Speculative Bullish Rice Bets Surge To Year Highs As Dollar Sentiment Plumbs New Lows

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Sat, 02/05/2011 - 19:55 | 938114 Mr Lennon Hendrix
Mr Lennon Hendrix's picture

The dollar is King!

Sat, 02/05/2011 - 22:45 | 938297 Michael
Michael's picture

We really must begin trying harder to adapt to climate change. With the solar cycle moving the planet into a cold period, crop yields may be impacted driving up food prices and causing instability around  the globe. We have seen evidence of this with the manifestation of political unrest and revolutionary change across many regions. Climate change is causing inflation in prices unbearable to the people that can least afford it. The protests and collapse of regimes in Tunisia and Egypt are among the most violent examples. The collapse of economies in Europe, you probably know the PIIGS story by now, and the rest of western economies to follow, are not going to be a pleasant experiences.

We must immediately begin to put pressure on our governments to end subsidies for bio-fuels, one of the major drivers of food inflation. The climate is now changing from global warming to global cooling. Unless we begin to take climate change seriously, our future as peaceful caretakers of our planet may no longer continue, and the world will erupt in civil and global clashes of civilizations, the likes of which we have never seen.

This is my essay using the words “Climate Change” in their correct manner. I am not afraid of using those words because of political interests giving those words a bad connotation. I challenge you to write essays using those words in proper context, to teach others how to use them properly as well.

Sat, 02/05/2011 - 22:56 | 938316 Mr Lennon Hendrix
Mr Lennon Hendrix's picture

Climate change is a redundancy.  We need to focus on sustainably polluting the earth, as we will never function with total sustainability.  Humans waste much, more than we know.  We can continue to dominate the space/time continuum with less impact on nature.

This song explains it, I think....

Medium Troy - Space Tree (recycled video rmx):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o7KDUZp2BxE

Sat, 02/05/2011 - 23:11 | 938334 Michael
Michael's picture

Climate change equals global warming and global cooling happening at different times in history. The solar minimum is in its third year causing the planet to cool. Solar max, predicted to happen around 2012 by NASA, is now predicted to be half its original prediction of a few years ago.

We need to put pressure on China and other developing countries to install high tech scrubbers in their smoke stacks like we have been mandated to use in the US with the clean air act. The air in the US has never been cleaner. You never hear about acid rain anymore do you.

Sat, 02/05/2011 - 23:51 | 938381 PY-129-20
PY-129-20's picture

And the water was also never cleaner...major oooops.

Sun, 02/06/2011 - 00:06 | 938393 colonial
colonial's picture

agree with your point, with one caveat...we're now going to run the risk of messing up our water as the next generation of oil/gas exploration is based on pumping massive amounts into shale

Sun, 02/06/2011 - 00:49 | 938429 Michael
Michael's picture

If you pollute my water, I have a right to sue you.

Sun, 02/06/2011 - 11:47 | 938696 More Critical T...
More Critical Thinking Wanted's picture

 

If you pollute my water, I have a right to sue you.

Yeah, tort is the libertarian answer to the "what should we do if a careless business owner builds a fireworks factory next to a school, eventually blowing it up and killing himself and a dozen kids".

In what way is the right of those children (now dead) to sue the business owner (also dead) a solution to the problem at hand?

Yeah, get rid of those evil government building code and building zone regulations - where your kids go to school that is ...

And you sure know that it's fundamentally a lot easier to poison water than it is to unpoison it, right? So even if the company that poisons it is sued, it will likely go bankrupt before it can unpoison the water ...

Fact is, civilization is in large part about keeping idiots from doing idiotic things to the vulnerable - and that inevitably means a certain amount of common-sense preventive measures - read regulation.

The climate is now changing from global warming to global cooling

With the latest readings showing that 2010 was the hottest global climate year on record:

http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/tabledata/GLB.Ts+dSST.txt

You sure must feel like an idiot for having made that claim?

Also, did anyone try to connect the rather obvious dots between "hottest year on record", "worst ever heat and fires in Russia and other crop producing countries" and the rise in crop prices - instead of idiotically balming global commodity price increases on the Fed?

Anyone?

 

Sun, 02/06/2011 - 11:52 | 938726 tmosley
tmosley's picture

Land around schools is expensive.  Why would anyone want to build a factory on super expensive residential land?

Christ, it's like you're TRYING not to think critically.

Sun, 02/06/2011 - 12:10 | 938732 More Critical T...
More Critical Thinking Wanted's picture

 

Why would anyone want to build a factory on super expensive residential land?

LOL - you should really know the answer to that: because he's an idiot with money?

Check historical facts to see whether there were rich idiots who built factories into residential areas (or the other way around) back in the days when there were no pesky regulations yet and you'll be surprised, big time.

Or just check recent history, when rich/influential idiots can build a fireworks factory in a school:

http://www.independent.ie/world-news/asia-pacific/school-was-fireworks-f...

Pupils as young as eight were told to manufacture firecrackers by hand by corrupt teachers, Communist officials and businessmen in the south-eastern province of Jiangxi, the families of victims said yesterday.

Think next time you buy cheap fireworks manufactured in a "no regulations" country for that July 4 party ...

And the libertarian view is that there should be no government regulations against child labor either, right?

 

Sun, 02/06/2011 - 12:11 | 938742 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

The right to sue someone can be for a past harm as well as a prospective harm...  I'm not sure where you're going with this.

Sun, 02/06/2011 - 12:17 | 938746 More Critical T...
More Critical Thinking Wanted's picture

 

LOL, the answer to that is rather obvious: that right already exists today, but try to apply it in practice, against wealthy defendants: for example try to sue BP over future drillings in the Golf and see how far you will get. You are a prospective victim, right?

If it does not work in such clear-cut cases how could it work in less obvious cases?

 

Sun, 02/06/2011 - 12:23 | 938759 tmosley
tmosley's picture

Such lawsuits would have a lot more weight if they didn't have government permission, which the courts are forced to recognize.

Again, you are trying your damnedest not to think.

Sun, 02/06/2011 - 12:28 | 938765 More Critical T...
More Critical Thinking Wanted's picture

 

You are trying really hard not to read history.

If you did it would tell you that a "no regulations" environment weakened the standing of plaintiffs in such cases. Without actual laws prohibiting the business activity until no real harm was done rarely was action taken by the courts.

Future torts were always frowned upon and the burden of proof was always very high.

The other problem was that rich businesses regularly bought judges and prosecutors. The first victim of a weak central government is the judiciary. You are deluding yourself if you hope otherwise ...

 

Sun, 02/06/2011 - 12:44 | 938781 tmosley
tmosley's picture

THAT IS NOT THE SAME!  You don't seem to be able to tell the difference between private interest and government.  "Government" means guys with guns force poor people to hand over their children to make fireworks!  You REALLY think that ZONING regulations would prevent that?  What are you smoking?

The only way to stop that is to get rid of the public schools.  Cut the taxes.  Let the people decide where to send their children and GUESS WHAT, they don't send them to the school with the corrupt teachers that force them to make fireworks.

Use your fucking head.  You can't disprove libertarian theory using the actions of those under the protection of the GOVERNMENT!  Show me a PRIVATE school that forces the children working there to make fireworks.  You can't, because it NEVER happens.  Only in schools ruled by government guns.

Sun, 02/06/2011 - 13:11 | 938823 More Critical T...
More Critical Thinking Wanted's picture

 

"Government" means guys with guns force poor people to hand over their children to make fireworks!

You are confused big time.

In China children of both rich and poor go to 'public schools' because essentially only public schools exist.

The situation wrt. schools is similar in Germany or Finland: both countries essentially only have public (government financed) schools.

The 'forcing' was done by local business interests producing cheap fireworks. Read: money, not power. The weak, corrupt government failed in not protecting its citizens from rich, idiotic local interests - the same interest I claimed would exist in my original argument above.

And you are arguing for an even weaker government? Are you absolutely, fricken nuts?

 

Sun, 02/06/2011 - 13:27 | 938869 tmosley
tmosley's picture

You're the one that can't tell the difference between government agents and private citizens.

Yes, only public schools exist there.  It is no coincidense that these abuses happened in China!

Germany and Finland have advanced economies that got that way by having long periods of capital accumulation by maintaining small governments with minimal regulations. 

Sorry, did these small, private businesses invade the local government offices with force of arms and force the good people there to hand over the local children?  NO!  Money doesn't force ANYONE to do ANYTHING.  Greedy guys with guns and no accountability do!  The problem stemmed from having a powerful, unaccountable local government!  YOU are fucking nuts, because YOU want to give these people MORE power! You somehow think that fucking ZONING LAWS would have made the situation better!  How fucking stupid do you have to be?

Haven't you ever heard the saying, "Any government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take everything away"? 

I'm done with you.  You can go suck some government officials dick to get them to steal some bread for you, you fucking monster.

Sun, 02/06/2011 - 13:43 | 938900 More Critical T...
More Critical Thinking Wanted's picture

Germany and Finland have advanced economies that got that way by having long periods of capital accumulation by maintaining small governments with minimal regulations.

Germany and minimal regulations? Germany is one of the most regulated countries on the planet :-)

Germany and "small government"? Germany out-stimulated/out-spent the US government by almost a factor of two:

http://www.cepr.net/images/stories/germany-U.S._23832_image001.gif

!

You clearly have absolutely no idea what you are talking about.

All your writings here suggest that you are living in a fantasy libertarian utopia world - which is really no better than the communists who lived in a fantasy communist utopia world.

 

Sun, 02/06/2011 - 13:49 | 938918 tmosley
tmosley's picture

English must be your second language, since you don't seem to understand the "past tense".

Sun, 02/06/2011 - 14:11 | 938934 More Critical T...
More Critical Thinking Wanted's picture

 

Oh, so the recovery under the over-regulated super-expensive German government does not exist?

Rising German exports:

http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/data/DEUEXPORTQDSNAQ_Max_630_378.png

Dropping German unemployment:

http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/data/DEUURAMS_Max_630_378.png

Rising German production:
http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/data/DEUPROINDQISMEI_Max_630_378.png

Must somehow still be the result of the low regulation, cheap government Germany - which last existed in the 1700s when Germany had no central government at all, right? :-)

Really, your denial of reality reaches scary levels.

 

Sun, 02/06/2011 - 17:01 | 939235 tmosley
tmosley's picture

Uh-huh, yeah.  I love how you assert that Germany is so heavily regulated with nothing to back it up.  Guess what, it ISN'T.  http://www.heritage.org/index/country/Germany  They have high taxes, not high regulation.  Further, they have promoted hard money policies to a much greater extent than has happened in the US.

You know less than nothing, boy.  Recognizing that fact is the first step toward overcoming it.

Sun, 02/06/2011 - 12:21 | 938751 tmosley
tmosley's picture

So your argument against libertarianism is that corrupt officials from a communist regime enslaved children?

I really can't begin to describe how fucking stupid that it.

And of course there shouldn't be regulations against child labor.  If a family is poor enough that it must send it's children to work, the only thing you get by prohibiting their labor is a bunch of children that have starved to death, or a bunch of child prostitutes.  I wonder which you would prefer, since you seem to want to busy yourself so in the affairs of others?

Sun, 02/06/2011 - 12:23 | 938756 More Critical T...
More Critical Thinking Wanted's picture

You know very little about China.

Politically China is a centrally controlled dictatorship.

Economically (at least at the local level) China is a decentralized libertarian dream come true: money can buy whatever you need.

And that is what happened here too: money and business interests trumped common sense.

 

Sun, 02/06/2011 - 12:28 | 938763 tmosley
tmosley's picture

How convenient for you that in a mixed system you can blame the effects of your own corrupted thinking on "freedom".

Of course, even a cursory examination of the facts would reveal that that was a fucking GOVERNMENT SCHOOL YOU MORON.  Government did NOT protect those children, and here you are telling us that you want to give those MONSTERS more power!??  What the FUCK is wrong with you?

Sun, 02/06/2011 - 12:38 | 938767 More Critical T...
More Critical Thinking Wanted's picture

 

Read what I wrote: in China on a local level the 'government' is equal to rich businessmen. There is no enforcement and businesses corrupt officials easily.

In China businesses can buy their own "private laws" in essence. Isn't "private laws" on the local level the ultimate libertarian model of self-governance? :-)

So by acknowledging that you thus agree with me that a stronger central government with stronger regulations and stronger enforcement would have helped these children?

Because clearly as a purely local/liberal matter it failed miserably ...

Btw., how convenient your delusion is: because except in Somalia there's some form of government anywhere in the world, so any bad event can thus be rooted back to some sort of government interaction, right? :-)

 

Sun, 02/06/2011 - 12:54 | 938793 tmosley
tmosley's picture

Clear the shit out of your ears and listen.  In a libertarian situation, businessmen don't get to use GUNS.  In fact, that is ALWAYS true.  If you are allowed to use guns to force people to do things, like hand over your children and tax money to "school" them, then you are PART OF THE GOVERNMENT.  I don't really give a shit what level it is.  A stronger central government will NOT stop corruption, it will only INCREASE it.

Christ, you can't even make an effort to use your head!  If the government didn't have the power to force people to send their children in to school/slavery, or to force them to build their businesses in a particular area, then they CAN'T be corrupted!  Why would businessmen bother to corrupt officials if they didn't have any power?

What the fuck is a "private law"?  That isn't a libertarian concept.  That is a jack off fantasy that came out of your head. 

More government==more corruption.  PERIOD.  The stronger a government is, the more absolute and irresistable the corruption.  You CAN'T blame the people who are just trying to make a living and survive (or even those trying to prosper), you have to blame the assholes using force, physical aggression, and the threat of such to extort whatever they want.  The government is the ONLY organization that is able to use force and the threat of force on an everyday basis.

More critical thinking required.

Sun, 02/06/2011 - 13:24 | 938863 More Critical T...
More Critical Thinking Wanted's picture

In a libertarian situation, businessmen don't get to use GUNS.

So libertarians are in favor of gun control? That's new to me, when did they down-size 25% of that "soap, ballot, jury, ammo" slogan? :-)

Really, what power would keep influential businessmen from owning, threatening with and (if necessary) using guns?

Some sort of strong central organization that is elected in a citizen-proportional fashion (we dont want the rich businessman to have a stronger private police force than a regular citizen, right?) and which is funded by every citizen - which organization then hires "law enforcement" personnel to watch over the security of citizens? (and many other details that a large, shared-interest civilization requires)

Some sort of 'government', right?

 

Sun, 02/06/2011 - 13:34 | 938882 tmosley
tmosley's picture

Dumbshit liberals can't tell the difference between owning guns and using guns to attack, kill, influence, and steal from people.

Libertarian societies still have police forces, they just don't have a lot of laws.  The laws are: no killing, no assault, no theft, no fraud, no trespassing.  All other laws stem from that.  You dumbasses don't understand the difference between the law and legislation.  You create legislation that favors your pals, and then use guns to enforce them.

Christ, you don't want "evil businessmen" to have a lot of influence, yet you demand more of the very thing that those same people corrupt for their own ends!  Can't you see that you are a total hypocrite?  Who do you think is bribing our government officials?  Who do you think gets the bailout funds?  Who do you think controls the money supply?  Why do these people have all this power?  They didn't have these powers a hundred years ago, when the Federal Government was tiny.  But now that it is huge, they've got it in spades.  AND YOU WANT MORE.

Go rob an old lady of her pension, you bastard.

Sun, 02/06/2011 - 14:10 | 938949 More Critical T...
More Critical Thinking Wanted's picture

 

Libertarian societies still have police forces, they just don't have a lot of laws.  The laws are: no killing, no assault, no theft, no fraud, no trespassing. All other laws stem from that.

Every libertarian I talk to tends to have his own version of libertarianism, so I try to argue it on a case by case basis. Regarding your version:

Do not current regulations forbidding certain types of monopolies stem from the law of 'no theft'? (You sure must agree that letting businesses corner markets and claim exorbitant, forced rents is a form of 'theft', right?)

Do not current regulations providing health-care to all stem from the law of 'no killing'? (You sure must agree that letting a citizen die from an entirely curable disease is 'killing', right?)

Do not current house zoning regulations enforcing density limits of buildings all stem from the law of 'no killing'? (You sure must agree that letting buildings too close to each other and letting house fires roll over entire blocks due to dangerously close buildings is 'killing', right?)

Etc. Most of the sensible regulations that libertarians are so upset about stem for someone's notion of 'killing', 'theft' or 'fraud'.

It's just that it might not be YOUR notion ...

Also, do you realize that enforcing such laws has costs so taxes (read: insurance costs paid by all) must be raised? Do you realize that once organizations are set up to enforce even just a minimal set of laws, they inevitably start taking an organizational form that you might as well call a 'government'?

You have not thought this through very much, have you?

 

Sun, 02/06/2011 - 15:02 | 939047 Michael
Michael's picture

MCT,

Bow to the ZOP. Zionist Occupied Press. I just thank the Creator every day for turning down the theormostat of the Sun.

Your kind of people got to learn the hard way.

Here is your homework assignment;

The Precautionary Principle Who Benefits?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4GIkWuuq45I

Also watch the videos in the description.

Mon, 02/07/2011 - 05:19 | 940078 More Critical T...
More Critical Thinking Wanted's picture

 

Oh, up to now I thought your avatar was a joke.

But chances are that it's a real photo of yourself?

 

Sun, 02/06/2011 - 17:26 | 939280 tmosley
tmosley's picture

Laws "Stopping monopolies" create more monopolies.  Monopolies can only arise in a free market by providing such a good product at such a low cost that no-one else bothers to compete.  Sometimes companies exploit governments to create monopolies for themselves, as we have seen with phone and internet providers, utilities, etc.  How on Earth can you claim that government intervention has helped prevent monopolies when they create them by law on a scale far beyond anything that ever happened when markets were freer?  You can't, but you still assert, because you are suffering from cognitive dissonance.  Further, preventing people from "cornering markets" is hardly necessary.  Speculators who attempt to do so inevitably bankrupt themselves and are forced to liquidate whatever they were trying to corner.  Even if they were successful by some magic, if they increased prices, that would just cause more production to come online, and again, they would be driven bankrupt.

Further, your rights end were another's rights begin.  As such, there can be no such thing as a positive right.  You have a right not to be killed (negative right), but you do not have a right to live.  Tell me, would you spend $100 Trillion dollars to keep a 99 year old man alive for another year?  That is the extreme example, but government seizure of health care ALWAYS leads to either more expensive health care, worse health care, or both.  All limited goods and services must be rationed SOMEHOW.  Economics must dictate how that limited resource is allocated, and how much goes into providing the service.  Otherwise, you get 19 year olds being denied transplants because they drank too much, without being given a chance.

Who are you to say what is "too close together"?  You never heard of an APARTMENT COMPLEX?  Would you have disallowed such things from being built?  You think people will choose to live in fire traps if they had a choice?  You would rather the poor live in the streets?  Or do you want to give what isn't yours to them as well so everyone can live in a nice house on a half acre?

Productive regulations are ALWAYS either instilled by the free market (look at engineering standards--99% are set by free market organizations).  The only reason for government regulation is to enforce positive "rights", like the right of a company that gave a bunch of money to city councilman X or congressman Y to be granted a government monopoly, or protective regulation on some subject to prevent competition and get a nice government gun enforced right to extract money from citizens.

As to your last point, it's bullshit.  We went for more than a hundred years with total government spending at less than 5% of GDP.  There was a minimal set of simple laws that could be interpreted by ANYONE.  But hey, you assert that it has to be the way it is today, even though it is tearing the world to shreds, so hey, lets all just take you at your word that we need people with guns pointed at our heads to "keep us safe" from those same guys with guns taking our children into fireworks factories.

I've clearly put a lot more thought into these subjects than you have.  You have no consistent philosophy other than "we need more of what is yours to protect you from yourself and us", and "it'll work...SOMEHOW!", whereas mine are derived from first principles.  I mean, you still don't recognize a. the difference between private interests and government, b. the difference between aggressive force and voluntary agreements (using money), or c. the difference between positive and negative rights.

Critical thinking needed, as you have NONE.

 

Mon, 02/07/2011 - 05:17 | 940074 More Critical T...
More Critical Thinking Wanted's picture

 

Monopolies can only arise in a free market by providing such a good product at such a low cost that no-one else bothers to compete.

Yet history gave us plenty of examples of the opposite: predatory monopolies maintaining a high barrier of entry against new competitors - not via any government measures but via plain old-fashioned long-term contracts locking in much of the market to the monopolist ...

If 'bothering to compete' may cost you 10 billion dollars to just enter a market, if you have to 2-3 years to even have a chance to pick up a big customer (because all existing ones have long-running contracts) then chances are high that for years if not decades no-one will 'bother' to compete - even if the competitor could compete much cheaper ...

That is market inefficiency by definition, that is theft, pure and simple, and you are intellectually dishonest for denying it.

There's plenty of libertarians here on ZH who readily admit that monopolies are indeed the Achilles heel of libertarian free markets - but you do not even get this far in the thought process.

And then I have not even mentioned physical monopolies: a single company owning all or most of a given resource's production facilities / mineral deposits. It will own the future going forward and it can set arbitrary high prices for no work performed whatsoever. It will use the proceeds to price-dump itself into other markets as well - distorting prices all around.

The logic behind libertarianian economics has so many holes in it that a truck could be driven through them :-)

 

Sun, 02/06/2011 - 14:59 | 939039 Michael
Michael's picture

duplicate

Sun, 02/06/2011 - 01:43 | 938459 Michael
Michael's picture

Coal Fired Plant

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6JcNlaD2j-4&feature=player_embedded

SHOCK Audio Unearthed OBAMA TELLS SAN FRANCISCO HE WILL BANKRUPT THE COAL INDUSTRY

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hdi4onAQBWQ&feature=player_embedded#

Sat, 02/05/2011 - 23:03 | 938329 smlbizman
smlbizman's picture

i would compare people and climate change to a bull rider on a bull...we are just along for a ride that we have no control of...

Sun, 02/06/2011 - 02:29 | 938480 Michael
Michael's picture

I'm sure Alex Jones would not mind me reposting this article for him and Paul Craig Roberts.

In a nutshell, a Targeted Value Added Tax may be the answer.

Potemkin America 
Paul Craig Roberts
Infowars.com
February 5, 2011

In 1961 I was a member of the student exchange program to the Soviet Union. It was the second year of the exchange and part of a diplomatic effort to achieve some thaw in the Cold War.

The fall of the Soviet Union resulted in high unemployment and poverty rates in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.  
There were three groups of us totaling approximately 35 American students. The Soviet authorities were not comfortable with us hanging out with Russian students, so we were kept constantly on the move. Consequently, we saw a lot of the communist country and its empire.

My group went in through Yugoslavia and Romania, spent time in Moscow, Leningrad, Kiev, Tashkent, Samarkand, and a Soviet sports camp on the Black Sea in Georgia, and came out via Poland and East Germany during the construction of the Berlin Wall. We were in the Caucasus mountains when Yuri Gagarin made the first spaceflight, a propaganda success for the Soviet Union.

What was most striking about the Soviet Union was that, except for the sparkling clean Moscow subway with its gleaming marble floors and walls and some beautiful old buildings built by the czars, there was nothing there. There was no traffic on Moscow’s boulevards. The small food stores were empty. The department store, GUM, had nothing to sell us for our fistfuls of rubles we had been paid for our Levi jeans, button-down shirts, and penny loafers, clothes literally bought off our backs on the streets.

I remember being on a bus in Tashkent when a meat delivery truck appeared. The carcass was hanging on a rail in the open air. The few vehicles on the street were following the delivery truck. The bus driver deviated from his route to follow the delivery.

Bus passengers came alive with anti-cipation. People began coming out from shops and office buildings. By the time the truck arrived at the small butcher’s shop, a long line had formed.

In the Soviet Union people kept a sharp eye out for deliveries of any kind. People would line up to purchase whatever was available as it could be bartered to obtain other goods. As goods of all kinds were scarce, money was not an effective medium of exchange.

My time with the Soviets made me immune to the exaggerated claims made for Soviet economic performance. During my years in graduate school, it was taken for granted that central economic planning enabled the Soviet economy to continuously generate growth rates that were very high compared to those of market economies. In 1962, G. Warren Nutter’s study, Growth of Industrial Production in the Soviet Union, was published by Princeton University Press for the National Bureau of Economic Research. Nutter concluded that the official index of Soviet industrial output exaggerated Soviet growth, and that Soviet growth was not remarkable compared to that of the United States in similar stages of development. Nutter’s conclusions provoked much controversy, and he had few defenders at the time.

Even as late as the 1980s, the view still prevailed in the CIA that the Soviet Union could triumph in an arms race because central control over investment meant that the Soviets could cause their economy to grow at whatever rate it took to counter an American arms buildup. When the Soviet economy collapsed, the CIA arranged for me to explain to the agency’s analysts why they had been mistaken about their enemy’s capabilities.

The Soviet economy failed because it used more valuable inputs to produce less valuable outputs. The outputs would be measured as statistical product, but the values of the outputs were less than the values of the inputs. In other words, instead of producing value, the Soviet system was destroying value.

This was the result of ideological aversion to using prices and profits to allocate resources and investments. Instead of profit serving as a manager’s success indicator, managers were judged according to whether they fulfilled a plan measured in gross physical output, such as weight, number, square meters.

For example, the success indicator for the construction industry was the number of projects under construction. Consequently, Moscow was littered with unfinished projects because all activity was concentrated in starting new ones. The plan produced a housing shortage because the incentive was to start new constructions not to complete ones already underway.

If a shoe factory’s gross output indicator was a specified number of pairs of shoes, there would be plenty of baby shoes, but none for large feet, because the same amount of material could be used to produce one large pair or several small pairs.

If nails were specified in number, there would be small nails but no large ones. If specified in terms of weight, there would be assortments weighted heavily with large sizes. A famous Soviet cartoon shows the manager of a nail factory being awarded Hero of the Soviet Union for over-fulfilling his quota. In the factory yard are two giant cranes holding one giant nail.

If light fixtures were specified in number, they would be small. If in weight, they would be heavy. Nikita Khrushchev complained of chandeliers so heavy that “they pull the ceilings down on our heads.”

An abundance of natural resources with low extraction costs and the minimal allocation of resources to consumer needs permitted the Soviet economy to continue despite its enormous waste of resources in terms of consumer satisfaction and economic efficiency. But it couldn’t go on forever.

In contrast, the U.S. economy during the 1960s was efficient. Prices and profits were the signals that allocated resources and investments. As the goods and services produced by American firms for American consumers were made by American labor, the profits made by corporations were indications that the economy was serving consumer welfare. American real wages and living standards were rising with the productivity of the economy.

During the 1970s, worsening trade-offs developed between inflation and employment, raising the specter of stagflation. However, this proved to be a problem with economic policy, not a problem inherent in the capitalist economy. Keynesian macroeconomic policy had stimulated demand with easy money but restricted the response of output with high tax rates. Supply-side economists corrected this problem by reversing the policy mix: tighter monetary policy and lower tax rates. Consequently, the U.S. economy resumed economic growth without having to pay for it with rising inflation.

Ironically, when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the consequence was to initiate ruin within the U.S. economy. “The end of history” caused Chinese communists and Indian socialists to join the winning side and to open their economies to First World capital. For the first time, American corporations had access to massive supplies of unemployed low-wage labor. The huge excess supply of labor in India and China meant that workers could be hired at wages far below their productivity, and the difference would flow in profits to executives, shareholders, and Wall Street.

The offshoring of American manufacturing separated Americans’ incomes from the production of the goods and services that they consumed. The advent of the high speed Internet made it possible to offshore professional service jobs, such as software engineering, which drove down the returns to a college education and the employment prospects of graduates. In an offshored economy, the profits of corporations are not a measure of the economic welfare of the population.

As American incomes stagnated—except for the rich, there has been no real increase in 20 years—the economy was kept going by the growth of consumer debt to take the place of the missing growth in take-home pay. Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan’s low-interest-rate policy fueled a real estate boom and drove home prices to new highs, permitting Americans to refinance their mortgages and to spend the equity. Anyone could obtain credit cards, and many Americans maxed out several.

By the 21st century, the U.S. economy was a Potemkin economy just as the Soviet economy had been. Rising consumer indebtedness had taken the place of income growth and had reached unsustainable levels just as the greed of the unregulated financial sector leveraged debt to irresponsible levels and caused a financial crisis that still threatens the Western world.

Traditional economic policy—low interest rates and large budget deficits—cannot put Americans back to work when the jobs have been sent overseas. The low interest rates deprive retirees and those living on their savings of interest income, thus further suppressing consumer demand. The massive deficits drive down the dollar’s value and threaten its role as world reserve currency. As the U.S. is an import-dependent country, a weaker dollar further suppresses consumer purchasing power.

In addition, the bailouts of the banks and the monetization of the federal deficit by the Federal Reserve, known as quantitative easing, suppress consumer incomes while threatening consumers with inflation and reductions in benefits, such as Social Security and Medicare, and cuts in income-support programs.

The Potemkin American economy pretends that it can afford trillion-dollar wars, trillion-dollar military budgets, and trillion-dollar bailouts despite having sent much of its tax base offshore and undermining the dollar and creditworthiness of the U.S. Treasury.

Amidst high and intractable unemployment, President Obama’s Deficit Commission finds the solution in squeezing the American people harder so that the rich are not deterred by taxes from monopolizing every dollar of wealth growth. Social Security recipients have been selected to pay for the wars and the bailouts by having the retirement age raised and benefits reduced. To spread the misery, commissioner Alice Rivlin wants a 6.5 percent national sales tax, which, if enacted, would further reduce consumer spending during the worst downturn since the Great Depression.

In the USSR, a defunct ideology prevented the Soviets from saving themselves by using price and profit signals, instead of gross output indicators, to organize their economy. In the United States, politically powerful interest groups, such as Wall Street and the military-industrial complex that President Eisenhower warned us about, prevent the measures that would rejuvenate the consumer economy by bringing the offshored jobs home and reduce the deficit by ending the counter-productive wars.

The advantage to corporations and the financial sector of cheap foreign labor can be offset by taxing corporations according to where value is added to their product: a low tax rate if value is added with American labor and a high tax rate if value is added with foreign labor. This simple change would bring jobs back to Americans, rebuild the ladders of upward mobility that made the U.S. an opportunity society, restore the tax bases of cities, states, and the federal government, and reduce the trade deficit by the amount of the goods and services that are produced offshore by U.S. firms for U.S. markets.

Yet just as the Soviet communist bosses held on to power to the point of their self-destruction, the American oligarchies will squeeze the U.S. economy to its death. Is President Obama’s failure to bring any change yet another indication that change in America will only follow catastrophe?

http://www.infowars.com/potemkin-america/

 

Sun, 02/06/2011 - 02:42 | 938495 Michael
Michael's picture
WikiLeaks cables: US agrees to tell Russia Britain’s nuclear secrets

Information about every Trident missile the US supplies to Britain will be given to Russia as part of an arms control deal signed by President Barack Obama next week.

Defence analysts claim the agreement risks undermining Britain’s policy of refusing to confirm the exact size of its nuclear arsenal.

The fact that the Americans used British nuclear secrets as a bargaining chip also sheds new light on the so-called “special relationship”, which is shown often to be a one-sided affair by US diplomatic communications obtained by the WikiLeaks website.

Details of the behind-the-scenes talks are contained in more than 1,400 US embassy cables published to date by the Telegraph, including almost 800 sent from the London Embassy, which are published online today. The documents also show that:

http://www.infowars.com/wikileaks-cables-us-agrees-to-tell-russia-britains-nuclear-secrets/

Sun, 02/06/2011 - 04:14 | 938507 Michael
Michael's picture

Before you junkers get started on me again, I don't care. How do you like these apples?

Quote me on this;

Even if the Vetted Truth comes out of the mouth of Satin himself, I am going to publish it!

Michael J. Norton.

Sun, 02/06/2011 - 04:19 | 938532 Rodent Freikorps
Rodent Freikorps's picture

Who is Satin?

Sun, 02/06/2011 - 04:34 | 938541 Michael
Michael's picture

And speak it too!

Sun, 02/06/2011 - 05:06 | 938549 Michael
Michael's picture

Now they are parading out the reverse psychology, forbidden J-Word in the MSM, if you can call Huffington Post that,  in plain view. What will they try next?

State Media

The continued broadcasts on state TV also concern activists. Even if the government doesn't directly target activists, the rhetoric broadcast on state media may provoke others to target them.

"The state media is inciting violence and hate against westerners and foreigners in the country. They are making any foreigner in the country look suspicious. And they are inciting violence against journalists who have cameras," said prominent blogger and activist Wael Abbas.

"The state media is like the Nazi media in the '30s spreading hate all of the country and I blame Anas El-Fekky for that, he is the current minister of information," Abbas said. "This guy should be put on trial. He is a murderer, he's ordering murders now on TV."

Rakha describes one program on an Egyptian TV station.

"There is an Egyptian-funded channel and they brought a girl on TV, veiled, kind of hid her face. She started saying she was one of the organizers of this protest and Freedom House gave her $50,000 and trained her at the hands of Jews," Rakha claimed. "Can you imagine this -- how the conspiracy theory is there: money, Jews, and a foreign entity?"

She continued, "They gave her money and the Jews trained her on how to start a revolution, on how to organize on Facebook, and when she says what's happening she realized this is wrong and that's why she decided to step forward. That's on Egyptian TV! "

Egyptian Protesters Fear Retribution, But Press On

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/02/05/egypt-protesters-fear_n_819184.html#comments

Sun, 02/06/2011 - 05:10 | 938550 Rodent Freikorps
Rodent Freikorps's picture

Blind hate is two-edged sword, aint it?

Mubarak is pretty slick.

Sun, 02/06/2011 - 06:03 | 938553 Michael
Michael's picture

So is Huffington Post.

I suppose they are trying to get everybody to hug a Jew today.

Some Huff comments are getting through, not all posters over there were born yesterday.

"Apparently­,
jew in lower caps passes. Otherwise, not so much."  "You must have been saying something good about them or it would [not]have made it through...­for sure."  "Perhaps because you meant "Israeli?" I can't think of any reason "jew" wouldn't be a word used prejudicia­lly in the context of this discussion­. Write succinctly and intelligen­tly and correctly and your comment might be passed."  "Take "jew" out of the sentence, it's post-proof­. Otherwise, if use it in a sentence and capitalize the "J", not so much."  ROTFLMAO  
Sun, 02/06/2011 - 11:23 | 938691 Bearster
Bearster's picture

You somehow turned a discussion of rising commodity prices and rising speculation to anti-semitisim.  Why don't you move to a muslim country, where they share your unreasoning hate?

Sun, 02/06/2011 - 11:46 | 938715 Spalding_Smailes
Spalding_Smailes's picture

Always blame the smart guy. Mike should start reading more ( not alex jones ) and turn gloom into success through hard work ...

Don't sit back and blame, blame, blame others. Figure out what the world needs moving forward and provide that service and profit at the same time. The arab countries should do the same, take all the wasted time focused on hate and work toward making things better for your people/country. Teaching your kids this silly hate at 4-5 years old and you get a life of blaming others for your problems. Most arab countries are a wasteland of idle hands .....

Sun, 02/06/2011 - 13:21 | 938851 Bearster
Bearster's picture

+1

One comment I heard on the news yesterday, regarding post-Mubarek Egypt: "the peace treaty with Israel isn't working for them."

Huh??  What is it, exactly, about the lack of death and destruction, disease and privation that isn't "working"?

Is it that they would rather die than live in a world in which Jews?

Sun, 02/06/2011 - 14:42 | 939009 Michael
Michael's picture

You confuse the word hate with the word anger.

Try this;

Homey D. Clown Don't Play That Police State Shit Thus Revolution

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VaebXLxuxmY

Sun, 02/06/2011 - 14:44 | 939004 Michael
Michael's picture

Why don't you move to Israel you Israeli ass licking cocksucker since you love it so much, and get out of my Constitutional Republic?

Sun, 02/06/2011 - 12:04 | 938736 New_Meat
New_Meat's picture

"The state media is like the Nazi media in the '30s..."

and the U.S. media in 1917.  Of course, that was after the "too proud to fight" nonsense.

- Ned

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