A dovetail joint of news, art, science, politics, philosophy & global affairs

Grasping the currency true to our time

"Πάντα ῥεῖ καὶ οὐδὲν μένει"










June 3rd
10:56 AM
Via
econsociology:

Theory in Pictures: Consumption / Demand in Economics

econsociology:

Theory in Pictures: Consumption / Demand in Economics

May 25th
12:37 PM
Via
mapsontheweb:

Annual Per Capita Income by Province in China

mapsontheweb:

Annual Per Capita Income by Province in China

May 1st
1:36 PM
Via
"When the rate of return on capital exceeds the rate of growth of output and income, as it did in the nineteenth century and seems likely to do again in the twenty-first, capitalism automatically generates arbitrary and unsustainable inequalities that radically undermine the meritocratic values on which democratic societies are based."
—  Thomas Piketty encapsulates the fundamental flaw in the system with one crisp sentence. (via coketalk)
April 19th
1:55 PM

Paul Krugman and Bill Moyers discusss Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century, described as “analytically beautiful”, “epiphany” inducing, and a “eureka book”. Krugman, the Nobel Laureate, goes so far as to say “the world is not as I saw it”, intimating the challenge it presents to his own thinking. Krugman continues:

“What Piketty’s really done now is he said, ‘Even those of you who talk about the 1 percent, you don’t really get what’s going on.’ He’s telling us that we are on the road not just to a highly unequal society, but to a society of an oligarchy. A society of inherited wealth.”

That is, one alien to “the very system our founders revolted against” and a significant swath of the American political/economic tradition.

"That’s the point. And what’s funny is at the time, Americans used to say, ‘Oh— we should never allow ourselves to become like old Europe.’ And in fact, we have."  >continue<

12:40 PM
Via
smdxn:

The Deadly Consequences Of Income Inequality (CHARTS)

The wealthier you are, the longer you’ll live. And if you’re a low-income woman, you’re less likely than an earlier generation to make it to your 55th birthday.
That’s the conclusion of a harrowing study by economist Barry Bosworth of the Brookings Institution, analyzing data from the University of Michigan’s Health and Retirement Study which measured life expectancy at 55 across income ranges and gender, comparing a cohort born in 1920 with one born in 1940.
The findings were fleshed out into charts by the Wall Street Journal, which illustrate a growing correlation between income level and life expectancy for men and women. In the lower end of the income distribution, the story is particularly devastating for women. &gt;continue&lt;

smdxn:

The Deadly Consequences Of Income Inequality (CHARTS)

The wealthier you are, the longer you’ll live. And if you’re a low-income woman, you’re less likely than an earlier generation to make it to your 55th birthday.

That’s the conclusion of a harrowing study by economist Barry Bosworth of the Brookings Institution, analyzing data from the University of Michigan’s Health and Retirement Study which measured life expectancy at 55 across income ranges and gender, comparing a cohort born in 1920 with one born in 1940.

The findings were fleshed out into charts by the Wall Street Journal, which illustrate a growing correlation between income level and life expectancy for men and women. In the lower end of the income distribution, the story is particularly devastating for women. >continue<

July 25th
8:04 PM
Benjamin Wallace-Wells  |  New York Magazine&#160;&#187;

For all of measurable human history up until the year 1750, nothing happened that mattered. This isn’t to say history was stagnant, or that life was only grim and blank, but the well-being of average people did not perceptibly improve. All of the wars, literature, love affairs, and religious schisms, the schemes for empire-making and ocean-crossing and simple profit and freedom, the entire human theater of ambition and deceit and redemption took place on a scale too small to register, too minor to much improve the lot of ordinary human beings&#8230;
Then two things happened that did matter, and they were so grand that they dwarfed everything that had come before and encompassed most everything that has come since: the first industrial revolution, beginning in 1750 or so in the north of England, and the second industrial revolution, beginning around 1870 and created mostly in this country. That the second industrial revolution happened just as the first had begun to dissipate was an incredible stroke of good luck. It meant that during the whole modern era from 1750 onward—which contains, not coincidentally, the full life span of the United States—human well-being accelerated at a rate that could barely have been contemplated before. Instead of permanent stagnation, growth became so rapid and so seemingly automatic that by the fifties and sixties the average American would roughly double his or her parents’ standard of living&#8230;
At some point in the late sixties or early seventies, this great acceleration began to taper off &#8230;  perhaps, the global economic slump that we have endured since 2008 might not merely be the consequence of the burst housing bubble, or financial entanglement and overreach, or the coming generational trauma of the retiring baby boomers, but instead a glimpse at a far broader change, the slow expiration of a historically singular event. &gt;continue&lt;

An interesting long read centering on the thinking of economist Robert Gordon.

Benjamin Wallace-Wells  |  New York Magazine »

For all of measurable human history up until the year 1750, nothing happened that mattered. This isn’t to say history was stagnant, or that life was only grim and blank, but the well-being of average people did not perceptibly improve. All of the wars, literature, love affairs, and religious schisms, the schemes for empire-making and ocean-crossing and simple profit and freedom, the entire human theater of ambition and deceit and redemption took place on a scale too small to register, too minor to much improve the lot of ordinary human beings…

Then two things happened that did matter, and they were so grand that they dwarfed everything that had come before and encompassed most everything that has come since: the first industrial revolution, beginning in 1750 or so in the north of England, and the second industrial revolution, beginning around 1870 and created mostly in this country. That the second industrial revolution happened just as the first had begun to dissipate was an incredible stroke of good luck. It meant that during the whole modern era from 1750 onward—which contains, not coincidentally, the full life span of the United States—human well-being accelerated at a rate that could barely have been contemplated before. Instead of permanent stagnation, growth became so rapid and so seemingly automatic that by the fifties and sixties the average American would roughly double his or her parents’ standard of living…

At some point in the late sixties or early seventies, this great acceleration began to taper off …  perhaps, the global economic slump that we have endured since 2008 might not merely be the consequence of the burst housing bubble, or financial entanglement and overreach, or the coming generational trauma of the retiring baby boomers, but instead a glimpse at a far broader change, the slow expiration of a historically singular event. >continue<

An interesting long read centering on the thinking of economist Robert Gordon.

April 30th
1:56 PM
China plunders seas at 12.5 times more than it’s telling anybody
Gwynn Guilford  |  Quartz&#160;&#187;

China is dramatically under-reporting what it’s taking from the world’s seas. The average it told the UN Food and Agriciluture Organization over the last decade was 368,000 tonnes each year. A recent European Parliament report puts that number at 4.6 million tonnes—some 12.5 times more than what China reported (pdf).
&#8230;But this aggressive fishing isn’t because Chinese people are suddenly eating a lot more fish. Though China produces 32% of the world’s fish products, by weight—the most in the world—it only contributes about 25% of global demand&#8230; &gt;continue&lt;

Role of China in World Fisheries

China plunders seas at 12.5 times more than it’s telling anybody

Gwynn Guilford  |  Quartz »

China is dramatically under-reporting what it’s taking from the world’s seas. The average it told the UN Food and Agriciluture Organization over the last decade was 368,000 tonnes each year. A recent European Parliament report puts that number at 4.6 million tonnes—some 12.5 times more than what China reported (pdf).

…But this aggressive fishing isn’t because Chinese people are suddenly eating a lot more fish. Though China produces 32% of the world’s fish products, by weight—the most in the world—it only contributes about 25% of global demand… >continue<

Role of China in World Fisheries

April 26th
3:45 PM
"The austerity agenda looks a lot like a simple expression of upper-class preferences, wrapped in a facade of academic rigor"
—  Paul Krugman, The 1 Percent’s Solution
April 16th
7:16 PM
"Guaranteeing that surplus crop to fall back on in case another is lost is becoming increasingly more difficult and in some parts of the world, we’re starting to consistently lose entire crops altogether"
March 19th
9:50 AM
Via

Food Ramblings: Food expenditure by country

foodramblings:

The Economist have the following graph on their site at the moment (link).

image

This is a fascinating graph. The location of SA mid-table is interesting, I would hazard a guess that wealthy South Africans spend a similar of their incomes on food and drink as the British.

It is unsurprising…

March 12th
1:17 PM
Via
"

Smart fiscal policy involves having the government spend when the private sector won’t, supporting the economy when it is weak and reducing debt only when it is strong. Yet the cyclically adjusted deficit as a share of G.D.P. is currently about what it was in 2006, at the height of the housing boom — and it is headed down.

Yes, we’ll want to reduce deficits once the economy recovers, and there are gratifying signs that a solid recovery is finally under way. But unemployment, especially long-term unemployment, is still unacceptably high. “The boom, not the slump, is the time for austerity,” John Maynard Keynes declared many years ago. He was right — all you have to do is look at Europe to see the disastrous effects of austerity on weak economies. And this is still nothing like a boom.

Now, I’m aware that the facts about our dwindling deficit are unwelcome in many quarters. Fiscal fearmongering is a major industry inside the Beltway, especially among those looking for excuses to do what they really want, namely dismantle Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. People whose careers are heavily invested in the deficit-scold industry don’t want to let evidence undermine their scare tactics; as the deficit dwindles, we’re sure to encounter a blizzard of bogus numbers purporting to show that we’re still in some kind of fiscal crisis.

But we aren’t. The deficit is indeed dwindling, and the case for making the deficit a central policy concern, which was never very strong given low borrowing costs and high unemployment, has now completely vanished.

"
—  Paul Krugman, “Dwindling Deficit Disorder.” (via smdxn)
March 9th
4:20 PM

Dan Ariely and Michael Norton’s 2011 study on wealth inequality went viral on YouTube this week…  >continue<

February 27th
2:35 PM

Deficit Debate Subterfuge Exposed

Jon Queally  |  Common Dreams »

A new online resource launched on Thursday aims to show that behind the scenes of the ongoing fiscal battles in Washington—including the current fight over ‘sequestration’—a billionaire-funded and CEO-backed media campaign is operating as an ‘astroturf supergroup,’ using its outsized pocketbook and influence to peddle long-discredited policy prescriptions for the ailing economy.

According to a new joint investigative project between the Center for Media and Democracy and The Nation magazine, the ‘Fix The Debt’ campaign—which launched itself last year in the midst of an earlier episode in the “fiscal crisis charades” that have plagued Washington since the Republicans regained control of the House of Representatives in 2010— is “one of the most hypocritical corporate PR campaigns” created in Washington in decades.

This group is comprised of an all-too familiar chorus of people—culled from a cadre of politicians and wealthy elites—who spend their days voicing the mantra of ‘deficit reduction’ and ‘entitlement reform’ as a way to liberate the federal budget from debt and kick start the economy with promises of jobs and growth.

And according to the new investigation—in addition to being wrong most of the time—the members of the group share two other common bonds. Wealth and corporate power…  >continue<

As much should be expected when so much question begging is so damned obvious.

related: Pete Peterson’s Austerity Crusade

February 22nd
8:57 AM
Via
oldenough2burmom:

New York Times columnist and Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman has triggered an ‘edit war’ on Wikepedia by challenging the assumptions of Austrian ‘hands off the market’ economics.
http://www.salon.com/2013/02/19/how_paul_krugman_broke_a_wikipedia_page_on_economics/

oldenough2burmom:

New York Times columnist and Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman has triggered an ‘edit war’ on Wikepedia by challenging the assumptions of Austrian ‘hands off the market’ economics.

http://www.salon.com/2013/02/19/how_paul_krugman_broke_a_wikipedia_page_on_economics/

January 19th
2:14 PM
Krugman calls himself out



When you’re wrong, you’re wrong. I thought that by ruling out any way to bypass the debt limit, the White House was setting itself up, at least potentially, for an ignominious cave-in. But it appears that the strategy has worked, and it’s the Republicans giving up. I’m happy to concede that the president and team called this one right.  &gt;continue&lt;

Krugman calls himself out

When you’re wrong, you’re wrong. I thought that by ruling out any way to bypass the debt limit, the White House was setting itself up, at least potentially, for an ignominious cave-in. But it appears that the strategy has worked, and it’s the Republicans giving up. I’m happy to concede that the president and team called this one right.  >continue<