hard heads soft hearts
Saturday, October 01, 2011
One of the weird unspoken assumptions of politics at the moment is that hurting/ causing pain to others is virtually certain to result in increased benefits to oneself. It's perhaps worth repeating that we can't cut our way out, we can't spend our way out, we can only work our way out. Prosperity is not green pieces of paper, or gold ingots, or even positive numbers on non-fraudulent balance sheets. Prosperity is work well done at work worth doing. If we want more real prosperity, it's not going to come from cutting, or spending, it's going to come from increasing the amount of work well done at work worth doing. If the price of increasing that real work, and that real prosperity, is an abstraction called a budget deficit, or an increased price level, that's unfortunate, but it's a second order issue, not a first order one. We can easily deal with second-order issues once the first-order issues have been addressed.
Susie Madrak - Alabama immigration
. . .hurt children and don’t even care. . .
Susie Madrak - All I really want for my birthday (support #occupy movement)
Susie Madrak - That darn Marcy
Always wanting the evidence and such. What a killjoy!
Susie Madrak - Why infrastructure spending saves money
David Graeber - Occupy Wall Street rediscovers the radical imagination
What we are witnessing can also be seen as a demand to finally have a conversation we were all supposed to have back in 2008. . .Everything we'd been told for the last decade turned out to be a lie. Markets did not run themselves; creators of financial instruments were not infallible geniuses. . . money itself was revealed to be a political instrument, trillions of dollars of which could be whisked in or out of existence overnight if governments or central banks required it. . .It seemed the time had come to rethink everything. . .
One simple point I think does not get made nearly enough. The US Government gave Goldman, via the AIG counterparty bailout, at least 12 billion, and probably more. This is more than Goldman's annual profits. And it was a free gift, no strings attached. Wall Street is a primitive "face" culture. By raiding the US Treasury to protect Goldman's profits, we allowed Blankfein to protect his "hayba" as a money-making businessman, instead of a money-losing one.
(Via Garrett Jones) Dean Baker - How It Could Have Been Different This Time
. . .If we had looked at the probability that newborns would live to age five, examining random 20-year intervals in different countries over the last six centuries, we would find that in most of these intervals, most newborns do not live to age five. If we therefore concluded that we should expect children born today to die before the age of five, we would be utterly crazy. The advances in health care, nutrition and sanitation over this period make it possible for the vast majority of children almost everywhere to survive to adulthood.
Is there any great mystery in what Obama could do to energize the base, and indeed even the entire electorate? Produce a plan for a full-employment economy, maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon, and for the rest of our lives.
MLK: "What's the use of having the right to sit at the counter, if you can't buy a meal?"
I remember reading a Michael May article on MAD where he said "only nuclear weapons and the logic of MAD transforms the great powers perceptions of peace, as something which is nice to have but not essential, into instead an essential strategic necessity. They do this at some risk of an unimaginable catastrophe. . ". I've been thinking the same thing about full-employment and WWII. It's striking how easy it was to achieve full-employment when the ruling class wanted it. There were real costs: a few years of very high inflation, etc. but on the whole full-employment policies were very beneficial.
Michael May - No matter what the evidence, U.S. was going to war in Iraq (2004)
. . .Kay was polite in his testimony and pointed only to an intelligence failure. It clearly was a lot more. Both in the United States and Britain, analysts who knew there was no evidence of any weapons capability could not get their message past the lowest levels of the intelligence bureaucracy. The administration, or the dominant players in it, were determined to let no alternative story surface, except the one that would justify war. Under those circumstances, the truth, which is generally a messy thing that doesn't fit well into any story, had no chance of getting a hearing. . .
Doctor Science - Raytheon's cold equations
. . .My mother/aunt, Renee Douceur, is the winter site manager at the South Pole Station run by Raytheon and the National Science Foundation. She suffered a stroke on August 27th and the on-site doctors requested for her immediate medical emergency evacuation to get her to proper medical care and prevent further injury to her, The decision makers are disregarding the on-site doctors’ request for Renee’s immediate need for emergency evacuation. Instead they are treating her stroke as a non-emergency, keeping her at the South Pole until late October or early November. Renee’s attorney has advised her to go public because he is being stonewalled by Raytheon and the NSF to get her out ASAP for proper medical diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation (if she survives the trip out) Let's get her home!. . .
Gary Farber - Papers, please
Gary Farber - Off With Their Heads!
Doctor Science - September 11, Iraq, and the nature of courage
. . .in retrospect, most people seem to be acknowledging that:
(Via Ross Douthat) The Skeptical Juror - The Yellow and White Case of Troy Anthony Davis: Part 1
Violet Socks - The Big Lie
. . .human beings are predisposed to believe what other human beings say. . .
"That popup says it's an anti-virus, so how can it be a virus?"
Arthur Silber - Once Upon a Time...
Amanda Marcotte - Analogizing taxes to rape
I think describing taxes with rape analogies illustrates the extreme dangers of thinking of money as a real thing in its own right, instead of as a useful illusion: A handy, but ultimately fake, thing, which can occasionally enable you to do real things.
Swami Dayananda - The Value Of Values
. . .When I was a child of three years old, I once picked up a piece of paper. It was green, printed, very colourful. I began, as I did with every paper, to play with it. Mummy said: No! That is money." . .
Juan Cole - Informed Comment
Wikipedia - Works Progress Administration
. . .Critics ridiculed them, and the agency as a whole, as lazy — calling the initials "We Poke Along", "We Piddle Around", "We Putter Along", "Working Piss Ants", or the "Whistle, Piss and Argue gang". These were sarcastic references to WPA projects that sometimes slowed down deliberately because foremen had an incentive to keep going, rather than finish a project.
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