Weekend reflections

I’ve been a bit slack about open threads lately, but I’ll start again with weekend reflections, which makes space for longer than usual comments on any topic. Side discussions to sandpits, please.

94 thoughts on “Weekend reflections

  1. May I change the subject?

    I just read this in a transcript from the link below and am wondering if it is true that the ‘self-help’ industry is growing so strongly.

    “Rachael Kohn: Well that’s so interesting. Steve Salerno, when it comes to unhappiness with ourselves, there’s nothing quite like the New Age movement to provide every kind of remedy, is there? So how big is that industry?

    Steve Salerno: Well it’s recently been tracked as an $11-billion industry, and I think it’s interesting that when you look at the fact that practically every other industry here in America is collapsing and needs a bail-out, self-help is the one industry that’s still growing at enviable, double-digit rates. Or at least 5.5% last year when nobody was spending money on anything else, they were spending money on self-help.”

    http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/spiritofthings/seven-deadly-sins-envy/3090866

  2. Julie Thomas,

    Google is always your best friend with these sorts of things

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=sham-scam

    “Surrounding SHAM is a bulletproof shield: if your life does not get better, it is your fault–your thoughts were not positive enough. The solution? More of the same self-help–or at least the same message repackaged into new products”

    That is one point of view, anyway. I’m sure that there are many others.

  3. SHAM is not completely irrelevant to the Lang contortions in this thread. SHAM is the dominant religion in the western world. In it’s ‘prosperity goal’ branch it is a recruiting office for the Republicans in the US. Groups in Australia like Hillsong look alls et to become recruiting offices for the Coalition as well. SHAM is also the rigntwing cure to climate change. If we all just think it away then we can click our rubes;pipers together and it will be gone.

    Hockey’s claim that the economy may be going great but how much greater would it be going under a good (IE Coalition) government is really just more of the same.

  4. This may be old news, but JQ gets a mention by Paul Krugman on Great Minds with a reference to zombie economics. About 8 min in.

  5. Christine Lagarde of the IMF says

    To ensure development is sustainable, the quest for global economic growth must coexist with environmental protection and social progress …

    “We are facing a triple crisis – an economic crisis, an environmental crisis and, increasingly, a social crisis,” IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said in a speech at the Center for Global Development in Washington.

    “The global economy is still rocked by turmoil, with uncertain prospects for growth and jobs,” she told the audience. “The planet is warming rapidly, with unknown and possibly dire consequences down the line. Across too many societies, the gap between the haves and have-nots is getting wider and strains are getting fiercer.”

    As these threats feed off each other, she urged governments to pursue joint solutions by restoring financial stability, accurately pricing energy including renewable sources and promoting inclusive growth.
    …….

    http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/cndy/2012-06/14/content_15500388.htm

  6. @frankis

    With the IMF imposing austerity in an economic slump, financial stability won’t come anytime soon. Unless of course, this is what the neo-liberals want, to argue that acting on climate change will cause ‘economic armageddon’ like what the lunatic in catallaxy did.

  7. I think Tom she was arguing the case for saving the world by saving the environment and saving the poor developing peoples. So the opposite of “acting on climate change will cause ‘economic armageddon’”.

    I liked her comments particularly because I wrote on the 10th, above “We seem to be living in remarkable times … it would have to be sad were we to be overlooking or undervaluing solutions that might simultaneously address the world’s current economic, social (unemployment for instance) and environmental crises. And … economies absent plague or famine are increasingly psychological phenomena, aren’t they?”

  8. Fox News (yes you read that right) adds

    “Getting the prices right means using fiscal policy to make sure that the harm we do is reflected in the prices we pay,” she said.

    The IMF chief said not only would greenhouse gas fees or other tax-like policies help curb emissions, but they could also give a boost to government coffers in sore need of cash, as well as drive economic development of low-emission technologies. For example, she said the U.S. could raise over $1 trillion in new cash over a decade if it implemented a $25-a-ton carbon tax. Also, international charges for aviation or maritime emissions could help developing countries pay for strategies meant to protect against the impact from potential climate changes.

    http://www.foxbusiness.com/news/2012/06/12/imf-chief-calls-for-co2-taxes-to-bulk-up-revenue-tackle-climate/

  9. @frankis

    I have nothing against what Christine Lagarde said in that article. I was worried however, that she maybe believe what she said by heart. With the current economic slump in Europe, it isn’t too difficult for the neo-liberals to argue acting on climate change will cause ‘economic armageddon’ (what Tony Abott is doing and what Samuel J did in catallaxy). Given her records of attitudes and policy towards Europe and Greece, I do have an impression that she is a neo-liberal.

    However, I have trouble understanding what’s going on in IMF or how that organisation operates to be honest when their chief economist, Olivier Blanchard speak things that is directly opposite of what the IMF is doing at the moment.

    http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/spn/2010/spn1003.pdf

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/business/imf-musings-can-higher-inflation-be-a-good-thing-a-679593.html

  10. @frankis

    My response in moderation. To simplify, I agree what she saying is a good thing (I have always supported acting on climate change) but given what the conservatives are doing (Abott, Samuel J in catallaxy), it may not have good outcomes for the climate change ‘debate’ given the current economic slump in Europe and since the IMF is kind of doing everything they can to keep them in a slump.

    Corrections in my previous (moderated comment) – “that she maybe believe what she said by heart” should be “that she may not believe what she said by heart”

  11. Why I’ll buy gold if Merkel and Associates agree to Euro bonds.

    For quite some time my intuition was that the conversion of national bonds, denominated in Euro currency units and issued by various EU governments, into Eurobonds would suit the proverbial Wall Street bankers (including those in Frankfurt and London) and nobody else (except perhaps some macroeconomists). A conversion of say Greek bonds into Eurobonds would spread the risk over more people and hence provide a cover for the proverbial Wall Street bankers (and macroeconomists) to carry on as before. I am not in the habit of trusting my intuition. But the other day I received a bit of information from an interview of a ‘finance expert’ who belongs to the proverbial Wall Street set. She said, on TV, something to the effect that, prior to the GFC her industry lent money to Euro member countries on the same terms because they have the same currency.

    Think about it. The content of this bit of news amounts to saying everybody who issues a debt security denominated in a particular currency unit has the same ability to repay the loan! Credit analysis goes out the window. Well this is how sub-prime mortgages were generated – NO? This is how the US citizens were made to pay for the proverbial Wall Street bankers and their allies, the rating agencies and those in politics who are responsible for legislation.

    This is how people who try to live within their means are being made to pay for the fantasies and incredible irresponsibility of others. This is how voters in some countries are robbed of their rights by being forced to pay for the decisions of other governments, whom they did not elect. This has nothing to do with ‘austerity’ versus ‘spending’ (or any of the other macroeconomic theories reviewed in JQ’s book on Zombie Economics). This has something to do with supporting a rip-off financial system that treats people as mere pawns in their grand scheme of enriching themselves via a legitimised Ponzi scheme. This is unsustainable. This is the Zombie of the Roaring Twenties that preceded the Great Depression (unfortunately, Paul Krugman doesn’t talk about this in public addresses, linked to above).

    The Greek people can be helped via EU development programs under the control of the EU commission. In other words, any wealth transfers between the still financially sound countries and the strugglers is to be under the control of the institutions that integrate the democratically elected governments in the Euro-zone and not under the control of the proverbial Wall Street bankers.

    So, the way I see it, either the G20 get together to change the rules of the game of the financial system (narrow banking is not enough) or one buys physical things, such as land, real estate, or gold.

  12. So, the way I see it, either the G20 get together to change the rules of the game of the financial system (narrow banking is not enough) or one buys physical things, such as land, real estate, or gold.

    We need better than this. Vague calls such as for ‘changing rules’ (!!!???) fill the internet.

    Vague blaming for peoples supposed ‘irresponsibility’ is a placebo.

    Surely, by now, honest Keynesians must seriously re-examine their doctrinaire stances. Hoping that good times will return, to obviate the need for stimulus, is not good enough.

  13. “changing rules (!!!???)”

    Question arises from copy error. The expression is: Changing rules of the game of the financial system. (ie changing the institutional, speak legislative, environment)

    Providing false data is irresponsible; the placebo is to say it is not.

    ‘Keynesians’ please stand up.

    “Stimulus” of what? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stimulus

  14. (This post belongs in the comments section of “High-cost basin plan water is bad for all” of 2 June, but comments in response to that article have been closed.)

    I consider these four embedded YouTube broadcasts of talks by Robert F. Kennedy Jr an a amazing discovery. Robert Kennedy seems to have every bit as much vision and compassion for humankind as his late father and his father’s elder brother, the late President Kennedy and even more talent:

    Robert Kennedy Jr. “Crimes Against Nature”

    How Corporations Threaten Our Environment and Democracy

    Robert F. Kennedy Jr. on the media

    Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. (6/16/11)

  15. Book review: Meta-Geopolitics of Outer Space by Nayef Al-Rodham

    Here is a book by a philosopher and neuroscientist about how to keep Outer Space safe for everyone. “Dr. Al-Rodham hopes his book will spark new conversations about ways to increase the benefits of space for all countries, while expanding the working definition of “sustainability.” Sustainability is no longer just about using recycled paper products or eating local organic produce grown by eco-conscious micro-farmers. It’s also about thinking far beyond the Earth. And, stresses Dr. Al-Rodhan, these are issues that affect each and every one of us. “Ultimately,” says Dr. Al-Rodhan, “space will either be safe for everyone or for no one.” (And we could use a little more common-good planning on earth as well

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