Economy

Let them eat cake
Charles Hugh Smith | May 26, 2017 | OfTwoMinds

If you want to understand why we're fragmenting as a society, start by looking at the asymmetric burdens imposed by inflation.

In our household, we measure real-world inflation with the Burrito Index: How much has the cost of a regular burrito at our favorite taco truck gone up?

The cost of a regular burrito from our local taco truck has gone up from $2.50 in 2001 to $5 in 2010 to $6.50 in 2016.

That’s a $160% increase since 2001: 15 years in which the official inflation rate reports that what $1 bought in 2001 can supposedly be bought with $1.35 today.

give a man a bank

Simon Black | May 12, 2017 | Sovereign Man

Sometimes I wonder why most of the giant mega-banks are based in New York.

They should be here in Las Vegas, the gambling capital of the world. Because that’s precisely what they’re doing with your money.

Actually it’s not even your money.

From a legal perspective, every single penny you deposit at the bank becomes THEIR money. You’re nothing more than an unsecured creditor of the bank.

And now that they legally own what used to be your money, the bank can gamble it away on whatever crazy investment fad best serves their interests.

Michael Hudson

A Book Review by Peter Koenig | May 12, 2017 | The Saker

The author, Michael Hudson, is President of The Institute for the Study of Long-Term Economic Trends (ISLET), a Wall Street Financial Analyst, Distinguished Research Professor of Economics at the University of Missouri, Kansas City.

Michael’s book, Junk Economics, reads like an economic thriller. It also provides all the answers to: “What I always wanted to know about Economics, but was afraid to ask”. It is a fascinating read, written for ‘experts’ as well as for economic novices. It is a factual account of what so called ‘Propaganda Experts’ want you to believe about economics, and it dismantles the myths. It explains ‘jargons’ that are on purpose coined, so that the average reader has no clue of their real meaning, but they create an illusion that supposedly serves him. When in reality, the invented and fake expressions make the believers into serfs – serfs to the very system they adore and believe it’s freedom. Michael’s book explains, what those economic manipulator ‘experts’ do not want you to understand.

Capitalism is good business

Paul Craig Roberts | April 25, 2017 | Institute for Political Economy

I have come to the conclusion that capitalism is successful primarily because it can impose the majority of the costs associated with its economic activities on outside parties and on the environment. In other words, capitalists make profits because their costs are externalized and born by others. In the US, society and the environment have to pick up the tab produced by capitalist activity.

Corporatocracy flag

Charles Hugh Smith |April 17, 2017 | Of Two Minds

The Left is morally and fiscally bankrupt, devoid of coherent solutions, and corrupted by its embrace of the Corporatocracy.

History often surprises us with unexpected ironies. For the past century, the slide to fascism could be found on the Right (conservative, populist, nationalist political parties).

What is fascism? There is no one tidy definition, but it has three essential elements:

In Debt We Trust

James Howard Kunstler | April 17, 2017 | Clusterfuck Nation

The military frolics of spring have distracted the nation’s attention from the economic and financial dynamics that pose the ultimate mortal threat to business as usual. Note the distinction between economic and financial. The first represents real activity in this Land of the Deal: people doing and making. The second, finance, used to be a minor branch — only about five percent — of all the doing in the days of America’s putative bigliest greatitude. The task of finance then was limited and straightforward: to manage the allocation of capital for more doing and making. The profit in that enabled bankers to drive Cadillacs instead of Chevrolets, but not much more.

Harvest kitchen

Editor's Note: Titanic Lifeboat Academy endorses this article and its accompanying video, both of which align with TLA's mission. Since it's impossible to fight capitalism while dependent upon it, becoming independent is the route out of the matrix.  Securing our own food and water--alone or in small groups--means we no longer need the slavery capitalism sells.  Resistance is fertile!

Charles Hugh Smith |  April 14, 2017 | Washington's Blog

While it’s certainly good sport to mock “snowflakes,” not all Millennials are snowflakes. Many are homesteading, buying affordable homes and building communities that get stuff done.

I discuss these trends with Drew Sample, who is living them in Ohio. (hear a 60-second excerpt or listen to the full podcast on Drew’s site.)

Bankster

The Next System Project’s Adam Simpson sat down with renowned economist and economic historian Michael Hudson to discuss economic deceptions old and new in the interview below. Michael Hudson is Distinguished Research Professor of Economics at the University of Missouri, Kansas City and a prolific writer about the global economy and predatory financial practices. Among his latest books are Killing the Host: How Financial Parasites and Debt Bondage to Ensure the Global Economy and its follow-up J is for Junk Economics.

destroyed capital building

By F. William Engdahl | March 14, 2017 | Near Eastern Outlook

The catastrophic events around the California Oroville Dam in recent weeks underscores a far more urgent problem. The American Society of Civil Engineers has just released their quadrennial assessment of United States essential infrastructure–roads, clean water supplies, levees, ports, dams, bridges, electric grid. The report gives the nation a near-failing D+ grade. America is coming to resemble the economic infrastructure in the Soviet Union domestically at the collapse of communism during the late 1980’s. The recently-announced Donald Trump proposal to invest $1 trillion over ten years to address the problem, mainly building high-speed trains (to date the USA has not one) doesn’t even come close to the scope of the problem.

Keep Calm Russians Coming

By James Howard Kunstler  | March 6, 2017 | Clusterfuck Nation

Halloween’s coming super-early this year and it will be a shocking surprise to those currently busy looking for Russians behind every potted plant in Washington DC. First, accept the premise that your country has lost its mind.

This is what happens when societies (and individuals) can’t face the true quandaries of a particular moment in their history. All of their attention gets channeled into fantasy: spooks, sexual freakery, conspiracies, persecution narratives, savior fairy tales. It’s been quite a cavalcade of unreality for the past six months, with great entertainment value for connoisseurs of the bizarre — until you’re reminded that the fate of the nation is at stake.

Denying Inflation

By Charles Hugh-Smith | March 3. 2017 | OfTwoMinds

Strip away the centralized power that protects and funds cartels, and prices would plummet.

The mainstream narrative is "the problem is low wages." Actually, the problem is the soaring cost of living. If essentials such as healthcare, housing, higher education and government services were as cheap as they once were, a wage of $10 or $12 an hour would be more than enough to maintain a decent everyday life.

Here are some examples from the real world. In 1952, it cost $30 to have a baby in an excellent hospital. If we adjust that by official inflation as measured by the Bureau of Labor Statistic's inflation calculator to 2017, the cost would be $275. ($1 in 1952 = $9.16 in 2017).

military industrial complex

By |

Methinks the insane hysteria over Russia needs to stop. It probably will not. For reasons of domestic and imperial politics the American public is again being manipulated into a war frenzy by Washington and New York. It is stupid, without justification, and dangerous.

The silliness over Russia is, obviously, part of the Establishment’s drive to get rid of Trump. Yes, the man is erratic, contradictory, shoots before he aims, backs off much of what he has promised, and may be unqualified as President–but that is not why Washington and New York want to get rid of him. It is about money and power, as is everything in the United States. Wall Street, the Pentagon, the Neocons, and the Empire run America. Trump has threatened their rice bowls.

Shrinking dollar

Photo by frankieleon | CC BY 2.0

Michael Hudson, author of the newly released J is for Junk Economics, says the media and academia use well-crafted euphemisms to conceal how the economy really works

SHARMINI PERIES: Michael Hudson is a distinguished research professor of economics at the University of Missouri, Kansas City. He’s the author of many books including, “The Bubble and Beyond” and “Finance Capitalism and Its Discontents”, “Killing the Host: How Financial Parasites and Debt Destroy the Global Economy,” and most recently, of course, “J is for Junk Economics“.

In Greed We Trust

Allowing the largest Wall Street banks to brazenly loot the public is now the official policy of Congress. Following the worst financial crash since the Great Depression in 2008, Congress and the Obama administration engaged in the greatest legislative hoax in history in passing the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation. Rather than reforming the corrupt and dangerous practices of the biggest Wall Street banks, the Dodd-Frank legislation actually allowed the biggest banks to expand their global loan-sharking operations, engage in ever more brazen crimes, while giving their lapdog regulator, the Federal Reserve (whose derelict oversight had led to the 2008 crash) expanded supervisory powers.

That the legislation was a hoax on the public is no longer debatable. Here’s how we know:

Bread

By Misty Dawn Spicer-Sitzes | December 19, 2016 | www.shareable.net

Workers in California are taking economic change into their own hands. The Arizmendi Association of Cooperatives is one of the shining examples of how shared ownership empowers workers and builds community. For the past 20 years, the association, comprised of six bakeries, has been innovating the way business is done. What’s its recipe for success? It turns out that it is more than just tasty treats: Each bakery is democratically-owned and governed by its workers.

Dumpster divers

By Brandon Smith | January 6, 2017 | Alt-market.com

Yes, the narrative of the “new normal” has been around for so long now that many people have simply grown used to it. The assumption is that the fiscal “new normal” has become the fiscal “normal,” and though the fundamentals continue to strain under the weight of poor global demand and historic debt levitated by extraneous fiat stimulus, the masses feel far less fear than is warranted. Hey, why should they? We’ve managed around eight years skating on thin ice, why shouldn’t we expect eight more years of the same?

Einstein on stupidity

We Should Have Known …

We’ve known for 5,000 years that mass spying on one’s own people is usually aimed at grabbing power and crushing dissent, not protecting us from bad guys.

We’ve known for 4,000 years that debts need to be periodically written down, or the entire economy will collapse. And see this.

We’ve known for 2,500 years that prolonged war bankrupts an economy.

We’ve known for 2,000 years that wars are based on lies.

We’ve known for 1,900 years that runaway inequality destroys societies.

income inequality

by Systemic Disorder |  

A flurry of new reports have provided yet more data demonstrating that inequality is getting worse. All right, this does not qualify as a shock. But it really isn’t your imagination.

The economic crisis, nearly a decade on now, has been global in scope — working people most everywhere continue to suffer while the one percent are doing just fine. One measure of this is wages. A newly released report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development finds that median wages in the OECD’s 35 member countries are still below where they were in 2007. For the bottom 10 percent of wage earners, the news is worse; wages for this bottom decile have declined 3.6 percent since 2007. But wages have risen for the top 10 percent.