Daily Archives: June 9, 2018

Last Exit to the Road Less Traveled

New Economic Perspectives has the article Last Exit to the Road Less Traveled.

The last exit to the Road-Less-Travelled, then, ultimately depends on establishing a new understanding of the modern fiat-money we use today—an understanding that will enable us to see a remarkable new reality: the “costs” of resource protection and restoration are the income of artisanship.

I think one of the important parts of understanding Modern Money Theory (MMT) is that there are some things that the commons need doing that don’t profit one individual or one corporation to do. The only solution may be that the controller of the sovereign currency (our government) can spend money that is not profitable in the capitalist sense, but necessary for civilization. It is not enough to pump that currency into the system so that the profit motive can decide what to do with it all. Some of it needs to be pumped into the economy by paying for the upkeep of the commons.

How could I resist an article that said:

If you’re a hard-nosed, practical-minded engineer, don’t imagine you can’t be an artisan. In fact, you could be one of the greatest artisans who ever lived. All that’s necessary is that you apply your hard-nosed practicality to the “art” of utilizing resources sustainably to create something of utility.

That is sort of the view I had of myself as a practicing software engineer. Sometimes my bosses didn’t want artisanship, but that was part of my self-motivation. When I could no longer practice artisanship in the commercial world, software engineering stopped being fun, and I retired.

Rising Rates of Suicide: When Do We Acknowledge That Something Isn’t Working?!

Mad In America has the article Rising Rates of Suicide: When Do We Acknowledge That Something Isn’t Working?!

When do professionals and the public alike finally acknowledge that WHAT WE’RE DOING ISN’T WORKING? When do we say “If we want things to change, maybe we should change our approach”?! When does the media start to widely question what is happening in society rather than jumping to analyzing the individual?

The excerpt above tends to reinforce you expectation that probably arise from reading the title. The following excerpt hints at some more of what is covered in the article.

“Call the suicide hotline. Know that you are not alone.”

The problem is, most of us are alone. The US, and most of Western society, centers around an individualistic culture that puts “success” above relationships, leading many to focus their lives on the pursuit of a fragile and fleeting illusion of proving oneself. This endless pursuit leaves a person crushed the moment the illusion of success disappears (which it always will). And, so, the chase is always on for more, more, more.

I have found that being alone and being focused on success are actually two different problems. Both can contribute to suicide rates. If both causes affect you, work on mitigating one issue may leave you still vulnerable to the other issue. There may also be other causes that can be identified. Perhaps issues of success are just a subset of issues of security/insecurity.

I think this article is helpful because it reminds us to think about a wider range of issues than the media (social and formal) focus on. It does not mean that we should ignore the issues that traditional sources seem to focus on.

YouTube has the video Anthony Bourdain, Struggle & Suicide-How Being Woke Can Hurt. Here might be a nice complement to the article above.

How Chinese Investors Inflate Housing Markets in the US, Canada, and Australia, as Governments Try to Stem the Tide

Naked Capitalism has the article How Chinese Investors Inflate Housing Markets in the US, Canada, and Australia, as Governments Try to Stem the Tide.

At first, the inflow of Chinese investor money was great and awesome. But then it turned the local markets into full-blown housing bubbles that began threatening local economies. So various levels of governments in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and elsewhere – but notably not yet in the US – have created policies to tamp down on this incoming flood of money that distorts the market.

If you want to understand the possible inflationary effects of the Federal Reserve Bank pushing liquidity into the economy that has no use for it, this may be one indication (besides the stock market bubble.)

This may not end well for the Chinese investors, however. I think back to the 1989 to 1995 commercial real estate bubble caused by Japanese investors. The denouement was described in The New York Times article Japanese scrap $2 billion stake in Rockefeller.

Mitsubishi’s sudden decision to exit Rockefeller Center is the most striking in a string of recent retreats from the trophy properties stretching from New York to Honolulu that Japanese companies acquired during a real estate binge in the 1980’s.