Sunday, May 30, 2021

Why the Minimum Wage Should Be $18/Hour

What does it say about our "prosperity" if we can't even afford to equal the purchasing power of the minimum wage paid 50 years ago? It says the 1% got the mine and the bottom 90% got the shaft.

Given the rising prosperity we keep hearing about, shouldn't we be able to provide minimum wage workers the same purchasing power they enjoyed 50 years ago in 1970? This is a very simple proposition: either can provide minimum wage workers the same purchasing power they enjoyed 50 years ago or we can't, and if we can't, then all the claims about "rising prosperity" are revealed as false.

Since I was a minimum wage earner in 1970 at age 16, I have first-hand experience of the purchasing power of minimum wages in the 1970-1974 era. Let's keep it simple: how many hours of minimum wage labor did it take to buy a new economy car, a new house and rent a studio apartment in one of the most expensive cities in the U.S.?

To keep it simple, let's set aside taxes and just use the basic minimum wage, not the net wage.

Never mind all the fancy statistical footwork of hedonics, substitution and weighting that are deployed to arbitrarily lower the rate of consumer price inflation. In the real world, wage earners bought whatever cars and houses were available at the time, and rented whatever apartments were available at the time.

The only accurate way to measure the purchasing power of labor is to ask: how many hours of labor did it require to pay the rent, buy a new car or buy a new house? Any other measure is just sleight of hand intended to obscure the collapse of wages' purchasing power.

In 1970, I earned $1.65 an hour. A new economy car (Ford Maverick or VW beetle) was $2,000, so it took about 1,200 hours of work to buy a new economy car.

A new house cost on average about $26,000 in 1970, so it took 15,750 hours of minimum wage labor to buy a new house.

At today's federal minimum wage of $7.25/hour, it takes 3,000 hours to buy a basic 2021 Honda Civic or equivalent which costs $22,000. To buy a new economy car today with 1,200 hours of minimum wage labor, the minimum wage would need to be $18.30 /hour: 1,200 time $18.30 = $21,960.

At today's federal minimum wage of $7.25/hour, it takes 56,000 hours to buy the average priced house which now costs $408,000. Let's say there are houses available for $300,000, so it takes 41,380 hours of minimum wage labor to buy a house.

To buy a new house for $408,000 with 15,750 hours of labor, the wage would need to be $25.90/hour. To buy a $300,000 home with 15,750 hours of labor, the wage would need to be $19/hour.

Moving forward a few years to 1974, the minimum wage increased to $2/hour, and I rented a small studio apartment in Honolulu, one of the most expensive cities in the U.S. for $120/month. Thus it took 60 hours of minimum wage labor to pay the rent.

Studio apartments in Honolulu are now around $1,100/month rent, so to pay the rent with 60 hours of minimum wage labor, the minimum wage would need to be $18.30/hour.

In 1974, I paid $89.25 in tuition and $27 student fees per semester to attend the University of Hawaii at Manoa. (These numbers stick in your head when you're paying for them in cash earned at low-paying jobs while you're carrying a full five courses a semester.) That's $233 per year. At a wage of $2/hour, it took 116 hours of labor to pay the annual tuition and fees.

The current cost of tuition and fees at the University of Hawaii at Manoa is $12,186 per year. To pay the tuition and fees with 116 hours of work, the hourly wage would need to be $105/hour. If America gets any more "prosperous," I won't know whether to puke or go blind.

To equal the purchasing power of minimum wages in 1970-1074, the minimum wage would have to be at least $18/hour. Anything less does not equal the purchasing power of the minimum wage paid 50 years ago, and no amount of statistical trickery can erase this reality.

What does it say about our "prosperity" if we can't even afford to equal the purchasing power of the minimum wage paid 50 years ago? It says the 1% got the mine and the bottom 90% got the shaft.







sources:

https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/minimum-wage/history/chart
https://www.bls.gov/data/inflation_calculator.htm
http://www.1970sflashback.com/1970/economy.asp
http://www.thepeoplehistory.com/70scars.html
https://www.statista.com/statistics/240991/average-sales-prices-of-new-homes-sold-in-the-us/
https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED086037.pdf


If you found value in this content, please join me in seeking solutions by becoming a $1/month patron of my work via patreon.com.

My new book is available! A Hacker's Teleology: Sharing the Wealth of Our Shrinking Planet 20% and 15% discounts (Kindle $7, print $17, audiobook now available $17.46)

Read excerpts of the book for free (PDF).

The Story Behind the Book and the Introduction.



Recent Podcasts:

Charles Hugh Smith on the Era of Accelerating Expropriations (38 min) (FRA Roundtable Insight)

Covid Has Triggered The Next Great Financial Crisis (34:46)

My COVID-19 Pandemic Posts


My recent books:

A Hacker's Teleology: Sharing the Wealth of Our Shrinking Planet (Kindle $8.95, print $20, audiobook $17.46) Read the first section for free (PDF).

Will You Be Richer or Poorer?: Profit, Power, and AI in a Traumatized World
(Kindle $5, print $10, audiobook) Read the first section for free (PDF).

Pathfinding our Destiny: Preventing the Final Fall of Our Democratic Republic ($5 (Kindle), $10 (print), ( audiobook): Read the first section for free (PDF).

The Adventures of the Consulting Philosopher: The Disappearance of Drake $1.29 (Kindle), $8.95 (print); read the first chapters for free (PDF)

Money and Work Unchained $6.95 (Kindle), $15 (print) Read the first section for free (PDF).



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Saturday, May 29, 2021

Increasingly Chaotic Volatility Ahead--The New Normal Few Think Possible

That the era of stability has ended and a new era of increasingly chaotic volatility has begun is not on anyone's radar as a possibility.

The standard debate about the future of the economy is: which will we get, high inflation or a deflationary collapse of defaults and asset bubbles popping?

The debate goes round and round in widening circles of complexity as analysts delve into every nuance of the debate.

A recent conversation with my friend A.T. raised a third possibility few seem to consider: increasingly chaotic volatility will be the new normal, as wild swings between inflation and deflation will increase in amplitude and ferocity as the system destabilizes.

Increasingly chaotic volatility is a classic sign of a system that has lost equilibrium and is attempting to regain its dynamic stability by going into overdrive.

The amplitude and violence of these fluctuations increase as each attempt to restore stability fails.

This loss of stability is not what people expect. The experience of the past 60 years has been that any hiccup in financial stability--a recession or market crash--is temporary, as the system responds with monetary and fiscal stimulus which quickly restores the system's stability.

That the era of stability has ended and a new era of increasingly chaotic volatility has begun is not on anyone's radar as a possibility.

Human physiology offers a useful analogy: blood glucose homeostasis, which is the system of insulin production and sensitivity that maintains the dynamic stability of glucose in our bloodstream for use as energy.

Insulin is produced as needed after a meal to regulate the level of glucose within the ideal bandwidth of homeostasis, i.e. the range of dynamic stability that optimizes insulin production and glucose levels. (3.5 to 5.5 mmol/L or 70 to 130 mg/dL)

In metabolic disorders, the body's sensitivity to insulin declines, and in response the body increases the production of insulin to compensate for the decline in sensitivity.

As the disease progresses, sensitivity drops further, forcing the production of insulin into overdrive. Eventually this overdrive degrades the body's ability to produce insulin and the regulatory system managing glucose levels crashes.

In the economic analogy, the system is responding to the decline of surpluses and efficiencies by pumping ever larger sums of new money into the system as quantitative easing (financial stimulus) and fiscal stimulus (more federal spending funded by borrowing).

Lower interest rates are intended to stimulate more private borrowing, another form of stimulus.

The initial massive dose of financial insulin has created enormous asset bubbles and a frenzied rush to restock inventories depleted during the pandemic.

The conventional media is echoing the Federal Reserve and other authorities who claim the resulting spike of inflation is temporary and will soon fade. Other analysts fear the scarcities are not transitory, as they reflect depletion of real-world resources that cannot be overcome by injecting more insulin (money) into the system.

Meanwhile, other analysts are looking at the skyrocketing leverage in the system, where million-dollar speculative bets are leveraged into billion-dollar bets that cascade into crashes and defaults when the bets go bad.

Leverage is difficult to assess as much of it is in the shadow / off-balance-sheet banking system, where exotic financial instruments are buried deep in footnotes and even experts have trouble unraveling the complex bets embedded in CDOs and various multi-party swaps.

So we have all the necessary ingredient for both inflation and asset-debt deflation, and this is the backdrop for the binary debate of inflation or deflation.

But perhaps the future is not one or the other, but a rapidly destabilizing system that will become increasingly prone to semi-chaotic swings of ever greater amplitude as regulatory agencies (central banks and Treasuries) attempt to flood the system with enough insulin to restabilize debt / leverage / asset prices that are increasingly desensitized to conventional stimulus.

As each new flood of stimulus pushes debt, leverage and assets higher, it further desensitizes the system, setting the stage for yet another collapse of speculative leverage, which then prompts an even larger flood of monetary insulin, which then triggers an even more dramatic crash when then causes an even large dose of monetary insulin, and so on until the system crashes.

Eventually the monetary insulin has none of the desired effects, and the mechanisms for producing more insulin (money) break down as well.

In other words, both critical mechanisms break down: the economy no longer responds to new injections of stimulus and the issuance of money no longer functions as desired.

As the financial system loses stability, injecting more monetary insulin only pushes the system further into chaotic volatility.

For three generations, the Warren Buffett investment strategy worked wonderfully: just buy Coca-Cola etc. and never sell. We see this same mindset in the never sell crypto, diamond hands of the current speculative mania.

If the financial system loses stability, this buy-and-hold strategy will fail. The winners in increasingly chaotic volatility will be those who no longer see any value in the inflation-deflation debate and no longer expect one or the other--or a return to stability. It won't be that simple or that easy.



This essay was first published as a weekly Musings Report sent exclusively to subscribers and patrons at the $5/month ($54/year) and higher level. Thank you, patrons and subscribers, for supporting my work.


If you found value in this content, please join me in seeking solutions by becoming a $1/month patron of my work via patreon.com.

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Recent Podcasts:

Charles Hugh Smith on the Era of Accelerating Expropriations (38 min) (FRA Roundtable Insight)

Covid Has Triggered The Next Great Financial Crisis (34:46)

My COVID-19 Pandemic Posts


My recent books:

A Hacker's Teleology: Sharing the Wealth of Our Shrinking Planet (Kindle $8.95, print $20, audiobook $17.46) Read the first section for free (PDF).

Will You Be Richer or Poorer?: Profit, Power, and AI in a Traumatized World
(Kindle $5, print $10, audiobook) Read the first section for free (PDF).

Pathfinding our Destiny: Preventing the Final Fall of Our Democratic Republic ($5 (Kindle), $10 (print), ( audiobook): Read the first section for free (PDF).

The Adventures of the Consulting Philosopher: The Disappearance of Drake $1.29 (Kindle), $8.95 (print); read the first chapters for free (PDF)

Money and Work Unchained $6.95 (Kindle), $15 (print) Read the first section for free (PDF).



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Friday, May 28, 2021

Do We Really Want to Return to "Normal" If "Normal" Is Destroying the Planet?

Change the incentives, and the outcomes change.

Ecologist Howard Odum provided a profound insight into human expansion, stagnation and collapse. He argued that humans are wired to maximize power output (i.e., consumption) rather than maximize efficiency.

In other words, humans are wired to strip the tree of every ripe fruit and throw a party, have more children and use the surplus food to feed an army of conquest. Efficient use of resources is simply not part of what I term Wetware 1.0, the set of tools that was selected and optimized over the past 200,000 years for small hunter-gatherer tribes roaming an apparently near-infinite world.

We've squandered the surpluses enabled by hydrocarbons to maximize energy output (consumption) rather than achieve efficiency. That is finally coming around to haunt the entire "infinite growth on a finite planet" status quo.

Here's the happy story being promoted by the status quo: we can keep overconsuming / wasting resources on a vast scale by electrifying everything that is currently powered by hydrocarbons: The Electrification of Everything: What You Need to Know.

There are a great many problems with this fantasy. One is that per Odum, humanity doesn't replace hydrocarbons with wind-solar, it consumes all the alt-energy being added, too. Adding energy just increases consumption.

Another is that the quantity of scarce minerals and resources needed to replace hydrocarbons with so-called renewable energy is so vast that it's unrealistic.

As I've noted many times, per analyst/educator Nate Hagens, "renewables" are actually 'replaceables', as solar panels and wind turbines wear out and need to be replaced every 20-25 years, if not sooner.

The scale of energy consumption is so vast and the percentage supplied by solar and wind is so insignificant. Most charts lump solar and wind with hydropower and biofuels (wood), but wind and solar provide at best 3% of global energy, after all the tens of billions of dollars that have been invested.

To provide the majority of global energy consumption, we'd need to increase solar-wind 20-fold, from 3% to 60%. The problem, as Tim Watkins explains, is the Earth doesn't have enough scarce minerals to build this monstrous global system, and then replace it every 20-25 years: Are you still buying this?

"Net-zero carbon dioxide by 2050 would require the deployment of ~1500 wind turbines (2.5 MW) over ~300 square miles, every day starting tomorrow and continuing to 2050."

"Challenges of using 'green energy' to power electric cars: If wind farms are chosen to generate the power for the projected two billion cars at UK average usage, this requires the equivalent of a further years' worth of total global copper supply and 10 years' worth of global neodymium and dysprosium production to build the windfarms."

"To replace all UK-based vehicles today with electric vehicles, assuming they use the most resource-frugal next-generation NMC 811 batteries, would take 207,900 tonnes cobalt, 264,600 tonnes of lithium carbonate (LCE), at least 7,200 tonnes of neodymium and dysprosium, in addition to 2,362,500 tonnes copper. This represents, just under two times the total annual world cobalt production, nearly the entire world production of neodymium, three quarters the world's lithium production and at least half of the world's copper production during 2018."


Every kilogram of these scarce minerals must be mined, transported and processed with hydrocarbons.

The problem with wind and solar is intermittency: modern industrial economies require steady electrical power 24/7 or they fail. Wind and solar generate power intermittently, meaning they can't generate a steady supply 24/7 nor can they generate electricity when consumers want to use it.

So the intermittency problem becomes a storage problem: how can we store surplus electricity in quantities large enough to power our vast consumption when the wind dies and the sun goes down?

There are no cheap, easy answers to storage, and ideas such as converting it all to hydrogen are not realistic due to cost and safety issues. There isn't enough lithium and other scarce minerals to build batteries for 2 billion vehicles and storage for every electrical grid on Earth. (And note that lithium batteries have very limited lifespans and need to be replaced every decade, if not sooner. Very few batteries are recycled, so recycling billions of batteries is also a fantasy.)

As Gail Tverberg observes in her recent post, How the World's Energy Problem Has Been Hidden:

"So-called renewable fuels tend to be very damaging to the environment in ways other than CO2 emissions. This point is made very well in the new book Bright Green Lies: How the Environmental Movement Lost Its Way and What We Can Do About It by Derrick Jensen, Lierre Keith and Max Wilbert. It makes the point that renewable fuels are not an attempt to save the environment. Instead, they are trying to save our current industrial civilization using approaches that tend to destroy the environment. Cutting down forests, even if new trees are planted in their place, is especially detrimental. Alice Friedemann, in her new book, Life after Fossil Fuels: A Reality Check on Alternative Fuels, points out the high cost of these alternatives and their dependence on fossil fuel energy."

Many people I respect see thorium nuclear reactors as the answer, but like all the other proposals to replace the staggeringly large consumption fueled by hydrocarbons with some other source, it's not as easy in the real world as it is conceptually.

India has reserves of thorium and has an ambitious plan to build thorium reactors. But the thorium nuclear fuel cycle is extremely non-trivial, and despite billions of rupees invested, India has yet to complete a single large-scale thorium reactor--and neither has any other nation. There are seven research reactors scattered around the world, but no actual power plants. India's Ambitious Nuclear Power Plan--And What's Getting in Its Way:

"With the commercialization and enhanced use of renewable energy technologies, the per unit cost of electricity produced from renewables has gone down significantly. The cost of solar power in India right now is Rs 2.62 per unit, almost half of the per unit cost of electricity being produced by the recently operational Kudankulam nuclear power plant (Rs 4.10 per unit)."

The problem is we've based our entire global economy on maximizing consumption, not efficiency, so that waste = growth = maximizing profits.

Consider this chart of energy consumption, and the chart of energy efficiency, which reflects the appalling inefficiency of our consumption.





Given that we incentivize profits earned from increasing waste (i.e. "growth"), this shouldn't surprise us.

As Tim Morgan has explained, our entire financial system presumes that money-finance is the master system that controls everything in the real world, when in fact the financial system is an overlay on the energy system. In essence, the entire financial system is nothing but abstract claims on energy that unlike energy can be endlessly multiplied.

Claims (currency and debt) can be created out of thin air, but energy systems cannot be created out of thin air.

The answer isn't to attempt to replace a disastrously inefficient and wasteful system with replaceable energy sources--a delusional fantasy. The answer is to set aside our Wetware 1.0 programming to maximize energy output and consumption in favor of maximizing energy efficiency and conservation.

There are a number of ways this transition could be made. For example, rather than tax human labor, we could tax the consumption of non-renewable resources.

UnTax--Taxing Away Climate Change:

"Yet the reason for this inertia is simple: the price we pay for fossil fuels, and most other non-renewable resources, is far too low, because we don’t pay for their creation which took hundreds of millions of years, but only for their extraction. To make matters worse, more than 90% of all taxes are paid on labor in most countries, which discourages employment and forces automation into every part of the economy.

This mix-up, a by-product of the industrial revolution, leads to pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, waste production and the unnecessary use of automation, which damages our ecosystems and at the same time deprives future generations of their right to access those scarce resources."


Do we really want to return to the "normal" of waste = growth = maximizing profit if this "normal" is destroying the planet?

Cutting consumption is anathema in the current mindset of waste = growth = maximizing profit, but the Pareto Distribution suggests we could cut consumption by 80% and still retain 80% of the essentials for a good life such as clean water, healthy food, basic shelter, etc.

As I posted in Musings #9, consider this short film of Market Street in downtown San Francisco shot a few days before the catastrophic earthquake and fire of 1906. A trip down Market Street before the fire (Library of Congress).

Life was pretty good in 1906 San Francisco and many other cities. Now look at the energy consumption around 1900: it was around 15 TWh compared to today's 160 TWh, roughly 10% of current consumption. And the engines and machines of 1906 were by today's standards extremely inefficient. Adjust for increases in population and efficiency and it's clear lower-consumption life is not necessarily a return to living in caves.





Do we really want to return to "normal" if "normal" is destroying the planet?

Waste is everywhere in our way of life because waste is profitable in the current arrangement. What would happen if waste was taxed at very high rates and efficiency was the sole means of maximizing profits?

Charlie Munger (head of Berkshire Hathaway) famously said: "Show me the incentive and I will show you the outcome." That's how humans operate: we respond to the incentives presented, even if they destroy the planet.

Change the incentives, and the outcomes change. What if efficiencies and conservation earned the biggest rewards and human labor was freed from taxation? The outcomes would improve very dramatically--and that's just the start.

This essay was first published as a weekly Musings Report sent exclusively to subscribers and patrons at the $5/month ($54/year) and higher level. Thank you, patrons and subscribers, for supporting my work and free website.


If you found value in this content, please join me in seeking solutions by becoming a $1/month patron of my work via patreon.com.

My new book is available! A Hacker's Teleology: Sharing the Wealth of Our Shrinking Planet 20% and 15% discounts (Kindle $7, print $17, audiobook now available $17.46)

Read excerpts of the book for free (PDF).

The Story Behind the Book and the Introduction.



Recent Podcasts:

Charles Hugh Smith on the Era of Accelerating Expropriations (38 min) (FRA Roundtable Insight)

Covid Has Triggered The Next Great Financial Crisis (34:46)

My COVID-19 Pandemic Posts


My recent books:

A Hacker's Teleology: Sharing the Wealth of Our Shrinking Planet (Kindle $8.95, print $20, audiobook $17.46) Read the first section for free (PDF).

Will You Be Richer or Poorer?: Profit, Power, and AI in a Traumatized World
(Kindle $5, print $10, audiobook) Read the first section for free (PDF).

Pathfinding our Destiny: Preventing the Final Fall of Our Democratic Republic ($5 (Kindle), $10 (print), ( audiobook): Read the first section for free (PDF).

The Adventures of the Consulting Philosopher: The Disappearance of Drake $1.29 (Kindle), $8.95 (print); read the first chapters for free (PDF)

Money and Work Unchained $6.95 (Kindle), $15 (print) Read the first section for free (PDF).



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Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Systemic Risks Abound

If you wanted to design a system guaranteed to collapse in a putrid heap, you'd make moral hazard ubiquitous and you'd make the system 100% dependent on a hubris-soaked faux savior.

For the past 22 years, every time the stock market whimpered, wheezed or whined, the Federal Reserve rushed to soothe the spoiled crybaby. There are two consequential results of the Fed as savior:

1. The Fed has perfected moral hazard: everyone from the money manager betting billions to the punters gambling their stimmy money is absolutely confident I can't lose because the Fed will always push the market higher.

What happens when participants are confident they can't possibly lose? They make ever-riskier and ever-larger bets. The entire nation is in the grip of a moral hazard mania, all based on the confidence that the Fed will always push every market higher--always, without fail.

2. Organic (i.e. non-manipulated) market forces have been extinguished. There is now only one consequential force, the Fed. All markets are now 100% dependent on the Fed responding to every bleat from every punter who's recklessly risky bet is about to go bad.

The Fed is now the perfect union of quasi-religious savior and Helicopter Parent: oh dear, our little darling got high and crashed the Porsche? Quick, let's save our precious market from any consequences!

Every day, Fed speakers take to the pulpit to spew another sermon about the Fed's god-like power and wisdom. The true believers soak up every word: golly-gee, the Fed is better than any god--it's guaranteeing I can get rich if I just leverage up any bet in any market!

The financial media obediently bows and scrapes to their savior, the Fed. With a savior like the Fed, you don't need a real economy or a real market--all you need is the assurance that the Fed will save every market from every consequence.

All this hubris is jolly while it lasts, but since risk cannot be dissipated, it can only be transferred, the Fed has transferred decades of fast-rising risk to the entire system. The entire system now rests on the Fed, a dependency that raises its own risks. By imposing moral hazard and crushing consequences, the Fed has stripped the entire financial system of self-correcting mechanisms. This is a surefire recipe for systemic failure and collapse.

There is no way to wean the system off its dependence on the Fed, and no way to restore organic market functions. The slightest reduction in the Fed's spew of trillions will crash the market, because there is literally nothing holding it aloft but Fed spew--monetary and verbal.

The problem with becoming 100% dependent on the Fed is any wobble will crash the system-- and diminishing returns guarantee a wobble. Consider this analogy: as the human body loses sensitivity to insulin, this triggers increasing overproduction of insulin, a feedback loop which eventually breaks down.

The system's sensitivity to the Fed's spew of trillions of dollars and claptrap preaching is diminishing, which is why the Fed has moved from spewing hundreds of billions to trillions, and why Fed speakers who we once heard from once a month are now out in force every single day.

Remarkably, few anticipate any consequence from the Fed's perfection of moral hazard and the system's 100% dependence on the Fed's spew even as diminishing returns gnaw away at the efficacy of the Fed's ever more grandiose policies and pronouncements.

If you wanted to design a system guaranteed to collapse in a putrid heap, you'd make moral hazard ubiquitous and you'd make the system 100% dependent on a hubris-soaked faux savior. Hey, that describes America's economy and financial system perfectly.






If you found value in this content, please join me in seeking solutions by becoming a $1/month patron of my work via patreon.com.

My new book is available! A Hacker's Teleology: Sharing the Wealth of Our Shrinking Planet 20% and 15% discounts (Kindle $7, print $17, audiobook now available $17.46)

Read excerpts of the book for free (PDF).

The Story Behind the Book and the Introduction.



Recent Podcasts:

Charles Hugh Smith on the Era of Accelerating Expropriations (38 min) (FRA Roundtable Insight)

Covid Has Triggered The Next Great Financial Crisis (34:46)

My COVID-19 Pandemic Posts


My recent books:

A Hacker's Teleology: Sharing the Wealth of Our Shrinking Planet (Kindle $8.95, print $20, audiobook $17.46) Read the first section for free (PDF).

Will You Be Richer or Poorer?: Profit, Power, and AI in a Traumatized World
(Kindle $5, print $10, audiobook) Read the first section for free (PDF).

Pathfinding our Destiny: Preventing the Final Fall of Our Democratic Republic ($5 (Kindle), $10 (print), ( audiobook): Read the first section for free (PDF).

The Adventures of the Consulting Philosopher: The Disappearance of Drake $1.29 (Kindle), $8.95 (print); read the first chapters for free (PDF)

Money and Work Unchained $6.95 (Kindle), $15 (print) Read the first section for free (PDF).



Become a $1/month patron of my work via patreon.com.




NOTE: Contributions/subscriptions are acknowledged in the order received. Your name and email remain confidential and will not be given to any other individual, company or agency.

Thank you, Roger H. ($54), for your superbly generous contribution to this site -- I am greatly honored by your support and readership.

 

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Monday, May 24, 2021

Fed to Treasury Dealers and Congress: We Can't Count On You, We're Taking Charge

The Fed sees itself as trapped by the incompetence and greed of the other players and by its own policy extremes that were little more than expedient "saves" of a system that is unraveling due to its fragility and brittleness. .

There are two standard-issue narratives about the Federal Reserve's agenda: the Fed's official narrative is that the Fed's mandate is to keep inflation under control while promoting full employment. The unofficial mandate that's obvious to all is to prop up assets, especially the stock market, which has become the Fed's preferred signifier of prosperity and the rightness/goodness of Fed policies.

The other narrative results from "following the money": the Fed is owned by private-sector banks, and so behind the curtain of happy-talk (full employment, blah-blah-blah), the Fed's only real agenda is to further enrich banks and too big to fail/jail financiers--something it has managed to do with remarkable success.

That the Fed inflated the 1999-2000 dot-com bubble and the 2005-2008 housing bubble is undeniable, as is the Fed's 2008-09 bailout of the global financial system and too big to fail/jail mortgage originators and a vast array of other profiteering, embezzler-scoundrels.

The Fed's zero-interest rate policy (ZIRP) and unprecedented quantitative easing monetary stimulus have pushed the Fed balance sheet, federal debt and systemic debt to heights that heretofore would have been inconceivable. (Charts below)

While pursuing these non-mutually-exclusive agendas--we came to do good and stayed to do well-- the Fed has generated destabilizing extremes of wealth and income inequality, a reality that the Fed risibly denies. (There must be much mirth about this BS behind closed doors.)

Allow me to posit a third agenda which doesn't negate either conventional agenda but does explain some of the Fed's actions since 2008. As the system unravels, the Fed's primary imperative is to save the financial system and economy from the greed-soaked incompetence of the other players, public and private, by taking charge of critical swaths of the financial system and economy.

After the subprime debacle almost took down the entire global financial system, the Fed (with a bit of help from Congress) essentially took over the entire $10 trillion US mortgage market. Private-sector lenders had figured out how to issue guaranteed-to-default mortgages and pass off the fraudulent mortgage-backed securities (MBS) to pension funds in Norway and a global cast of suckers who believed America's financial system was properly regulated. (Haha, the joke's on you.)

In response, the Fed basically nationalized the mortgage market, buying more than $1 trillion in mortgage-backed securities and ensuring that virtually all mortgages in the U.S. were guaranteed or originated by federal agencies: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (after their bankruptcy as quasi-private agencies), FHA and VA.

More recently, the Fed realized the private broker-dealer banks that handle the all-important issuance of Treasury bonds could no longer be trusted. As this article explains, Fed Prepares To Go Direct With Liquidity, "The Fed's primary concern is not employment or inflation, but rather keeping the market for Treasury securities functioning."

In response, the Fed is cutting the broker-dealers out as unreliable players. The Treasury market and the US dollar are the foundations of federal spending and power, and so the Fed has realized that, just as it did with the greedy, fraudulent embezzlers of the private-sector mortgage market, it has to bypass or neuter the private-sector players as threats to stability.

Next up on the Fed's agenda: take charge of the issuance of new money to households and cut Congress out of the loop. If you read up on the Fed's plans for its own digital currency and the FedNow system, you'll come to understand that the Fed has concluded that supporting consumption (i.e. giving money to households to enable more spending) is too important to leave in the corrupt hands of the legislative bodies (Congress) or the Treasury, which must issue debt to raise cash to distribute to households, debt that further burdens federal revenues and spending.

The Fed has concluded that supporting demand / consumption is too important to be left to the partisan antics and pay-to-play corruption of Congress. So the Fed's plan is to create new money out of thin air and deposit it directly in household accounts via the FedNow system.

We can't count on you, broker-dealers or Congress, so we're taking charge, as the system is now so over-extended that any misadventure by other players could well be catastrophic. So the only alternative from the Fed's point of view is to take charge and cut the untrustworthy, self-serving incompetents out of the loop.

The danger of this power grab is that the Fed will misjudge the situation, and that will prove catastrophic because the system has been stripped of resilience, feedback and redundancy. I suspect the Fed sees itself as trapped by the incompetence and greed of the other players and by its own policy extremes that were little more than expedient "saves" of a system that is unraveling due to its fragility and brittleness.

This Federal Reserve paper is typical of the groundwork being laid for the Fed digital currency and direct deposits to households via FedNow accounts.

Preconditions for a general-purpose central bank digital currency (Federal Reserve)










If you found value in this content, please join me in seeking solutions by becoming a $1/month patron of my work via patreon.com.

My new book is available! A Hacker's Teleology: Sharing the Wealth of Our Shrinking Planet 20% and 15% discounts (Kindle $7, print $17, audiobook now available $17.46)

Read excerpts of the book for free (PDF).

The Story Behind the Book and the Introduction.



Recent Podcasts:

Salon #43: History shows again and again how nature points out the folly of men...

Covid Has Triggered The Next Great Financial Crisis (34:46)

My COVID-19 Pandemic Posts


My recent books:

A Hacker's Teleology: Sharing the Wealth of Our Shrinking Planet (Kindle $8.95, print $20, audiobook $17.46) Read the first section for free (PDF).

Will You Be Richer or Poorer?: Profit, Power, and AI in a Traumatized World
(Kindle $5, print $10, audiobook) Read the first section for free (PDF).

Pathfinding our Destiny: Preventing the Final Fall of Our Democratic Republic ($5 (Kindle), $10 (print), ( audiobook): Read the first section for free (PDF).

The Adventures of the Consulting Philosopher: The Disappearance of Drake $1.29 (Kindle), $8.95 (print); read the first chapters for free (PDF)

Money and Work Unchained $6.95 (Kindle), $15 (print) Read the first section for free (PDF).



Become a $1/month patron of my work via patreon.com.




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Friday, May 21, 2021

FOMO Is Loco

We can also posit a general rule that those who inherit wealth and succumb to FOMO are eventually less wealthy while those who are wealthy and take a pass on FOMO / hoarding at the top of the manic frenzy increase their wealth.

Judging by the panic buying of everything from homes to yachts to lumber futures, it seems the world has run out of everything except newly issued central bank trillions, and so the logical response is FOMO (fear of missing out) and hoarding: buy everything you can get your hands on today lest it become unavailable or more expensive tomorrow.

FOMO is wonderful for sellers and profiteers who can jack up prices and enjoy bidding wars during the panic buying.

FOMO and hoarding are instinctual behaviors to shortages, perceived and real. There's nothing quite like the surge onto the last bus or train of the day when transport is scarce. Cash becomes trash when you need whatever is scarce and you're afraid you won't be able to get it at any price.

All this is rational when the threat of what happens if you miss out is existential. As in, not getting in a boat means you drown, not getting some water means you die of thirst, etc.

But is not being able to buy a new pleasure craft or home in a desirable area really the same? It feels the same way to the individuals caught up in the frenzy of FOMO, but FOMO and hoarding feel the same whether the scarcity is real or perceived, and the emotions triggered by scarcity are urgently intense: if I lose this bidding war, my life is over, etc.

On a lesser but still painful level, we don't like losing or being left behind as the circus leaves town. If you've ever been bumped from an airline flight or been unable to get on that last train, watching all the shiny happy people board the aircraft while you're left in the fetid terminal with the janitorial crew is not a warm and fuzzy feeling.

There's another intense emotion that comes into play a bit later: buyer's remorse. The bidding war arouses an excitement quite unlike other forms of engagement, and the euphoria of winning feels like the jackpot is yours, ripped from the greedy grasp of the undeserving at the last moment.

Then the euphoria fades and the sick realization that you're on the hook for hundreds of thousands of dollars sinks in. At this point regret that one forgot the rational, calculating part of the mind and dashed head-long into the "last seat on the lifeboat / last roll of toilet paper" FOMO / hoarding.

One of my rules is to consider what benefits those at the top of the wealth-power pyramid. If we consider the case for hyper-inflation, for example, it's difficult to make a case for hyper-inflation benefiting those who own the majority of the nation's financial assets, i.e. the top 0.5%. Yes, the super-wealthy can move all their wealth into gold and bitcoin, but this requires sacrificing the income from all the assets that were sold to escape hyper-inflation.

Wouldn't it be cheaper and easier to just call a friend or three and make it known that hyper-inflation doesn't work for you? Needless to say, it also doesn't work for the bottom 99.5% whose earnings spiral down the drain in hyper-inflation.

We can also posit a general rule that those who inherit wealth and succumb to FOMO are eventually less wealthy while those who are wealthy and take a pass on FOMO / hoarding at the top of the manic frenzy increase their wealth, as they anticipate a symmetric deflation in most of the FOMO / hoarding price spikes.

In other words, it's worth pondering the possibility that cash won't always be trash, and that overbidding by $400,000 to get "the last house in Cape Cod" overlooked the possibility that it wasn't actually the last house and that suitable alternatives might be remarkably less expensive in a year.






If you found value in this content, please join me in seeking solutions by becoming a $1/month patron of my work via patreon.com.

My new book is available! A Hacker's Teleology: Sharing the Wealth of Our Shrinking Planet 20% and 15% discounts (Kindle $7, print $17, audiobook now available $17.46)

Read excerpts of the book for free (PDF).

The Story Behind the Book and the Introduction.



Recent Podcasts:

Salon #43: History shows again and again how nature points out the folly of men...

Covid Has Triggered The Next Great Financial Crisis (34:46)

My COVID-19 Pandemic Posts


My recent books:

A Hacker's Teleology: Sharing the Wealth of Our Shrinking Planet (Kindle $8.95, print $20, audiobook $17.46) Read the first section for free (PDF).

Will You Be Richer or Poorer?: Profit, Power, and AI in a Traumatized World
(Kindle $5, print $10, audiobook) Read the first section for free (PDF).

Pathfinding our Destiny: Preventing the Final Fall of Our Democratic Republic ($5 (Kindle), $10 (print), ( audiobook): Read the first section for free (PDF).

The Adventures of the Consulting Philosopher: The Disappearance of Drake $1.29 (Kindle), $8.95 (print); read the first chapters for free (PDF)

Money and Work Unchained $6.95 (Kindle), $15 (print) Read the first section for free (PDF).



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Tuesday, May 18, 2021

U.S. Stimulus Has Created a Boom--in China

Maybe maximizing corporate profits isn't all that matters. Maybe national security and resilience matter, too, and if they do, then reshoring critical supply chains should be a higher priority than Corporate America's (mostly tax-free) profits.

As America's trade deficit explodes higher and the costs of offshoring supply chains mount, the apologists for globalization are out in full force, attempting to shout down reality with their usual specious claims about how amazingly wunnerful globalization has been for America.

Allow me to tote up the real-world cost savings:

Cost of cheap ill-fitting jeans dropped $10.

Cost of low-quality TV that will only last a few years dropped $50.

Cost of healthcare, annual increase: $3,000 per household
Cost of rent, annual increase: $1,200 per household
Cost of child care, annual increase: $1,300 per household
Cost of college tuition and room and board, annual increase: $1,500 per household


So while domestic costs rose $6,000 annually due to predatory cartels, over-regulation, taxes, etc., we saved $60 by offshoring supply chains.
Excuse me for being underwhelmed by the wunnerfulness of offshoring jobs and supply chains.

Yes, the benefits of free trade, blah-blah-blah, I get it; but there is no such thing as free trade, there are only versions of managed trade, the vast majority of which are beneficial to corporations and elites on both sides of the trade.

Trade is always about maximizing profits. That's the only reason to bother with trade, though there are geopolitical considerations as well. The U.S. opened its vast markets to Western Europe and Japan and the Asian Tigers in the Cold War to strengthen their economies, as a means of suppressing the appeal of Communism in their domestic politics.

This mercantilist strategy worked well, ushering in rapid growth in West Germany, Japan and other allied nations, but the problem is those economies never transitioned out of being mercantilist, export-dependent economies. The U.S. has remained the dumping ground for the world's surplus production since the early 1950s.

While it's all too easy to blame China for soaring trade deficits, nobody forced Corporate America to transfer supply chains to China; it was all done to maximize profits, because that's all that matters, right?

If we examine the chart of U.S. corporate profits, we notice they were around $700 billion annually in the high-growth 1990s when America's trade deficit in goods and services fluctuated between $100 billion and $175 billion annually. Once China entered the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001, corporate profits -- and trade deficits -- skyrocketed.

This is not coincidence. Corporate America reaped trillions in profits by offshoring production and supply chains. Three points need to made here: one is that trade in goods is grossly distorted by outdated rules for calculating imports and exports. Analysts estimate that as little as $10 of the value of every iPhone or iPad actually ends up in the Chinese economy, in the form of income paid directly to Foxconn or other contractors. But the iPhone--assembled in China with parts sourced globally--is counted as a $250 import from China when it arrives at the port of Long Beach, California.

The other is that China paid a steep price for its rapid economic growth as the sweatshop for global corporations. The environmental damage of rapid industrialization has been immense, many workers were cheated by contractors who promised impossibly low prices to Western corporate buyers, and profit margins were razor thin for many suppliers.

The American workforce paid a steep price, as did U.S. national security, as valuable intellectual property was lavished on China in exchange for those all-important quarterly increases in corporate profits.

Corporate America made out like bandits. Everyone else--not so much. Thanks to fancy legalized looting footwork, most American corporation reaping staggering profits from overseas production pay little or no taxes that benefit the American citizenry.



Let's look at the charts of U.S. imports and exports. If trade deficits had risen along with U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) in the 24 years since 1997, it would have risen 2.5-fold, to an annual rate of about $240 billion.

The actual trade deficit is $600 billion higher: $850 billion annually. $600 billion here, $600 billion there, pretty soon you're talking real money.



Notice that thanks to trillions in stimulus, imports have soared back up while exports have lagged. That's what happens when you offshore your critical supply chains.



My insightful blogger colleague Wolf Richter recently posted an illuminating chart of service surpluses and goods deficits: it's obvious that much of the stimmy spent at WalMart bought stuff from China.



He added these thought-provoking comments in his post Just Keeps Getting Worse: Services Trade Surplus, the American Dream Not-Come-True, Falls to 9-Year Low, Total Trade Deficit Explodes to Worst Ever:

"Note that during the Financial Crisis, the overall trade deficit improved substantially. Consumers cut back buying imported durable goods, while the trade surplus of services declined only briefly.

The opposite happened during the Pandemic where stimulus fired up US consumer demand, boosted foreign manufacturing, but did nothing for US exports.

Every crisis in the US over the past two decades has caused Corporate America to cut costs further by pushing offshoring to the next level. And after each crisis subsides, the trade deficits and US dependence on foreign manufacturing plants (no matter who owns them) are worse than before.

This dependence has become painfully obvious in some of the shortages, including the semiconductor shortage now rippling through the US economy. The US, which for decades had led the world in semiconductor design and manufacturing, now makes only 12% of global semiconductors."


Maybe maximizing corporate profits isn't all that matters. Maybe national security and resilience matter, too, and if they do, then reshoring critical supply chains should be a higher priority than Corporate America's (mostly tax-free) profits.

Of related interest:

Forget "Free Trade"--It's All About Capital Flows (3/9/18)


If you found value in this content, please join me in seeking solutions by becoming a $1/month patron of my work via patreon.com.

My new book is available! A Hacker's Teleology: Sharing the Wealth of Our Shrinking Planet 20% and 15% discounts (Kindle $7, print $17, audiobook now available $17.46)

Read excerpts of the book for free (PDF).

The Story Behind the Book and the Introduction.



Recent Podcasts:

Salon #43: History shows again and again how nature points out the folly of men...

Covid Has Triggered The Next Great Financial Crisis (34:46)

My COVID-19 Pandemic Posts


My recent books:

A Hacker's Teleology: Sharing the Wealth of Our Shrinking Planet (Kindle $8.95, print $20, audiobook $17.46) Read the first section for free (PDF).

Will You Be Richer or Poorer?: Profit, Power, and AI in a Traumatized World
(Kindle $5, print $10, audiobook) Read the first section for free (PDF).

Pathfinding our Destiny: Preventing the Final Fall of Our Democratic Republic ($5 (Kindle), $10 (print), ( audiobook): Read the first section for free (PDF).

The Adventures of the Consulting Philosopher: The Disappearance of Drake $1.29 (Kindle), $8.95 (print); read the first chapters for free (PDF)

Money and Work Unchained $6.95 (Kindle), $15 (print) Read the first section for free (PDF).



Become a $1/month patron of my work via patreon.com.




NOTE: Contributions/subscriptions are acknowledged in the order received. Your name and email remain confidential and will not be given to any other individual, company or agency.

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Sunday, May 16, 2021

Sickcare is the Knife in the Heart of Employment--and the Economy

We need to change the incentives of the entire system, not just healthcare, but if we don't start with healthcare, that financial cancer will drag us into national insolvency all by itself.

American Healthcare is a growth industry in the same way cancer is a growth industry: both keep growing until they kill the host, which in the case of healthcare is the U.S. economy.

While a great many individuals in the system care about improving the health of their patients, the healthcare system itself only cares about one thing: maximizing profits by any means available, including sending many patients to an early grave via medications which corporations declared "safe" and rigged the political-regulatory-research systems to comply.

I call this maximizing profits by any means available system sickcare, for obvious reasons: this system profits by managing sickness, i.e. chronic diseases, rather than addressing the causes, which in most chronic disorders trace back to lifestyle: SAD (standard American diet), poor fitness and a generally unhealthy lifestyle of convenience (i.e. sedentary), heavy work/financial stress and addictions to meds, drugs, social media, etc.

Sickcare's single-minded profiteering would be bad enough if we could afford its spiraling ever higher cost, but we cannot: as I noted way back in 2011, Sickcare Will Bankrupt the Nation all by itself. three years ago I noted that U.S. Healthcare Isn't Broken--It's Fixed (5/26/18), as generic meds that cost $22.60 for a month's supply are pushed by Big Pharma as branded meds for $1,120 per month. Such a deal!

I've been discussing employment recently, and one of my patrons pointed out the enormously negative impact sickcare costs have on employment. I covered the incredibly negative impact of soaring sickcare insurance costs on small business back in 2011: Here's Why Small Business Isn't Hiring, and Won't be Hiring (7/11/11), but the same soaring-costs dynamic makes Corporate America reluctant to hire anyone in America, too.

You'd have to be insane to pick America as your global base, given the grossly asymmetrical cost of healthcare in the U.S. compared to our developed-world competitors in Europe and East Asia (Japan and South Korea). Sadly, the treatment for your insanity will be so costly in America that your psychiatric problems will soon be exacerbated by financial ruin.

Those with heavily subsidized healthcare insurance may not realize that insurance for a family can cost more than a wage earner's entire monthly net income. This generates a perverse incentive (from the perspective of a healthy economy, as opposed to a corrupt, rigged economy run for the exclusive benefit of profiteers, fraudsters, speculators and political fixers) for one spouse to quit their jobs or cut their hours to reduce the household income to the point that federal subsidies (ObamaCare) kick in and pay much or most of the insanely overpriced sickcare insurance tab.

The subsidies are of course ultimately paid by the taxpayers; sickcare profiteers thank you.

Needless to say, employers facing monthly healthcare insurance costs of $1,500 for an employee earning $2,500 will be looking for automation or overseas alternatives. How can the employer afford to keep paying healthcare insurance costs that spiral far above the Consumer Price Index (CPI)? Ultimately these higher costs come out of the employee's paycheck, as employers could have given raises but instead had to fork over all the dough to the sickcare profiteers.

One driver of wages' ever-declining share of the national income is trillions of dollars have been siphoned off by sickcare. As the comparison chart below shows, the U.S. pays roughly $5,000 more per capita (per person) per year for healthcare than other equally developed nations: the U.S. pays $10,966 per person per year and the average paid by other developed nations pay roughly half: $5,697 per person per year.

330 million Americans X $5,000 is $1.65 trillion a year. No wonder wages have gone nowhere for decades and corporations couldn't wait to offshore jobs in America. (Not that the Corporate America needed much more of an incentive to offshore U.S. jobs, but let's recognize that sickcare costs put American companies at a huge global disadvantage.)

Please examine the chart below of healthcare expenses per capita (per person) in the U.S. from 2000 to 2018 (the last year available on the St. Louis Federal Reserve database). I've marked up the chart to indicate where healthcare costs per capita would be if healthcare had tracked the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the past two decades.

Strikingly, the cost had U.S. healthcare risen by the same percentage as everything else--$5,852 per capita per year--is very close to the average costs in comparable developed nations: $5,697 per capita per year. Instead, U.S. healthcare costs per person were $9,000 per year as of 2018.

The third chart shows that the results of this asymmetric expenditure on health hasn't done much in terms of life expectancy or other broad measures of national health and well-being. America is Number One in costs but far down the list of life expectancy and other measures of well-being.

The human and financial costs of this sick system are pervasive. Those trying to provide care within the sickcare system's perverse incentives are burning out (see last chart), and businesses are crushed by ever-higher costs for everything related to healthcare. The "solution" for employers is to push more of the insane cost increases onto employees, who are already staggering under the weight of stagnant wages and skyrocketing inflation in sectors other than healthcare.

Small business entrepreneurs end up not hiring any workers because they can't afford to provide the mandated healthcare. Having to do all the work needed to keep the business afloat burns out the owners and they close the business, to the detriment of their community and the local government, which loses the tax revenues generated by the enterprise.

Here's a real-world example of how healthcare has become unaffordable for employers: in the mid-1980s I could buy comprehensive healthcare insurance for my single employees (mostly young) for 6 hours' pay for the average employee and 4 hours of my pay. (My partner and I paid all the healthcare insurance costs, the employees paid zero, I'm just using the hours and pay as a means of measuring the cost of healthcare in terms of the purchasing power of wages.)

Can an employer buy equivalent comprehensive healthcare insurance today for 6 hours' of the employees' pay? No, not even close. (Note that I'm talking about real insurance, not bogus simulacra of insurance, i.e. catastrophic coverage.)

Sickcare is a win for the sickcare profiteers and a loss for employers, employees, communities, government and the nation. Like cancer, sickcare will keep growing until it kills the host. We're getting close.

Sickcare is the knife in the heart of employment. Sickcare puts the nation at a tremendous competitive disadvantage, crushes small businesses and generates perverse incentives to automate and offshore jobs just to get out from underneath the dead weight of ever-higher sickcare costs.

We need a whole new approach to healthcare that includes every aspect of American culture, society, education, economics and governance. We need to ditch SAD (standard American diet) and our unhealthy lifestyle, and incentivize improving health from the ground up rather than generating chronic lifestyle diseases such as metabolic disorders and then managing these disorders as a means of maximizing profits. The national goal should not be profiting from an over-medicated populace, it should be eliminating the need for medications. (A healthy person has no need for handfuls of medications.) Rather than profit from 74% of the populace being overweight and 40% being obese, the national goal should be to eliminate lifestyle diseases entirely by changing behaviors and incentives, not costly procedures and medications. That would free healthcare to serve those suffering from non-lifestyle diseases.

As Charlie Munger famously noted, ""Show me the incentive and I will show you the outcome." That's how humans operate: we respond to the incentives presented, even if they diminish the health of the populace and bankrupt the nation. We need to change the incentives of the entire system, not just healthcare, but if we don't start with healthcare, that financial cancer will drag us into national insolvency all by itself.












If you found value in this content, please join me in seeking solutions by becoming a $1/month patron of my work via patreon.com.

My new book is available! A Hacker's Teleology: Sharing the Wealth of Our Shrinking Planet 20% and 15% discounts (Kindle $7, print $17, audiobook now available $17.46)

Read excerpts of the book for free (PDF).

The Story Behind the Book and the Introduction.



Recent Podcasts:

Salon #43: History shows again and again how nature points out the folly of men...

Covid Has Triggered The Next Great Financial Crisis (34:46)

My COVID-19 Pandemic Posts


My recent books:

A Hacker's Teleology: Sharing the Wealth of Our Shrinking Planet (Kindle $8.95, print $20, audiobook $17.46) Read the first section for free (PDF).

Will You Be Richer or Poorer?: Profit, Power, and AI in a Traumatized World
(Kindle $5, print $10, audiobook) Read the first section for free (PDF).

Pathfinding our Destiny: Preventing the Final Fall of Our Democratic Republic ($5 (Kindle), $10 (print), ( audiobook): Read the first section for free (PDF).

The Adventures of the Consulting Philosopher: The Disappearance of Drake $1.29 (Kindle), $8.95 (print); read the first chapters for free (PDF)

Money and Work Unchained $6.95 (Kindle), $15 (print) Read the first section for free (PDF).



Become a $1/month patron of my work via patreon.com.




NOTE: Contributions/subscriptions are acknowledged in the order received. Your name and email remain confidential and will not be given to any other individual, company or agency.

Thank you, Royce M. ($150), for your beyond-outrageously generous contribution to this site -- I am greatly honored by your steadfast support and readership.

 

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