How To Cheat On My Electronic Voting Proposal   Recently updated !

In the previous article Making Electronic Voting Transparent, I proposed an electronic voting system that allowed the voter to check how his or her vote is recorded in the official vote database. In that system, the voting machine printed a hardcopy receipt for the voter to take home. The receipt showed the vote record and had a serial number that the voter could use to later check the database of votes cast which would be made available online. Nobody but the voter would know the serial number for her or his vote.

Here is how such a system could cheat. The system could memorize the ballots cast, so that it could give all the voters who voted exactly alike the same serial number to check. The actual vote on all but one of these ballots could be modified fraudulently, but the fraudulent votes would have serial numbers that are never printed out for any voter.

If the voting computer program source code were viewable by the public (this is called open source), then experts could look at the code for assigning serial numbers to make sure nothing like this was built in to the software. So, my proposed system could be kept clean of such attempts at fraud.

You also may want to look at a previous post Standardize Electronic Voting Technology. There is already a government agency that could oversee the creation of a standard for electronic voting systems.

How to Move Beyond Utopian Socialism and Libertarianism   Recently updated !

Naked Capitalism has the article How to Move Beyond Utopian Socialism and Libertarianism

Again, we should experiment and pursue what works best – be it public or private.

As an avowed “what worksist” I would naturally like an article like this. The trouble I see is in deciding who the “we” is who does the experimenting and deciding what works best. I think one of the reasons this all fell apart in the 1980s in the USA is that we forgot that there needs to be a continuous process of educating the public on what the process is experimenting and pursuing what works and why we use such a process. This education process is also needed for the leaders who are driving the experimenting and deciding process to refresh their memories about what they are supposed to be doing. Under FDR, I think there was a good understanding by many of the important actors about this process. The people who followed in power lost sight of the fundamental reasoning behind the process.

The article mentions Milton Friedman. I think that he and his backers were excellent at erasing our memory of what we were trying to do. Milton Friedman came along with a good story about what was wrong with what we were trying to do, and the people who were trying forgot the counter story that justified their behavior. They also forgot that they were supposed to be seeing what works and changing the things that didn’t work anymore.

The Rise of Carry: The Dangerous Consequences of Volatility Suppression and the New Financial Order of Decaying Growth and Recurring Crisis

Naked Capitalism has the post 2020 “Globie”: The Carry Trade. It is a review of the book The Rise of Carry: The Dangerous Consequences of Volatility Suppression and the New Financial Order of Decaying Growth and Recurring Crisis 1st Edition.

The trader benefits only as long as asset prices remain close to their current levels. Volatility can wipe out a position, and the financial losses can spill over to the economy. Those negative consequences bring central banks into the financial markets. Their intervention may reestablish stability, but it allows those who would have suffered a loss to transfer that loss to the public sector. Central bankers acting as lenders of last resort, the authors write, “…underwrite some of the losses associated with carry. This encourages further growth of carry, and a self-reinforcing cycle develops.”

Another way that financialization of the economy robs ordinary people.

We were told Joe Biden was the ‘safe choice’. But it was risky to offer so little

The Guardian has the article We were told Joe Biden was the ‘safe choice’. But it was risky to offer so little.

But I think that after days of gnawing our fingers down to the quick, it’s fair to say that Biden was not safe at all, as we always knew. Not safe for the planet, not safe for the people on the front lines of police violence, not safe for the millions upon millions of people who are seeking asylum, but also not even safe as a candidate.

Here is the video starting at Naomi Klein’s part. You can watch the other parts at YouTube if you are so inclined.

Remember the idea of the inside/outside pincer. I prefer to work from the outside part.

Replacing Rentier Capitalism Is One of the Defining Challenges of Our Age

Naked Capitalism has the post Replacing Rentier Capitalism Is One of the Defining Challenges of Our Age.

In today’s somewhat bleak political landscape, we need to get serious about building strong counterweights to the power of extractive rentier capital. We need to be smarter about finding sources of leverage and using them to create change – and we need to start somewhere. It’s a formidable challenge; but, as both of these books powerfully demonstrate, it is one of the defining challenges of our age

An article that finally gets to the heart of why arguing capitalism versus socialism, as they are commonly understood, does not address the real issues of the problems we face today.

The two books are ‘Rentier Capitalism: Who Owns the Economy, and Who Pays for It?’ by geographer Brett Christophers and ‘Unions Renewed: Building Power in an Age of Finance’, Alice Martin and Annie Quick

Michael Hudson on Financialization and Deindustrialization

Naked Capitalism has a post that features the interview Michael Hudson on Financialization and Deindustrialization.

Yves here. Michael Hudson provided a pre-election take on how Trump policies haven’t changed the trajectory of America’s decline as a manufacturer. We’ve stressed that achieving that goal would take a long term commitment to what amounts to industrial policy…something that America is officially allergic to but in fact practices all the time, witness huge explicit and tax subsidies to favored sectors like real estate, finance, higher education, medicine, and of course armaments.

I wish this had come to my attention before the election. It puts the lie to many of what Trump bragged about as his accomplishments. It also has cautions for people who call themselves Capitalists or Socialists. In this interview you can also see the tendencies of Paul Jay to insert his own interpretations to muddy the message of the interviewee. There is so much packed into this interview, that it might be hard for a newcomer to the topic to digest. All I can advise newcomers is not to be discouraged. If you keep at it, you will eventually understand more and more.

China Takes Step Against Securitization, Consumer Borrowing With Suspension of Ant IPO

Naked Capitalism has the post China Takes Step Against Securitization, Consumer Borrowing With Suspension of Ant IPO.

Another reason for China to take a dim view of personal borrowing is that the government prioritizes wage growth and improving living standards as its basis for legitimacy. There’s no reason, as in the US, to use consumer borrowing to mask stagnant worker wages. And the Chinese may even have recognized that overly financialized economies have lower rates of growth than ones at a more modest level of financial “deepening”. The IMF found that Poland was at the optimum level, but argued that more finance might not create a drag if the sector was well-regulated.

Another example where the Chinese government regulates capitalism better than the USA Government does. Are we supposed to be angry at China for controlling corruption better than we do? Or are we going to impose sanctions until they let corruption take hold of their economy, too?

Modern Monetary Theory and the crisis of capitalism: Part one

The World Socialist Web Site has the article Modern Monetary Theory and the crisis of capitalism: Part one.

Throughout the history of capitalism and its recurrent crises, various theories have been brought forward by “left” theorists who maintain that these crises and the social ills they generate can be ameliorated, if not entirely eliminated, by changing the monetary system without touching the foundations of capitalist production itself.

While presenting themselves as “leftist” and “progressive,” advocating reform of the capitalist system, history shows that in periods of great crisis they seek to divert the working class from the program of socialist revolution while at the same time providing the ideological foundations for political forces that advance a counterrevolutionary solution to the crisis.

Modern Monetary Theory (MMT), the essential principles of which are outlined in this book by one of its foremost advocates, is the latest expression of this phenomenon.

This part one of this two-part article is full of promises with no delivery. It provides a more or less accurate description of MMT, promises there is an alternative, but gives almost no deep description of that alternative. It hints at the idea that the labor theory of value is a good foundation for the alternative. However, I have never seen a presentation of the labor theory of value that addresses its own contradictions. Do labor theory of value proponents seriously want us to believe that the value of the labor of a master crafts person has no more value than the same labor of someone who has no skill at the job?

The problem of assigning value to anything is not an easy one to solve. I am waiting to see how the second part answers this basic question.

October 26, 2020

The second part has been published – Modern Monetary Theory and the crisis of capitalism: Part two.

The way forward is not the false perspective of some reform of the capitalist system via the “tricks of circulation,” but its overthrow by the working class to establish a workers’ government in order to open the way for the establishment of a democratically controlled and organised socialist economy in which the vast productive forces are used to meet human need.

This part is as vacuous as the first. If the above paragraph is all the author has to describe the deep workings of his proposed alternative, then he has nothing.