DoomwatchTM vs. Timesizing®
Collapse trends - December, 2002
[Commentary] ©2002 Philip Hyde, The Timesizing Wire, Box 622, Cambridge MA 02140 USA (617) 623-8080 - HOMEPAGE
12/31/2002 headlines from hell -
12/30/2002 headlines from hell -
- More people on welfare after years of declines - A lack of low-wage jobs has led to rolls inching upward, a liberal group finds, AP via NYT, A14.
Welfare rolls grew in 3/4 of the states last summer and the national total crept up too, as low-wage jobs became scarcer, a private survey has found. In many states, the increases are small, but the widespread rise contrasts with the striking declines in the mid- to late 1990s, when the economy was booming [or inflating into a bubble?!] and strict new rules were pushing people from the rolls.
In 1994, more than 5 million families received cash assistance each month. That had plummeted to just over two million by this July.
[Hmm, close to the 2.1m Americans in prison, but these are entire families, not just individuals.]
The Center for Law and Social Policy, a liberal research group, surveyed the states and found that the rolls rose from July through September of this year in 38 states and DC. Official figures for that quarter are not yet out. Nationally, the group found an increase of 0.9% in the number of families receiving assistance.... The Health & Human Services Dept. has not reported a national rise in the welfare figures since the rolls began falling in 1994.... The [revised] caseloads actually crept up in the final months of last year, in the aftermath of 9/11..\..
In Mississippi, caseloads have risen 10% since July. There are now just under 20,000 families on welfare in Mississippi; the number had fallen to below 15,000.
...Mark Greenberg, a welfare expert who helped with the study...attributed the rise to the weak economy and the increasing number of people without jobs. The nation's unemployment rate jumped to 6% in November, matching an 8-year high set in April.... Mr. Greenberg said that caseloads could rise more as unemployment benefits run out, as they did for more than 750,000 families last week....
- Industrials near worst year since '77; Nasdaq may see third-biggest drop, by Kate Kelly, WSJ, C1.
...As of this morning, the Dow industrials are down 16.85% for the year, which, if it sticks, would be the worst year for the average since 1977. Worse yet, at a year-to-date decline of 31.32%, the Nasdaq Composite Index appeared to be headed for its third-biggest annual decline ever - the record is the 39% slide in 2000 - and the first time in its 32-year history that it has fallen three years in a row. ...The Nasdaq composite, reflecting primarily technology stocks, fell...to 1339.54....
- What became of the dollar as safe harbor? by Peter McKay, WSJ, C1.
The dollar's fall from grace continues. Once a haven for investors, the US currency has slid throughout much of 2002 due to a mix of jitters over the nation's economic recovery, the resulting flight of foreign investors from American stocks, and low interest rates....
[And corporate scandals and pResidential warmongering.]
This month, the decline picked up steam, hitting 3-year lows against the euro and the Swiss franc last week, and a smaller decline against the yen. For the year, the dollar is down 17.6% to $1.0483 against the euro, down 16.6% to 1.389 Swiss francs, and down 9.5% to 118.53 yen.
Now, instead of using the dollar for protection, investors are fleeing to other refuges like the Swiss franc and gold, which is near a 6-year high of $344.10....
12/27/2002 headlines from hell -
- Using tax dollars for churches, editorial, NYT, A20.
...Bush punched a dangerous hole in the wall between church and state earlier this month by signing an executive order that eases the way for religious groups to receive federal funds to run social services programs. [His] unilateral order, which wrongly cut Congress out of the loop, lets faith-based organizations use tax dollars to win converts and gives them a green light to discriminate in employment. It should be struck down by the courts....
[There is absolutely nothing guaranteed about American primacy in the world. It is all hard-learned, carefully designed social engineering. But if we allow another 4 years of this Backward Bush administration, we will have damaged so many of America's hard-learned institutional advantages that we will soon go the way of the Roman and British Empires (and much of the rest of the world will breathe a sigh of relief). This is a time when we should be moving beyond the separation of Church and State, religion and politics, to separate State and Market, politics and economics. Instead, this ignoramus is rolling us back to the same kind of confused mixture that prevails in primitive Israel and Saudi Arabia and yes, in Iraq and Iran. The world is not merely different geographic zones. It is primarily different timeframes on the road of social evolution. And people and nations are strewn about, lagging on the shoulders of this road practically all the way back to the caves. Saudi Arabia still chops off people's hands for misdemeanors, yet we give them advanced destructive technology?! Pakistan and parts of Africa still stone people to death for adultery. Some parts of Africa still mutilate women's genitals so they won't enjoy sex. We live in a world where, yes, Virginia, barbarians do exist. And one thing those of us fostering the deep center can borrow from rightwingers is a healthy skepticism about the thick layer of political correctness with which liberals have obstructed discussion of the dangers of the diverse world we live in, a world of people in wildly different timeframes that are much more important and influential than people's different geographic locations. And now even in a big melting pot like the USA, there are people living right next door who may be far advanced or far behind you. We must jump into this critical new worldview quickly, for our own security and that of the planet. And we must develop better paths of communication between the major different timeframes, and ways of helping those in earlier timeframes who want to catch up. One huge historical precedent here is Japan, which realized that by copying China in the centuries after the Ming came to power, it, like China, had fallen far behind the West, and starting in 1867 (same year as Canada) under the Meiji, Japan set about catching up. We can learn a lot from the deliberate techniques Japan used to accomplish this catchup (see John Merson's "Roads to Xanadu."). Also now available is a roadmap of social evolution based on social-science eras and major "inventions" called "The Football of Time," available for $14 from Timesizing.com with Phil Hyde, Box 622, Cambridge MA 02140, USA.]
12/25/2002 Xmas headlines from hell -
- Growth in sales for holiday period is lowest in years - Even Wal-Mart stumbles - Concerns about economy and a possible war held back shoppers, analysts say, by Constance Hays, NYT, front page.
- [and we aren't alone]
Japan: Retail sales fall, Reuters via NYT, C9.
12/21-23/2002 headlines from hell -
- As eastern Germany rusts, young workers leave - Job shortage spurs a population loss in Germany's east, by Paul Zielbauer, NYT, A3.
[One word - timesizing. Job "shortage" only exists as long as you rigidly persist in defining "job" as a fixed arbitrary number of hours per week per person. This number should never be arbitrary or fixed. To have a sustainable consumer base and sustainable effective demand, the number of hrs/wk/person, ie: "workweek," should always vary inversely with comprehensively defined unemployment = lack of self-support.]
- [another half to a previous story on the stupidity of concentrated income and wealth]
Arts advocacy group ponders its good fortune, by Stephen Kinzer, NYT, B1.
WASHINGTON...- A low-profile arts advocacy group is pondering the delightful question of what to do with a sudden windfall of $120 million. Americans for the Arts, which helps local arts councils lobby for money and support, received the money in November from the philanthopist Ruth Lilly. Ms. Lilly also made a comparable gift to Poetry magazine....
[What's wrong with this picture? It's arbitrary, unsustainable and low-priority on the vast majority's list of targets for additional resources. Charity is capricious. Even at its best (high-priority), any system that relies on it for vital functions is lethally flawed. And in cases like this, it just functions as private-sector makework, contributing little to the solutions of the big old problems of our lifetimes or to the acceleration of substantial human progress in terms of developing the social and electromechanical technologies to improve and extend the lives of all humans in balance with our finite biosphere.]
- [and here's what Bush is doing about this problem of the colossal waste and inefficiency of superconcentrated income and wealth -]
White House aides push for 50% cut in dividend taxes - Economic stimulus idea [hohoho] - Bush is weighing proposal - Benefits would go to the wealthiest taxpayers, by Edmund Andrews, NYT, front page.
[Trying to stimulate the economy by diverting more and more of the national income dba spending power to the wealthiest who already have more than they can spend is a direct contradiction of the neoclassical revolution in economics which emphasized the declining marginal utility of capital and concentrated money under any name. Why aren't mainstream economists speaking out about this??? Have they forgotten the history of their own science? - thus building support for putting economic "science" in quotes and undermining their own credibility. Milton Friedman points out that you get more of what you subsidize, less of what you tax. Here we're subsidizing unearned income so we'll get more of that. And since the shortfall will eventually have to come from somewhere, probably sales taxes and other taxes that fall largely on earned income, we will get less earned income. This is a formula for societal disintegration: less self-support and more dependency.]
- [in the meantime, Bush wants more of the inefficiency of government borrowing, despite already record levels -]
Bush seeks increase in national debt limit - Republicans play down any link to the Bush tax cuts, by Edmund Andrews, NYT, C3.
...The federal government, which enjoyed a budget surplus as recently as two years ago, had a shortfall of $157 billion this year.... Congress [already] raised the government's debt limit in July by $450m [roughly ½B] to a total of $6.4 trillion....
[Hey, wasn't it the Republicans who used to whack the Democrats for "borrow&spend" government?? And imagine the secure interest on that $6½T, flowing to those who couldn't possibly spend it in hundreds of lifetimes and thus damping economic growth and recovery. Or is that interest really secure? What if we get another Newt Gingrich who pushes the federal government toward bankruptcy?]
- [speaking of the economy, how the hey is it doin' anyway?]
Economy limps along as durable orders fall 1.4%, by Tim Ahmann, Boston Globe, E1.
["Ah man" indeed!]
- [and what about the line that concentrated money works just as hard as centrifuged money?]
Show us the money - Investors, grown impatient for signs of profitability, batter Millennium shares, despite signs of progress, by Naomi Aoki, Boston Globe, E1.
[And as with Millennium Pharmaceuticals, so throughout the economy. If investors weren't pulling back, we'd be having a recovery. Note that it's not that the money isn't still there. It is still there, even more concentrated. And it's just not in play. Or to flip the metaphor, it's just not working as hard as centrifuged money. But then, that's the whole message of the neoclassical revolution in economics during the 1870s and 80s - which mainstream economists should be talking about but aren't.]
- [so what kind of thing has led to this? here's one example -]
Shift of tech jobs abroad speeding up, report says, by Diane Lewis, Boston Globe, E1.
[Gee, and we were all told that tech jobs were secure. Not any mo-o-ore.]
12/20/2002 headlines from hell -
- ["1984" (Big Brother) has finally arrived -]
12/23 Many tools of Big Brother are now up and running, by John Markoff & John Schwartz, NYT, C1.
In the Pentagon research effort to detect terrorism by electronically monitoring the civilian population, the most remarkable detail may be this: Most of the peices of the system are already in place. Because of the inroads the Internet and other digital network technologies have made into everyday life over the last decade, it is increasingly possible to amass Big Brother-like surveillance powers through Little Brother means. The basic components include everyday digital technologies like email, online shopping and travel booking, ATM systems, cellphone networks, electronic toll-collection systems, and credit-card payment terminals....
[Note frontpage article today on counter measures -]
Cities wary of antiterror tactics pass civil liberties resolutions, by Michael Janofsky, NYT, A1.
[& the quote du jour is from this article -]
Quotation of the day, by Art Babbott on a Flagstaff AZ resolution urging federal authorities to respect citizens' civil rights when fighting terrorism, NYT, A2.
"We've been singing the same song in this country for more than 200 years. It's a very good song, and I want to keep singing it. I'm very leery of changing the lyrics."
- [And who is Big Brother, you may ask?]
12/23 CEOs and their paymasters, editorial, NYT, A26.
The year of the corporate scandal may be coming to a close [or the decade may just be opening - ed.], but corrupting boardroom cronyism lives on. As reported in last Wednesday's Times, CEOs at 420 of 2,000 major public corporations have a sweet deal going. Their boards' compensation committees - the folks who determine their pay - include relatives or individuals with ties to them or to the company....
[The biggest repository of inefficiency in this and the global economy is the vast pool of sluggish spending power held by the top income brackets. Compare article below on 12/18 #1.]
- [And who else should be doing some reality testing for these bozos?]
12/23 Pollyannas, by Jesse Eisinger, WSJ, C1.
Given the stock market's toil and turmoil during the past three years, it's something that Wall Street's constitutional optimism is still in effect.
In keeping with their [pollyanna] character, Wall Street analysts expect operating earnings on the S&P's 500...will rise a hearty 13.7% next year, according to Thomson First Call.... At the beginning of November, analysts were expecting S&P 500 earnings growth of 15.3% next year. At the beginning of September, before the panic of that month, they were looking for 18.9% growth....
[So it's falling but it's still way high. And recall our squib on 12/20 below about economists and what a bunch of fatuous cheerleaders they've become, they who should be redesigning our system for long-term sustainability and smoother ride for everyone but are doing nothing but describing (and by implication, reinforcing) the status quo, even as it deteriorates.]
- [And what is the result of all these cave-ins?]
12/23 Americans are warier of stock-market investing, by Silvia Ascarelli, WSJ, C3.
Just how bad was ["was"? how do they know it's over?] the bear market?
Bad enough that nearly one in five Americans, or 18%, has grown wary of the stock market in the past 6 months - either selling shares or buying fewer than in the past. Nearly one in 10 Europeans backed away from the market....
[Gee, maybe the Journal can no longer claim, misleadingly, that the majority of Americans own stocks. And they've backed away from stocks with good reason. Right below we read -]
Scandals: Street's dark side, continued from page C1, WSJ, C3.
...The analysts' scandal highlights one reason some Wall Street firms in modern times can't resist treating men and women of Main Street as chickens to be plucked.... Once reason the risk of getting caught is small is that the securities industry's main regulator, the SEC, is over[load]ed and chronically underfunded. Congress, under the influence of campaign contributions from Wall Street, consistently has resisted giving the SEC any sizable increase in funding....
[This is from -]
Dark side of the Street: Why scandals continue to erupt, by Scot Paltrow, WSJ, C1.
[So let's see. Corrupt CEOs, corrupt stock analysts.... What right does anybody have to complain about the flight from equities?]
- [and the effects aren't limited to this country -]
12/21 Corruption at home, letter to editor by John Myers of Charlottesville VA, NYT, A34.
Nicholas Kristof's concern about growing social tensions in Latin America is well placed ("If Saddam were only Brazilian," column, Dec. 17). But if my conversations with colleagues from that region are any indication, Mr. Kristof's notion that the United States "should fight corruption more aggressively" will be met with
Whether or not the business scandals are representative of American capitalism, and whether or not this...interpretation of Bush-Cheney's motivation in the Mideast is accurate, these examples are widely cited in Latin America [and around the world - ed.] as proof of pervasive corruption in the United States and have deeply undermined whatever moral standing the United States might have had on issues of corruption.
- derisive laughter,
- a mirror [held up in front of the USA] and
- reminders of Enron and Arthur Andersen, WorldCom, Tyco, Martha Stewart and, above all, a government run by oil executives using military power and taxpayer money to protect their own interests.
[Case in point -]
U.S. vetoes condemnation of Israel for U.N. deaths, by Julia Preston, NYT, A7.
[USA (and client-state Israel) is never wrong and everyone else is never right unless they toe the Bush administration line, wherever it wobbles. This is getting closer and closer to what we used to slam the Soviet Union for.]
12/19/2002 headlines from hell -
- [it ain't often you see the major media showing so clearly what economists have unfortunately become]
Precious mettle, by Jesse Eisinger, WSJ, C1.
Economists strained for reasons why the surge in gold prices is good for the economy....
[Only cheerleaders "strain" to portray a bad sign as something good. Gold only goes up when people are so scared about stocks and bonds and all the other paper stuff that they want to store their money in the basic metal of value.]
12/18/2002 headlines from hell -
- [finally, someone in the Wall St Journal asks a key question]
Productivity: Too much of a good thing?, by David Wessel, WSJ, A2.
[Too bad he answers it NO as a simple-minded supplysider without recognizing all the bad stuff that's happening in this country as a result of the narrow focus on productivity regardless of employment and markets.]
...Growth in productivity, the amount of goods and services we make for each hour of work, is unambiguously good.
[But his evidence for this statement of faith is flawed -]
It's the reason that we have more than our grandparents did without working more hours.
[In the 1950s only one parent worked only 40 hours a week. Today, both parents, if they are lucky enough to still have salaried "full-time" positions, work 50, 60, 70 and more hours a week. What planet does Mr. Wessel live on? And there are a number of areas where we have less, that Mr. Wessel would probably like to overlook. If we want the same banking services they had in the 50s for free, we have to pay. Ditto directory assistance on the phone. Ditto leg room and meals on planes. Ditto simple uncontaminated food which must now be labeled 'organic' and bought at a premium. As a nation we failed to learn from the Great Depression the bankruptcy of the supply-side focus of the 1920s and now in over-reaction against the subsequent demand-side obsession, we are making the same mistake again. Timesizing guarantees a more level balance of productivity and consumption by guaranteeing fuller employment based on a workweek that fluctuates against comprehensive unemployment and training and hiring that is controlled by the incidence of overtime. Timesizing renders both supply side and demand side obsolete with an automatic balance-centered economic design. The cartoon on this article shows two cheerleaders and that's all Mr. Wessel is, a cheerleader.]
- [And what about that nice free-trade program, NAFTA, you may ask. Hey, how's it doin'?]
Nafta to open foodgates, engulfing rural Mexico, by Ginger Thompson, NYT, A3.
IRAPUATO, Mexico...- A decade of hemispheric economic upheaval finally turned Eugenio Guerero's life upsidedown last Saturday. That morning, he tried to auction off the pig farm that has supported his family and some 50 others for two generations.... From now on, Mr. Guerrero [will have to try] selling paint....
He had been barely able to keep afloat since the treaty began abolishing trade barriers between Mexico, the U.S. and Canada nearly 10 years ago.
[Hey but wasn't poor low-wage Mexico supposed to be the big beneficiary?]
Credit ran dry after a national economic crisis devastated banks in 1995.
[Gee, just like Argentina today.]
The Mexican government ended most agricultural subsidies, sending his costs through the roof. Pork prices plunged as cheaper imports from the U.S. flooded Mexican markets....
[Must be all them HUGE agrobiz pigfarms and all them tender-lovin' pig-carin' robots in the USA. And they're sooo healthy!]
There [is] no way...that the family business [can] compete against large-scale pork producers in the U.S., who now hold 40% of the Mexican market..\..
[But now there's going to be less of that market.]
Now, Mr. Guerrero's last defense is being dismantled. Under Nafta, on Jan. 1 tariffs on almost all agricultural imports from the U.S. will end.... Mr. Guerrero...laid off all but five of his workers. Most told him they would emigrate to the U.S. illegally in search of a new start..\..
[Basically NAFTA was good only for top execs, and not even that good for less savvy Canadian and Mexican top execs. Basically, it just opened a broader looting field for US execs.]
...A quarter of the population lives in rural areas. [Now] millions of peasants are [being] forced to abandon their tiny fields..\.. The looming deadline has...produced warnings about the...increased migration across teh Mexican countryside and into the U.S....
[Which will depress wages, concentrate and reduce the national income and put most of us to fighting harder and harder for smaller and smaller crusts.]
12/15/2002 headlines from hell -
- Deciding on executive pay: Lack of independence seen, by Diana Henriques & Geraldine Fabrikant, NYT, front page.
[In other words, when only the rich (sitting on boards of directors) control the salaries of the rich, there's no control. In fact, they have an interest in inflation to justify their own inflated incomes. Check this letter tomorrow -]
Executive-pay circles, letter to editor by David W. Kraft of Briarcliff Manor NY, NYT, A30.
...Company boards are composed largely of highly paid people, like CEOs of other companies. One can easily believe that in view of their own high compensation, they see nothing wrong in approving comparable compensation for other executives. Or to put it less charitably, they approve high compensation packages to justify their own....
[And off they all go on their own planet, insulated and isolated, and with all the decision-making power. Result? No system feedback. No course corrections. No steering.]
- U.N. lists and assails users of children in war, by Julia Preston, NYT, A3.
[Hey, it controls population at the source, but if we took G.B. Shaw's idea and drafted from the oldest down, we'd not only keep population down but we'd cut down the wars, because the old boys who no longer have to fight are the big war-declarers.]
- [Here's another way to control population -]
German man held in a case of homicide and cannibalism - A suspect says his advertisement found a willing victim, by Mark Landler, NYT, A12.
...A 43-year-old microchip designer, identified as Bernd Juergen B., sold his car and responded to an Internet advertisement, described by German newspapers as saying: "Wanted: well-built man for slaughter."
[Hey, it's a free market, right? Or is it?]
B. is believed to have presented himself at a dilapidated half-timbered house in the river town of Rotenburg an der Fulda that is the home of the suspect, a 41-year-old software technician identified as Armin M. M. surgically removed the victim's genitals, according to a prosecutor's statement, which said the two men then ate them. Later, M. stabbed B. to death as a video camera recorded the event.
[Probably wanted to sell the video on the 'snuff movie' market.]
He carved up the victim and stored parts of the body in a freezer for occasional consumption, burying other parts in his garden.
[Shades of Soylent Green.]
News coverage of the grotesque details has reflected most people's reaction of numb, almost uncomprehending, shock....
[Note the "almost." Funny how wierded out we get by this, yet we're perfectly happy attending "operas" about a serial-murdering, cannibalistic barber ("Sweeney Todd"). There seems to be a long-wave rising and falling tide of self-contempt and boredom, based on the "astrophysical economics" cycle of centripetal (hoarding) forces and centrifugal (sharing) forces on general access (money). As humans in general get as common and cheap as dirt in the job market, thanks to outdated concepts of "work hard to get ahead" despite robotization, self-respect is replaced by self-contempt and a general devaluation of life sets in. This is one of the subtler problems that Timesizing offers a 1st-cut solution to.]
- [it's BAAACK]
Star Wars arrives, editorial, WSJ, A18.
[or Times' version -]
Bush ordering missile shields at sites in West - Limited system [to counter N. Korea], in two states [Alaska & Calif.], is set for '04, by Eric Schmitt, NYT, front page.
[Lord, how many times do we have to stake this vampire through the heart so it stays dead?!]
12/10/2002 today's headlines from hell - -
- Philadelphia wrestles with rise in kindergarten suspensions, by Maryclaire Dale, Boston Globe, A37.
[And so it begins.]
One student hit a pregnant teacher, another exposed himself, and a third stabbed a classmate with a pencil. These students have all been suspended from school this year. And they're all kindergartners. In the first 4 months since new schools chief Paul Vallas was appointed in July, 33 kindergartners have been suspended from Philadelphia public schools, up from just one during the same period last year.... Walter Gilliam, a child psychologist at Yale University's Child Study Center...is studying suspensions in Connecticut, where 311 kindergartners were suspended in the 1999-2000 school year, about 92% of them out-of-school suspensions..\..
"The goal is to get the parents in," said Gwen Morris, who oversees alternative education for the 200,000-student district....
"I think it's a bad move because it absolves the school from feeling that it's necessary to deal with that problem within the school building," Gilliam said. "You push it out to the community, you push it out to the family home, and that's where it started to begin with."...
[That's true, but on the other hand, schools are not set up to "deal with that problem within the school building." How can schools make up for the massive parental neglect of millions of overworking American parents. But weren't parents 100 years ago working 60 hours a week? Yeah, but just one parent per household. And one parent was home with the kids. This is the result of divorce, drug criminalization, and the devaluation of life thanks to longer and longer working hours while surrounded with worksaving technology.]
12/09/2002 today's headlines from hell - -
- Lucrative years as CEO, despite average performance..., by Alex Berenson, NYT, A27.
John D. Snow [Bush's nominee as Treasury secy dba taxcut salesman] was paid more than $50 million in salary, bonus and stock in his nearly 12 years as chairman of the CSX Corp., the railroad company. During that period, the company's profits fell, and its stock rose a bit more than half as much as that of the average big company....
[Guess this is what you could a 'Snow job.']
Washington wire -...Snow's supply side: Treasury nominee favors lower taxes - for CSX, by Jackie Calmes, 12/13/2002 WSJ, A4.
A career as a window to the future - Treasury nominee's mixed reviews at CSX, by Deutsch & Johnston, NYT, C1.
[Yet more followup]
Washington wire - ...It stinks, by Jackie Calmes, WSJ, A4.
...say officials of White Sulphur Springs WV, that CSX-owned Greenbrier resort has ducked property taxes for years, while using the town sewage system and water....
- [the slime thickens, to ease America's slide into the Third World -]
Judge says Cheney needn't give energy policy records to agency - Finds GAO lacks standing as plaintiff, by Adam Clymer, NYT, front page.
WASHINGTON...- VP Dick[head] Cheney won a major victory [yester]day when a federal district judge here threw out a suit, brought by the head of the General Accounting Office [GAO], to require [Cheney] to release records of the Bush administration's energy task force, which Mr. Cheney led....
The judge, John D. Bates, observed that no court had ever ordered a president or a VP to produce information for Congress, which the GAO serves as an investigative and auditing arm....
[What about a usurping pResident? What about federal judge Emmet G. Sullivan of the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia who has repeatedly ruled that the information should be produced not just for the representatives of the public (i.e., Congressmen) but for the public? (see 11/28/2002 #2) And what about doing something new because it's right? John D. Bates is the kind of coward who'd fit in perfectly with the corrupt officials and institutions of a mess like Argentina - and cowards like him are taking us down to Argentina's level as fast as they can.]
...He avoided deciding between the "competing theories of the proper balance of power between the legislative and executive branches," ruling instead that the head of the accounting office [a key agent of the representatives of the people], Comptroller General David M. Walker, lacked standing to sue....
[Ergo the people have no standing in this erstwhile "democracy." America is roadkill. We are witnessing the mechanisms by which "the first become last."]
[and check out this letter 2 days from now -]
Secrecy's price tag, letter to editor by Mary MacElveen of Sound Beach NY, 12/12/2002 NYT, A34.
...We the American people have a right to know exactly who attended the meetings of VP Dick Cheney's energy task force and what was discussed. Our future energy needs depend upon our knowing.
It is our country. By remaining complicit [with] those who wish to keep such secrets, we have handed over our country, and ceased being a democracy.
[Glimmers of reality dawns on a gal way out on Long Island.]
- The next Africa? - South America sinks into crisis, by Nicholas Kristof, NYT, A31.
While we're all focused on distant Iraq, our neighbor South America is quietly falling apart.... The economic historian Angus Maddison has calculated that in 1900, Argentina's per capita income was almost $2,800, behind the U.S. then but about the same as Canada and France and more than twice the figure for Japan.
Argentina has been one of the great failures of the last 100 years, for today its per capital income is about $2,500 - that's right, less than it was a century ago. With an economy that is shrinking more than 10% this year, Argentiva defaulted on its commercial debts and last month on its World Bank debt as well, and even people who manage to get by often support the idea of defaulting. "How can we pay?" asked Miriam Ganduglia, who was hoeing a vegetable garden. "We're starving." Starving? She dressed well and had red-painted fingernails. But Argentinians are traumatized because they had thought they were living in the modern world - and now they find themselves eking out a living in the third world.
[And as Argentina goes, so can we go - the concentration of spending power in unspendable black holes is highly contagious -]
It is not just Argentina, for all of South America is in crisis. Uruguay, Paraguay and Bolivia are as badly off or worse. Brazil could follow Argentina into bankruptcy and default on its $260B foreign debt, rattling the entire global economy. Farther to the north, Colombia is torn by civil war, and Venezuela is paralyzed by a political crisis that could also disintegrate into war. Almost everywhere, the "Washington Consensus" free-market policies of the 1990s are regarded as failed and discredited, partly because we did not fight corruption as aggressively as we should have,
[Hell, we're not fighting it here (check our previous story re chuckwalla Cheney). How we gonna fight it there?!]
...and in countries as diverse as Brazil, Venezuela, Peru and Ecuador, recent elections have gone to leftists or populists who tend to make Americans [or at least American fatcats] deeply nervous....
[We either strengthen the centrifugal forces on spending power, starting with spreading the work via Timesizing, or we'll be the 2nd-next Africa.]
12/06/2002 today's headlines from hell - -
- The jobless rate rose, pointer summary (to A2), WSJ, front page.
...in November to 6%, an 8-year high, as signs of economic revival have proved too faint to spark hiring.
[And the main article -]
Jobless rate increases to 6%, revisiting an 8-year high..., by Greg Ip, WSJ, A2.
...equalling the 8-year high hit in April, from 5.7% in October, the Labor Dept. said Friday.
[Whoa, when the officially admitted rate is back up to the ol' 'NAIRU' (6%), we must really be in trouble. Notice how seldom they tell us exactly how many Americans that represents, though they're quick to give us that figure relative to other economies that we're supposedly better than.]
- Beware the 3 gorillas of 3rd world apocalypse, letter to editor by Mark Wassenich, WSJ, A17.
In regard to your Dec. 2 page-one story "Globalization gets mixed report card in U.S. universities": the debate about globalization should focus on three 800-pound gorillas that lurk in most disadvantaged countries but that some economists don't recognize.
It will take -
- ...Wealth is held by a very tiny minority who won't benefit from change.
[Sounds like the USA, as the ratio between top executive pay and that of average employees breaks all records and Congress prepares to gut campaign finance reform.]
- ...(And largely caused by 1st,) corruption throughout those societies scuttles initiatives for free trade or business development or improved government.
[Sounds like the USA, although it's questionable whether simplistic "free trade" should be on this list of obvious Good Things.]
- ...Rampant population growth gobbles up any economic improvement that is achieved, usually through discovery of some mineral in the country.
[Sounds like the USA after a decade of record-breaking immigration, regardless of self-support or skills or even legality.]
before this debate has much meaning for developing countries.
- and a change in ethics
- the dreaded "nation building"
- and social improvement
- in addition to the narrower perspective of economics
[Funny how he never gets around to saying anything about centrifuging the "wealth...held by a very tiny minority," or even the skills and the employment = the area that Timesizing addresses. Hey, at least he does finger the economists' own "marginal efficiency of capital," which is more than you can say for the dumb herds of place-holding economists themselves.]
12/05/2002 today's headlines from hell - -
- Retailers report a pre-Christmas letdown - Nov. sales were mediocre, as big discounts failed to lure shoppers, by Amy Merrick, WSJ, B3.
[And the Times version -]
Sales were listless at most major retail chains in Nov. - A spurt in sales after Thanksgiving failed to revive all chains, by Tracie Rozhon, NYT, C9.
- Household wealth in the U.S., pointer summary (to A2), WSJ, front page.
...measured as the ration of net worth to disposable income, has fallen to its lowest level [4.9 in Q3] since 1995 [from 5.2 in Q2, already well off the record 6.3 in 4Q99].
[And the main article -]
Pocketbooks may close soon as net worth declines by 4.5% - Household wealth is shrinking - Average net worth per household stood at $352,000 at the end of September, by Greg Ip, WSJ, A2.
...suggesting consumers may have to rein in their free-spending ways [already happening in retail according to above article - ed.] to rebuild their balance sheets. Household net worth fell...to $38T, the Federal Reserve reported yesterday.
The drop in net worth resulted from shrinking assets and rising debt. Assets fell 3.4% to $47T, mostly due to a 17% plunge in the value of households' stock and mutual-fund holdings to $6.5T. (Stocks have since recovered about...half their Q3 drop.) Liabilities rose 2.2% to $8.5T, mostly due to mortgage debt, which rose 3.3%, the highest rate since 1989, to $5.8T.
Just as the late 1990s bull market enabled affluent households to boost spending and reduce savings [the few affluent households provide a small minority of consumer spending but the WSJ focuses on them exclusively - ed.], the drop in wealth is doing the reverse, said Srinivas Thiruvadanthai, research director at the Jerome Levy Forecasting Center in Mt. Kisco, NY. "The wealth effect works with some lags," he said. "Consumers have not fully responded to declines (in wealth) in the first 3 quarters of the year.... That means consumption will be weak, or even fall."...
[The wealth effect, meaning the effect on consumer spending of stock market changes, is insignificant
compared to the huge background seachange of growing national and global labor surplus based on 150 years of shortening average worktime per person followed by 62 years of stable and then lengthening worktime, which has pounded wage raises and spending. The whole huge yapping about the wealth effect by the plutocratic media is based on 3 things -
Then there's the fact that virtually all mainstream economists are not applying their own neo-classical theory of marginalism to personal wealth. The most common form of this principle is the "marginal efficiency of capital," that is, concentrated money. If they did apply this principle, they would have long since admitted that the concentration of wealth can (and has) reach a level where it is "inefficient" - and even self-undermining. Their sycophantic blindness and irresponsible neglect is getting us all into a LOT of trouble in terms of inducing and deepening recession and generating permanent depression. This means that, for the foreseeable future, the pessimists will generally be right - though the descent is never straight-line and there are always pockets of prosperity that you can exclusively spotlight. For example, consider the ]
headline, "Average net worth per household stood at $352,000 at the end of September." Considering the 2.1m American prison inmates, the 5.4m disabled, the uncounted millions of homeless and forced part-time and force-retired, not to mention those still on their 5 years of welfare and those currently officially unemployed and those currently living on relatives and friends, and recent immigrants, legal and illegal, this $352k figure is meaningless in gauging the living standards of Americans generally, and reflects only the fact that the top wealth brackets in this economy now have utterly astronomical holdings. However, note that it indicates that the economic design wherein spending power can be infinitely concentrated does hurt the wealthy themselves - and this is the aspect that needs to be researched and explored in order to motivate and implement correction via redesign.]
- the exaggeration of the number of Americans who own stock, based on focus on households rather than individuals
- the quiet neglect of the fact that most people's stock is tied up in 401ks etc. and therefore its appreciation and depreciation are not available to affect disposable spending power anyway
- the loneliness and insecurity of the wealthy - they want to believe that most people are like them - and hey, they own the media...
- [Argentina reaches the next stage of deterioration -]
Argentine hunger cases pressure government, by Matt Moffett, WSJ, A11.
Public outrage about pervasive hunger in the provinces is causing a new headache for the government of Pres. Eduardo Duhalde.... The outrage over hunger [comes despite the fact that] Argentina [is] the world's 5th-largest exporter of agricultural products..\..
Argentina has endured a wave of revulsion over dramatic cases of malnutrition in the northwestern province of Tucuman, where as many as 16 children have died in the past 6 weeks, according to local news reports and aid groups. Since the Tucuman cases became known lalst month, doctors and welfare groups have denounced dozens of cases of malnutrition from other provinces devastated by this year's 11% contraction in the economy....
[Clearly, it's not absolute lack of food in the world's 5th-largest exporter of agro output. It's the concentration of food - and work - and income - and wealth - and credit - and.... And the actionable starting-point for a sustainable solution and not just a bandaid, is systemic worksharing, not ad hoc food distribution. If Argentina and Latin America in general jumped on this and grabbed and ran-with the ball of Timesizing, they could leap to the top of world prosperity and prestige, instead of staying down somewhere with Africa and Arabs and Southeast Asia in the pathetic "Third World."]
- U.S. job losses slower, but no hiring pickup seen, by Joanne Morrison, Reuters 12/04/02 11:22 ET via AOLNews.
...Challenger Gray & Christmas...said jobcut announcements at U.S. firms fell by 11% in Nov. from Oct....
John Challenger, CEO at the firm, said...jobcut announcements this year have averaged more than 121,000 a month..\.. Since January of 2001, corporations have slashed over 3.3m jobs, more than in the previous 5 years combined.... The heaviest downsizing both in Nov. and for the year so far has occurred in the high-tech sector, particularly in telecoms and computers, Challenger said....
According to the Labor Dept.'s report on Job Openings & Labor Turnover, the number of job openings in Sept., the most recent month for which the data were available, fell 7.6% from Sept. 2001..\.. "People are going to increase hours before they increase people, and they are going to hire temps before they hire full-time people," said Richard Berner, chief economist at Morgan Stanley..\.. Analysts polled by Reuters...see the average workweek increasing slightly to 34.2 hours from 34.1 hours as companies squeeze more out of existing workers....
["Squeezing." "Extracting." "Efficiency." "Productivity." What our astronomically paid CEOs need to ponder is "Don't squeeze the butterfly." Their squeezing is what's killing the economy, here and worldwide. And it's reached the point where it's now hurting them, because they've concentrated sooo much unspendable spending power that they're strangling the markets away from their own investments. And they have yet to recognize the one way to achieve efficiency without killing your markets. And while they yap about "productivity," there are fewer and fewer employed multitudes to buy all the productivity they're already producing, despite the shriller and shriller commercials, advertising, junkmail and spam -]
On Wednesday, the Labor Dept. said that productivity, or output per worker hour, grew 5.1% in the third quarter, up from a previously reported gain of 4%. Productivity, the amount of goods and services produced for each hour of work, has been driven in part by companies extracting more from their workers rather than hire more staff.
[No hiree, no sellee. Recall Ford, "Let's see you unionize these robots!" Reuther, "Let's see you sell them cars."]
So far this year, private payrolls have declined by 191,000, while temporary help has increased by 88,000, according to the Labor Dept. That means full-time jobs in private businesses are down 279,000 so far this year, Berner said....
- [and if we need any more evidence that we're sh*ttin' the bed (our own bed) -]
World survey says negative views of U.S. are rising, by Adam Clymer, NYT, A11.
While people in most non-Muslim countries continue to view the U.S. favorably, negative opinions have increased in most nations over the past two years, according to public opinion surveys...of 38,000 people..\..in 44 countries...conducted by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press....
[Is that Poo Research Center or Peeeyooou?! Guess we've sorta turned our dumb-ass selves into our old enemy, the Soviet Union. The 'axis of evil' that our black&white pResident keeps talkin' about ain't nuthin' compared to the Evil Empire that we've become. Doubts? Check out "The Secret History of the CIA" by Joseph Trento (Forum/Prima/Crown/Random House: Roseville CA/New York, 2001) and ask yourself if this stupidity stopped with the Cold War.]
For earlier collapse stories, click on the desired date -Nov/2002.
July 1-15/2002 + Jun 30.
Earlier Y2000 months accessible via links at bottom of Dec.1-10/2000 page.
Earlier 1999 months accessible via links at bottom of Dec.1-15/99 page.
Earlier months accessible via links at bottom of Dec/98 page.
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