Global Capitalism: US and China – 1 Global Economy, 2 Giants [March 2019]   Recently updated !

Democracy At Work has the video and audio of Global Capitalism: US and China – 1 Global Economy, 2 Giants [March 2019].

The description below is not completely accurate.

These programs begin with 30 minutes of short updates on important economic events of the last month, then Prof. Wolff analyzes several major economic issues. For March 2019, these issues will include:

1. The record US gov’t budget deficit in 2018: causes and effects
2. The record US trade deficit in 2018: causes and effects
3. Unions reviving? Strikes, organizing and the looming strategic decision they face about socialism in the US


Interesting, entertaining, and educational. Richard Wolff is not a student of MMT, so what he says about debts and deficits is not MMT, but it has a certain truth to it if you know how to interpret it.

The way I interpret it is that what he describes as borrowing money to finance the deficits is true, but only because this is the way the USA laws have been written to require this scheme. As a country that is sovereign in our own currency and only borrows our own currency, we could finance the deficits without borrowing. For various reasons, good and bad, we choose not to do so.


“I Was The Terrorist”: Israeli Army Vet Gives Explosive Tell-All Interview to Abby Martin

Mint Press has the article “I Was The Terrorist”: Israeli Army Vet Gives Explosive Tell-All Interview to Abby Martin.

In a rare, candid conversation, Abby Martin interviews a former Israeli Army combat soldier who served as an occupier in Palestine’s Hebron City.

Eran Efrati spent years as a sergeant and combat soldier in the Israeli military, but has since become an outspoken critic of the occupation of Palestine and Israeli apartheid.

Efrati gives explosive testimony on the reality of his service and explains how war crimes are institutionalized, as well as how systematic the oppression against Palestinians really is in a war of conquest that will no-doubt be accelerated under the Trump Administration.


As one who entered the USA military in 1967, I can attest to the training that your enemy is both sub-human and super-human. This is what basic training tried to teach us about the North Vietnamese soldiers and people. This is what makes Eran Efrati’s testimony so believable to me.

Let me explain my first sentence. In Army training, we were constantly taught that the North Vietnamese soldiers had super-human capacity to kill us. We had to be very afraid of what their soldiers could do to us. On the other hand, they were sub-human in that they deserved no normal humanitarian concern from us.

There was a scene in the movie “Apocalypse Now” that demonstrated this for me too clearly. It involved a young Vietnamese girl on her boat. Her puppy had crawled into a covered basket. Suddenly, she was confronted by a USA soldier who was searching her boat for possible weapons. As he approached the girl and the basket, I knew exactly what was going to happen. I knew the soldier was extremely apprehensive of the situation because of the training (and experience) that any Vietnamese person could be a threat. When he opened the basket, I knew that the puppy would surprise him. I knew what his reaction would have to be because of his training. I also knew what the young girl’s reaction would have to be toward her pet. The outcome was absolutely inevitable. I doubt that other people in the audience that did not have military training could view this scene quite the way I did.


A Conspiracy Against MMT? Chicago Booth’s Polling and Trolling   Recently updated !

New Economic Perspectives has the article A Conspiracy Against MMT? Chicago Booth’s Polling and Trolling.

I am glad to see L. Randall Wray step into this fight, and not leave it all up to William K. Black.

The task ahead of us is bigger. The stakes are bigger. The future of humanity lies in the balance. Half measures will not do. It will take all of our available resources—and then some—to win this battle. The experts (and I’m not one of them) say we’ve got most of the technology we need. We’ve got unused resources to put to use. We can shift others from destructive uses to be engaged in constructive endeavors. We can mobilize the population for greater effort with the promise of greater equality and a shared but sustainable prosperity.

I just have to include the following excerpt:

In reality, OPEC caused both of our high inflation periods (early and late 1970s), and the adoption of austerity to fight oil price hikes slowed growth and led to unemployment.

I have been arguing for years for a Modern Money Theory (MMT) authority to say this. I have been shunned by Steve Grumbine of Real Progressives for even mentioning this. Somehow, I feel vindicated.

Now that I think about it, I have been saying this about the inflation of the 1970s and the ending of the inflation in the 1980s by Ronald Reagan’s putting us into a near depression since about the time that Ronald Reagan did this almost 40 years ago. This is long before I even heard about MMT. Possibly before MMT was even invented.


Bernie Sanders Discusses Reparations On The Breakfast Club

YouTube has the video Bernie Sanders Discusses Reparations On The Breakfast Club.

This is actually an analysis by Niko House of the conversation that occurred in an episode of The Breakfast Club. For white people like myself who had doubts about the idea of reparations, this goes into issues we may not have fully considered or understood. If nothing else, I hope these ideas start to percolate in your mind. I know that hearing this has helped me to further my understanding of the issues.


Boeing Plans to Fix the 737 MAX Jet With a Software Update   Recently updated !

Wired magazine has the article Boeing Plans to Fix the 737 MAX Jet With a Software Update.

When the MCAS detects the plane climbing too steeply without enough speed—a recipe for a stall—it moves the yoke forward, using the horizontal stabilizer on the tail to bring the nose of the plane down.

I have read that airplanes have an audible stall alarm that actually says “Stall, Stall” or something like that. Over 300 people might be alive today, if the plane also gave the warning “Stall, Stall” that most planes have when the automatic system decided to override the pilot’s ascend instructions when the pilot pulled the stick back. The pilot might have thought “OMG, I am about to stall” under actual stall circumstances, or the pilot might have thought to shut off the automatic system if it was obvious that the stall warning was false. In the actual situation, the pilot did not even know that there was an automatic system making its own decision about where the stick should be.

When I was writing software and doing customer support for that very software, I had a principle I tried to follow when my software had detected an error and was going to take some action. Instead of having an error message that said something like the following:

Error: Your snagafratz is wrong.

I would try to put in as much information as the software knew about the error. It would go something like this.

Error: You entered “sniggledypoo” which is not an expected value for snagafratz. snagafratz can only be “foo” or “bar”.

If you actually entered “sniggledypoo”, but the correct values were either “foo” or “bar”, you would have a pretty good lead to solving your problem, perhaps without even referring to the user manual. If you didn’t enter “sniggledypoo”, you might start looking for reasons why the software did not receive what you thought you told it. If all else fails, you could call tech support, and read me the message. I might know exactly what has gone wrong, or I might know where in the software to look for a bug.

As tech support, I found it helpful when a customer could call me and read me the full error message. Even better was when I did not get calls because the customer could solve the problem on her own or his own.

I learned how to write better error messages because every call to tech support was an indication of something in the software that could be improved. The fewer calls that came in, and the fewer bugs that had to be fixed, the more time I could spend developing new features.


Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez | SXSW 2019

YouTube has the video Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez | SXSW 2019

This is a deeper conversation than you are likely to hear anywhere. The snippets you might have seen don’t begin to do this justice. That is why I have decided to give you a link to the video of the entire session.

As New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez continues to galvanize the left (and frustrate the right), what’s driving her unique appeal has become an increasingly compelling question. Is it her identity or her substantive politics? Or both?

Ocasio-Cortez’s embrace of democratic socialism has been emphasized by the right, which seeks to paint her as out of touch with mainstream American values. But arguably, it’s her progressive ideals that provide the basis for a human-centered politics that connect with a majority of Americans.


Why We Need a Federal Jobs Guarantee

YouTube has the video Why We Need a Federal Jobs Guarantee.

13 million people looking for living wage work is not a “full employment” economy.

Why should the federal government adopt a jobs guarantee? Just ask the 13 million Americans looking for living wage work.

That’s what Pavlina Tcherneva, economics professor at the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College, says in outlining the economic case for a jobs guarantee. Every day the U.S. forgoes half a billion dollars of output because of unemployment. But it doesn’t have to be this way. A jobs guarantee would not only employee millions and increase output, but would also strengthen communities and the safety net, giving people the opportunity to organize their human power for the collective good. And, it would do away with “the scarlet letter of the unemployed”—the career gap in one’s resume.


People don’t seem to notice that Bernie has started talking about a jobs guarantee as one of the programs he will institute. When people suddenly wake-up to what he is saying, here is an excellent explanation from one of the major proponents of the idea.

A jobs guarantee has always been a part of Modern Money Theory. Until recently, I did not understand why the founders of MMT consider the jobs guarantee to be an unseperable part of the policy side of MMT.

What Pavlina Tcherneva explains is that the traditional economic stimuli are not extremely focused toward eliminating unemployment. The traditional methods do tend to put people to work, but it is too indirect. The traditional methods still leave a substantial number of people unemployed. Having the federal government run a deficit and buy goods from the private sector to create employment will be more effective if the money is spent on the jobs guarantee. As Pavlina says, she envisions the jobs guarantee to be federally funded, but locally administered. This means that the money will go to where the unemployment is, rather than putting the money somewhere into the economy, and hoping that the money and the unemployed come together.


Krugman Gives DeGrauwe 2011 Credit for What MMT Has Argued for 15+ Years

New Economic Perspectives has the article Krugman Gives DeGrauwe 2011 Credit for What MMT Has Argued for 15+ Years.

Unlike years prior, since 2008 it’s rather clear to many (if not to neoclassicals) the importance of alternative ideas, frameworks, and methodologies—including MMT and the dozens of other approaches—that could contribute to building a new, more relevant field of economics. But the mainstream of a field that didn’t see the crisis coming has doubled down, essentially rewriting history by declaring that nobody could have seen the crisis coming, and that virtually nobody did. (Of course, it’s true that neoclassicals couldn’t have seen the crisis coming given that their models do not include a financial system—so in that sense they aren’t lying, just obviously casting their net too narrowly, by design.)

As for being able to see the crisis of 2008 coming, I saw the crisis coming years before 2008. I didn’t even get my insight from MMT. The earliest mention of MMT that I find on my blog via a quick search is May 26, 2012.


Three Natural Experiments Documenting Krugman’s Bias Against MMT

New Economic Perspectives has the article Three Natural Experiments Documenting Krugman’s Bias Against MMT.

The bad news is that in this case even after he read Roche’s rant he knew so little about the MMT scholarly literature that he represented to his readers that it exemplified MMT. The even worse news is that even after he read, and hated, Roche’s rant, Krugman knew so little about the MMT literature that he decided to provide his readers with a link to the rant – and only the rant – as supposedly representative of the MMT scholarly canon. To sum it up, Krugman’s attempt to assure his readers that he had “listened to the gentiles” (his phrase, not mine) before attacking them proved he had failed to do so. Krugman was so eager to reject and demean MMT scholars that his subconscious transformed Roche’s rant into the mother of all strawman arguments to aid his assault on MMT scholars.

I used to be such a fan of Paul Krugman until he went so obviously off the rails. He does write for The Dreaded New York Times. That should have warned me about what was eventually going to come out of his writings.