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Signifyin(g)Monkey

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Signifyin(g)Monkey last won the day on November 11 2019

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  1. It's a thing that doesn't really work, but central banks have been encouraging anyway cause they're out of ideas, and because it lets them bailout the financial sector without having to say that's what they're doing.
  2. In case you thought China wasn’t still beating the US at the long game... Looks like the pandemic is actually aiding the ‘debt trap diplomacy’ underpinning the Belt and Road Initiative. Seriously, the BRI could easily, over the long term, be the mechanism by which China (and more broadly East Asia) reclaims global hegemony from the West—and they may not even need to fire a shot. Our clumsy response to the pandemic is just one more opportunity we’re gifting them.
  3. This’ll be new territory. No one’s ever broken up an informational monopoly before...how do you break up the information on a server? That’s Google’s monopoly. It’ll be interesting to see how they go about it.
  4. It took 12 years and a World War to recover from the Great Depression, so you can’t say that with any confidence. If the jobless numbers go from ‘temporary disemployment due to a government-imposed suspension of business’ to ‘permanent unemployment because said once-suspended businesses no longer exist’, we’re looking at a lost generation, minimum, and likely way more than 10 years.
  5. As bad as it is to contemplate, you have to eventually make that calculation. The only way to guarantee an *absolute* minimum of deaths from covid-19 is to extend the lockdown to such a degree that you cause 90-95% unemployment, starve 95% of businesses to death and *permanently* disrupt the education (not to mention the psychological well-being) of an entire generation of school-aged children and college-aged adults. It’s to essentially ensure people have very little to come back to, possibly for a long time. It’s not feasible. So, yes, you have to balance future deaths from the disease vs. the well-being of everyone else, and find a peaceable compromise. A lockdown that guarantees no deaths from coronavirus but nukes everything else isn’t feasible or desirable. It’s not just about being able to eat at Chili’s; it’s about the population being able to have, well, a life, rather than an immiserating indefinite imprisonment in their own homes, followed by the agony of being released into an economy that looks like North Korea’s.
  6. The coaches for my son’s little league are sending out surveys asking parents if they’re okay with returning for a shortened season...I have reservations, but there haven’t been a ton of cases in Iowa vs other states, and the little guy’s really been struggling with not being able to play his favorite sport and not being able to see his baseball friends. Sometimes when we’re practicing in the backyard he just kinda shuts down and wants to go inside because he says practicing reminds him of the season he’s not having. I think this shutdown could have some long-term effects on the country’s school-aged youth that no one can anticipate. I really feel for them.
  7. I got what you were saying. Add me to the list—I once walked through a house under construction in my neighborhood with my little brother when I was 11 when no one was around. We just thought it was cool to see the ‘bones’ of a building. We weren’t thinking about the whole ‘trespassing’ thing...would’ve sucked to, y’know, *die* for it.
  8. I’m baffled as to why all this is coming out now, and wasn’t brought up during the primary, when the Dems still had the chance to ditch Biden. I mean, I think Biden would lose anyway, but the Dems have *zero* chance if he drops out now and there’s no time for people to coalesce around an alternative. And this is making them look really bad in light of what went on with Kavanaugh and Franken. Why weren’t we hearing about this a few months ago? Wtf was the press doing sleeping on this story?
  9. This is what would follow if Say’s Law actually worked the way Austrian-libertarian and supply-side economists say it does. Capital would be incentivized to finance the demand for its own products by paying its workers enough to allow them to buy what they produce, thus enabling a virtuous ‘circular flow’ (as Say dubbed it) between production and consumption, and giving them a stake in growing the incomes of the rest of society. But it just doesn’t work that way right now, IRL, because Say, the Austrians and the supply-siders all overlook the destabilizing force of debt. More specifically, they fail to account for the fact that at a certain point, particularly after industrial capital has helped facilitate a high degree of widespread proletarianization and a given ‘wave’ of technological development has reached its peak and begins to decelerate, the richest members of the ruling class often find themselves in a situation where they can only get their incomes to grow faster than the average by getting the average wage-earner to go further and further into debt, because they don’t have any other way to raise productivity without having to raise the wage rate accordingly. (raising it under said conditions would make it impossible for their income to grow faster than the average) Over time this dynamic starts to disrupt the circular flow Say posited, as a greater and greater share of the income of wage-earners gets diverted away from buying what they produce and disappears into the black hole of debt service—not only because Capital is encouraging it, but also by dint of the simple fact that debts grow exponentially via the rate of interest, and productivity does not. Thence the ruling class inevitably becomes very gradually incentivized, over the course of the aforementioned long ‘waves’ of technological change—particularly as it becomes dominated by finance capital, and industrial capital falls from power—to *decrease* the real incomes of workers, and we actually get the exact opposite situation Say’s Law proposes. Historically, societies have tried to fight this destabilizing tendency through A.) forgiving a large proportion of personal debts via law/fiat, B.)devaluation of the currency/periods of high inflation, or C.) financial crises wiping the debts out in orgies of bankruptcy. Right now, we’re in a strange epoch where it seems all three options are being shut down, particularly in the US; we tried B in the 1970s, but paradoxically the devaluation of the dollar in that decade set the stage for several decades of a strong dollar and the mass financialization of the economy. The specter of the Great Depression has made C politically impossible, as 2008 and the bailouts showed, and nobody seriously talks about A, although proposals to forgive student loans show that the general concept is gaining some currency. Absent these impediments, with a greatly reduced debt overhead and with industrial capital back in charge, one might conceive of a day where Say’s Law holds again, (at least until the debts once again become burdensome enough to get in the way) and the richest of the ruling class do indeed have a motive to grow the incomes of the working class. (You could argue this is already the case in certain countries, like Germany and China, but it cannot be said to be the norm IMO) But right now, the richest of the ruling class do indeed have a perverse incentive to see that the working class sees its fortunes shrink. One hopes that something in the coming decades remedies the situation in time for the next ‘wave’ (likely to revolve around AI, automation, and 3D-printing/light manufacturing) without necessitating something as drastic as a depression or a world war.
  10. If there’s hope of a faster-than-usual recovery, it’s in pent-up demand like this.
  11. Props for picking The Intuitionist, though--Colson Whitehead is awesome. Kinda wish the Southern Political Report would spell the book's title correctly.
  12. But they are essentially okay with murder in the sense that to a nihilist murder ('wrongful' killing) has no meaning, by dint of life's meaninglessness.
  13. Yes, but it turns like every other pro-life/pro-choice argument on the definition of when 'life' begins. (and thus what qualifies as 'terminating a life') It's not particularly strange or self-contradictory, IMO. That's really all any argument about abortion vs 'choice' boils down to. No one, except for total nihilists, holds an 'anti-life'/'pro-murder' philosophy. Almost everyone agrees murder is wrong. I mean...that's typically what it's defined as, 'wrongful killing'. It's whether life begins at conception, and thus whether terminating a pregnancy can be characterized as murder, that conservatives/liberals/libertarians/communists/everyone-but-the-nihilists disagree on.
  14. At first I thought you meant k**e, then I realized you meant k****r. Odds on Musk hating both said ethnic groups?
  15. There’s a broad division between libertarian socialists and capitalist libertarians, first of all—most of the libertarians in the US are of the capitalist sort. The purist libertarian would probably argue that if the naked person is not harming you or your private property, you don’t really have any way (or at least shouldn’t have any way) to compel them to put some clothes on. However, once they’re on your property, you have the right to throw them out if they don’t follow your rules; moreover, a group of landowners could form a voluntary association where they all agree not to let anyone on their land who isn’t wearing clothes, and keep out the naked guy that way. The divisions amongst libertarians start to come out once the naked dude ignores the association’s rules and starts trespassing through no-naked-people-allowed territory. Some believe at this point you need, at the very least, a very minimal state to adjudicate disputes; others assert you could have a private court system, which would be supported by everyone’s desire to avoid feud justice, the only other seeming alternative—I.e., telling the naked guy to put some clothes on or get off your property and then shooting him if he doesn’t cooperate. I’m generally sympathetic to many libertarian critiques of the problems government bureaucracy, the criminalization of certain forms of economic exchange, and ill-constructed laws create...but at the end of the day, I also think a truly just libertarian society could not exist under capitalism and the gravitational forces of basic scarcity—it would ultimately just collapse into feudalism. And if you look at some of the progenitors of modern (capitalist) libertarianism, you’ll see that that’s exactly what they were agitating for—Ludwig von Mises, The Godfather of American (capitalist) libertarianism, was fundamentally concerned with a return to the feudal version of Habsburg Austria he idealized in his youth, whose private monarchies were being disrupted by the rise of national governments alongside the growth of the laboring classes and the bourgeoisie. (though to be fair, F.A. Hayek, the other Godfather often cited by American libertarians, was more moderate, and believed in a state that provided basic services and a universal basic income) I could see a post-scarcity, post-capitalist society evolving along libertarian lines—but parts of it would probably look more like what the libertarian socialists describe than Mises and co.
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