Thursday, December 31, 2009
Bankers Get $4 Trillion Gift From Barney Frank
Commentary by David Reilly
Here are some of the nuggets I gleaned from days spent reading Frank’s handiwork:
-- For all its heft, the bill doesn’t once mention the words “too-big-to-fail,” the main issue confronting the financial system. Admitting you have a problem, as any 12- stepper knows, is the crucial first step toward recovery.
-- Instead, it supports the biggest banks. It authorizes Federal Reserve banks to provide as much as $4 trillion in emergency funding the next time Wall Street crashes. So much for “no-more-bailouts” talk. That is more than twice what the Fed pumped into markets this time around. The size of the fund makes the bribes in the Senate’s health-care bill look minuscule.
-- Oh, hold on, the Federal Reserve and Treasury Secretary can’t authorize these funds unless “there is at least a 99 percent likelihood that all funds and interest will be paid back.” Too bad the same models used to foresee the housing meltdown probably will be used to predict this likelihood as well.
Interview with German Environment Minister Norbert Röttgen
'China Doesn't Want to Lead, and the US Cannot'
German Environment Minister Norbert Röttgen talks to SPIEGEL about the failure of the Copenhagen climate summit, why neither China nor the US can take the lead in the fight against global warming and Germany's role in the new world order.
SPIEGEL: Mr. Röttgen, Chancellor Angela Merkel says we shouldn't bad mouth the outcome of the world climate summit in Copenhagen. Please tell us, as a minister who is loyal to the chancellor, exactly what good came out of it.
Norbert Röttgen: First and foremost, the result is a great disappointment. But one should not overlook the fact that one thing has been achieved and secured: The goal of keeping global warming from rising by more than 2 degrees Celsius is included in the closing document and there is a stated desire to provide aid worth billions for sustainable development in developing nations. China has also agreed for the first time to allow its emissions cuts to be tracked. We agreed to this because it is better than doing nothing. We will now continue on this basis. The alternative would have been a total collapse of the climate protection process.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
3 Fraud Probes Target Goldman, AIG: Is It "The" Story of 2010?
It does not take much reading between the lines of recent news stories--although, technically, this is still just speculation--to come to a yet-to-be-confirmed conclusion that many executives from numerous Wall Street firms, including Goldman Sachs' past and present CEOs Hank Paulson and Lloyd Blankfein, respectively, may be in the cross-hairs of multiple fraud investigations by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), and Congress. (See Gretchen Morgenson's NY Times links, further down the page.)
No IMF Aid Expected for Greece
EU to Solve Financial Fiasco Alone
Beleaguered Greece is one of 16 European Union member states that are members of the common currency euro zone.
A growing roster of central bankers and politicians are opposed to the idea of an IMF bailout for Greece. They argue it would violate European Union law and that the bloc is big enough to solve the problem on its own.
It is becoming increasingly unlikely that the European Union will allow the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to step in and provide ailing euro zone member state Greece with a bailout. A growing number of politicians and central bankers are opposed to any form of IMF intervention.
"We don't need the IMF," Axel Weber, president of Germany's central bank, the Bundesbank, said, according to a report published in Monday's issue of SPIEGEL. Weber noted that it is illegal in Europe to finance budget deficits using the kind of central bank funds which are at the IMF's disposal. With his statement, Weber joins ranks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who believes IMF intervention would send the wrong political signal. The EU, she believes, is strong enough to handle Greece's problems on its own.
The Threat of Pollution Tariffs
Economists Warn of a Climate Trade War
By Markus Becker and Christoph Seidler
These days, screwing with the environment could cost you: The failed summit in Copenhagen has spawned the idea for a carbon surcharge in global trade. Just how serious are the threats from Western politicians against China & Co.? International lawyers and environmental economists are skeptical.
John Kerry was on a roll. At the Copenhagen climate summit, the former US presidential candidate delivered a fiery speech that was mostly directed at China. If the US has to accept binding targets for reducing their greenhouse gas emissions, then Beijing must do the same, Kerry told his audience. Workers in the US should not "lose their jobs to India and China because those countries are not participating in a way that is measurable, reportable and verifiable," he said.
This was an expression of the old fear in industrialized countries that aggressive action on climate change could lead to local economic disadvantages. Environmentalist politicians and academics have long been calling for the establishment of a global emissions trade. It is a simple and captivating idea for many: Each state gets a certain amount of CO2 allowances. Those who want to emit more must buy emissions rights from other countries that emit less CO2. Ideally, poorer countries would automatically make money, and rich countries would at the same time have a financial incentive to reduce their CO2 emissions.
The New Decade: Billionaire Bailouts or Progressive Resurgence?
Les Leopold Author, "The Looting of America"
We just got a glimpse of the future and it ain't pretty.
Over the past decade Wall Street went on a reckless betting spree that nearly ruined us. First, they gambled their way into enormous riches based on absurd financial instruments that turned toxic, They paid themselves lavishly, went bust, and then forced the taxpayers to cover all their bad bets. After begging for and receiving the largest welfare package in history, their record profits and bonuses are miraculously returning, while the (BLS U6) jobless rate hovers over 17 percent. Thankfully, that's over and done with.
Or is it? Too-big to fail is now our official policy: The nineteen largest financial institutions that comprise two-thirds of our banking system have been declared permanent fixtures. Our leaders talk of reining them in and of collecting fees to help pay the cost of future bailouts. But, talk is cheap and campaign contributions are always welcomed.
The Cash Committee: How Wall Street Wins On The Hill
The question was simple: Should the lending practices of auto dealers be regulated?
It was already October and the 42 Democrats and 29 Republicans on the House Committee on Financial Services had spent the better part of the year hashing out the details of a new federal agency dedicated to protecting consumers from dangerous and deceptive financial products.
Auto dealers seemed like an obvious target for the new agency; nearly every time someone buys a car, the dealer also sells them an auto loan, complete with promises like zero per cent interest and a pile of cash back. Americans hold some $850 billion in car debt and dealers are responsible for marketing roughly four-fifths of that amount. They pocket lucrative commissions with little oversight, and the committee seemed poised to change that.
Enter Rep. John Campbell (R-Calif.), a former Saab dealer from Orange County, who according to his latest financial disclosure statement still collects rent from some of his former auto dealer colleagues. Campbell downplayed the importance of his industry partners and proposed an amendment to the bill exempting dealers from the new agency's purview. On October 22, it came up for a vote.
J Mays: What I've Learned
Ford's chief designer on erasing the Mustang history, hating cell-phone status, and more
By Cal Fussman
I don't think Americans see themselves as clearly as Europeans see them.
The dirty little secret about simplicity is that it's really hard to do.
A designer is only as good as what he or she knows. If all you know is what you've garnered from fifteen years of living in Detroit, it's going to limit what you can lay down. If you've had experiences around the world, you'll be able to design a much richer story for people to enjoy.
Monday, December 28, 2009
Note to “Salary Czar” Feinberg: Bankers Yield Negative Returns
By: Cynthia Kouril
The New Economics Foundation has done an analysis of executive pay based upon an approach called social return on investment. They have produced a rather scholarly looking report [PDF] entitled A Bit Rich, which with the authors being Brits and all, is also a double-entendre.
The study looked at six different jobs and compared what the worker got paid vs. the value of that work to society, among them bankers. The report concluded that City bankers to destroy £7 of social value for every pound in value they generate. In other terms, this is a net negative £6 (roughly $10 in U.S. currency) for every unit of production.
Hospital cleaners on the other hand were estimated to produce £10 of social value for every £1 they are paid; mostly because their work helps to stop the spread of disease and provide for better (less expensive) outcomes for hospital patients. Waste Recycling workers were estimated at 12-to-1.
When the Economic Crisis Ends, the Political Crisis will Begin
Who Will Pay For the Economic Collapse?
By SHAMUS COOKE
First Iceland, then Ireland, now Greece. Much of Europe is mired in inescapable debt and bankrupt nations, the result of crashing banks, bank bailouts, and soaring unemployment. The U.S. and U.K. watch from a distance, knowing their turn is next.
The European corporate-elite — like their American counterparts — lavished non-stop praise on the “bold yet necessary” decision to bail out the banks; the economy was supposedly saved from “impending collapse.” But every action has an equal but opposite reaction. Bailing out the banks saved the butts of dozens of European bankers, but now millions of workers are about to experience a thundering kick in the ass.
And then on Christmas Eve the folks of Apollo 8 sent us this:
This picture became the basis, in many ways, for the environmental movements that would follow. Seeing our planet as this tiny speck in space was sobering indeed. It was the highlight moment of the space race.
More of the story can be seen here;
Friday, December 25, 2009
Let me explain. I grew up in a Lutheran parsonage. The life of the preacher's kid is a series of events where the PK is expected to be the model of good behavior. Other kids had the option of singing in the choir--I did not. My mother believed that if you always followed the social rules, you would always be above criticism--think of a more decorous preacher's wife version of Dana Carvey's church lady, and you would be about right. And of all the get-it-right moments in the church year, NOTHING was more important than Christmas. We're talking about Christmas plays, and caroling, and authentic smorgasbords, and a Christmas letter that went out to about 500 people. For extra Christmas fun, I was sent to a religious elementary school that would stage a Christmas show so elaborate, we began working on it the second day of school in September.
The stress of all this perfectionism was offset by the disappointing reality that in rural churches on the windswept prairies of Minnesota and North Dakota, a lot of singing was off-key, the Christmas tree was pretty scrawny, and the smorgasbord wasn't very authentic. All that effort for such a miserable outcome left me feeling cheated and I hated the shouting matches that would erupt over some sentence in the Christmas letter, or whatever.
I grew to loathe Christmas--at least the versions I had known. So when I went to university, I continued singing in choirs. I thought that maybe if the music was done well, I could actually find that elusive joy we kept singing about. And yes indeed, it is MUCH more fun to sing in a good choir. But I was still miserable. So I stopped trying. I often claim my favorite Christmas was the one where I drove a taxi until midnight before going home and defrosting the refrigerator. But even ignoring Christmas doesn't work very well because of this:
The only thing I forgive religion for is music and Christmas has, by FAR, the best music. Kiellor is right--we SHOULD object to the commercial dreck that sullies our musical heritage. I mean, have you ever actually eaten a roasted chestnut--and what does it have to do with Christmas? And why does Rudolf get to share the stage with Berlioz' L' Enfant du Christ, or Handel's Messiah, or O Day Full of Grace? Or the immortal Bach?
Of course, that doesn't mean that Keillor didn't set off the PC crew with his little rant. It shouldn't take long to figure out why if you read the whole thing. The paragraphs below show Keillor also understands a great deal about the absurdities of academic economics.
Don't mess with Christmas
It's a Christian holiday, dammit, and it's plain wrong to rewrite "Silent Night." Unitarians, I'm talking to you!
BY GARRISON KEILLOR
People in Cambridge learn to be wary of brilliance, having seen geniuses in the throes of deep thought step into potholes and disappear.
Such as the brilliant economist Lawrence Summers, whose presidency brought Harvard to the verge of disaster. He was the man who, against the advice of his lessers, invested Harvard's operating funds in the stock market and lost the bet. In the cold light of day, this was dumber than dirt, like putting the kids' lunch money on Valiant's Fancy to win in the fifth.
And now the genius is in the White House, two short flights of stairs above the Oval Office. This does not make Cambridgeans feel better about our nation's economic future.
You can blame Ralph Waldo Emerson for the brazen foolishness of the elite. He preached here at the First Church of Cambridge, a Unitarian outfit (where I discovered that "Silent Night" has been cleverly rewritten to make it more about silence and night and not so much about God), and Emerson tossed off little bons mots that have been leading people astray ever since. "To be great is to be misunderstood," for example. This tiny gem of self-pity has given license to a million arrogant and unlovable people to imagine that their unpopularity somehow was proof of their greatness.
And all his hoo-ha about listening to the voice within and don't follow the path, make your own path and leave a trail and so forth, encouraged people who might've been excellent janitors to become bold and innovative economists who run a wealthy university into the ditch.
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Rewarding a Catastrophe
Bernanke and the Corruption of Washington Culture
By DEAN BAKER
The Senate Finance Committee overwhelmingly voted to approve Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke for another 4-year term. This is a remarkable event since it is hard to imagine how Bernanke could have performed worse in his last 4-year term. By Bernanke’s own assessment, his policies brought the economy to the brink of another Great Depression. This sort of performance in any other job would get you fired in a second, but for the most important economic policymaker in the country it gets you high praise and another 4-year term.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
50,000 People Went to Denmark and All They Got was a Lousy 3-Page Political Agreement
What Really Happened in Copenhagen?
By BRIAN TOKAR
Detailed accounts from participants in the recent Copenhagen climate summit are still coming in, but a few things are already quite clear, even as countries step up the blame game in response to the summit’s disappointing conclusion.
First, the 2 1/2 pages of diplomatic blather that the participating countries ultimately consented to “take note” of are completely self-contradictory, and commit no one to any specific actions to address the global climate crisis. There isn’t even a plan for moving UN-level negotiations forward. Friends of the Earth correctly described it as a “sham agreement,” British columnist George Monbiot called it an exercise in “saving face,” and former neoliberal shock doctor-turned-environmentalist Jeffrey Sachs termed it a farce. Long-time UN observer Martin Khor has pointed out that for a UN body to “take note” of a document means that not only was it not formally adopted, but it was not even “welcomed,” a common UN practice.
Banks and Bailouts: Playing Politics?
Ross professors say banks with strong political ties were more likely to get government bailout funds.
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Banks with strong political connections were more likely to receive bailout money from the government — and more of it — in the past year than those with weaker ties, say Ross researchers.
A new study by Ross professors Ran Duchin and Denis Sosyura found that banks with connections to members of congressional finance committees and banks whose executives served on Federal Reserve boards were more likely to receive funds from the Troubled Asset Relief Program, the federal government's program to purchase assets and equity from financial institutions to strengthen its financial sector.
Anti-Dean Salvo Fuels War on Progressives - "Bushkrieg" Bares Audacity of Arrogance
by Robert Becker
Headline from the Wall Street Journal, "Rahm Emanuel: Don't Worry About the Left," reporting how Obama's chief of staff conspired with Joe Lieberman to dump the public option and Medicare buy-in. The result, according to one "former Democratic official," is White House denial about "how much trouble they're in" and costly miscalculations about "what's happening with progressives and the left."
If instead progressives are right, then this jumble called "health reform" is not just bad medicine for millions, but a drone strike against hard-won Democratic House majorities. As a result, Obama's war on progressives surged again this week, as the dark side of take-no-prisoners, obedience-is-all, Chicago-style politics surfaced. Two nasty, parallel attacks impugned the leftwing icon, Howard Dean, for logically stating his mind: this is not health reform but an "insurance company's dream" written by the industry lobby and setting off a "Washington scramble."
Monday, December 21, 2009
BMW Halts 7 Series Hydrogen Vehicle Testing
By Eric Loveday
photo credit: Nick Humphries.
Is hydrogen dead? According to BMW, the answer may be yes for now. The company has decided to halt real-world testing of the 7 Series Hydrogen vehicles citing a lack of infrastructure and high conversion costs of the newly introduced 7 Series as the reason to end the on road test program.
The 7 Series hydrogen test program has logged more than 2 million accumulative miles to date in the hands of 100 selected individuals. The two year test program will come to a halt early next year. Though BMW does see promise in hydrogen technology, they do not see widespread support or necessary infrastructure components to make hydrogen a reality any time soon.
Why Obama Is Failing
by Robert Parry
A year ago, as Barack Obama was assembling his administration, he was at a crossroads with two paths going off in very different directions: one would have led to a populist challenge to the Washington/New York political-economic establishments; the other called for collaboration and cajoling.
Faced with a dire financial crisis and two foreign wars – not to mention a host of long-festering problems like health care, the environment, debt and de-industrialization – Obama’s choice was not an easy one.
If he took the populist route and further panicked the financial markets, the nation and the world might have plunged into a new Depression with massive unemployment.
There were also political dangers if he chose the populist path. The national news media rests almost entirely in the hands of corporate “centrists” and right-wing ideologues, who would have framed the issues in the most negative way, blaming the “radical” Obama for “wealth destroying.”
Euro 'Diktats’ risk terrorist response across Southern Europe
By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, International Business Editor, Telegraph UK
It is becoming dangerous to associate with economic and ideological power in Southern Europe, or what Europol calls the "Mediterranean triangle" of anarchist violence.
Greece's Revolutionary Struggle detonated a car bomb at the Athens Stock Exchange in September. Citigroup's branches have been targeted twice this year.
Hooded extremists attacked the rector of Athens University in his office this month, sending him to hospital with head injuries.
In Milan, the Informal Anarchist Federation (FAI) planted 2kg of dynamite last week at Bocconi University, the symbol of the free market in Italy.
The FAI left a note threatening a "bloodbath" for capitalists. Security forces have issued alerts for the Milan bourse, Unicredit, and Barclays. Italians have begun to ask whether their country is returning to the 1970s, the "years of lead" when the Red Brigades murdered ex-premier Aldo Moro.
Foreclose on the Banks: How to Give America Its Best Christmas Ever
by Ted Rall
Who knew bankers could be so amusing? In an interview, Citi mortgage czar Sanjiv Das acknowledged that "moratoriums are not permanent solutions" and said his company was looking for "some long-term fundamental alternatives" to throwing people out of their homes because they've fallen behind on their payments. But he didn't offer a specific example.
Here, allow me. There's one "long-term fundamental alternative" that's righteous, makes sense, and legal: Let's foreclose on the banks. It's time for the U.S. government to show Mr. Das and his buddies down at the country club who is the boss.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Chart found at Clusterstock. In 2009, the U.S. experienced one of the worst bouts of manufacturing capacity destruction in decades. Note those good little Predators have excuses for why this catastrophe is a good thing.
California Bonds Fail on Advice Bill Lockyer Couldn’t Refuse
By Michael B. Marois
Dec. 17 (Bloomberg) -- For California Treasurer Bill Lockyer, the offer from Goldman Sachs Group Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Citigroup Inc. was too good to refuse.
If California was willing to forgo competitive bidding for a $4.5 billion bond offering, the banks promised more orders from individuals and a lower bill to the taxpayers. The firms insisted that by negotiating with them, the state would benefit from its special relationship with the Wall Street troika and wind up with what two underwriters called a salutary “buzz” to boost demand for the debt.
When the October offering failed to sell as planned, California was forced to accept 8 percent less money than it needed and to pay as much as $123 million more in interest than the banks said was sufficient for the market. And the threesome made $12.4 million on the deal, contributing to record bonuses in the securities industry a year after getting a total of $80 billion in a federal bailout.
Harvard Swaps Are So Toxic Even Summers Won’t ExplainBy Michael McDonald, John Lauerman and Gillian Wee
Dec. 18 (Bloomberg) -- Anne Phillips Ogilby, a bond attorney at one of Boston’s oldest law firms, on Oct. 31 last year relayed an urgent message from Harvard University, her client and alma mater, to the head of a Massachusetts state agency that sells bonds. The oldest and richest academic institution in America needed help getting a loan right away.
As vanishing credit spurred the government-led rescue of dozens of financial institutions, Harvard was so strapped for cash that it asked Massachusetts for fast-track approval to borrow $2.5 billion. Almost $500 million was used within days to exit agreements known as interest-rate swaps that Harvard had entered to finance expansion in Allston, across the Charles River from its main campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
The swaps, which assumed that interest rates would rise, proved so toxic that the 373-year-old institution agreed to pay banks a total of almost $1 billion to terminate them. Most of the wrong-way bets were made in 2004, when Lawrence Summers, now President Barack Obama’s economic adviser, led the university. Cranes were recently removed from the construction site of a $1 billion science center that was to be the expansion’s centerpiece, a reminder of Summers’s ambition. The school said last week they will suspend work on the building early next year.
Friday, December 18, 2009
As charming as I find Obama, I am not at all surprised that he has committed himself to the Predator agenda--war and peace to the warmongers, economics to the banksters, etc. Nothing in his background would indicate he even knows the Producer Classes exist--much less that their agenda is worth considering.
More and more, Obama seems a faux liberal
December 16, 2009
By JOHN R. MacARTHUR
Following President Obama’s war speeches at West Point and Oslo —- two breathtaking exercises in political cynicism that killed any hope of authentic liberal reform — I’ve got only one question: Have the liberals who worshipped at the altar of “change you can believe in” had enough?
There was already ample evidence of Obama’s feeble commitment to peace, progress and justice. Ever since he started fundraising for his presidential campaign, it’s been clear that the principal change in the offing was skin tone and slogans. One only needed to read “The Audacity of Hope” to see how thoroughly Obama was enmeshed in the neo-liberal orthodoxies of the Robert Rubin-Clinton wing of the Democratic Party. Obama’s impeccably establishment party credentials — that is, his fealty to the Democratic leadership of Chicago and Capitol Hill — practically guaranteed that he would hew to the status quo when forced to choose.
Trumka Takes on the ‘Neoliberalism’ that Broke U.S. EconomyIn Tuesday’s live Web chat, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka talked about what we need to do to fix our economy in both the short term and the long term—and touched on a vital, too-infrequently discussed issue: the need to end the stranglehold neoliberal economic thinking has on our politics.
Spurred by Milton Friedman and other economists, the neoliberal agenda is based on the radical principle that it’s markets, not people, that matter most. By nature, the neoliberal principle is hostile to collective bargaining, public regulation and all manner of ways to leverage community power to balance out the power of wealth. Trumka sums up Friedman’s poisonous political philosophy:
He believed that anything that got in the way of the free market was something that was bad and should be eliminated. Any regulation on business is bad, so get rid of it; any tax on business is bad and distorts the marketplace, get rid of it. A union is bad and distorts the marketplace, so you have to get rid of it.
For the last 30 years, that’s the system that we’ve had here. It brought us to this crisis.
Leaked UN report shows cuts offered at Copenhagen would lead to 3C rise
UN secretariat initial draft shows gap of up to 4.2 gigatonnes of CO2 between present pledges and cuts required to limit rise to 2C
UN secretariat initial draft shows gap of up to 4.2 gigatonnes of CO2 between present pledges and cuts required to limit rise to 2C
A rise of 3C would mean up to 170 million more people suffering severe coastal floods and 550 million more at risk of hunger, according to the Stern review. Photograph: Stephen Morrison/EPA The emissions cuts offered so far at the Copenhagen climate change summit would still lead to global temperatures rising by an average of 3C, according to a confidential UN analysis obtained by the Guardian.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
by Brent Budowsky
When President Barack Obama denounced "fat cats" during his performance on "60 Minutes," and made weak comments after his meeting with bank CEOs, I was reminded why so many Americans are angry with everyone in Washington.
The president says Wall Street doesn't get it. He has it backward. Wall Street gets it. He still doesn't.
Wall Street knows that "sticks and stones can break my bones, but faux anger cannot hurt me." Wall Street believes the president can be rolled, Congress can be bought, consumers can be screwed, jobs can be destroyed, the nation can be harmed, the public can be enraged -- and it can continue these practices without limit and without shame and pay itself gigantic bonuses for it, and nobody will fight to change this.
The Virtues of a Financial Transaction Tax
Easy and Fun Money
By DEAN BAKER
There is a growing movement in both the United States and around the world for taxing financial speculation. The logic is simple: even a very small tax on trades in stock, options, credit default swaps, and other derivative instruments can raise an enormous amount of revenue.
Even assuming large reductions in trading volume due to the tax, the country could still raise more than $100 billion a year in revenue or more than $1 trillion over the 10-year budget horizon. Trading costs have plummeted over the last three decades due to improvements in computer technology. Therefore, modest taxes on financial speculation, such as a 0.25 percent tax on the purchase or sale of a share of stock, would only raise trading costs back to the level of the 70s or 80s.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Elegant Theories That Didn't Work
The Problem with Paul Samuelson
By MICHAEL HUDSON
Paul Samuelson, America’s best known economist, died on Sunday. He was awarded the Nobel prize for economics, (founded one year earlier by a Swedish bank in 1970 “in honor of Alfred Nobel”). That award elicited this trenchant critique, published by Michael Hudson in Commonweal, December 18, 1970. The essay was titled “Does economics deserve a Nobel prize? (And by the way, does Samuelson deserve one?)”
It is bad enough that the field of psychology has for so long been a non-social science, viewing the motive forces of personality as deriving from internal psychic experiences rather than from man's interaction with his social setting. Similarly in the field of economics: since its “utilitarian” revolution about a century ago, this discipline has also abandoned its analysis of the objective world and its political, economic productive relations in favor of more introverted, utilitarian and welfare-oriented norms. Moral speculations concerning mathematical psychics have come to displace the once-social science of political economy.
To a large extent the discipline’s revolt against British classical political economy was a reaction against Marxism, which represented the logical culmination of classical Ricardian economics and its paramount emphasis on the conditions of production. Following the counter-revolution, the motive force of economic behavior came to be viewed as stemming from man's wants rather than from his productive capacities, organization of production, and the social relations that followed therefrom. By the postwar period the anti-classical revolution (curiously termed neo-classical by its participants) had carried the day. Its major textbook of indoctrination was Paul Samuelson's Economics.
Monday, December 14, 2009
When I was writing Elegant Technology back in the 1980s, it had become quite obvious that the Germans and Japanese were the most likely to produce working green technologies--I even put such a claim on my book cover. This conclusion stemmed from the fact that "green" technologies had to be an improvement on current technologies. This meant that only the folks who operated on the technological bleeding edge had any hope of advancing the art.
US left behind in technological race to fight climate change