Capitalism

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My new podcast episode is out

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 25/11/2021 - 7:36am in

What If They Staged A Cuba Uprising And Nobody Came? Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 18/11/2021 - 12:07pm in

Listen to a reading of this article:

https://medium.com/media/53a272e6391b61177779cd7c7ced2963/href

The US staging a domestic uprising in Cuba and no one showing up for it reminds me of that old saying “What if they had a war, and nobody came?”

So much of what the US empire used to do covertly through the CIA it now just does openly. Says a lot about how much more effective its narrative control has gotten over the years.

The CIA used to infiltrate the media, now spooks openly do punditry for mainstream news outlets.

The CIA used to oust governments covertly, now the NED openly funds subversion.

The CIA used to stage uprisings, now the empire just says HEY WE’RE GONNA START SOME PROTESTS IN CUBA!

If anti-government protests were proportionate to a government’s actual malfeasance, Washington DC would be completely inoperable 365 days a year because its streets would be continuously packed with millions of demonstrators.

Why are people suspicious of US behavior in the Horn of Africa? It’s not like it’s in an extremely geostrategically crucial location or anything.

US interventionism always makes things worse and never makes them better. This one self-evident fact should make headlines like these impossible and the fact that it doesn’t is an indication of how propagandized the populace is:

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Socialism leads to government waste and inefficiency, unlike our current system which wastes half of all food produced, leaves more homes empty than there are homeless people, and sees clothing manufacturers destroy billions worth of excess inventory so poor people can’t wear it.

Capitalism is so good at eliminating scarcity that it has to artificially create it to survive.

If you think Glenn Greenwald is a Trumper or Joe Rogan is a fascist it’s because you’ve disappeared as far into your own ideological anus as people who think Biden is a Marxist. You can disagree with someone without making them the extreme opposite of everything you value.

If I wanted to crush socialism and anti-imperialism in the most powerful nation in the world I’d train Democrats to believe being on the left means shrieking about Trump all the time and train Republicans that the left means forcing your son to wear a dress at kill whitey class.

It’s weird how much of left discourse is about obscure sectarian disagreements instead of like hey we don’t have the numbers to accomplish literally anything and we should probably try and do something about that.

Criticize Beijing’s Xinjiang policies all you want, but its deradicalization campaign was indisputably infinitely less draconian than the western “war on terror” which has killed millions and displaced tens of millions since 9/11.

And now it’s winding down, while the US empire’s “war on terror” has been continually expanding. These two things are not equal. They’re not even comparable. The US and its allies are indisputably far, far worse.

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All the western hand-wringing about Muslims in China is worse than hypocritical; it’s a joke. The US empire pretending to care about Muslims is like Exxon-Mobil pretending to care about the environment.

The vastly more egregious offender should be criticized vastly more. Instead it is criticized far less. This is due solely to western propaganda.

Healthy people want power to be proportionate to responsibility; the more your actions affect others, the more accountable you must be. Unhealthy people want power without responsibility; they want maximum power but want all culpability offloaded onto the collective. We are ruled by very unhealthy people.

We’re in this strange human soup full of billions of people, pesticides, all kinds of radiation, vaccines, drugs, food additives, petrochemicals and other artificial substances and we have no idea what it’s doing to us in the long term. It’s a worldwide biochemical improvisation.

People are tripping on mRNA vaccines right now because they’re the newest addition to the soup, but there’s all kinds of stuff happening in this weird improvisation we’re all mushing ourselves around in and we don’t understand how it will all dance together at all.

And we also don’t know what’s happening with our dying biosphere, our plunge into dystopia, our flirtation with nuclear war, our unsustainable systems and our collapsing empire. We don’t know where any of this is all headed. And, from a certain point of view, it’s quite beautiful.

______________________

My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following me on Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud or YouTube, or throwing some money into my tip jar on Ko-fi, Patreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy my books. The best way to make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for at my website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish, use or translate any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here.

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Using the Climate Crisis: Whitney Webb Discusses Global Elites’ Takeover of Nature

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 18/11/2021 - 5:26am in



As world leaders, celebrities, business moguls and activists alike descended on Scotland for the COP26 climate summit, behind the scenes powerful financial groups were and are attempting to rewrite the rules of international trade and to privatize nature under the guise of sustainability.

While there has been a great deal of finger pointing, the enormous and tangible changes necessary to steer the planet away from devastation are yet to appear. The world is still on course to warm 2.4°C above pre-industrial levels by the end of the century, according to a report from Climate Action Tracker. Anything above 2°C is generally considered to be catastrophic and could lead to societal collapse across the globe.

While high politics has understandably made the headlines, a cartel of international bankers is attempting to use the crisis to rewrite international capitalism for their own benefit.

Our guest today, Whitney Webb, has been monitoring these developments carefully. In an article published earlier this month, she wrote:

The most powerful private financial interests in the world, under the cover of COP26, have developed a plan to transform the global financial system by fusing with institutions like the World Bank and using them to further erode national sovereignty in the developing world.”

Webb is a writer, researcher and journalist who, between 2017 and 2020, was a staff writer and senior investigative reporter for MintPress News. She currently writes at The Last American Vagabond and Unlimited Hangout. Today, she also discussed a recent article she wrote entitled “Wall Street’s Takeover of Nature Advances with Launch of New Asset Class.” Under the guise of promoting sustainability, the global financial elite are attempting to force through more privatizations of the natural world, to the point where nature itself — the system that sustains human life — will have a value assigned to it (and will therefore be able to be bought and sold).

Describing this as “a new way to loot,” Webb outlines how businesses could attempt to extract rents from us for the water we drink and air we breathe; a very visceral form of late-stage capitalism.

Join us today for a free-flowing conversation on these important and worrying topics.

MintPress News is a fiercely independent, reader-supported outlet, with no billionaire owners or backers. You can support us by becoming a member on Patreon, bookmarking and whitelisting us, and by subscribing to our social media channels, including Twitch, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram.

Subscribe to MintCast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and SoundCloud.

Also, be sure to check out the new Behind the Headlines channel on YouTube and subscribe to rapper Lowkey’s new video interview/podcast series, The Watchdog.

The post Using the Climate Crisis: Whitney Webb Discusses Global Elites’ Takeover of Nature appeared first on MintPress News.

On the Worldly Philosophy at Radio UNAL

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 18/11/2021 - 5:01am in

Tags 

Capitalism

Interview in Spanish to Radio UNAL with Óscar Morillo. We discuss the the origins of political economy and their importance and the continuous relevance for the understanding of modern capitalism. Link here.

Renting Sucks

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 18/11/2021 - 12:06am in

Listen to a reading of this article:

https://medium.com/media/b21a5d13068fb9d0cf322601bb2838bc/href

Well, it finally happened. We finally received our eviction notice on the crumbling rental we’ve been living in for the last twelve years.

We knew it was coming. The landlords told us years ago they’d be bulldozing the place to put in two new units, which according to the notice is exactly what’s going to happen after we move out on or before January 30th.

The house has been letting us know too; everything’s falling apart, the electricity cuts out all the time, the sun roof blew off the kitchen during a windstorm a couple weeks ago and the roof and chimney are falling to pieces. The deterioration of the building combined with our aforementioned bed bug infestation has made it feel lately as though we’re being driven from the land by a bunch of Old Testament plagues.

Still I’ve been having a lot of big feels about it. This is where my kids have spent most of their lives. Their heights are drawn on the door jamb in the kitchen. Losing this house is like losing a loved one. I’m also a bit nervous about where we’ll wind up; we can’t afford to buy a house and rent in Melbourne has skyrocketed over the last few years.

Mosty, though, I’m just annoyed at this stupid, backwards system which forces people to pay landlords for shelter from the elements if they’re not fortunate enough to be able to afford a home of their own. Rent is largely an extortionate double-dipping scam where renters pay landlords for the privilege of keeping vandals and vermin from destroying their investment property which they’ll generally make a handsome profit off of when they sell, and this practice is held in place by a system which depends on the permanent existence of an underclass who can’t afford to own land.

https://medium.com/media/f4da2c05d42341e7ea0557f00029de79/href

Capitalism is such a grossly inefficient means of distributing resources that there are currently around 69,000 homes sitting empty and unused in Melbourne while families like my own stress out over finding an affordable place to live. Prices are set at “what the market will bear” and investors are happy to sit and wait until a buyer comes along willing to meet it, because they’re in no rush since they already have roofs over their own heads. Property values are driven up by this artificial scarcity forcing those who can’t pay it to rent from landlords, who ratchet their own prices up to “what the market will bear” as well because they know people can’t afford to buy their own homes.

And it’s just such a silly, stupid way of organizing a civilization that we’ll all have to evolve beyond sometime soon. This insane competition-based model where everyone’s trying to squeeze every crumb out of everyone they can and stepping on one another’s heads to keep from drowning is ultimately driving our species toward disaster through ecological destruction and imperialist warmongering. If our species is to evolve into the future we’re going to have to move into a collaboration-based model of existence where we pour our creativity and ingenuity into finding ways for us all to thrive in cooperation with our ecosystem rather than into finding new ways to extort, exploit, abuse and kill one another. Into making sure everyone has enough rather than into funneling wealth from the poorest to the richest.

And right now that feels all too personal. This old house might be falling down, but it’s our home, and there’s nothing wrong with it that we couldn’t fix ourselves. All the love and celebrations and memories, good and bad, are about to be a pile of rubble. I would’ve loved to mark the heights of my future grandchildren on the door jamb alongside their parents; but it wasn’t to be. To put them to bed in the same room I sang lullabies to their parents in; but it wasn’t to be. To plant a tree and watch it grow old with me; but it wasn’t to be.

Everyone deserves a home on the planet they were born on. They deserve to feel invested in the health of the land they live on rather than like a stranger who is just passing through. Centuries of war, famine, forced migration, and the alienating effects of competition and capitalism have shaped us into a species that acts as though we are separate from the planet that sustains us. We act like a cancer rather than a native species of mammals. This essential mistake of our own perception of separation needs to be rectified if we are to evolve into a species that collaborates with country rather than lays waste to it. We are not separate from our home, and we need to start acting like it. We can start by making housing a right for all humans so that people will feel invested in the health of the land rather than the digits in their investment portfolios.

And perhaps then we will love our home the way she deserves to be loved.

_____________________

My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following me on Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud or YouTube, or throwing some money into my tip jar on Ko-fi, Patreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy my books. The best way to make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for at my website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish, use or translate any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here.

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Reply to Michael Roberts on Macro modelling MMT

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 15/11/2021 - 7:07am in

By Eduardo Garzón, economist. Originally published on 22 March 2019 in Spanish here.

Translation by Carlos García Hernández

A few days ago, the Marxist economist Michael Roberts, taking the opportunity that in the United States there has been a lot of talk about Modern Monetary Theory lately, wrote an article critical of this approach, which was published here.

Specifically, he focused on the macroeconomic model used by the proponents of MMT, questioning at the root some of its underlying assumptions. I am writing this article to respond to that criticism: on the one hand I explain why I consider that one of the theoretical approaches of MMT questioned (the causal relationship established between profits and investment) is more realistic than the one used by the Marxist view on the same issue, and on the other hand, I correct what is undoubtedly a misinterpretation of MMT by the author (specifically, on how to finance the public deficit).

Roberts begins by quoting James Tobin to point out that accounting identities are very useful but dangerous in that they say nothing about the causality between their variables. That’s right: knowing with certainty that investment, for example, equals profits is not enough to identify whether the former causes the latter or whether it is the other way around. This is something widely recognized by the proponents of MMT, accustomed to using the accounting identities of Wynne Godley and Francis Cripps (1974), who always warned that causality was something that was not built into these identities. That is why MMT advocates developed a theoretical framework that makes causal sense of such identities. Randall Wray (2015) explains in his MMT handbook quite precisely why causality runs from expenditure to revenue, from investment to profits, and from deficit to surplus.

Let us recall that explanation starting from the accounting identity:

Spending = Income

Woman buying an apple from the greengrocer stall at a marketPhoto by Erik Scheel from Pexels

Every sale necessarily involves two parties: the seller and the buyer. The buyer spends and the seller earns. The buyer’s spending is always necessarily equal to the seller’s income; it cannot be otherwise. If I buy an apple from the greengrocer for 1 euro, I will be spending 1 euro and the greengrocer will be earning 1 euro. What one party spends, the other party earns, because the money does not disappear and its amount is not altered in the transaction. There is no other possibility. This explanation of the accounting identity has no comment on causality. We will turn to that now.

Even if two parties are needed to carry out a transaction, one of the two must initiate it and allow the buying and selling to take place. And that party is always the spender, and not the earner. The party that earns cannot make money on its own from a sale because it needs someone else to initiate the process. On the other hand, the spending party can decide on its own whether or not to spend money on the purchase, because even if it does not have enough money, it can go into debt (or create money, which is a type of debt) and then buy the product.

The indebtedness, although strictly speaking it occurs with respect to another economic agent who must accept that commitment, will normally be possible because it will mean future income for the creditor (a business) and only in exceptional cases (when the debtor does not have the credibility that he will be able to keep his word) will the indebtedness not take place. Therefore, if the buyer does not want to spend, he will not spend; and if he wants to spend, he will spend (except in the aforementioned exception). In other words, the buyer can normally choose on his own whether he will spend or not. However, the same is not true for the seller: if the seller does not want to earn money, he will not do so; but if he wants to earn money, he will need a buyer who wants to spend. The seller cannot decide on his own whether he is going to earn money or not. In other words, the one who spends is the one who holds the key to the sale and purchase.

This reasoning can be extrapolated to the case of profits and investment, and to the case of balances. If we suppose two economic agents, the surplus of one of them is equal to the deficit of the other. No one can save if there is no one to “dissave” on the other side. On the other hand, in order to “dissave” it is not necessary to have someone wanting to save, it is enough – in the worst case – to get into debt or create money, which is always possible under normal circumstances. Consequently, the one who “dissaves” is the one who holds the key to the balance. Therefore, when we apply the identity of balances to the public and private sectors, we discover that the private sector cannot “dissave” indefinitely because it uses a currency it does not create (and if it did use the one it creates, it would have no way of imposing its use); on the other hand, the public sector can do so because it issues the currency it uses and also imposes its use by force. This is what MMT tells us: deficits produce surpluses, but – as Hyman Minsky (1986) showed – the former cannot be eternal in the case of the private sector; however, they can be eternal in the case of the public sector, which not only issues the currency that is generally used, but also has the authority to make it be used (mainly through taxes). Hence, the “engine” of economic activity is the public deficit, not the private deficit.

Why does Michael Roberts understand causality in reverse? Because he uses a commodity-money concept (like most Marxists) rather than a debt-money approach. He believes that money cannot appear before production, but somehow represents the quantity of goods and services that have been created (namely, by labour). According to this view, no one could be using money unless it had originated beforehand thanks to a productive process. Consequently, the key to economic activity would lie in supply, not demand. In this paragraph he explains it clearly:

“Contrary to the Keynesian/post-Keynesian/MMT view, the Marxist view is that “effective demand” (including government deficits) cannot precede production. There is always demand in society for human needs. But it can only be satisfied when human beings do work to produce things and services out of nature. Production precedes demand in that sense and labour time determines the value of that production. Profits are created by the exploitation of labour and then those profits are either invested or consumed by capitalists. Thus, demand is only ‘effective’ because of the income that has been created, not vice versa.”

But it is enough to conceive of money as a debt and not as a commodity to realize that the above is not true. Money is a commitment to future payment and, as such, can be created ‘out of thin air’; you don’t have to wait for someone to produce something for that money to originate. If you go into debt -and the counterparty trusts you to keep your word – you can purchase goods and services without having to have earned income beforehand. Producers make things when they see that they can sell them, and selling them does not require the buyer to have earned money in the past. Effective demand, therefore, is not born out of supply, but is born out of nothing, and it is supply that tries to adapt to it. Effective demand is not limited by any amount of money, because money can be unlimited (because it is a debt, not a commodity).

Roberts writes at the end of his article:

“The more important question, however, is what drives a capitalist economy. It is the profitability of capitalist investment that drives growth and employment, not the size of a government deficit.”

I could subscribe to that phrase. Capitalist accumulation requires private investment; if capitalists do not invest it is impossible to talk about capitalist economic growth. We could talk about another type of growth, but certainly not a capitalist one. But all this cannot be achieved without public deficits, which is the only sustainable source of money in an economy. If people did not have in their hands the money created by the State (through public deficits), with what would they buy the products sold by capitalists? Someone could answer this by saying that they could do it with private money, bank money for example.

But just a little above I have exposed the explanation of why the deficit of any private economic agent is not sustainable: it does not have the authority to force people to use the money it issues. To create money is to go into debt, and the private sector cannot go into unlimited debt because at some point people would realize that someone is promising a future payment that never comes, so at some point they would stop using that money out of fear and distrust. This finding is none other than the credit theory of Mitchell Innes (1913). On the other hand, the public sector can borrow unlimitedly because it imposes by force (with taxes) the use of its money. No private economic agent has the power that the public sector has to force the use of its money. This is the chartalist theory of Georg Friedrich Knapp (1924).

Finally, a brief note on what is a misinterpretation by Roberts. In his article one can read the following:

“Borrowing could be done by issuing government bonds (orthodox Keynesian) or by ‘printing money’ i.e., increasing cash reserves in banks (MMT). Issuing bonds may reduce Private Investment to boost Government investment, but the credit created would stimulate overall Investment. Printing Money (MMT) would raise Investment without reducing Private Investment (magic!).”

Leaving aside the lack of rigour and imprecision (because I hope it is not malicious intent) in using the word “printing” to talk about money creation when even central bankers themselves acknowledge that money is overwhelmingly created through computer keystrokes, it is completely false that MMT makes any kind of distinction between financing the government deficit with bonds or with new money, much less distinguishing the effects of such forms of financing on private investment.

MMT’s approach in this respect is, by the way, identical to that of those ascribed to the monetary circuit view, with Augusto Graziani (1990) at the head, who already quite some time ago put on the table an absolutely different understanding of the financing of the public deficit (among other things). To begin with, the public deficit is not financed; indeed, it cannot be financed. This entry is nothing more than the result between a) the amount of money that the State injects into the economy through spending, and b) the amount of money that it withdraws from the economy through taxes. In order to spend, it does not need to dispose of anything beforehand; it is enough for it to credit the bank accounts of the recipients of that spending. In order to receive, all it has to do is to debit the bank accounts of the taxpayers. Since what the State debits is money that it injected before through spending, the public deficit is nothing more than the amount of money that the State does not withdraw from the economy through taxes, ergo it makes no sense whatsoever to speak of financing spending. How can you finance something that is accounted for after the expenditure has been made?

So, what’s the point of issuing government bonds? Well, somehow it is necessary to prevent interest rates from sinking. Each new euro of public deficit is a new euro of bank reserves. Banks try to place them in financial investments to give them profitability, but when they have a lot of them, they have no choice but to agree to lower interest rates (when there are many sellers the only way to sell is to lower the price). It is by the simple law of supply and demand that the public deficit tends to push interest rates down. To prevent that from happening, states and their central banks can either offer more return on bank reserves (this way, banks will not try to get rid of them at a low interest rate) or they can offer banks a financial asset in which to place bank reserves at a decent return. That financial asset is public debt. States with monetary sovereignty do not need to sell public bonds to spend; they do so to remove bank reserves from circulation and thus ensure that banks do not try to place them at all costs, with the collapse in the interest rate that this would entail. Public debt is a tool to control interest rates, not to finance spending.

That is why the impact on investment – or on any other economic variable – is independent of whether the State issues public debt bonds or raises the profitability of bank reserves. Incidentally, if the state and its central bank did not make these moves, interest rates would fall, making private investment cheaper. Therefore, public deficits in this case would not harm private investment, but would, if anything, facilitate it. Roberts seems to remain anchored in the orthodox and erroneous conception of the impact of public deficits on private investment. The only case in which the public deficit could harm private investment – and this is independent of how the public deficit is “financed” – would be when the public sector has bought so much on the market that there is nothing left for private entrepreneurs. This, which would be possible, could even be positive if public investment were made according to social and ecological criteria, since it would be displacing a private investment that is always subject to private profitability and only tangentially and occasionally to the aforementioned criteria.

 

References

Godley, W. & Cripps, F.T. (1974). “Demand, inflation and economic policy”. London and Cambridge Economic Bulletin 84(1): 22–23.

Graziani, A. (1990) “The Theory of the Monetary Circuit’”, Economies et Sociétés 24, 7:7–36.

Innes, A. Mitchell. ([1913] 2004). “What is money.” Credit and State Theories of Money, edited by L. Randall Wray 14-49. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.

Knapp, Georg F. (1924). The State Theory of Money. London: MacMillan & Company Limited.

Minsky, H. P. (1986). Stabilizing An Unstable Economy, New Haven, Yale University Press

Wray, L. Randall (2015). Modern Money Theory: A Primer on Macroeconomics for Sovereign Monetary Systems. Palgrave Macmillan.

 

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The post Reply to Michael Roberts on Macro modelling MMT appeared first on The Gower Initiative for Modern Money Studies.

Don’t Believe The Hype – Less Really Is More

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 12/11/2021 - 5:01pm in

To discuss degrowth and its implications for society, host, Ross Ashcroft, met up with Economic Anthropologist and Author, Jason Hickel.

The post Don’t Believe The Hype – Less Really Is More appeared first on Renegade Inc.

Don’t Believe The Hype – Less Really Is More

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 12/11/2021 - 5:01pm in

To discuss degrowth and its implications for society, host, Ross Ashcroft, met up with Economic Anthropologist and Author, Jason Hickel.

The post Don’t Believe The Hype – Less Really Is More appeared first on Renegade Inc.

Steve Keen: A Manifesto

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 05/11/2021 - 5:00pm in

Host, Ross Ashcroft, met up with Keen to discuss his new book, The New Economics: A Manifesto.

The post Steve Keen: A Manifesto appeared first on Renegade Inc.

Steve Keen: A Manifesto

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 05/11/2021 - 5:00pm in

Host, Ross Ashcroft, met up with Keen to discuss his new book, The New Economics: A Manifesto.

The post Steve Keen: A Manifesto appeared first on Renegade Inc.

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