China’s breathtaking transformation into a scientific superpower

The Washington Post has the article China’s breathtaking transformation into a scientific superpower.

I have cut out the bad ideas and kept the good ideas in the excerpt below.

The best response to this technological competition is to reinvigorate America’s own technological base. … increase other federal spending on “basic research.” (Government provides most of the money for this research, which is the quest for knowledge for its own sake, and amazingly has cut spending in recent years).
It is hardly surprising that China has hitched its economic wagon to advanced technologies. What is less clear and more momentous is our willingness and ability to recognize this and do something about it.

If you don’t like the outcome when you play by your strategy, perhaps it is time to consider why the opponent’s strategy is working so well. It is silly to claim that the other side is cheating because they have come up with a better strategy. Of course they don’t want to play by your rules. Your rules are designed to make you win.

Trump imposes tariffs on solar panels and washing machines in first major trade action of 2018   Recently updated !

The Washington Post has the article Trump imposes tariffs on solar panels and washing machines in first major trade action of 2018.

The Suniva-SolarWorld request for protection was opposed by much of the domestic U.S. solar industry. Tariffs make solar panels more expensive, and thus discourage their use, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.

The trade association said the tariffs would cause 23,000 installers, engineers and project managers to lose their jobs this year as billions of dollars in planned investment evaporates. Up to one third of the 260,000 Americans currently employed in the industry are at risk because of the tariffs over the longer term, the group said.

Unlike Tonya Harding, I thought most USA residents believed that kneecapping your opponent is not their idea of fair play.

Before I retired, when faced competition from another business I preferred the challenge of outperforming the competition rather than trying to impede the competition. I had professional pride in trying to do a better job as an engineer.

I did not feel that there was an unwritten law that said I had to be paid well for my job when there were others who could do it better and for less money. What I preferred was to do my job so well, that I deserved what I was paid. When I couldn’t do that anymore, I retired.

Echoes Of History

I am continuing my reading of US Department of Defense. The Pentagon Papers: The Defense Department’s Secret History of the Vietnam War. Red and Black Publishers. Kindle Edition.

I have come to the section on the waning days of French control in Vietnam. I excerpt a section of a French Parliamentary mission to Vietnam to assess the situation.

“It is grave that after eight years of laisser-aller and of anarchy, the presence in Indochina of a resident Minister has not been able to put an end to these daily scandals in the life in regard to the granting of licenses, the transfer of piastres, war damages, or commercial transactions. Even if our administration is not entirely responsible for these abuses, it is deplorable that one can affirm that it either ignores them or tolerates them.”

Commenting on this report, an influential French editor blamed the “natural tendency of the military proconsulate to perpetuate itself” and “certain French political groups who have found in the war a principal source of their revenues…through exchange operations, supplies to the expeditionary corps and war damages . . . He concluded that:

“The generally accepted theory is that the prolongation of the war in Indochina is a fatality imposed by events, one of those dramas in history which has no solution. The theory of the skeptics is that the impotence or the errors of the men responsible for our policy in Indochina have prevented us from finding a way out of this catastrophic enterprise. The truth is that the facts now known seem to add up to a lucid plan worked out step by step to eliminate any possibility of negotiation in Indochina in order to assure the prolongation without limit of the hostilities and of the military occupation.”

This situation sounds remarkably like what the USA continued as it took over the effort to defeat the will of the people of Vietnam. It also sounds remarkably like the continued corruption of our present day military/industrial complex.

Lack Of Evidence Is Evidence   Recently updated !

I am starting to read the US Department of Defense. The Pentagon Papers: The Defense Department’s Secret History of the Vietnam War. Red and Black Publishers. Kindle Edition.

Our involvement in the war was predicated on the fact that Ho Chi Minh’s government was a puppet of the Soviet Union. How our intelligence service came to this conclusion seems to be similar to how it has recently decided that Russia was the source of the leaked DNC emails.

“Since December 19, 1946, there have been continuous conflicts between French forces and the nationalist government of Vietnam. This government Is a coalition in which avowed communists hold influential positions. Although the French admit the influence of this government, they have consistently refused to deal with its leader, Ho Chi Minh, on the grounds that he is a communist.

“To date the Vietnam press and radio have not adopted an anti-American position. It is rather the French colonial press that has been strongly anti-American and has freely accused the U.S. of imperialism in Indochina to the point of approximating the official Moscow position. Although the Vietnam radio has been closely watched for a new position toward the U.S., no change has appeared so far. Nor does there seem to have been any split within the coalition government of Vietnam.

“Evaluation. If there is a Moscow-directed conspiracy in Southeast Asia, Indochina is an anomaly so far. Possible explanations. are:

“No rigid directives have been issued by Moscow.

“The Vietnam government considers that it has no rightest elements that must be purged.

“The Vietnam Communists are not subservient to the foreign policies pursued by Moscow

“A special dispensation for the Vietnam government has been arranged in Moscow.

“Of these possibilities, the first and fourth seem most likely.”

Our “intelligence” community seems to start with an answer, and then explain away the reasons that they cannot find evidence to support the assumed conclusion. The absence of evidence seems to be as strong support for their conclusion as finding actual evidence would have been.

I have always thought that a principle of science was that if you did an experiment that allowed you to draw the same conclusion no matter the results of the experiment, then the experiment was completely worthless.

Uncensored Search   Recently updated !

As it becomes clearer and clearer that Google and Facebook are going to act as censors on what you can find on the internet. there is a need to find an uncensored search engine. I tonically, You can do a Google search for uncensored search.

One item tha comes out of the search is the article Best Uncensored Search Engines for Anonymous Searching.

Uncensored search engines are nothing more than search engines, which help you, browse the “censored” part of the Internet.
A search engine which does not censor its content and let’s you access absolutely everything

On of the search engines that is uncensored is one that I already use Duck Duck Go.

1). Duck Duck Go

Duck duck goClearnet URL:
Onion URL: http://3g2upl4pq6kufc4m.onion/
.Onion Pages Index: Yes
This is the default search engine provided with the TOR browser. DuckDuckGo is also available on, and for the regular web, so you can use it both to access the deep web, as well as your regular websites.

They are primarily in demand for the fact that they are anonymous, and do not keep track of your activities, search history, interests, or anything else for that matter.

Also, they are one of very few uncensored search engines which actually show deep web marketplace URLs directly on the search page.

That’s exactly the kind of uncensored search engine you need while accessing the hidden/censored parts of the web, isn’t that so?

Not only that, but DuckDuckGo also doesn’t show any Ads like most traditional browsers, and even though it’s not a deal-maker, relief from those ads is surely something I personally look forward to.

The Interface resembles that of Google Chrome and has similar features and filters, but obviously, it’s much more liberal and un-conservative as compared to Chrome.

Here is an example of using Firefox to look at a site in the .onion domain using Duck Duck Go.

Monetary Policy for Full Employment and Price Stability   Recently updated !

The Binzagr Institute for Sustainable Prosperity has the working paper Monetary Policy for Full Employment and Price Stability.

One explanation for the perpetuation of the barter economy story and the continued misunderstandings it creates about the tools available to a sovereign currency issuer is “because it is central to the entire discourse in economics” (Graeb er 2011, 44). Orthodox economics is a powerful institutional force that continues to ignore the historical and institutional realities of money at great cost to society. This separation from history allows a great deal of economic analysis to begin from an imaginary world where money emerges from market transactions and is thus a private phenomenon which is then inefficiently redistributed by fiscal authorities. The monetary policy analysis described from this imaginary world is one in which, “the whole discussion now takes place without requiring the mention of the word money ,” and this unnecessary commitment to real analysis is considered “intellectual progress” in the field (Friedman 2004, 83).

Meanwhile, the participants of the real world face the harsh realities perpetuated by disembedding our economy from social structures. These difficulties are displayed in a spatial quantitative qualitative sQ 2 method by utilizing geographic information system (GIS) maps. These maps will demonstrate some of the realities ignored by abstract economic analysis and provide the locations for which an alternative monetary policy can prevent and potentially heal the allostatic processes occurring in both the cities and rural areas across the United States. The combination of historical, institutional, and geographic analysis of the economic system is offered to shed new light on the value of expanding the policy disc ourse and how advances can be made by grounding economies and policy spatially, rather than in the abstract.

I have only read about 25% of this article so far, but it looks very promising. I record it here to make sure I don’t lose it in case I don’t finish reading it in this sitting.

This working paper provides me with much more explanation of what the Fed actually has done to alleviate the financial crisis that came to a head in 2008/2009. The analysis has been published before, but this is the first time I have had access to it.

I have seen the estimate of the size of the Fed efforts, but this is the first time I have seen a comparison of the size of the components of that effort. I won’t reproduce the graph here, but I will quote the summary.

As this abbreviated description of the stabilization plan of the Federal Reserve hopefully suggests, the actions are indeed unprecedented and extraordinary. After summing all of the individual transactions and unconventional LOLR facilities, Felkerson (2012) totals the response at $29,616.3 billion. [$29.6163 trillion]

Below is the beginning of an explanation of the limitations in what the Fed has been able to accomplish for reasons explained in the rest of the working paper.

Despite arguments that “credit easing will undoubtedly play a leading role in promoting a full recovery of the economy and financial markets” (Carlson et al. 2009), the economy remains hampered by long-term unemployment, part-time employment and a general economic insecurity despite 10 years of historically low interest rates.

Below is where we start to get into the solution this working paper proposes.

The reason QE has not been able to generate positive employment outcomes is that it is not purchasing the correct assets and it is failing to communicate the “objectives and outlook for the economy” (Bernanke et al. 2004, 77) in an effective manner. Rather than continuing the opaque process of purchasing assets from financial institutions for reserves they are not going to lend, the Federal Reserve needs to provide credit easing directly to those who need it most, Americans lacking credit and income, by lending against the strongest commodity collateral they possess, their labor power.

I translate this wordy explanation to mean applying (almost) traditional Keynesian fiscal stimulus. Or, I could call it fiscal stimulus disguised as monetary stimulus.

Here are some of the working paper’s own words to explain what they mean. You have to read the paper itself to get the details. I think I am bordering on the edge of fair use with my extensive excerpts.

The difficulty, as explained above, is in the financial order of operations. The Federal Reserve continues to swap collateral assets for cash in hopes of stimulating lending activity. Draining collateral from the banking system does not stimulate new lending activity and appears to make this process more difficult. In order to actually stimulate the economy, the Federal Reserve will need to undertake a new “monetarist experiment”. Similar to the radical transition made in the 1980s, this policy change is related to changing the money supply. This proposed experiment is guided by modern money theory and a Keynesian on-the-spot work program (Tcherneva 2012), falls within existing legal constraints of the FRA, and the theoretical prescriptions of the NMC.

Modern monetary theory and inflation – Part 2

Bill Mitchell – billy blog: Modern Monetary Theory … macroeconomic reality has the article Modern monetary theory and inflation – Part 2.

Raw material shocks can also trigger of a cost-push inflation. They can be imported or domestically-sourced. I will devote a special blog to imported raw material shocks in the future.

But the essence is that an imported resource price shock amounts to a loss of real income for the nation in question. This can have significant distributional implications (as the OPEC oil price shocks in the 1970s had). How the government handles such a shock is critical.

The dynamic is that the imported resources reduces the real income that is available for distribution domestically. Something has to give. The loss has to be shared or borne by one of the claimants or another. If the workers resist the lower real wages or if bosses do not accept that some squeeze on their profit margin is inevitable then a wage-price/price-wage spiral can emerge.

I am glad to see an MMT person address the issue of cost-push inflation as we experienced with oil in 1974. However, I find this article’s explanation a good deal weaker than the part 1 explanation of demand-pull inflation. After wading through the article, the only prescription that I can find is the following:

The preferred approach is to use employment buffer stocks in conjunction with fiscal policy adjustments to allow the available real income to be rendered compatible with the existing claims.

The way I interpret this is that the government puts the brakes on the economy to increase private sector unemployment, but the government Job Guarantee takes up the slack in employment. With the JG, there is no unemployment, but the average salary is lowered. I have always felt that the way Ronald Reagan finally got inflation under control was to put the brakes on the economy to increase private sector unemployment. In Reagan’s case there was no government JG to ease the pain.

Modern monetary theory and inflation – Part 1

Bill Mitchell – billy blog: Modern Monetary Theory … macroeconomic reality has the article Modern monetary theory and inflation – Part 1. Here is the introduction to the article.

It regularly comes up in the comments section that Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) lacks a concern for inflation. That somehow we ignore the inflation risk. One of the surprising aspects of the public debate as the current economic crisis unfolded was the repetitive concern that people had about inflation. There concerns echoed at the same time as the real economy in almost every nation collapsed, capacity utilisation rates were going down below 70 per cent and more in most nations and unemployment was sky-rocketing. But still the inflation anxiety was regularly being voiced. These commentators could not believe that rising budget deficits or a significant build-up of bank reserves do not inevitably cause inflation. The fact is that in voicing those concerns just tells me they never really understand how the monetary system operates. Further in suggesting the MMT lacks a concern for inflation those making these statements belie their own lack of research. Full employment and price stability is at the heart of MMT. The body of theory and policy applications that stem from that theory integrate the notion of a nominal anchor as a core element. That is what this blog is about.

I have never labored under the misconception that MMT was uninterested in controlling inflation. This article fully addresses, for those who haven’t seen it, the way MMT would control inflation under some circumstances. I am going to follow the link in the article to part 2 that addresses what to do about supply shocks as we experienced in 1974. I have been concerned that I have not seen anything written or talked about how MMT addresses this issue. I am glad to see that this missing component may just have been my lack of reading, not the lack of the issue being addressed.

You will see the term NAIRU in the article. Here is the explanation. Non-Accelerating Inflation Rate Of Unemployment – NAIRU

The FBI Hand Behind Russia-gate

Consortium News has the article The FBI Hand Behind Russia-gate.

Despite the extraordinary gravity of the charge, even New York Times correspondent Scott Shane noted that proof was lacking. He wrote at the time: “What is missing from the [the Jan. 6] public report is what many Americans most eagerly anticipated: hard evidence to back up the agencies’ claims that the Russian government engineered the election attack. … Instead, the message from the agencies essentially amounts to ‘trust us.’”

This excerpt is the least of what is in this article, but it does show why I stopped believing in Russia-gate. This is about the initial ‘intelligence” report that “proved” it was Russia doing the meddling.