Back in the good ol’ days—I mean as far back as the late middle ages—people just did business with each other.
The concentration of wealth we've sen over the past two hundred years is completely unacceptable.
I just accepted a post at the New School University, teaching in the Media Studies Department. This should be a good thing for everyone. [link]
[R]real apocalypses are sordid, banal, insane. If things do come unraveled, they present not a golden opportunity for lone wolves and well-armed geeks, but a reality of babies with diarrhea, of bugs and weird weather and dust everywhere, of never enough to eat, of famine and starving, hollow-eyed people, of drunken soldiers full of boredom and self-hate, of random murder and rape and wars which accomplish nothing, of many fine things lost for no reason and nothing of any value gained. And survivalists, if they actually manage to avoid becoming the prey of larger groups, sitting bitter and cold and hungry and paranoid, watching their supplies run low and wishing they had a clean bed and some friends. Of all the lies we tell ourselves, this is the biggest: that there is any world worth living in that involves the breakdown of society.
My rosy scenario is that a better economic environment will develop, a low-debt, robust growth world, in which whatever is fragile will be allowed to break early and not late.
My nightmare scenario is that the government saves Citibank once again, as well as the other banks, and business resumes as usual. Then, the next time the system breaks, it breaks much, much bigger.
I believe achieving a modest rate of inflation (my number is 3%) should be job 1 for the Fed. The goal of fiscal stimulus is to increase aggregate nominal demand. The notion is that there is sufficient slack in the economy that we could increase nominal GDP without causing nominal prices to increase, and thus generate an increase in real incomes. Once we get to the point where that stimulus starts to produce inflation, we know we've done all we can with the policy of demand stimulus.
The more the Fed takes on its balance sheet, the more the long-run independence of the central bank is damaged. Monetizing so much government debt is what Third World nations do.*** Draining the new money from the system will someday be a problem. It may introduce a round of "beggar-thy-neighbor," central bank-engineered currency depreciations.
Contemporary science is preoccupied with that which exists; it rarely accounts for what is missing. But often the key to a system’s persistence lies with information concerning lacunae.
Information theory (IT), predicated as it is on the indeterminacies of existence, constitutes a natural tool for quantifying the beneﬁcial reserves that lacunae can afford a system in its response to disturbance. In the format of IT, unutilized reserve capacity is complementary to the effective performance of the system, and too little of either attribute can render a system unsustainable. The fundamental calculus of IT provides a uniform way to quantify both essential attributes – effective performance and reserve capacity – and results in a single metric that gauges system sustainability (robustness) in terms of the tradeoff allotment of each.
Furthermore, the same mathematics allows one to identify the domain of robust balance as delimited to a ‘‘window of vitality’’ that circumscribes sustainable behavior in ecosystems. Sensitivity analysis on this robustness function with respect to each individual component process quantiﬁes the value of that link ‘‘at the margin’’, i.e., how much each unit of that process contributes to moving the system towards its most sustainable conﬁguration.
The analysis provides heretofore missing theoretical justiﬁcation for efforts to preserve biodiversity whenever systems have become too stream-lined and efﬁcient. Similar considerations should apply as well to economic systems, where fostering diversity among economic processes and currencies appears warranted in the face of over-development.
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