the economy

Posted by: jgw

the economy - 07/30/18 06:58 PM

I have been preaching, for some time, that the economy of the jackass will fail. Here is a link to some charts:
http://time.com/money/5290948/stock-market-2018-7-investing-charts/

Basically, its starting to fail. Its down 1.2% since the first of this year and has been waaay too volatile. Its virtually impossible to time the market but there are long time trends and this one seems to be on a down curve. If you can't afford to hold on through a downturn I would suggest you get out right now.

The reason I am posting this is because I have had waay too many friends who get out when it hits bottom and never get in again so they just lose their money. Remember, its a veritable surety that if its behaving this way during a Republican administration, we are going to have an economic downturn as this this seems to be an historic fact.

Just saying............

Posted by: NW Ponderer

Re: the economy - 07/31/18 10:12 AM

I had been meaning to address this over the last week of Trump crowing about economic numbers. Virtually everything he has taken credit for are what are known in economics as "trailing indicators". In other words, the trends her takes credit for have largely nothing to do with Trump policies. This time last year, the New York Times published the story,The Markets Are Up, Unemployment Is Down.
How Much Credit Should Trump Get?
(NYT, subscription). Then, as now, the answer remains, "largely, none." The full story on Trump's 'economic turnaround' - CNN. The upshot? Like most every pronouncement of Trump, it is mostly misdirection and downright prevarication. Fact Check: More lies, false claims by Trump - Capitol Hill Blue.

It's basically still Obama's economy he's taking credit for. As you've noted, when Trump's economy kicks in, we're headed for a fall. A big one.
Posted by: Ujest Shurly

Re: the economy - 07/31/18 02:04 PM

Just chumming the waters...


The chum ... MSN
Posted by: NW Ponderer

Re: the economy - 07/31/18 03:31 PM

Here's how the Trump economy works: Trump weighs big tax cut for rich: report - THE HILL. Note, this is intended to be a unilateral gift, not going through Congress.
Quote:
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin at a recent G-20 meeting in Argentina said if the tax cut can't be done through Congress, the administration will "look at what tools" are necessary to consider the move.

"If it can't get done through a legislation process, we will look at what tools at Treasury we have to do it on our own and we'll consider that," Mnuchin said. "We are studying that internally, and we are also studying the economic costs and the impact on growth."
The problem, of course, is that it has already been studied: Indexing Capital Gains to Inflation - the Wharton School.
Quote:
Our analysis suggests that this policy would cost $102 billion dollars over the next decade. While high-income households would benefit most, the share of taxes paid by AGI would not change meaningfully.
Posted by: rporter314

Re: the economy - 07/31/18 08:55 PM

Quote:
when Trump's economy kicks in, we're headed for a fall
and that is where you are wrong. Mr Trump has taken credit for the gift from Pres Obama but when his economy tanks he will turn it back over to Pres Obama.

Do you not understand how narcissism works? grin
Posted by: Greger

Re: the economy - 07/31/18 09:49 PM

Quote:
we're headed for a fall


Boy Howdy are we ever.

Everybody in the world except Republicans knows this. World leaders are talking behind our backs now, making plans without us...we're not cool anymore. Just like us, they know that, along and along, the grits are gonna hit the pan.

Trump has said and done a lot of really awful stuff. But so far nothing that has really roiled the markets. Business is ticking along as usual in spite of Mr. Trump. The world is holding its breath. A favorable turnout for Democrats in November would render him virtually powerless. Otherwise everybody has to wait until 2020. If we don't correct this mistake by then, things might get really dicey...This is like slowly clacking up the tallest roller coaster in the universe...

Such a ride...good times, eh?
Posted by: logtroll

Re: the economy - 10/29/18 01:03 PM

Bonus Decade
Quote:
Some of us have a different view. From our minority perspective, the global economy as currently configured is inherently not just unstable, but unsustainable. The economy depends on perpetual growth of GDP, whereas we live upon a finite planet on which the compounded growth of any material process or quantity inevitably leads to a crash. The economy requires ever-increasing energy supplies, mostly from fossil fuels, whereas coal, oil, and natural gas are nonrenewable, depleting, and climate-changing resources. And the economy, rather than being circular, like ecosystems (where waste from one component is food for another, so all elements are continually recycled), is instead linear (proceeding from resource extraction to waste disposal), even though our planet has limited resources and finite waste sinks.
Posted by: chunkstyle

Re: the economy - 10/30/18 05:42 AM

Good article Logs.
I had been doing some reading lately on the fracking bubble as I'm anxious of where the next commodity bubble will occur.
All in all, the brief reprieve from the notion of a global economic collapse due to its reliance on fossil fuel production having peaked is a hard idea to swallow. The authors recognizing their disappointment of the lack of sales with their two books describing this overshoot of civilization doesn't surprise.
Chris Hedges has been lecturing audiences for awhile now on the pathology of civilization collapsing and has covered quite a few first hand as a journalist. One of the things he noted was how governments are no longer responsive to its people in fundamental ways, its ruling elites retreat into their forbidden cities and hit the mat on the accelerator. The name I'm hearing for the current global crises is being called NeoLiberal Fascism.
The idea that we would willingly give over our political governance and social organizing to capitalism was lunacy but here we are. It looks as though democracy has had it and when the next financial crises hits, my guess is authoritarian corporate dictatorship.
Cold comfort to note that it wasn't the left that brought this crises on the world. That force, which was a traditional bulwark against state oppression and fought savage fights for democratic political space, was eradicated decades ago.
Neoliberalism on the other hand has been exported nearly everywhere. Masquerading as some kinda tide that was going to lift all boats and bring in a new day.
Posted by: NW Ponderer

Re: the economy - 10/30/18 05:40 PM

The economy really is a zero-sum game - it's just that some of the costs are not recognized: Pollution, diminishment of fixed resources, economic disparities. Rising "GDP", stock markets, etc., are false measures of prosperity. The quality of life for much of the world has improved, it is true, but there are costs borne by others that we do not take into account - the squalid conditions in the poorer regions of the world, extinction of species, population migration, war and famine. There will come a reckoning. Unfortunately, as always, the elites will avoid the brunt of that reckoning, and a disproportionate share will fall on those with the least resources.
Posted by: pondering_it_all

Re: the economy - 10/30/18 08:26 PM

Quote:
we live upon a finite planet on which the compounded growth of any material process or quantity inevitably leads to a crash. The economy requires ever-increasing energy supplies, mostly from fossil fuels, whereas coal, oil, and natural gas are nonrenewable, depleting, and climate-changing resources.


Of course, that is only true if the human race limits it's inputs to those on the planet and doesn't develop fusion power. Either bringing in resources from off-planet or unlocking fusion sends the equilibrium of in a wildly different direction. And if there's one thing humans are good at, it's getting around "inherent" limits.

Just fusion alone (which we have had some success with for over 60 years) would give us the energy needed to run the carbon cycle backwards and transfer all that carbon from the atmosphere back into the ground. There are vast areas of the Earth that are not feasible for growing crops or livestock, but with cheap water and fertilizers they would flourish.

Population growth can be reversed too: Just pay people enough to have zero or one child per couple. Offer them security in their old age, and the need for lots of kids is gone.
Posted by: logtroll

Re: the economy - 10/30/18 10:44 PM

Originally Posted By: pondering_it_all
Just fusion alone (which we have had some success with for over 60 years) would give us the energy needed to run the carbon cycle backwards and transfer all that carbon from the atmosphere back into the ground. There are vast areas of the Earth that are not feasible for growing crops or livestock, but with cheap water and fertilizers they would flourish.

Or we could start today by simply switching back to regenerative soil management practices and get the CO2 drawdown going while saving water, energy, and making money.
Posted by: logtroll

Re: the economy - 10/30/18 10:49 PM

From the SBIR grant proposal I just submitted last week:

Quote:
Research conducted by Dr. David C. Johnson has shown that soil health can be restored using a Biologically Enhanced Agricultural Management system (BEAM). Based on field studies over the last eight years, we have preliminary observations to assess a biologically enhanced agricultural management approach. The results of a one-time inoculation of soils with 5 kg hectare-1 microbial inoculate without application of N or other elemental amendments are encouraging. These trials indicate: 1) near fivefold increase in net primary productivity (NPP) from 250 g dry biomass m-​ 2​ yr-​ 1​ in both a heavy clay soil as well in a desert sandy soil to 1,181 g dry biomass m-​ 2​, 2) doubling in crop production on both cotton (2,282 lbs lint ac-​ 1​) and green chiles (20 tons acre-​ 1​), and 3) increased soil carbon uptake rates (10.7 tons C ha-​ 1​ yr-​ 1​) or 0.26% C yr-​ 1​ increase. These values represent a double of the historical average production for these crops in the Mesilla Valley, NM, and represents a doubling in crop water use efficiency along with a complete reduction in fertilizer amendments to achieve this productivity.
Posted by: logtroll

Re: the economy - 10/30/18 11:01 PM

Oops, just noticed all of the weird number things. I'll post a link to a paper on it...
Posted by: logtroll

Re: the economy - 10/30/18 11:03 PM

Carbon sequestration
Posted by: chunkstyle

Re: the economy - 10/31/18 04:10 AM

Logtroll,
Is IP simply the practice of tilling in cover crops of a known carbon capture quantity?
Does the value to the farmer get captured by trading his carbon credits to a yet to be created carbon credit trading market?
Is that the general gist of it? If so, it has the advantage of not much capitol investment for the farmers as they may have most of the equiptment on hand for current farming practices. Nice.
Tricky part is the realization of value thru the creation of carbon trade markets. I'd guess there'd be broad popular support for this but there's that problcm of regulatory buy in from government.
Is there any use of Biochar in this scheme to boost carbon capture/acre?
It's awesome work to be involved in. Looks to be on a scale of Pastuer or Salk.
Posted by: logtroll

Re: the economy - 10/31/18 03:25 PM

It's better than all that.

Dr. Johnson has developed a system for soil regeneration that is all about soil microbes, particularly fungi. It is not a fertilizer approach. The way it works is if you recreate a natural, microbially diverse soil ecosystem, it becomes a factory for processing all the minerals and chemicals needed for vigorous plant growth. The plants and bugs are symbiotic, feeding each other while optimizing the conditions favorable to all. A result of this is that both labile and recalcitrant carbon are being stored in the roots and mycorrhizomes, which can reach many meters into the ground. The recalcitrant carbon is chemically stabile and can remain sequestered for thousands of years, while the labile carbon is like a pantry with resources to be drawn upon when needed. Soil carbon has been seriously depleted because of soil disturbing practices (plowing is akin to nuking the soil community), fertilizing (ammonia fertilizers react with the carbon creating CO2), and erosion losses.

In Johnson's experiments over the past ten years, he has measured soil carbon increases of 5 tons/acre/year, with the harvest of about the same amount of crop biomass from the above ground part of the plants. The crop biomass is not sequestering C though, that is all chemically active (labile).

But we can make biochar from the biomass, which results in 60% of the C in the material being turned into recalcitrant carbon, which has many beneficial uses, including soil amending.

Our R&D is all about combining Johnson's microbial soil inoculant with biochar, which will make the inoculant easier to spread and will provide "migrant housing" for the bugs so they can have a better survival rate when applied in more hostile environments than irrigated farms (rangeland and forest regeneration, and dryland farms).

In addition to transforming more than half of the C in biomass to biochar, our pyrolysis systems also make a lot of energy - an average pound of biomass contains 8600 Btus of heat energy, 3300 in the char and 5300 in the smoke. If that energy in the smoke is utilized it can displace an equivalent amount of fossil fuel (propane, NG, fuel oil). So, we can indirectly sequester the rest of the C in the biomass that wasn't captured in the char.

I have posted these videos before, but they take a good bit of time to watch. If your interest is caught, you will want to watch every minute, though.

carbonlink video series

Regarding carbon credits, or carbon payments, we aren't there, yet - but we don't need to be. Between the energy value and the biochar value, this already pencils out to be a paying proposition. The college that we are installing a system at to use waste biomass to make char and heat will make money while heating buildings. The pilot project building was costing $30,000 a year to heat with propane. Assuming a low-end market value for the char, our pro forma shows that they will be at least $10,000 in the black using our system. The actual soil benefits are not included in that spreadsheet, nor are the local economic and social benefits, or the potential CCS (carbon capture and sequestration) values. Since the recent IPPC report that says we have 10 years left to figure out how to do major atmospheric CO2 drawdown, and since engineered CCS strategies are becoming the next big thing to that end (see PIA's post above), we believe that we will soon be paid for sequestration. The difference between us and the engineered CCS strategies is that our approach has a whole slew of associated triple-bottom-line benefits, and we can make good money while doing it!
Posted by: logtroll

Re: the economy - 10/31/18 10:57 PM

The NRCS is even getting into the Soil Food Web swing:
https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detailfull/soils/health/biology/?cid=nrcs142p2_053868
Posted by: chunkstyle

Re: the economy - 11/01/18 02:12 AM

Fascinating stuff Logtroll.
I remember a job I was doing that gave me a lot of radio time getting to the site last year. It was NPR and had a very interesting interview with some researchers out in the Midwest.
The gist of it was there seems to be a third revolution going on and soil regeneration as well as a holistic approach to cover cropping, mixed planting etc.. is being intensively studied and put into use. One university researcher mentioned how a farmer that had converted to these practices felt for the first time, in his experience, he didn't feel that he had to go to war with nature. His relationship to his vocation and land had changed 180 degrees.
The researcher also mentioned farmers who made the switch had somewhere around zero reversion to industrial commoditification farming practices.
Can't find that hour long interview of these researchers discussion but I found a similar one covering the same ground with one of the three here: Regenerative soil discussion
I hope you make great headway out there with this work. Thanks for the link to the videos. I'll look forward to watching them.
There's some interesting ideas in construction with a lot of it reducing co2 in building materials. One that's caught my imagination is wooden skyscrapers. The idea is to build skyscrapers with lami beams replacing steel girders and timber panels instead of the typical glass and concrete cladding. There's a few that have gone up in the US with more ambitious structures in the planning stage. Same for Canada, Japan and Europe.
The idea has the benefits of reduced energy inputs manufacturing the building materials, better insulating properties and carbon is store for as long as the building lasts. I hope to visit a building of this type some day. I recall an architect remarking on how people would touch the interiors and actually hug the exposed posts. That never happened in his previous structures.
All of this is mute, IMO, as it wild need a radical reorganization of resources and capitol. That would require a functioning government on the scale of FDR's New Deal. I see no possibility of that with our current political landscape. The sons and daughters of the new deal generation have turned their backs on it and hold much of the political power with almost no imagination. As a famous political philosopher has recently said about the situation of progressive politics in the US, we have to now fight for the possibility of possibility. The very concept of possibility and imagination is nearly nonexistent.
Posted by: chunkstyle

Re: the economy - 11/02/18 03:29 AM

Final thought on the economy. Reading about economies and capitalism from a contemporary political philosopher. He was remarking on the stunning success of capitalism having spread out from 19th century France, Germany and England until today, where it blankets the entire earth.
It was sold as a force of change that would free people from the fuedal institutions of the past and give rise to a more democratic egalitarian society. Even Karl Marx thought so and was an admirer.
Today, however, capitalism views democracy as an obstacle to the commodification of society. The dismantlement of democratic institutions are well underway and most of the large economies are transitioning to a more authoritarian form of governance who's main purpose is to facilitate capitalism.
As the commodification accelerates democracies are being destroyed. That it was the logical progression of capitalism.
I would agree that it appears to be the road we are on. An emergent far right facism thruout Europe, the election of Bolsanaro in Brazil, our own emergent facism and China settling back into lifetime autocratic leadership.
Others might have a different opinion and view it as coincidence.

Posted by: Jeffery J. Haas

Re: the economy - 11/02/18 08:35 AM

And as usual, organized religion is more than happy to act as a lubricant to spread authoritarianism far and wide.
There's a bonus for them, theocracy. One might be tempted to wonder if theocracy and fascism are strange bedfellows.
Make no mistake, they were made for each other and history shows that they've been in bed many times before, with the same bastard children being spawned from such an unholy union.
The elites won't bother the fundamentalists because they're comfortably insulated, and the fundies are happy to grant a free pass to the elites as long as they bankroll the military as enforcers. The churchies get what they want and the elites get what they want.

And we here on the ground, far from the golden palaces, get the shaft.
Yes, it would seem that this was the logical progression of capitalism all along, at the expense of all else.

But it didn't have to be.
Posted by: Greger

Re: the economy - 11/02/18 07:31 PM

Quote:
But it didn't have to be.


Yes it did. It has played out many times and always with the same result.

Karl Marx predicted all of this. From industrialization to automation to globalization to revolution. Marx saw religion as a tool of the Bourgeoisie to give false hope to the Proletariat. Yet he also saw it as a drug to ease the pain of the workers caught in squalid conditions and unable to rise above them.

"Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people"Karl Marx


Quote:
Marx showed that recurrent crises were not an accidental side effect of capitalism, but a necessary and inherent feature, explains Nick Nesbitt, Princeton University professor of French and Italian and editor of The Concept in Crisis: Reading Capital Today. “​He shows that the source of value in capitalism is living labor. He also shows that capitalism nonetheless tends to eliminate living labor as a necessary dimension of its development,” Nesbitt says. That contradiction means capitalism is never stable, but forever shifting in and out of crises: The system depends on human labor while simultaneously eradicating it.
Capitalism is unfolding exactly as Marx predicted
Posted by: Jeffery J. Haas

Re: the economy - 11/03/18 12:01 AM



Well I suppose if all we ever do is sit back and "let it unfold" instead of actively engage in a deliberate effort to shape and harness it, then yes I imagine it will revert to a tool that speaks to the baser instincts of the failure of the human condition.

Fire can be used to heat our homes, cook our food, even light the way, or it can just be set capriciously to any fuel and thrown about with the intent of burning down the village.

It all depends on how we harness fire.
It is up to us, not Karl Marx, to decide how capitalism is allowed to function, and under what regulations.
Posted by: Greger

Re: the economy - 11/03/18 02:04 AM

Quote:
It is up to us, not Karl Marx, to decide how capitalism is allowed to function,


Capitalism is unsustainable. Take a look around you. We're wallowing in our own filth. The oceans are dying, the atmosphere is changing as we release more and more carbon into it. We are killing the very planet that sustains us. We decided long ago how capitalism would be allowed to function.
Posted by: Jeffery J. Haas

Re: the economy - 11/03/18 06:46 PM

Originally Posted By: Greger
Quote:
It is up to us, not Karl Marx, to decide how capitalism is allowed to function,


Capitalism is unsustainable. Take a look around you. We're wallowing in our own filth. The oceans are dying, the atmosphere is changing as we release more and more carbon into it. We are killing the very planet that sustains us. We decided long ago how capitalism would be allowed to function.


The real issue that will make capitalism unsustainable is the twin dragons of AI and advanced robotics. Technological unemployment will take capitalism down, or at least render it unrecognizable under the fig leaf.
Posted by: Greger

Re: the economy - 11/03/18 09:39 PM

Did you know that Marx even predicted AI and advanced robots?

“Once adopted into the production process of capital, the means of labour passes through different metamorphoses, whose culmination is the… automatic system of machinery… set in motion by an automaton, a moving power that moves itself; this automaton consisting of numerous mechanical and intellectual organs, so that the workers themselves are cast merely as its conscious linkages.” More
Posted by: Jeffery J. Haas

Re: the economy - 11/04/18 04:24 AM

Originally Posted By: Greger
Did you know that Marx even predicted AI and advanced robots?

“Once adopted into the production process of capital, the means of labour passes through different metamorphoses, whose culmination is the… automatic system of machinery… set in motion by an automaton, a moving power that moves itself; this automaton consisting of numerous mechanical and intellectual organs, so that the workers themselves are cast merely as its conscious linkages.” More


Oh I'm sure a gazillion people have been steadily predicting it forever, but when it's Marx, people jump up and point at him.
Walt Disney predicted it, Jules Verne predicted it, Elon Musk has been predicting it since his fourteenth birthday.

It's just that, in the last two or three years, we're now starting to see the actual nuts and bolts that make it tick.





Posted by: Greger

Re: the economy - 11/04/18 06:00 PM

Personally, if I were you, I'd worry a lot more about whether or not we have enough of a future on this planet to be replaced by machines.

I don't think even Marx was able to foresee the damage to the environment caused by end stage capitalism. And I'm not sure the philosophers and economists you cite are quite his equals. Any tech billionaire can predict flying cars, but can he predict exactly the way world politics and economies will unfold a century and a half from now?
Marx did. And it would be best if we took note of where we are headed and the consequences of runaway capitalism.
Posted by: Jeffery J. Haas

Re: the economy - 11/04/18 10:29 PM

Originally Posted By: Greger
Personally, if I were you, I'd worry a lot more about whether or not we have enough of a future on this planet to be replaced by machines.

I don't think even Marx was able to foresee the damage to the environment caused by end stage capitalism. And I'm not sure the philosophers and economists you cite are quite his equals. Any tech billionaire can predict flying cars, but can he predict exactly the way world politics and economies will unfold a century and a half from now?
Marx did. And it would be best if we took note of where we are headed and the consequences of runaway capitalism.


Not disagreeing with you, it's not mutually exclusive.
Chances are pretty good we will still be kicking around on the big blue marble in about five years when these smart and agile contraptions actually start replacing a lot of labor, and a good many bolted down lesser cousins are already doing just that today.
Posted by: Greger

Re: the economy - 11/05/18 02:05 AM

Machines can make widgets much faster than people. But machines don't ever buy any widgets. If people don't buy widgets there's no reason for machines to make them. Thus the widget industry collapses because no one can afford widgets anymore.

The capitalists answer is to make widgets even cheaper yet...

This business of replacing people with machines has been going on since the industrial revolution started. Did you know that in South Africa they call traffic lights "robots". Citation
Posted by: Jeffery J. Haas

Re: the economy - 11/05/18 03:09 AM

Originally Posted By: Greger
Machines can make widgets much faster than people. But machines don't ever buy any widgets. If people don't buy widgets there's no reason for machines to make them. Thus the widget industry collapses because no one can afford widgets anymore.

The capitalists answer is to make widgets even cheaper yet...

This business of replacing people with machines has been going on since the industrial revolution started. Did you know that in South Africa they call traffic lights "robots". Citation


I'll have to ask some SA buddies, never heard that before.
But then again, I didn't know Die Antwoord hated Lady Gaga so much either.

Maybe I don't know nuthin! ROTFMOL

Eventually no one can afford widgets, and the capitalists at the top will have to figure out a way for everyone to have an income of some kind.
Posted by: pondering_it_all

Re: the economy - 11/05/18 05:54 PM

There's a logical fallacy in there: Just because machines don't buy widgets, doesn't mean people disappear. They just get other jobs and continue to buy widgets. Buying widgets is not dependent on people making them.

Of course, there have to be other jobs available! If there are none because machines make everything, then you might have a problem. Most of the hard-core unemployment problems are because people like coal miners don't want to move somewhere else where their are jobs not mining coal. No conceivable government action is going to bring back those coal mining jobs, nor should it.
Posted by: Greger

Re: the economy - 11/06/18 09:27 PM

Quote:
Of course, there have to be other jobs available! If there are none because machines make everything, then you might have a problem.

Yes, mightn't you. That's end game capitalism. At that point all the available capital is held by perhaps 100 people in the world. The rest have nothing and no money to buy widgets. The environment is destroyed and the planet becomes unlivable.
Those 100 people take all the money in the world and blast off to their 4 star resort on Mars to escape the apocalypse.
Posted by: pondering_it_all

Re: the economy - 11/07/18 02:35 AM

That's a flight of fancy veering off into science fiction. And not even very good science fiction. I think LONG before all wealth belongs to 100 people, the peons decide it's fun to eat the rich.

What IS a possibility is that AI-enhanced people (or just AIs themselves) end up with enormous power and wealth simply because they are smarter than us. But part of their intelligence would be knowing how much of that wealth to share so we (normal humans) don't revolt. Or even express dissatisfaction with the system.

I read a nice series in which somebody taps into an interstellar "internet" of sorts and they download an AI that is better at business than anything human. In effect it's a virus for whole civilizations. The human who did it became very rich, but the corporate AI entities become the dominant part of the human economy.
Posted by: Greger

Re: the economy - 11/07/18 02:54 AM

Quote:
LONG before all wealth belongs to 100 people, the peons decide it's fun to eat the rich.

Yeah, Marx predicts revolution way before then. I'm not scared of robots or automation but the environmental issue is a big concern to me.
AIs might be able to make a lot of money doing rapid trading in the stock market. But they are still just machines that make money for their owners.
Posted by: pondering_it_all

Re: the economy - 11/07/18 05:48 AM

What happened in the book is that these AIs incorporated, thus becoming "people" according to the Supreme Court. Then these corporations owned the majority of other AI corporation stocks. Thus, they effectively owned themselves. Actual people had no control over them, and they made sure the courts and politicians supported their "human" rights.

We don't have AIs anyway near as sophisticated. Remember they are many times smarter than any single human being. Our current AIs are idiot savants by comparison. But they are getting smarter...
Posted by: NW Ponderer

Re: the economy - 11/07/18 06:34 AM

Originally Posted By: Greger
Originally Posted By: Jeffery J. Haas
It is up to us, not Karl Marx, to decide how capitalism is allowed to function,


Capitalism is unsustainable. Take a look around you. We're wallowing in our own filth. The oceans are dying, the atmosphere is changing as we release more and more carbon into it. We are killing the very planet that sustains us. We decided long ago how capitalism would be allowed to function.
I agree more with Jeff than Greger on this point, but it is a close race...

Here's my .02: Karl Marx understood a lot of how capitalism was shaping society, but he was wrong that there was only one solution (which failed, btw). FDR was closer to right, which is why I agree with Jeff on that point. Capitalism, on its own, is unsustainable, but so is socialism. There are competing interests in every human: social and individual. The urge to be part of the social whole and care for each other, and the urge to be independent and get ahead. The various economic factions are just blends of both of these in different proportions.

Capitalism, by its very nature, is a socialist activity - it is the pooling of resources to obtain an economic goal (like a lottery pool), but the proceeds of capitalism are corrosive on both an individual and social level because they tend to become concentrated. Those that have, get the benefits, and those that don't, get the slag.

Socialism, by its nature, is altruistic - the greatest good for the greatest number - but can be unrealistic about the nature of humans. Humans are generally willing to participate if they see themselves getting something out of it, but participation drops off when the personal benefit becomes obscured.

The purpose of government, in my view, is to harness the benefits of society for the greatest number, and protect the most from the deprivations of the few, as well as the few from the deprivations of the many. It is a constant balancing act between individual benefit and social benefit. The best programs are well balanced between the two - Medicare, Social Security, the EPA are good examples. Universal Health Care would be another. The individual interest may be the most obvious - availability of medical care, protection from destitution, protection from environmental hazards - but the social benefits are actually larger.

What we need to do, as a country (and economy) is to allow ourselves to focus on the big picture rather than the circumscribed view we are being fed.
Posted by: chunkstyle

Re: the economy - 11/07/18 12:50 PM

I'm sorry to have to ask this again but what was Karl Marx's solution?
I didn't realize he had a solution but if he did I would be keen to know what it was.

I do think he's described our current political/ economic situation very well with his conflict theory. The economic violence perpetrated on the working class and poor is fairly visible these days. Ditto on alienation and atomization of society due to economic forces. The devaluing of labor was also described as well as political capture.

I've looked for it but I haven't found a 'and this is the solution to my conflict theory' from Marx.

Anyone got a link to this Marx solution?
Posted by: Ujest Shurly

Re: the economy - 11/07/18 01:53 PM

Originally Posted By: chunkstyle
Anyone got a link to this Marx solution?



Republican National Committee?


grin
Posted by: NW Ponderer

Re: the economy - 11/07/18 02:39 PM

I don't know if you're being deliberately rhetorically disingenuous, chunk, or you really know so little about Marx. Until I know the answer to that, I'm not too willing to expend much energy on the subject, but I will point to The Communist Manifesto for your erudition. I've pointed out many times that Marx himself was not a very good Marxist. In his philosophy, he argued that socialism would naturally occur as a result of the conflict between capital and labor, but in his life he actively sought to foment change.
Posted by: chunkstyle

Re: the economy - 11/07/18 03:52 PM

That was cruel Unjest!

Thanks NWP, I do know little of Marx but have been working to change that. Reading Capitol for the moment and not the Communist Manifesto.
Also boning up on French revolution and its impacts.
I'll add it to the list but I wonder at the idea of it's tried and failed, no need to discuss it further. Excuse my skepticism but I take nothing for granted when it comes to political or economic opinions these days. It's for that reason that I have worked at Capitol. So far, to me anyway, it's a tough road to hoe but what does seep thru seems pretty accurate to circumstances of today. Labor theory, value theory and conflict theory are what I'm wrapping the brain around but, limited as I am, it does have a ring of truth in it as an explanation of and a critique for capitalism.
I'll continue to hold off on judgement of whether or not 'it's been tried and failed' is accurate or even meaningful. Failed at what? China comes to mind.As does Russia. Both suffered prolonged assaults from western capitalist regimes that capitalism did not have to endure, correct? State violence has been the common tool for smaller vassal states, proxy war and economic blockade for the larger communist states.
How long did the process of moving from the feudal system to capitalism take? Was it successful everywhere and at once? I ask because that seems to be a rationale to closing discussion on a very important alternative form of social ordering. Asking doesn't mean endorsing.
Posted by: chunkstyle

Re: the economy - 11/07/18 03:59 PM

Here's a perfect example of a news article that supports 'Labor Theory':

Your pay raise will cause the bust...

I notice how this author uses a 'single gun' theory to show how labor getting more of a share of value creation ultimately leads to the stock market going down. To me it's offering a rational for devaluation of labor with sketchy thinking of cause and effect.

I wont even go into the symbolism of the image for its intended viewership.
Posted by: Greger

Re: the economy - 11/07/18 04:16 PM

Marx didn't have a solution, even socialism/communism wasn't a solution it was a prediction. In the cases of the Soviet Union and the other Eastern block attempts at communism, they were forced attempts, Marx's criteria for the success of socialism and ultimately communism had not been met. Hence they were doomed to fail from the start.

Oddly he was pretty ambivalent about mixed systems which most of us see as the solution to avoid end game capitalism.

But what of the even more distant future? Provided we aren't eliminated by an unlivable planet? Classic Marxism might provide the answer in that mixed systems would naturally evolve into socialism and ultimately a communism where machines do the heavy lifting and people have everything they want and need and generally do as they please.
A utopian pastoral society where war, hunger, and ill health are all things of the past. A society made up of artisans, poets, musicians, philosophers, farmers, fishermen, scholars and educators. A world where men and women can pursue whatever interests them without being forced to work for wages or for bourgeois overlords getting rich from their labor while they struggle to survive...
Some would likely have more than others, but it would be by choice as none would want for anything.
Posted by: NW Ponderer

Re: the economy - 11/07/18 05:12 PM

Okies, chunk, I had no intention of being condescending, I just wasn't sure where the question was coming from. As to your larger question, "has it been tried and failed?" Boy does that open a can of worms!

There's a whole continuum of "socialist" philosophies that run the gamut from Social democracy through Democratic Socialism to outright Communism. There are "purists" in each school, and "adherents" who mix and match based upon their personal foibles that confuse definitions even among professionals. Like most political science junkies (it was my undergraduate major), I'm opinionated and use my own definitions and distinctions. The problem, in my view, is that is a field that mixes economic, social, and political theory (sometimes Willy-nilly) in not always clear (And often deliberately obscure) prose.

I'll set up my personal framework to try to make sure I'm not "one of those", as best I can. I started a thread to do exactly that, but deleted it in favor of this one, and in order to honestly answer your question. What makes the question difficult is "has it ever been tried" - and what we mean by "It" and "tried."

"Socialism" is used in so many different ways that its real meaning is debatable. In economics people generally use socialism to mean "public" (either government or social cooperatives) control of the means of production - i.e., who owns "the capital" - real estate, machinery, money, profits. In politics, people usually mean the goal of using "government" to help "The people", and, again, it runs the gamut from complete authoritarian (communist) control to left-leaning democratic market regulation or manipulation - the so-called "mixed economy". Around the world, virtually every economy is "mixed" in both an economic and political sense. Add in "social theory", and you end up with a bloody, rhetorical mess.

I generally describe myself as a "Social Democrat", or progressive, in that, I believe in democracy as the form of government and social as the goal of government programs, but accept that the economy is market-oriented and capitalistic in nature. So I support wage supports, social welfare programs, government regulation (and even bending) of markets. In some areas, I believe in public-private competition in the markets, e.g., "public option" health care, social security, public agency pension plans, and even public production of commodities/services.

So, when I quip that Marx wasn't a very good "Marxist", what I mean is that he developed a social theory of how the political-economic system worked, and how he expected it to naturally develop, then actively interfered with that development by fomenting revolution and seeking to impose a communist framework from the outside. It's like a scientist proposing a hypothetical then manipulating his experiments to "prove" it.

If by "It" you mean "social" control of the means of production, "It" had been tried in an authoritarian-communist form in several locations (China, USSR, Vietnam, Cuba). If you mean organically developed "socialism", only on a small scale (e.g., cooperatives, utopian villages, communes). On the larger scale, social programs have been tried in numerous locales instituting social welfare programs from socialized medicine, public welfare programs, public retirement programs to state control of national resources. "Success" is too often determined by the eye of the beholder.
Posted by: Greger

Re: the economy - 11/07/18 05:40 PM

Practically every "attempt" at socialism in its varying forms has been at the whims of a charismatic leader(Stalin, Lenin, Castro, et al) who tried to emulate a fair socialist system by force.

I posit that it must be evolution not revolution to bring about a true egalitarian society.
Posted by: NW Ponderer

Re: the economy - 11/07/18 08:01 PM

In that, Greger, I wholly agree. BTW, I also agree with your previous post, which was apparently posted while I was developing mine. I think when I disagree with chunk and others, it is not in the goal, but in the execution.

I am more of a gradualist than an iconoclast. On the slightly other hand, I do believe that certain actions are urgent enough to require direct intrusion into "the market". As examples, health care is an urgent need of the nation (there is significant debate about medical bankruptcies (WaPo, Subscription)); climate change is becoming a direct danger to both the economy and the population, and the tax malpractice of the GOP urgently needs reversal before national bankruptcy - or another depression - results.

Trump's amateurish and destructive (and grossly ignorant) international policies are likely to create an almost instantaneous economic crisis, which is already brewing beneath the surface.
Posted by: Greger

Re: the economy - 11/07/18 10:17 PM


Quote:
Trump's amateurish and destructive (and grossly ignorant) international policies are likely to create an almost instantaneous economic crisis, which is already brewing beneath the surface.


With capitalism there is always a crisis brewing beneath the surface.
In this case another charismatic leader is trying to tilt the playing field so all the money runs to him.
World leaders and world markets(our corporate overlords) are keeping things afloat in spite of Mr. Trumps many mistakes. The last time "we" elected an idiot they managed to hold it together almost until the end. Two wars, a debt crisis and an overheated housing market coupled with the insidious greed of Wall Street proved too much in the end though. Remember when W begged us to all go out shopping to help keep his failing economy afloat?

I think I've mentioned before that, along and along, this thing is gonna come off the tracks. Winning the house may soften or prevent the crash altogether.

And I agree with your earlier assessment that Marx wasn't a very good Marxist. But in 1848 he was barely thirty years old, he didn't have the complete works of Karl Marx to refer to. They weren't, in fact, even published in his lifetime, the last wasn't published until 1941.
In his elder years he probably became a much better Marxist, working more on theory than the application of his work.
Posted by: pondering_it_all

Re: the economy - 11/08/18 05:51 AM

I think our mixed-economy of capitalism, socialism, and government regulation has a huge degree of homeostasis going for it. The "free" market is very useful for all the complexity that central planning could never handle. Government regulations and the rule of law keep the market honest. Social programs take the rough edges off capitalism, so it's reasonably humane.

The deterioration of the rule of law is the main reason my portfolio is all cash right now. I'm staying out of the market until normal order is restored, and I would not be surprised if a lot of other folks feel the same way. That may be why the stock market is so volatile now. The fall of Trump is one big Black Swan event waiting to happen.
Posted by: Greger

Re: the economy - 11/08/18 05:29 PM

Quote:
our mixed-economy of capitalism, socialism, and government regulation

I consider government regulation simply to be a part of the social side of the mix. Our elected representatives and administrators are supposed to control the means of production through taxation, regulation, and legislation.
De-regulation, more often than not, comes from the capital side.

Quote:
The book Laissez Faire and the General-Welfare State states:

The physiocrats, reacting against the excessive mercantilist regulations of the France of their day, expressed a belief in a "natural order" or liberty under which individuals in following their selfish interests contributed to the general good. Since, in their view, this natural order functioned successfully without the aid of government, they advised the state to restrict itself to upholding the rights of private property and individual liberty, to removing all artificial barriers to trade, and to abolishing all useless laws.
WIKI

Sound familiar?
Posted by: Greger

Re: the economy - 11/08/18 05:42 PM

Homeostasis might also imply status quo. but I'm willing to go with stability. While "stable", our economy has been trending towards the upper 1% for a long time. In time honored tradition, the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. A crisis of some sort is on the horizon....the crisis will hurt the poor more than the rich but they will dig out of it, rebuild, work hard to regain what they once had and upon achieving it will realize that once again the rich are getting richer and...you don't need Karl Marx to see a pattern here.
Posted by: chunkstyle

Re: the economy - 11/08/18 06:00 PM

Zactly.
The beauty of neoliberalism is that it obliterates class consciousness and denies system failure, placing that on the shoulders of choice and personal responsibility. A wonderful way of bending reality.
I see the same repeat in the 'negative freedom' political philosophy that dominated after WW2. Every individual would persue their own self interest thru consumerism. That, in turn, would lead to full productivity, rising standard of living and inhibit the 'animal instincts of the masses from marching off to retake the Sudetenland.

The trap was in political and wealth capture by the increasingly wealthy minority leading to wars, tax and law evasion, and finally oligarchic tyranny. Not to mentioned it was myopic in thinking that a linear system could go on forever in a finite world of resources.

No wonder they won't allow the teaching of Marx or critical thinking in class rooms.
Posted by: pondering_it_all

Re: the economy - 11/08/18 06:06 PM

Homeostasis means more than stability. It means the system tends to be self-correcting. Excesses happen for a variety of reasons, and then a backlash from another part of the system corrects the excess. Usually over-corrects, but that excess is soon corrected again, etc.

In every age so far, the rich get richer. You want to do something about it? Have a French Revolution with heads rolling. Or just change the income tax structure back to Ike's model of 91% top rates. There is a lot of stuff to do when Democrats run the government again. But that just pushes the homeostatic equilibrium in that direction. It does not change it's fundamental nature.

Ignoring crime at the highest levels does attempt to break the system. The backlash is going to be very large. Keep it up and important people will die. The current Republican strategy pushes us towards the French Revolution correction.
Posted by: chunkstyle

Re: the economy - 11/08/18 06:35 PM

Or perhaps it will go something like Yugoslavoa or Rowanda. My bet is we get Balkanized. Backhoe ditches in back fields, partisan units, etc...
Posted by: chunkstyle

Re: the economy - 11/08/18 06:45 PM

I'm intrigued by the U.K.'s labor manifesto that will regulate the private ownership of the wealth that is generated from corporations. They are advocating for a minimum % of equities to be owned by employees, as a compensation over time, and will give them a voice on the corporate governance of their work place. As Richard Wolf has advocated: "democratize the enterprise"
There are other ideas out there with a few put forward by our own representatives but getting almost no corporate owned media coverage. That narrowing of ideas and setting arbitrary boundaries on conversation thing.
Posted by: NW Ponderer

Re: the economy - 11/08/18 09:32 PM

I've made this point at various times over the years, but it is appropriate here: corporations are a creation of government and can therefore be regulated in virtually any way one wants. Obviously (I think), that doesn't mean that one can simply appropriate their assets without compensation, but it does mean that limitations can be placed on organizational structure and compensation schemes. A percentage of worker ownership, or limitation on executive pay, for example, are entirely legal and reasonable. They are, literally, the cost of doing business (as a corporation).
Posted by: pondering_it_all

Re: the economy - 11/09/18 05:28 AM

I might point out that a great many US corporations have Employee Stock Ownership Plans that create employee ownership to some extent. Those stock holders can attend corporate shareholder meetings and propose items for shareholders to vote on.
Posted by: chunkstyle

Re: the economy - 11/09/18 03:09 PM

Yeah PIA, I realize that. The guy who delivers my shops material gets some of that. I've worked at companies that had that on offer thru HR.
I believe the Labor Party is proposing something modeled after the Meidner Plan proposed in Sweden in the 1970's.
It goes much further than a company offering a simple stock buy in plan.
Posted by: pondering_it_all

Re: the economy - 11/10/18 03:50 AM

Of course, most financial advisers will tell you to sell all your employer stock immediately: It's very dumb to have both your job and a lot of investments in the same company. If the company fails or just takes a big hit, your stock could drop a lot in value AND you could get laid off at the same time.

Happened more than once to me.
Posted by: NW Ponderer

Re: the economy - 11/10/18 02:19 PM

I am VERY MUCH in favor of cooperative ownership. That is why, for example, I buy Chobani Chobani workers get ownership stake that could make them millionaires (USA Today). What the employees do with their stocks is up to them. The key is, creating a stake in the corporation, and a method for the workers to have a direct (and enforceable) impact on company management.
Posted by: pondering_it_all

Re: the economy - 11/11/18 04:25 AM

Quote:
Chobani

Not to mention their Greek Yogurt is terrific.
Posted by: jgw

Re: the economy - 11/20/18 08:13 PM

Today the stock market removed any increases for 2018 and 2017 will be following soon. I would suggest that everybody "national debt coming due" to see what this means. Basically, we are headed for disaster. by 2020 we will be in the middle of a serious downturn in the economy I think. Its interesting, most Republican administrations can last through 2 administrations before failure happens but, it seems, our beloved leader, the donkey, will fail before his first is through. Then, of course, the tax and spend Dems will have to, yet again, bail it all out, whilst never telling anybody that the Republicans have done it yet again <sigh>.

I have said it before, and will repeat, This one is going to be a Doozy. I am also getting concerned about the US Dollar. Right now its up but, with what is going on, its also likely to flounder and we will be back to "buy gold!" (that one is starting right now and might be right).

On last repeat, do NOT try and time this market! It rarely works and, in this environment...........

I thought I would add why I keep on about people timing the market. I have a LOT of friends who do this sort of thing and they invariably screw it up and end up losing big bucks. What seems to happen is that the market is falling and the talking heads start noticing and talking about utter failure of the economy, everybody will lose everything, etc. This tends to panic. You will rarely hear something like; "What goes up will also go down and what goes down will also go up" which, for most of this stuff is a simple fact. I realize that its nerve wracking but it remains a kindova fact.

The panic always seems to hit at the bottom and so folks bail and never get back in and live with their loss. Its just painful to watch folks do that.