Archive for August, 2009|Monthly archive page

Letter to a Portuguese Journalist

I was just asked some questions by a Portuguese journalist.  Here is my response:

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Confiscation of American Prosperity — Chapter 1

In light of the discussion about who predicted the Depression, I thought that I would post the first chapter of  The Confiscation of American Prosperity: From Right‑Wing Extremism and Economic Ideology to the Next Great Depression

click below


GM Fact of the Day

“To spend $200 million on manufacturing, we have to get board approval, with top management involved from an early stage. Yet we spend billions on marketing and delegate that to too many people at the lowest levels. It’s insanity.” Bob Lutz, General Motors Vice-Chairman.

Stead, Deborah. 2009. Bob Lutz, GM Salesman.” Business Week (3 August): p. 16.

Class and Classical Music

This is a section from my Invisible Handcuffs book.  I am far from an expert on music, so I would appreciate any feedback you have.


San Quentin and the Future of California Education

No words needed; the numbers speak volumes.

Thanks to Seth Sandronsky


Flash: The Head of the Bank of England Confesses

“As I look back, it now seems that, with all the thought and work and good intentions, which we provided, we achieved absolutely nothing … nothing that I did, and very little that old Ben did, internationally produced any good effect — or indeed any effect at all except that we collected money from a lot of poor devils and gave it over to the four winds.”

Continue reading

Terrorist T-Shirts

How can people have been arrested for wearing anti-Bush T-shirts, while assault guns are ok?

Did William Petty (1623-1687) pioneer the carbon tax?

It is stable, easier to measure, hard to game “Of all the Accumulative Excizes, that of Harthmoney or Smoak-money seems the best; and that onely because the easiest, and clearest, and fittest to ground a certain Revenue upon; it being easie to tell the number of Harths, which remove not as Heads or Polls do: Moreover, ’tis more easie to pay a small Tax, then to alter or abrogate Harths, even though they are useless and supernumerary; nor is it possible to cover them, because most of the neighbours know them; nor in new Building will any man who gives forty shillings for making a Chimney be without it for two.”

“You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.”

In the famous words of Rahm Emanuel, the crisis is doing its work very well.  One might have expected that people would be picking up the pitchforks to demand change; instead, they have been whipped up to demand more of the same.  Can anybody here imagine what would’ve happened if lefties had tried to hold their own tea parties at Republican meetings?  People got arrested for wearing anti-Bush T-shirts.

As a result and crisis management of Rahm Emanuel, the United States continues its rapid degeneration in fine fashion. Here at home, we’re about to begin the first of our furloughs was the beginning of the semester. Presumably, we have to sign some paper agreeing not to do any work, probably to protect the state of the university from any kind of legal liability for forcing us to work without pay.  Thinking about a twist on next week’s lecture during such times would be some kind of violation of a legal contract.

Gov. Arnold is on a tear, pushing for an undermining of the state pension plan.

Hopefully, health care reform — now rebranded as insurance reform — will be dead. I assume that the major reform will be to reduce the funding of Medicare. Continue reading

China vs. the US: Class Warfare

In July, Chinese workers murdered beat an executive to death in protesting an immanent privatization of their steel mill.

Canaves, Sky and James T. Areddy. 2009. “Murder Bares Worker Anger Over China Industrial Reform.” Wall Street Journal (3 August): p. A 1.

The state responded by halting the sale.

McGregor, Richard. 2009. “Killing of China Steel Plant Boss Halts Sale.” Financial Times (26 July).

Now the money is being returned to the intended privatizer

While not condoning violence, the role of the state is interesting here.  China is not always known for respecting the interests of those who stand in the way of what we in the United States call economic progress.  I would assume that a violent military response would occur here (unless the union would reorganize as a bank).  Instead, the Chinese negotiated with the workers.

I assume that some sort of punishments will be meted out, but even so, I am amazed at what happened.

Here is the latest from the NYT Continue reading