My Interview about Syria on NPR

In case you would like to hear it, I was interviewed about Syria and Gas, by Claudia Cragg for NPR (National Public Radio) in the States. The interview ran on the Boulder, Colorado station KGNU.

You can go to Claudia’s web page and follow the link or you can go direct to the Pod Cast

 

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49 Responses to My Interview about Syria on NPR

  1. Phil T. September 13, 2013 at 6:53 pm #

    David — the podcast is a must listen and demonstrates how effective writing can still be positively complemented by (in this case) an audio podcast. The topic is so complex that listening to you in a high quality interview format really expounds upon what you have gone to great lengths to articulate in the recent trilogy . Cui bono.. . (Great closing music to the podcast as well !)

    Charlie Rose should have stopped off to interview you on his return to the USA from the ME !

    All the best …

    Beyond American Petrodollar Hegemony at the eve of Global Peak Oil
    http://www.uidergisi.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Beyond-American-Petrodollar-Hegemony.pdf

    • Golem XIV September 13, 2013 at 8:08 pm #

      Here’s a question for you and others, do you think it would enhance the blog to have the odd pod cast or video blog? I’ve thought about doing them but wasn’t sure if they would add anything.

      I even bought a camera for the computer but then just sat looking at myself.

      What do you think?

      • Joe Taylor September 15, 2013 at 4:45 pm #

        I thought the podcast enhanced what you write David, put a voice to the words, made it more human.

        I’m all for you doing a video blog too. Try it and see how you and your contributors find it.

        You can always revert back to the usual format, if need be.

        • Ole Guy September 16, 2013 at 11:44 am #

          I enjoyed the podcast Golem. The written or typed word is great but many time misunderstood, no matter how simple you try to keep it.

          A podcast would be great!

      • Phil (Mcr) September 17, 2013 at 4:05 am #

        I really think videos or podcasts would be a great addition to the blog.

        Even if you’re no oil painting ; )

      • Seanán Kerr September 18, 2013 at 8:12 pm #

        Oh my God, yes! Yes! A thousand times yes, and you should really use twitter too (I see you have an account, but have hardly used it), it’s amazing that you have such a following with a blog alone when anyone else would be using a host of other media to promote their message. But if you want to become number one (not because of a need to vanity but simply because of the importance of what you say) then I’d strongly advise you to consider expanding the content you put out there.

        If I were to make on more recommendation I’d say go pick up a copy of Gary Vaynerchuk’s “Crush it” on audio tape it’s a three hour listen, it’s very american, very “how to brand yourself” and all that, but for someone like yourself I think it would be a big help in making this blog something that makes you a real living as well as giving you a bigger louder platform to shout from. It’s an ugly business I know, but unless you play the game, if the long game of apathy and bungling turns into a short game of western collapse and revolution we need David Malones not Robespierre-ish figures like Alex Jones or Max Keisers out there.

        • Golem XIV September 18, 2013 at 9:09 pm #

          Thanks Seanán,

          Both for the vote of confidence and the home truths. I know you’re right

          So, given the responses here I will try Pod casts and even the odd video blog. But I make no promises about other social media because I am not very adept and because I can’t help it, they make me feel like a fish out of water as well as a bit of a self promoting Knob. But I will try.

      • Pat September 23, 2013 at 6:42 pm #

        Yes please, David. I would vote for an audio podcast (or at least an audio-only version) because I am too busy to sit watching videos but often listen while driving, gardening, cooking etc. I would certainly subscribe to any podcast you managed to find the time to make and I am looking forward to listening to this one that you have just posted. Many thanks.

      • shaun o'hara September 24, 2013 at 7:35 am #

        you could always wear a mask.
        http://greenparty.org.uk/news/2013/09/18/green-party-conference-passes-motion-to-end-privatisation-of-money/
        thankyou for your blog. I bought yr book first,then tried to plow through conventional economic texts.Yr blog is very informative. If I can understand what you say, then you can convince millions.

  2. Phil T. September 13, 2013 at 8:21 pm #

    I believe my post speaks positively towards your thought, especially in relation to very complex topics.

    I hope you (and others) have a chance to look at the link above. Be patient with it as the bulk of the PDF is in English. Just the beginning pages feature both English & Turkish.

    While the document is informative and fascinating on many levels, his notion that there is no [energy] hegemon between 2010-2030 is worthy of discussion I would think…

  3. The Dork of Cork. September 13, 2013 at 8:45 pm #

    Just going over the IEAs energy stats of OECD countries

    OECD Europe Domestic gas supply (inc imports) – this is effective energy gas energy balance.
    expressed in TJ
    Y2010 : 21,746,669
    Y2011 : 19,926,514
    Y2012 : 19,387,985 est

    This is a shocking structural decline in consumption

    Of this Germany
    Y2010 : 3,525,221
    Y2011 : 3,237,604
    Y2012 : 3,153,904

    UK
    Y2010 : 3,945,525
    Y2011 : 3,265,798
    Y2012 : 3,084,815
    The UK has seen the most shocking decline of the big European countries.

    Italy
    Y2010 : 3,165,996
    Y2011 : 2,968,634
    Y2012 : 2,854,262

    France is not a big consumer given the size of its economy
    It uses mainly a combination of Nuclear and Hydro for its elec. power although the neoliberal economy will cause it to switch over to Gas / wind and therefore compel in to slowly switch off its life support systems.
    France
    Y2010 ; 1,978,951
    Y2011 ; 1,723,187
    Y2012 : 1,778,950 only large Euro gas consumer to increase its gas consumption in 2012.
    This is most likely surplus gas from UK & Italian base load stations shutting off and finding a better use for the Gas.

    Holland .another major user has seen a massive decline while Spain is less of a user given its climate and residual pre EMU (1986) energy mix which consists of some Nuclear and coal baseload unlike Italy.

    The neo liberal gas for dash phase looks to be over unless the powers that be can change the dynamics of the market.
    The last phases of neo liberalism “”to work” needed a global barbell economy to function with dash for gas stations providing enough power for consumption in the west without large capital injection into these economies and China and its coal providing the west with consumer products (thus bypassing local labour and increasing the profits of banks via global arbitrage)
    The neo liberals NEED GAS.

    • Phil (Mcr) September 17, 2013 at 4:07 am #

      I love these sectoral analyses that you do.

  4. The Dork of Cork. September 13, 2013 at 9:20 pm #

    If we look at bit coal & ant. (not coking coal) we can see a major increase in consumption in particular in the UK which has used its sov power to buy up coal and stuff it into its last 1970s nation state investments
    Even German Bit coal consumption is down although it has used its lignite reserves to replace this capacity.
    OECD EUROPE (KT)

    Y2010 :257,578
    Y2011 :260,771
    Y2012 :277,129

    German
    Y2010 : 43,475
    Y2011 : 41,541
    Y2012 ; 40,874

    Italy
    Y2010 : 16,646
    Y2011 : 18,365
    Y2012 : 19,824

    France
    Y2010 :12,829
    Y2011 :10,794
    Y2012 ; 12,231

    UK
    Y2010 : 45,075
    Y2011 : 45,229
    Y2012 : 58,473 !!

    In terms of raw import coal numbers the UK is the man taking Germany out of the top 2 bit coal consumption with just Poland and its domestic coal consumption leading the way for obvious physical geographic reasons.
    But Iberia is the most striking increase with a doubling of Bit. coal consumption.

    Spain
    Y2010 : 11,378
    Y2011 ; 18,838
    Y2012 : 24,117
    Portugal
    Y2010 : 2,702
    Y2011 : 3,697
    Y2012 : 4,873

  5. steviefinn September 13, 2013 at 11:39 pm #

    David

    Sounds good to me – Not specific to the topic but just up on youtube.

    Four Horsemen.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=5fbvquHSPJU&hd=1

    • Phil (Mcr) September 17, 2013 at 4:15 am #

      Hello mate, you can find the producer – Ross Ashcroft – on my Facebook. Nice guy, replies to messages.

      I watched the film and thought it was generally pretty good although I wasn’t convinced about the distinction between classical and neo-classical economists. Nor do I buy the libertarian notion that ”this isn’t capitalism, it’s crony capitalism”. Whatever, money buys power which makes more money.

      • steviefinn September 17, 2013 at 6:21 am #

        Yes Phil :) – Havn’t watched it myself yet, due to working long hours – I shall take your points on board.

  6. 24K September 14, 2013 at 12:16 am #

    +1

  7. Aleph0 September 14, 2013 at 12:20 pm #

    Excellent Audio-Interview … Thx
    Yes, & a good idea to have more of them IMO.

    In the interview, the PetroDollar wasn’t highlighted as much as I though it would have been, considering that the US has done everything possible to protect it’s position, and therefore the USD as the WW Reserve Currency.
    …. or would Qatar be persuaded to sell only in USD ? … or else !

    I remember when DSKhan inadvertently suggested the EUR could become the world’s next RC .. he didn’t last very long after that statement, now did he.

    Yes, the whole thing is one big mess , as you said …
    … IMO caused by constant interference by the superpowers with their geopolitical-chess moves… since WW2.

  8. Brendan September 15, 2013 at 4:02 pm #

    Great interview. I’m a bit skeptical however about your view that Russia doesn’t mind Iran using its pipeline into Europe because they are allies (13 minutes into the podcast). Iran has the largest gas reserves in the world and all that extra supply could drive down the price of Russian gas, even more than Quatari gas would. Russia could possibly get Iran to agree to a limit on its gas exports but they would be very wary about making Europe dependent on gas from a powerful competitor, even if they are allies.

    • Phil (Mcr) September 17, 2013 at 4:26 am #

      Interesting point, Brendan.

      And as we know the Russians (along with the Indians and Chinese) have been using the US sanctions and the greatly weakened Iranian currency to screw Tehran over import payments. Allies eh? Tsk.

  9. Roger September 15, 2013 at 6:35 pm #

    Great Interview, David. I think pod casts and video are a very powerful way of leveraging your invaluable analysis insights and patent goodwill and fair intentions.

    Heres an example of a new online initiative to bring activism into popular culture.

    “Chomsky’s Chant” is a virtual Noam Chomsky lecture in which he delivers his insights about the world to the rhythms of a Bob Marley reggae classic. In this musical and stylized lecture Chomsky talks about his personal understanding of human nature, a point of view derived from philosophies developed during the Enlightenment period of history. This understanding of the human condition has played a key role in the motivation of his own activism and serves as a fundamental basis of much of his criticisms of contemporary society.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BDCxwq1yESc#t=53http://chantmedia.org/

    Michael the sites creator and I have been in correspondence.

    Hi Michael,

    Its great to hear from you. I am sorry I have been a while in replying.

    I am about to dive into your web site. I am excited by your views on placing activism into popular culture . I share your view completely and will do my bit posting your Chomsky Chant ( I was actually hoping to find it to place in a philosophy discussion on Linked in regarding American institutions.

    I have two Children and Johanna my partner and I do live a wonderful family life here in Sweden. We are very fortunate. I chose to move here as Johanna and I both felt we wanted our Children to attend Swedish Schools. My Uk life was somewhat different I had been a very successful business man ( in modern day terms) I consider my current life something more of a success but I have come to a different perspective.

    With best wishes,

    Roger

    I’ll write further and thank you for your kind regards.

    On 5 September 2013 11:02, Michael wrote:
    Hi Rodger,

    I’ve pretty much wrapped up the Chomsky’s Chant video I’ve been working on and it’s turned into something of a production. I’ve built a web site to support the video, wrote a companion essay for it and it seems about a dozen other things. My plan is to initially post the video to reddit in about a dozen subreddits, which I think should generate about a 1000+ hits on YouTube and make it start showing up in searches for Chomsky stuff. Then I plan to contact various publications that have featured stories about Chomsky and see if they have any interest in it. I don’t believe that anyone could be more ignorant then myself about how to go about doing this type of thing but I intend to find out if it has any legs.

    Check out the web site if you get a chance, the address is:

    http://chantmedia.org/

    I’ve used Google translate to create subtitles in about 20 languages, but being a machine translation I suspect that it maybe more humorous then accurate. I did one in Swedish and would be curious to know
    how much of a train wreck it really is.

    Your video with Cornel West is remarkably similar to what I am doing. The basic idea, at least on my part, is to put “activism” (or whatever you want to call it, being concerned about what’s going on) into popular culture. Activism though is predominantly presented as some serious issue that provokes indignation or grave concern or urgent need, or some similar emotion. Don’t get me wrong, I think that this is often appropriate and the issues warrant that kind of approach, but I think there is an aspect to activism which is not portrayed nearly enough. There’s a kind of feeling of personal empowerment that comes from developing an understanding of what’s going on. And I think if you want to encourage others to involve themselves then that aspect shouldn’t be neglected. This is all a kind of a high minded thing that I have difficulty articulating and I think I need to work on being able to explaining it.

    At any rate, I’ve seen a couple of your videos from time to time and I’m noticing an improvement in the production values. You seem to have a nice life with your wife and child (children?, I’m not sure) and I think these videos you are making will end up being a meaningful thing for your children when they become adults.

    Hope your doing well.

    Regards,

    Michael

  10. Phil (Mcr) September 17, 2013 at 4:21 am #

    David, I sent the podcast to a journalist friend who has spent a lot of time on the ground in Syria (it’s as hellish as we can all imagine). He was very impressed with your research and it put into context many things which he hadn’t been clear about – Russian interests for example.

    I thought it was very interesting that the Guardian was reporting last night that the US is considering offering an olive branch to Iran. Seemed to chime quite nicely with your view that, ”people who don’t factor in gas will be left surprised by coming events”. Naturally of course, the Grauniad claimed it was motivated by the nuclear issue…

  11. BobRocket September 18, 2013 at 7:46 pm #

    Yes to Podcasts and YouTube postings, can I ask that you provide transcripts and subtitles for the hard of hearing.

    Nice call out by Ellen Brown

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ellen-brown/the-armageddon-looting-ma_b_3944739.html

    • Golem XIV September 18, 2013 at 9:33 pm #

      I would have thought so Bob.

  12. bill40 September 18, 2013 at 9:08 pm #

    Great Scot Golem!!

    Now you’re getting famous, Ellen Brown quotes you at length on her latest hufpo post. I have always said your legal global looting article was of massive importance and only people like Max Keiser and Greg Palast seemed to have grasped it. Plus all your following of course.

    Ellens’ article is a tribute to you start blushing… http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ellen-brown/the-armageddon-looting-ma_b_3944739.html

    • Golem XIV September 18, 2013 at 9:16 pm #

      Blimey! That is a lot of quoting.

      Joking aside I am very glad that others are now seeing how important that change in the law of Automatic Stay really is. Now that its in the Huff. Post that should get the mainstream claiming it for themselves.

      I have to admit to feeling a bit proud (shallow, I know) that I wrote that TWO years ago and the Huffpo is writing it today. So we, here, are sometimes two years ahead of the curve.

      It would be great if someone at the BBC would finally take idea seriously and do the story. They might win an award!

      • bill40 September 18, 2013 at 9:34 pm #

        Golem,

        I frequently read news stories in the MSM and think I’ve read this before… And usually here. Larry Summers has had the legs kicked from under him by Greg Palast and I think we are starting to win with organisations like http://www.positivemoney.org and independent blogs exposing the farce of our elites daily.

        My only worry is that our voices will be snuffed out by hook or by crook. The fight is every bit as much about internet freedom as about the economic arguments that we are winning.

        What are we without the voices?

        • Phil (Mcr) September 20, 2013 at 12:03 am #

          Not long after the ex-Scotland Yard Fraud Squad officer Rowan Bosworth Davies was on the Max Keiser show, his email account was hacked by people who, by the messages they sent to his address list, must have known his personal whereabouts at that time.

          He found it quite amusing that they should feel so threatened!

        • shaun o'hara September 24, 2013 at 7:43 am #

          Or if we want to be really radical, we can dust off the 1936 Chicago Plan, lately revived by the IMF’s Jaromir Benes and Micheal Kumhof. They argue for a return to the pre-Stuart system, before the English Free Coinage Act of 1666. This would strip banks of their power to create money out of thin air, returning to state-created money.
          rfom the telegraph, evans pritchard

  13. bill40 September 18, 2013 at 9:28 pm #

    Great minds think alike Bob…

    • Phil (Mcr) September 20, 2013 at 12:03 am #

      Good spot on the Huff Po piece, Bill.

  14. Mike Hall September 19, 2013 at 1:24 am #

    Heads up on a new must watch lecture series (for the Ecuadoran gov) by Steve Keen. Starting here:

    Crash Course in Non-Equilibrium Economics Lecture 1A – YouTube

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wb7Tmk2OABo&feature=youtu.be&a

    This is Keen explaining his reasons for pursuing his dynamic systems modelling with the importance of debt & money factored in drawing on, well, his entire academic career.

    I think Keen is miles ahead in understanding how a real macro economy works & why the present mainstream thinking is so utterly crap & deeply corrupted by vested interests.

    Keen’s distinction between the ‘dynamic’ (mathematically ‘chaotic’) system that is reality versus the ‘equilibrium’ or static system it is assumed to be, is massively important in considering macro policy. Engineers & mathematicians should grasp this immediately.

    But Keen makes a good effort at explaining this for others, and I think he absolutely nails probably the most important aspects of money & macro, drawing on insights & critiques of Marx, Shumpeter, Keynes, Fisher, Kalecki, Goodwin, Minsky and others. Top stuff.

    • Joe Taylor September 19, 2013 at 8:38 am #

      Thanks for that link Mike and you’re right, it’s a really worthwhile video to watch. Get through the introduction, which is a bit quite, and away you go.

      I’ve just read a book, ‘The Origin of Financial Crises’ by George Cooper, that argues quite convincingly that the Efficient Market Hypothesis is wrong and that the Financial Instability Hypothesis, developed by Minsky, is the one economists should be following.

      Here’s a link to selelcted quotes from that book, http://bit.ly/13zb1eu

  15. Banger September 19, 2013 at 3:19 pm #

    Wonderful to hear the podcast. I have been writing about the fact that official Washington is a complete muddle on the Syria issue. One of the skills I have is analyzing the Washington political equation as it really is–and the only reason I have that skill is that almost everyone who talks or writes on that subject either doesn’t have a clue, is so obsessed with ideology and cultural issues, or simply cynical manipulators who are in the power structure or itching to get in. I can describe each “type” but that would take too long.

    What I love about your attitude is that you’re reasonably sane and aren’t swayed by misdirection and media manipulation–it’s shocking how few of us there are. I feel immensely gratified by reading your political analysis of those regional political issues–I haven’t looked into or didn’t fully understand the Qatar vs. Saudi rivalry though I understood it was there.

    I find understanding about realpolitik to be stunningly rare–I’m almost giving up on blogging or even talking about anything political because everyone starts with false assumptions, i.e., they start from what they read or hear in the mainstream and, for much of the left, the misinformation in the leftist press which just throws a different spin on the same old bits of misinformation and misdirection published in the mainstream. The mainstream media is almost 100% lies all the time at least in commentary–even news stories are, mainly, hopelessly slanted–althoug you can read good piece occasionally in some of the papers–good reporters do exist.

    • allcoppedout September 21, 2013 at 6:52 pm #

      The lack of understanding of realpolitik and dirty hands ‘morality’ is very scary. Our main problem is lack of investigative authority and thus having to work on “facts and numbers” given to us. Classics include left wing articles based on intelligence from the Economist. I doubt we can get near the truth without breaking into GCHQ and establishing a court of public scrutiny.
      I wonder what chance there is (statistically) of three skyscrapers falling as though in planned demolition from accidental damage? I just don’t know, but expect someone does. The ultimate conspiracy might be that we are over-paying demolition engineers! I just think we should know, instead of being left to multiple accounts that are not fully supported by evidence, including the establishment account itself – which thus tends to win by default.

  16. Hawkeye September 20, 2013 at 9:07 am #

    I wonder why so many countries object to the US’s “freedom loving ways”.

    Could it be their covert warmongering, as evidenced in this strategy paper:

    http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/monographs/2008/RAND_MG738.pdf

    (Courtesy of http://www.nafeezahmed.com )

    • Phil T. September 20, 2013 at 4:02 pm #

      Hawkeye — that is quite a thick document even by 2008 standards. Due to time constraints, I chose to read up to Chapter 3 at this juncture. The figures and tables of Chapter 3 (along with accompanying text) are severely mind-boggling in terms of the depth of the neo-conservative psyche.

      Although I have not yet read past that point, I did review the entire table of contents and it seems that the basic foundation for war-mongering is as absent in this document, as it is in Pres. Obama’s recent sabre rattling episode towards Syria.

      I am hesitantly including a link to another thick document NATURAL GAS PRICING AND ITS FUTURE : EUROPE AS THE BATTLEGROUND from 2010 of which I have only read Chapter 4, entitled Review of the Contracting Practices of Key Gas Industry Players

      http://carnegieendowment.org/files/gas_pricing_europe.pdf

      Also, I watched a very recent interview with former Israeli P.M. Ehud Barak in which I clearly heard him express an opinion very similar to Golem’s dark thought concerning the future of the Syrian crisis.

      The question remains … Cui Bono ?

  17. Patricia September 21, 2013 at 1:30 am #

    I, too, enjoyed the podcast and agree with the others that you should provide a link to them on this site. Spread the word…..
    However I have looked up Qatar and have seen it only has 250,000 citizens. The rest are immigrant workers. Qatar has been under the domination of foreign powers many many times. Its current independence is only approximately 42 years. I cannot see that its desire to be the most powerful state in the area would be allowed. It has a big US base on it which America used in its war against Iraq. Now Saudi Arabia and US are big buddies and I think it would be very easy for Saudi to take over Qatar – with a little help from its friend(s). Both SA and Qatar belong to the same religious sect. Saudi would get the gas at a time when, supposedly, it oil supplies are running down and Qatar would get the pipeline. The mess in Syria would be irrelevant. Iran could have a pipeline through Iraq to Turkey and from there on to Europe. Europe would then have a number of sources from which to get its LNG. So what would be the disadvantages?

  18. Mike Hall September 21, 2013 at 6:04 pm #

    Ambrose E-P at the Telegraph, suggesting Treasury & BoE get together to cancel Tsy debt and/or provide fiscal stimulus, referencing Adair Turner.

    Also some form of ‘full reserve’ banking reform a la Chicago Plan (‘Revisited’) / Positive Money gets a mention.

    Maybe not fully in the (correct) Post Keynesian/MMT/Steve Keen money/banking paradigm, but pretty close.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/ambroseevans_pritchard/10319186/Fed-recoils-from-1937-tightening-error-as-jobs-evaporate.html

    Ambrose seems about as explicit as I’ve seen him on this, & he must be virtually unique in the entire MSM, in Europe/UK at least.

    Which to me begs a question.

    Given the radical, out of mainstream, nature of this, and in a prominent newspaper, surely we should expect to see some even more prominent attempt at a slap down of such ‘dangerous’ thinking?

    However, if he’s ignored, I’d suggest such silence indicates a far deeper consideration by ‘authorities’ – fear of the truth being revealed.

    A truth, incidentally – that ‘loanable funds’ & ‘money multiplier’ are pure crap – that Keen, in his lectures linked in my comment earlier, says was very widely accepted – ie mainstream – some decades ago.

    Which means, of course, that some entities must have likely made some massive global effort, those decades ago, to obfuscate what people (economists etc.) already knew banks did.

    If you haven’t already viewed all 10 lectures (1A to 5B) of Keen’s recent ‘Crash course in Disequilibrium Economics’, then you should. It’s virtually a summary presentation of Keen’s life-to-date work. The detailed work over decades that has gone into his conclusions is hugely impressive.

    As an engineering graduate, his ‘dynamic systems’ approach, seems to me a no-brainer. (A hard wired version, with Op-Amps, of his ‘Minsky’ simulation/analogue computing software was part of our courses!)

    Keen was presenting his initial hypothesis over 20 yrs ago. A further demonstration of the sheer incompetence and/or capture of mainstream economics thinking, persisting with ‘equilibrium’ methods and patently absurd assumptions about the real world, long after the appropriate maths tools were widely available to make a far more empirically based analysis.

    It seems to me that everywhere we look these days, mainstream authority ‘Institutions’ – all of them – are completely self-serving or otherwise serving only their fellow travellers in the top few percent club.

    Politics, Civil Service, Police, Academic Economics, Media, Church (or any ‘organised’ religion), Education Authorities, Health Service Administrations…..

    ……the F&%^king lot – none of them ‘fit for purpose’, not even close.

    (as in, the ‘public’ purpose they all purport to promote)

    (afterthought, ok, some Science institutions function reasonably well…)

    Seriously, IF humanity survives much longer, this period we are living thru’ now will be seen as – is probably conditional on realising – another ‘Galileo’ moment.

    …and a question randomly in my mind following recent news – can Greece survive more ‘help’ from Euro authorities, doubtless due imminently following the German election results? Or are we looking at another ‘Balkans’ style descent into hell?

  19. allcoppedout September 21, 2013 at 8:04 pm #

    I can barely bring myself to say anything against Steve Keen. He’s right on debt and every inch ‘old Labour’ in distrust of money generally (pace Gnomes of Zurich). I’m not sure on his ‘science’ arguments and could probably deconstruct them and apply to criticism of his own work. I doubt there is much in the static – dynamic method as the obvious farce in economics is ceteris paribus – crude assumptions of everything else being relied on to stay the same – something even manufacturing database controlled models do not assume. Most static equilibriums I remember in biology were, in fact, dynamic and involved balanced exchanges (osmosis can maintain equilibrium as well as ‘flow’). The argument would take pages and hardly matters.

    • Mike Hall September 22, 2013 at 11:29 am #

      allcoppedout

      Recognising that the economy is a dynamic system is hugely important. It validates Minsky’s ‘Financial Instability Hypothesis’ and demonstrates (& explains) the reason for what would have been complete collapse bar emergency public sector intervention.

      It completely refutes the ‘Efficient Markets’ (ie zero regulation) ideology – still peddled by neo liberals, Austrians etc. (ie minimal government, except military to protect the rich, naturally, and then let it rip.)

      Unless one’s interests lie with the wealthy ruling elites, where their attitude is the vast majority can go f&*k themselves.

      So, the dynamic vs fantasy static battle, alongside denial of macro economics itself – indeed, all the memes used to brainwash people, after Edward Bernays et al – are, in reality, the same ‘class war’ that Marx & others identified.

      The underlying reality the top few percent have sought to remove, and largely succeeded, from the public discourse.

      But it’s still there, has always been there. In fact it has even taken a more insidious form than in Marx’s day with the growth of a purely extractive ‘financialised economy’ class that Hudson talks about. One can see value in an entrepreneurial class that engages in the real economy, but not the banker class that has revealed the true extent of their blood sucking, and ownership of what we laughingly call ‘democracy’, in the recent crisis and response to it.

      And the dividing line of eternally opposing interests (at the +micro+ level) is still much as Marx described it – inherent in a Capitalist structure – those who live by ownership of money and assets, and those who sell their labour. By definition, the latter will be – have to be – in the vast majority. Ergo, ‘democracy’ should represent the interests of the labour classes and the top few percent should have no power or other means to corrupt it.

      But what we have now is the virtual opposite. The top few percent occupy virtually all key positions of authority. What we have got, increasing inequality, instability let rip, is as logical an outcome as night follows day. The tendency toward a neo-feudal society of masters and debt slaves that Hudson describes.

      However, an entirely state planned system is just as corruptible and, as we see, in fact produces quite similar outcomes. A new elite emerges.

      So, the answer is surely an equal balance? Assuming, that is, we keep a Capitalist system. Sure, there are likely much better ways of organising human society, but perhaps we should learn to walk before we run. Learn to manage Capitalism in a way that respects human rights & our environment in the diametrically opposite and better, entirely possible, way than we do now.

      Here’s my suggestion on how to do it.

      Make democratic government actually representative.

      Nobody in public office, elected or otherwise gets to be rich enough to join the Capital owning classes. That is, none are allowed to be wealthy enough to live off that ownership. Cap their income to some low multiple of the minimum (benefit) level. No business ownership or senior managerial interests. Cut off the potential for corruption at source.

      Bottom line. Positions of authority in each Class cannot be held at the same time. Nor can they occur within immediate families, or by transfer of wealth. No revolving doors. Jumping from one to the other, only allowed after several years delay, and limited to one or two moves in a lifetime. (We’ll never get this perfect, but ‘adequate’ is surely possible.)

      Then the big question, that is always present, that has also been airbrushed out of modern discourse. The distribution of real goods and services, implied but never uttered, by the acquisition of money. Who gets what?

      Simple. Let’s make it 50/50. 50% each to each class.

      The government sector get to spend 50% of GDP on the welfare of their labouring classes. Free education, free healthcare etc. Everyone (including the rich) are entitled equally, but the government get to decide the overall provision.

      The private sector gets to spend the remaining 50% of GDP.

      Obviously, this will require a bit of ex-post small adjustment for the next period, but we’ve more than adequate measuring & recording ability to ensure it stays pretty close. The government may employ direct, or buy services from the private sector, but the benefit must be only to the labouring classes.

      One further condition. No-one gets left behind. And both sectors are equally responsible. So, an MMT style (voluntary, transition, community/charity sector, non-competing) Job Guarantee operates, with its cost (in free issuance of fiat money) taken off the top before tjhe 50/50 is calculated.

      ‘Functional Finance’ takes care of inflation. Adjusting spending (money issuance) & taxation (money removal) as required to meet overall targets.

      The financial sector must operate on a basis of proving a product is useful to the real economy, or it cannot be made legal. The government sector are perfectly entitled to operate bamks, credit unions, or whatever they wish – but still keeping overall within the 50/50 rule.

      I strongly suggest that the government sector operates a democratised public media ‘voucher’ system so that people may finance from public funds common ownership (only) structured (no advertising or other private revenue allowed) public interest media providers.

      In fact, I would write such a fourth estate law into a constitution. The entrepreneurial classes will surely finance their own propaganda. People always forget as generations advance. They will need to be reminded why society has chosen to work the way it does.

      So, there you go. A brief outline of Mike’s manifesto for a better society. :)

      • desmond September 23, 2013 at 6:52 pm #

        a good manifesto Mike. I would add the banning of political parties. we could all be voting on someone we recognise as reliable. Someone who would represent us primarily. Gridlock in parliament can be easily avoided by saying that if the full term isn’t served and a new election is required then none of them may stand again. Sociopaths versing human beings is just the latest game in evolutions workshop..

        • Mike Hall September 23, 2013 at 7:06 pm #

          I agree with that too desmond. Political parties having power over elected representatives is very much one of the things that locks in the status quo.

  20. Roger September 23, 2013 at 8:34 am #

    Capitalist Dead Horse flogs 99%, Golden Goose found dead on moon.
    http://letthemconfectsweeterlies.blogspot.se/2013/09/capitalist-dead-horse-flogs-99.html

  21. Roger September 24, 2013 at 12:30 pm #

    I realised recently that I had committed blasphemy questioning Capitalism. I wondered if there were sinners similar to myself and voila, this blog.

    Expecting a terra incognita, I found myself instead in the land of déjà vu. The lexicon of The Wall Street Journal and the business sections of Time and Newsweek turned out to bear a striking resemblance to Genesis, the Epistle to the Romans, and Saint Augustine’s City of God. Behind descriptions of market reforms, monetary policy, and the convolutions of the Dow, I gradually made out the pieces of a grand narrative about the inner meaning of human history, why things had gone wrong, and how to put them right. Theologians call these myths of origin, legends of the fall, and doctrines of sin and redemption. But here they were again, and in only thin disguise: chronicles about the creation of wealth, the seductive temptations of statism, captivity to faceless economic cycles, and, ultimately, salvation through the advent of free markets, with a small dose of ascetic belt tightening along the way, especially for the East Asian economies.

    http://thescienceofdestruction.wordpress.com/2011/12/16/the-market-and-the-myth/http://thescienceofdestruction.wordpress.com/2012/01/22/capitalism-as-religion/

  22. Phil T. September 24, 2013 at 10:01 pm #

    This recent [provocative] Op-Ed from Forbes magazine is making more than a few waves … there is also an interview with the author, Mr. Binswanger, at Yahoo Finance.

    Give Back? … Yes, It’s Time For The 99% To Give Back To The 1%
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/harrybinswanger/2013/09/17/give-back-yes-its-time-for-the-99-to-give-back-to-the-1/

  23. Robin Smith October 15, 2013 at 4:12 pm #

    Good one. Did you mention anything about the necessity of owning exclusive rights to the land under which the gas lies? And that without the exclusive ownership the gas is worth nothing? And then who will be collecting the economic rent… in the end?

    Just a thought. This may help if the question sounds too confusing to address:

    http://www.meltfund.com/2013/10/mr-miliband-we-love-you-property-owners.html

    Yours,
    Robin Smith
    CFO MEltFund

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