Monday, July 27, 2015

Re-posting policy

There has been some confusion on this, so let me clarify. It is henceforth not allowed to take entire articles from this blog and publish them on some other web site. It is still allowed to publish short excerpts provided this is done with proper attribution and a link back to the original. Of course, there are no issues at all with sharing articles from this blog via email, Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, etc. There are no issues with publishing translations of them, but please let me know if you do so that I can link to them. Thank you.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

It's really very simple

[En français]

[Credit to Dmitry Leikin, whose brief post at served as the source and the inspiration for this piece.]

There are times when a loud cry of “The emperor has no clothes!” can be most copacetic. And so, let me point out something quite simple, yet very important.

The old world order, to which we became accustomed over the course of the 1990s and the 2000s, its crises and its problems detailed in numerous authoritative publications on both sides of the Atlantic—it is no more. It is not out sick and it is not on vacation. It is deceased. It has passed on, gone to meet its maker, bought the farm, kicked the bucket and joined the crowd invisible. It is an ex-world order.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

So you say you don't want a revolution?

Over the past few months we have been forced to bear witness to a humiliating farce unfolding in Europe. Greece, which was first accepted into the European Monetary Union under false pretenses, then saddled with excessive levels of debt, then crippled through the imposition of austerity, finally did something: the Greeks elected a government that promised to shake things up. The Syriza party platform had the following planks, which were quite revolutionary in spirit.
  • Put an end to austerity and put the Greek economy on a path toward recovery
  • Raise the income tax to 75% for all incomes over 500,000 euros, adopt a tax on financial transactions and a special tax on luxury goods.
  • Drastically cut military expenditures, close all foreign military bases on Greek soil and withdraw from NATO. End military cooperation with Israel and support the creation of a Palestinian State within the 1967 borders.
  • Nationalize the banks.
  • Enact constitutional reforms to guarantee the right to education, health care and the environment.
  • Hold referendums on treaties and other accords with the European Union.

Monday, July 20, 2015




Tuesday, July 14, 2015

What's Wrong with Our Monetary System and How to Fix It

[Guest post by Adrian Kuzminski]

[Promoted by the comments, Adrian has provided an update.]

Something's profoundly wrong with our global financial system. Pope Francis is only the latest to raise the alarm:

“Human beings and nature must not be at the service of money. Let us say no to an economy of exclusion and inequality, where money rules, rather than service. That economy kills. That economy excludes. That economy destroys Mother Earth.”

What the Pope calls “an economy of exclusion and inequality, where money rules” is widely evident. What is not so clear is how we got into this situation, and what to do about it.

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Financial Nonsense Overload

Kelly Hensing
[En français]

“Those whom the gods wish to destroy they first make mad” goes a quote wrongly attributed to Euripides. It seems to describe the current state of affairs with regard to the unfolding Greek imbroglio. It is a Greek tragedy all right: we have the various Eurocrats—elected, unelected, and soon-to-be-unelected—stumbling about the stage spewing forth fanciful nonsense, and we have the choir of the Greek electorate loudly announcing to the world what fanciful nonsense this is by means of a referendum.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Care and Feeding of a Financial Black Hole

[En français] [En español] [По-русски] [In italiano]

A while ago I had the pleasure of hearing Sergey Glazyev—economist, politician, member of the Academy of Sciences, adviser to Pres. Putin—say something that very much confirmed my own thinking. He said that anyone who knows mathematics can see that the United States is on the verge of collapse because its debt has gone exponential. These aren't words that an American or a European politician can utter in public, and perhaps not even whisper to their significant other while lying in bed, because the American eavesdroppers might overhear them, and then the politician in question would get the Dominique Strauss-Kahn treatment (whose illustrious career ended when on a visit to the US he was falsely accused of rape and arrested). And so no European (never mind American) politician can state the obvious, no matter how obvious it is.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Pop goes the Bubble

Running a fundraiser (which, by the way, has been a great success—thank you all very much!) has prompted me to think about money more deeply than I normally do. I am no financial expert, and I certainly can't give you investment advice, but when I figure something out for myself, it makes me want to share my insights. I know that many people see national finances as an impenetrable fog of numbers and acronyms, which they feel is best left up to financial specialists to interpret for them. But try to see national finances as a henhouse, yourself as a hen, and financial specialists as foxes. Perhaps you should pay a little bit of attention—perhaps a bit more than one would expect from a chicken?

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Fundraiser Update over! Many thanks to all 506 of you who donated, and especially to William who generously gave $217 just now to drive it to exactly 100%.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Magical Content Tree

A long, long time ago books were very expensive. They were produced by copying them by hand, page by page, onto parchment, by very poor monks toiling in their monastic scriptoria, but the books they produced turned out to be expensive anyway. The aristocracy could afford them, and, of course, the clergy, but the laymen had little access to the written word.