Archive for November, 2006|Monthly archive page

Oil Price Conspiracy, 2004??

Earlier, I posted a suggestion about the manipulation of oil prices in the runup to the election. Here is an example of an earlier manipulation.

Woodward, Bob. 2006. State of Denial: Bush at War, Part III (NY: Simon & Schuster).

287: “Prince Bandar was back in the Oval Office on Friday, February 20, 2004, to meet with Bush, Rice and Card …. Bush … thanked Bandar for what the Saudis were doing on oil — essentially flooding the market and trying to keep the price as low as possible. He expressed appreciation for the policy and the impact it would have during the election year.”

Global Warming and Global Warring

I have no idea how much fossil fuel is required to power the military-industrial complex is within the US and worldwide, but I have no doubt that it is substantial.

The connections between the military and our energy system would make a fascinating study. I recall how atomic energy began as a spinoff to make nuclear weapons more acceptable. I know that the interstate highway system, which massively subsidized automobile traffic, was initially meant to facilitate military transportation.

I wonder how much we could reduce global warming just by shutting down military. Jimmy Carter is called for a moral equivalent of war to reduce dependence on Middle Eastern oil.

Maybe the road to preventing a climate catastrophe would be the moral equivalent of peace.

More on the Economic Cost of Terrorism

Byrnes, Nanette. 2006. “The High Cost Of Fear.” Business Week (6 November): p. 15.

“A new survey on the cost of terrorism indicates that for S&P 500 companies alone, the threat has brought direct and indirect costs of $107 billion a year.  That figure includes extra spending (on insurance and redundant capacity, for instance) and lost revenues (from fearful consumers’ decreased activity).  Another finding of the September survey of CFOs, conducted by Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and CFO magazine:  Some 21% of U.S. companies have reduced employees’ air travel since September 11 (as have 17% of European companies).”

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Seeds of a Catastrophic Depression — new version

I posted an earlier version of this. Here is the latest. Any comments would be appreciated.

The Great Capitalist Restoration: Seeds of a Catastrophic Depression

The best lack all convictions, while the worst

Are full of passionate intensity.

The Second Coming ‑‑ W. B. Yeats

Prologue

For the last 3 1/2 decades a tiny minority of people has captured the lion’s share of the fruits of economic growth in the United States. A tiny group of wealthy people and powerful corporations are benefitting mightily, while the middle class is disappearing and much of the rest of society is rapidly falling behind, producing a level of inequality that has not been seen since the eve of the Great Depression. Business and political leaders celebrate this new state of affairs, pretending the benefits are certain to trickle down soon to the rest of society.

I will not belabor the obvious injustices of inequality. Instead, I intend to show how the current state of affairs is setting the stage for a catastrophic depression. Leaders in the world of business and government, as well as professional economists, seem oblivious to the dangers ahead. The extreme inequities in society breed a hubris that prevents them from even considering the possibility that they are contributing to a catastrophe.

Unless strong actions are taken, the calamity that currently afflicts the poor is certain to trickle up, engulfing even the very rich. I do not mean that the very rich will become destitute; only that the vast amount of extra wealth and income that they now claim for themselves will not be worth the losses that they will eventually experience.

Despite the dangers ahead, the United States still possesses the most powerful economy the world has ever known. The unique conditions that once made the U.S. economy so effective are already beginning to unravel. People in power commonly realize that the U.S. economy has fallen considerably short of its promise. In terms of traditional measures, such as Gross Domestic Product, the economy has modestly progressed, but the rate of growth is disappointing at best, especially considering the proliferation of new technologies. The quality of life for the majority of society has deteriorated.

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