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Ghost Dog

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Hometown: Canary Islands Archipelago
Home country: Spain
Member since: Wed Apr 19, 2006, 01:59 PM
Number of posts: 16,881

About Me

A Brit many years in Spain, Catalunya, Baleares, Canarias. Cooperative member. Geography. Ecology. Cartography. Software. Sound Recording. Music Production. Languages & Literature. History.

Journal Archives

Thousands protest to end evictions in Spain

Source: Agence France Presse

AFP - Thousands of people demonstrated in Spanish cities on Saturday pushing for a new law to end a wave of evictions of homeowners ruined by the economic crisis.

Several thousand marched yelling to the din of drums and horns in central Madrid, waving banners reading "Stop evictions" and yelling "We have no homes!"

Similar protests were called in Barcelona and 50 other Spanish cities, the latest of months of demonstrations driven by anger at Spain's recession and the conservative government, which is imposing austere economic reforms.

Campaigners passed a rare milestone on Tuesday when the Spanish parliament agreed to debate a popular bill of measures to protect poor homeowners, backed by a petition that received more than 1.4 million signatures. The organisation that brought that petition, the Platform for Mortgage Victims (PAH), called Saturday's nationwide protests to pressure lawmakers to follow through and vote it into law quickly.

Read more: http://www.france24.com/en/all-wire

See also (Spanish): http://politica.elpais.com/politica/2013/02/16/actualidad/1361001933_478565.html


Call them the “whatever-it-takes” central bankers.

As the world’s advanced economies grow at half the speed of the pre-crisis years amid persistently high unemployment, governments are turning to a new set of monetary-policy makers who in word -- and they hope deed -- are more aggressive than their predecessors.

A revolution that began with the arrival in November 2011 of Mario Draghi at the European Central Bank now is gathering speed as Canada’s Mark Carney joins the Bank of England and the Bank of Japan awaits a new governor. The shift could culminate a year from now if Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke is succeeded by someone even bolder. The changing of the guard reflects both a need for central banks to offset fiscal paralysis and a bet that monetary policy remains a potent force. At the same time, investors are increasingly weighing the costs and benefits of quantitative easing, while suggesting too much is expected of central banks.

The appointments of activists “reflect the case that economies are still struggling to sustain solid recoveries and there’s pressure from political quarters to be more stimulative,” said Nathan Sheets, a former adviser to Bernanke and now global head of international economics at Citigroup Inc. in New York. “Central banks have stuff in the bag, but it’s largely untried and may generate unwelcome side effects.” ...

... “Central bankers have begun to redefine what their role is, moving away from inflation targeting toward sustaining the health of the financial system, indeed the wider economy,” said Milligan. “New policy makers may bring in new tools, ones which global investors will need to understand quickly.” ... “What we have now is a monetary problem, so it’s time for a monetary solution,” said Gabay, a former Bank of England official. “It’s tough to make monetary policy effective, but it’s the only way.”

The appeal for governments of appointing activists is that they have run out of room to ease fiscal policy and would prefer that central banks go for growth, even if it means a pickup in prices, said Rob Carnell, chief international economist at ING Group NV in London. Central bankers in some countries already are indicating a willingness to tolerate above-target inflation despite their mandates... “Governments think they don’t need to worry about inflation and wouldn’t even mind if some came along, so they’re putting people in who share that cause,” Carnell said. “It’s all about growth.” ...

/... http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-02-14/draghi-carney-show-ascent-of-whatever-it-takes-central-bankers.html

“Emperor’s new clothes” moment of the Great Recession?

Wednesday night may have marked the “emperor’s new clothes” moment of the Great Recession, in which the world suddenly realizes its rulers are suffering from a delusion that doesn’t have to be humored. That delusion today is economic fatalism: the idea that nothing can be done to break the paralysis in the global economy and therefore that a “new normal” of mass unemployment and declining living standards is inevitable for years or decades to come.

That such economic fatalism is nonsensical is the key message of a truly historic speech delivered on Wednesday by Adair Turner, chairman of Britain’s Financial Services Authority and one of the most influential financial policymakers in the world. Turner argues that a virtually surefire method of stimulating economic activity exists today and that politicians and central bankers can no longer treat it as taboo: Newly created money should be handed out to the citizens or governments of countries that are mired in stagnation and such monetary financing of tax cuts or government spending should continue until economic activity revives...

/... http://blogs.reuters.com/anatole-kaletsky/2013/02/07/a-breakthrough-speech-on-monetary-policy/

The Adair Turner lecture:

<cut>... Even to mention the possibility of overt monetary finance is however close to breaking a taboo. When some comments of mine last autumn were interpreted as suggesting that OMF should be considered, some press articles argued that this would inevitably lead to hyper inflation. And in the Eurozone, the need utterly to eschew monetary finance of public debt is the absolute core of inherited Bundesbank philosophy.

To print money to finance deficits indeed has the status of a moral sin – a work of the devil – as much as a technical error. In a speech last September, Jens Weidmann, President of the Bundesbank, cited the story of Part 2 of Goethe’s Faust, in which Mephistopheles, agent of the devil, tempts the Emperor to distribute paper money, increasing spending power, writing off state debts, and fuelling an upswing which however “degenerates into inflation, destroying the monetary system” (Weidmann 2012).

And there are certainly good reasons for being very fearful of the potential to create paper or (in modern terms) electronic money. In a post-gold standard world, money is what is accepted as money: it is simply the “fiat”, the creation of the public authority. It can therefore be created in limitless nominal amounts2. But if created in excessive amounts it creates harmful inflation. And it was John Maynard Keynes who rightly argued that “there is no subtler, no surer means of overturning the existing basis of society than to debauch the currency”.

The ability of governments to create money is a potential poison and we rightly seek to limit it within tight disciplines, with independent central banks, self-denying ordinances and clear inflation rate targets. Where these devices are not in place or are not effective, the temptation that Mephistopheles presents can indeed lead to hyper-inflation – the experience of Germany in 1923 or Zimbabwe in recent years. But before you decide from that that we should always exclude the use of money financed deficits, consider the following paradox from the history of economic thought. Milton Friedman is rightly seen as a central figure in the development of free market economics and in the definition of policies required to guard against the dangers of inflation. But Friedman argued in an article in 1948 not only that government deficits should sometimes be financed with fiat money but that they should always be financed in that fashion with, he argued, no useful role for debt finance. Under his proposal, “government expenditures would be financed entirely by tax revenues or the creation of money, that is, the use of non-interest bearing securities” (EXHIBIT 1) (Friedman, 1948). And he believed that such a system of money financed deficits could provide a surer foundation for a low inflation regime than the complex procedures of debt finance and central bank open market operations which had by that time developed.

Friedman was not alone. Henry Simons, one of the founding fathers of the Chicago school of free market economics, argued in his seminal article “Rules and Authorities in Monetary Policy” that the price level should be controlled by “expanding and contracting issues of actual money” and that therefore “the monetary rules should be implemented entirely by and in turn should largely determine fiscal policy” (Simons 1936). Irving Fisher argued exactly the same (Fisher, 1936). And the idea that pure money finance is the ultimate answer to extreme deflationary dangers is a convergence point of economic thought at which there is total agreement between Friedman and Keynes. Friedman described the potential role of “helicopter money” picked up gratis from the ground (Friedman, 1969): Keynes, surprisingly, since he was not usually a puritan, wanted people to at least have to dig up the “old bottles [filled] with bank notes” (Keynes, 1936) (EXHIBIT 2). But the prescription was the same. And Ben Bernanke, current Chairman of the Federal Reserve, argued quite explicitly in 2003 that Japan should consider “a tax cut … in effect financed by money creation” (Bernanke, 2003).

When economists of the calibre of Simons, Fisher, Friedman, Keynes and Bernanke have all explicitly argued for a potential role for overt money financed deficits, and done so while believing that the effective control of inflation is central to a well run market economy – we would be unwise to dismiss this policy option out of hand. Rather, we should consider whether there are specific circumstances in which it could play a role and/or needs to play a role, and even if not, whether exploration of the theory of money and of debt helps us better understand the problems we face, problems that may be addressed by other policy tools.

In this lecture I will therefore address both appropriate targets and appropriate tools, and will consider the full range of possible tools. But I will also stress the need for us to integrate issues of financial stability and of macroeconomic policy far more effectively than mainstream economics did ahead of the crisis... <cut>

/(.pdf 48pp)... http://www.fsa.gov.uk/static/pubs/speeches/0206-at.pdf

Ms. Brown goes straight to the heart of the matter. The message needs to go viral.

... (H)anding out newly created money to citizens and governments could solve economic woes globally and would not lead to hyperinflation.

Government-issued money would work because it addresses the problem at its source. Today, we have no permanent money supply. People and governments are drowning in debt because our money comes into existence only as a debt to banks at interest...

... The threat of price inflation is the excuse invariably used for discouraging this sort of "irresponsible" monetary policy today, based on the Milton Friedman dictum that "inflation is everywhere and always a monetary phenomenon." When the quantity of money goes up, says the theory, more money will be chasing fewer goods, driving prices up.

What that theory overlooks is the supply side of the equation. As long as workers are sitting idle and materials are available, increased demand will put workers to work creating more supply. Supply will rise along with demand, and prices will remain stable.

True, today these additional workers might be in China, or they might be robots. But the principle still holds: if we want the increased supply necessary to satisfy the needs of the people and the economy, more money must first be injected into the economy. Demand drives supply. People must have money in their pockets before they can shop, stimulating increased production. Production doesn't need as many human workers as it once did. To get enough money in the economy to drive the needed supply, it might be time to issue a national dividend divided equally among the people...

/... http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/14513-how-congress-could-fix-its-budget-woes-permanently

... With the proviso that not just any kind of supply will do to meet the pent-up demand. New supply must come from economic activity healthy for the environment as well as for humanity.

The Linchpin Lie: How Global Collapse Will Be Sold To The Masses

... The psychologist Carl Jung notes in his observations of collectivism in Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia that most citizens of those nations did not necessarily want the formation of a tyrannical oligarchy, but, they went along with it anyway because they feared for their own comfort and livelihoods. Many a German supported the Third Reich simply because they did not want to lose a cushy job, or a steady paycheck, or they liked that the “trains ran on time”. Socialism is by far the most selfish movement in history, despite the fact that they claim to do what they do “for the greater good of the greater number”.

Rand (The Rand Corporation) also used Rational Choice Theory as a means to remove questions of principle from the debate over social progress. Rational Choice propaganda commonly presents the target audience with a false conundrum. A perfect example would be the hardcore propaganda based television show ‘24’ starring Kiefer Sutherland, in which a government “anti-terrorism” agent is faced with a controlled choice scenario in nearly every episode. This choice almost always ends with the agent being forced to set aside his morals and conscience to torture, kill, and destroy without mercy, or, allow millions of innocents to die if he does not.

Of course, the real world does not work this way. Life is not a chess game. Avenues to resolution of any crisis are limited only by our imagination and intelligence, not to mention the immense number of choices that could be made to defuse a crisis before it develops. Yet, Rand would like you to believe that we (and those in government) are required to become monstrous in order to survive. That we should be willing to forgo conscience and justice now for the promise of peace and tranquility later.

This is the age old strategy of Centralization; to remove all choices within a system, by force or manipulation, until the masses think they have nothing left but the choices the elites give them. It is the bread and butter of elitist institutions like Rand Corporation, and is at the core of the push for globalization.

In my studies on the developing economic disaster (or economic recovery depending on who you talk to) I have come across a particular methodology many times which set off my analyst alarm (or spidey-sense, if you will). This latest methodology, called “Linchpin Theory”, revolves around the work of John Casti, a Ph.D. from USC, “complexity scientist” and “systems theorist”, a Futurist, and most notably, a former employee of Rand Corporation:


Casti introduces his idea of “Linchpin Theory” in his book “X-Events: The Collapse Of Everything”, and what I found most immediately striking about the idea of “Linchpin Events” was how they offered perfect scapegoat scenarios for catastrophes that are engineered by the establishment.

Linchpin Theory argues that overt social, political, and technological “complexity” is to blame for the most destructive events in modern human history, and it is indeed an enticing suggestion for those who are uneducated and unaware of the behind the scenes mechanics of world events. Casti would like you to believe that political and social tides are unguided and chaotic; that all is random, and disaster is a product of “chance” trigger events that occur at the height of a malfunctioning and over-complicated system.

What he fails to mention, and what he should well know being a member of Rand, is that global events do not evolve in a vacuum. There have always been those groups who see themselves as the “select”, and who aspire to mold the future to their personal vision of Utopia. It has been openly admitted in myriad official observations on historical events that such groups have had a direct hand in the advent of particular conflicts.

For instance, Casti would call the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria an “X-event”, or linchpin, leading to the outbreak of WWI, when historical fact recalls that particular crisis was carefully constructed with the specific mind to involve the U.S.

Norman Dodd, former director of the Committee to Investigate Tax Exempt Foundations of the U.S. House of Representatives, testified that the Committee was invited to study the minutes of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace as part of the Committee's investigation. The Committee stated:

"The trustees of the Foundation brought up a single question. If it is desirable to alter the life of an entire people, is there any means more efficient than war.... They discussed this question... for a year and came up with an answer: There are no known means more efficient than war, assuming the objective is altering the life of an entire people. That leads them to a question: How do we involve the United States in a war. This was in 1909."

So, long before the advent of Ferdinand’s assassination, plans were being set in motion by globalist interests to draw the U.S. into a large scale conflict in order to “alter the life, or thinking, of the entire culture”. When a group of people set out to direct thinking and opportunity towards a particular outcome, and the end result is a culmination of that outcome, it is obviously not coincidence, and it is definitely not providence. It can only be called subversive design.

In the economic arena, one might say that the collapse of Lehman Bros. was the “linchpin” that triggered the landslide in the derivatives market which is still going on to this day. However, the derivatives market bubble was a carefully constructed house of cards, deliberately created with the help of multiple agencies and institutions. The private Federal Reserve had to artificially lower interest rates and inject trillions upon trillions into the housing market, the international banks had to invest those trillions into mortgages that they KNEW were toxic and likely never to be repaid. The Federal Government had to allow those mortgages to then be chopped up into derivatives and resold on the open market. The ratings agencies had to examine those derivatives and obviously defunct mortgages and then stamp them AAA. The SEC had to ignore the massive fraud being done in broad daylight while sweeping thousands of formal complaints and whistle blowers under the rug.

This was not some “random” event caused by uncontrolled “complexity”. This was engineered complexity with a devious purpose. The creation of the derivatives collapse was done with foreknowledge, at least by some. Goldman Sachs was caught red handed betting against their OWN derivatives instruments! Meaning they knew exactly what was about to happen in the market they helped build! This is called Conspiracy…

One might attribute Casti’s idea to a sincere belief in chaos, and a lack of insight into the nature of globalism as a brand of religion. However, in his first and as far as I can tell only interview with Coast To Coast Radio, Casti promotes catastrophic “X-Events” as a “good thing” for humanity, right in line with the Rand Corporation ideology. Casti, being a futurist and elitist, sees the ideas of the past as obsolete when confronted with the technological advancements of the modern world, and so, describes X-event moments as a kind of evolutionary “kickstart”, knocking us out of our old and barbaric philosophies of living and forcing us, through trial by fire, to adapt to a more streamlined culture. The linchpin event is, to summarize Casti’s position, a culture’s way of “punishing itself” for settling too comfortably into its own heritage and traditions. In other words, WE will supposedly be to blame for the next great apocalypse, not the elites…

/... http://www.alt-market.com/articles/1308-the-linchpin-lie-how-global-collapse-will-be-sold-to-the-masses

Note: When Americans refer to 'socialism' they always appear to refer to dictatorial forms of political collectivism. Bolshevik rather than Menshevik rather than Anarchist; Fascist rather than either of those...

Modern European and Latin American types of socialism, on the other hand, are not dictatorial. They are not dictatorial to the extent that the (at least five) pillars of democracy are in place and function as they should. See eg. http://www.rand.org/publications/randreview/issues/spring2004/pillars.html

- edit: (sorry, that last link was meant to be http://india.5thpillar.org/home.html - but do look at the above).
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