Posts Tagged ‘capitalism’

CRISES OF CAPITALISM: AN ANIMATED TALK BY DAVID HARVEY

CRISES OF CAPITALISM: AN ANIMATED TALK BY DAVID HARVEY

Courtesy of Richard Metzger of Dangerous Minds 

Watch this and get a lot smarter in just 11 minutes! Radical sociologist David Harvey asks: is it time to look beyond capitalism towards a new social order that would allow us to live within a system that really could be responsible, just, and humane? From a speech given at the prestigious Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA). See the full speech here. The talkshow will returns in a few weeks.

Via the mighty Nerdcore!  


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Never Let the Threat of a Manufactured Crisis Go to Waste

Never Let the Threat of a Manufactured Crisis Go to Waste

Courtesy of Mark Thoma, Economist’s View 

There’s been a lot of speculation about the motives of the Austerians — those who want to begin balancing budgets now because they believe that’s what markets want. For example, Paul Krugman attributes it, in part, to

moralizing and posturing. Germans tend to think of running deficits as being morally wrong, while balancing budgets is considered virtuous, never mind the … economic logic. “The last few hours were a singular show of strength,” declared Angela Merkel … after a special cabinet meeting agreed on the austerity plan. And showing strength — or what is perceived as strength — is what it’s all about.

But there is another argument based upon the notion of "never let a crisis — or the manufactured threat of one — go to waste." This is an opportunity to "starve the European Beast" in the eyes of many European conservatives, and there are those who are using the "that’s what markets want" argument as cover for an ideological agenda:

The spectre of laissez-faire stalks Britain, by Jeremy Seabrook, CIF: The relish with which David Cameron announced that our whole way of life would be affected for years by impending cuts, and no one in the land would be exempt from the asperities about to be inflicted, suggested to many that he and his fellow cabinet-millionaires will probably weather the coming storm better than the rest of us.

His parade of Margaret Thatcher, who resembled nothing so much as a faded kabuki performer, outside 10 Downing Street, was also highly symbolic. It was a redemptive moment, the "ultimate" triumph of policies she advocated (but did not entirely follow) 30 years ago. It exhibited the qualities of purification ritual, reversion to a more severe form of capitalism; and in the process a transformation of nanny state into stepmother state.

Nick Clegg’s pious assertion that cuts would be fair and compassionate was at odds with Cameron’s gusto, which is familiar enough in Conservative rhetoric: Cameron confronting an overweening state, which will be shrunk so the private sector might flourish once more. When he said the effects of his policies would be felt for decades to come, he meant something more than a mere diminution of the structural deficit. He admitted as much… 

While cutting back big government may appear a


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The Future of Cities

The Future of Cities 

Courtesy of Charles Hugh Smith Of Two Minds 

Man In Bowler Hat And Suit Standing In Front Of City

The energy consumption of cities will certainly decline in the coming decades, but cities may not disintegrate as many expect.

Among those who understand Peak Oil and the fragility of global supply chains, it is widely assumed cities will quickly become hellholes of squalor and extreme violence once liquid fuels are no longer cheap and abundant. Perhaps, but history suggests cities are highly resilient adaptations.

What never ceases to amaze me is how few people who expect cities to implode have any grasp of the size and scale of cities which thrived for hundreds of years without any fossil fuels.

Fernand Braudel’s masterful three-volume history of European Capitalism (Civilization & Capitalism, 15th to 18th Century) The Structures of Everyday Life (Volume 1)The Wheels of Commerce (Volume 2) and The Perspective of the World (Volume 3) is in effect a history of trade and the rise of urban centers. Paris and other cities were already huge, complex centers of commerce and wealth in the early 16th century.

In Asia, the Chinese T’ang Dynasy capital of Ch’ang-an (A.D. 618-907) contained hundreds of thousands of residents, and drew in the wealth of all Asia: The Golden Peaches of Samarkand: A Study of T’ang Exotics.

Even today, you need to rent a bicycle to tour the vast ruins of the old Thai capital of Ayuttaya, which had a population in the hundreds of thousands in the 15th century.

If cities are so fragile, how did they grow to vast size without any high-density fuel other than wood, and no transport other than animals and human energy?

Yes, these were not "modern" cities in terms of energy consumption, but it terms of exotic goods available, plentiful food, high culture and intrigue, they were thoroughly modern.

Rather than attempt an over-arching synthesis of the vast literature on urbanism, I will make a few points which I think are suggestive of the enduring value of cities, and of the ways in which wastrel (and thus unsustainable) cities might lower their energy consumption and increase their sustainability.

1. 68% of all trips within Tokyo are by foot, bicycle or subway/transit. 95% of the trips in Houston are by private vehicle. Houston is not Tokyo, but this is a way of suggesting that when liquid fuels become costly/scarce, not all cities are equally…
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New Baghdad and the Collapse of Capitalism

New Baghdad and the Collapse of Capitalism

Courtesy of Doug Hornig, Casey Research

 

Forty years ago, it was a small town on the Persian Gulf, merely one of seven sheikdoms joined in federation in 1971 to create the United Arab Emirates. Basically, there was nothing there but sand. Yes, oil had been discovered under that sand, and the city/state was enjoying its first economic boomlet. From about 60,000 in 1968, population tripled by 1975, doubled in the next ten years, and nearly doubled again by 1995.

'Burj Khalifa', The World's Tallest Building - Dubai

 

Problem is, especially compared with many of its Gulf neighbors, it didn’t have all that much oil to begin with, and its reserves were falling fast. What it did have was Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the most influential member of the family that had ruled for more than a century and a half. And the sheikh had a vision.

 

Sheikh Mohammed believed that the Muslim world needed a New Baghdad, a center of commerce and learning and culture that would shine like the hub of the old caliphate, which had dominated the civilized world a thousand years earlier. He was determined to erect a dazzling, ultra-modern new metropolis, starting from scratch.

 

On the sands of Dubai.

 

The rest of the story is pretty well known. The crown prince, and later ruler, of Dubai had his way. His emirate became one of the richest and gaudiest places on the planet. Population shot to almost 1½ million, about 90% of them immigrants – from unskilled Bangladeshi laborers to software engineers from the U.S. – all lured by the promise of better-paying jobs than they could find at home.

 

Even…
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Dissonance Overload, Needs and “Innovation”

Dissonance Overload, Needs and "Innovation" 

Courtesy of Charles Hugh Smith Of Two Minds 

Are "businesses" which aggregate user-provided content in order to serve adverts to those users "innovative?" Are they serving a "need" or attempting to contrive a new "need"? 

While I usually present a specific thesis here, today’s topic is more a "work in progress" as I think through the paradoxes and connections between "needs" and contrived needs.

The two beginning data points are the South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu, formerly the New Hebrides, and an article from BusinessWeek on the dozens of Silicon Valley startups founded or funded by Google alumni: And Google Begat…The search giant’s former employees are seeding tech startups— and shaping another wave of innovation.

A friend’s son recently served a Peace Corps stint in a remote Vanuatu village. There is no electricity--illumination is provided by candles--and fresh potable water is a 2 kilometer walk away. The village pursues a generally traditional lifestyle apparently by choice; if you want to own a car and drive around in Western-style petroleum-based affluence, you can do so in the nation’s capital.

In the village, the women reportedly do most of the heavy lifting (agriculture, childcare, etc.) while the men have sufficient free time to brew up some hootch (kava) to enjoy in afternoon conviviality.

This "subsistance" is not poverty in the sense that people have enough to eat, shelter, some basic education, relative security from the predations of the State and/or external marauders (in our era, global Neoliberal Capitalism of the predatory/cartel variety).

This lifestyle is, with modest variations such as kerosene lamps or limited electricity, still lived by hundreds of millions of human beings. It is not to be romanticized or distorted by global-market, post-industrial definitions of "poverty." There are all sorts of poverty once you have enough to eat, a community and shelter, and definitions of a "good life" and a "better life" have to be carefully parsed.

We, on the other hand, are embedded in advanced, post-industrial Neoliberal Capitalism-- post-industrial in the sense that most of the nasty bits are performed elsewhere, so "we" get to live with high standards of environmental control, and Neoliberal in the sense that the Savior State is an active partner with global predatory finance Capitalism to exploit both foreign markets and domestic populations.

By the standards of our status quo, residents of Vanuatu are living at…
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This Is Where Goldman Can Stick Their Guns

This Is Where Goldman Can Stick Their Guns (PHOTO)

Courtesy of The Daily Bail

Goldman Executives Reportedly Buying Guns To Defend Against Angry Taxpayer Vigilantes

We’re not making this stuff up.  For pure entertainment value, life destroys art once again.

From Bloomberg commentator Alice Schroeder

Dec. 1 (Bloomberg) — “I just wrote my first reference for a gun permit,” said a friend, who told me of swearing to the good character of a Goldman Sachs Group Inc. banker who applied to the local police for a permit to buy a pistol. The banker had told this friend of mine that senior Goldman people have loaded up on firearms and are now equipped to defend themselves if there is a populist uprising against the bank.

I called Goldman Sachs spokesman Lucas van Praag to ask whether it’s true that Goldman partners feel they need handguns to protect themselves from the angry proletariat. He didn’t call me back. The New York Police Department has told me that “as a preliminary matter” it believes some of the bankers I inquired about do have pistol permits. The NYPD also said it will be a while before it can name names.

Henry Paulson, U.S. Treasury secretary during the bailout and a former Goldman Sachs CEO, let it slip during testimony to Congress last summer when he explained why it was so critical to bail out Goldman Sachs, and — oh yes — the other banks. People “were unhappy with the big discrepancies in wealth, but they at least believed in the system and in some form of market-driven capitalism. But if we had a complete meltdown, it could lead to people questioning the basis of the system.”

Torn Curtain

There you have it. The bailout was meant to keep the curtain drawn on the way the rich make money, not from the free market, but from the lack of one. Goldman Sachs blew its cover when the firm’s revenue from trading reached a record $27 billion in the first nine months of this year, and a public that was writhing in financial agony caught on that the profits earned on taxpayer capital were going to pay employee bonuses.

This slip-up let the other bailed-out banks happily hand off public blame to Goldman, which is unpopular among its…
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Capitalism, Socialism or Fascism?

Washington argues that when metastatic cancer takes over the body, identifying the type of cancer is more of an interesting dinner party conversation than a cure (metaphorically) – Ilene 

Capitalism, Socialism or Fascism?

socialismCourtesy of Washington’s Blog

What is the current American economy: capitalism, socialism or fascism?

Socialism

Initially, it is important to note that it is not just people on the streets who are calling the Bush and Obama administration’s approach to the economic crisis "socialism". Economists and financial experts say the same thing.

For example, Nouriel Roubini writes in a recent essay:

This is a crisis of solvency, not just liquidity, but true deleveraging has not begun yet because the losses of financial institutions have been socialised and put on government balance sheets. This limits the ability of banks to lend, households to spend and companies to invest…

The releveraging of the public sector through its build-up of large fiscal deficits risks crowding out a recovery in private sector spending.

Roubini has previously written:

We’re essentially continuing a system where profits are privatized and…losses socialized.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb says the same thing:

After finishing The Black Swan, I realized there was a cancer. The cancer was a huge buildup of risk-taking based on the lack of understanding of reality. The second problem is the hidden risk with new financial products. And the third is the interdependence among financial institutions.

[Interviewer]: But aren’t those the very problems we’re supposed to be fixing?

NT: They’re all still here. Today we still have the same amount of debt, but it belongs to governments. Normally debt would get destroyed and turn to air. Debt is a mistake between lender and borrower, and both should suffer. But the government is socializing all these losses by transforming them into liabilities for your children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren. What is the effect? The doctor has shown up and relieved the patient’s symptoms – and transformed the tumour into a metastatic tumour. We still have the same disease. We still have too much debt, too many big banks, too much state sponsorship of risk-taking. And now we have six million more Americans who are unemployed – a lot more than that if you count hidden unemployment.

[Interviewer]: Are you saying the U.S. shouldn’t have done all those


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Hogwash

Hogwash

domestic pig screaming

Courtesy of Mish

24 Senators and 63 House Representatives have completely lost their minds over pork bellies. Apparently the free market does not work, hog farmers are not making enough money, and the government owes farmers a profit no matter how much stuff they grow or raise.

Please consider USDA Must Buy Pork ‘Immediately,’ Hog Executive Says.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture must make funds available immediately to buy pork to keep hog farmers in business, the head of the second-biggest U.S. producer told a House of Representatives subcommittee.

Government pork purchases worth $100 million have won the backing of a bipartisan group of 87 lawmakers to support prices for farmers, who have lost money since 2007. Hog futures have dropped about 25 percent in Chicago since April 23, when swine flu began making headlines, depressing consumer demand and curbing exports to major markets including China and Russia.

Lawmakers need “to encourage and work with the Secretary of Agriculture to immediately make available” funds for government pork purchases, said Rod Brenneman, the chief executive officer of Seaboard Foods LLC, a unit of Merriam, Kansas-based Seaboard Corp. He testified before a House Agriculture Committee panel that oversees the livestock industry.

Lawmakers led by Senators Al Franken, Democrat of Minnesota, and Richard Burr, Republican of North Carolina, asked Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to increase U.S. spending on pork in letters earlier this month.

The group of 24 senators and 63 representatives asked Vilsack to buy more pork in the year that began Oct. 1 through government food programs. The U.S. Department of Agriculture bought $165 million of the meat a year earlier, including $30 million announced on Sept. 3, according to Justin DeJong, a USDA spokesman.

The USDA may have less to spend on pork this year because of fiscal restraints, Vilsack said in an interview last week. He said the department is reviewing its plans for this year with an eye toward maximizing available funds for pork producers.

“We have to be sure we husband our resources and use them wisely,” he said last week.

No One Owes Farmers A Profit

It is absurd to think the government or anyone else owes farmers a profit anymore than computer consulting corporations or real estate agencies are owed a profit.

Yes farmers have a rough life. But everyone unemployed…
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IS THIS THE DEATH OF CAPITALISM?

IS THIS THE DEATH OF CAPITALISM?

Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist

Grim reaper

“A great industrial nation is controlled by its system of credit. Our system of credit is privately concentrated. The growth of the Nation, therefore, and all our activities are in the hands of a few men… We have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated, governments in the civilized world—no longer a government by free opinion, no longer a government by conviction and the vote of the majority, but a government by the opinion and the duress of small groups of dominant men.” – Woodrow Wilson

MarketWatch ran a very provocative article by Paul Farrell titled “The Death Of Soul Capitalism: 20 Reasons America Has Lost Its Soul And Collapse Is Inevitable”.   Of course, such a title attracts attention.  As of the time of my writing the article had well over 1,000 comments.   Screaming “fire” in a crowded theater attracts attention after all.  Mr. Farrell’s story, however, isn’t just your latest case of screaming “fire” in a crowded theater.  This country and capitalism as we know it are at an incredibly important juncture in history.

While I agree with parts of the article, the overriding outlook is incorrect in my opinion.  Despite the current sad state of affairs I have not lost faith in the system that has created more wealth and more prosperity in 200 short years than any other system in the history of man.  We are on a slippery slope, but not a hopeless slope.  Despite this, I believe there is a fundamental misunderstanding between the capitalist system upon which this country was founded and the banking controlled capitalist system that has run amok these last two decades.  Fixing our problems involves fixing the banking controlled crony capitalism that currently has a stranglehold on the country.

The article begins by referring to the lopsided state of affairs on Main Street and Wall Street.  As regular readers knowI am furious at the way the banks have taken advantage of the taxpayer.  I am furious about the Fed’s plan to try to print our way to prosperityI am furious about the government’s continued irresponsible fiscal policy.  I am furious that the government and the Federal Reserve are so willing to destroy the…
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Greed is not good

To make an analogy with the living body – growth is good. Nutrition and a healthy environment are vital for healthy cells growing in a healthy organism. Cancer – uncontrolled, excessive growth of a renegade line of cells – is not good.  One way or another, it kills the whole system.  Greed in an economic/political system is like cancer in a living being. – Ilene

Greed is not good

Courtesy of Edward Harrison at Credit Writedowns

gordon-gekko In the 1987 movie classic Wall Street, the sinister protagonist Gordon Gekko played by Michael Douglas gives this famous quote:

In the last seven deals that I’ve been involved with, there were 2.5 million stockholders who have made a pretax profit of 12 billion dollars. Thank you. I am not a destroyer of companies. I am a liberator of them! The point is, ladies and gentleman, that greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right, greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms; greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge has marked the upward surge of mankind.

Since that time, this quote has become famous as the “Greed is Good” philosophy of capitalism.  Gekko symbolizes an era in which it is believed that the free hand of market capitalism will steer the economy efficiently and effectively with little need for government intervention or regulatory oversight. Instead, so the theory goes, we are each allowed encouraged to pursue our manifest destiny of getting filthy rich. Screw everybody else.

Well, let me tell you something greed is not good.  Greed is corrosive and it is tearing at the very fabric of our democracy. A generation ago most people in America worked for a few institutions in their lifetimes.  Many had employer-paid healthcare and employer-financed defined benefit pension plans.

But, since the 1980s the moorings have come off and set us adrift in a world of economic insecurity.


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Kimble Charting Solutions

DAX Index Hits Two 18-Year Support Lines, Creates Large Bullish Reversal

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

Has the DAX index from Germany experience a large decline of late? Yes, it has!

Has the decline broken long-term rising support lines? Not so far!

This chart looks at the DAX index on a monthly basis over the past 25-years. Over the past 6-years, it has traded sideways inside of the blue rectangle at (1).

The decline this year saw the DAX hit two 18-year rising support lines at (2) last month, where a large bullish reversal took place.

Until broken, important support remains in play at (2), which is bullish for this key index....



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Zero Hedge

Aaand Its Gone... The Biggest Support For Asset Prices

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

Authored by Lance Roberts via RealInvestmentAdvice.com,

Since the passage of “tax cuts,” in late 2017, the surge in corporate share buybacks has become a point of much debate. I previously wrote that stock buybacks were setting records over the past couple of years. Jeffery Marc...



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Phil's Favorites

Here's how scientists are tracking the genetic evolution of COVID-19

 

Here's how scientists are tracking the genetic evolution of COVID-19

Why do scientists care about mutations on the coronavirus? Alexandr Gnezdilov Light Painting

Niema Moshiri, University of California San Diego

When you hear the term “evolutionary tree,” you may think of Charles Darwin and the study of the relationships between different species over the span of millions of years.

While the concept of an “evolutionary tree” originated in Darwin’s “...



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Biotech/COVID-19

Here's how scientists are tracking the genetic evolution of COVID-19

 

Here's how scientists are tracking the genetic evolution of COVID-19

Why do scientists care about mutations on the coronavirus? Alexandr Gnezdilov Light Painting

Niema Moshiri, University of California San Diego

When you hear the term “evolutionary tree,” you may think of Charles Darwin and the study of the relationships between different species over the span of millions of years.

While the concept of an “evolutionary tree” originated in Darwin’s “...



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ValueWalk

Activists demand revamp of anti-redlining law

By Anna Peel. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Over 100 California Community Organizations and Leaders Call for Banking Regulators to Stop Planned Revamp of Anti-Redlining Law during COVID19 Crisis

Q1 2020 hedge fund letters, conferences and more

Worker, Housing, and Small Business advocates call on all resources to be dedicated to saving lives and responding to Coronavirus

San Francisco--Amongst an unprecedented public health crisis that threatens hundreds of thousands of lives, as small businesses are shuttered across California and the nation, and as millions file for...



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Chart School

The Big Short movie guides us to what is next for the stock market

Courtesy of Read the Ticker

There is nothing new in WallStreet, it is only the players that change. Sometimes a market player or an event gets ahead of the crowd and WallStreet has to play catch up.

Previous Post Dow 2020 Crash Watch Dow, Three strikes and your out!

It is important to understand major WallStreet players do not want to miss out on a money making moves.  







...

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Insider Scoop

Economic Data Scheduled For Friday

Courtesy of Benzinga

  • Data on nonfarm payrolls and unemployment rate for March will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET.
  • US Services Purchasing Managers' Index for March is scheduled for release at 9:45 a.m. ET.
  • The ISM's non-manufacturing index for March will be released at 10:00 a.m. ET.
  • The Baker Hughes North American rig count report for the latest week is scheduled for release at 1:00 p.m. ET.
...

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The Technical Traders

Founder of TradersWorld Magazine Issued Special Report for Free

Courtesy of Technical Traders

Larry Jacobs owner and editor of TradersWorld magazine published a free special report with his top article and market forecast to his readers yesterday.

What is really exciting is that this forecast for all assets has played out exactly as expected from the stock market crash within his time window to the gold rally, and sharp sell-off. These forecasts have just gotten started the recent moves were only the first part of his price forecasts.

There is only one article in this special supplement, click on the image or link below to download and read it today!

...

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Members' Corner

10 ways to spot online misinformation

 

10 ways to spot online misinformation

When you share information online, do it responsibly. Sitthiphong/Getty Images

Courtesy of H. Colleen Sinclair, Mississippi State University

Propagandists are already working to sow disinformation and social discord in the run-up to the November elections.

Many of their efforts have focused on social media, where people’s limited attention spans push them to ...



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Digital Currencies

While coronavirus rages, bitcoin has made a leap towards the mainstream

 

While coronavirus rages, bitcoin has made a leap towards the mainstream

Get used to it. Anastasiia Bakai

Courtesy of Iwa Salami, University of East London

Anyone holding bitcoin would have watched the market with alarm in recent weeks. The virtual currency, whose price other cryptocurrencies like ethereum and litecoin largely follow, plummeted from more than US$10,000 (£8,206) in mid-February to briefly below US$4,000 on March 13. Despite recovering to the mid-US$6,000s at the time of writin...



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Promotions

Free, Live Webinar on Stocks, Options and Trading Strategies

TODAY's LIVE webinar on stocks, options and trading strategy is open to all!

Feb. 26, 1pm EST

Click HERE to join the PSW weekly webinar at 1 pm EST.

Phil will discuss positions, COVID-19, market volatility -- the selloff -- and more! 

This week, we also have a special presentation from Mike Anton of TradeExchange.com. It's a new service that we're excited to be a part of! 

Mike will show off the TradeExchange's new platform which you can try for free.  

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Lee's Free Thinking

Why Blaming the Repo Market is Like Blaming the Australian Bush Fires

 

Why Blaming the Repo Market is Like Blaming the Australian Bush Fires

Courtesy of  

The repo market problem isn’t the problem. It’s a sideshow, a diversion, and a joke. It’s a symptom of the problem.

Today, I got a note from Liquidity Trader subscriber David, a professional investor, and it got me to thinking. Here’s what David wrote:

Lee,

The ‘experts’ I hear from keep saying that once 300B more in reserves have ...



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Mapping The Market

How IPOs Are Priced

Via Jean Luc 

Funny but probably true:

...

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About Phil:

Philip R. Davis is a founder Phil's Stock World, a stock and options trading site that teaches the art of options trading to newcomers and devises advanced strategies for expert traders...

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Ilene is editor and affiliate program coordinator for PSW. Contact Ilene to learn about our affiliate and content sharing programs.