Daily Archives: May 16, 2019


Why Many Venezuelans Are Still Chavistas

The Real News Network has the story Why Many Venezuelans Are Still Chavistas.

Despite the dramatic economic crisis and the constant political conflict in Venezuela, there still is a significant proportion of the population that consider themselves to be “Chavistas.” Ed Augustin examined some of the reasons for this in Caracas


Perhaps this is more even handed than we are used to hearing from either side. That doesn’t mean it is any more or any less truthful.


Jared Diamond: There’s a 49 Percent Chance the World As We Know It Will End by 2050

The New York magazine has the article Jared Diamond: There’s a 49 Percent Chance the World As We Know It Will End by 2050.

Jared Diamond’s new book, Upheaval, addresses itself to a world very obviously in crisis, and tries to lift some lessons for what do about it from the distant past. In that way, it’s not so different from all the other books that have made the UCLA geographer a sort of don of “big think” history and a perennial favorite of people like Steven Pinker and Bill Gates.

So as not to leave you with a completely pessimistic view, I’ll quote one the final Q & A.

If there’s hardly a nation in the world that seems to be a good model, a thriving example for other nations of the world to follow behind, how much faith does that give you that we can find our way to a kind of sustainable, prosperous, and fulfilling future?

That’s an interesting question. If I had stopped the book on the chapter about the world without writing the last six pages, it would have been a pessimistic chapter, because at that point I thought the world does not have a track record of solving difficult problems. The U.N., well bless it, but the U.N. isn’t sufficiently powerful, and therefore I feel pessimistic about our chances of solving big world problems.

But then, fortunately, I learned by talking with friends that the world does have a successful track record in the last 40 years about solving really complex, thorny problems. For example, the coastal economics. So many countries have overlapping coastal economic zones. What a horrible challenge that was to get all the countries in the world to agree with delineating their coastal economic zones. But it worked. They’re delineated.

Or smallpox. To eliminate smallpox it had to be eliminated in every country. That included eliminating it in Ethiopia and Somalia. Boy, was it difficult to eliminate smallpox in Somalia, but it was eliminated.


HOW TO PAY FOR THE WAR

New Economic Perspectives has the article HOW TO PAY FOR THE WAR by L. Randall Wray.

I’m going to talk about war, not peace, in relation to our work on the Green New Deal—which I argue is the big MEOW—moral equivalent of war—and how we are going to pay for it. So I’m going to focus on Keynes’s 1940 book— How To Pay for the War—the war that followed the Economic Consequences of the Peace.

To many of us, all that L. Randall Wray says has been obvious for a long time. However, we MMT proponents have needed to explain to the skeptics that we have really thought this through. We have not just ignored the possibility of inflation, but we have plans of how to control it. There were a variety of things that were done in WW II that worked. It is no big mystery of what to do.

I presume that the idea of deferred consumption and forced saving has a lot to do with war bonds. It might be worth mentioning that in a sentence somewhere in the article. There are many people who will have no idea what deferred consumption/compensation means in practical terms.