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It’s a bit like stating the bleeding obvious, but I have been saying this for years…

"It seems that some people here would like to emulate the American model. I don’t fully understand the logic" - Joseph

Some economists (not to mention politicians) try to shout down any mention of inequality at all: “Of the tendencies that are harmful to sound economics, the most seductive, and in my opinion the most poisonous, is to focus on questions of distribution,” declared Robert Lucas Jr. of the University of Chicago, the most influential macroeconomist of his generation, in 2004.

Vale the Chicago School for corrupting us all.

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2014/may/08/thomas-piketty-new-gilded-age/

Some sloppiness but nothing underhand. I wonder why they try to discredit a Piketty?

For his part, Piketty welcomes debate but insists he collected and used the (vast, vast amount of) data accurately. He tells Giles:

As I make clear in the book, in the online appendix, and in the many technical papers I have written on this topic, one needs to make a number of adjustments to the raw data sources so as to make them more homogeneous over time and across countries. I have tried in the context of this book to make the most justified choices and arbitrages about data sources and adjustments. I have no doubt that my historical data series can be improved and will be improved in the future (this is why I put everything online).

He added in a “jovial” email to Irwin:

Every wealth ranking in the world shows that the top is rising faster than average wealth. If the FT comes with a wealth ranking showing a different conclusion, they should publish it!

http://www.economist.com/blogs/freeexchange/2014/05/thomas-pikettys-capital

Everything That’s Wrong With The World Part 2

Where the World’s Unsold Cars Go to Die

Above are photos of thousands and thousands of brand new, unsold cars in various locations from the U.S., Italy, U.K., Spain, Russia, and elsewhere. 

Millions of unsold cars are left to deteriorate in old airports, parking lots, and new tracks of land being bought to store these cars. Auto companies won’t sell them at a cheap price because it wouldn’t be profitable to. 

The car industry cannot stop making new cars because they would have to close their factories and lay off tens of thousands of employees. This would further add to the recession. Also the domino effect would be catastrophic as steel manufactures would not sell their steel. All the tens of thousands of places where car components are made would also be effected, indeed the world could come to a grinding halt.

Source

sustainableprosperity:

Exclusive: Chilean Robin Hood? Artist Known as “Papas Fritas” on Burning $500M Worth of Student Debt

Published on May 23, 2014

http://www.democracynow.org - You may know the adventures of Robin Hood and Zorro, outlaws fighting for the poor. Today we meet the newest member of that club, a Chilean activist who goes by the name Papas Fritas. Francisco Tapia, known as Francisco “Papas Fritas,” or french fries, says he burned $500 million worth of debt papers from the private Universidad del Mar. Chilean authorities are in the process of shutting down the university over financial irregularities. But that has not stopped the school from collecting on its student loans. During a recent student takeover of the school, Papas Fritas says he took the debt paper records, burned them and displayed the ashes inside a van as an art exhibition. “It is a concrete fact that the papers were burned, they are gone, burned completely and there’s no debt,” said Papas Fritas in his first U.S. broadcast interview. “Since these papers don’t exist anymore, there’s no way to charge the students.”

This video is an excerpt from the full interview. Watch the full segment on Democracy Now!:
http://owl.li/xbKbN 

Democracy Now!, is an independent global news hour that airs weekdays on 1,200+ TV and radio stations Monday through Friday. Watch our livestream 8-9am ET at http://www.democracynow.org.

Please consider supporting independent media by making a donation to Democracy Now! today, visit http://owl.li/ruJ5Q.

Not bad lookin’ and hey, not beyond the perks of daddy’s position

Not bad lookin’ and hey, not beyond the perks of daddy’s position

The Whitehouse Institute’s website says the school: “does not currently offer scholarships to gain a place into the Bachelor of Design.”

This was a one off $60,000 gift to the daughter of the PM while everyone else will have to pay back $100,000+ sooner at a higher interest rate if they go to uni.

Pay through the nose for the privilege to graduate as an economic unit of labour.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/may/21/tony-abbotts-daughter-did-not-have-to-pay-for-60000-design-degree

Just as ANZAC Day was once a solemn, reflective affair…

During Putin’s more than 14 years in power in Russia, he has turned Victory Day, once a sombre day devoted primarily to private remembrances of wartime victims, into the military parade that it is today. Red banners, stars and the hammer-and-sickle emblem of the Soviet Union have festooned Moscow’s streets in recent days.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2014/05/09/the-brutal-bloody-history-behind-putins-crimea-speech/?wpmk=MK0000203&clsrd

Alexis de Tocqueville on hereditary wealth

Tindalos
Oregon
26 March 2014

Alexis de Tocqueville had what I think is a useful perspective on hereditary wealth, in particular Chapter 18 of Democracy in America viz

"No great change takes place in human institutions without involving among its causes the law of inheritance. When the law of primogeniture obtained in the South, each family was represented by a wealthy individual, who was neither compelled nor induced to labor; and he was surrounded, as by parasitic plants, by the other members of his family, …who led the same kind of life as himself. …

No sooner was the law of primogeniture abolished than fortunes began to diminish and all the families of the country were simultaneously reduced to a state in which labor became necessary to existence; several of them have since entirely disappeared …. Wealthy individuals …no longer constitute a compact and hereditary body, nor have they been able to adopt a line of conduct in which they could persevere and which they could infuse into all ranks of society. …”

see http://xroads.virginia.edu/~Hyper/DETOC/1_ch18.htm

NB: That was then (1835), this is now, and the wealthy have succeeded in fully resurrecting their status and power via corporate, estate and trust law with the bonus that divisibility of modern financial assets now allows lesser scions of noble houses access to the same legally protected, intergenerational trough that was once only available to firstborn.

Move the Answers to the Front Page - a letter to the NY Times

James Jordan
Falls Church, Va
25 March 2014


The next task is to translate what this 2nd Gilded Age means for the performance of the economy and the quality of life for most Americans.

For example: Is this the reason we are experiencing an exceptionally slow recovery? Is this the reason wages and salaries for most of us are shrinking or stagnant? Is this the reason for the growing discontent with the political leadership and the rise of Tea Party primary challenges? What were the major changes in law over the past 40 years that caused the gap to begin to yawn in the late 70’s. What effect has the big gap had on the quality of life of most of us.

The big question for 2014, how could most American’s decide to vote for GOP candidates? as Mr. Silver has predicted. Is it because it is in their interests to cut back on safety net programs?

The slide deck created by Saez and Zuchman were terrific.

For the NYTimes, the World’s greatest source of news, move the answers to the front page. I recommend more interviews of the underemployed. We must get to the bottom of this and increase public understanding that our immediate problem is the economy. Our supporting infrastructure systems are aging and inefficient and our property tax financed education system is unfair and opportunity is unequal. It is not gun control, abortion, immigration, global warming, gay marriage, Obamcare, etc.

We need to start a national discussion of the real problems in the US & our optimal role in the global economy.

Hate slaves, and you become a slave.

Enobarbus37
Tours, France
25 March 2014

The reintroduction of slavery in America. Call it what it is. Slaves could reproduce, but they couldn’t marry, and they couldn’t inherit.

The plantation owners on the other hand… well, their short-lived republic of slavery, the Confederacy, recognized by the Pope, was all about inheritance, charming daughters learning French to ape the French aristocracy.

What is more interesting is the large number of poor people who fought to the death for this system… because they hated slaves.

Hate slaves, and you become a slave.