Apr 222013
 
 April 22, 2013  Posted by at 6:45 pm Finance
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"The world’s leading economies acknowledged on Friday that 'further actions are required' to put the global economy on track for strong, stable and balanced growth.", writes the FT. The torture never stops. Not that we had expected it to just today.

Well, alright then, you can make a point that the biggest news in economics last week was the revelation of the errors in Rogoff and Reinhart's "debt over 90% is deadly" paper. Personally, I think what is still much bigger is the – renewed – revelation that actual policies executed by actual politicians have been based on that paper. Talk about poverty of ideas and imagination. But maybe that shouldn't be surprising. If anything's the core of economics it's such poverty. And that politicians in turn base their policies on that poverty is only fitting. As an old Buddhist adage says: If and when everyone is mindlessly stupid, will anyone notice?

And as if it's not bad enough that austerity measures were executed to a significant extent solely because of the now disgraced paper, its original critics like Paul Krugman now gloat in what they're sure is the reassurance that they've been right all along. That Spend, Spend! is way better than Cut, Cut! Better for what? For getting back to growth as soon as possible ("strong, stable and balanced", please). Because growth is the pot beneath the rainbow. On the horizon. Which recedes as you approach, but you just keep moving.

The return of Krugman and his ilk will lead to more spending, higher government deficits and more sovereign debt. Whether it will lead to more growth is anybody's guess. Make that gamble.

Europe has a 3% maximum deficit rule somewhere in its papers, but everyone's now so eager to forget about it that it might as well not exist. And yes, spending could lead to more growth. In theory. In practice, though, there is no guarantee that it will. And in theory it could just as well accomplish the opposite.

Which means there's an urgent need for ideas about what to do in case growth does not return. But there are no such ideas. Turns out that the Spend! and the Cut! sides of the controversy are one and the same. The only real discussion should be whether we do or do not need growth, but instead the discussion is about how much growth is needed. And the answer to that is indentical for both sides: as much as we can.

The only good thing about all this is that if and when it becomes clear that there is no growth left in the system, all its one-dimensional advocates, from both the Spend! and the Cut! parties, will disappear into a great void. They have no idea what to do without growth. There is no economics class that teaches them, and they don't have the brains to come up with an answer themselves. Indeed, perhaps it's even true that a "not necessarily growth" situation, simply of its own accord, selects for other "leaders". That power hungry psychopaths, in all the various degrees to which they float to the top of the dungheap, are wiped out and alienated by such a situation.

That could be a very good thing. It's on the way there, however, that we will see unimaginable damage, mayhem and bloodshed. The forever and always growth classes have an iron grip on everyone's lives. If only because everyone believes them. Still, just because they can't change their ways and views doesn't mean you can't. You can see quite easily that, in a material sense, you have more than enough already. And many of you have clued in to the destruction ever more growth brings to your children's living world (not to mention their brains). Unfortunately, quite a few then fall for the "more growth, but more greener" delusion. Or some steady state one (we don't do steady, we don't stand still).

When you get down to the heart of it, the only reason we need more growth is to pay off our debts. Which we owe largely to the same small group of rich, psychopathic and powerful that incessantly repeat the "need for growth" message, and makes sure it's the only message available out there. But we will have to have the discussion some day, and it won't be initiated by the people and powers that rule our societies today; that one's up to us.

It's a very simple discussion. You can start it today with Krugman or one of his alleged adversaries: Why do you advocate economic growth? Why do you see a period of non-growth or shrinkage as a necessary evil that needs to be brought down to its knees at – quite literally – all cost?

And what is it you want to grow into? Can you explain that? I've never seen that properly defined. Isn't it perhaps true that if you don't know the answer to that question, you are by definition blindly chasing a mirage? If you don't know where you're going, or why you're going there, why go at all? Or is that still the sort of issue that can easily be swept under the carpet as "commie"?

For very large groups of the younger population in the western world, their own living standards are set to be below those of their parents. Given the levels of unemployment among young people, the duration of it, and the fast rising levels of debt, it's not a very big gamble to say that this will be true for the majority among them. Nor is it that much of a gamble to suggest that this will constitute a – major – turning point in our societies.

There are many European countries where real youth unemployment is over 25%, and quite a few where it's over 50%. The IMF-defined troika response to this is (has always been) a form of "reform" (advertised as long overdue) which consists of selling off a nation's assets, cutting its public benefits and firing as many people as possible. Fire them in order to create jobs, in other words. How smart is that, how much sense does it make?

Perhaps more spending will kickstart the economy. It's not impossible. But neither is it a given. And even if it does, there's no saying to what extent, or for what amount of time it will.

Or perhaps more austerity will kickstart the economy. It's not impossible, and Reinhart and Rogoff’s faulty models have nothing to do with that. But austerity is not a sure kickstarter either. Economics simply has no answers to offer for what works or what doesn't. All it has are heaps of unproven and unprovable theories in favor of either Cut! or Spend!, and plenty of people willing to blindly follow them and preach them to the clueless masses.

Preach is the appropriate term here, because economics is a religion, replete with priests and churches and rituals and deities. Not growing equals purgatory and Dante's 9th circle of hell in the same way that using contraception or not praying X times per time unit do in other belief systems. Come to think of economics in that sense, maybe we lost the separation of church and state a long time ago and never even knew it.

We can have lengthy, interesting and valuable discussions about the value of religious beliefs for the human mind. But that's not the same as saying we must leave the practical daily choices of our economic and financial well-being in the hands of priests chanting purely religious notions. Even if they love to pose as science. Many other religions do that too.

If we would have left physics and chemistry in such hands, a lot of things that we today experience as beneficial would probably never have seen the light of day. Even if people like Galileo and Newton were in their own ways deeply religious men. If we had never understood the motions of our solar system, or gravity, or electromagnetic forces, or the table of elements, we wouldn't have had electric light or electronic appliances, or penicillin, or a man on the moon. Why then do we continue to let mere faith control the difference between our children's relative wealth or desperate poverty?

This is the kind of issue that remains hidden as long as we don't need to ask the questions. In physics, that means as long as Einstein didn't start thinking about them. In economics, it means as long as there was unquestioned growth in the system. But then, Einstein did ask his questions, and answered quite a few while he was at it (God doesn't play dice). In the same manner, we should demand more than a choice between Keynes or Hayek to determine where we want to go, more than – whether through more cuts or more spending – growth at all costs and then some.

We should ask ourselves, and each other, what, if we choose growth, we want to grow into. And once we've defined that, ask perhaps also what, once we've achieved it, we want to do afterward.

It's not a mere philosophical thing. As long as we're just sheep following the Krugmans of the world in their blind faith growth ideas, without trying to define where we want that growth to lead us, we never really force ourselves to face the limits to growth. Even though the combined work of Galileo and Newton and Einstein and many who stood on their shoulders has defined those limits in a way and to an extent that most of us can understand quite easily and comfortably.

As long is growth is merely an ill-defined notion in the sense that economics propagates it, we don't have to come to terms with the fact that perpetual growth has long been defined by the giants who lived among us as impossible. Once we look at economics through the lens of the unshakable laws of physics, Growth!, Growth! will be history, and of course so will be achieving it either through Spend, Spend! or Cut, Cut!

In our best moments as members of a thinking and aware species, we can be quite formidable, even if we might want to be – much more – humble about that. In the rest of our moments, though, we are blindly chasing the same urges as yeast or amoeba, which of pure physical necessity feed into neverending cycles of growth and collapse.

Yeast don't have options, or a choice. Isaac Newton et al showed us that we do have. So what will it be? Are we going to chase eternal growth mirages, long discarded by physics? Or are we going to pause and think about it? You wouldn't perhaps know it to look at us, but we can.

 

Illustration: MC Escher – Möbius

 


Home Forums What Do We Want To Grow Into?

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  • #8386

    "The world’s leading economies acknowledged on Friday that 'further actions are required' to put the global economy on track for st
    [See the full post at: What Do We Want To Grow Into?]

    #7463

    This is exactly the subject which which we should be talking about. It isn’t possible for us to have sustained growth indefinitely, and to try to re-start growth against the backdrop of diminishing resources will worsen the gap between the rich and poor, because any growth of wealth by a group will be at the expense of the rest in a zero sum game and it’s approximately a negative sum game at the moment, unless amazing new sources of energy appear. Perhaps the sum total of human suffering would be reduced if we admitted that.

    Tha problem with all this is that every group has to admit this at once, because any group moving to sustainability, whatever that is, may be outcompeted by other groups, invaded, if you like.

    There is something called the Maximum Power Principle – a heuristic in biology which says that it isn’t on average the best adapted species which survives best, it’s the one which has the highest energy throughput. I think the analogue in societies competing in the globalized world is apt.

    It may be that is is not possible for 7 billion or however many humans to electively abandon growth as it is for a small group of people. It may be our biological destiny, like yeast, an emergent property of the fact that people are different to each other, means we’ll never pull together, and that means growth and burnout.

    I hope not

    Or maybe globalization will falter and we will no longer be connected enough for continual growth. That might save us in the long run. I think this is Nicole’s guess (correct me if I’m wrong here.)

    What to do? Huh

    James

    #7464

    Just to say:
    The best article on TAE so far, or at least, the closest to what I really care about

    James

    #7465

    Golden Oxen
    Participant

    Have had the same sort of argument with people on Wall Street for decades. Growth at all costs is instilled in their mind like religion
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    They will pay forty times earnings for an unseasoned company without dividends because it is growing fast; but a seasoned blue chip dividend paying company with a solid balance sheet, no debt, and limited or slow growth will languish at eight or ten times earnings and be hated by Wall Street.
    Ask them to explain it in any coherent fashion and all you get is, “There’s No Growth”, “There’s No Growth” and they give you that, “What Can’t You Understand Look”

    Same with countries, Italy and Japan are untouchables, nothing is worth anything in either country because their population isn’t growing. It’s considered worse than a plague by the wizards that rule our monetary affairs; no wonder they hate gold so much and adore the fiat credit system.

    #7466

    p01
    Participant

    As long as population grows, there will be demand for them to do stuff (economic growth or wars).
    As long as food production grows, there will be population growth, and therefore need for economic growth (doing stuff) or wars (breaking stuff).
    As long as food standards are lowered (eating lower and lower on the food chain), even if food production cannot grow as fast, there will be faster population growth, and demand for economic growth or wars; bonus points for having a sick, obedient and domesticated population cheaply fed.

    Putting food under lock and key was one of the great innovations of your culture. No other culture in history has ever put food under lock and key – and putting it there is the cornerstone of your economy

    –Daniel Quinn

    #7467

    acroyear
    Member

    this article struck a nerve with me as well (even compelled me to register).

    I have had similar thoughts except mine have been orientated towards technology. Whereas the priests of economics chant “growth”, the priests of technology chant “new” (and “monoculture” and “monopolies”). Why are the latest technological advances of the last 50 years necessarily good for us? I also ask – ‘where are we going?’. Nobody ever questions why we must have these things else they are labelled a backwards luddite.

    Is the ultimate goal to reduce labor to zero (a la H.G. Wells’ Eloi?) .. is it interplanetary expansion? what is it? I find either extremely dubious. The further you go down the evolutionary tree, the creatures get more and more specialized to the current environment. Whether we like it or not, the human condition is confined to labor on Earth imho.

    However, the priests would have us believe that we need to find ways to run away from creating our own food/tools and supplement our lives with gym memberships and vitamins.

    I agree with Nicole in that we won’t be able to fix the current situation (unwind), rather we need to prepare ourselves for a neo-dark-age which will consist of localized economies and low(er)-tech methods. In the same way the localized economies insulate us from pyramid schemes and currency manipulation, low-tech life preserves a self-reliant livestyle because all of our tools/food can be produced by folks in our village. Throw away gadgets (because nobody knows how to fix anything anymore) is also un-sustainable ultimately.

    The bias towards modern life is un-questioned .. did people in the 19th century (for example) really have it so bad w.r.t. quality of life? Yes there were wars, yes there was disease, etc, etc .. but we haven’t solved any of this (our wars are more hideous and we have created new prevalent diseases). We are relegated to a life of hardships .. the alternative is some sicko version of thx-1138.

    – steven

    #7468

    william
    Participant

    growth? That is the pivotal point. Consider that all land available is being pushed to its max. All marginal land is pasture for cattle, all land with low rain fall produces grains and all land with good access to water produces high maintenance plants. There is no great increase in productivity. Fertilizers, like drugs, produce well initially but after years of use greater and greater applications produce diminishing results.

    Move on to mining, which I have invested in. Todays mines dig up a tonne of material and what is considered good enough for gold is just past 1 ounce of gold per tonne. Back 100 years ago mines produce more than 10 ounces per tonne and were not really considered viable under 3. We pull more and more tonnes out to obtain much less.

    Turn to oil and you will find it has peaked at least 5 years ago. Nasa needed to know just how much energy a person needs per day. They designed a measure in jules of energy. Currently we consume somewhere in the mid 20’s jules of energy per day while the most impoverished places are under 5. Most of the consumption is in oil which is simply a storage of human work hours. Oil is the slave labor to produce and entertain us. Per gallon it provides more than 2 weeks labor.

    Ask anyone who can do economics if you are reducing labor significantly, at the same time reducing mineral resources, and at the same time there is no expansion possible – in these scenarios ask what is the outcome.

    Capitalism is the redistribution of wealth, a system of planing using disparity to drive the workforce to work harder. When you reach peak resources this problem arises: the drive to work harder uses limited resources up faster and depletes the country. Thus you make the problem worse.

    Either we think of something new that does long term planning or we will be forced to accept something else. Its a given that capitalism will fail because it depends lots of surplus to redistribute. Take a piece of paper and slowly calculate the scenario even when the surplus starts a steady decline capitalism erodes. It will fail. If we don’t consider other ideas the only option left will be communism to plan the extraction of resources and control the use of fossil fuel. It seems to me we have a window of opportunity to figure on what system would be fair.

    #7469

    TheTrivium4TW
    Participant

    Is there an artificial constraint that forces the economy to grow in order to simply avoid collapse?

    Why yes, dear Watson, there is.

    It is debt based money and its foundation is 3rd grade math. Yes, my life is surreal knowing that 3rd grade math, weaponized with a little 5th grade exponential math, is all that is required to slay the entire planet.

    I mean, this can’t be real, can it? The plot wouldn’t sell 5 tickets in a theater.

    The private international banking cartel (PIBC) lends a nation state its money supply, say $20, at interest, say 5%.

    In one year, after the bookkeeping adjustment, society has $20, yet owes the PIBC) $21. The debt is unpayable and the whole will unwind – and the the borrow might actually figure out the fraud – “Hey Bob, how can we pay back $21 when they only gave us $20 total? Oh, Frank, don’t mind that pesky detail, they are just stupid.”

    That’s the 3rd grade math being used as the foundation to seize control of the world and turn it over to the PIBC.

    That’s the foundation.

    In order to keep this fraud going and the average person uninformed, the PIBC simple lends for $20 increments at interest, making the original $20 easy to pay off but… it also creates exponential debt growth. Exponential debt growth required exponential growth in output to cover the exponentially growing debt.

    Well, until you remember what you learned about exponential debt in the 5th grade… it is unsustainable.

    The point here is that the debt money constratin is artificial and it is imposed onto government and society by an PIBC that is, frankly, more powerful than the nation states which they dominate.

    That’s it. That’s the culprit, the root cause. A steady state economy will bankrupt the country in realtively short order and roll up monetary and, eventually, real assets under the control of the PIBC.

    If they were so stupid, they wouldn’t everything and they’d be bankrupt, right?

    Take a moment and guess the root cause of exponentially growing carbon. It probably isn’t what you think.
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    The PIBC. Credit leads production. Exponential growth in credit requires exponential growth in industry to cover the debt carrying costs and exponential growth in industry leads to exponentially growing carbon emissions.

    Yet, the mega bank / Federal Reserve duopoly never gets the blame the justly deserve. Is that because they finance the media? Think about it.

    The solution? Tax the common people and use the money to fund more debt based money production. Yes, the people causing the alleged problem promote a “solution” that will enrich themselves and further increase the alleged problem. I say elleged problem because nobody can show me any clear evidence that carbon is the main driver of AGW and recent data conflicts with the models that claimed it was the main driver. My position has been, and continues to be, that climate drivers are multi-factorial and quite complex and no model has been able to accurately predict the future, therefore, no model has been an accurate model to date. The point isn’t whether C causes AGW, rather, it is how the establishment can effectively create a false narrative and use it to hide the truth from the masses.

    Until we can think more clearly and outside the intellectual fence posts erected by the establishment, we are meat on the table… and tasty and tender meat at that.
    —————————-
    Regarding quotes in posts, I like them because it adds context. However, I get that others do not like them and it is a preference thing. I also get how long quotes can interfere with my content, so I’ve decided to try and compromise – I’ll include the quotes at the end of my postings so they don’t interrupt my post’s train of thought, yet they are still available to help provide context for those who might be interested in such a thing.

    “It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning. The one aim of these financiers is world control by the creation of inextinguishable debt.”
    ~Henry Ford

    The youth who can solve the money question will do more for the world than all the professional soldiers of history.
    ~Henry Ford Sr.

    “There are two sorts of wealth-getting, as I have said; one is a part of household management, the other is retail trade: the former necessary and honorable, while that which consists in exchange is justly censured; for it is unnatural, and a mode by which men gain from one another. The most hated sort, and with the greatest reason, is usury, which makes a gain out of money itself, and not from the natural object of it. For money was intended to be used in exchange, but not to increase at interest. And this term interest, which means the birth of money from money, is applied to the breeding of money because the offspring resembles the parent. Wherefore of all modes of getting wealth this is the most unnatural.”
    ~Aristotle

    “Terrorism, War & Bankruptcy are caused by the privatization of money, issued as a debt and compounded by interest “
    ~Napoleon

    The word Usury in Hebrew is “nesek” and it means “BITING” as from a serpent. It is characterized as “devouring” in the Quran!

    “The few who can understand the system will be either so interested in its profits, or so dependent on its favours, that there will be no opposition from that class, while, on the other hand, that great body of people, mentally incapable of comprehending the tremendous advantage that Capital derives from the system, will bear its burden without complaint and, perhaps, without even suspecting that the system is inimical to their interests.”
    ~Rothschilds in letter to American banking interests

    “The Rothschilds conquered the world more thoroughly, more cunningly, and much more lastingly than all the Caesars before. It was precisely their international character that gave the Rothschild banks unique advantages over national banks and governments, and that was precisely what rulers and national parliaments should have prohibited, but did not. This remains true of international or multinational banks to this very day, and is the driving force of globalisation – the push for one-world government.”
    THE RISE OF THE ROTHSCHILDS

    “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.” Proverbs 22.7

    #7470

    Nassim
    Participant

    Move on to mining, which I have invested in. Todays mines dig up a tonne of material and what is considered good enough for gold is just past 1 ounce of gold per tonne. Back 100 years ago mines produce more than 10 ounces per tonne and were not really considered viable under 3. We pull more and more tonnes out to obtain much less.

    william,

    While I agree with your analysis, the numbers are a bit out.

    Currently, in places like Ghana, it is quite viable to mine gold when it is less than 1 gram/tonne. A Troy ounce is about 31 grams. A gram of gold costs around $44 at present.

    The link below is for Chinese firm doing this sort of work. They claim to work economically where only $6 of gold per ton of sand is available – 0.15 grams of gold per ton. That is pretty amazing really.

    Ghana gold per ton sand

    The places where ounces of gold per ton of rock were to be had have largely disappeared – some of it was in California. The recent collapse of the historic Bingham Canyon mine puts things in perspective:

    This mine has been operating for over 100 years. It primarily produces copper. However, it has produced more gold than was produced by the California gold rush. The current concentration of gold is 0.3 grams/ton

    Bingham Canyon Mine

    By the way, they will have to move 150 million tons of material before this mine can be restarted. It will take years.

    #7471

    gurusid
    Participant

    Hi Folks,

    Posted these graphics earlier in the back room lifeboat ‘food’ section:

    Population has ‘grown’ by over a billion in the last ten years, but even if it remained static, the current population level is unsustainable unless we find another ‘earth’:

    These are observed ‘facts’ in nature. Despite our propensity for rapid adaptation and tool use that allows us to exploit our environment to the nth degree, we are still behaving as an insentient and exploitative species, and like all the other ‘exploitative’ species such as yeasts and locusts we seem to recognise only simple behaviours such as growth and consumption. What drives these behaviours apart from the biological imperative to survive? What happens when survival of both the species and the broader ecosystem necessitates a reduction in said population? Social structures have arisen in the past that have ‘culled’ large portions of the population due to religious and political motivations though overall global population has continued to rise. Nature is more effective, with disease and famine. So there are the two horns of a dilemma: let nature take its course, or adapt (as humans are won’t to do) society to radically reduce the population at a global scale?

    Growth and de-growth or ‘Décroissance’ (the French have a whole philosophy based upon the mouvements décroissants), it matters little until the population question is recognised and debated openly and intelligently. Despite a third of the worlds population not having any religious belief (maybe they’re ‘economists’ 😆 ) two thirds are influenced strongly by traditions that often have a dim view on effective population control measures such as contraception and women’s education and equal rights, so that’s probably not going to happen. Looks like a return to disease and starvation then… That or some inquisitive aliens:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WfGMYdalClU

    L,
    Sid.

    #7472

    Ken Barrows
    Participant

    Politics would be more interesting if politicians could not say “grow,” “growth,” or GDP.

    #7473

    pipefit
    Participant

    As usual, a good thought provoking article. Although you hear it from time to time, people really should use the term ‘law of large numbers’ more often. The first time I heard it was in regard to the stock market. e.g. once a billion computers are in use, the next doubling of their use will be difficult, and technology stocks will crash. And that is of course what happened during the tech wreck, way before a billion units were sold.

    If you look at Pakistan, you would know that the principal river is the Indus. During the dry season it doesn’t reach the Arabian Sea any more, because it is all pumped out as irrigation water. Where is ‘growth’ supposed to come from?

    Looking at the USA, I wouldn’t worry too much about growth. What I would worry about is who is going to spray all the rats and mice in the 1/3 or more of the retail, office, and warehouse space that isn’t going to be needed shortly? The Boomers are starting to retire, and there isn’t a pool of savings available to sustain their spending.

    The USA ran a GAAP deficit of $6.9 trillion in fiscal year 2012. This is one of those ‘law of large numbers’ deals that quickly becomes unsustainable. They can monetize a trillion dollars worth of debt per year through their bond buying program. But what happens when that goes to two trillion per year, then four? You can see that this is going to unravel very quickly.

    If the economy was growing, unemployment would be much lower. The economy stopped growing several years ago.

    #7474

    cheltman
    Member

    Great post. I too think this is our biggest stumbling block. I do also believe the mainstream sees growth as a religion, such a fundamental truth that cannot be questioned and we must have faith in, with a ‘heaven’ where the whole World population has been lifted out of poverty, all work is done by robots and humans have 100% leisure time. Of course its nonsense!

    Folks might like to visit John Michael Greers essays on this exact subject.

    http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/the-religion-of-progress.html

    Also, there are some new ideas out there in non-growth movements but they are far from mainstream. I think that is changing – very very slowly.

    You might want to read “Prosperity without Growth”

    http://www.sd-commission.org.uk/publications.php?id=914

    or read Molly Scott Cato, economist for the UK Green Party.

    #7476

    Anonymous

    Excellent article.

    “What do we want to grow into?” – probably one of the most important questions facing us as a species. I see small shoots of awareness beginning to arise around this; talk about “well-being” as a better measure of growth than GDP for instance.

    If one was to paint a picture of a different future, in which a smaller human race exerts a smaller footprint on the planet, while being comfortable with less and enjoying the associated benefits, I doubt too many people would have a problem with that. It’s the JOURNEY that’s the difficult part.

    The trouble is, to paint a compelling picture of this better future, and to motivate people to undertake the painful journey towards it, takes a quality of leadership which is rare, and a long way from the opinion-poll led politics of today. In recent history this type of leadership has normally arisen, and been accepted, when our backs have been well and truly against the wall (from my UK perspective, World War 2 or the economic melt-down of the ’70’s).

    Maybe things just haven’t got bad enough yet for us to get derailed from our “GDP groove”.

    #7477

    Lucas Durand
    Member

    They will pay forty times earnings for an unseasoned company without dividends because it is growing fast; but a seasoned blue chip dividend paying company with a solid balance sheet, no debt, and limited or slow growth will languish at eight or ten times earnings and be hated by Wall Street.

    Golden Oxen,
    Interesting observation…
    Why do you think this is?
    Is it because there’s no “jackpot” potential?

    #7478

    Golden Oxen
    Participant

    Hi Lucas, Yes, there is some of that jackpot hope, but it is more that that. Stability, planned orderly slow debt free growth, prudent financial management are frowned upon as the traits of losers or the dim.
    It is a sad situation when reckless growth at any cost mentality becomes the norm for those considered to be wise, and the opposite, a method for the less enlightened.

    #7479

    Lucas Durand
    Member

    It is a sad situation when reckless growth at any cost mentality becomes the norm for those considered to be wise, and the opposite, a method for the less enlightened.

    GO,
    Thanks for your reply.
    I know what you mean – here in Canada, “growth [at any cost]” is the mantra of the “wise” and is preached from on high at every opportunity.

    #7482

    rapier
    Participant

    Some kind of historical and political context is needed to find what ‘we’ want to grow into. Pepe Escobar, perhaps your familiar, supplies some, with sources.

    http://atimes.com/atimes/World/WOR-01-260413.html

    #7483

    william
    Participant

    I would like to suggest something about all these people talking about attempts to fix the economy with debt – it is smoke and mirrors. Its just an illusion, a trick. What is the real agenda? Its a game called hot potato.

    Let me start by explaining where I am coming from. I use to invest in the markets. Everyone trading has an angle – something that gives them an advantage. What was my angle – figuring out lies. In studying different techniques law courts have an interesting method: its called the law of first utterance. The first thing said has the most truth followed by statements guiding you away from truth. The law of first utterance describes human behavior quite well.

    So how does the law of first utterance describe what is going on today? Colin Campbell predicted the last crash but much more importantly he described the current banking problem – so much of the worlds assets are on the books and all the resources accounted for but real repayment requires more and there is none. The current banking problem is REAL INTEREST CAN NEVER BE REPAID ON DEBTS the resources don’t exist to repay.

    2008 was the beginning of the realization that formulas banks used to consider debt risk really completely depended on continuing resources freely flowing. If one resource failed to continue its rate of extraction banks will fail – and they did in 2008.

    But the real problem is resources not banking. I just found out how much gold reserves Canada has – none. We have a building, we have security but we have none and the authorities readily admit to have no physical gold. How much do the States have – well in 2012 Germany demanded to see its physical gold stored in Fort Knox and was denied. Despite having claims to physical gold Germany abroad there might not be any at all.

    The real kicker is a government run news organization is reporting something this large. Its serious cause once the government admits to things this size it means they are passing the buck – yeah but you already knew that we told you about that one. Check this documentary.

    http://www.cbc.ca/player/Shows/Shows/Doc+Zone/ID/2380466502/

    So where is all the physical gold according to them China and Russia. Don’t go blaming China though because the amount of physical gold they own is only a few percent worth of their GDP. Real value has left and is not coming back.

    #7484

    Nassim
    Participant

    The law of first utterance is a new one to me. It seems to make sense. However, I could not find many hits for that phrase on Google. I expect there is a latin version. If you know it, please tell us

    #7494

    Jack
    Member

    http://money.cnn.com/2013/04/29/investing/roubini-stocks/index.html?iid=Lead

    Roubini is predicting an uptick in stock prices over the next two years as the Federal Reserve continues its stimulus efforts. But buyer beware, Dr. Doom says, because a day of reckoning is lurking at the end of the two-year horizon.

    He is famous but that does not mean he cannot be wrong.
    What do you think

    #7499

    Professorlocknload
    Participant

    Yup. Expansion of money and credit as growth. Seems we’ve strayed from the real path we should have taken. Not “Growth,” but “Evolution.”

    #7504

    Nassim
    Participant
    #7509

    hidflect
    Participant
    #7538

    Gravity
    Participant

    On the probability that [0≠0]
    and something awkward.

    Under entropic dualism,
    nothing unreal exists in a gravitational field,
    whereas unreal things may exist in an electrodynamic field
    (notwithstanding the gravitational field).

    Under normative gravimetrics,
    Gravity is a recursive algorithm (so that [0≠0])
    if (and only if) the cause of time is relativistic mass
    (so that [0=0] on average).

    Under redeterminism, the imaginary identity [0≠0] suffices to formulate
    the constant of absolute existence and algebraic proof of free will.
    The will alone sets mass in motion.

    Under quantum monism, God’s constant [0≠0] provides
    that the heuristic of [0] over (decimal identities of) mathematical constants and ((the best of) all possible) quantum states yields a gravity-based geometric progression as integral paradox (wherefore the universe propagates an integral sequence of paradoxii).

    By post-zero arithmetic, [0] is less but not infinitely less of quality than [∞], and more or less than infinitely less in quantity than [∞].
    [0] is a time-derivative function of the binary aspect of eternity.

    Under the 0th law of thermodynamics, that [0≠0]
    indicates overuse of zero-point energy should cause
    the fine-structure constant to attenuate
    and/or the expansion of the universe to accelerate.

    Under quantum harmonism, the un-first consonant [0≠0] propagates
    that tone precedes time, resonance precedes reality,
    ♪ everything is relative to [0],
    ♪ nothing is something else
    (the geometry of hierarchy is a function of Gravity).

    form precedes function, life precedes light,
    ♫ Nothing is absolute to [0],
    ♫ everything is (becomes) slow symmetry.

    Aristotle:
    “a thing [can come to be], incidentally, out of that which is not,
    [and] also all things come to be out of that which is,
    but is potentially, and is not actually.”

    #7554

    Gravity
    Participant

    Seriously, [E≠mc²].
    Still, [E≈mc²], give or take, enough to work with.

    The relation holds up precisely under most massful domains, but as newtons equations were superceded before, new observables will inevitably overrule relativity in unexplored mass and energy constellations. Mass-energy equivalency and relativistic field equations help to delineate the boundary between reality and unreality, and therefore must remain stable in a physical sense, despite energy being fundamentally unreal.

    On a related note,
    I’m in need of some positive love, can you help me out?

    #7555

    Gravity
    Participant

    Seriously, [E≠mc2].
    Still, [E≈mc2], give or take, enough to work with.

    On a related note,
    I’m in need of some positive love, can you help me out?

    #7556

    jal
    Participant

    @ Gravity
    Did you realize that you are speaking in a foreign language.

    #7560

    Gravity
    Participant

    @ jal
    Such notions pertain to the development of a theory of something.
    Forgive the severe abstractions, but have you ever wondered
    how there is something rather than nothing?

    So long as [E=mc²] , nothing real can cause a beginning of time.
    However, if [E≠mc²] globally, unreal things can do so.

    In a given zero energy universe, at the beginning of time (T-0) E = 0, m and c² are dimensionless, equalling 0 and 0² relativistically. Voidless momentum of 0 provides coordinates in arbitrary dimensions [0,0,0], yet the future remains unmoveable, time remains without direction. Renormalisation will not avail this lack of purpose at zero net energy.
    Otherwise, if every given cosmic action at T-0 creates an equal and opposite reaction, this reaction cannot occur simultaneously without nullifying the initial action, any asymmetry in cosmic reaction entails dimensional divergence of extra-temporal field potentials. This yields a conception of irreducible quantum numbers moving themselves into existence, but the only thing that can move a number is a larger number.

    It is conceivable for unreal [energetic] events to be integrated into causal chains effecting physical objects, moreover if ideas may attain massful momentum by virtue of imaginary energy.

    I wish (for us) to grow into maturity.

    On the origin of capital, the idea that [0≠0], the numerical value of zero being (estimated as) unequal to itself, formulates a disequilibriated gravitonomic growth function wherein the value of labour is a constant product of natural law unequal to its cost, insofar as all functions of capital and most forms of labour remain subject to gravity.

    #7570

    gurusid
    Participant

    Hi Folks,

    Very interesting piece by ‘Eric. A.’ from ‘OfTwoMinds blogspot via ZeroHedge on the slowly turning wheels of history – very relevant in terms of ‘what do we want to grow into’ and the much more likely outcome of ‘look what we have become’:

    by Eric A.

    …So why didn’t war break out in 1932, 1936, or for the U.S., in 1940? It wasn’t as if people didn’t see it coming, just as we see our own war and challenges now.

    Because it wasn’t time. What I mean by that is, no matter how far seeing, History, as Hari Seldon would say, is made up of the aggregate, not the individual. No individual– not even Churchill chafing under Chamberlain in 1938—could change it.

    It only happens slowly, when one by one the great mass of the population have changed their minds and their behavior. Only then can history unfold. You, me, even Barack Obama, Ben Bernanke, or George Soros cannot push the great Wheel of History around because it is made of all 6 Billion of us, the whole planet, the whole market, and the sum of human understanding.

    To me, this the cardinal sin of the blogosphere, or indeed of the times: that we know what is best for everyone, as writers, pundits, politicians. That we need to make the other guy “wake up.” We need to make them see as we do, act as ourselves, obey our will. Isn’t this the very defect we attribute to our enemies? That they’re always galumping around telling everybody what to do and how to live?

    “They”—your family, your neighbors, your country–need to wake up? Let me ask you: “How did YOU wake up?” I can answer that without knowing you: a little at first, then all at once, in your own time. Neither is the journey for any of our “waking up” complete.

    Telling people what is going on is one thing, it’s free speech, expressing our opinions on where we are and how the world works. Forcing others to believe something, become something, act in a way we believe they should is the first step to violence. If you believe in and value Liberty and the free exchange of ideas as I do, don’t do it. Changing the other guy is not your job.

    …What we as bloggers and far-seers have been trying to do is to change the aggregate, which cannot be done. The aggregate WILL change, but it can only change in its own schedule. We can continue to tell the truth, but after decades of status quo, we should not expect our words to change the world, our nation, or to some extent even our community. The only thing we can realistically change is ourselves with our own actions, and that is where all real change comes from, one person: one action at a time. 6 billion tiny events, tiny tipping points, changing minds who realize themselves one by one.

    So what revolutionary act can you make today? If you read OfTwoMinds.com, PeakProsperity.com or similar sites, you already know the direction of history and what may be needed by you and the nation in the years ahead. What can you do to fill those gaps and prepare in your own life? Because the Wheels of History, although grinding exceeding slow, do get there in the end, made up of the decisions of billions of human actors. You may not be able to change your nation or the desperate situation we find ourselves in, but each of you can change yourself. You can make your own lifeboat in the midst of our own national challenge or “collapse.” Only through that individual preparation could we find a million safety nets which prevent collapse.

    And if that is all that’s asked of you, it’s good, for that’s all that’s possible.

    Start today. It’s time.

    by Eric A.

    etc.

    L,
    Sid.

    #7640

    Gravity
    Participant

    I think, therefore I am an algorithm.
    To be is to bend light
    [to be perceived by the magnitudes of field curvature].
    Therefore ‘to weigh thyself’ is only possible
    by the relativistic mass of the other.

    All energy consists of motivated field potential, all separate fields are immaterial and produce only unreal events. Field interactions, intersecting states of similitude, may only produce a sequence of real events within the boundaries of a gravitational continuum. The proximal beginning of time is therefore an unreal event encompassing the set of all possible real events, algorithmic ideation of this unreal event yields an efficient continuous cause of real events.

    Algorithms are wholly immaterial or include immaterial elements, but all cognition is algorithmic, consequentially, certain truthlike cognitions do not proceed from the past and have no efficient cause in real events.

    All knowledge is causally derived from sensory experience of the empty set. The past is the empty set {}.

    #7644

    alan2102
    Participant

    cheltman post=7188 wrote: I do also believe the mainstream sees growth as a religion, such a fundamental truth that cannot be questioned and we must have faith in, with a ‘heaven’ where the whole World population has been lifted out of poverty

    Leaving aside the matter of “religion”, the fact is that the whole world population IS being lifted out of poverty:

    http://www.economist.com/news/briefing/21578643-world-has-astonishing-chance-take-billion-people-out-extreme-poverty-2030-not
    Poverty
    Not always with us
    The world has an astonishing chance to take a billion people out of extreme poverty by 2030
    Jun 1st 2013
    IN SEPTEMBER 2000 the heads of 147 governments pledged that they would halve the proportion of people on the Earth living in the direst poverty by 2015, using the poverty rate in 1990 as a baseline. It was the first of a litany of worthy aims enshrined in the United Nations “millennium development goals” (MDGs). Many of these aims—such as cutting maternal mortality by three quarters and child mortality by two thirds—have not been met. But the goal of halving poverty has been. Indeed, it was achieved five years early.
    In 1990, 43% of the population of developing countries lived in extreme poverty (then defined as subsisting on $1 a day); the absolute number was 1.9 billion people. By 2000 the proportion was down to a third. By 2010 it was 21% (or 1.2 billion; the poverty line was then $1.25, the average of the 15 poorest countries’ own poverty lines in 2005 prices, adjusted for differences in purchasing power). The global poverty rate had been cut in half in 20 years.

    Further, overall growth appears to have played a role in poverty reduction:

    Growth Decreases Poverty
    In 1990-2010 the driving force behind the reduction of worldwide poverty was growth. Over the past decade, developing countries have boosted their GDP about 6% a year—1.5 points more than in 1960-90. This happened despite the worst worldwide economic crisis since the 1930s. The three regions with the largest numbers of poor people all registered strong gains in GDP after the recession: at 8% a year in East Asia; 7% in South Asia; 5% in Africa. As a rough guide, every 1% increase in GDP per head reduces poverty by around 1.7%.
    GDP, though, is not necessarily the best measure of living standards and poverty reduction. It is usually better to look at household consumption based on surveys. Martin Ravallion, until recently the World Bank’s head of research, took 900 such surveys in 125 developing countries. These show, he calculates, that consumption in developing countries has grown by just under 2% a year since 1980. But there has been a sharp increase since 2000. Before that, annual growth was 0.9%; after it, the rate leapt to 4.3%.

    The article goes on to say (thank heaven!) that growth is not the only factor in poverty reduction, just one along with income distribution.

    For my money, we don’t need any damn “growth” at all; just smarter use of what we’re already using, and/or MUCH smarter use of less than what we’re now using; see:
    http://theautomaticearth.com/index.php?option=com_kunena&func=view&catid=14&id=5865&Itemid=96#6009
    … scroll down to:
    Topic: Factor 5: Resource Efficiency vs. “Resource Shortage”

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