Thread Rating:
  • 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
The economy - oops

I've recently discovered this chap, who some might be familar with already;  Mark Blyth.  I enjoy his commentary a great deal, at least partly because he says a lot of things I've often thought and expounds on things I've frequently suspected, all with a proper economics education.  Which is great for making me feel clever with no added effort!


Aligning with my biases aside,  he is an interesting character for cutting though the fog of neo liberal dogma/ideology/religion, which has portrayed itself as The Only Answer my entire life (and if it doesn't work, you just haven't done it right/enough.  Which is basically the same as magic and prayer btw) and ruled all western politics with an (invisible) iron fist.


Having genuine economics chops is good too because it makes it very hard for people to simply dismiss him as some sort of lefty socialist who doesn't know what he's talking about (which is often true of lefty socialists, it must be said).  He'll charge straight into your Friedman and von Mises stuff, with numbers, no problem.



Here's a short one




And this longer talk goes into this viewpoint in more detail with the demonisation of inflation, the elevation of finance, the love of privatisation, the relegating to sin of often necessary government intervention etc.



Reply
ALooked him up. Came across this interview. This is for all the lazy, generational critics out there.

"Is it just us, or does everything about economics and politics in these last three decades you mentioned, point to the baby-boomers being pretty sub-par to god-awful stewards of society? It seems like the minute they come of age and take office every broad-based trend goes in the wrong direction.

I've actually been trying to write a book with a guy called Sven Steinmo for the past couple of years called The Greediest Generation, which is precisely for this question. I'll give you some stats. Eighty percent of all financial assets are owned by baby boomers. Next stat: 85 percent of that 80 percent is owned by the top 20 percent of boomers. Next stat: 50 percent of boomers have no financial assets whatsoever. So, what that means is the asset inequality within the boomers as a generation, is as great as the inequality across the entire asset distribution, regardless of age.

So there are super poor people out there who just happen to be boomers. It's not like they all got rich, and they all ripped us off.

Right. Some of them are still good hippies.


Some of them certainly are. As a generation, they collectively ditched their hippie heritage, they learned to hate the state, they voted for Reagan, they locked in high asset values, [their savings benefited from] high-interest rates, they rode it all the way down, they got bailed out in the bust, now they're all fine and everybody else is screwed. In a macro sense, this is true. Yet there's loads of people in that age cohort who've been hurt by those policies too. There's definitely an intergenerational story going on though. A very simple example of this: student loan debt stands at, what, about $1.2 trillion?

Yep.

The story you’re likely to hear about Millennials is, "Oh they don't want to save for a house, they'd rather have avocado on toast for breakfast." Well, the reason they're not buying houses and cars is because they're up to their necks in debt, in a way that their parents and the boomers in particular never were. If you went to Berkeley in the 1960s you went for like $50 a quarter.* I mean it was insane, the free gifts they got in terms of the public goods available at that point. And now, they have certainly privatized those public goods. So you can tell a story in which this is a transfer, and it's very much an intergenerational story, but it's more by accident rather than by design.

* This is an exaggeration (albeit a slight one)

So in your mind, it's more of a systemic happenstance?

A giant set of unintended consequences. It's not as if a bunch of people who’re boomers-to-be sat down in ‘77 and said, "Right lads, I've got a good idea: why don't we blow up the financial system, profit-take all the way up, get bailed out on the way down, and stick the cost on our grandkids?”

The proverbial people in the back room smoking cigars...

Yeah, exactly, that kind of thing is literally bullshit. It doesn't happen. But what happens is individually rational decisions of people over time compound in such a way as to become collectively short-sighted and collectively disastrous. And even though we know this, it's very hard to alter that behavior. Think about global warming. Anybody who's not a complete arse understands that it's true, but ever try getting people to focus on icebergs? It's very difficult.

Yeah. Nothing too sexy about icebergs.

Yeah, but it's time horizons, right? I mean I could sit staring at glaciers for six months, nothing happens. I've got a house to build. I've got kids to feed. I've gotta put people through college. The time scales are just totally different."
Reply
NPR/Fresh Air interview...

Can Democracy Survive Global Capitalism?

How Globalized Capitalism Drives Worldwide Fear And Discontentment

Author Robert Kuttner says the decline of social contracts in Western democracies has led to the rise of right-wing populism. His new book is Can Democracy Survive Global Capitalism?



Quote:GROSS: In your book, you make connections between global capitalism and what's happening politically in countries in Western Europe, in Eastern Europe and in the United States. And you see a connection between the rise of global capitalism and the rise of the far-right. What is the connection that you see? And we're talking about the rise of the far-right, as I said, in Eastern Europe, Europe and, you say, in the United States.

KUTTNER: I think you have to go back to what happened after World War II, which was a quite remarkable moment in history when laissez faire capitalism, which brought us the Great Depression, had obviously failed. And the capitalism that was prevalent in the 1920s did not just produce the Great Depression, it produced Hitler because unemployment rates were so high and austerity policies were so perverse that people turned to fascists because they were desperate. It's very hard for democracies to survive 20 and 30 percent unemployment.

So the people after World War II who founded the post-war system said, we are never going to let this happen again. And so they built a global system that was compatible with a system of managed capitalism domestically so that prosperity would be broadly distributed. Now, globalization, beginning in the '70s and the '80s, overturned that system to the point where economic insecurity increased to the point where ordinary people lost confidence in elites to the point where, in country after country after country, the far-right fill that vacuum very much the way it did in the 1920s.

It's a good listen but it didn't make me very optimistic about the future.
I used to be with "it", but then they changed what "it" was. Now, what I'm with isn't "it", and what's "it" seems weird and scary to me. -Grandpa Simpson
Reply
I'd bet that at least 60-70% of the workers in KC are GOP/DJT supporters...

Quote:Harley-Davidson took its tax cut, closed a factory, and rewarded shareholders
The motorcycle maker in January told Kansas City workers it would close a plant there. Days later, it announced a nearly $700 million stock buyback plan.

MTGA
I used to be with "it", but then they changed what "it" was. Now, what I'm with isn't "it", and what's "it" seems weird and scary to me. -Grandpa Simpson
Reply
(05-22-2018, 01:07 PM)vtran Wrote: I'd bet that at least 60-70% of the workers in KC are GOP/DJT supporters...

Quote:Harley-Davidson took its tax cut, closed a factory, and rewarded shareholders
The motorcycle maker in January told Kansas City workers it would close a plant there. Days later, it announced a nearly $700 million stock buyback plan.

MTGA

This should make for a great campaign commercial:

https://twitter.com/allinwithchris/statu...4801524742
Reply
If you're having pothole problems and the government can't help... call Domino's!?!?!

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/dominos-p...02630.html

Quote:Domino’s Pizza ($DPZ) is filling in potholes in towns across the U.S. with a new ‘”Paving for Pizza” initiative. The American pizza chain announced on Monday that it will help “smooth the ride home” for deliveries by making pothole repairs in towns nominated by their customers.

Domino’s is offering to fill ‘cracks, bumps and potholes’ to smooth road conditions. The initiative is aimed at ‘saving pizza.’ Picture courtesy of Domino’s Pizza.”Have you ever hit a pothole and instantly cringed?” Russell Weiner, president of Domino’s USA explains, stated in a press release. “We know that feeling is heightened when you’re bringing home a carryout order from your local Domino’s store. We don’t want to lose any great-tasting pizza to a pothole, ruining a wonderful meal.”

Domino’s has already been working with four municipalities to help repair potholes on roads, including Bartonville, Texas, Milford, Delaware, Athens, Georgia, and Burbank, California.

In Milford, Domino’s says it helped fix 40 potholes on 10 roads in 10 hours with four crew members.

“Facing an already harsher winter than usual for Delaware, this is an opportunity to get additional money to stretch our city’s limited resources,” said Eric Norenberg, city manager of the town, on the website.

   
Reply
Rural school districts continue to struggle:

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/school...spartandhp

Quote:Arena Elementary is the second small rural elementary school in two years to close in the district, nearly 300 square miles of rolling pastures and dairy farms in southwestern Wisconsin. The one in the neighboring village of Lone Rock closed last spring. The district now has just one open public elementary school, in Spring Green, nine miles away.

The same scene is playing out across rural America. Officials in aging communities with stretched budgets are closing small schools and busing children to larger towns. People worry about losing not just their schools but their town’s future — that the closing will prompt the remaining residents and businesses to drift away and leave the place a ghost town.

Rural schools have been closing in waves for decades, but the debate has taken on sharp urgency this year, particularly in communities in the Midwest and New England that have grown smaller and older since the recession. In Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker, who is under pressure as he campaigns for a third term, signed a bill in March increasing aid to nearly 150 sparsely populated school districts. A legislative committee in Madison, noting the major shifts in population from rural areas to cities and suburbs in the last decade, has convened public sessions across the state to search for solutions and hear from frustrated parents and administrators.

Arena’s last day capped a long, bitter and personal debate that has divided the rural community far more than any political debate or presidential election has.

Friendships soured. Co-workers took sides. Elected officials held long and emotional hearings. Residents voted on a referendum attempting to raise money and save the school. School board officials faced a recall election, and after the vote last year, one member was told by friends that it might be best if he didn’t show up at the Fourth of July celebration in Lone Rock. He stayed away.

Ms. Roske, a multitasking force of energy who runs both the school’s parent-teacher organization and a nearby horse farm, said she had fought the closure of the Arena school, where both of her daughters were educated.

Administrators say they hardly had any choice.

The numbers are there for anyone to see: The River Valley School District graduated 105 seniors this year, and expects only 66 kindergartners to start school in the fall.
Reply
This could go in the Trumpocalypse thread but it would be lost in within the hour thanks to the nonstop tsunami of DJT bullshit.  

Quote:Meet the Economist Behind the One Percent’s Stealth Takeover of America

Ask people to name the key minds that have shaped America’s burst of radical right-wing attacks on working conditions, consumer rights and public services, and they will typically mention figures like free market-champion Milton Friedman, libertarian guru Ayn Rand, and laissez-faire economists Friedrich Hayek and Ludwig von Mises.

James McGill Buchanan is a name you will rarely hear unless you’ve taken several classes in economics. And if the Tennessee-born Nobel laureate were alive today, it would suit him just fine that most well-informed journalists, liberal politicians, and even many economics students have little understanding of his work.

The reason? Duke historian Nancy MacLean contends that his philosophy is so stark that even young libertarian acolytes are only introduced to it after they have accepted the relatively sunny perspective of Ayn Rand. (Yes, you read that correctly). If Americans really knew what Buchanan thought and promoted, and how destructively his vision is manifesting under their noses, it would dawn on them how close the country is to a transformation most would not even want to imagine, much less accept.
[cont]


This guy was a serious asshole....

Quote:Buchanan began working on a description of power that started out as a critique of how institutions functioned in the relatively liberal 1950s and ‘60s, a time when economist John Maynard Keynes’s ideas about the need for government intervention in markets to protect people from flaws so clearly demonstrated in the Great Depression held sway. Buchanan, MacLean notes, was incensed at what he saw as a move toward socialism and deeply suspicious of any form of state action that channels resources to the public. Why should the increasingly powerful federal government be able to force the wealthy to pay for goods and programs that served ordinary citizens and the poor?
I used to be with "it", but then they changed what "it" was. Now, what I'm with isn't "it", and what's "it" seems weird and scary to me. -Grandpa Simpson
Reply
How is that bold text much different than Rand's philosophy? Is it in the execution?
If you're happy, you're not paying attention.

Originally Posted by JacknifeJohnny: 
Glad that you guys worked that out amongst yourselves.

Reply
Yeah, it's all about the execution. Rand/Libertarians basically want government to stay completely out of everyone's buisness. Buchanan and his ilk are about making the government work as efficiently as possible to take money from social services and protect the rich. The author of that article, Nancy MacLean, wrote a great, terrifying book called DEMOCRACY IN CHAINS (which the article neatly summarizes) that talks about how the Koch brothers and those that bought into Buchanan's philosophy basically were able to staff think tanks and universities, and, eventually, local, state, and federal governments.
home taping is killing music
Reply
America doesn't have enough truckers.

The average age of a trucker is 49. As truck drivers retire, this problem is only going to get worse.
Reply
Is $600 billion a lot of money?  It seems like a lot of money:

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/wall-stre...58282.html

Quote:Over the last decade, fund managers who oversee the pensions of the nation’s teachers, firefighters, police and other government workers have doubled down on an investment strategy that has cost U.S. taxpayers at least $600 billion, possibly more than $1 trillion, investment data and calculations by Yahoo Finance found.

Seeking higher gains, pension fund managers have upped their investment in so-called alternative strategies that are costly and weigh down returns, data shows.

“We find that some of the worst-performing plans are those that went into alternatives late in the last decade,” said Jean-Pierre Aubry, a research director at the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College who studied the impact of investing in alternatives on public pension funds.

Alternative funds invest in things like hedge funds, private equity, real estate or commodities, rather than traditional stocks and bonds. Because pensions are guaranteed, the underperformance has hit taxpayers in the form of budget cuts for schools, hospitals and libraries and decreased spending on infrastructure, health care and other public projects.

Aubry’s studies show that across the board, public pension fund managers have thrown increasingly more money at these complex and pricey alternative funds, despite the fact that they consistently underperform simple index funds available for a fraction of the fee cost.

Fund managers have moved to alternative investments, in part, because when competing for the contracts to manage pensions, they sold pension boards on expected high returns that have not materialized. They are now trying to provide a jolt to the plans, which are largely underfunded, said Scott Kubie, chief investment officer at financial management firm Carson Group.

“Those high assumptions allowed [the employees] to make not as high contributions,” Kubie told Yahoo Finance. “They’re trying to find a way to catch up… because they haven’t covered the liabilities. I don’t know if that ends particularly well.”
Reply
I promise you the simple index funds don't provide the free perks the hedge fund wizards are offering out to the people making these decisions. Sure, you've got a shortfall of $1 trillion for a bunch of civil servants, but the guys who made this decision got to go to Tahiti on an all-expense paid jolly to discuss the details... so it's not all bad.
Reply
(07-17-2018, 08:06 PM)JMurdoch Wrote: America doesn't have enough truckers.

The average age of a trucker is 49. As truck drivers retire, this problem is only going to get worse.

Sad, but they're probably all going drop out just in time for this stuff to come online

http://www.wired.co.uk/article/uk-trial-...oons-roads

Then you can get a job following these things around to help when they screw up I guess.
Reply
That scene in LOGAN is gonna be incredibly prescient.
"I mean don't get me wrong fucking the wolf man is impressive but ugh." - Waaaaaaaalt
Reply
(07-17-2018, 08:06 PM)JMurdoch Wrote: America doesn't have enough truckers.

The average age of a trucker is 49. As truck drivers retire, this problem is only going to get worse.

Interesting article. Seems like the $80,000 a year is shot down in the article by speaking to actual truckers, and god that sounds like a hellish life even at that salary. It's like most things. The companies simply aren't paying enough and are baffled why people aren't applying for their sucky jobs.

Driverless vehicles will be a while away yet, but when they come in EVERYONE in the driving industries is out on the street, pretty much overnight. And there's not a lot of remarketable skills in Taxi/Truck driving. Why would you get into this industry as a twenty year old, knowing that most likely by the time you are forty you'll be out of work and prospect free?
Reply
(07-18-2018, 05:59 AM)muzman Wrote:
(07-17-2018, 08:06 PM)JMurdoch Wrote: America doesn't have enough truckers.

The average age of a trucker is 49.  As truck drivers retire, this problem is only going to get worse.

Sad, but they're probably all going drop out just in time for this stuff to come online

http://www.wired.co.uk/article/uk-trial-...oons-roads

Then you can get a job following these things around to help when they screw up I guess.

Yeah, I'm not able to access the article but I feel like for the last several years truck drivers and self driving cars have been held up as Exhibit A in how automation is going to make all jobs redundant and we'll need to reorder society because there won't be enough jobs for people. Now the problem is a shortage of drivers as they all retire?

I mean maybe automation will take all jobs eventually. But if truck driving was dying out as a vocation already that would seem to suggest the job market can function without it.
Reply
Truck driving is a fucked up job, especially any long haul. Friends dad drove for 30 years, just insane shit. He got crushed to death by his load a few years ago, poor bastard.

One thing about the old age tho, my dad and a few of my uncles started driving in their 40's after they "retired" from another job.
Reply
(07-18-2018, 07:44 AM)Paul C Wrote: Yeah, I'm not able to access the article but I feel like for the last several years truck drivers and self driving cars have been held up as Exhibit A in how automation is going to make all jobs redundant and we'll need to reorder society because there won't be enough jobs for people. Now the problem is a shortage of drivers as they all retire?

I mean maybe automation will take all jobs eventually. But if truck driving was dying out as a vocation already that would seem to suggest the job market can function without it.

I was thinking something like that. I'm not so cynical about capitalism that I think a shortage like this would make no difference at all. You'd think conditions and pay would improve as the work became rarer but still important. Or would you? I'm not entirely sure. (I guess it is also expected that robots will not only mean fewer jobs, but massive consolidation to the large robotics companies. Smaller scale operations can't afford to pay drivers more and can't afford robots either when the time comes.)
Anyway that's not really the topic of the article so they might have left all that out.
Reply
The market is not as flexible with wages as people would hope... it pushes back by making existing staff work longer and in cheaper (less safe) conditions. Things snap eventually, but the natural instinct is not to increase wages as it cascades up the supply chain dramatically.
Reply
This is a must watch...from Last Night(s) w/John Oliver.....



I used to be with "it", but then they changed what "it" was. Now, what I'm with isn't "it", and what's "it" seems weird and scary to me. -Grandpa Simpson
Reply
Venezuela's economy is hyper-fucked

This will only end badly.
Reply
I heard an interesting story about how Brazil got out of hyper-inflation. They essentially made a new currency and used it to supplant the old one. You wouldn't think that would work as it kind of underlines how currency valuation is a giant psychological trick, but apparently it did. I wonder if something similar could work in this case.
Reply
Additionally...

(08-20-2018, 12:00 PM)vtran Wrote: This is a must watch...from Last Night(s) w/John Oliver.....




Was Trump there really giving talk saying that the US trade deficit means the country is losing that 3/4 billion every year "for a number of years"?

My economics knowledge is barely high school and I can tell you that's nnnnot how that works.
Reply
Welles Fargo continues to suck:

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/exclusive...24414.html

Quote:For almost two years, Wells Fargo (WFC) has been under near-constant fire. It all began, of course, with the revelation that employees in bank branches, who faced immense pressure to sell, had opened fake accounts for customers. Then, the bank agreed to pay a $1 billion fine to settle allegations of abuses in its auto lending and mortgage businesses. 

In the spring, the bank also disclosed that its board was conducting a review of “certain activities” within the bank’s wealth management unit, which filings describe as including fee calculations of fiduciary accounts.

In mid-July, Yahoo Finance reported on increasing sales pressure in the wealth management sector of Wells’s Private Bank. Late last month, the Wall Street Journal also reported that four Wells Fargo advisors had sent a letter to the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission, detailing “long-standing problems” in the wealth management business.

Now, former advisors in the wealth management area of the Private Bank, which caters to high-net-worth investors, are shedding light on what some of those problems may be. They expressed additional concerns to Yahoo Finance, including Wells encouraging fiduciary advisors to put client money in higher-fee options, requiring advisors to, in effect, cross-sell products like mortgages and financial planning, and push what several former advisors viewed as unnecessary financial planning fees on clients. Internal documents shared with Yahoo Finance corroborate their concerns.

In addition, the Journal reported that the broad class of Wells Fargo advisors were encouraged to funnel wealthier clients into the Private Bank’s wealth management area because the fees were higher. A former senior executive in this area and multiple former Wells Fargo brokers expressed that to Yahoo Finance as well.
Reply
Anand was interviewed on tv this morning about his new book....he makes really good points.

Quote:Beware Rich People Who Say They Want to Change the World
Society’s winners can seem so generous, until you consider what they’re really selling.
By Anand Giridharadas

“Change the world” has long been the cry of the oppressed. But in recent years world-changing has been co-opted by the rich and the powerful.

“Change the world. Improve lives. Invent something new,” McKinsey & Company’s recruiting materials say. “Sit back, relax, and change the world,” tweets the World Economic Forum, host of the Davos conference. “Let’s raise the capital that builds the things that change the world,” a Morgan Stanley ad says. Walmart, recruiting a software engineer, seeks an “eagerness to change the world.” Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook says, “The best thing to do now, if you want to change the world, is to start a company.”

At first, you think: Rich people making a difference — so generous! Until you consider that America might not be in the fix it’s in had we not fallen for the kind of change these winners have been selling: fake change.

Fake change isn’t evil; it’s milquetoast. It is change the powerful can tolerate. It’s the shoes or socks or tote bag you bought which promised to change the world. It’s that one awesome charter school — not equally funded public schools for all. It is Lean In Circles to empower women — not universal preschool. It is impact investing — not the closing of the carried-interest loophole.

Of course, world-changing initiatives funded by the winners of market capitalism do heal the sick, enrich the poor and save lives. But even as they give back, American elites generally seek to maintain the system that causes many of the problems they try to fix — and their helpfulness is part of how they pull it off. Thus their do-gooding is an accomplice to greater, if more invisible, harm.
I used to be with "it", but then they changed what "it" was. Now, what I'm with isn't "it", and what's "it" seems weird and scary to me. -Grandpa Simpson
Reply
Read that on Slate last week and it's a fascinating article.
Reply


Forum Jump:


Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)