A new take on the gold standard?

Keynes, in his Treatise on Money, in a footnote at the beginning of Chapter 35, referring to the love of money, as a footnote pointing to the work of the Hungarian psychoanalyst, Sandor Ferenczi, who was famous for his work on that subject. Ferenczi argued that the love of money was a continuation of infants’ fascination with their own feces.

Ferenczi, Sandor. 1914. “The Ontogenesis of Interest in Money.” In Sex in Psycho-Analysis (Contributions to Psycho-Analysis) (NY: Basic Books, 1950): pp. 319-31.

I turns out that Keynes and Ferenczi were up to something.

Devlin, Hannah. 2015. “Gold in faeces is worth millions and could save the environment.” The Guardian (25 March). http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/mar/23/gold-in-faeces-worth-millions-save-environment.

“Sewage sludge contains traces of gold, silver and platinum at levels that would be seen as commercially viable by traditional prospectors. “The gold we found was at the level of a minimal mineral deposit,” said Kathleen Smith, of the US Geological Survey.”

. “How Economics Bolstered Power by Obscuring it.”

unsettling economics

Nick Buxton and Madeleine Bélanger Dumontier, eds. State of Power 2015: An Annual Anthology on Global Power and Resistance, eds. (Amsterdam: The Transnational Institute

This is a collection of articles, despite the inclusion of one of my own,  “How Economics Bolstered Power by Obscuring it.”

You can download the book at

file:///D:/TNI_State-of-Power-2015%20(1).pdf

View original post

. “How Economics Bolstered Power by Obscuring it.”

Nick Buxton and Madeleine Bélanger Dumontier, eds. State of Power 2015: An Annual Anthology on Global Power and Resistance, eds. (Amsterdam: The Transnational Institute

This is a collection of articles, despite the inclusion of one of my own,  “How Economics Bolstered Power by Obscuring it.”

You can download the book at

file:///D:/TNI_State-of-Power-2015%20(1).pdf

New frontiers in Transparency

unsettling economics

http://online.wsj.com/articles/buyout-firms-push-pension-funds-to-keep-information-under-wraps-1415142588

We know we live in the world of perverse transparency: governments,
which are effectively shielded from having to provide information have
the right to get intimate information about our lives.  I think this
is supposed to be called transparency.

In the case of pensions, they are woefully underfunded. The only hope
they have of staying afloat while meeting their obligations is to
treat their finance as a form of what is known in the football world
as a series of hail Mary passes in order to gamble on getting
extraordinarily high returns.

The largest pension fund is California’s Public Employees Retirement
System, which recently announced that it would be withdrawing its
investments from hedge funds, but left unsaid that it would continue
investing with private equity operations.

Here we encounter a sad irony. The Mitt Romney campaign increase
public awareness of the damage that private equity does to workers.

View original post 98 more words

New frontiers in Transparency

http://online.wsj.com/articles/buyout-firms-push-pension-funds-to-keep-information-under-wraps-1415142588

We know we live in the world of perverse transparency: governments,
which are effectively shielded from having to provide information have
the right to get intimate information about our lives.  I think this
is supposed to be called transparency.

In the case of pensions, they are woefully underfunded. The only hope
they have of staying afloat while meeting their obligations is to
treat their finance as a form of what is known in the football world
as a series of hail Mary passes in order to gamble on getting
extraordinarily high returns.

The largest pension fund is California’s Public Employees Retirement
System, which recently announced that it would be withdrawing its
investments from hedge funds, but left unsaid that it would continue
investing with private equity operations.

Here we encounter a sad irony. The Mitt Romney campaign increase
public awareness of the damage that private equity does to workers.
Workers have good reason to want to know about the fees that their
pensions pay to the private equity operations.  The high fees are a
matter of concern. In addition, recent revelations show that private
equity operations sometimes continue to charge fees from companies
after they have severed their official connections with the company.

People, presumably covered by their pension plan, petitioned the state
of Iowa to learn about the fees private equity charges. Private equity
companies pressure the pension plans not to reveal this information
unless they are willing to be blackballed from investing in private
equity.

The Anarchy of Globalization: Local and Global, Intended and Unintended Consequences

unsettling economics

I am going to give a keynote lecture for a conference on the local effects of globalization in Turkey

Here are a few early sentences to give a sense of my talk.

GLOBAL

View original post

The Anarchy of Globalization: Local and Global, Intended and Unintended Consequences

I am going to give a keynote lecture for a conference on the local effects of globalization in Turkey

Here are a few early sentences to give a sense of my talk.

GLOBAL

Extended Interview Regarding my New Book

Tom O’Brien is a very knowledgeable and insightful interviewer.  The URL for earlier interviews on his program is

http://fromalpha2omega.podomatic.com/entry/2014-06-27T15_00_18-07_00

The URL for the interview is

http://fromalpha2omega.podomatic.com/enclosure/2014-06-27T15_00_18-07_00.mp3

By the way, the latest title of the book is Work, the Economy, and Economic Ideology: And Exploratory Political Economy of the Dangerous and Paradoxical Interactions of these Three Faulty Pillars of Society.  I would very much appreciate any criticism and suggestions about the material discussed in this interview. Thank you very much.

 

The Ideological Fraud of Adam Smith, Beginning with the Pin Factory

unsettling economics

The first sign of Smith’s pin factory appeared in a course of lectures to his students in Glasgow in 1762 and 1763, more than a decade before the publication of his great book. The discussion of the pin factory began on March 28, 1763, while he was explaining to his Glasgow students the importance of the law and government:

They maintain the rich in the possession of their wealth against the violence and rapacity of the poor, and by that means preserve that useful inequality in the fortunes of mankind which naturally and necessarily arises from the various degrees of capacity, industry, and diligence in the different individuals. [Smith 1762 1766, p. 338]

In order to justify this inequality, Smith told his students that “an ordinary day labourer … has more of the conveniences and luxuries than an Indian [presumably Native American] prince at the head of 1,000 naked savages”…

View original post 445 more words

The Ideological Fraud of Adam Smith, Beginning with the Pin Factory

SMITHThe first sign of Smith’s pin factory appeared in a course of lectures to his students in Glasgow in 1762 and 1763, more than a decade before the publication of his great book. The discussion of the pin factory began on March 28, 1763, while he was explaining to his Glasgow students the importance of the law and government:

They maintain the rich in the possession of their wealth against the violence and rapacity of the poor, and by that means preserve that useful inequality in the fortunes of mankind which naturally and necessarily arises from the various degrees of capacity, industry, and diligence in the different individuals. [Smith 1762 1766, p. 338]

In order to justify this inequality, Smith told his students that “an ordinary day labourer … has more of the conveniences and luxuries than an Indian [presumably Native American] prince at the head of 1,000 naked savages” (Smith 1762 1766, p. 339). But then the next day, Smith suddenly shifted gears, almost seeming to side with the violent and rapacious poor:

The labour and time of the poor is in civilized countries sacrificed to the maintaining of the rich in ease and luxury. The landlord is maintained in idleness and luxury by the labour of his tenants. The moneyed man is supported by his exactions from the industrious merchant and the needy who are obliged to support him in ease by a return for the use of his money. But every savage has the full enjoyment of the fruits of his own labours; there are no landlords, no usurers, no tax gatherers …. [T]he poor labourer … has all the inconveniences of the soil and season to struggle with, is continually exposed to the inclemency of the weather and the most severe labour at the same time. Thus he who as it were supports the whole frame of society and furnishes the means of the convenience and ease of all the rest is himself possessed of a very small share and is buried in obscurity. He bears on his shoulders the whole of mankind, and unable to sustain the weight of it is thrust down into the lowest parts of the earth from whence he supports the rest. In what manner then shall we account for the great share he and the lowest persons have of the conveniences of life? [Smith 1762 1766, pp. 340 41]

Smith’s train of thought is confusing. First, the law is needed to constrain the fury of the poor; then the market provides for the poor very well; followed by the wretched state of the people who worked on the land the least fortunate of the workers. For his grand finale, after decrying the “small share” of the poor, Smith curiously veers off to ask what accounts for “the great share” that these same people have. His answer should come as no surprise to a modern reader of Adam Smith “The division of labour amongst different hands can alone account for this” (Smith 1762 1766, p. 341).

By March 30, Smith was confident enough about his success in finessing the challenge of class conflict that he became uncharacteristically unguarded in openly taking notice of the importance of workers’ knowledge:

But if we go into the work house of any manufacturer in the new works at Sheffield, Manchester, or Birmingham, or even some towns in Scotland, and enquire concerning the machines, they will tell you that such or such an one was invented by some common workman. [Smith 1762 1766, p. 351]

Read the entire article here

 

SMITH

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