Modern Monetary Theory

http://rt.com/programs/capital-account/stephanie-kelton-monetary-government/

The link is to a short video at RT on modern monetary theory.  The basic idea is that we have been had by economics.  Governments can print money and their basic job should be prioritising what this is spent on in democratic fashion.  We could even print such money in order to reduce taxes.  The video is very basic and includes such issues as creating full employment in order not to waste the 34 billion man-hours as current in the USA.

One can see many difficulties in the approach – but really we should be looking at this kind of stuff rather than clapped out, simplified BBC-bimbo programmes on Marx, Hayek and Keynes that make money for Stephanie Flanders and similar crew repeating ‘made facile’ textbooks as though they are knowledgeable.

Key problems in economics are really about why we allow competition on such grounds as ‘Chinese’ wages being so much lower and never give anyone any chance of voting for or against such ‘globalisation’.  There is no reason to do this I know of other than the ideology of free-trade and connected ideas on the ‘right to manage’.

MMT would require industrial/work democracy to work and to be taken up in large trading blocks like the Americas and Europe.  Most people have never heard of it – which just demonstrates the idea of voting ‘on the economy stupid’ is done in ignorant bliss.

There Is No Alternative?

When it comes to history the following is a plausible story.

“WW1 started in 1913 with the British invasion of Iraq.  This followed much jostling with Germany, led by Kaiser Wilhelm, the man who would have been King Of Britain under today’s inheritance rules.  The Imperial powers (roughly Britain, Germany, France, Russia, Japan and USA) all had trade interests supported by big armies and navies and had even engage in joint actions, such as that against China in 1906.  Britain, France and Russia had intended to invade the USA in 1861.  The USA had War Plan Red until WW2, which was concerned with invasion by Britain, and even built some air bases near Canada, fearing invasion through Halifax.

Millions protested before WW1 but could safely be ignored.  This war left Germany with reparations it could never pay.  It’s people were generally poor in comparison with the British, though the country was clearly leading in science and culture.  Money poured in under Hitler, with large investments from the USA and banks such as JP Morgan (who had financed much of UK war effort).  The US and UK continued a policy against Japan, starving it of oil and imposing tariffs on its textiles.  WW2 broke the imperialism of France, Germany, Japan, UK and USSR, with the only victors being the USA – who then prevented Franco/British attempts at a ‘come back’ in 1956.”

I’ve always found the American victory difficult.  One can hardly doubt the spirit of its peoples’ war effort – the questions would concern the extent to which the victory was actually the unfolding of a plan and whose plan this was.

In more recent times, Iraq is invaded again, Saudi is controlled by a freak monarchy under US “control” and the invasion of Iran is only an Israeli away.  Bliar is JP Morgan’s bag man out there, and led us into an illegal, unwanted war that has killed in hundreds of thousands, despite being protested by millions.  The excuses for going into the Iraq war look as ludicrous as those for the War of Jenkin’s Ear.  China is now the eastern power with vast manufacturing capacity and a shortage of oil and other commodities.

I’m fairly sure history is repeating itself.  Both Churchill and Bliar may have been plants in our political system to do American bidding – but I doubt ‘American’ is quite the right term.  The increases in productivity in agriculture, manufacturing and even such matters as domestic cleaning should, by now, have produced a world of material plenty for all and much greater freedom from ‘disciplinary government’ and such sanctions as unemployment and poverty.  Instead, we are on the road to serfdom and find we have no democracy ‘because of global competition’.

I can support this historical version and expand on it.  I remain to be convinced of it myself, but the gist of it seems more likely than not.  I’m well aware of the alternatives and the standard model that has WW1 starting because some toffs were shot at by a guy outside a butty shop, or the irreversible German railway play (AJP Taylor).  One should be able to engage in speculation and I’ll even speculate our view of E = MC2 is wrong.

And this is where we have gone wrong as a society – we can’t engage in practical, speculative, scientific dialogue.  The history above may be wrong – but it isn’t as wrong as the political-economic bullshit that holds us in fealty and which just happens to be the only political-economic bull that holds wages down, makes the rich richer and leads to war and planet burning.  How the fuck did we get this stupid? – it must have taken an awful lot of practice and schooling!

The idea of TINA (there is no alternative) is utterly stupid and passed off by ruthless bastards who would do anything to retain their privilege and the means to get their jollies – whether Thatcher through lapping up the Iron Lady adulation or some bwankster flashing out mega-cash on drugs and prostitutes.  If we can create viable alternatives (at least in narrative) to Churchill as our great hero, we can clearly come up with alternative economic-political propositions on how to change things that aren’t either lunatic rich or lunatic leftie.

I don’t care whether Churchill or Bliar were good guys or the most appalling war criminals working at the behest of foreign interests.  I do care we are so dumb we believe in TINA or even organise public dialogue against it.

 

 

Are we on the brink of a genuine revolution?

There’s a big set of photos like these posted by my friend Chris Jenkins at – http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150334273466494.348470.722681493&type=3

The venue is Occupy Tampa, part of protest across the USA – we have the beginnings of our own versions.  Chris’ theme is now ordinary the protesters are.  Most street protest has only made me yawn or reach in despair for my cricket box – we has-beens had no protective equipment.  I hope we are going to see big protests this time.  I’m so fed up with politics as we have it that I could barely be bothered to register to vote – like many more gauging from the Council guy who has just been round with the registration forms.  I want a government of ‘white suits’ across the US and Europe and a structured debt jubilee and international service.  I’m not actually a democrat, but want to see a system in which votes matter to the people, not the loons making up political speeches and the same old promises to garner them.  There are clearly some things that most of us can’t vote on using considered argument – but these can still be open to public scrutiny are generally are not.

What I’d like to see is such a weight of public protest that politicians, banksters and our poodle media could not ignore.  I suspect something much worse is coming because our apathy is unbounded.  I see no left and right in any of this – the call is freedom and substantial change.to put us nearer 1970 than 1900 (which is where wealth distribution is).

The private sector as it has been for the last 40 years can’t help us get what we want, which is mostly simple enough – reasonable security and reward through work.  We just won’t be honest about this and research shows most of us don’t know the real state of play, do want more equality and imagine there is much more than there is.

Not exactly a bunch of ‘caped anarchists’ this lot, are they?  Chris has posted hundreds and I’m sure we have to do something.  Most people hope they can ignore what’s going on and that somehow decent jobs will return.  Some are so barking they still hope for a crisis in capitalism – not realising capitalism has almost disappeared and is something we need back.

We Could Do Better On Crime Statistics

http://macdonaldlaurier.ca/files/pdf/MLI-Crime_Statistics_Review-Web.pdf

This is a link to a thoughtful criticism of Canadian crime statistics – worth a read for ideas on what might be wrong with ours and statistics generally.

Crime has been coming down across most of the EU, Britain, the USA and Canada for a decade.  Citizens generally don’t believe this to be the case.  Yet some of the crime that is down would be hard to dispute – homicide volume is the classic.  It’s hard to think cops around the world have become adept at hiding the bodies.

My own street has been almost completely peaceful since the removal of a dire couple of druggies who have caused trouble in spades wherever they have lived and continue to do so where they are now.  Prison makes no difference, except in the time they are off the street.  In the US people like them spend more time in jail.  Removing them from our society and their children might reduce our crime a great deal and prevent the ‘generational effect’.  Decent statistics (partly as argued in the Canadian article) would give us a clear idea.  The guess is that about 100,000 of these bastard homes exist.  If the significance of each is as strong as the one once next to us and getting rid of them as significant, then incarceration would make a massive difference, unless others would just emerge in the wake.  This could be tested too.

One reason given for the drop in US crime has been legalised abortion – the likely criminals getting an early death sentence.  Crude as this seems we should pursue a structuralist analysis of our offenders.

Across the world, the purpose of police statistics seems to be to tell the public crime is falling.  It’s pretty obvious from education to banking that false-accounting is rife, as is image management.

Police are presumably better organised and using better technology than ever before – this may be building a genuine deterrent effect or set of them.  My feeling is  crime is actually shifting, just as my former neighbours moved and into new categories.  Insurance rates against crime are not falling.  The statisticians don’t deal us a full deck.

Mugged By Words – you bet ya!

I’ve just been over at Banksie’s place (no – not the tedious house-wall-painter, the much more civilised MrG’s).  He was pondering on managerial bullshit.  I’ve just had a couple of months too ill to continue with my book and have satisfied myself with a bit of blogging to learn the ropes.  Time to finish the book.

I don’t really enjoy the blogosphere.  There’s plenty good around and most stuff is free.  My enjoyment is curtailed because I’d rather be doing something effective.  I feel much the same about education – maybe we could shorthand it as ‘pissing in the wind syndrome’?  Saul Bellow wrote something on the frustrations years back – ‘The Dean’s December‘ – never could stand his prose, but the idea of a college Dean finding the same corruption in Chicago as Soviet Bucharest fitted well with my own life – I even found myself in Bucharest doing what I could for some friends wanting to escape west.  Brilliant plans involving a Turkish steamer and jobs in New York and London; but just as the wall was falling amidst all expert opinion it would not!  Bellow’s book as seen as subversive in the Romania of that time, though it could be seen as a critique of what was happening in our alleged democracies.

My time in the Eastern Block before and after the fall was undoubtedly tolerated by the authorities, though I had a few narrow squeaks.  As in the Middle East, there was a reality to the terror different to experience here.  Most of my colleagues and the people in my unofficial sessions asked if I really felt we had genuine democracy.  My broad answer was ‘no’.  We had a different regime of truth was all – and had somehow got to a point at which it was unlikely that dissenters could be locked up and tortured, disappeared and so on – though we had the ‘Irish problem’ , internment and miscarriages of justice.  There was no ‘box of tricks’ I could offer against abuse of power.

There is a box of tricks, of course.  A free vote, free-markets and so on.  There were plenty around evangelising on this stuff.  The key thing for me was to create something not about bullyboy cops or bandits ruling the roost.  The key building block was a fair legal system and people in armies, police and legal roles being honest and straight.  You had to pluralise the power, build representation for interests and accept people act in their own interests and build systems that mediate this.  The big mistake was believing we had a science of any of this, or taking Marxism or whatever as such.  It was an even bigger mistake to think counties that had established some civil rights we operating a political science themselves.

MrG produces an example of a decent sergeant who gets promoted inspector in some HQ cubby-hole, turning into a managerial bullshitter and losing all respect.  In the transitional Warsaw Pact, one would find similar examples of former Marxist apparatchiks becoming entrepreneurchiks.  This sort of Pauline conversion is very common – the bullshit changes and reveals only that the individual was probably always a worthless bullshitter.  Political correctness is a particularly malevolent example.  There are many examples in sociology of how ‘mannered societies’ are formed (Norbert Elias is a classic from pre-WW2 Germany – you can get most of him free on the Net).

Managerial bullshit (management does not require any) is dire.  I still get students who read Tom Peters (a font of much bull) and think they have found something new (main book 1982).  They don’t find the material that exposes the whole shebang – most published within a couple of years of the publication.  His excellence concept was shown to fail in all his selected companies within 6 months.  It was in none of the best 100 companies to work for in the USA.  Yet some vapid turd foisted on academic management teachers will still be found spouting it now.  The book, in any case, was no more than an application of the method in a UK education report on ’10 good secondary schools’.  MrG’s inspector is everywhere – from policing through to the vapid tramps running education and other services into the ground as they build nothing other than bank balances and property portfolios abroad to retire to (I know some who spend 6 months in their villas whilst still drawing full pay).

There has long been a production of simple to learn fairy stories from business.  These fashions have been well-exposed by academics.  They start in ‘success stories’ that are always positive and retrospective, are written up into ‘patent medicine’ and one can follow their spread into companies and the public and third sector like a plague.  Management By Objectives in the 1950s USA via various to Policing By Objectives at a police promotion board in 1976.  One can see similar route for idiot forensics (Nico Bento, Frank Scuse) and clown material like ‘ritual abuse’ – once exposed as frauds in one place, the wagon moves on.

What we need to know is how we fall for any of it.  My stories on this would start with helium.  This gas is essential in such items as MRI scanners.  We can’t really make it and hence can’t replace natural stocks.  Currently, we piss it out of our atmosphere via kids’ balloons.  Free market balloony!  At least managerial hot-air seems a bottomless pit!

Missing out several books (already written but not read across our society because we like dumb entertainment), how does this managerial dross get into our public sector?  The answer is fashion.  We might as well ask how some vile dress gets on the back of a woman.  She buys it in a shop run by a successful gawk the government hires to say he could save billions in public sector procurement, paying £20 – £200.  It started life on the back of a tall heroin addict strutting a cat-walk and looked vile then.  A claque applauded and media worthies wrote it up as chic.  Someone took photos and a machine stamped it out in some shrink after 4 washes textile, in various sizes.  This material went to various UK sweat shops to be sewed together by illegal immigrants and dole-blodgers on half minimum wages, using dangerous machines in some dire cellar.  Then the finished product gets to Gawko’s shop chain via white van man.  The man who can save the public sector billions by putting his buying strategies into place has no idea about the sweat shops.  He pisses out a book on ‘retail excellence’.  Before long, we re teaching this excellence to classes of coppers, wearing these dresses.  There is no mention of the sweat shops in the excellence material.  You can catch the drift of this on the latest Dispatches at 4OD.

I have no time for fashion, throw-away or otherwise.  We used to use the term ‘planned obsolescence’ as a pejorative – now it’s a ‘secret’ excellence pillar.  I would rather buy all my clothes and shoes from a supplier who could guarantee I could still wear them 4 years from now.  I’d pay twice the price they leave the sweat shop at plus reasonable delivery.  I can come up with a viable business plan for the business.  Klein’s ‘No Logo’ would do, though I’d wear ‘FuckFasion’.

The main “reason” there is so much management fashion is that no one is really interested in efficiency or rationality.  They want only profit.  The bullshit rationalises a pathological system.  We are too scared to change the mad system, fearing we won’t be able to pay our mortgage or rent.  The vile people bullshitting their way to benefit paradise over the deaths of Baby P, the Cochranes (could we really list 1000s?), our politicians and so on (current answers about making poor people poorer on the backs of our hatred of the public sector) are no more than sweat shop managers.  Their bullshit is no different to the fashionable sweat shop frock.

One might argue, by-the-by, that academics follow fashion – it’s just more haute-couture  to fart about with Habermas, Foucault, Lyotard, Derrida and postmodernism than wear frocks – though some artist is doing the latter.

I set a class an essay on the sweat shops this morning.  They mostly noticed it is wrong to get people working illegally in crap conditions.  Quite a few noticed all the participants were Asian.  None have yet come up with the business analysis, which is about speed to market (otherwise the work would go abroad – the delay and cost of the shipping are important) and changes at the ‘cut end’ of cut and sew.  I once taught how this could be done legally and helped two coops to do it successfully.  They won’t let me run criminal business practices 101, but how long before key financing like not paying workers for three months take on here?

The use of sweat shops in the UK relies in part on them being cheap.  We could stop them without losing all the work to sweat shops abroad, which have the advantage of being further from the prying eyes of the dozen or some of our journos who give a damn, who aren’t pisseur de copie on some Cheryl Cole-like bandwagon.  This would mean getting supply chain contracts out of the power of men like Gawpo.  The government appears to want to hand over the country to the likes of him, a truly excellent man.  He looks Jewish – a bit balder and I could pass as him.  I’d take offence if anyone thought I was anything like him beyond some genetic pedigree.  I’d rather die poor.  We have entirely forgotten the virtues.  I’m more likely to be accused of anti-Semitism than he of really wrecking people’s lives.

We have known about managerial bullshit for centuries.  It’s us that buys the dresses, feels the need to wear the crap.  The answers lie in us.  We need our own words, but are too lazy, even to invent our own lives.  Our cops can’t even keep utter scum from blighting the rest of us.  We still know this is true when some brassed-over turkey is rolled out to give the ‘learning lessons’ speech or some IPCC scummo tells us the deaths could not have been foreseen.  The truth, like the sweat shops, is swept under this carpet of bull.  Why can’t we stand up to it all?  What ‘terror’ do they exert and how?  Will the sweat shops close because Dispatches has found them?  I know of more than a dozen in Burnley and plenty in Portugal still using child labour.

We ought to notice that most business is such bullshit all managers can do is seek to depress wages.  Cops and miners found themselves on half-pay after strikes around 1920 – these are very old management techniques.  Do we need such imbalance of power?  We have been told (i.e. bullshitted) for many years that we need to let the old industries go to cheaper parts of the world and that new, better jobs would replace them.  This sounds pretty good to selfish bastards like us – let  others do the hard and scut work while we make more money doing financial services, selling guns and so on.  Did anyone ever work out how many people this would leave with no jobs, because they can’t do the new jobs?  Is there now a flourishing financial services industry across the South Wales valleys?  Are we about to find bullshit butters no parsnips?

The bullshit is partly so obvious because they want us to protest it as part of not being able to make positive changes.  I look at the BBC godspot occasionally to see how short Susanna Reid’s skirt is.  There’s a Muslim guy and an Xtian one I couldn’t argue with on any basics – decent guys.  There’s also a homophobic Xtian and Jewess I’d rather not give the time of day to.  Vile creatures who would turn away queers from a guest house – but no doubt prosecute me for saying queer.  I give tea and sympathy to Jehovahs if I have time – and I usually make it for the poor souls.  Why do we have a godspot when there is much important to discuss?  Why is 90% of the business curriculum taught 5 years too late and irrelevant to business practices?  Why is the religious dross not concerned with sweat shops and ensuring some decent work for people who need it?  Why are we still in trance to foundation scrolls that say much the same things about hospitality and peace, knowing we kill each other in droves over them?  We are easily bullshitted.

Work Ethic

In memory, a Goon Show starts with the sound of matches being lit and tossed into water.  Neddy Seagoon is trying to set fire to the English Channel, in order to cash in on the insurance policy Moriarty has ‘foolishly’ sold him to protect against this contingency.  I forget how it all turned out.  Neddy is, of course, tossing lighted matches into rocket fuel, which is what water is before electrolysis to hydrogen and oxygen.

These were my confused thoughts listening to El Cameroon’s podcast on turning Britain into an entrepreneurial nightmare of spivs selling aircraft carriers with no planes on them to India.  I had to make something up to tolerate the ghastly dross he was speaking.  He is as crazy as Blair poncing on about frog-marching drunks to cash machines, or pretending he was capable of making more sensible decisions on foreign wars.  I’m fairly convinced our politics is run by the CIA.  There is nothing for me to vote for.  What I believe in is never on the agenda beyond the blogosphere.

Satellite view of the English Channel

Image via Wikipedia

My view is a bit like Gadget’s in that I see a welfare dependency, ghastly moral corruption and farce.  I just can’t pin it on a brainless evil poor, or even a vile and corrupt nexus of politics and management – though I see these in action daily.  We have to see our own roles in the decadence too.  Policing is just one place to  focus on the wider demise.  We are all part of the decadence and the welfare dependency.  This is not to say, as Dr. Heinz Kiosk was apt in ‘Way of the World’, ‘we are all guilty’.

‘Money’ (whatever it is now) is detached from labour value, and its useful purpose in exchange.  This argument dates back at least to Aristotle, as does ‘retailing’ as a contempt word in Plato.  I have no doubt we need fairness, spirits of adventure, cops who protect the peace, invention and some way of being together creatively – a positive response to our plight.  Yet we seem to want to manage this without staring the world in the face to get a grip on what is going on so we can fix it.

Napoleon once derided us as a ‘Nation of shopkeepers‘, though we were, in fact, the nation of ‘balance of power’ foreign policy.  Sometime after the failure of the Corsican’s own military ventures, successful only in reducing the average height of Frenchmen, imperial powers met in Berlin (1861) to arrange to cut up the world’s resources.  The French, British and Russians intended to invade the USA on the pretext of supporting The Confederacy.  A little more determination there might have saved the world from canned laughter and the US foreign policy that out-imperialised us all.  Instead, more important matters such as Belgian dominance in the unspeakable rubber trade were sorted.  Britain now resembles the gruesome Athenian Democracy at its end, unable to build ships, organise its armies, and perhaps hoping those we have been fighting in long wars will take pity and remember some of the good we have done.

The radical change that might help us now, would be to really go down the freedom route and stop the production of docile bodies as wage and mortgage slaves scared to lose livelihoods (the microcosm here is IG‘s ‘I can’t come forward, I’d not be able to pay my mortgage’ – though it’s more complex than this).  Cameron is suggesting ‘entrepreneurial millennialism’ – a very old and dull cry.  We need a much deeper change in employment and wealth sharing relations than this.  I take some comfort from the failure of vapid Sino-Soviet terror-communism, but we should remember both these massive countries have been successful in military ventures, space technology and so on, as well as abject bastards to their own people.  At least our thinking can be free of marxist thought-licensing.

My own preferred places to start thinking involve humour.  Douglas Adams‘ notion of a planet ridding itself of its middlemen only to die out because there was no one to clean the phones is the classic.  Revolted as we should be to discover via Gadget or the Daily Mail of ‘evil poor rich bastards’ living it up on dole they never contributed for, the real welfare dependency in the UK is the vast horde of those with acquired wealth or paying themselves fortunes for abilities to prod leather-wrapped pigs’ bladders in the right direction with their meta-tarsals  or to suck on chocolate dipped strawberries whilst planning to fuck the typing pool.

No communist fantasy need ensue from such thinking on reality.  We just need work and fair pay back along with some idea that the old work ethics are not appropriate now.  You need an image of workers breathing cyanide, tossing bars of sodium as skilfully into a furnace pot as Bond was with his trilby to hat-stand, and one of a modern factory with robots singing opera top get some idea we are half-way to Robot Heaven and should not return to worker hell.  We need a new work ethic.  More than 30 years ago the notion of Quality of Work Life was suggested and abandoned.  This would do.

Without Robot Heaven, we can’t all sit  around on our arses all day but sweet sod all.  This doesn’t mean we need a system in which some turd gets rich off the backs of Pakistani kids sewing soccer balls for a pittance either.  Nor does it mean the public should have to put up with some untrained newbie just out of training school as a response officer because cops with more sense got themselves onto 9 – 5 squads or into chocolate-strawberry eating training – in other words onto benefits while some poor sod does the real work.

We need to take some real risks in the belief we can organise a country worth having.  We have brave people, mostly boys to someone of my age, dying and being traumatised for memories as unimportant as mine of a Goon Show.  We should recognise our history and build a better future.  Cameron is talking populist crap only fit only for the toilet.  Is it surprising a Cabinet stuff with millionaires is talking up their own interests and doing nothing about offshore tax havens and money laundering centres?  We’ve been conned.

The problem with our politics and society is our inability to think in argument.  We just take sides, without thinking that all the arguments may be piss.  I am not likely to care whether anyone is Tory, Labour or Liberal.  I just want to know, in principle, whether they would help to keep the street clean, the neighbourhood free of crime and help to kids with crap parents.  Hopefully, I’ll never need to know, but in practice I know we can’t even rely on most people to do their jobs, let alone muck in.  Strong positions on free markets and socialism are frankly barmy.  Neither get anywhere near being theories that might help us live better together, or get on with lives that might be radically different.

Entrepreneurs mostly get their business ideas from the employers they rip off when they form their own businesses.  Often, the only reason workers can’t do this is either finance or restricted practice.  Other entrepreneurs hang around waiting for the next fad like coffee shops.  Yet more reverse-engineer their entrepreneurial, self-made images, having been left only a few houses by an aunt.  Cameron is hardly entrepreneur material is he?  Can’t see him down the market selling the silver spoons his mouth was full of at birth.

What we need to know is how much work we should have to do as our fair proportion of what needs doing, before we get into political argument.  In full Robot Heaven, the answer to this would be ‘none at all’, at least in terms of what we now term work.  Bastards in the past have come to this conclusion by making people robots (slaves), and I suspect we still live under this govern-mentality.  We need new ideas that are free from millennia of idiot history in which groups kill each other and we piss such a vital resource as helium off into space via children’s balloons, most not even knowing why it is vital and irreplaceable.  The market trader is fine, but not writ large as society.

Political debate and the alleged consultation of changing policing share much in common.  There is no essential deconstruction to see if differences between interests are real or just rhetorical, and no scenario building to see what we would need, working back from what we hope to have.  There is nothing new in any of it all.  Magic solutions like making us all work longer whilst raising unemployment, should really make us worry.  We would probably lose a war with the French now.  Thank goodness they are too civilised and educated to be bothered.