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Random Guy

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  1. People can express counterfactuals and develop contrarian takes. Its ok to discuss what could be, or what might be, or state some assumptions and develop an argument based on those assumptions. Russia's tactics make alot more sense given a narrative of 'self-defense', compared to 'imperial intent'. Why leave the power on? Why ignore leadership targets? Why let the oil flow? It all seems very odd. Imagine going into Iraq without striking any critical targets ahead of time. Zelensky is within striking distance, broadcasting from known locations, but they don't strike. Doesn't make much sense.
  2. Video arguing the US provocated the conflict in Ukraine by pushing NATO membership. Not familiar with the author.
  3. Well, it's a matter of if they have sufficient power to impose that condition on the population, not whether it's is desirable or not from the population's perspective. They will likely have sufficient power to successfully implement it, as the neoliberals hold the majority in both parties.
  4. I'm hesitant to go there but... let's tie these threads together (abortion, demographics) in the spirit of that guy's wacky briefing. Sometimes, when you talk with family offices or HNWI in New York, you will hear discussion of demographics and a need to increase the total number of balance sheets (people) who can take on debt, as that debt is required to sustain asset prices and consume real output produced. One of the subjects that has been talked about over the past 5-8 years is banning abortion & birth control. [economic] Liberals, aka Neoliberals, in both parties, are fearful of a world of negative population growth rates, as it can unwind asset prices and reduce relative power of asset holders (empty houses aren't worth anything, and, having spent 40 years moving households from gov retirement guarantees to private investment retirement plans which siphon management fees, households are reliant upon asset prices not falling to sustain consumption in old age). We need to 'recreate birth rates currently seen in Africa, which means reducing access to birth control and abortion', paraphrasing. This means an increase to population would occur in tandem with decreasing wages, that is, an overall increase in total output and productivity but a decrease in quality of life for all households (more children, more work, but less income, as household negotiation power is crippled by Fed wage inflation targeting +asset price backstops, and active gov support for anti-union and pro-monopoly policies). In such a world (!), as an asset holder, you want your local protectors of your accumulated private property (police) to be very well armed (ex: MRAPs).
  5. Using the CDC, the total deaths for 2020 was 3.358M vs 3.605M briths, correct? A difference of about 250k excluding net migration (0.07% pop increase)? So, with net migration (~500k) total pop increase of about 750k? https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/70/wr/mm7014e1.htm
  6. Where are you getting your data from? Doesn't the latest US Census data show the 2020 - 2021 total population change at ~400k? https://www.census.gov/data/datasets/time-series/demo/popest/2020s-national-total.html And the projection dataset is from 2017, is that correct?
  7. (Just FYI, and apologies for spamming this thread). The Fed has released a paper last week (linked above), which asserts that mainstream economics theories of inflation are incorrect, and that the competing heterodox theories of inflation are correct. The Fed just shot Milton Freidman's Monetarism in the face with a shotgun.
  8. Here is a Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) founder's response to the Fed paper release, for folks interested in how political monetary economy fights affect gov policy over the long term: http://bilbo.economicoutlook.net/blog/?p=49871
  9. ICYMI: The Federal Reserve has released a paper taking a heterodox econ position which refutes the argument made by Monetarists (Freidman) about inflation. Inflation is not always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon. Note that the source of this argument is classical Marxism, which is one of the foundations of heterodox econ (power & class based analysis). https://www.federalreserve.gov/econres/feds/files/2022028pap.pdf
  10. Note that all currencies are digital (USD, EUR, etc), I'm assuming you are asking about crypto. In Mainstream econ, money is a numeraire, which means that it's not a commodity like gold or corn, but rather a token with no consumption or investment use, that is agreed upon as an instrument for conducting all exchange and is fixed in supply (generally by the gov). Folks in the crypto space tried to create the numeraire (a ledger where a token for exchange can exist and bank or gov money is peripheral, rather than the other way around). Except that BTC, for example, has a real input requirement in order to exist (energy). If crypto had no input requirement, it simply existed like a phantom, then it would have the properties of a numeraire. There are lots of interesting perspectives on crypto, many conflicting one another, which makes it a very large topic. One of the best places to start on the topic would be Desan, because coinage and crypto are similar in that the quantities are [generally] fixed, and we have thousands of years of data on coinage economic systems. Crypto addresses many of the problems identified with coinage: [nearly] infinite divisibility, no loss through wear, and it cannot be diluted [recoined], these are common examples of issues people bring up related to coinage. Because metal content in coinage in early UK was usually fixed compared to the continent, as the crown made explicit their support for creditors (owners of real wealth and holders of coin). The population generally never owned any coinage and it was not used in exchange where the price of goods and services required breaking the coins into pieces so small that they were easy to lose or be destroyed quickly through use. Typically instead of using coinage, simple IOUs were arranged within local communities, based in the unit of account (coinage). Coinage was used mostly for conducting large trade, often long distance trade. Given a growing population, the purchasing power of a fixed stock of coinage had a tendency to rise, which led to hoarding and outflows from Britain toward the continent, where it was regularly recoined and diluted by reducing the amount of metal per coin in order to create more coins for circulation at a value specified by the state. If the value of the metal in the coins was worth more somewhere else due to a redenomination (dilution), people would melt coins down for the metal and take it there, leaving the domestic population without any coinage for settling IOUs or paying taxes. This lead to compeitive redonominations between states who needed coinage to make payments related to war. When the quantity of coinage in the UK economy fell, it reduced economic activity and the outcome was a great deal of innovation in finance in Britain between the crown and creditors facing shortages of metal and war demands, such as gov borrowing, tally sticks, and later bank notes. The holders of coin in Medieval Britain successfully fought against dilution in order to maintain their own power to command real resources. The crown had an opposite interest in ensuring the real resources it wanted or needed could be acquired. When the value of coin was too high, the crown would benefit by ordering that only newly minted money was valid and require all old coins be brought to the mint for recoining (making them 'current'). By creating more coins (reducing weight or adding other metal) than what was brought to them, the crown could create tokens for themselves for making payments. The gov did not have to source the metal, as coining was a monopoly of the crown, people dug it up or collected coins and brought it to the mint. At play here is a dynamic between a state, which needs things and is the sole issuer of money, and holders of those coins, who do not have legal authority to command resources like the crown does, instead they use the money issued by the state. Diluting and issuing coinage was a source of income for the crown (seigniorage) and a means to correct imbalances between the need for coin to conduct exchange, a growing population, prices, and a fixed supply of metal. If crypto is adopted, like any foreign currency outside control of the state, it means that state no longer has to power to fund itself through money issuance, and in many respects can be summarized as a removal of state sovereignty: the capacity of the state to govern is reduced. Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) fall into two broad categories: Account-based and Hardware-based tokens. If a CBDC is created in the form of accounts, this means you and I have access to reserve deposits on the Fed ledger, either directly, or via some private provider who organize the interface to the central bank's ledger. This means you can hold cash in an online account at the Fed. Digital cash. A Hardware-based token CBDC is essentially cash on a hardware wallet. You load it just like you put cash in your wallet, and those tokens are Fed liabilities, just like cash. Hardware-based tokens are anonymous, like cash. Account-based CBDCs are just like online banking with the Fed. If cash is eliminated then the Fed can push rates negative, and you can't remove your money from the bank, as cash no longer exists. The idea is that by pushing rates negative, and taking money our of your account every day, it compels people to spend their money. Which is false. The desire to save increases as rates become more negative, such as in Germany.
  11. Edit after finishing the video: The logic of his argument is remarkably empty from a production standpoint: China & Germany (current sources of most global production) don't need current levels of energy if their export market disappears, their factories and machines will be turned off. Meanwhile the US (current destination for most exports) will be heavily reliant on imports to 1) survive in the short term and 2) to onshore productive capacity and build a domestic industrial base for the long term. The US needs those imports (think 'we have no PPE!' during the initial shutdowns). If global trade stops... surplus states are in bargaining positions because their industrial capacity already exists. This was the position of the US following WW2, and its surplus position was the source of bargaining power that led to Bretton Woods in the first place (not of gold or financial claims on others, but of real resources and output capacity). A massive increase in unemployment from a collapse in export markets can be managed by surplus states, they produce everything they need in real terms to sustain their non-working population (they are not reliant on imports). It's largely naive to think that the US's dependence upon imports does not place it in a very vulnerable position, but he doesn't mention this once in the briefing. The biggest benefactor of global trade is the US, which can exchange a currency it creates for real goods & services. But, his presentation is oriented in a way that makes it sound like it's actually the rest of the world that are the biggest benefactors of globalisation, which is false. I would argue he certainly got it right, that the US is in the position to use or withhold its military to extract exports it needs from the rest of the world because some of its military capability is not reliant on imports and it has abundant energy to fuel itself, but that makes us the bad guy from the perspective of the rest of the world. I can't tress this point enough, in the context of this briefing, given how he's arguing that a US with ample energy and no industrial capacity will be in a secure position [because they can use their military & energy to guarantee access to commodities elsewhere in the world]. This secord part in [brackets] that is the unspoken core premise of his briefing's argument is almost a literal restatement of British imperial ideology.
  12. The birth rate in the US and the EU are approximately equal (1.6 vs 1.5), and the birth rate globally is mostly below replacement rate. The only place that doesn't hold is where birth control is not widely available, which is Africa. So in general, assuming developed countries want to continue to provide the same amount of goods and services to a nearly constant population over the next 20 to 50 years, they have to import some workers from Africa and other undeveloped regions. Hence why the EU accepted an influx of migrants from the ME & NA, despite the risks involved. However, immigration to the US is decreasing as well, as incomes & quality of life are no longer sufficiently higher there than in other parts of the so-called 'global south'. That is, prices of critical goods and services are too high to draw migrants or for households to have larger families. All this means is that the total share of income going to households is too low, or conversely, the share of total income going to the financial (banks, NBFIs) and non-financial sector (firms) is too high. This is a well know fact, and one of the reasons why the US recently implemented a subsidy for families with children, an acknowledgement that the current economic system generates an insufficient amount of bargaining power for domestic workers resulting in wages that are too low and overly reliant on credit (and hence interest rate conditions) to finance living. But the statements made that China will implode based on these conditions applies to all developed states, in that context, as all are experiencing the exact same thing: an inability to maintain a workforce that produces the current level of output using just the domestic population. But what's not being discussed is that given stagnating or decreasing population levels in all developed states, fewer total goods and services are required to sustain the population. We don't need more stuff. In that case, the problem isn't one of insufficient goods & services available for households leading to an implosion of the state. The problem is that the total capacity to produce goods and services is larger than the population it serves, which means owners of Capital (machines, factories, and methods of producing things) and owners of the corresponding financial assets (capital) face decreasing prices and lower monetary values for this wealth. This is known as a 'general glut' in economic parlance, one where the 'captains of industry (& their bankers finance)' are desperate for the prices of everything not to collapse.
  13. The poor folks in the audience have no way of verifying anything he's saying. They are forced to assume specialization in economics is valid and trust his statements, when mainstream econ is wrong on most everything. It's painful to watch.
  14. He mentions that interest rates in capital markets are functions of demographics, that 'as people age they will remove "liquidity" from capital markets driving up rates', this is false in a bank money system. Interest rates are a policy variable. It's up to the Fed to choose what rates it wants to target, and that's what everyone pays to borrow from banks and money markets. It doesn't matter what people choose to do with the bank deposits they don't spend. He also seems to think of money as physical tokens--he literally says 'people will put their money to use in the stock market' which is nonsensical. Making purchasing of financial assets in secondary markets doesn't have any effect on future production, its just price speculation, as the firm doesn't receive those funds (retail investors don't have access to private markets where actual investments can be made). More importantly, any financial asset purchased is sold, so the seller holds those deposits and the total amount of money in the system never changes (you can't pull money out of the financial system)--the only way deposits at the commercial bank layer or the central bank layer can leave the system is by repaying debt, or striking it from a ledger. He seems to literally think that when people 'invest' the money is planted in the ground (it's gone!) and then becomes more money and stuff in the future--which is how it's taught in neoclassical models like loanable funds, so... He uses language like 'Capital [money] will shrivel up' to imply the total amount of money in the system will decrease due to demographics (saving increases)--that assumes that banks' lending behaviour is fixed while population changes, and that's false. As an example, about 60% of total money created at any given time comes from mortgage debt, credit cards, and car (large durable goods) loans. Its true that young people take on more of such debt, such that less young people would imply less of this debt and less money in the system for spending, but banks can just as easily come up with other products for older populations to sustain debt levels. And, the gov can always supplement total money by spending directly themselves. Both of these things must occur when savings rates rise, in order to create the money required to meet debt repayment obligations. But, if populations aren't growing anyway, and total consumption is falling, you technically don't need more debt anyway except to sustain unproductive lending that inflated asset prices. TL;DR: the speaker uses an incorrect economic model and draws false conclusions about economic phenonmenon. He says interest rates will rise and money supply contract because of population decreasing, when in fact interest rates are a policy variable and the money supply will continue remain flexible according to bank money creation. He also makes statements about 'US Productivity is higher than China' which is always a red flag, because economists don't actually measure productivity, they measure spot income against average income. So if your income is larger than the average income, you are considered 'productive', but someone earning $5M a year from a bond portfolio doing nothing but sitting on a beach is certainly not 'more productive' than someone working for living, even a pilot, for example. For more info about how the language around 'productivity' is wildly misused and abused, a good recent source for non-economists is a guy called Blair Fix who has lots of articles available on debunking the subject. https://economicsfromthetopdown.com/2019/11/14/productivity-does-not-explain-wages/
  15. Here is a recent paper from the UK, which is becoming more and more transparent about how monetary operations actually work at their Central Bank. https://www.ucl.ac.uk/bartlett/public-purpose/sites/bartlett_public_purpose/files/the_self-financing_state_an_institutional_analysis_of_government_expenditure_revenue_collection_and_debt_issuance_operations_in_the_united_kingdom.pdf
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