenous money, such that debt enforcement can be implemented by any means necessary (austerity, inflation, technocratic Gvt etc.). By remaining ignorant, the rank and file of the West have been complicit in pillaging from abroad but the screw will turn on them. Krugman may appear to be a liberal / socialist but he still operates within the neoliberal paradigm (he just happens to come across as a bit more cuddly). Buy stifling banking and money reform debate one is actually aiding and abetting the Neoliberal project !! You accuse me, Keen, Dyson etc of being agents of Neoliberal imperialism, yet I am trying to demonstrate the complete opposite!

            We have the same enemy and common cause. I’ve read David Harvey’s Rise of Neoliberalism so know about the Chilean project. Thatcher and Regan managed to implement a less aggressive version on us, and yet most people do indeed worship them out of ignorance (or because they believed that they benefited from the candyfloss economy the Neoliberals implemented). I am not one of those people. Only now it seems to be turning its fuller attention (that sweet pain you refer to) onto it’s home turf with more vigour, as the US, UK and Europe get hollowed out by the same Neoliberal strategy of debt peonage (Greece being the foretaste of this).

            By acknowledging that fraudulent credit creation has taken place (and the source of the credit expansion as an active agent of the neoliberal project operating through private banking interests) there is a hope that further bloodshed and repression can be avoided.

          • Hawkeye February 27, 2013 at 1:33 pm #

            Joe R.

            The feeling is mutual. Fortunately, I am only insulted by people whom I myself respect.

            I have done my utmost to have a logical discussion with you on the basis of facts and logical arguments, yet you make snide remarks, personal insults, sweeping generalisations, false accusations and resort to swear words, patronising responses and name calling.

            If you had judged using your own standards the accuracy and courtesy of your own comments then you may well have told yourself to piss off long ago.

            By the way, Brazil’s Hydro electric power source is closer to 77% not 90%, so you may wish to go back to counting school yourself:

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electricity_sector_in_Brazil

            http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-21055803

            Farewell.

  77. steviefinn February 26, 2013 at 12:35 pm #

    I have been reading about the ‘ Shock Horror ‘ in the media regarding the Italian election results, in particular from those bullish organs that have been making assurances that happy days are here again. There is huge surprise at Beppo Grillo’s success, although if they had bothered to look there was info out there that predicted it.

    The reaction & the markets hissy fit are surely a sign that the EZ & the markets are like a house of cards scared to death of of two jokers combining to remove one card that keeps the whole rotten house standing.

    I suppose there is, or will be a certain amount of pressure being applied by the markets aimed at achieving what they would consider to be the correct result, both on the Troika & Italian voters, & I have already read that there has been mention of some sort of electoral reform, I am sure the Italians would not take to kindly to that.

    Thin ice ?

    • averagejoe February 26, 2013 at 1:41 pm #

      I’ve been thinking along the same lines. The politics of europe are all about preserving the political construct that they have created. The trouble with elections, is they cant control the voting. The Italians have given the finger tp the political establishment. Good for them. The role of politicians should be to represent the range of opinions of the populous. Not their own self serving interests. And the public have started to wake up to this. If only there was a 5 star UK party.

      • steviefinn February 26, 2013 at 3:15 pm #

        AJ

        There is a part of me that hopes the Italians can bring the whole shabang down. perhaps it is due to my Sicilian Great- Grandmother’s genes. But it is a case of be careful what you wish for – although I do think the garotte is slowly tightening & perhaps it would be better to have a traumatic reset than this death of a 1000 cuts. Obviously because you have kids, it probably puts a more urgent slant on the situation.

        Watching the above Steinbeck programme linked to Roger, I was reminded of a quote from ‘ The Grapes of Wrath ‘ which from a man who was there on the front line, sums up the fact that the financial parasites will eventually screw the last drop out of us, assisted by the careerists who will aid them if given a share of the trough.

        “The bank – the monster has to have profits all the time. It can’t wait. It’ll die. No, taxes go on. When the monster stops growing, it dies. It can’t stay one size.”

        As for the cheerleaders like Joe Wiesenthal of the Business Insider who previously reckoned it was all sorted, he has now brilliantly ( duhh ! ) perceived that a countries occupants might not be overjoyed at the prospect of being reduced to debt slaves in order to prop up criminal banks, corrupt elected politicians & un-elected foreign careerists, with a few squid plants thrown in for good measure.

        http://www.businessinsider.com/why-an-election-in-italy-has-caused-markets-to-crater-all-around-the-world-2013-2

        • averagejoe February 26, 2013 at 4:24 pm #

          Once again the plan to save the construct is in jeapordy, is effectively what that article is saying, due to lack of popular support. I think the EU and the ECB are kidding themselves, if they think they can get the support of the people. The medicine is killing the patient.

    • Joe R February 26, 2013 at 2:00 pm #

      Italy always is.

      They seem to always survive though.

      • averagejoe February 27, 2013 at 10:31 am #

        Hawkeye, Some good points to defend Steve Keen’s work there against Joe. You must have more time available than me, to pull relevant articles from the net, and are good at articulating them. And a most commensurate response from Joe. When faced with some evidence to challenge his own views he results to insults and vulgar language, and goes off at a tangent, to somehow demonstrate that the arguments made are flawed.

        Joe, is that really your best shot when faced with robust counter arguments. You remind me of my teenage son. When he looses an argument he gets angry, aggressive and patronising and calls everyone an idiot that doesn’t agree with him. Still, at least he will grow out of it.

        • Joe R February 27, 2013 at 11:05 am #

          Stevie Finn put up some decent and considered comments here on Italy here that is what this micro thread is about. And should stay as such. SO PISS OFF WITH YOUR INDULGENT POMPOUS LECTURING OF ME HERE. Is that clear?

          For me anybody who seriously thinks Iceland has a bigger economy than the UK dosen’t have any valid judgement on any Economic matter hereabouts.

          • averagejoe February 27, 2013 at 11:32 am #

            “Stevie Finn put up some decent and considered comments here on Italy here that is what this micro thread is about. And should stay as such. SO PISS OFF WITH YOUR INDULGENT POMPOUS LECTURING OF ME HERE. Is that clear?”

            I sense you feel under threat. That is not the intension. I merely object to your abusive language and sweeping generalisations. When called to task on one of your sweeping generalisations where you are unable to counter it, you resort to the kind of insulting response I would expect in a pub. This is a forum that allows serious and thoughtful debate on some fundamental issues. I expect robust debate, and measured arguments backed up by robust evidence. If you are unwilling to do so, then perhaps you cant find a more appropriate outlet for your ‘style’ of debate.

            “For me anybody who seriously thinks Iceland has a bigger economy than the UK doesn’t have any valid judgement on any Economic matter hereabouts.”

            Again, you resort to, the “if someone disagrees with my opinion, they are an idiot” approach. How can you possibly expect to be taken seriously on this forum acting like that?

          • Joe R February 27, 2013 at 1:25 pm #

            Ahh, Go lecture that teenager that dosen’t like you already. Seriously!

  78. averagejoe February 27, 2013 at 1:33 pm #

    From this point on I’m going to ignore your contributions. There seems little point in engaging with someone who is either unwilling or unable to engage in proper debate. No doubt had you been standing on the Titanic as it sunk into the Atlantic you would have argued with other passengers that the ship was not sinking, issuing abuse if they disagreed with you, until the water was lapping at your ankles. The best of luck to you sir.

  79. steviefinn February 27, 2013 at 2:01 pm #

    Europe’s leaders insist austerity is the only way

    http://www.businessweek.com/news/2013-02-26/merkel-s-euro-doctrine-threatened-as-italians-reject-austerity

    Personally I think that a political entity that is willing to force terrible deprivation on it’s constituents in order to protect a corrupt elite deserves destruction. They have stepped over a moral line with no way back.

  80. Golem XIV February 27, 2013 at 2:43 pm #

    Sorry I have been away for so long. I have been writing a long article for Reuters.

    Now that I am back I have to tell you I have blacklisted Joe R. I take zero pleasure in blacklisting anyone. But I WILL NOT HAVE ABUSE on this blog.

    Occasionally losing one’s temper – fine. We all do it. Feeling very strongly about something and reacting accordingly – fine. I read Joe R’s comments and can feel his heartfelt anger over how S. America has been treated in general and specifically at the hands of Northern economic idealogues.

    BUT when ‘gobshite’ and ‘wanker’ become prevelent in anyone’s writing then I feel they have no further reason to be here. There are plenty of places where insulting people is accepted. It isn’t here.

    BUT i want to ask others. I will re-instate Joe R if others here wich me to. Please let me know, especially those who have been debating with him.

    I do not like to curtail debate and certainly do not wish to ever excluse an opinion as long as it is put openly and politely.

    Please let me know your thoughts.

    • Joe Taylor February 27, 2013 at 4:00 pm #

      I agree with you David.

      I found him to be so objectionable that I took the easy way out and simply didn’t respond to him.

      • GeoWaveRider February 27, 2013 at 9:12 pm #

        David et.al.

        I couldn’t work out where he was coming from, and I doubt I ever will now.

        Something or someone switched on the nasty button.

        Overall the discussion is generally civilized and I don’t see the need for the abusive postings of recent days. They get us nowhere.

        I’m keeping quiet at the moment and listening to what everyone else has to say on the matter, learning as I go, but I’m pretty convinced it’s broken and it isn’t going to get fixed anytime soon.

        Keep up the good work.

        Brian

  81. glen valentine February 27, 2013 at 10:49 pm #

    i think A J and HE had joe well sorted( commendable patience guys) but i think you did the right thing david. very happy to hear you are back david can,t wait to read your next article

  82. glen valentine February 28, 2013 at 8:21 am #

    this is my favourite site on the net.I think its been about two years now reading it but never contributing . Can,t spell can,t type writing skills not good ,but i can get my point across verbally but im going to make an effort to change that now.Its nice to chew the fat with well mannered informed people and am looking foward to it.

    • Golem XIV February 28, 2013 at 10:27 am #

      Welcome.

      I don’t think anyone here should worry about typos or spelling mtsikatse. Not with me around. As all here can attest, I am the king of both.

      • 24K February 28, 2013 at 6:20 pm #

        I think I can speak for everybody here and say that none of us know if that was a joke, or an actual spelling mtsikatse :P

  83. orville February 28, 2013 at 9:30 am #

    I’m with Valentine on this one. I don’t often contribute but I come here for the positive discussion, where people appear to listen to each other and try and grow together. This character from the outset was brattish, derisive and bombastic. I’m not necessarily looking for everyone to agree all the time, far from it, but there are ways and means of going about discussion which are thought – as opposed to anger – provoking.

  84. Julian the Sceptic March 22, 2013 at 12:11 am #

    Two wrongs don’t make a right.

    Whatever the criticisms of the WTO, the EU has been economically and politically dictatorial. It is imperative that the UK gets out, otherwise there will be no movement away from WTO rule.

    It is also imperative that the UK gets out of the EU, as it isn’t possible to repatriate powers from within. See http://www.newalliance.org.uk/noway.htm for the short summary and the fuller supporting detail.

    The Single Market has also been used as cover for things like the free movement of criminals and snooping on our private phone and internet use…

    • Golem XIV March 22, 2013 at 9:21 am #

      Hello Julian,

      As the EU stanmds now I would say I would have a hard time defending staying in it. My great concern, however, is that amoung many, (not attributing this to you. I don’t know you) – of those who want out of the EU are people who would like that to happen so as to rid us of any counter-force to the WTO.

      Many of those who complain about European overlordship are in favour of WTO overlordship.

      But if you are arguing for strking back at both then we have common ground.
      The EU, I agree, has become a bureacratic oligarchy largely advised by the coroprate giants. It is NOT a power for or by the people.

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