mfioretti: money* + collapse*

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  1. Malka shrugged, looked away. "Back to the banker thing, Sergei," she said, "since Nera did bring it up. I get why you work with money -- it still makes a lot of the world go round. You take Frankfurt's various exports and patents and Swiss bank accounts and whatever, and buy us whatever we can't make here. I get that, and I get why it would be a high-rep job; we need it, and most people would find it boring. But you told me you worked for money -- not just with money." She crossed her arms beneath her breasts, where her top shimmered electric blue. "Why?"

    Sergei smiled the long-lipped, eyebrow-cocked smile of someone who is amused in advance at the reaction they're about to get. "I like money," he said.

    "What, you mean, like, physical money?" Malka said. "Like you collect coins and bills? That's cool, I guess."

    "No," Sergei said. "I mean I like money. I like exchange. Abstracted exchange. Simplicity. You give me something, I give you something. We're quits. You don't have to decide what kind of person I am, if you like me, how distant I am from you in social space. We could be masked strangers in a privacy zone. You want something from me, you give me money. I don't care who you are. I don't care what you want it for."

    Comments were flashing in, but Nera didn't stop to read them. Queasy, she thought of the hunch of her father's shoulders in his starched white uniform and red tie, behind the florist counter at the supermarket. She recalled the burn of tear gas at the back of her throat, the sound of shattering windows.

    Jörg looked like he was the proud owner of a performing dog; Malka, like she was equally disgusted and turned on. Or maybe a little more turned on.

    "Huh," Malka said. "'Masked strangers in a privacy zone'...? You know the 'raw swingers'? They hook up with strangers for sex with their services totally turned off. No peeking at comments or reviews or social map -- so they have no idea if it's going to be a total nightmare, right? That's the point, I guess, part of the thrill. They've got this whole thing about how it's so much better when it does work, because of the risk and the authenticity and whatever. So are you saying this is like that, Sergei? You do stuff just for a marker of hoarded value... you don't even know why. You don't know what the effect of your actions are, what you're contributing towards, or what people will say..."

    Pink Floyd ~ Money

    "Pink Floyd: Money." Credit: jah~ off n on

    "All you know is you want the money," Nera said.

    Malka nodded. "Pure greed, no connections, heedless of consequences. That's it? It's a kink? Like a... sick thrill?"

    Sergei laughed. To his credit, he looked a little discomfited. "I guess you could look at it like that."

    "Oh, don't underplay it," Jörg said. "Sergei -- you've written about this. It's a philosophy." Nera glanced at him, and she recognized his expression. A year ago she would have called it an eager openness -- his fascination with the unending variety of people and ideas Frankfurt's flow brought bobbing to his door. But she'd been in his collection of flotsam. Drifter Nera, banker Sergei, autie-genius Tomas, the Finns and Peruvians grilling in the kitchen; they all ended up part of Jörg's menagerie, and by means of them all, he somehow ended up rating as a life-artist instead of a pompous, lecturing do-gooder.

    "Well," said Sergei. "Okay. I think it's more than just kinky." He glanced sidelong at Malka. "Money is... clean. It severs connections. That's not always a bad thing. You say you know what the effect of your actions are. But you don't really know -- you don't trace them all in detail. You don't have time. You just go with the consensus. With fashion."

    "Sure, sure, ratings and fashion are all we have," Malka said. "That's not a new argument or anything, and we are all concerned, I'm sure, with the plight of the low-rated. Nera has done quite a bit of visiting with at-risk lonelies, did you know that? But money seems like a weird solution to that problem, doesn't it?"

    "No," he said, and there was a little bit of a quiver in his voice that made Nera wonder what history it pointed to, "no, it doesn't. With money, poverty is empty of meaning. It's not a judgement on your life and works. It doesn't mean no one likes you, that you're obnoxious or boring. If you're poor in a money economy, you know what you need to do: make money. It's not as... wounding."

    "That's stupid," Nera said. Jörg and Malka turned to look at her, eyebrows raised -- her voice was too loud, too harsh. Her heart was beating fast. "It's dead easy to get your ratings up when they fall. Your services tell you how."

    "Your services tell you how," Sergei retorted. "You have skills, you're charming. You're rated as trustworthy. People want you to babysit their kids. Carry their packages. Cook their food. It's not that easy for everyone."
    https://www.shareable.net/blog/the-guy-who-worked-for-money
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  2. let’s recap what’s happening in China. The Chinese government has been lying about its growth numbers for years. Every year, the Government sets a target for the GDP. And miraculously, at the end of every year, the Government reports that it managed to beat its GDP target with an impressive growth rate of 7 to 10 percent. Economic growth is too important for the Chinese Government to rely on statisticians.

    Traders in New York know that, the IMF knows that, the Fed knows that, everybody knows that. And that’s exactly why stock markets already freaked out after the three-day devaluation of the yuan a couple of weeks ago. We don’t know exactly how well China is doing. Every little sign that says that the Chinese economy isn’t doing as well as expected leads to big market movements.

    So is there any way to know China’s actual economic growth? You can look at steel production numbers for example. As China needs to import most of its iron to produce steel, it can’t lie on these numbers. Steel production has been down 1.3 percent since January. Electricity production is another good indicator. It was up 7.7 percent in 2013, meaning that the country was producing more goods. It’s been up only 1 percent since January 2015.

    And yet, growth is key to China’s current situation. When China became a socialist market economy, the population and the Government sealed a tacit agreement. As long as the standard of living would improve, people wouldn’t interfere with the Government. And it has worked incredibly well so far thanks to low salaries, a huge domestic market and some very smart moves to attract foreign companies.

    But China’s real growth rate is way below 7 percent. Unemployment combined with an aging population is going to become a serious issue as there is no safety net. We are not there yet, but if the standard of living decreases in China, it could mark the beginning of an important transition period.
    http://techcrunch.com/2015/08/24/what...es-the-chinese-fallout-mean-for-apple
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  3. Massive credit collapses that erase very large sums of notional wealth and impact the global economy are hardly a new phenomenon . . . but one thing that has never happened as a result of any of them is the sort of self-feeding, irrevocable plunge into the abyss that current fast-crash theories require.

    The reason for this is that credit is merely one way by which a society manages the distribution of goods and services. . . . A credit collapse . . . doesn’t make the energy, raw materials, and labor vanish into some fiscal equivalent of a black hole; they’re all still there, in whatever quantities they were before the credit collapse, and all that’s needed is some new way to allocate them to the production of goods and services.

    This, in turn, governments promptly provide. In 1933, for example, faced with the most severe credit collapse in American history, Franklin Roosevelt temporarily nationalized the entire US banking system, seized nearly all the privately held gold in the country, unilaterally changed the national debt from “payable in gold” to “payable in Federal Reserve notes” (which amounted to a technical default), and launched a series of other emergency measures. The credit collapse came to a screeching halt, famously, in less than a hundred days. Other nations facing the same crisis took equally drastic measures, with similar results. . . .

    Faced with a severe crisis, governments can slap on wage and price controls, freeze currency exchanges, impose rationing, raise trade barriers, default on their debts, nationalize whole industries, issue new currencies, allocate goods and services by fiat, and impose martial law to make sure the new economic rules are followed to the letter, if necessary, at gunpoint. Again, these aren’t theoretical possibilities; every one of them has actually been used by more than one government faced by a major economic crisis in the last century and a half.

    That historical review is grounds for optimism, but confiscation of assets and enforcement at gunpoint are still not the most desirable outcomes. Better would be to have an alternative system in place and ready to implement before the boom drops.
    http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.it...can-delusionalism-or-why-history.html
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  4. With the dollar as the world’s reserve currency, globalization leads to huge US balance of trade deficits and other imbalances.
    Figure 10. US Balance on Current Account, based on data of US Bureau of Economic Analysis. Amounts in 2012$ calculated based on US CPI-Urban of the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    Figure 10. US Balance on Current Account, based on data of US Bureau of Economic Analysis. Amounts in 2012$ calculated based on US CPI-Urban of the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    With increased globalization and the rising price of oil since 2002, the US trade deficit has soared (Figure 10). Adding together amounts from Figure 10, the cumulative US deficit for the period 1980 through 2011 is $8.6 trillion. By the end of 2012, the cumulative deficit since 1980 is probably a little over 9 trillion.

    A major reason for the large US trade deficit is the fact that the US dollar is the world’s “reserve currency.” While the mechanism is too complicated to explain here, the result is that the US can run deficits year after year, and the rest of the world will take their surpluses, and use it to buy US debt. With this arrangement, the rest of the world funds the United States’ continued overspending. It is fairly clear the system was not put together with the thought that it would work in a fully globalized world–it simply leads to too great an advantage for the United States relative to other countries. Erik Townsend recently wrote an article called Why Peak Oil Threatens the International Monetary System, in which he talks about the possibility of high oil prices bringing an end to the current arrangement.

    9. Globalization tends to move taxation away from corporations, and onto individual citizens. Corporations have the ability to move to locations where the tax rate is lowest. Individual citizens have much less ability to make such a change. Also, with today’s lack of jobs, each community competes with other communities with respect to how many tax breaks it can give to prospective employers. When we look at the breakdown of US tax receipts (federal, state, and local combined) this is what we find:
    http://ourfiniteworld.com/2013/02/22/...s-why-globalization-is-a-huge-problem
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  5. Many of us intuitively recognize that we’ve constructed a ginormous Rube Goldberg machine which for a number of reasons may not continue to crank out goods and services for the next 30-40 years. We blame this and that demographic for our declining prospects – the Republicans, the environmentalists, the greedy rich, the lazy poor, the immigrants, the liberals, etc. We blame this and that country or political system – evil socialists, heartless capitalists, Chinese, Syrians, Europeans, etc. We watch TV and internet about the latest ‘news’ influencing our world yet are not entirely confident of the connections. But underlying all this back and forth are some first principles, which are only taught piecemeal in our schools, if at all. Below is a short list of 20 principles underpinning today’s global ‘commerce’. I should note, if I was a 25 year old starting business school, eager to get a high paying job in two short years, I wouldn’t believe what follows below, even if I had time or interest to read it, which I probably wouldn't.
    http://www.theoildrum.com/node/8402
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  6. how economy works and doesn't work in words and pictures
    http://economixcomix.com/home/tpp
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  7. botto pesante a Wall Street, dove l'indice Dow Jones perde 326 punti e scende ai minimi da tre mesi (Dow -2,06% e Nasdaq -2,61%). Un rallentamento nell'attività industriale americana. Le incertezze sulla salute delle banche europee. L'interminabile discesa agli inferi delle valute emergenti. Ecco la triplice combinazione che ieri ha affondato le Borse di tutto il mondo. E i segnali, per il martedì, non sono certo migliori: Tokyo chiude con un inquietante -4,18 per cento.

    La giornata di ieri è cominciata con le notizie negative sugli ex-emergenti. Il più grosso di tutti, la Cina, pur in vacanza per il Capodanno lunare ha confermato una frenata nel settore manifatturiero a gennaio. Più in generale i mercati sono rimasti sotto shock per l'impotenza delle banche centrali nei paesi emergenti, dove una brutale stretta monetaria orchestrata fra Turchia, India, Argentina, non ha arginato le fughe di capitali
    http://www.repubblica.it/economia/201...a_per_i_paesi_emergenti-77644475/?rss
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  8. Mr. Hollande, in announcing his intention to reduce taxes on businesses while cutting (unspecified) spending to offset the cost, declared, “It is upon supply that we need to act,” and he further declared that “supply actually creates demand.”

    Oh, boy. That echoes, almost verbatim, the long-debunked fallacy known as Say’s Law — the claim that overall shortfalls in demand can’t happen, because people have to spend their income on something. This just isn’t true, and it’s very much not true as a practical matter at the beginning of 2014. All the evidence says that France is awash in productive resources, both labor and capital, that are sitting idle because demand is inadequate. For proof, one need only look at inflation, which is sliding fast. Indeed, both France and Europe as a whole are getting dangerously close to Japan-style deflation. a sign of the haplessness of the European center-left
    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/17/opi...andal-in-france.html?ref=opinion&_r=1
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  9. While more politicians promote new measures of progress, they remain fixated on increasing economic growth. Why this obsession? Do they simply prefer it to other measures of progress? Clearly that can’t be the reason. The answer lies in our current monetary system, which requires economic growth, as otherwise our money supply disappears and we experience recession. To understand how that is the case, we must first understand the origin of the money we use. So let us take a couple of moments to recap on our monetary system
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/sustainable...ry-systems-address-economic-problems?
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  10. today's monetary monoculture has paid a high price for its unparalleled efficiency (the capacity to direct investments globally at the push of a button) in terms of vulnerability to herd-like behaviour and system collapse. To optimise the prospects of sustainability, they argue, there needs to be a greater diversity of complementary money types. The question is how this insight be applied elsewhere in our hyper-efficient, just-in-time, deeply unresilient economy?

    'poverty' was used to define whole peoples, not according to what they are and want to be, but according to what they lack."
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/sustainable...w-theory-economics-ecological-systems
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