Debt Rattle November 4 2020


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    Pablo Picasso Etude Pour Mercure 1924   • The Democrats and the Presstitutes Will Not Admit a Trump Win (PCR) • Trump: Presidency Has Been ‘Mean’
    [See the full post at: Debt Rattle November 4 2020]

    John Day

    I’ve been wondering how Nate Hagans was doing lately.
    Now I’ll jump back up and read what he wrote.
    I can already tell he’s addressing some of the things I think about.

    Yeah. COVID is here to stay. This is the new “normal”.
    Gimme those rapid POC tests, please.
    I know what to do with ’em.


    Hagens thoughtful as usual. Been reading him since Oil Drum. I think he is much too optimistic regarding the ability of renewables to replace fossil fuels. Regardless, he outlines a near term future not even imagined by the establishment- rising expectations meeting hard and shrinking limits.


    Gimme those rapid POC tests, please.
    I know what to do with ’em.

    No kidding. Have you been following tests of the various rapid tests at all, John?

    John Day

    We were supposed to have our rapid tests at my clinic by mid October. We don’t.
    I did influence the clinic towards rapid test acquisition when the data came out that the “missed cases” were the ones with really low viral (debris) loads, probably not infectious, so clinically irrelevant.
    Testing in Texas is backing up again, with wait times for results out to 4 days, commonly, and $500 rapid tests not covered by insurance. My wife’s friend is still waiting on her result from Saturday. Her symptoms are mild to moderate. She has asthma. I’ll treat her informally, as I have another of Jenny’s friends, if it is positive. She was told that Saturday and Sunday don’t count in days to result-report.


    USA election
    Still tabulating the people’s choice.


    Blue Wave Crashes: Democrats’ Hopes For Senate Majority Fizzle; House Margin Eroded



    The game is on

    John Day

    ​Michael Hudson​ looks at another economic model of “money” to serve the needs of society.
    ​ ​When Polanyi called money a fictitious commodity, he was rejecting the idea of making it scarce by limiting its supply to that of gold, mimicking commodities as if money were part of a barter system. It also gave creditors overwhelming power over the rest of the economy, especially over its labor and land by pushing wage levels and crop prices below basic break-even needs when governments were deprived of the ability to create credit to employ labor. He criticized Ricardo for having ‘indoctrinated nineteenth-century England with the conviction that the term ‘money’ meant a medium of exchange,’ with bank notes readily convertible into gold (ibid: 196). That policy led to deflation, given gold’s limited supply. Falling prices and wages penalized debtors when countries returned to gold convertibility after wartime inflations. That occurred in Britain after 1815, and in the United States after the 1870s when it sought to roll back prices so that the price of gold – and hence, wages and commodity prices – would be driven back down to their pre-Civil War level. The result was prolonged economic depression, causing land and other property to be transferred from debtors to creditors.​..​
    ‘Land, labor and money are obviously not commodities,’ he explained. Labor is life, and ‘land is only another name for nature​.​’​.​..
    ​ ​Polanyi’s preferred alternative was to make money serve social aims by making it a public creation of law. Such token money has no inherent cost of production, ‘but comes into being through the mechanism of banking or state finance,’ and thus is not a commodity with an ultimate labor cost of production: ‘actual money, finally, is merely a token of purchasing power which, as a rule, is not produced at all but comes into being through the mechanism of banking or state finance’ (Ibid: 72).
    ​ ​Polanyi’s Austrian adversaries argued that public money creation, social spending programs, regulations and subsidies distorted the supposedly efficient ‘natural’ economy of price-setting markets. In practice this meant low wages and a transfer of land to the wealthy. Unregulated market forces and gain seeking led the social system to be run for the purely financial aim of ‘maximum money gains,’ subjecting land, labor and money to pro-creditor bias instead of favoring the population’s indebted majority. It was to prevent this economic polarization and austerity, Polanyi claimed, that ‘Regulation and markets … grew up together.’ Trade and incomes were regulated for most of history, thanks to the fact that, ‘As a rule, the economic system was absorbed in the social system.’ (ibid: 68)​…
    ​ To allow the market mechanism to be the sole director of the fate of human beings and their natural environment, indeed, even of the amount and use of purchasing power, would result in the demolition of society. … the market administration of purchasing power would periodically liquidate business enterprise, for shortages and surfeits of money would prove as disastrous to business as floods and droughts in primitive society. (Ibid: 73)​…
    ​ Mutual aid and its associated constraints on profiteering were preconditions for survival. Chiefs were expected to be openhanded, protecting the weak and needy.​..
    ​ ​Polanyi summarized his hope that society would cure itself from having disembedded markets from their social context by restoring ‘shapes reminiscent of the economic organization of earlier times.’ Society needed to re-embed market structures for goods and services by administering key prices and incomes in a new redistributive economy. Such redistribution ‘presupposes the presence of an allocative center in the community,’ a palace or temple in earlier times, democratic government offices in today’s world.​..
    ​ ​ ​Royal Clean Slate proclamations of ‘justice and equity’ annulled the backlog of grain taxes and other agrarian debts, liberated bondservants and restored land forfeited by smallholders. (I provide a history of such acts in ‘… and forgive them their debts’: Lending, Forfeiture and Redemption, From Bronze Age Finance to the Jubilee Year [ISLET 2018]). This preserved a free citizenry to serve in the army and provide corvée labor instead of falling into permanent debt bondage to non-official creditors.​..
    ​ Societies would have succumbed to bondage and monopolization of the land millennia ago they had viewed ‘free markets’ to mean the sanctity of personal debts being paid. Rome was the first major society not to cancel agrarian and personal debts. For its oligarchy, the ‘sanctity of property’ meant a license to foreclose on the self-support land and other property of debtors.​..
    ​ ​ ​Mainstream economists treat credit (and implicitly, arrears as well as loans) as always being productive and helpful, not as extractive and socially destabilizing. They depict government intervention to annul debts as leading to economic crisis, not as saving populations from impoverishment and disorder. This doctrinaire approach ignores the fact that, in practice, the ‘security of debt’ meant making ancient debtors falling into arrears liable to lose their land and personal liberty. This meant insecurity of their property rights. That is the real crisis.​..
    ​ Depicting credit and the financial business plan as having only positive economic effects produces a travesty of history. Viewing debt and its interest charges simply as a bargain between individuals fails to recognize how the economy-wide debt burden tends to grow beyond the ability to be paid.​..​
    ​ ​Throughout history debt has been the major lever privatizing land and reducing populations to bondage. Mesopotamia managed to delay this polarizing dynamic by subordinating creditor rights to the aim of dynastic survival. But classical Greece and Rome lacked the tradition of royal Clean Slates. That was the great turning point. Livy, Plutarch and Diodorus described how debt disenfranchised the Roman population.​..
    ​ ‘Free market’ advocates pick up the thread of Western civilization ‘in the middle,’ only after credit, debt and property relations became disembedded and decontextualized from the checks and balances that sustained the Near Eastern takeoff. It is as if the Bronze Age agrarian debt cancellations were a blind alley…
    ​ ​The distinctive feature of Western economies is privatization of credit, land natural and public infrastructure. That is the real detour from earlier millennia. Archaic societies treated land required for subsistence as a basic right for their citizenry…
    ​ ​We can now see that there is no assurance that societies automatically evolve onward and upward. Such determinism focuses on potential – what economies could achieve if they use all knowledge to best advantage. Warlords, creditors, landlords and monopolists have deprived populations of the fruits of technological potential throughout history.​..
    ​ Polanyi’s contribution to social history demonstrates the need to regulate finance, land and labour markets in an overall social context in order to maintain prosperity instead of impoverishment.​..
    ​ ​The financial takeover of government policy reflects a business plan of asset stripping and economy wide austerity.

    Debt, Land and Money, From Polanyi to the New Economic Archaeology

    ​Another DIA document from Oct 2012 (also released in May 2015), reported that Gaddafi’s vast arsenal was being shipped from Benghazi to two Syrian ports under the control of the Syrian rebel groups.
    ​ ​Essentially, the DIA documents were reporting that the Obama Administration was supporting Islamist extremism, including the Muslim Brotherhood.
    ​ ​When the watchdog group Judicial Watch received the series of DIA reports through Freedom of Information Act lawsuits (FOIA) in May 2015, the State Department, the Administration and various media outlets trashed the reports as insignificant and unreliable.
    ​ ​There was just one problem; Lt. Gen. Flynn was backing up the reliability of the released DIA reports.
    ​ ​Lt. Gen. Flynn as Director of the DIA from July 2012 – Aug. 2014, was responsible for acquiring accurate intelligence on ISIS’s and other extremist operations within the Middle East, but did not have any authority in shaping U.S. military policy in response to the Intel the DIA was acquiring.
    ​ ​In a July 2015 interview with Al-Jazeera, Flynn went so far as to state that the rise of ISIS was the result of a “willful decision,” not an intelligence failure, by the Obama Administration.​..
    ​ ​Flynn was essentially stating (in the 47 minute interview) that the United States was fully aware that weapons trafficking from Benghazi to the Syrian rebels was occurring. In fact, the secret flow of arms from Libya to the Syrian opposition, via Turkey was CIA sponsored and had been underway shortly after Gaddafi’s death in Oct 2011. The operation was largely run out of a covert CIA annex in Benghazi, with State Department acquiescence.​..
    ​ ​ ​Flynn was taken out before he had a chance to even step into his office, prevented from doing any sort of overhaul with the intelligence bureaus and Joint Chiefs of Staff, which was most certainly going to happen. Instead Flynn was forced to resign on Feb. 13th, 2017 after incessant media attacks undermining the entire Trump Administration, accusing them of working for the Russians against the welfare of the American people.​..
    ​ ​ ​The question thus stands; in whose best interest is it that no peace be permitted to occur in the Middle East and that U.S.-Russian relations remain verboten? And is such an interest a friend or foe to the American people?

    Wild Conspiracy Theory? The Truth Behind the Biggest Threat to the ‘War on Terror’ Narrative

    Dr. D

    Similar to last time: 100% of votes in Philly for HRC. Zero protest votes. 110% of all people voted in Detroit on the Stein recount.

    Today, 138,000 votes found in a box. 100% were Biden. Claiming literally zero votes. Not a single one even on accident. But like the attempt at 200k by Republicans in Texas, there’s a lot going on all over and it will all go to the courts.

    Hudson and Polanyi aren’t wrong, but as with Progressives, they think that humans will just “do the right thing” and never, ever cheat, enrich themselves, or buy up the wheels of government/society. It’s not that Keyneseanism isn’t better: it well might be. But NO man, group of men, cartel, lawmaker, king, judge, or society has ever NOT fallen to temptation once given the power. THAT’S why you use gold or whatever. Keynes said “I’ll pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today” yet when Tuesday comes and the economy is running, they never, ever pay anything back. Never have, not in the last 100 years or the last 1,000 either.

    And yes it can cause boom-busts, or rather the boom-busts are MEN promising too much then being found out and admitting they can’t pay. Stopping that is like stopping the seasons of life. Stopping men from lying is like stopping air. So IF you were on a hard standard — and there have only been a few that weren’t cheating as well — then like Jubilee, you see the season the market is in an adjust, pro-rating your risk according to how close you are to the 49 years. In our sense, we pro-rate according to when the banks collapse. …Except we lie about it and screw the poor, instead of being honest about the times. BuyBuyBuy.

    Now it’s even worse, because they want only men and no solid base at all anywhere, the government has backed the banks to infinity, so it depends on the GOVERNMENT collapsing.

    …I’m sure having not just the upper field be in contention but the entire government and society collapsing as well is a much better solution. Very Progressive.

    This is why generally what we have is the worst system…except for all the others.


    ‘England underestimates the costs of lockdown at its peril’ , by Jonathan Sumption-

    “We need to think hard about whether the benefits outweigh the harm for young people and those struggling with mental health..”

    It’s not about the coroni, of course: it’s about the Very Few and their minions destroying civil society on the fast track. Same as with our curious election here in USA..
    Still, good to see this in the Grauniad.


    Looks like Biden has got the lock on 270. I didn’t think the CIA and FBI would let Trump win. 
    When I met Nate Hagans as a possible tenant, when he was going to the U of Vt., he said, “I saw the light.”  I thought to myself, hmm, I think that’s an on coming freight train.


    Coooome ooon!
    I know that the people at TAE can tell who lost on this USA election.
    We, the people have lost.
    The elites have won.


    @John Day and Dr. D

    Thanks to you both for all you post.

    V. Arnold

    Ah, Thursday morining here; looked at the election results (for Wednesday evening) and much to even my own surprise; I find I’m indifferent…
    …and anxiety free… 😉

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