Tag Archives | Economics

The Rise of Anti-Capitalism

391px-McKinley_ProsperityJeremy Rifkin, author of “The Zero Marginal Cost Society” suggests in his op-ed for the New York Times that we are experiencing the “creeping reality of a zero-marginal-cost economy”:

We are beginning to witness a paradox at the heart of capitalism, one that has propelled it to greatness but is now threatening its future: The inherent dynamism of competitive markets is bringing costs so far down that many goods and services are becoming nearly free, abundant, and no longer subject to market forces. While economists have always welcomed a reduction in marginal cost, they never anticipated the possibility of a technological revolution that might bring those costs to near zero.

The first inkling of the paradox came in 1999 when Napster, the music service, developed a network enabling millions of people to share music without paying the producers and artists, wreaking havoc on the music industry. Similar phenomena went on to severely disrupt the newspaper and book publishing industries.

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Money Makes Parenting Less Meaningful

310px-K.V.Lemoh_(d.1910)._Parent's_Joy

Pic: “Parents’ Joy” by Karl Lemoch (PD)

According to this study, having a higher socioeconomic status makes parents value the experience of raising children, particularly so for women. In contrast, poverty is associated with an increased risk of child abuse.

Via EurekAlert!:

Money and parenting don’t mix. That’s according to new research that suggests that merely thinking about money diminishes the meaning people derive from parenting. The study is one among a growing number that identifies when, why, and how parenthood is associated with happiness or misery.

“The relationship between parenthood and well-being is not one and the same for all parents,” says Kostadin Kushlev of the University of British Columbia. While this may seems like an obvious claim, social scientists until now have yet to identify the psychological and demographic factors that influence parental happiness.

New research being presented today at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP) conference in Austin offers not only insight into the link between money and parental well-being but also a new model for understanding a variety of factors that affect whether parents are happier or less happy than their childless counterparts.

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To Boldly Go to There: The Proto-Post Scarcity Economy of Star Trek

Pic: Desilu Prouctions (C)

Pic: Desilu Prouctions (C)

“The acquisition of wealth is no longer the driving force of our lives. We work to better ourselves and the rest of humanity.” – Captain Jean-Luc Picard

Rick Webb has written a fantastic piece about the economics of Star Trek, and then speculates about whether or not we could begin to incorporate some of these notions…

“Take a mental journey for a moment with me: what if, one day, technology reaches the point that a small number of humans — say, 10 million — can produce all of the food, shelter and energy that the race needs. This doesn’t seem like insanely wishful thinking, given current trends. There’s no rational reason why the advances in robotics, factories, energy and agriculture couldn’t continue unabated for long periods of time. Of course I’m not saying they will, but rather, they could.

“So, then, take that journey. What, then, of labor? In today’s terms, a ‘healthy’ economy now is one at or near full employment.

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Expert Warns of Hyperinflation: “The American Way Of Life Will Be Destroyed”

brokeThe sky is falling over at Eyes Open Report:

If there’s one thing that’s certain about what’s happening in the world right now  it’s that uncertainty is pervading every aspect of the global economy. From fabricated employment statistics and consumer spending reports to obscene levels of debt and a failing domestic monetary policy, the writing is on the wall.

According to top Casey Research analyst Marin Katusa, who has met with energy ministers and business leaders in over 100 countries, it’s only a matter of time before the world’s reserve currency goes the way of the German Reichsmark and Zimbabwe Dollar.

What we’re talking about here is nothing short of an outright collapse of our banking system, hyperinflation of the US dollar, and a complete destruction of the world as we have come to know it.

This is a must-watch for those trying to understand what’s happening with the economic landscape, how to position yourself for an unprecedented paradigm shift in how Americans live their lives, what to expect as this crisis unfolds, and how to find opportunities when everyone else is in panic mode.

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The Fantasy Of Apolitical Money

moneyYanis Varoufakis on Bitcoin and the fruitless dream of a de-politicised currency:

The Crash of 2008 has infused our societies with enormous scepticism on the role of the authorities, both government and Central Banks. It is quite natural that many dream of a currency that politicians, bankers and central bankers cannot manipulate; a currency of the people by the people for the people. While it is true that local communities have, in the past, generated successful communitarian currencies (that enabled them to improve welfare in their midst, especially at a time of acute economic crises), there can be no de-politicised currency capable of ‘powering’ an advanced, industrial society.

Since the second industrial revolution made possible the emergence of large, networked oligopolistic companies (the Edisons and Fords of the 1900s, and the Googles or Apples of today), capitalism became dependent on large credit spurts for the purposes of financing these capital corporations’ needs.

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Soaring Profits Do Not Equal Investment

It is taken for granted in conservative circles at that lower taxes on the rich will lead to greater investment in the economy, and therefore jobs—but the data tell a very different story. This analysis comes from Gerald Friedman of Dollars & Sense:

Net Investments and Profits

“The share of national income going to investment (net of depreciation of existing plant and machinery) has been declining since the beginning of the “neoliberal” era, around 1980. Since the start of the Great Recession, net investment as a share of GDP has plummeted to its lowest level since the 1930s. This sharp drop in investment comes despite sharply rising profits.”

Monetary Policy Isn’t Working: The Federal Reserve has helped to shorten past recessions by driving down interest rates to lower the cost of borrowing and so spur investment. During the current crisis, the Fed has conducted an aggressive monetary policy, raising the money supply to lower interest rates.… Read the rest

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The Occult On Wall Street: The Art Of Financial Astrology

zodiac

The Telegraph claims that a surprising number of mainstream investment bankers make decisions based on astrology. Can you envision this growing into a quasi-religious cult?

Donald Bradley’s method of foreseeing changes in the market involved assigning a numerical value to the position of the planets and stars and plotting the values on a graph. The peaks and troughs of that line should, in theory, plot “turns” in the fortunes of stocks, bonds and commodities. It sounds utterly mad, but the model has been described by market watcher Peter Eliades as “eerily accurate”.

I wanted to do a statistical analysis of his method and use it if it worked,” says Crawford. Back in the library, Crawford found records of the Dow Jones going back to 1885 and a book outlining the details of planetary positions. After comparing the two, he was impressed.

So Crawford began using astrology alongside his technical analysis. Over the years, Crawford found his predictions working out so well that, in 1977, he set up business as a full-time astrological adviser.

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Bank Tellers Rely On Public Assistance, Too

If you think working for a bank is a  good idea, because a bank is a lucrative business, a business which is responsible for handing out the currency that keeps the economy running, the people working, and the masses fed, then why are bank tellers in the same boat as fast food workers and Wal-Mart employees?

VIA CBS Money Watch

Taxpayers spend $899 million annually in state and federal benefits to support bank tellers and their families, according to a new report from The Committee for Better Banks.

One-third of bank tellers receive some sort of public assistance, ranging from Medicaid to food stamps, the financial industry employee advocacy group found, citing research from the University of California-Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education. In New York state, almost 40 percent of bank tellers and their family members are enrolled in public assistance programs, costing the state and federal governments $112 million in benefits.

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Five Steps You Can Take to Democratize Your Community | Interview with Gar Alperovitz

Abby Martin interviews Gar Alperovitz, political economy professor at the University of Maryland about his social prescriptions for democratizing local economies, citing the benefits of credit unions and participatory budgets.

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