Go Go RocketParty

A dumping ground for my whatnots

I often wonder why anybody listens to economists. Their prestige far exceeds their usefulness. They exemplify the worst kind of rear-view mirror thinking. They are exceedingly conventional and reactive, and have little real insight to deliver that people don’t already know from their knowledge of about history and human nature. There’s this pretense that somehow it’s scientific and objective, but it just isn’t. Whenever you hear some economist spouting off, ask what his politics are. That will be a clearer indication of his thinking. Economics is not science; it’s ideology. Even Keynesianism was legitimated only as an ex post facto explanation for what happened in a kind of ad hoc experimental way in the U.S. during the 1930s and 40s. It was easily supplanted by voodoo economics and Laffer curvers when it seemed unable to explain the stagflation of the 1970s.

Ten songs from 2013.

(Source: Spotify)

It Is Time For Basic Income

Neither pure capitalism nor complete redistribution exist in the world today. Unfortunately, “centralized redistribution + capitalism” has proven to be the most common middle ground, with varying degrees of redistribution. This isn’t surprising. Public choice theory theorizes that political elites want to control the distribution of assets in order to increase their power and influence.

Centralized spending mechanisms have generally been proven to be inferior to market based methods of allocating resources at scale. For example, centralized redistribution has failed to effectively cure poverty, despite spending $20,610 per person below the poverty line. In general, decentralized market based mechanisms have proven to be the more effective means of allocating resources and motivating people to optimize around growth. Combining income redistribution and decentralizing spending would solve poverty today

(via azspot)

The $26.7 billion in bonuses Wall Street banks handed out just a few months ago during bonus season at the end of 2013, would be enough to more than double the pay for all 1,085,000 of America’s full-time U.S. minimum wage workers (according to a just-released study by the Institute for Policy Studies, based on new data from the New York State Comptroller).

Robert Reich (via azspot)

(via azspot)

Defining the Left

You can test yourself for compliance using my 12 Point Platform:

  1. A Living Wage
  2. Medicare for all
  3. Tax the Rich
  4. Job or Income Guarantee
  5. Debt Jubilee
  6. Retirement Security
  7. Post Office Bank
  8. Enforce the Bill of Rights
  9. End the Wars
  10. Food Sustainability
  11. Clean Air and Water
  12. Carbon Negative Economy

#5 is fascinating… 

(Source: azspot)

kateoplis:

Rod Penner’s paintings

These are beautiful. I could look at them for days. 

All in all, there’s precious little that Obama has done that any of his primary opponents would not have done.

—(via Common Dreams)
Honestly, I don’t think there’s much his primary opponent would have done differently.

kateoplis:

Nobody wins, Everybody Pays
“On Sunday, Netflix agreed to pay Comcast an undisclosed amount to ensure that its videos stream smoothly to Comcast customers. But fans of Francis Underwood’s manipulations on House of Cards might want to temper their celebrations.
This is more than a deal between two giant companies: It will affect everyone who uses the Internet. And as with so many things involving Comcast, consumers will end up paying for it in the end.”
"Let’s be clear. The Comcast-Netflix agreement is not the outcome of a free market. This is Comcast having Netflix over a barrel, and backing off only when it became clear that this sort of trickery could potentially derail its mega-merger with Time Warner Cable."
"This is a critical moment for our country. If Comcast acquires Time Warner Cable, it will control 55 percent of the U.S. market’s pay-TV/Internet bundled customers. It will be the only provider of this advanced communications package to nearly four out of every 10 U.S. homes. With this much control over the platform we all use to communicate and share with the outside world, the new normal will be whatever Comcast wants it to be.
Our country used to guard against the consolidation of this much market power, but in recent years policymakers have forgotten the lessons of history. We need to put the “public” back into public policy and some teeth back into our antitrust enforcement.
The average Internet user is at the mercy of companies like Comcast and Verizon, which won’t hesitate to degrade their services as a negotiating ploy. We need a watchdog in Washington who will demand transparency and who has the authority to stop discrimination and anti-competitive behavior.”
Why The Comcast-Netflix Deal Should Worry You [*]


Net Neutrality is obsolete. It’s directed at an issue that no longer exists, fixing a problem that came and went. This is now. 

kateoplis:

Nobody wins, Everybody Pays

On Sunday, Netflix agreed to pay Comcast an undisclosed amount to ensure that its videos stream smoothly to Comcast customers. But fans of Francis Underwood’s manipulations on House of Cards might want to temper their celebrations.

This is more than a deal between two giant companies: It will affect everyone who uses the Internet. And as with so many things involving Comcast, consumers will end up paying for it in the end.”

"Let’s be clear. The Comcast-Netflix agreement is not the outcome of a free market. This is Comcast having Netflix over a barrel, and backing off only when it became clear that this sort of trickery could potentially derail its mega-merger with Time Warner Cable."

"This is a critical moment for our country. If Comcast acquires Time Warner Cable, it will control 55 percent of the U.S. market’s pay-TV/Internet bundled customers. It will be the only provider of this advanced communications package to nearly four out of every 10 U.S. homes. With this much control over the platform we all use to communicate and share with the outside world, the new normal will be whatever Comcast wants it to be.

Our country used to guard against the consolidation of this much market power, but in recent years policymakers have forgotten the lessons of history. We need to put the “public” back into public policy and some teeth back into our antitrust enforcement.

The average Internet user is at the mercy of companies like Comcast and Verizon, which won’t hesitate to degrade their services as a negotiating ploy. We need a watchdog in Washington who will demand transparency and who has the authority to stop discrimination and anti-competitive behavior.”

Why The Comcast-Netflix Deal Should Worry You [*]

Net Neutrality is obsolete. It’s directed at an issue that no longer exists, fixing a problem that came and went. This is now. 

Capitalism Redefined

In every society, some people are better off than others. Discerning the differences is simple. When someone has more money than most other people, we call him wealthy. But an important distinction must be drawn between this kind of relative wealth and the societal wealth that we term “prosperity.” What it takes to make a society prosperous is far more complex than what it takes to make one individual better off than another.

Most of us intuitively believe that the more money people have in a society, the more prosperous that society must be. America’s average household disposable income in 2010 was $38,001 versus $28,194 for Canada; therefore America is more prosperous than Canada.

But the idea that prosperity is simply “having money” can be easily disproved with a simple thought experiment. (This thought experiment and other elements of this section are adapted from Eric Beinhocker’s The Origin of Wealth, Harvard Business School Press, 2006.) Imagine you had the $38,001 income of a typical American but lived in a village among the Yanomami people, an isolated hunter-gatherer tribe deep in the Brazilian rainforest. You’d easily be the richest Yanomamian (they don’t use money but anthropologists estimate their standard of living at the equivalent of about $90 per year). But you’d still feel a lot poorer than the average American. Even after you’d fixed up your mud hut, bought the best clay pots in the village, and eaten the finest Yanomami cuisine, all of your riches still wouldn’t get you antibiotics, air conditioning, or a comfy bed. And yet, even the poorest American typically has access to these crucial elements of well-being.

And therein lies the difference between a poor society and a prosperous one. It isn’t the amount of money that a society has in circulation, whether dollars, euros, beads, or wampum. Rather, it is the availability of the things that create well-being—like antibiotics, air conditioning, safe food, the ability to travel, and even frivolous things like video games. It is the availability of these “solutions” to human problems—things that make life better on a relative basis—that makes us prosperous.

This is why prosperity in human societies can’t be properly understood by just looking at monetary measures of income or wealth. Prosperity in a society is the accumulation of solutions to human problems.

So nice I had to quote it twice: “And therein lies the difference between a poor society and a prosperous one. It isn’t the amount of money that a society has in circulation, whether dollars, euros, beads, or wampum. Rather, it is the availability of the things that create well-being”

(Source: azspot)

But what I really think is, it should be like a corporation. You pay a million dollars in taxes, you get a million votes. How’s that?

Tom Perkins (via CNN Money)

The face of disconnected corporatism