3/13 Japan's economy still shrinking - Gloom continues for 5th quarter, dashing hopes Asian ginat is poised for revival, by Mark Magnier, LA Times via Bos Globe, A9.
...Economists expressed particular concern that the only sign of life in the October through December quarter came from government spending, as Tokyo continued to pour a flood of money into dubious construction projects.... Japan can't maintain this hot spending pace - it has thrown $830b into bridges, roads and other government programs in the past 12 months alone.... Nor was there any sign that all this public money is having much [pump priming] effect on the "real world" of private companies and consumers.
"Japan's economy is barely surviving...," said Yasunari Ueno, cheif economist with Fuji Securities Co.... On an annualized basis, the world's second-largest economy poster a daunting [2.3% decline].
"It's the deflation nation," said Andrew Shipley, economist with Schroders Japan Ltd. "Japan is in a negative spiral where layoffs and salary cuts lead consumers to spend less and companies to invest less, leading in turn to more layoffs and on it goes."
[How long before Greenspan and the media admit that's what's happening here too?]
...The government's credibility is being undermined by its pronouncements that the worst is over and a recovery is just around the corner - only to have things deteriorate further.
[Echoes - "While the crash only took place six months ago, I am convinced we have now passed the worst...." - President Hoover, May 1, 1930 - Address at annual dinner of the US Chamber of Commerce. From "Oh Yeah" p.17.
["Definite signs that business and industry have turned the corner from the temporary period of emergency...were seen today by President Hoover." News dispatch from Washington, Jan. 21, 1930.
[Recall that the Depression did not hit its lowest ebb until 1933, and did not end until the US geared up for World War II in 1941-42.]
In particular, analysts criticized Economic Planning Agency Director Taichi Sakaiya, who came to office on a pledge to issue more realistic government projections. As late as Jan. 26, Sakaiya said he expected positive economic growth for the Oct.-Dec. period.
[Bingo, another parallel with 1929-30. "We realize...that we have not yet done a thorough-going job in the accumulation of comprehensive and accurate data concerning business in general." From a 3/30/30 article by Julius Barnes, Chairman of the National Business Survey Conference, quoted in "Oh Yeah?" (Viking: New York, 1932) p.47.
[And remember folks, this is Japan, the second-biggest economy. We're the biggest, same as in 1929, when again, everybody else "got sick" first. "Were it not for...wise leadership, employment conditions in America today would be similar to those existing in many other parts of the world." Herbert Hoover, 1928 campaign address, quoted in "Oh Yeah?" p.10. So for God's sake, let's stop acting so pollyannoid and read our own history.
[Every corporation today operates with 3 sets of books, 1 for the IRS which has its own peculiar requirements, 1 for the public (i.e., stock analysts, financial cheerleaders and incumbent politicians) and 1 for the CFO and the CEO who really need to know how bad things are. The problem with our economy is that there's no IRS and we never find out the CEO-CFO version of the books, just the cheerleaders' version.]
[Here's a case in point - ]
3/13 Producer prices drop 0.4%, show inflation not a problem, Washington Post via Bos Globe, A9.
...the biggest decline in more than a year. The report cheered financial markets....
[No matter how ominous the news, the cheerleaders are going to spin it as positive. Insightful commentators have been saying for months that deflation is the problem to watch now, not inflation. This report supports that view. But all the spindoctors do is keep focusing on inflation and parroting, "No problem." Why are prices falling? Because things aren't selling. People don't have the money they used to have so they can't maintain previous spending levels. Where has the money gone? Check the next twin items.]
["CEO Payroll" Dept. - double jeopardy - ]
3/13 Gillette paid CEO $14.8m, Bloomberg via Bos Globe, A9.
3/13 State Street paid CEO $8.9m, Bloomberg via Bos Globe, A9.
[This extreme concentration of wealth due to lack of labor leverage due to labor surplus due to technology coupled with the lack of an automatic mechanism to reduce the workweek so that the vanishing employment gets spread around evenly enough to maintain spending activity and markets - this is the very cause and core of depression, and this is what we have going in high gear today. These guys tend not to spend this much money but merely to throw it into the financial markets where it serves only to further inflate stock prices and the euphoria of our legions of superficial analysts.]
[Note that this short-sighted Gillette CEO laid off 4,700 people worldwide in September (9/29) - that's the end of 4700 of his own best customers and boosters, and their dependents and friends and neighbors - while he is collecting nearly $15,000,000 and depending on a costly and stupid over-technologized razor to bail his company out of trouble. He could have cut 11% of his corporate workweek instead of 11% of his workforce. He could have used Lincoln Electric's strategy of "all sacrifice together, starting at the top" - as if anything is much of a "sacrifice" to somebody who's pulling millions. In short, he could have rejoined the human race. But no. With this kind of low-ceiling suicidal management, we couldn't be inducing depression faster if we were doing it on purpose.]
["Creeping toward Depression Deja Vu" Dept. - ]
3/12 House panel approves financial-overhaul bill, AP via Bos Globe, C2.
The House Banking Committee...overwhelmingly approved [51-8] legislation yesterday to lift Depression-era barriers between banks, securities firms and insurance companies.
[Whaddaya wanta bet that those 8 dissenters were mostly old guys who REMEMBER how important those barriers were. Boy, does this sound like a formula for disaster! Why do we have to keep relearning the same lessons the hard way? This is like a corporation that decides, "Hell, we don't need the usual three sets of books (public/stock market, IRS, and internal operational). That's inefficient! We can get along with just one."]
[Unions still clueless about the lessons of their own history - ]
3/12 AFL-CIO plans $40m campaign - Seeks to raise public awareness on social, economic issues, by Diane Lewis, Bos Globe, C3.
...such issues as Social Security funding, Medicare, and the minimum wage, AFL-CIO president John Sweeney said yesterday....
[Nice try, John. Your intentions are good. Too bad you are still ignoring the only issue that can get back your leverage in the job market - shorter hours. Forty million dollars wasted.]
3/11 Brazil's high-stakes sales campaign - Hopes to convince Wall Street to resume lending, Bloomberg News via Bos Globe, D2.
...For Brazil to steady a currency that's fallen 36% [over a third] since a January devaluation and revive its slumping economy, regaining access to global credit is critical.
[No it isn't. Currency is based on circulation. Give Brazil more loans and in 2 seconds it'll be concentrated in the hands of the top 2%. Ergo, no circulation. Circulation of money is based on a balance of the centripetal AND centrifugal forces within an economy, not just the centripetal forces alone. And because the power is with the centripetal, that's the direction that's always overwhelming the other, despite its tiny numbers in actual population.
[As a certain Good Guy said 2000 years ago, "To him that hath, more shall be given, but from him that hath not, even that which he hath shall be taken away." Or in an updated version, "The rich get richer and the poor get poorer." All great advances in civilization have been advances in strengthening and automating centrifugal mechanisms. "One person, one vote" was the last such advance. Now we need "one person, one range of employment" and we're talking about shared market-motivated employment at a fluctuating, not artificial government-created jobs at a fixed level. You cannot build a stable currency on joblessness and fear in the workplace, no matter how many how big loans you get. Fraga take notice!]
3/11 Banks urged to prepare for losses from global ills, AP via Bos Globe, D2.
WASHINGTON - ...The statement - issued jointly by the
3/11 Benefit of convenience - MIT graduate among handful of new entrepreneurs offering employer-paid 'quality of life' concierge services, by Chris Reidy, Bos Globe, D1.
Robinson Crusoe had his man Friday [=racist]. Wooster had Jeeves [=classist]. And now Boston professionals with more money than time have Alison B. Gerlach, who hopes to convince employers that having someone available to arrange a night at the opera or a weekend getaway should qualify as a quality-of-life benefit for employees who put in 50- and 60-hour work weeks.
[Oh God, don't correct the problem and reduce the workweeks or anything! Just leave them at 1910 levels and impose even more employer pressure and control on powerless employees who already have no free time! And as for those "Uncle Tom" types who are going to claim that they love their jobs etc, give us a break! You're on salary so for 10-20+ hours a week you're working for nothing and giving charity to the rich. Some people deserve to be slaves and that's what you are - pathetic! The trouble is, your masochism is hurting the leverage and wages of everyone else.
[How about these near-invasions of privacy - ]
3/09 Wall Street sees into the future - Stock market has been on target on the economy, by Syre & Stein, Bos Globe, C1.
[Ah, guys, putting these headlines together we only come up with "Wall Street sees into the present." With virtually every Wall Streeter now operating on the "après moi le déluge" plan, Wall Street does not have a future, and it's just a matter of time before our "red giant" economy follows the worldwide concentration of wealth first into the "white dwarf" stage, and then into the dread "black hole."]
3/06 Dow jumps 268.68 to record on [fewer] jobs report - Slight rise in joblessness, tame wage inflation ease rate-hike fears, by Kimberley Blanton, Bos Globe, F1.
...Most of Friday's rise [in the Dow from 9467.4 to 9736.08] occurred in the first half-hour of trading when the market shot up in reaction to a report by the Labor Dept. showing that the unemployment rate rose slightly, to 4.4% in February, from 4.3% in January, and that wage inflation [i.e., pay raises, 3.6% over the past year] was extremely low....
[We are sick of these leaky and misinterpreted indexes. How the heck is the much-lamented "income gap" supposed to be closed if wages don't go up? By executive salaries coming down? Fat chance! How is the extreme and self-destabilizing concentration of wealth supposed to be reversed?
[And higher wages are not bad "inflation" - they are the natural, gradual increase that give the general workforce its workable share of the profits from its productivity instead of having these profits stay concentrated and compacted at the top where they are far too much per person to be spent to purchase that productivity and so they serve only to inflate stock prices far beyond normal P/E ratios (price/earnings). And what, pray tell, is average "workable share"? It is the overall amount of the national income that is required to purchase the overall national (product&)service, divided by the number of non-top-executives in the national workforce. "Workable share" is the language we need to replace impotent natter about "fair share," which smacks of playing a guilt-manipulation card out of a weak hand, evoking only derision and further pinkslip sadism.
[This definition of "workable share" signals that we've explored the linguistics of the economic deep structure long enough. Now we're going to start exploring the mathematics and start quantifying, since so many dummies seem transfixed by figures, especially daily ones like the Dow. We're going to assume that any rises in the Dow from now on are a negative indication of further wealth concentration, a function merely of the inability of the wealthy to find productive market-supported investments and their being too unimaginative and careless to reinvest at the relatively high levels required to maintain their own markets.
[So we're going to define a new negative index - the official leaky unemployment rate times the amount the Dow exceeds 9500. And the lower the result, the better. So, today's Index of $elf-Destabilizing Concentration (I$DC) is, let's see, 9736.08 - 9500 x 4.4 = 236.08x4.4= 1038.752. This makes the breathtaking assumptions that the best index we have of the disutility of wealth concentration is the Dow over 9500, and both the focus on the Dow and on the 9500 figure are shots in the dark and as we research or think of better bases, we'll upgrade and refine our index. Any of you economics hipsters out there, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have suggestions.
[But before we leave linguistics here, note that it's never a "fewer jobs" report - only a "higher joblessness" report. In the skewed paradigms of standard economists, you can never, no never, have fewer jobs because then your locker-room buddies will ridicule you for falling for the "lump of labor fallacy," one of the most progress-bashing tissues of rhetoric ever invented by the fat brains of those short-sighted cheerleaders for the status quo, standard economists. The lump of labor (they really mean "lump of employment" criticism depends on the 19th-century idea that "work breeds work," a notion that becomes ever more obsolete as a larger and larger portion of the workforce gets working on work-saving technology.]
For investors, the Labor Dept.'s report "is good," said Robert Mellman, senior economist at J.P. Morgan, a New York investment banking firm. "If you're working in a factory, it's not so good."
Indeed, manufacturing continued to shrink, shedding 50,000 [probably high-wage full-time] jobs in February. In the [continuing fallout] of a global financial crisis..., employment at US aircraft, industrial machinery and other manufacturing plants has dropped 337,000 since March.
But as has been the case all year, lower factory employment last month was more than offset by strong gains throughout the economy [especially in] construction [72,000 jobs] and retail [123,000 jobs]...due to an unusually mild winter across much of the country, the government said....
[So when is "the government" going to level with us? Construction is seasonal and insecure. Retail is notoriously insecure, part-time, low-wage and no benefits. We're supposed to believe that growth in construction and retail, however high, can offset the loss of 50,000 high-wage&benefit full-time manufacturing jobs in February? We're supposed to swallow the idea that (72K+123K=) 195,000 units of insecurity can match 50,000 units of security. Get real! We have a socioeconomy out of balance - as the Hopi say, qoyannosqatsi (sp?) - a sociopathic socioeconomy. It's not good for any of us, including the have's, including the super-have's.]
The service industry, a primary source of [crummy] jobs in the eight-year economic expansion [just like 1922-29 (inclusive)!], added 87,000 jobs last month, slightly fewer than the industry had gained in recent months. "There's no indication the economy has lost any momentum," said Denis McSweeney, regional commissioner of the government's Bureau of Labor Statistics....
[Then why do you have to keep telling us that, Denis?]
Unemployment rates among minority workers, which had hit new lows in January, were virtually unchanged.
[Is it possible that minority unemployment is low because we've locked up so many of them - our prison population is the largest in the world and the largest in our history. We are making it easier and easier for more and more people to earn a dishonest living than an honest one.]
Despite a tight labor market, wages, which can drive up inflation throughout the economy, "have dropped back down to where they were in July 1997," said Jonathan Francis, head of global investment strategy for Putnam Investments, a Boston mutual fund company. "It doesn't get much better than that," Francis said....
[We submit that by supply and demand, price of labor, like that of every other commodity, goes down when labor is abundant. Since the price of labor (wages) is going down, that means that labor is abundant and the labor market is loose, not "tight."
[And why is this person trying to portray Wages as a threat ("which can drive up inflation throughout the economy") if they rise, and dropping wages as a boon? He is clearly not remembering that markets depend on spending activity, and spending activity depends overwhelmingly on earned income, not unearned income, and earned income is Wages. If wages drop, a drop in markets is not far behind. And indeed, later in the article we find the following...]
"There's no question the economy is still strong," said Charles Clough, chief investment strategist for Merrill Lynch & Co. But he is concerned about weakness in the corporate sector, which is unable to raise its prices. "Profits are weak," he said....
[If it's true that already "profits are weak," then markets are already weak. And if there's already this "weakness in the corporate sector," how can there be "no question the economy is still strong"? Sure there's a question if the economy is still strong! A big question - that's why these guys have to keep telling us (and themselves) that it's strong. "Methinks the lady doth protest [her fidelity] too much [to be believed]!" Don't these clowns ever engage brain before opening mouth? Oh we forgot, they're not really talking any more, they're praying, hoping beyond hope that mere happy words and incantations will keep the miracle of the "walking wounded economy" going.]
...Analysts said stock-market rallies are increasingly confined to Blue Chip stocks - possibly making the entire market more vulnerable.
[Isn't it clear that more and more money that should be spread around is getting so concentrated that it's having a harder and harder time finding anywhere safe to go? So it looks for the safest and biggest national economy in which to shelter (the US) and when more and more of that becomes erratic, it looks for the safest and biggest part of that to find shelter - Blue Chips.
[Thus the whole US economy gets artificially pumped up just before a huge global collapse - and those who own the media don't get it because they increasingly confine their outlook to where their stocks are, the US. And then only the Blue Chips get artificially pumped up just before a huge national collapse, but those who own the media don't get it because they increasingly confine their outlook to where their stocks are, the Blue Chips.
[Is is not obvious to anyone but us that - More and more investment money owned by fewer and fewer people is managed by a bigger and bigger financial industry dependent on fewer and fewer productive employees paid lower and lower wages with less and less job security working longer and longer hours?]
[And why is more and more investment money owned by fewer and fewer people? We saw above that wages are dropping, so they're not going to the millions of ordinary people who comprise the bulk of our consumer markets. But where are they going then? Look for the answer in the Executive Payroll Dept. - ]
3/06 Fleet rewards a good year; Murray paid $9.7 million, by Gregg Krupa, Bos Globe, F2.
...Chairman and chief executive [of Fleet Financial Group Inc.] Terrence Murray made about $4.5 million in salary and bonus in 1998, up from about $3.8 million in 1997. Counting stock options and awards, Murray earned $9.7 million....
Executives [in 1998] were occupied integrating three major acquisitions, Advanta, Quick & Reilly, and Columbia Management. The bank also made three additional acquisitions during 1998, Sanwa Business Credit, the Merrill Lynch Specialist unit, and the credit card portfolio from Household Finance Corp.... Other Fleet excutives also experienced handsome pay raises...
[Note the language here - "experienced," as if they were powerless bystanders - not "received" and significantly, not "earned"]....
[In the future, much of this unspendable excess (they simply do not have time to spend it) will be cascadingly and quickly reinvested in human capital within each executive's domain according to a gradually fluctuating, market-oriented, reinvestment guideline. This reinvestment, massive relative to today, will completely obsolete market swings of anything like today's amplitudes and will fund diversification and solid growth on a scale and at a pace completely unimaginable today. As Will Rogers said, "Money's like manure. It's no good unless it's spread around." And the contrary, "the more concentration, the less circulation."]
[Geez mabeez, we've got the complete story right here in this short business section - here's what the executives spend their money on, when they get time to spend anything instead of just shouting at their broker, "Throw it into Blue Chips and don't bother me!" - ]
3/06 D'Arbeloffs give $10m to MIT - Teradyne cofounder's gift intended to fund new methods of using technology in education, by Syre and Stein, Bos Globe, E1.
[Talk about "taking coals to Newcastle." MIT is already probably the richest technological university in the world and possibly second only to Harvard in terms of any type of university. So even with this transfer of wealth, we're still incurring the "diminishing marginal utility of concentrated wealth." There's a big payoff for the "donors" in terms of prestige, publicity and the illusion of immortality via the establishment of a fund named after the donors (see article below on 2/26 called Mogul Worship). And the whole incident provides a classic case of the second part of our aptly named, currently operational "Skimming and Charity" capitalism.]
3/06 IMF, Brazil clear way for aid package - Loan to bolster reserves, lift investor confidence, by Christian Plumb, Bloomberg via Bos Globe, F1.
[How can you "lift investor confidence" on the despair of the majority of a nation's population?]
Brazil is expected to make additional spending cuts and tax increases in exchange for the next $9.3 billion payment from the three-year aid package....
[Spending cuts when Brazil is already in recession? And are these tax increases graduated tax increases that will centrifuge wealth, ameliorate its location and accelerate its velocity of circulation? We doubt it.]
"The IMF package provides a financial bridge over a temporary lack of resources to close the current account gap," said Arminio Fraga, new president of Brazil's central bank.
[What bizarre out-on-a-limb substance-unseen faith this guy has - how does he know the lack of resources is temporary, - where is the domestically generated money going to come from to end the temporary lack? After all, he's sending the economy into deeper recession - ]
The cost of shoring up the currency and assuring international aid will be a deeper recession in Latin America's biggest economy.
[Ya know, the IMF is starting to look like Ken Starr - doing nothing but spreading destruction and wasting big money - and unstoppable. How do we stop the IMF? They're pushing exactly the same kind of belt-tightening that Hoover did in the early Depression that worsened it. In case after case, the IMF is killing the patient to cure the disease - Russia, Indonesia, Thailand and now, Brazil. Brazil is in a "vrille" - a death spiral.]
3/05 Focusing on inflation fear, Brazil raises key rates [from 39%] to 45%, Bloomberg via Bos Globe, E2
SAO PAULO - Brazil's central bank yesterday raised benchmark interest rates to 45%, a sign it's
willing to push Latin America's biggest economy deeper into recession rather than allow inflation to spiral.
[And high rates during 1998 have already killed 25% of the Brazilian car market - see 1/09 article on Glimmers of Hope page.
[You know what this is like? We have just come up with the perfect metaphor for this foolishness. This is like the 18th Century practice of BLEEDING a patient with almost any complaint. And we've just heard that Editorial Humor has had a cartoon showing an "IMF" nurse giving a patient an I-V labelled "Poison." Our dumb $$vacuum people, in their short-sighted writhings to do anything but spread the wealth, actually deepen "recession rather than allow inflation to spiral" and foster unemployment and poverty and fear in self-defeating efforts to save the value of their vast pools of sluggish capital.
[Inflation is just the people actually doing the work trying to get their share. How do you control it without killing the patient to get rid of the disease? How can we possibly communicate this to the pygmy brains of the twilight of the Twentieth Century (the century that the future will view as the self-flagellating Dark Ages of economics)? We lay it all out in Chapters 7 and 8 of our opus Timesizing, Not Downsizing.
[But to attempt a few metaphorical forays... We reinvest at appropriate massive levels in our own markets, via wages, via on-the-job training and hiring to the extent of full employment. This is not done arbitrarily or abruptly, but is designed to be market-determined and gradual - win/win at every step.
["Oh dear," cries the conventional skimming&charity capitalist, "however can we survive full employment?" "You moron," retorts the reinvestment capitalist, "full employment anchors and stabilizes and solidifies the growth of your own markets and personal security (which right now is deteriorating rapidly)!" The inflation control mechanism of reinvestment capitalism and timesizing basically spreads the wealth by spreading the work. It gooses investment and stabilizes it by triggering, gauging, pacing and funding reinvestment by the incidence, depth and duration of overtime and overwork (overtime from all sources). And to invest in its own best markets and/or marketters (its own employees, their families, friends, neighbors, business contacts, all of which are now wasted by downsizing), it limits reinvestment to human resources (i.e., likely markets) by restricting reinvestment to training (on-the-job) and hiring.
[This approach will make our current economic edifice look, in hindsight, like a ramshackle string of malodorous broken-down privies, all painted shiny white, of course, and grafittoed with happyfaces. It will make the economic life support swandive of Maynard Keynes and Samuelson and Thurow and even Friedman look like brain death. It will... gasp...Click on the above hilite for the book on this and give us a chance to calm down.]
"Our role is to make sure price increases don't become permanent," said Fraga, a former fund manager for George Soros, in his first day on the job.
[Well we guess that proves that Soros, for all his concern for "open societies," doesn't have a clue about how to get them. Price increases are just the attempt of a lot of people to cut themselves in on the upper part of the dual (not to say split) economy, the carriage trade, the luxury markets - in other words, ordinary working people trying to get their share like highly paid and extravagantly comfortable Arminio Fraga. Arminio, have you considered that a dead economy has no permanent price increases? That to ensure these price increases are only temporary, you are killing your economy?
[A stable and healthy economy is about sharing, you dope - we're a social species. Why should you be riding so high while your countrymen are starving?
[And if raising wages indirectly - by cutting the labor surplus via shortening the workweek and automating reinvestment of overtime profits and earnings - is socialist, then traffic lights are socialist! The God of Moses is socialist - because He started shortening the workweek back in c. 1500 BC in the Fourth Commandment - "Six days shalt thou labor and do all thy work..." not seven!
[How far would traffic get if the lights stayed green only in one direction all the time? How far are our economies getting when the big money currents are always flowing to the same few people? This is only a design problem. It is not a necessary Act of God. And it is bad for everyone, including the rich, who are cut off from ordinary human contact by fear and false pride. We know - we've been there.
Car dealers today reported vehicle sales plunged 57% last month to their lowest in seven years.
[Oh what a coincidence. Brazil is "mired in its first recession since 1992."]
...The inflation rate tripled last month. Higher [interest] rates will also raise the cost to the government of repaying a debt load that has ballooned to an estimated...$181 billion.... Yesterday's rise [added] as much as $12 billion to the debt load....
[Well we guess that tells us who this is all in aid of, doesn't it - the people holding the IOUs - and with this kind of kill the patient to cure the disease thinking, they're going to lose anyway, and so are the ordinary people of Brazil. Let's see. Now the IMF has killed Russia, Thailand, Indonesia, and Brazil. Who's their next "beneficiary"/victim - these vampire barber surgeons of the IMF?]
3/04 Clinton backs House version of banking bill, would veto Senate's, by Glenn Somerville, Reuters via Bos Globe, D2.
[Hey, a reporter named 'Somerville' same as our home base here in Massa Tunas!]
...to propel long-awaited efforts to modernize Depression-era US banking laws.
[MmmmOh yeah, Depression era. So long ago. Could NEVER happen again. Old-hat banking laws. Definitely need "modernization." ...Watch us "modernize" ourselves right back into a depression, except this time on a much bigger scale. These guys seem incapable of learning from history, and you know what they say - "Those who fail to learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them." You guys ever heard of the Kondratieff long wave? Probably reflects a 2-3 generation fadeout of bad memories.]
3/3 Brazil seeks to bolster crumbling currency, by William Schomberg, Reuters via Bos Globe, C2.
BRASILIA - ...The Central Bank spent more of its foreign reserves to bring the réal back from 2.22 to the dollar to end the day at 2.17 - still the currency's weakest-ever closing price. The once-strong currency is down 44% since its collapse in mid-January. Later the Central Bank announced it was increasing compulsory deposit requirements for banks [from 20 to 30% in terms of the proportion of deposits that banks must store with the Central Bank by March 10], effectively squeezing [as much as 6 billion réals in] cash out of the [domestic money market] to ease pressure on the réal....
"They seem to be shutting off liquidity to get a grip on the réal...," an economist at a Sao Paulo bank said.... Brazil is hammering out new spending cuts with the IMF to secure a new batch of ["rescue"] loans from a $41.5 billion package put together late last year.... The additional [0.5%] belt-tightening comes on top of a previously announced savings target of 2.6% of GDP.
[Getting "rescued" by the IMF is like getting saved from the Titanic by a great white shark. Brazil doesn't need the IMF (nor does Russia). They just need to mobilize their own concentrated wealth, using a market-oriented automatic reinvestment program like Timesizing.]
[Hey, govts sponsor lotteries, Wall Streeters have always been the biggest gamblers, & suddenly they're upset about the crassest Wall Streeters?! - ]
3/3 Reining in the new 'masters of the universe' - As regulators worry about the rise of day trading, the question is: Should the rest of us be worried too? by Syre and Stein, Bos Globe, C1.
[I think the answer to that is "Absolutely!"]
...Estimates put the number of active day traders in the country at 10,000 to 15,000.
3/02 Hollow welfare victories, by Murphy & Wallace-Benjamin, Bos Globe, A15.
In a strange twist of history, the 1960s war on poverty has morphed into the 1990s war on welfare. Block grants, strict work requirements, and harsh time limits are the principal weapons.
[Everything but the plentiful high-wage entry-level jobs and on-the-job training that a worksharing approach like Timesizing can provide.]
[Wall Street happily chugging their new "natural" brew ("Hemlock"! ooo, yummy!) and spreading it all around their new global "Jonestown" - ]
3/01 A dangerous 'experiment' in globalism, by William Pfaff, Bos Globe, A17.
...Splendid articles on the international economic crisis that appeared Feb. 15-18 in The New York Times...reveal...the crisis...(not yet over) was unnecessary, the [unintended consequence of a short-sighted] policy that originated in the US financial community and...was sold by Wall Street to...Clinton...causing him to aggressively promote global deregulation and use the political power of the United States to remake world finance.... The success of this campaign produced a fundamental change in the world economy.... Goods and commodities [and services] were replaced, as the principal components of international trade, by stocks, bonds, and currencies. The global financial market replaced the global economy [of material goods (including commodities) and temporal services - italics added]. The total worth of financial derivatives - leveraged financial instruments - traded in 1997 was 12 times the worth of the entire world economy.
When crisis arrived in late 1997 [because of the lack of consumer markets anywhere to support the hugely leveraged (ie: inflated) value of investment that was hugely leveraged upon consumption-dependent productivity, some of] the same Western investors [ie: mainly Wall St] who had profited from globalized markets worsened the crisis by speculating against newly weakened [by concentration of ownership] currencies. The United States [ie: Clinton & friends] used its own [ie: taxpayers'] resources and those of the IMF (ie: mainly US taxpayers' resources] to rescue [those] Western investors [ie: Wall Streeters who lost] and US and European banks [who lost, thus concentrating wealth even further and exacerbating the original problem of "the more concentration, the less circulation"].
The countries that were the victims of the crisis [chiefly Indonesia, Thailand, China, Russia, and Brazil] were pressed by [Clinton] to adopt measures of austerity [as if their victimhood didn't mean they were already deep in austerity!], imposing severe economic and social costs on their populations - a policy that also is now widely conceded to have been wrong..\..
[Why is it so hard for Wall Streeters to understand that they cannot possibly benefit in the longer term from deeply skimming the incomes of ordinary consumers and concentrating that wealth astronomically in their own "don't possibly have time to spend it" hands? And with the accelerating pace of change, the longer term is getting here faster every day.]
It was said that market forces would automatically correct excesses and enforce the general interest. This belief...originated as the sectarian enthusiasm of a minority of writers and theorists in Britain and the United States [note Pfaff puts Britain first, as if Britain wasn't just following the US like a puppydog], beginning in the 1970s, and it derived more from their political hostility to "big government" than from objective economic analysis. It was an argument naturally appealing in [short-sighted] business circles and the [short-sighted] financial community....
Nicholas Kristof notes in the Times..."when the crisis seemed as if it might strike the United States [in Sept/98], the administration had a change of heart" about austerity as the appropriate response [or possibly realized that these economies were already austere and] Mr. Clinton...[welcomed, or instigated?] three interest-rate cuts by the Federal Reserve, pressing Europe and others to cut rates as well," and the Federal Reserve arranged the rescue of Long Term Capital Management [ie: US taxpayers were again forced to reimburse the losing superwealthy gamblers, with even more astronomical concentration of wealth as a result, and even more of the underlying problem of "the more concentration, the less circulation." Oooboy, the coming collapse that these self-important morons are building up to is gonna be a doozy! Have your Kevorkian kits ready!]
The conclusion that follows from this is that to millions in Asia, Russia, and Latin America, deregulation of the international economy must look like a vast, deliberate, and successful [so far...] swindle. It was [actually] an irresponsible and, in crucial respects, disastrous experiment, inspired by ideology, promoted by Western groups that expected to profit from it [and did], backed by the power of the US government.... Western defenders of the experiment argue that despite all that went wrong, there has been a large net increase in international growth and wealth. [Sure, for them, ie: yet more concentration.]
[Here's where they are about to get it through their little pea brains that absolute wealth is not the point. If you're a country with 56 trillion trillion trillion dollars times 10 to the 10th to the 10th to the 10th, and 99.9 repeater percent of it is owned by 0.0000000000000000001 percent of the population, you are still a dirt-poor miserable third-world economy ranking somewhere in the feudal period in progress and your tiny percentage of superwealthy have to live in (gorgeous) prisons because of their inherent, astronomical personal insecurity, demonstrated humorously twice last year on Bill Gates' face by the pie-throwers of Belgium.]
This does not take into account the political carnage that also is part of the result....
[As we've said before, our ultimate "solution" to unemployment and depression is still . . . war. And the higher the mortality, the better, as long as 1-2 million are left - because even at our current high technology levels and with a standard workweek pegged at the pre-technology level of 40 hours a week, we have a HUGE covered-up labor surplus. Direction of ultimate sustainable non-military solution? Worktime economics and a work sharing program such as Timesizing.]
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