Daily Digest

Daily Digest - December 3

Thursday, December 3, 2009, 11:06 AM
  • Got Gold?
  • Longer-dated bonds reflect optimism
  • Charting The Great World Trade Collapse
  • High Noon for Goldman Sachs
  • A Whopping 75% Sell-Off Just Before The Dubai Debacle
  • A Financial Mirage In The Desert
  • Ron Paul On Gold Prices Being Rigged, The Self Destruction Of The Fed 
  • The Ascent Of Gold And It's Recurring Bubble
  • 17 Million Americans Have No Bank Account
  • Corporatocracy: A New Economic System
  • White House Was Told Multiple Times Fannie, Freddie Had No Watchdog
  • Big Pharma Paying Off Competitors To Keep Generics From Consumers 
  • Senator Says Fed Needs To Start Giving A Damn About American Public 
  • The Perfect Mixture For Casino Capitalism 
  • Goldman Sachs Loading Up On Firearms 
  • Interview With The Vampire Squid
  • Bailout Hater Goes Over To The Dark Side
  • America Without A Middle Class 
  • What If The Water Wins?
  • Western Lifestyle Unsustainable 

Economy

Got Gold? (Claire H.)

Due to the system trouble, Tokyo Commodity Exchange, Inc. (“TOCOM” or the “Exchange”) today halted the trading sessions for gold standard, gold mini and gold options contracts at 17:10.

Longer-dated bonds reflect optimism (SolidSwede)

Governments, banks and corporates are issuing more longer-dated bonds, in a sign of increased confidence among investors on the prospects for the global economy. The shift towards longer-term bonds is expected to reduce refinancing risks in 2011 and 2012, easing worries that a build-up of maturing debt might make it more difficult for governments and companies to renew loans.

Charting The Great World Trade Collapse (nncita)

A new report by VoxEU provides some detailed perspectives on just how bad the collapse in world trade has been as a result of the last year's events. In a nutshell: the current Great Recession/Depression has plunged the world into an unprecedented collapse of global trade, with the resultant blowing of liquidity bubbles having been the only way for individual governments to respond to this massive loss of GDP. And while drops in world trade are nothing new, with a 5% drop in the 1982 and 2001 periods, as well as a more severe 11% contraction in the 1970s, the current plunge of over 15% YoY is truly unprecedented and demonstrates the fragile nature of "globalization."

High Noon for Goldman Sachs (Davos)

A couple of days ago, Alice Schroeder wrote a piece at Bloomberg about a friend of a friend who works at Goldman Sachs. Apparently the bankers are getting a little nervous about blowback from the working class. “I just wrote my first reference for a gun permit,” said a friend, who told me of swearing to the good character of a Goldman Sachs Group Inc. banker who applied to the local police for a permit to buy a pistol.

A Whopping 75% Sell-Off Just Before The Dubai Debacle (M.W.)

The evidence of foul play ahead of Dubai's debt announcement last week appears overwhelming.

A Financial Mirage In The Desert (M.W.)

It’s a pretty good bet that a city with an average temperature of 90' and an indoor ski slope is probably living a little too large.

Ron Paul On Gold Prices Being Rigged, The Self Destruction Of The Fed (Video) (M.W.)

Paul describes how the Fed will self destruct as it destroys the dollar, and that we are entering a "very, very dangerous era." At 4:40 on the video he discusses gold and the dollar.

The Ascent Of Gold And Its Recurring Bubble (M.W.)

A lot of people are getting all worked up about the rising price of gold. Some say the current move has gone "parabolic" and that we're in the midst of a "blow-off top" akin to the early 1980s peak that saw the gold price disappoint investors for years afterward. Looking at the one-year gold chart below it's hard to disagree with that view, but there's much more to the story than that.

17 Million Americans Have No Bank Account (M.W.)

And another 18% that do, still use non-traditional banking services like pawn shops and payday lenders. In fact, nearly 20% of all U.S. households earning $30,000 or less per year did not have a bank account.

Corporatocracy: A New Economic System (M.W.)

Some try to argue the failures of capitalism but our current system is more of a corporatocracy. A system designed for the few by the few. Even Adam Smith argued that society would need to be vigilant against monopolies and charlatans. Yet somehow we arrive at our current time with gigantic investment banks pulling on political strings and operating under Darwinian economics where the overall health of the economy is only an afterthought.

White House Was Told Multiple Times Fannie, Freddie Had No Watchdog (M.W.)

Whose fault is it that the agency that oversees $5 trillion dollars in mortgages hasn't had an independent inspector general for months? Not ours, say Federal Housing Finance Agency officials, insisting that they notified Congress and pressed the Obama administration multiple times to appoint someone to the position tasked with rooting out wrongdoing at Fannie, Freddie, and the Federal Home Loan Bank.

Big Pharma Paying Off Competitors To Keep Generics From Consumers (M.W.)

Drug-makers have embraced a simple tactic for fending off competition from generic brands: paying them off. The company that holds the patent on a profitable drug strikes a deal with the maker of the cheaper generic brand: you hold off on marketing your generic for several years and we'll give you a share of our profits on the drug.

Senator Says Fed Needs To Start Giving A Damn About American Public (M.W.)

Before voting to confirm Bernanke, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), said he wants to hear "that they're willing to take their eyes off an exclusive gaze on the welfare of Wall Street and start giving a red hot damn about the American public."

The Perfect Mixture For Casino Capitalism (M.W.)

Alarm bells are ringing in Washington amid a sudden realization that lightning-fast computer programs and anonymous venues are dominating trading on U.S. equity markets. Is the next market meltdown going to begin with a 25-year-old math whiz creating stock-trading programs that go rogue and create massive systemic risk?

Goldman Sachs Loading Up On Firearms (M.W.)

Senior Goldman people have loaded up on firearms and are now equipped to defend themselves if there is a populist uprising against the bank.

Interview With The Vampire Squid (M.W.)

The biggest disconnect on Wall St is between the way Goldman sees itself (they’re the smartest) and the way everyone else sees Goldman (they’re the smartest, greediest, and most dangerous). Questioning CEOs Lloyd Blankfein, Gary Cohn, and David Viniar, the author explores the collapse of Sep 2008, the billions in bonuses, and which lines it’s accused of crossing.

Bailout Hater Goes Over To The Dark Side (M.W.)

The blogosphere is having a field day with the news that Willem Buiter, the caustic London School of Economics professor who has delighted in launching blog posts like grenades throughout the course of the global financial crisis, has been named Citigroup's Chief Economist.

America Without A Middle Class (M.W.)

America has plenty of rich. But it has far more families who did all the right things,and still have no security. Paying for a child's education and setting aside enough for a decent retirement have become distant dreams. Tens of millions of once-secure middle class families now live paycheck to paycheck, worrying about whether a pink slip or a bad diagnosis will send them hurtling over an economic cliff.

Environment

What If The Water Wins? (M.W.)

The Maeslant Barrier in the Netherlands is the culmination of an effort initiated in the wake of a 1953 flood, when a storm surge overwhelmed the country's dikes and killed 1,800 people. Completed in 1997, the Delta Works was designed to put a permanent end to flooding. But even as the great barrier was being tested, it was becoming clear that climate change would one day make the effort obsolete.

Western Lifestyle Unsustainable (M.W.)

Today we have reached the point where consumption and people's desire to consume has grown out of proportion. The reality is that our lifestyles are unsustainable. A new value system of "sustainable consumption" is now urgently required.

22 Comments

saxplayer00o1's picture
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Re: Daily Digest - December 3

""The amount of the two currencies and their impact on the world's economy are totally different", Chen Deming said, according to a transcript of an interview with Reuters and the International Herald Tribune posted on the Web site.

The dollar needs to be relatively stable since it's the world's main payment and reserve currency and the global economy remains fragile, Chen said. "

"On the eve of President Barack Obama’s White House Summit on Jobs, labor leaders yesterday issued a dire warning: Unless Congress and Obama create a “bold jobs program,” state and local governments could shed almost a million jobs next year, further worsening our national unemployment rate.

“The budget crisis that they face is dire,” Thea Lee, chief of staff of the labor federation AFL-CIO, told a conference call with journalists."

"Tough times are getting tougher for many laid-off workers.

Millions of people out of work lost federal subsidies Tuesday that helped them afford COBRA health insurance coverage, adding to the more than 46 million Americans who are uninsured.

The COBRA subsidies that expired Tuesday affected the first recipients of the program that began in March. The federal program came out of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and pays 65 percent of a laid off worker’s COBRA premiums for nine months."

"BATON ROUGE — The Commission on Streamlining Government proposed steps Tuesday that could save the state millions of dollars, but it wasn't ready to call for laying off 5,000 state workers a year for the next three years."

...................4A) State retirement system's debt grows $4.8B

"BATON ROUGE — The state's public retirement system debt has grown to nearly $17 billion, increasing $4.8 billion during the past year amid the national recession, according to information provided to the House and Senate retirement committees."

"Experts say twice as many could end up in the red next year"

"But the news was bad in 41 districts that reported deficits -- a 51% rise from last year. And the number in the red for more than $1 million is 20, more than double the highest it has ever been in state history, said officials with the Michigan Department of Education in Lansing."

.....................5A) Time expires on avoiding cuts of $292-per-pupil

(New Orleans)

"Bunton said that he plans to conduct a case inventory over the next couple weeks. After that, he expects to stop assigning lawyers to murder and rape cases, which are the most labor intensive for his attorneys to handle.

At some point, if defense attorneys aren't found for defendants locked up on murder and rape charges, they will have to be released from custody, Bunton said."

"Florida's finances have become grim and grimmer."

"The stimulus money is going to flame out next year," Proctor said. "Foreclosures may begin to rise again next year. There will be new increases in state expenditures. We've extended state unemployment benefits, but we're borrowing $300 million a month from the federal government to do so. That can't go on. Citizens [the state-run home insurance company] has $360 billion to $400 billion of exposure but only $6 billion in cash."

....................7A) Florida's real-estate market is crumbling so badly that the taxable property value for schools statewide will tumble 9.5 percent next year, state economists said Wednesday.

"It's too early to panic, but a second straight difficult budget year could be shaping up for Gov. Ed Rendell and the state Legislature.

For the fourth month in a row, the state Revenue Department said yesterday, revenue collections for fiscal 2009-10 have fallen below projections.

Last month, the state collected $1.6 billion in General Fund revenue, or almost $57 million less than expected. For the first four months of the current fiscal year (July-November), revenue totalled $10.4 billion, which is $217 million below estimates."

"A growing number of states are responding to their worst-ever budget crises by enacting permanent cuts to spending on social programs and education and by laying off and furloughing workers.

For the first time ever, the collective spending by state governments has declined for two consecutive years. It fell 4 percent this year and 4.8 percent in the last fiscal year according to the National Association of State Budget Officers.

The worst is yet to come. States estimate that their most severe shortfalls will come in the 2011 fiscal year. The National Conference of State Legislatures predicts a combined deficit among the states of $110 billion for the next two years. It is generally accepted that state budgets will remain in the red until 2013 at the earliest, while “some predict state revenues will not rebound until late in the next decade,” according to Stateline.org."

"County revenue down 10.2 percent in new budget year

* County faces multibillion dollar debt

* Revenue shortfall poses new headache for county (Adds possible sewer rate hike, paragraph 10)

By Melinda Dickinson

BIRMINGHAM, Ala., Dec 2 (Reuters) - Falling tax revenue in Alabama's debt-ridden Jefferson County is making it harder for its troubled government to run day-to-day operations, officials said on Wednesday."

"Should the county go bankrupt, it would be the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history."

"Monday's devaluation of Pyongyang's nearly worthless currency from 100 to a single won has wiped out the savings of impoverished North Koreans and generated a scramble for dollars and Chinese yuan, say sources behind the bamboo curtain."

....................11A) North Korean misery as currency evaporates

"The move will leave millions of people with worthless banknotes in their possession.

The devaluation has triggered panic in the streets. Shops and markets have been ordered to close their doors and remain shut during the week-long exchange of bills, according to Good Friends, a Seoul-based welfare group.

On the black market, rice has soared in price 20-fold and the cost of a block of tofu has risen from 500 won to 10,000 won (Pounds47.50 at the official exchange rate) according to the Chosun Ilbo, a South Korean newspaper"

"The $18 billion-a-year industry barely broke even, with 23 of 54 hospitals and hospital systems showing operating losses, according to the New Jersey Hospital Association's annual report, "Financial Status of New Jersey Hospitals," issued Wednesday.

"Many hospitals — far too many — are barely scraping by," said Betsy Ryan, the association's president and chief executive officer. "New Jersey has a state full of hospitals teetering on the edge.""

"But as president of the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute, he noted that the hospitals' problems "are all symptoms of a broken system." Lack of insurance, pressure on hospital reimbursements, an aging population, chronic diseases and a poor economy all contribute to the bleak outlook for hospitals, he said.

Nine hospitals have closed in New Jersey, and six have filed for bankruptcy since 2007.

The grim financial picture turned even darker in 2008 when losses on investments, new accounting rules, and huge increases in unfunded pension liabilities were considered. The total margin ratio, which includes those non-operating losses, plunged to negative 14.1 percent, from last year's 0.9 percent, the report said."

"The system was 105 percent funded as of June 2008, meaning its assets were 5 percent greater than the present value of all potential benefits payable in the future. It fell to 76 percent funded as of June 30 this year."

"A major deficit in the MODOT retirement fund means layoffs across the state.

The Kansas City Star reports that the department's retirement account has an unfunded liability of $1.6 billion dollars.

MODOT Director Pete Rahn says the agency will cut 100 jobs at ten district offices across the state.

Because of the retirement shortfall, MODOT will have to increase its contribution by $5 million dollars a year for the next 15 years."

"The state's cash-flow problems are so dire that it took less than two weeks for government to tap the entire $700 million loan it had borrowed to help with short-term needs.

State Treasurer Dean Martin on Wednesday said that means the state will have to revert to some internal borrowing to keep money flowing in the state's checking account.

The shortage developed when the Treasurer's Office had to make a Dec. 1 payment of $389 million to the state's schools, which exceeded the cash on hand. To make up the difference, Martin borrowed $73 million from internal state accounts."

"The November Mortgage Monitor report, released by Lender Processing Services, Inc., reveals a nationwide loan deterioration ratio higher than 3:1 - indicating that for every one loan improved, three more loans are deteriorating.

Of home loans that were current as of December 2008, more than two million, or 4.02 percent, were delinquent or in foreclosure by the end of October 2009. High rates of deterioration were particularly evident in the Northeast and Northwest. Thirty-one states now have non-current loan rates (delinquency plus foreclosure rates) ranging from 10 percent in Missouri to as high as 22.7 percent in Florida."

"WASHINGTON, Dec 3 (Reuters) - Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on Thursday said it was vital to get U.S. budget deficits down in order to spur private-sector growth that creates jobs and predicted it will begin happening in 2011.

But first the financial system must be stabilized.

"You cannot address those long-term deficits, you cannot put the government of the United States in a position that we can go back to living within our means, unless you repair the damage done to this economy and to its revenue base," he said on CNBC television.

The budget deficit hit a record $1.4 trillion in fiscal 2009 that ended Sept. 30 and is forecast to be in the same range next year, fostering doubt in global markets about the dollar's value because of huge U.S. borrowing needs.

Geithner said it was "important" for the United States to maintain a strong dollar and said he takes seriously its key position as a global reserve currency. He said the United States needs to persuade the world it will be more fiscally responsible in future.

"If we can be credible and make sure the American people understand and the world understand that we're going to bring down these deficits once growth is established, we will have more ability now to do what we need to do to get jobs created, get investment going now," he said.

"Sometime in 2011 we'll begin the process of getting those deficits down," Geithner added. He said current deficits were "unsustainably high" but said the Obama administration inherited them when it took office in January."

 

......................Here's the rest of the Tim Geithner interview

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Re: Daily Digest - December 3

It just keeps getting better and better (irony).

DavidC

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Re: Daily Digest - December 3

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Re: Daily Digest - December 3

Was the interruption in gold trading (see above in Got gold?) an example of "another area of concern" Chris wrote about in "What to Look Out For - The Dollar and Interest Rates"?

 

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Re: Daily Digest - December 3

Re: Willem Bleiter-Does anyone remember when Roubini was recruited (as a consultant I think) by Goldman after the first collapse? I wonder if he stayed on with them...
How many others have been subjected to such generous "offers". (I am older so use sarcasm instead of irony :) )

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Re: Daily Digest - December 3

I'm English so I have no axe to grind, but those people at CNBC appear to be buffoons. And why do they always have to interrupt and/or shout?

DavidC

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Re: Daily Digest - December 3

GS with guns?

A friend once told me that buying a gun to feel protected was like buying a paino and callig yourself a musician.

It takes time, persistence and pateint training to become self-protected with a gun.  Which, ironically, are character traits I think may be lacking in most GS traders types.

The world just gets crazier and crazier!  What a ride!

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Prosperity Without Growth: Economics for a Finite Planet

New book:

Prosperity Without Growth: Economics for a Finite Planet.”

http://www.earthscan.co.uk/ProsperityWithoutGrowth/tabid/102098/Default....

Here are some thoughts from the author:

“Governments are locked into defending growth in a system where stability depends on growth. Chasing growth makes it incredibly difficult to chase climate goals, too. So what we urgently need is an economic system that doesn’t rely on growth. Right now, the one we have is undermining the ability of governments to function properly. It is undermining wellbeing in the richest nations and it is driving us rapidly toward catastrophic climate change.”

Jackson’s data for the book is based on two years of research in his role as economics commissioner for the United Kingdom’s Sustainable Development Commission.

And if this wasn’t enough to convince you that there is a fundamental shift happening in the field of economics, George Soros has invested $50 million to establish a new organization called the Institute for New Economic Thought to escalate discussions of this sort to the next level.

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Re: Daily Digest - December 3
bikemonkey wrote:

GS with guns?

A friend once told me that buying a gun to feel protected was like buying a paino and callig yourself a musician.

It takes time, persistence and pateint training to become self-protected with a gun.  Which, ironically, are character traits I think may be lacking in most GS traders types.

The world just gets crazier and crazier!  What a ride!

Good analogy. I used to go to a simulator that was taught by a former LEO and the training I found invaluable. Though the scenarios were geared to teach LE it was really super.

The part of the article I liked best was them vouching for character. Dear Judge: I think this GS employee is the most ethical bank robber I know and don't worry about him using a gun to rob a bank, he already knows that is for children. Robbing a bank by paying off politicians through lobbyists and using corpocracy is the way to make billions and not be prosecuted.

 

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Re: Daily Digest - December 3

Digest Quote:  "Some try to argue the failures of capitalism but our current system is more of a corporatocracy."

 

Anybody want to tell me why the "Corporatocracy" scam is not unregulated capitalism run amok? In my opinion, that is exactly what it is.

Jim

 

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Re: Daily Digest - December 3
jpitre wrote:

Digest Quote:  "Some try to argue the failures of capitalism but our current system is more of a corporatocracy."

 

Anybody want to tell me why the "Corporatocracy" scam is not unregulated capitalism run amok? In my opinion, that is exactly what it is.

Jim

 

From this documentary http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=3203253804055041031# I kind of got the view that it means government leaders going through the revolving corporate door and then back into govt and then back into corporations. But I agree that the train left the rails the system is amok. Take care

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Re: Daily Digest - December 3

Davos wrote:  "I kind of got the view that it means government leaders going through the revolving corporate door and then back into govt and then back into corporations"

 

Exactly, and I can't imagine a more effective way of controlling the the system than putting your own people on both sides of the table. Combine that with unfettered lobbying and campaign finance, and the big corporations/banks have it wrapped up in the ultimate capitalist monopolistic system that will only work to our detriment even more unless we take it back soon.

 

Jim

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Re: Daily Digest - December 3

 

Anybody want to tell me why the "Corporatocracy" scam is not unregulated capitalism run amok? In my opinion, that is exactly what it is.

Because in true capitalism you wouldn't have government interferring in the market.  Without the current interference capitilism is much more self regulating.  You have to have government favoring one party over another, or manipulating things  to fall into the state we are currently in.

I would instead say "Corporatocracy" scam is regulated capitism run amok. 

Think about it, if you don't have government able to manipulate the markets and money you get rid of: the fed, special interest groups, lobbists, many lawyers, lifetime politicians, .... 

In capitialism when a company starts to do things badly, then the market will favor a competitor.  For instance, if you didn't have government in banking and you had a bank make stupid investments and loose the customers money, people wouldnt use that bank, but instead no one cares what the banks do because of FDIC.

 

 

 

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Seb. Bunnings takes Bernanke out to the woodshed

This is your must watch of the evening!

 

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Sen. Bunning takes Bernanke out to the woodshed

This is your must watch of the evening!

 

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Re: Daily Digest - December 3
jpitre wrote:

Digest Quote:  "Some try to argue the failures of capitalism but our current system is more of a corporatocracy."

 

Anybody want to tell me why the "Corporatocracy" scam is not unregulated capitalism run amok? In my opinion, that is exactly what it is.

Jim

 

 

Capitalism is the free market.  It is the ability of individuals to do with their property and labor as they please and in turn they must live with the consequences (good or bad) of those decisions.  At it's core capitalism is freedom.  Government's only role in true capitalism is to nab the criminals who would use deceit and/or coercion to thwart the free market.  The US has long since allowed the federal government to overstep that boundary and the government now actually enables those who wish to use deceit and coercion.

When we allow the government to seize individual property and give it to others whom the government deems more deserving the end result is ALWAYS the same - tyranny.  It ends with those in power enriching themselves and their cronies at the expense of the masses.  It doesn't matter what form the initial government takes - socialism, fascism, communism, corporatism - if the government has the power to seize private property it will eventually reach the point where those in charge take everything for themselves while impoverishing the public. 

Where people get confused with corporatism, is they believe that the corporations are operating within the free market.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  They could never wield the power they have in a free market system.  They wield the power they have because they have gained control of the government either through lobbying, bribes(aka political donations), or infiltration - usually all three.  We are ruled as much by the corporations as we are by the people we elect.  The failure you see in the system now is just one more iteration of a process we have seen a thousand times throughout history - tyranny.

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Re: Daily Digest - December 3

How refreshing to see that coming from an elected official.

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Re: Daily Digest - December 3

Another good movie about bribes is Frontlines "Black Money". There is some but not a lot of government interaction there.

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Re: Daily Digest - December 3
sensei wrote:
jpitre wrote:

Digest Quote:  "Some try to argue the failures of capitalism but our current system is more of a corporatocracy."

 

Anybody want to tell me why the "Corporatocracy" scam is not unregulated capitalism run amok? In my opinion, that is exactly what it is.

Jim

 

 

Capitalism is the free market.  It is the ability of individuals to do with their property and labor as they please and in turn they must live with the consequences (good or bad) of those decisions.  At it's core capitalism is freedom.  Government's only role in true capitalism is to nab the criminals who would use deceit and/or coercion to thwart the free market.  The US has long since allowed the federal government to overstep that boundary and the government now actually enables those who wish to use deceit and coercion.

When we allow the government to seize individual property and give it to others whom the government deems more deserving the end result is ALWAYS the same - tyranny.  It ends with those in power enriching themselves and their cronies at the expense of the masses.  It doesn't matter what form the initial government takes - socialism, fascism, communism, corporatism - if the government has the power to seize private property it will eventually reach the point where those in charge take everything for themselves while impoverishing the public. 

Where people get confused with corporatism, is they believe that the corporations are operating within the free market.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  They could never wield the power they have in a free market system.  They wield the power they have because they have gained control of the government either through lobbying, bribes(aka political donations), or infiltration - usually all three.  We are ruled as much by the corporations as we are by the people we elect.  The failure you see in the system now is just one more iteration of a process we have seen a thousand times throughout history - tyranny.

 

Great points. I'll just add that Adam Smith's book, "The Theory of Moral Sentiments", written before "The Wealth of Nations" makes a good case for moral and responsible behavior. Thus, a good captiaist is a moral and responsible individual and works within true free markets and resists trying to find favor for himself or slant the playing field for himself by lobbying and corruption. Yes, I know this is an ideal. We should all strive for the ideal. Human nature causes any system, captialist, socialist, etc. to be exploited by the few.  Relatively few are taught to emulate traditional virtues these days, probably one of our biggest problems.

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Re: Daily Digest - December 3

http://www.24hgold.com/english/news-gold-silver-apocalypse-this-way-come...

Much truth here, enjoy.

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Re: Daily Digest - December 3

septimus, Davos, rhare & sensei

Great stuff -- thanks to you all

I happened to be reading Charles Hugh Smith-Survival and came across his comment :

"As I have described in this analysis, capitalism requires competition and transparency to function yet the highest, lowest-risk profits are gained from secrecy, collusion, fraud, monopoly and cartels and a partnership between the financial-rentier private-sector Elites and the parasitic Elites which control the State: the precise stage of Capitalism we find dominates the present era."

While I agree that we all would like to think of pure capitalism in the ways contemplated by Adam Smith, with freedom & free markets the reality is that without a great deal of vigilance and effort, it will degenerate into the kind of mess we find ourselves in today. Even Smith said that organizations need to be small and not able to control markets - and while not his words, the "too big to fail" concept did not fall within his ideals

I think much of how we view these issues has to do with our individual concepts of what the term “Capitalism” really means to each -- I don’t think that there is a clear consensus established as to what it really is -- maybe one of our challenges it to properly define the meaning of Capitalism. I notice that even Wikipedia is not quite sure

Jim

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Re: Prosperity without Growth

I recently attended a Congress in Germany with Tim Jackson and found it very interesting! You can download his presentation (in english) unter this link: http://www.denkwerkzukunft.de/downloads/Tim-Jackson_Prosperity-without-Growth.pdf. There was even a MP 3 Audio on the website http://www.denkwerkzukunft.de/index.php/aktivitaeten/index/Ergebnisse. Also very interesting a new presentation from Denis Meadows (Club of Rome) on this website.

Best greetings from Germany

Regina

 

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