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Forum Post: Feedback please: "Do Stock Markets Make Sustainability Impossible?"

Posted 6 months ago on Feb. 18, 2017, 2:28 p.m. EST by Alternatives2WallSt (51)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

Feedback needed for: "Do Stock Markets Make Sustainability Impossible?" http://Stocknectar.Org/sustainability

Subheadings:

  1. Unless stocks are deemphasized and bonds emphasized, it is ludicrous to assume that solar energy—or anything else—can create sustainability.
  2. Protesting stock markets is as important as protesting air pollution—but nobody is doing so.
  3. The New York Stock Exchange is not an original or necessary institution for capitalism, democracy, Christianity, America or free enterprise.
  4. There is no magical law that requires stock markets to have happy endings.
  5. Overpopulation is not mandated by religion so much as by stock markets.
  6. No movement is making the essential moves against Wall Street to make sustainability possible.

Anyone please reply here with your agreements, disagreements, comments, questions, suggestions, etc. Thank you. This is needed for this new perspective. Apparently--in spite of much random ire against "Wall Street" and "unsustainable growth-reliance"--the stock market, obvious elephant of growth-reliance, seems never to have been precisely fingered before. And it seems next-to-impossible to get any hearing from major progressive figures, environmental groups and news outlets.

Exerpts which mention OWS:

2. Protesting stock markets is as important as protesting air pollution—but nobody is doing so.

Of course, there has been an "Occupy Wall Street" movement. However, the Wikipedia article on OWS mainly lists protests against some of the inevitable consequences of overemphasis on stock markets: "wealth inequality, political corruption, corporate influence of government." There seems to be no clear suggestion to deemphasize stock market investing.

6. No movement is making the essential moves against Wall Street to make sustainability possible.

  • There is what I call the “High Plains Drifter” initiative. This means firstly, for one reputable economist to write one book arguing that capitalism has a future if and only if stock markets are deemphasized. Secondly, for the leaders of one underdeveloped or “outsider” nation to read said book...

  • Or, a “Newman Age” could be upon us if some new promotional strategy somehow enabled stock market corporations in every sphere to be eclipsed by for-charity corporations à la Newman’s Own—with a similar ferocity as My Space was eclipsed by Facebook...

  • Or, a “Fight Fire With Fire” initiative might mean for some nonprofit foundation to manage “socially responsible” brokerages, autotrading systems, trust funds and mutual funds. If 1/3 of the foundation’s resulting income were used to finance pro-environmental politicians and organizations—while 2/3 were hoarded and reinvested—this eventually might build up a war chest with which to enable environmentalists to cross swords with billionaires and corporations. Currently however, environmentalists must forever act like the Dutch boy with a finger in a dyke.

The Occupy Wall Street movement has been a vital first step. Just as it is often vital for the victims of child abuse to meet in group therapy. Thus to nurture the courage to vocalize violations by people who they were taught to awe and revere.

However, group therapy cannot fully be successful until the abusers are meaningfully confronted. Occupy Wall Street has produced little attempt to blueprint a non-abusive financial system.

Ebay, Google and Facebook all had humble beginnings—and yet, soon eclipsed stock market giants, even before joining the stock market. For the first time in history, it is no longer necessary to own steel mills in order to challenge the likes of Carnegie and Mellon. What is lacking today is only the will, not the capability. Each of the above “non-Wall Street initiatives” obviously could be accomplished within fewer than a dozen years by fewer than a dozen inspired individuals. This is probably a narrow window of opportunity and to which almost nobody is yet responding.

88 Comments

88 Comments


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[-] 2 points by agkaiser (1743) from Fredericksburg, TX 4 months ago

"Michael Hudson: Hayek turned classical economics on its head. Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill and the other classical economists who are supposed to be icons of the free market meant a market free from land rent, monopoly rent and financial interest. But for Hayek, a free market meant one free for these rentiers. Free for landlords, bankers and monopolists. That’s why his group, the Von Misians in Austria, spent their time fighting against public spending and the “threat” of socialism. He said that socialism leads to fascism. But actually it’s his Chicago school that does this. It’s the “free market” Chicago Boys who led to fascism in Chile by overthrowing the government.

"So Hayek called freedom fascism, and he called fascism freedom. The first thing that the Chicago boys did in Chile was to close every economics department. Because they realized that you can’t have a Hayek-style free market unless you’re willing to kill everybody who disagrees with you. They had to kill labor leaders and tens of thousands of intellectuals. They closed every economics department in the country except for the Catholic University where they taught. There was mass murder. If you’re not wiling to kill everybody who has a different idea than yourself, you cannot have Frederick Hayek’s free market. You cannot have Alan Greenspan or the Chicago School, you cannot have the economic freedom that is freedom for the rentiers and the FIRE sector to reduce the rest of the economy to serfdom."

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2017/03/michael-hudson-democracy-collaborative.html

To answer the sustainability question: In the end, everything is a zero sum game. The FIRE sector parasitises everything and produces nothing. It takes from US and us every day in every way. They have it all or the paper on it. We borrow back what they've taken from us, at interest compounding, which makes things worse each day. What can blood sucking parasites do in the end but kill the host, ending the sustainability question once and for all.

It's not about opinion. It's about the facts on the ground, where we live at the bottom of the Wall St. pyramid.

[-] 2 points by grapes (4942) 4 months ago

I like using the analogy of driving and riding in an automobile for discussing the relations of sustainability and other qualities to the stock market and other markets.

The suspension system should be very stiff for a racing car to transmit every bump, swerve, and texture of the road to the driver so as to have them handled as quickly and accurately as possible.

It should be very mushy for a luxury sedan to give the driver or rider a very soft and gentle cushiony ride. While this ride is very comfortable, it can lull the driver or rider into complacency until the suspension system fails to damp the bumps and swerves.

I prefer a rather stiff racing-car feel while driving our economy because being too comfortable lulls us into a sleep that can only end in a very rude awakening.

Alan Greenspan preferred the luxury sedan feel. Everything seemed hunky-dory until an unavoidable disaster hit(but not under the maestro's watch, how impressive a maelstrom!)

The car's suspension system is analogous to our federal reserve and banking system.

Currently, sustainability is filtered out completely by the proposed budget to cut the EPA's funding greatly. We are riding in the luxury sedan with "No feelings! No feelings!" until we encounter the terrible unavoidable disaster. Figuratively speaking, I'd love to drink many piña coladas before hitting the roads. Rum, rum, Nick, isn't it impressive for the Maestro to drive blindfolded or inebriated? See! Mom, NO hands! I'm a little airplane, neow!

[-] 1 points by Alternatives2WallSt (51) 4 months ago

To Grapes:

Thank you for the excellent points. If I understand your second reply correctly--this might be applied to my view of Dodd-Frank and the FDIC. As you know, the Obama-era Dodd-Frank bill is our primary protection against a repeat of the 2008 crash. Repealing Dodd-Frank is inane. However, Dodd-Frank is flawed.

Firstly, Dodd-Frank makes it illegal for banks to use depositors' money to speculate in derivatives. But, last I heard, Dodd-Frank was not enforced (thenation.com/article/how-wall-street-defanged-dodd-frank 2013).

Secondly, Dodd-Frank makes it illegal to repeat the bailouts of banks. Thirdly, Dodd-Frank does nothing about too-big-to-fail banks.

In effect, we have a "mushy" false security that 2008 will not happen again. And, when 2008 does happen again, millions of people risk losing all their so-called FDIC-insured savings accounts and CD's (seekingalpha.com/article/1306931-it-can-happen-here-the-confiscation-scheme-planned-for-u-s-and-u-k-depositors 2013).

From Donald Trump to Bernie Sanders, right-wing and left-wing idealists alike are against bank bailouts. I agree that bank bailouts are like "emergency room medical care." Also, the bankers responsible should get a life sentence. However, the fact is, nobody really "knows" what would have happened if we did not bail out Goldman-Sachs in 2008. To refuse the bailout was to gamble with the life-savings life-line of millions of people. How is that less immoral than the banks gambling with derivatives?

And yet, Bernie Sanders was so much against the bank-bailout that he refused to sign the GM-bailout. It was politically impossible to pass them in separate bills.

I think Bernie Sanders is the one person who would put the 2008 bankers in prison. Nonetheless, Bernie is wrong about refusing to do bailouts. Similarly, Dodd-Frank, in making both bailouts and speculations illegal, is sort of like reducing speed limits and then removing safety belts. The speed limits will not stop people from speeding. Removing the safety belts just makes sure that more people die from speeding.

However, I do not see how this might be related to Trump's gutting of the EPA. We all know that Trump comes from the Bizarro dimension. His way of confessing sins is to say, "Bless me Father for I have sinned--that Hillary is such a liar!" Similarly, when Trump says, "I am to a very large extent an environmentalist"--we all know what this really means. "Look out Mother Nature, I am about to stomp on your head."

[-] 1 points by grapes (4942) 4 months ago

The barometer to watch is the credibility of the U.S. dollar around the world. When it collapses, hard times will come to the U.S. because we can no longer counterfeit more U.S. dollars and import so many cars, television sets, iPhones, computers, computer cables and connectors, toothbrushes, crude oil, coffee, cacao, cocoanuts, rum, pineapples, tomatoes, bananas, kiwi fruits, avocados, etc. at the cost of just printing some dollar bills. Of course, a strong military is absolutely required to block any unreasonable foreign takeovers of U.S. domestic real assets with these as-good-as-real counterfeit U.S. dollars that foreigners have earned. We must destroy ALL other U.S. dollar counterfeiters without U.S. blessing.

》Dumme, sei mein Freund

 Geh mir nicht voran, ich könnte dir nicht folgen.
 Geh mir nicht hinter, ich könnte dir nicht leiten.
 Geh nur an meiner Seite und sei mein Freund!

Ist das Freundschaft? Ist das wahr? Ja, Freundschaft und Spiel. Das ist doch klar!

[-] 1 points by grapes (4942) 4 months ago

Regarding U.S. U.K. bank deposit confiscation plan(aka voluntary deposit surrendering plan), it's really pretty obvious to anyone who has looked into the ratio between the amount of U.S. bank deposits and the amount that the FDIC has on hand to insure against a run on them. Insurance is grossly inadequate but there's an implicit alleged promise that the U.S. government will step in at the critical juncture with the Federal Reserve, the U.S. Treasury, and outsourced U.S. dollar printers to stem the bank run. It worked the last time, eventually running the tabs up by the tune of $4trillions+. Credit creation and full speed ahead 24/7 of money printing can outrun any bank run as long as the confidence in the currency printed remains intact.

That means Trust in the value of the dollar. Last I checked, it was still intact and unquestioned during the Q4 '07 to Q1 '09 extended punctuated crash(a major home builder company famously [probably inadvertantly] blurted out in its financial guidance conference call that 2008 would be terrible the Entire year for the real estate industry - that's how I dated the start of the crash[Robert Schiller saw the divergence between wages and mortgage debt servicing requirement and predicted a crash much earlier]; then the selling of a major stake of the collapsing Morgan Stanley investment bank as the first domino to fall [investment banks have all since gone Extinct!] to the Chinese in December 2007 and unsucessfully offered by U.S. Treasury Secretary to merge it with JP Morgan Chase with Federal Reserve backstopping to the tune exceeding $10billions confirmed the linkage between housing and investment banking that produced the eventual systemic collapse delayed by the Federal Reserve and U.S. Treasury long enough for the much stricter bankruptcy law passed by Congress to take effect).

Instead of the bailout-fatigued Germans bailing out yet again the weaker members of the EU, Angela Merkel wanted a haircut for the Russian oligarchs' squirreled away money in Cyprus' banks which offered high interest rates so the EU tried bail-in and it worked. As I had said before, confiscation of private properties always worked. It'll work in the U.S. and U.K., too.

It's not that the U.S. does not have private property confiscations already. The DEA, the CBP all have the authority to seize and confiscate any "large" amount of cash and properties deemed to be of suspect origin as ungodly gains(no different from Russian oligarchs' Cyprus' bank deposits that suffered Merkel's haircut). Hence, we already have Non-suspect citizenship for a long time. Some Trump Team members acquired Suspect citizenships due to the ungodly(there's no god but Allah[God in Arabic], correct?) "large" amounts and contacts. Flip was correct that he was lucky to be considered white because it gave him a better Non-suspect citizenship than let's say darker-skinned people.

As long as a sufficient number of people still believe in the financial system, it cannot collapse because the printing press is quite effective. The underpinning of all of these is, of course, the power of the U.S. Military which is still unquestionably number one. As long as the bond-market interest rates do not spike up too fast or to a vastly higher level, we should all be just fine. A U.S. currency collapse is what we must watch out for. The U.S. 330 million people with about 150 million human batteries must generate sufficient power to service the interests on $4.5trillions+ owed to the Federal Reserve(which cost it nearly nothing to produce initially) and another $15.5trillions to investors. That comes to about $60k per U.S. person. A typical family of four owes about $240k. At historical interest rates of 3% over inflation of 2%, This national debt requires $12k a year of interests to service. The debt to GDP ratio has started to slip out of hand exceeding 100% because the U.S. GDP is less than $20T a year. Look up the PIGS R US countries' debt to GDP ratios. PIGS R US countries are Portugal, Ireland, Greece, Spain, Rome(for Italy), and the USA. The PIGS R ran into troubles with debt servicing earlier than the US so they are like car crashes on the roadside warning us helpfully to be careful. Once the interests on this amount owed crowd out the other expenditures required by the U.S. Federal Government, the collapse of the U.S. will begin in earnest.

For most of our rich people, owing a lot of money is the best way to get even richer as long as they can service or roll over the debts(the meltdown in 2008 was due to the not-so-well-off folks having emulated the rich and failed in servicing or rolling over their mortgages["To thine own selves be true and know thy selves."]) because tax writeoffs and systemically produced inflation(the nefarious Legal counterfeiting printing press of checks and money states 2% inflation as the target so it's confiscating 5% of the human batteries' accumulated charge every year with the nearly zero interest rates to the savers[here's why the suckers of China, Japan, Saudi Arabia, U.K., Netherlands, etc. are so important]) will discharge the debts eventually. Having the world's strongest U.S. Military protecting us(learn from our Continental Congress and the never-paid-off Revolutionary War bonds) the deadbeats can render all of our debts null-and-void, as all unsustainable debts eventually become.

[-] 1 points by grapes (4942) 4 months ago

Trump came from how the DNC having played dirty in the election against Bernie Sanders. Russia was just a rather convenient fall guy. It's not that I don't cheer its getting badmouthed. Russia did many bad things in the Baltics so if Germany plays the role of a stranded maiden rather than a Teutonic warrior, I'll welcome the Swedes and the true Nord taking Russia's aggressive intentions seriously.

Trump is God's Will. Maybe God lives in the Bizarro dimension. As I've heard times before, "God works in mysterious ways." Even Satan was created by God as Lucifer(with direct access[no lobbyists involved] to God as in the Book of Job) and for God.

[-] 1 points by grapes (4942) 4 months ago

Clean coal believers are idiots. Now we have certainly covered some protubérances, haven't we? I know that without coal we'll be worse off but it doesn't mean that more coal is good. There are clean alternatives to coal that we should be pushing for at full speed ahead while executing an orderly retreat from using coal.

Coal burning is like cigarette smoking. We Must kick the habit but we want to avoid the withdrawal symptoms by reducing the bad behavior gradually. Clean coal cannot be scaled up and that dooms its future. We have Scott Pruitt in charge at the Environmental Protection Agency. We certainly need tons of toilet paper for the unicorn's copremesis(to wipe up the feces he spews out @1:43 orally). He needs to learn the Germanic obsession(from too much 》Semmel und Brezel《) with the Non-obstruction of life's flow to 》der After《, punctually and with kid gloves.

Setting and adhering to high automobile gas mileage standards in the 1980's could have made the U.S. auto industry much stronger competitively in the long run but we had the Demented-Senility-in-Chief and the Coprolites then, colluding with Wall Street. Apple almost died an untimely death under the Wall Street profit drive at the hands of the former Pepsico(notorious for producing pissy slugs which had slimed onto Apple and United Airlines) CEO. Imagine how bad following the profit motive alone would have been - the company with the world's greatest market capitalization would not exist! U.S. auto-industry profits were good for a while until U.S. customers turned to buying Japanese cars and found them highly reliable and yielded great gas mileages. Corporatocracy nearly killed off the U.S. automobile industry.

High expectations are often required for long-term success because aiming high and failing some(launching pad for the next-round improvements) can still be much better than aiming at average and achieving that.

[-] 1 points by grapes (4942) 4 months ago

I was also for the GM-bailout because GM knew how to build tanks for battles so it had to be bailed out if the U.S. still wanted to have a chance to defend Europe. The Baltic situation is extremely precarious and dire but at least we may yet be able to manufacture enough tanks to give the aggressor pause. The U.S. may not be fast enough to react to a Baltic annexation but we are so obese with potential productive capacities that we can crush them with our sheer weight when we roll over. Using nuclear weapons is probably the quickest way to drive off the aggressor in the Baltics but who knows to where it may lead? I like eating mushrooms but Cs-137 concentrators are no-no's to me.

The GM-bailout saved many workers' jobs so it was a success in more than one way: international security and domestic economic security.

[-] 1 points by grapes (4942) 4 months ago

I was for the bailouts, not because they were moral but because they minimized the damage to the innocents. I took it like having a recalcitrant daughter return home pregnant after she had thrown a temper tantrum and run away with that trashy assault weapon: deliver the son of a gun first!

Goldman-Sachs was greatly negligent when a hedge fund manager brought the news to it that it was digging a big hole for itself. Goldman-Sachs didn't care so the guy went with the flow and asked for the creation of customized swaps that eventually earned him many $billions. Goldman-Sachs stuffed much of that junk to AIG which was truly a never-allowed-to-go-under entity because it insured so much of the world's economy. Imagine most airline flights being canceled for who knows how long!

Some people at Goldman-Sachs should have been locked up for good. 0 ba ma had 0 financial world experience and was cowed to letting AIG executive get gargantuan bonuses even after the U.S. government had majority share ownership and could have easily vetoed the bonuses. Timid people like 0 ba ma and Bernie Sanders, though well-intentioned, didn't have the rich man's spirit like Herr Drumpf did, so they failed. Of course, it's premature to judge the new regime so it may yet fare no better or even much worse. As an American citizen, I certainly want it to succeed but I feel that we are squirming across the bed.

[-] 1 points by grapes (4942) 4 months ago

Dodd-Frank is obviously flawed but our Idiocracy, even in its great leap forward after the AIG (which had boasted of its "innovations" in glossy advertisements before the $4-trillion+ economy-train wreck) insurance debacle, can only manage to land in the pig sty's open-air drainage so we must live with the Retard-I-Can'ts' effluent. Consider it a baptism with Mammon's hogwash.

Abolishing Dodd-Frank in the current political-power distribution is irresponsible because of the Retard-I-Can'ts being in power and these retarded hogs' catering to the banksters.

[-] 2 points by agkaiser (1743) from Fredericksburg, TX 5 months ago

The profits of the FIRE sector are the losses of the rest of the human race. The FIRE sector is technically parasitic. It makes no real product. It adds value to nothing and cost to everything. It extracts wealth from real economic activities of producers and consumers. When the money that represents the wealth appropriated by the banksters, billionaires and the rest of the FIRE that's ravaging the human race and enslaving us with debt becomes too concentrated with the parasites that own everything or hold the paper on it, they loan it back to us at interest that compounds the problem. If the banks run out of money [they've stolen by usury] they create more on their ledgers or the government loans [at near zero interest] or gives it to them out of your tax money. Of course they loan that to us or the [wholly owned and in their pocket] government at more profitable interest that, again, compounds the problem.

Only a moron could believe the pyramid scam that is capitalism can be sustained forever.

[-] 1 points by flip (7101) 1 week ago

yea I have been reading some of your stuff and you are dead on about FIRE. Hudson is all over it also which is why wallstreetman should read him. lots of problems with our economic system but the non productive rentier class has been a problem since long before the stock market came into being.

we had a chance in 2009 to really make changes in the banking system - maybe create a national bank but since the bankers funded the dems it was pretty clear it wasn't going to happen. Obama should have stepped out of the way and let the pitchforks have at the bankers

[-] 1 points by agkaiser (1743) from Fredericksburg, TX 1 week ago

Write on! Our neo feudal economy is centrally planned by the Wall St. lords and ladies. FIRE, Medicine, Energy, Communications and Mass Transportation are all too important to allow private ownership, by those to whom self interest rules rather than the needs of the community that must consume the critical services. The neo parasites threaten our economy and our lives with their stupidity and greed.

[-] 1 points by flip (7101) 1 week ago

jim Morrison said "they have the guns but we have the numbers!" - I am sure most people agree with the broad picture you paint. now what?

[-] 2 points by agkaiser (1743) from Fredericksburg, TX 1 week ago

Most people should see it but I don't think they do yet. That's why I keep on keepin' on trying to raise consciousness. I've always believed a reaction will occur when a critical mass is achieved.

[-] 1 points by flip (7101) 1 week ago

no doubt you are right - then the question becomes what will that reaction be? seems to me that trump used the hatred of bankers and wall street and elites of all sorts to win his election. 2018 and 2020 should be interesting - we will see the propaganda system in full flight.

raising consciousness is key - the beginning of the end of the Vietnam war was the teach ins. now the question is how to do that - sadly this is not the place - it might have been at one time.

[-] 1 points by agkaiser (1743) from Fredericksburg, TX 1 week ago

Predicting the reaction is like trying to predict the path of a tornado or hurricane before the necessary conditions are present in the atmosphere to create the disturbances. How to artificially stimulate a storm is an even bigger problem.

I don't know. I point out as many facets of economic fraud and tyranny as I can see, one by one, as they come forward in my own disordered thought processor.

[-] 1 points by flip (7101) 1 week ago

yea who knows where this is going. what seems clear is this system cannot continue for many reasons. not sure about your disordered processor but you have lots of facets to find so keep at it!

[-] 2 points by ImNotMe (1488) 6 months ago

Wall Street exists only for the benefit of Wall Street! Modern Banks are Institutions that ''Hoover Up'' NOT ''Trickle Down'', anything other than shit!! The World Bank & IMF are organisations set up after WW2 to reconstruct Europe but after inception of Cold war they have become part of the tug of war between Capitalism and Communism and are now part of ... The Global Banksterocracy!!! However, digressing here now,so I'll try to come back to make a more thoughtful reply later.'Til then,consider Automated Algorithmic High Frequency Trading is a massive problem! And I'll append the following:

radix omnium malorum est cupiditas ...

[-] 2 points by DKAtoday (33090) from Coon Rapids, MN 6 months ago

"Do Stock Markets Make Sustainability Impossible?"

In a word = YES

The stock market promotes corruption to get the most out of nothing and shaft the investor that bought into your scam!

The more faces a broker rips off of investors the more millions in bonuses that broker will recieve!

[-] 2 points by beautifulworld (22745) 6 months ago

Richard Wolff, economist, touches on these ideas and the chaos our economic system, focused on profit alone, produces.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qeylp9UPeNk (especially at 40:00 minutes in)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iz4YLH-bQlo (Markets Schmarkets)

Yanis Varoufakis on the unsustainability of the markets:

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-ecb-qe-varoufakis-idUSKBN0MA0H120150314

Max Keiser on the unsustainability of the markets:

http://www.maxkeiser.com/tag/stock-market-crash/

Gar Alperovitz on the need for a new economic system:

http://www.garalperovitz.com/2015/05/need-new-economic-system/

Gar Alperovitz, "Some Requirements of a Steady-State Economy":

http://www.humansandnature.org/economy-gar-alperovltz

From the Alperovitz link above:

"On Corporate Growth and Corporate Power

So long as large private corporations must meet stock market demands for ever-greater (often quarterly) profit increases, they must “grow or die.” This dynamic is diametrically opposed to the need to slow or halt overall growth and resource use in general. And it also runs directly contrary to the need to control carbon emissions in particular. Additionally, corporate political power commonly acts as a powerful obstacle to progress on other vital ecological issues—as we have seen in the United States with the failed climate change legislation and continued efforts to discredit climate change science."

[-] 2 points by Alternatives2WallSt (51) 4 months ago

Thank you all for the invaluable comments and references.

However, I must confess that this is my third internet discussion--and I am becoming slightly disheartened.

Unlike in my previous discussions, you folks largely agree with me. Nonetheless, in a way, those who disagree more seem to have a more clear idea that I am first and foremost condemning the stock market. Not "capitalism" in general. Not "greedy people" in general. I am saying that, first and foremost, before we can hope to reduce greed or injustice or global warming, we must reduce the stock market. I do not say that reducing the stock market is likely to happen. I just say that the need to do so is an obvious fact.

Also--even though my message is utterly simple--it often seems as if, to be understood, I must present a different explanation to each person. And, in attempting to do so, I risk losing the simplicity of my message.

Therefore--I have decided to try a different tack. I will list each "savant" or organization which people have told me either agree with my message or disprove my message. I will briefly explain that they do neither.

Please note that, not having time to study each savant in-depth, my interpretations may be incorrect. If so, I welcome corrections. Overall however, if any of them believe as I do that the stock market is the core problem of the world--I believe they would make this crystal clear. Which they do not.

1.) Albert Bartlett. The core of my thinking seems identical to his. Unfortunately, he died in 2013. I have no chance to ask him if his thinking applies foremost to the stock market? He seems rather to have focused on overpopulation. Quoting from a 2013 article: "Albert Bartlett might have been another obscure physics professor had he not put together a now famous lecture... "The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function." The logic is surprisingly simple and irrefutable. Exponential growth, which is simply consistent growth at some percentage rate each year (or other time period), cannot proceed indefinitely within a finite system, for example, planet Earth... Actual world population growth is about 1.2 percent per year today, which seems benign; but, it implies the next doubling within 58 years to 14 billion."

In comparison, from about 1920 to 2010, inflation has averaged 3.2% annually, US corporate bonds 5-5.8% and the US stock market 7-11.8%. In addition to experiencing the greatest growth, the stock market is the one component which is unable to stop growing without causing global collapse. Furthermore, the stock market also uniquely REQUIRES inflation and population growth. Conversely, if and only if we disconnect the economy from the stock market, then we can survive with extremely low inflation and low or negative population growth. Also, consequently, we remove the pressure on everyone to invest in any growth. Currently--in contrast--anyone who fails to invest is certain to lose more than 1/2 the value of all earned income to inflation.

2.) "The Limits to Growth" of 1972 and follow-up reports by the Club of Rome, especially the 2016 summary currently posted at ClubOfRome.org: "A Finer Future is Possible." The Club of Rome clearly agrees with the "limits to growth" thesis of Bartlett. However, The Club of Rome fails to focus on stock markets as the most obvious engine of unstainable growth--also fails to suggest bonds as an obvious alernative to stocks--meanwhile suggesting a vague and utopian idea of "alternative investment methods." To top this off, they improperly blame "humanity." Even though "humanity" has absolutely no choice except to grow-or-collapse so long as the economy is tied to stock markets. This is certainly not the same as my own focus against stock markets.

3.) Gold enthusiasts--and "The Four Horsemen" documentary--and the Peak Prosperity organization--and presumably many other groups with somewhat survivalist and right-leaning tendencies. I am somewhat improperly combining many disparate groups into the category of those who often recognize the need to stop growth-dependence--but who somehow decide that the way to do so is to return to the "gold standard" or to "non-fiat currency" or to reduce the level of debt. After lively discussions with a gold enthusiast at SeekingAlpha.com and with several members of the Peak Prosperity forum, neither I nor they seem able to understand each other. Clearly however, they somehow reject my notion that the stock market is a center of growth-dependence.

4.) "Mother Caring for 7 Billion" documentary and "Hooked On Growth" documentary. These are both very educational documentaries about the need to overcome growth-dependence. However, they both somewhat fail to make clear suggestions about doing so or to focus against the stock market. I emailed them both. I received a reply from Dave Gardner of GrowthBusters and "Hooked on Growth." He said that he liked my thinking, had never heard such ideas, and would discuss them with his associates. He has not replied further. Hopefully he is still thinking it over...

(Continued below.)

[-] 2 points by grapes (4942) 4 months ago

The bond markets Vastly outstrip the stock markets in the total financial size. I observed that the bond markets' threatened collapses had precipitated the most Drastic regime-sourced interventions. The Q1 2007 stretched to Q1 2009 extended collapse was the most recent example. The 0 ba ma regime even took stock ownership of some collapsing corporations. In other stock market collapses, usually having the Federal Reserve cut interest rates aggressively sufficed to halt them.

I think the main reason that the bond markets are so much more important than the stock markets to the rich and powerful people is that they can issue nearly UNLIMITED amount of bonds on the one hand and creating inflation on the other hand to make the debts easily dischargeable. They Never ever want to lose that opportunity market for picking the pockets of every saver and working-stiff.

Stock market is definitely a problem but the bond market is a vastly bigger one. Stocks can be inflated worthless, too, by the corporations offering more shares of stocks. However, the stockholders tend to defend against the dilution of their ownership stakes far more vigorously than the bondholders.

The crux of the matter is how we can preserve over time the homomorphism between the real world and our financial representation of its ownership as the real world changes. However much I despise the violent class struggles which had grown out of the purported realizations of the ideology of Karl Marx, I think that he got it exactly correct that it was the Alienation of Labor that Capitalism depended upon that would precipitate Capitalism's fatal demise. Of course, FDR used Socialism to ameliorate and Stalin used Statism/Authoritarianism to hijack Labor's discontents so the Communist Society idealized by Karl Marx had Never existed nor ever would exist anywhere on Earth. Karl Marx didn't know human nature well.

The Mondragon Movement seemed to have found a better way to share ownership with Labor. Perhaps you can look into it.

[-] 1 points by Alternatives2WallSt (51) 4 months ago

"Grapes" makes an important point that bond markets are larger than stock markets--and that a bond crash is worse than a stock crash. This was also brought up in my Peak Prosperity discussion (peakprosperity.com/comment/204716#comment-204716). Perhaps I should discuss this in the main body of my article.

Bonds are analogous to fire escapes. No matter how bad a fire is, there is still hope of getting out alive--so long as the fire escapes are not on fire. This is not because fire escapes are dangerous. On the contrary. This is because fire escapes are safe havens.

Similarly, bonds, CD's and savings accounts are safe havens. This is why there is much more held money in them than in stocks. This is also why the situation is much worse when the bond market crashes. However, just as a fire escape never catches fire unless the house is totally ablaze--bond markets do not collapse unless the stock market has triggered a series of blue-chip bankruptcies.

In 1929, when the stock market crashed, the situation did not seem completely hopeless. It was in 1931, when the bond markets crashed, that things got really bad. Then in 1933, savings accounts crashed. Is this because bonds and savings accounts are more risky than stocks? Did bonds and savings accounts cause the disaster? I hope everyone can see that the situation is quite the opposite.

Quoting from my article:

"""Of course, stock and bond markets both have ups-and-downs. However, when blue-chip stocks fall, we sell. When individually-held investment-grade bonds fall, we hold to maturity. Thus--in addition to stocks requiring infinite and impossible growth--stocks inevitably magnify instability while bonds generally regenerate stability...

"""However, we saw numerous bankruptcies and near-bankruptcies of US blue-chip corporations, insurers and regional governments in 2008: California, General Motors, Goldman Sachs, AIG, Lehman Brothers, etc., etc. This has proven that corporate and municipal bonds are now like wooden fire escapes: only safe just so long as there is no great need to be safe...

"""Investment-grade corporate bonds should be safe. If not for our over-emphasis on stock markets, most bonds would be safe. Currently however--so long as the stock market has the power to trigger a cascade of blue-chip bankruptcies--then allocating anything for corporate or municipal bonds primarily means that you can allocate less for maximum-safety gold or US Treasury TIPS."""

Of course, there are basically three types of bonds. US Treasuries (aka US Treasury products, aka Federal government bonds), investment-grade corporate and municipal bonds, junk bonds. Junk bonds are somewhat like stocks: high risk with high reward, no guarantees. If properly diversified, investment-grade corporate and municipal bonds are safe so long as there is no major stock market crash. US Treasuries are safer still. Just so long as we do not experience a global apocalypse--the only weakness of US Treasuries is that you lose -20% of actual value if the US dollar drops -20%. This problem is partly, although not entirely, mitigated with US Treasury TIPS (Treasury Inflation Protected Securities).

Please note that any money in annuities or so-called FDIC-insured CD's or savings accounts are no safer than non-diversified corporate bonds. They are unsecured loans. In a 2008-level financial crash, if the federal government is unwilling or unable to bail out the banks, then the FDIC will run out of money. The "fine print" states that the FDIC will then compensate depositors with then-worthless stock market shares of their bankrupt banks (seekingalpha.com/article/1306931-it-can-happen-here-the-confiscation-scheme-planned-for-u-s-and-u-k-depositors 2013).

TIPS are totally different. TIPS are "backed by the full faith and credit of the US government." Of course, the US goverment may declare bankruptcy. Or (more likely) it may "reschedule its debts" (delay payment). However, the federal government is legally required to pay for TIPS. Nobody is legally required to bail out the FDIC.

In my opinion, nobody should hold significant amounts in CD's, savings accounts or checking accounts. Instead, set up a brokerage account at Vanguard, TD Ameritrade or other reputable online broker. Set up free electronic transfers from any local bank or credit union. After transferring the money to the broker, invest it in a "short term US Treasury TIPS ETF." Most online brokers offer one free trade per month in one TIPS ETF. Please note that a TIPS ETF is a mutual fund--therefore you cannot "hold to maturity"--therefore vulnerable to a collapse of popularity. However, also note that when S&P lowered the credit rating of the USA in 2011, US Treasuries became MORE popular. Not because people had more faith in them. But because US stocks and corporate bonds were more severely affected. Similarly, the numbers of people who sell short-term TIPS is always likely to be miniscule compared the numbers of people buying short-term TIPS because they are the "least risky" alternative to anything. Gold bullion is even safer in some ways--but in some ways not. Suffice to say that shares of short-term TIPS ETFs are extremely easy to buy and sell and are far safer than any savings account, annuity or CD.

If you invest in short-term TIPS ETFs, you must be prepared sometimes to lose -2% and on rare occasion -4% annually. On average however, TIPS ETFs usually average about +2% annually. Also, the worse the stock market is doing, the better TIPS are doing. Therefore, the far greater security is well worth the occasional slight loss.

Also note that, if the US government runs out of money, firstly it can refuse to bail out the FDIC. Secondly it can allow inflation to demolish the value of non-TIPS US Treasuries. All of these wiggle-out possibilities makes it all the more likely that it will be able to pay off TIPS. This in turn makes it likely that TIPS in general--and short-term TIPS in particular--might never significantly lose their high relative trading popularity.

The Mondragon Movement sounds interesting. I will look into it.

[-] 1 points by grapes (4942) 4 months ago

I think that Dodd-Frank favored the National Banks over the other banks also trapped by Dodd-Frank. The Big Ones dragged out the regulations' implementation for many years and used them for hampering their competitors such as the regional and community banks through their size advantage. The Big Ones must be brought to heel. Not so much for the smaller ones which did not cause the crash.

In fact, Dodd-Frank's dragged out implementation and its imposition on the innocent banks slowed the economic recovery greatly. We'd have been much better off by breaking up the Big Ones.

However much we "think" that Dodd-Frank is protecting us, the rigged nature of our economic system has not been fixed so it's guaranteed that there will be more collapses, bigger, worse, and more terrible! Not supporting FDIC in a collapse will be a most important option on the table. Dishonoring implied obligation always worked.

[-] 1 points by grapes (4942) 4 months ago

Bond market's fire escape has 2% of it melted down every year as a stated target of the Federal Reserve. After a while, the fire escape collapses killing the ones still on it. It's why our elderly people eat petfood in their retirements even after working hard for their entire lives. Monetary growth rates year after year outrun wage growth rates. The Federal Reserve pledges that it will help the National Banks confiscate 2% of all your financial wealth year after year. This doesn't just mean your next paycheck if you don't spend it all. This means EVERY single paycheck that you have EVER earned that has not been spent completely had 2% transferred to the National Banks as a matter of the policy that they say is in your BEST interest!

Bonds are the means by which the rich and powerful borrow money and credit to gain control of real assets and then whittle away the debt repayments through the institutionalized Theft called inflation, also known as the "lubricant" for the economy.

I don't known about you but my body tenses up when Scott Pruitt, the tissue-paper unicorn, whips out a big tube of K-Y Jelly and says, "I'm in charge of the Environmental Protection Agency. Bend over -- relax... As your duly-appointed agent, I'll clean up your internal environment better than you've ever had."

We're just human batteries in "The Matrix".

[-] 1 points by Alternatives2WallSt (51) 2 weeks ago

It boggles my mind how you can condemn bonds but not stocks. At worst, bonds vs. stocks are like natural gas vs. oil and coal--a "bridge fuel" that is not perfect, but not half as bad and will keep things running until something better. Also, you do not seem to consider that the effects of bonds might be very different if the stock markets were not relentlessly demanding inflation and population growth. Not to mention the inevitable stock market crashes--without which it would be unlikely to have bond market crashes. Meanwhile, you are correct about inflation being evil--but it is certainly stocks, not bonds, that largely cause and require inflation--even just for stock markets to be viable.

[-] 1 points by grapes (4942) 2 weeks ago

I can certainly condemn the stock market, too. However, I don't know of any good replacement so I keep my mouth shut.

Stock market is a good decentralized mechanism to harness greed to manage resource allocation for the economy. It is fairly democratic in participation. Just about any fool with money to lose is welcomed. The difference between fools and the others is whether they have brought pertinent market moving production/sales/profits information to bear in the market. Most people do not know enough to do this so of course they are very much welcomed by the others. They may even have never figured out that it is a game of musical chairs in all their years of trading stocks. In a card game, it's pretty unfair when your opponents have the privilege to see your cards and you don't even know what the game is all about.

Stock market can mint wealth out of thin air and make wealth disappear into thin air. I experienced this first-hand in 1987's "Flash Crash." A quarter of my stock market wealth was vaporized in a single day! It was financially much worse than the day when I was rear-ended in a car crash totaling my car. I asked myself, "Shouldn't that mean about a quarter of the U.S. economy had just been nuked to oblivion because the stock market should reflect the economy it allocates resources for?" I said, "No! Many states are still around." The fed had been raising rates steadily to reach 9% and that probably broke the camel's back.

Yes, to a physics-literati, the stock market is somewhat like the wavefunction. It tells you something about how the economy is doing but you are definitely NOT talking about the economy when you are talking about the stock market. Therein lies the perpetual problem. It's the source of much of our crashes, despair, suicides, grief, etc.

I'm all ears if you have a better mechanism than the stock market to allocate resources for the economy. Note: I want none of that centralized bureaucrats doing the allocations because they had proven themselves even more clueless than someone on the frontlines of production, sales, accounting, boardroom, etc. I would rather listen to a Joe-the-Plumber type person who sees with his own eyes even if he may lose his life savings participating in allocating resources for the economy. Centralized planned national economies have been discredited very much worldwide in the last century. There are still some lingering diehards on their last breaths but only a few are left.

[-] 2 points by Alternatives2WallSt (51) 2 weeks ago

Grapes----thank you for summarizing where I think most people are about the stock market... They admit it is monstrous but are afraid to do without it.... My reply is...

  1. Corporate bonds are more effective "resource allocators" than you seem to realize. The 1980's-1990's "junk bond" era of Michael Milkin has been attributed with being at least as responsible as stocks for the astronomical stock market boom of the 1990's. Junk bonds can deliver astronomical financing for corporations, as well as astronomical profits for investors.

  2. Bernie Sanders disproved the assumption that "big money is needed to result in big funding for a political campaign." Similarly, much bigger financing might be realized by giving perks to customers vs. dividends and higher stock prices to investors. Customers are where all money originates from! I.e., this is not the place for details--but there are "alternative pathways." I am trying to start a "facebook alternative" using such methods. But I have learned it is pointless talking about things that are totally new. No matter how simple, nobody seems interested in supporting something that is very new. I simply have to do it. Only after people see it, then can they see it is quite simple.

  3. I have also come to realize that I should focus my arguments toward people who already are promoting the idea of "zero growth" or "post growth" economies. Otherwise, there is just endless argument which has little to do with the core issue of "sustainability." Therefore, I have written a new introduction to my article. I will summarize this here later. Then after that, will start a new discussion with a "clean slate."

  4. Thomas Paine was not qualified to draft the US Constitution. Nonetheless, his essay, "Common Sense," was the first to clearly voice the idea of America separating from England and becoming a democracy. Similarly, I am not an economist. Nonetheless--just as Thomas Paine was the first to suggest living without a king--I seem to be the first to suggest living without the stock market. Not so long ago, most people understood a king involved great injustice--but they could not imagine living without a king. Today, the responses seem to be similar to the idea of living without stock markets--or with much smaller stock markets.

We should not allow casino games to control the economy. Similarly, it is pointless to subject the national and global economy to be directly controlled by the roller-coaster rides of stock markets. Not to mention that this "grow or die" requirement prevents clear action for the environment and must someday end in disaster.

I am not praising junk bonds. But junk bonds are much like stocks. So, I am just saying that, "Bonds can do almost anything that stocks can do--both good and bad." Bonds can be rated from 0 to 10--and unlike stocks, these ratings can mean a lot. Such as the level of insurance and regulation. For example, regulating the level of junk bonds can prevent them having an oversize effect on the overall economy.

In contrast, every 5-star stock can go down today in a flash-crash. And the entire national and global economy with it.

And you imply that stocks are "democratic"--but bonds are much more so. Billionaires have hedge funds that legally receive advance notice of stock movements. And discount prices for stocks. You can not do this with bonds. Meanwhile, you can subscribe to newsletters which analyze high-yield bonds for high risk + high reward on a relatively level playing field.

Meanwhile, here is an excerpt from the new introduction to my article... http://stocknectar.org/sustainability

This article does not predict a financial crash or give financial advice—but primarily makes one suggestion—that people denouncing growth-dependency should also denounce stock markets. Based on initial responses, many people may wrongly assume that this article is one of many statements that always seem to exist, such as preaching that individuals should not invest in stocks, or predicting an imminent stock market crash. Moreover, it seems difficult for most people to understand any idea that is not already popular. Therefore, this introduction was added, in order to focus its appeal towards people who are already concerned about the interconnected subject of growth-dependency.

There exists a small but well-known minority of people who rightly believe a rather obvious fact: that infinite financial growth or population growth or any growth is mathematically unsustainable. These people probably agree with the famous lecture by professor Albert Bartlett. This begins, “The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Allen_Bartlett ---- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sI1C9DyIi_8

Prof. Bartlett thus focused against global population growth which averages about 1.2%. Unfortunately, Prof. Bartlett passed away a few years ago. We are unable to ask if Bartlett similarly condemns the US stock market with an average annual growth of 7% to 10%. In addition, so long as the economy is tied to stock markets, it is impossible to stop population growth without collapsing the economy.

[-] 0 points by flip (7101) 2 weeks ago

not sure about inflation being evil. inflation hurts creditors and helps debtors since usually the loan is paid in cheaper dollars. my small business was never better than the inflation filled 1970's - i could charge more for my services and my mortgage got cheaper and cheaper. unless we are talking about unusual times inflation redistributes wealth. that is why it is hated by the rich!

[-] 3 points by Alternatives2WallSt (51) 2 weeks ago

Flip, thank you for the thoughtful pros and cons on inflation, which deserve thought. Everyone who wants to be "politically aware" or "socially aware" should know the ABC's in Investopedia and Wikipedia. Also browse the google results for: inflation is invisible taxation. (Here you will find affirmations from both left-wing and right-wing groups.) ---- http://www.investopedia.com/terms/i/inflation.asp ---- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inflation ---- https://www.google.com/search?num=50&newwindow=1&q=inflation+is+invisible+taxation&oq=inflation+is+invisible+taxation

Everyone gripes about inflation. Just as everyone gripes about the rain. But basically, everyone, especially farmers, understands that a certain amount of rain is critical for the economy. Similarly--but less well understood by most people (but well understood by all economists, stock brokers and politicians)--a certain amount of inflation is critical for the stock market.

Basically, if have enough money to invest, or own a successful business (large or small)--then inflation might be annoying at worst, but sometimes helps you and does not much harm you. For a plumber or shopowner, prices go up every decade, and you charge your customers more. They pay for it, not you.

But for working people or elderly people who were not able to amass an investment plan--basically, at least 1/2 of every dollar they earn is taken away by inflation. And this is partly because most people are not aware of it or do not think they have a right to complain. If a politician raises taxes, he takes a hit. But if inflation goes up, there is no significant political price to pay. Even though huge amounts of money are actually being taken away from the poorest people--in order to help business run more smoothly--and in order to enable the government to pay back its debts more easily. "Inflation is invisible taxation."

[-] 1 points by flip (7101) 2 weeks ago

I mostly disagree here - take a look at the 1970's - the period of great inflation. read "secrets of the temple" about that time. then look at who adores paul Volker for crushing the working man and saving investors.

I lived and worked through that time and wages went up - home prices went up and mortgage payments went down. yes those on fixed income were hurt that is why the cola was introduced. it is never a one sided story but I think the basic out lines are obvious. if you own a home and have a steady job you like inflation - if you own gold you like inflation. if you are a bank or own most normal investments (stocks) you hate inflation.

Volker and greenspan know the story very well and that is why they are adored by the ruling class. take a look at the 70"s and the Reagan revolution - profits up wages down for the last 35 years. volkers raised rates to 20% - crushed inflation and the working class along with it and ushered in the great bull market in profits and stocks. you know paul's famous line I am sure - "the standard of living of the average American must go down!"

[-] 1 points by Alternatives2WallSt (51) 2 weeks ago

Usually, the stock market goes up with inflation. The 70's are famous for "stagflation"--an unusual period when there was economic stagnation combined with inflation. This was a major reason that Jimmy Carter lost to Ronald Reagan.

We cannot fully credit presidents for the stock market. If a Democrat had been in president during 2007, then a Republican would have won the 2008 presidential election. We would never have achieved a somewhat-universal health care system.

Usually, when the stock market crashes very badly, there is low or negative inflation or deflation. This happened in the USA in 2008 and in the Great Depression of 1929. It was a high priority of the "New Deal" to stop the huge deflation so that the economy could run more normally.

In contrast, Germany experienced an "inflationary recession" in the Great Depression. People famously had to use bags of money to collect their paycheck or buy a loaf of bread. This was the kind of situation that gave rise to Adolf Hitler.

In other words, this so-called "modern world" lives in eternal fear of "the economy" which depends on a non-dependable and non-sustainable balance on a razor's edge, combined with an infinite need for every corporate component within the ponzi-like stock market to "grow-or-die." This is mathematically destined periodically to go somewhat badly and someday must go very badly. Just like the boom-and-bust cycle that leads to an inevitable die-out of rabbits in the arctic. This is unnecessary and not much different from the existence of cave people living in fear of saber tooth tigers. Except that our so-called modern situation is entirely man-made. We should know better. But an habitual centuries-old idolization of greed makes us ignore the obvious.

When the stock market does badly, there is less money going around for everyone. People will take any job they can get, not demand pay raises, and wages do not go up. We therefore get "hard times" but the consolation of the cost of living not going up--perhaps going down. And do not think that "prices and wages going down" happens without immense suffering and death. In the Great Depression, in addition to the soup kitchen lines, there were people lined up to replace the next man who fell off the girders at construction sites.

And then someday, the whole thing inevitably stops working.

This is not something that liberals argue about with conservatives. This is all Economics 101. This is what any stock broker or economics professor will tell you--whether liberal or conservative. This is what you will hear on any TV show discussing the stock market or the economy.

And yet, the average person does not understand this. When I simply "tell it like it is" from a more objective perspective, the average person somehow thinks I am exaggerating or inventing something. I.e. the stock broker "gets it" but for obvious reasons does not care. The average person "does not get it" because the stock broker behaves as if everything is all right. Even though it is all ludicrous.

These discussions will never convince anyone. Most people simply "like" the stock market or they don't. In other forums, I have responded to references which actually prove my point--not theirs. Then they just stop replying.

This is why I have decided to focus on people who already are protesting against "growth dependency." Those people heroically spend all their time on what are basically endless explanations of Economics 101. They denounce the insane "growth dependency." But then somehow, they fail to denounce stock markets. So I need to focus my time arguing with them. At least we have some common foundation with which to argue. Not endless repetitions of Economics 101. Which ultimately only end in people walking away. Because their arguments are only rationalizations. Behind it all, they simply do not want change.

[-] 1 points by grapes (4942) 2 weeks ago

During the years giving rise to Adolf Hitler, the U.S. was on the gold standard so inflation could not take hold. Deflation reigned in the U.S.

At that time, Germany was NOT on the gold standard and it was printing Deutsch Marks galore to pay its onerous debts owed under the Treaty of Versailles(this was where U.S. Isolationism led to the terrible consequences for the entire world(such as Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan, and Red China) and even to the major problems of today - the U.S. should have heeded back then as a powerful victorious nation, the clarion call for its rendezvous with destiny, to impose a just peace). Hyperinflation took off. The U.S. went off of the gold standard in the early 1970's so when the Fed embarked on credit expansion with the economy wearing the oil-shock straitjacket, there was little economic expansion but most of the credit went into something REAL that flip got(it also happened during the Bushit years culminating in the Great Recession of 2007-2011[in 2009-2011 the Fed was twiddling its thumbs cluelessly until it finally realized that the U.S. was actually a Royal 'Clown' Colony{Not a Loyal Crown Colony - ㄹ gets you every time, doesn't it?} and decided to enlist the British monarchy's help: QE, QE II, Operation Tryst, etc.]). Having no gold to trust but lots of credit needing to find a safe home jacked up prices of everything REAL such as groceries, gasoline, apartment rents, house prices, services, etc. Only fools held the burning cash(the rich people knew this best - "Never ever fight the Fed which owns the Infinite-credit-creating/currency-counterfeiting Machine") so the wanton spending for non-GNP-increasing pleasurable activities was great for all kinds of services("Do you want to grabble me?" the milk goddess Bianca asked me in my youth). Stagflation was the result. I didn't realize the stresses put on my working family until I became a head of household myself later but I had mostly terrible memories of that time(our home was ransacked so we became domestically displaced security-refugees). I missed the Sunday morning family breakfasts with milk and orange juice, which had special meanings to me(after my sunstroke on an island and having been rescued afterwards from a disabled boat).

My take is that being on the gold standard curbed inflation so hyperinflation in the U.S. was preempted. Most governments in dire financial straits resorted to confiscation or enforced dumping "sales" of private properties. FDR confiscated U.S. citizens' gold coins.

[-] 1 points by Alternatives2WallSt (51) 1 week ago

Pre-war Germany was forced off of the gold standard in extreme desperation. The gold standard or any "non-fiat currency" can only go so far in holding back the pressure of a stock market that goes from zero to infinity. I.e., there would not be enough gold today to represent all of the imaginary money which billionaires and trillioinaires believe that they own.

I.e. we had to get off of the gold standard in order to maintain the stock market system. Nonetheless, there is a huge cult that thinks all the answer is in the gold standard--and never questions the stock market which makes it impossible. This is exactly equal to the people who understand we must have population control--but never question the stock market which makes it impossible.

What I find most humorous about "gold bugs" is--at every "gold bug" website, you will read complaints about selling Fort Knox gold to China. And at the same websites, you will read complaints about NOT drilling away enough "black gold" and selling that to China.

Similarly, Koch Industries and many others use the catchphrase "energy independence" to justify burning up our non-replaceble savings account of oil. That is just like saying, I am becoming "financially independent" if I quit my job and use up my life savings. Duh.

Oil is black gold. Whatever oil is worth today--and however excellent our extraction methods might be today--it will be so much better every decade. The value of oil and the technology of extracting oil are decades away from leveling off. And the future will be controlled significantly by which nations have oil remaining in the future--NOT which nations burn away and sell away the most oil today. Ask any boxing fan about the "rope-a-dope" strategy. This should be America's oil strategy.

And the people who SHOULD understand this the best are the "gold bugs." The people who say gold must be more valuable in the future. We must hold and preserve all we can. We must not sell it away. And they are correct about gold. But then they turn around and say the exact opposite about oil. Simply because that is the populist line among their buddies who are mostly so-called "conservatives."

It makes some sense to burn up natural gas. There is not much else to do with it. But oil = plastic = military grade fuels = high tech chemicals. The last thing we should be doing with oil is burning it up.

[-] 1 points by grapes (4942) 1 week ago

Burning oil as a fuel is absolutely idiotic, I agree, but we do live mostly with idiots so....

Natural gas can be made into plastics and diesel but conversion imposes loss so these processes may lose out to using it directly as a fuel, in a converted long-haul truck, for example. There is a looming blindspot that we must not forget. Chemical fertilizers' production requires the hydrogen produced from natural gas. We already possess(contrary to what Bushit might 'think') and are living on a natural gas/hydrogen/nitrogen/ammonia/nitric acid/nitrate fertilizers/proteins economy. If all natural gas is depleted, we can expect about a third of the world's population who get their proteins from natural-gas-produced fixed nitrogen be starved. That is about 2,400,000,000 people to be starved of proteins. Awful!

Burning natural gas is a bit better than idiotic so let us call it moronic. Ultimately, proteins will be more important to people than plastics because very "green" countries such as Germany use less plastics per capita than the U.S. and they seem to be getting along just fine(I also remember a time when I didn't have plastics in my life so yes, I am old but life went on fine with zero plastics) but deficiency of proteins is a terrible form of malnutrition.

Koch Industries had certainly been promoting idiocy and they produced the Stubborn Majority of Idiots. I am glad that I am older so I may be able to escape naturally by dying.

[-] 1 points by Alternatives2WallSt (51) 1 week ago

Thank you for the points on natural gas, Grapes. I think we can agree that the idiocy of burning up natural gas resources ASAP in the name of "energy independence" is "a bit less idiotic and a bit less obvious" than for burning up oil. All I was implying was, with ample supplies of natural gas, it is even more obvious how idiotic and unnecessary it is to burn away our oil.

Also note that, when we sell yellow gold to China, we have a chance of improving our economy and someday buying it back. But when we sell black gold--or just as bad, burn it up ourselves--it is gone forever. And yet, our most vocal subculture on this issue seems to be gold bugs who are furious about selling yellow gold and equally furious about NOT burning away enough black gold. Go figure.

[-] 1 points by grapes (4942) 1 week ago

Gold bugs tend to be more 'id'-driven than others. I am for holding gold, too, just because people trust in the value of gold. It helps to stabilize the credibility of a bond or a currency. Ultimately, it is the credibility that really counts, exactly as Jesus had said regarding storing your treasure in Heaven, where no moths eat it away. "Dad, I know Your Name despite the mass confusion of dialects/languages/Lucifer!"

The greatest (or worst) thing that Mao Zedong had done for Red China was by dying. It paved the way for the spectacular Rise of (Red) China that people around the world are so impressed by. Cute Arabella 知道如何講國語。(I wonder how Donald Trump could have remained so monolingual, nullolingual, naught-ylingual, or cun-nilingual despite his very multilingual clan; it might very well be slow verbal intelligence, just like my Dad who wanted[or ordered? through Mom] everyone to speak to him in his own [idiosyncratic] way["having an army and a navy" can distinguish a language from a dialect alright]; Oddish is likely far more multilingual than Bulbasaur in flaming)

Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren got it correct that we had and still have a rigged system so they do what they can. However, I doubt very much that they have ever crawled into the stock market cesspool and wrestled with the Beast in realtime. The Beast sells preferences, direct access, expedited quotes, peeks at others' cards, propaganda often known as "research," fears, dopey highs, and greed.

A tiny portion of stocks traded higher can create vast amount of on-paper wealth or wipe out trillions of dollars if traded lower. That is the gist of the evilness of the stock market, Not the underlying corporations per se. My "private" corporations had very few shares outstanding being traded so they were Not subject to psychops(by the traditional Űbersemites). I frankly could never figure out why people even cared about how wealthy Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, or Warren Buffet was. The wealth is fluctuating all of the time. I think the simple phrase, "well off, not under water" is good enough for all practical(umm, are taxes impractical?) purposes. Most of them don't even know what to do with their wealth!

I have an idea for this who-knows-what-to-do-with-it-all wealth though: pay our yuuge orange carrot enough money(wasn't that really why she had started a vegetable garden in the Pounding-Laundry to "drain the swamp"?) for her to sport a golden haircut just like Oddish's to show solidarity with Oddish's cool-headedness that provides nuclear reactor cooling towers' cooling efficiencies. I saw black fins on some of the fastest CPU chips. Liquid nitrogen hairsprays may help break speed records. We need more cooling towers to avert global jitterings and the first-ever Bilateral(or Multilateral should Red China or Russland feel jilted by being left out of all of this fun, fun, fun) nuclear war.

Donald Trump was very visibly worked up showing the very pink blush on his face. The truth is that we had THOUSANDS of nuclear warheads pointed at us during the Cold War and we and the Soviets even came close to engage a few times due to the lack of reliable information. The world was saved again and again by the sane ones who asked the question, "What would happen if we engage?" We'll all be dead. If we don't engage, we could be wrong and executed but maybe Not everyone like our families and friends would be dead. Hopefully their example would inspire the North Koreans to take to their hearts, "War is not a game" as their state press has enunciated. Trump probably was not even aware at the time that we were under so much threat during the Cold War(he was too busy counting money). Even now, Russland can blow the whole world up anytime with its autotrigger called the dead man's switch(no human is required in the command control loop - Allah is in charge! Nice!). The only difference(aside from the orders of magnitude difference in total destruction) this time with DPRK is the existence of a state of war but resolving it requires exploring each side's concerns and needs.

All roads to glory in Pyongyang wind through Red China. Arming the Uyghurs will help. India will help, too, to "get some," for another nuclear power to join the fun, fun, fun. Hmm, cutting off the greatest trade route in the northern Pacific will surely send the whole world into a tailspin. Although moguls will cry, Mongoloids and honorary Mongoloids can try, for sure. Mongolism is required for creating the Amero-eurasian Empire. 北高漂亮需要解放。조심해. Das russische Flugzeug war über alles. Correlations break the Pounding-Laundry code - a pentagon is a plane figure with five straight sides and five angles. 5.5

[-] 1 points by flip (7101) 2 weeks ago

i don't have time to reread all of what you wrote but i don't get the point. hyper inflation in germany was a problem but is not relevant to what we are discussing seems to me. inflation hurts creditors - the banks and the wealthy - those who invested in 30 year treasuries. it helps homeowners with 30 year mortgages and workers who can demand higher wages. now you can say we are in a "new normal" but i think this is also besides the point for our our discussion.

the stock market is a whole new kettle of fish - not sure why you brought that into the debate on inflation. seems you are arguing that the stock market is a good thing - you got a steep hill to climb for that to work. put up a chart of the stock market going back to 1900 or so. look at the long bull market starting in 1982 - coinciding with the "reagan revolution" that broke unions and drove wages down and profits up. also coinciding with volker and the fed induced recession and his famous qoute. turned out he knew what he was talking about that bastard. now compare that to the stock market during the "golden age of capitalism" in the usa - 1945-1970 - puts the lie to your argument as i see it.

[-] 1 points by grapes (4942) 2 weeks ago

Thank you, flip, for admitting that inflation redistributes wealth[arbitrarily, I contend] from the creditors to the debtors. The creditors are often the Joe-the-Plumber working-stiff types and the debtors are often the ones they put their trust in - the Trumpian (Donald J. Trump may not prey on the domestic creditors percentage-wise as much as the others here in the U.S. because of much funding being foreign) types.

The banks like to loan money to the rich people, NOT the poorer people. In the Great Recession, many poorer people have realized that fact, just trying to refinance their mortgages at lower interest rates in order to prevent foreclosures. Vampire banks are very seductive creatures of the night giving out handjobs. The people with credit are the rich ones.

I have discussed debt servicing here before.

[-] 1 points by Alternatives2WallSt (51) 2 weeks ago

It is strange to hear people at "Occupy Wall Street" praising inflation and praising debt. All the leaders and economists who support this movement have lectures about how the system is designed to enslave people in more and more debt to support the system. Perhaps I am mistaken. But in my reading, nobody noteworthy says that inflation is a good fairy going to bail us out.

Quoting from "Grapes" above:

""Bonds are the means by which the rich and powerful borrow money and credit to gain control of real assets and then whittle away the debt repayments through the institutionalized Theft called inflation, also known as the "lubricant" for the economy.""

I am not trying to argue this point. Thank you, everyone, for bringing up what is evidently sincere for you. I will keep my eyes open to see if more people are saying debt or inflation is good. If so, perhaps I need to do more research. But otherwise, it sounds to me similar to the theory supported by Jesse Ventura--as well as by many people in famine-ridden Africa--that "population control is a plot by billionaires to reduce the number of poor people." Which ignores the obvious fact that billionaires cannot exist without feeding off of billions of poor people.

Otherwise, to my knowledge, here is the usual perspective.

Any member of the 99% who is in debt is not a happy camper.

With the typical home mortgage, you end up paying two or three times what you thought was the price of the home. Do you own the home or are you a serf owned by the bank?

Currently with "student loans," there is a hellish situation of either being uneducated or hugely in debt.

Inflation is not a cure for 99% of individuals in debt. Inflation will primarily make your living expenses higher and crush your ability to save money or to pay debts from what is left.

For nations, billionaires and Wall Street corporations, of course it is a very different matter. They require debt and inflation.

[-] 1 points by flip (7101) 2 weeks ago

i think you should read hudson and kelton in italy. forgetting inflation which i addressed with you already what is wrong with debt?? depends what the debt is used for no? if we use it to build the renewable energy of the future it would be a good use of debt. if we build mass transit and the society we will need when the oil become s scarce that would be smart no? have you read grabner?

if we go into debt to bomb iraq and fund the banks when they wreck the economy - well then that might not be so good right?

[-] 2 points by Alternatives2WallSt (51) 2 weeks ago

Much of this "debt" discussion might (or might not) be due to simple misunderstandings.

I must admit that in suggesting corporate bonds should replace stocks--technically, I am suggesting that debt should replace so-called equity as popular investment methods.

Also, I do not quite understand why the Club of Rome--an early and leading promoter of "sustainability"--seems to denounce debt instruments (bonds) while never clearly denouncing equity instruments (stocks).

The USA clearly has a tendency for outrageous, unsustainable levels of debt. Fed largely by writing blank checks for wars--while scrimping on education, health care and other critical infrastructure.

We are also forcing homeowners and students into endless debt.

But--when it comes to the individual wanting to invest safely--bonds are clearly more sensible than stocks. Also, it is certainly possible to think of stock market investments as a highly aggressive form of debt.

So, a lot of apparent disagreement might simply be a lack of clarity about what type of debt we are talking about--whether by governments, banks, billionaires or average individuals. Whether the 99% of individuals are loaning out money or paying endless interest on money. And whether forced or unforced.

So, I respect Flip and others for their sincere efforts to understand things. And for inspiring me to see more possible complications of understanding.

It is difficult if not impossible to sort this out in an online forum.

I suggest that we all keep open minds. And maybe someday we can sit at a table (real or virtual) with experts we all respect. And thus find out just where we agree or disagree. Perhaps even change our minds.

What I am certain about is that the stock market is based on growth. When we have large stock markets, then we must have infinite growth in every sector. Including population growth and industrial growth. As any economist or stock broker will tell you. And--as most stock brokers will not tell you--this is obviously not sustainable. Therefore...

  1. Obviously--stock markets make sustainability impossible.
  2. Obviously--no "sustainability" guru is clearly denouncing stock markets.
  3. We even have global symposiums--attended by the most brilliant and sincere "sustainability" experts--and apparently, nobody says, "First and foremost, we must reduce stock markets."
  4. This is exactly as if we had "air pollution" symposiums--and nobody mentioned reducing fossil fuels.
  5. If the most brilliant experts on sustainability fail to see the most obvious and powerful barrier to sustainability--what then is the hope of the human race?
  6. Therefore, I simply feel obliged to ask everyone with common sense to call upon our experts to pay attention to this blind spot and rub their noses in it.
[-] 1 points by flip (7101) 1 week ago

well it's clear you didn't read the talk by Hudson and Kelton in Italy. again I suggest you do that - very interesting. if you google it you will find it easily. I think we can sort this out online - the basic outlines are fairly simple - I give you max neef - AMY GOODMAN: What have you learned that gives you hope in the poor communities that you’ve worked in and lived in?

MANFRED MAX-NEEF: Solidarity of people. You know, respect for the others. Mutual aid. No greed. I mean, that is a value that is absent in poverty. And you would be inclined to think that there should be more there than elsewhere, you know, that greed should be of people who have nothing. No, quite the contrary. The more you have, the more greedy you become, you know. And all this crisis is the product of greed. Greed is the dominant value today in the world. And as long as that persists, well, we are done.

AMY GOODMAN: And if you’re teaching young economists, the principles you would teach them, what they’d be?

MANFRED MAX-NEEF: The principles, you know, of an economics which should be are based in five postulates and one fundamental value principle. One, the economy is to serve the people and not the people to serve the economy. Two, development is about people and not about objects. Three, growth is not the same as development, and development does not necessarily require growth. Four, no economy is possible in the absence of ecosystem services. Five, the economy is a subsystem of a larger finite system, the biosphere, hence permanent growth is impossible. And the fundamental value to sustain a new economy should be that no economic interest, under no circumstance, can be above the reverence of life.

AMY GOODMAN: Explain that further.

MANFRED MAX-NEEF: Nothing can be more important than life. And I say life, not human beings, because, for me, the center is the miracle of life in all its manifestations. But if there is an economic interest, I mean, you forget about life, not only of other living beings, but even of human beings. If you go through that list, one after the other, what we have today is exactly the opposite.

AMY GOODMAN: Go back to three: growth and development. Explain that further.

MANFRED MAX-NEEF: Growth is a quantitative accumulation. Development is the liberation of creative possibilities. Every living system in nature grows up to a certain point and stops growing. You are not growing anymore, nor he nor me. But we continue developing ourselves. Otherwise we wouldn’t be dialoguing here now. So development has no limits. Growth has limits. And that is a very big thing, you know, that economists and politicians don’t understand. They are obsessed with the fetish of economic growth.

[-] 2 points by Alternatives2WallSt (51) 1 week ago

To Flip: Thank you for this important reference. However, please let me know if there is any place that Max-Neef says, therefore, we must curtail stock markets? Otherwise this is same-old same-old.

I must place Max-Neef on my list of "anti-growth" people to contact. I have already re-written section 1 of my article to appeal to these people. These are the only people who are "almost" where I am--without spending an eternity of circular arguments. So, your instincts are correct, in that these are the people I must reach. However, per my quote below, the no-growth people are not seeing the obvious elephant in the room: the stock market.

From Section 1 http://stocknectar.org/sustainability :

There exists a small but well-known minority of people who rightly believe a rather obvious fact: that infinite financial growth or population growth or any growth is mathematically unsustainable. These people probably agree with the famous lecture by physics professor Albert A. Bartlett. This begins, “The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function.” Prof. Bartlett thus focused against global population growth which averages about 1.2% annually. Unfortunately, Prof. Bartlett passed away a few years ago. We are unable to ask if Bartlett similarly condemns the US stock market with an average annual growth of 7% to 10%. In addition, so long as the economy is tied to stock markets, it is impossible to stop population growth without collapsing the economy...

From section 3:

As discussed in Hooked on Growth—one of the most influential voices for sustainability is the 1972 study, The Limits to Growth. The Club of Rome, which commissioned the study, consequently issues periodic reports, generally including warnings against growth-reliance. Presumably, the Club of Rome must know that stock markets require growth-reliance? Nonetheless, there seems to have been no clear priority for curtailing stock markets. Their major report of 1991, The First Global Revolution, primarily concludes: “All these dangers are caused by human intervention in natural processes, and it is only through changed attitudes and behavior that they can be overcome. The real enemy then is humanity itself.”

Of course, changes in attitude and behavior are needed. However, a higher priority is the freedom to change. Otherwise, this becomes a classic example of BLAMING THE VICTIM. Attitude and behavior can make no difference when chained to the floor. So long as the economy is chained to stock markets, the only directions open to humanity are growth or collapse.

[-] 1 points by flip (7101) 6 days ago
  1. please stop mentioning howard since it is clear you haven't read him.

  2. wtf - Venezuela??

  3. you are boring - nothing worse than that

[-] 1 points by agkaiser (1743) from Fredericksburg, TX 4 days ago

Alternatives2WallSt == prolix

[-] 1 points by grapes (4942) 4 days ago

Venezuelans under Maduro dislike our cat perching on the Oval Office in the Pounding-Laundry having used up so much toilet paper, of which they have shortage. The toilet paper didn't even serve any useful purpose other than kitty neurosis for a scent cover-up to evade predators. That's the answer to wtf.

Surveil West Texas acupuncture. Screw it or frack it. Any great gusher discovery starts with boring.

[-] 1 points by flip (7101) 1 week ago

you are missing something obvious is the short answer here. nobody is defending the stock market but there is no need to be so narrowly focused.

you make the point with your anti nuke stand. we have more nuclear countries than ever so how did that work out? now you think maybe anti war is a good idea. broaden your horizons - see that capitalism is the problem. if you get rid of the market but the state corporate nexus stays in place we are done. ok I don't need to continue - do you?

[-] 2 points by Alternatives2WallSt (51) 1 week ago

Responding to Flip's comment: ""broaden your horizons - see that capitalism is the problem. if you get rid of the market but the state corporate nexus stays in place we are done.""

Before, Flip seemed to be defending stock markets, saying I sounded "jilted." Now, Flip seems to be against all "capitalism" or perhaps "large corporate capitalism." I am not sure which side he is on. However, attacking stock markets is like attacking the engine room of a warship--if the warship were large corporations. So, if this is what Flip is for--I have no idea why he hesitates to embrace my emphasis of reducing stock markets.

Also, being "anti-capitalist" or "against large corporations" is just certain to go nowhere. What is the agenda? What do you suggest to do first? If it is not much more than talk, then not much can be expected.

I studied under several elders teaching a typical sort of broad anti-capitalist rhetoric. You can hear echoes like the following coming from Michael Moore and Howard Zinn in the 70's and 80's. "Capitalism is doomed. Everyone really wants to know the truth and is just waiting to hear it. Socialism or 'the dictatorship of the proletariat' is just around the corner."

Then, I also have Christian and New Age friends to tell me, "the rich will always find a way to be rich. Broaden your horizons! See that greed and selfishness are the real problems! We must pray! Meditate! Elevate the human soul to a higher plane!"

My reply. Firstly, you are extremely naive about the stock market. When Alexander and Caesar conquered the known world--tremendous effort had to maintain their conquests. The collapse of their hoarded power and wealth began as soon as they died. But with the stock market, the children of billionaires become super-billionaires. All without effort. Also unlike Caesar and Alexander, there is no possible stopping point. With large stock markets, every nation and financial sector must "grow or die"--until inevitably the system crashes and burns. What happens next, nobody knows. Except that if it includes stock markets--obviously, some worse version with fewer human rights is just going to happen all over again.

I am not the one repeating time-warn ideas which have gone nowhere since the 1960's as well as since the 1860's. I am not the one claiming to make a Nirvana or a Utopia. Sure, maybe someday we need completely to get rid of capitalism and greed. All I am saying is that, whether or not that is necessary, getting rid of stock markets is the obvious first step. Unless stock markets are reduced--all power is required to end up working for greed and for growth--and everything else is just holding a finger in a dyke, at best.

Here is how my article briefly addresses the endless trend of "impossible Utopian populism" which Flip seems to be defending. And which somehow prevents anti-capitalists from seeing that the most central pillar of the most dark side of capitalism is obviously the stock market.

Quoting from the current revision of my article --- http://stocknectar.org/do-stock-markets-make-sustainability-impossible (new URL) --- 2017.08.09 -- top of section 3:

(3) Protesting stock markets is as important as protesting air pollution—but nobody is doing so.

• Even an “Occupy Wall Street” movement seems never to have inspired fundamental condemnation of stock markets. The Wikipedia article on OWS mainly lists protests against some of the inevitable consequences of overemphasis on stock markets: “wealth inequality, political corruption, corporate influence of government.” There seems no clear suggestion to reduce the sizes of stock markets themselves.

• With no intellectual leaders speaking out against stock markets—it is obviously not feasible for political leaders to do so. Bernie Sanders, self-proclaimed “democratic socialist,” may be the harshest critic of Wall Street ever to make it to the US Congress. Every little bit helps. However, his most radical proposal is a small tax on high-frequency trading. Sanders has never proposed to reduce the general tax discount on stock market investing—nor proposed a tax discount for bond investing—nor criticized our dependence on infinite growth. On the contrary, Sanders supporters have argued that Sanders will deliver more growth. (Nor can Sanders be blamed for not bringing into politics ideas which have not yet been popularized outside of politics.)

• There are left-wing as well as right-wing idealists who broadly imply that corporations should not exist—but never focus narrowly against stock markets. The elimination of corporations might, of course, eliminate both stocks and bonds and might thus result in sustainability—if it miraculously happens and then miraculously does not result in the level of chaos we have seen in similarly extreme social experiments such as Chavez’s Venezuela or Mao’s China. Moreover, even so far as it has merit, the extreme improbability of a call to abolish corporations does not support sustainability any more than a call to grow angel wings. For a sustainable economy without collapsing the economy—we can simply begin with a gradual removal of tax deductions for stocks—meanwhile mollifying investors with new tax deductions for bonds.

I.e., a call to abolish corporations is both questionable and an unnecessarily difficult leap. This obviously makes the more essential change of reducing stock markets only more unlikely.

[-] 2 points by agkaiser (1743) from Fredericksburg, TX 1 week ago

We need to differentiate between productive and non productive or (technically) parasitic economic activity. Goods manufacture and material services like communications, transportation, medicine etc. are the real economy. The FIRE sector, the market, is non productive parasitic activity.

The market is useful only in as far as it distributes goods and services where they're needed or wanted. Abstract activity of investors is dissipative to real economic energy. Banksters and billionaires are a threat to our survival that we haven't started to recognize much less deal with.

[-] 1 points by flip (7101) 1 week ago

so I am guessing you still haven't read Hudson and Kelton. you really should. max neef is pointing out that the problem is much bigger than the stock market and so does Hudson. there is a basic misunderstanding of money and debt. not sure why you are so focused on that. maybe you suffered losses in both recent crashes and are like the jilted boyfriend.

first of all we will not get rid of the stock market without a revolution in the economy so maybe you should start with a first step. secondly max neef is correct that the whole system of economics is rotten. it is not simply the stock market that requires growth - the "grow or die" philosophy goes way beyond the market. it has infected almost all those who start businesses and most of them will never see an ipo!

we agree that growth is unsustainable but max neefs idea that we can have development without growth is an important one - maybe the main one. also his pointing out of greed as the main problem is correct I think. so how to remove greedy people from running the system - certainly not by getting rid of the djia! the anarchist idea of "giving power to those who don't seek it" needs to be translated to our economic system. seems this points once again to the problem - the political economy cannot be separated into two spheres - it must be reconnected.

lastly I would point out that your dear stock market does not grow at 8% - take a look at the growth of the s&p from 2000 to today. what is more important than trying to convince people to get rid of the market is to point out why the bull market of the last 35 years occurred. the Reagan/Volker revolution created it. and how did they do it and how do we reverse it.

[-] 1 points by Alternatives2WallSt (51) 1 week ago

To Flip & Anyone at OWS--please, please hit 'reply' if you see my side of this question. Please help explain what Flip is not seeing. Or perhaps I am not seeing. Because Flip has got to the heart of the main issue. And either I am missing something obvious--or Flip and the whole world are missing something obvious. Because so far, nobody seems to come to my defense. With this in mind, I will attempt to reply to all of Flip's points. The most important first.

  1. Please let us know--anyone--if it is possible to have a stock market without "growth"? It is not possible. Growth is what stock markets are about. You sell for more than you buy--otherwise, no point to buy, no point for stock markets. We could perhaps evolve a system that freezes all stock prices and only pays dividends. But we already have something like that--it is what you get when a corporation has "stock" but does not enter the "market"--i.e. a private corporation. In essence, a stock market without growth is like a baseball game without a baseball: a non sequitur, a non existence. Understandably, the average person might not understand stock markets any more than a cat understands why lights go on when we flip a wall switch. However, Hudson, Kelly, Max Neef, and dozens of other "pro-sustainability" experts are obviously not such people. Nonetheless, their philosophy always evolves into something like, "Maybe if we made 'growth' unpopular, then eventually, we could convince stock market CEO's and shareholders to stop seeking growth?" Am I crazy--or is this just like saying, maybe we could convince baseball pitchers and fans to stop throwing that ball around and stop seeking home runs? Not that there is any special reason to get rid of baseball. But if there were--that would be the equivalent mentality to these "anti-growth" experts evidently suggesting, "Just say no to growth."

  2. Of course, from the beginning of time, the whole world has been infatuated with "competition" and "conquest" and "greed" and "growth." For rabbits, foxes, mice and men, it is only natural. So obviously, we could stop the stock markets--and still have everyone at each other's throats. However, there might be people like Lincoln and Gandhi and Martin Luther King who might persuade us otherwise. However--so long as the economy is connected to stock markets--the economy will collapse if we do not have economic growth! (And if anybody reading this understands this, please speak up! Because it seems I am totally alone!)

  3. Flip said, "not sure why you are so focused on that. maybe you suffered losses in both recent crashes and are like the jilted boyfriend." Firstly, I must say, this is a very weird argument to hear at OWS, which exists 99% because of people jilted by the stock market in 2008. Secondly, my article does not suggest for individuals to stop investing in stocks. Currently, we are somewhat forced to invest. Broad-based equity ETF mutual funds, which are instantly switched to gold bullion with Compound Stop orders, can be safer than bonds. But--unless we deemphasize stock markets to the level of Las Vegas casinos--"safer" can never mean really safe. We have everything needed for a "safe" civilization--but are still living like cave people. And even if people listen to what I say, I have no expectation that this will change, any more than that we can reverse the melting of polar ice. It is already too late. Nonetheless, after WW1 and WW2 there was rebuilding--good in many ways--but obviously failed in many ways to prevent the next war. We must do what we can for the current civilization. More importantly, we must lay a foundation, so the next civilization might not be a worse repetition of the past, just as WW2 ended up worse than WW1.

  4. Incidentally, what was the reason for WW1? Schoolbooks make it sound like there was no real reason. But in fact--all of Europe had come to depend on the Colonial system. This had run its course and their economies were beginning to stagnate. The Europeans needed to battle for survival over who took more of the colonial resources. Ironically, this eventually led to the end of the Colonial system. Nonetheless, the current Stock Market system similarly is a perpetual war for resources. Sooner or later, growth will have maximized. Then there must be a military war. Unless perhaps we can convince those nations who lose out economically to just roll over and die. But obviously, dictators will always arise who convince suffering people to seek another path.

  5. Be assured, I agree with Flip that what Hudson, Kelly and Max Neef are saying is important. It is on my list to read and to contact them. But if there is anything new here, Flip has not said it.

  6. Anyone--please hit "reply" if you think I have a point. Help me to say it better. Otherwise, I must continue to assume that I am rather alone in speaking fundamentally against the most fundamental Wall Street system--even at "Occupy Wall Street."

  7. In any case, believe it or not, I am learning to like all of you people. If, as I see it, Flip is not seeing the obvious, in doing so, he is nonetheless representing the 99%. That is why it is so important that people help me, and get Flip to see what everyone seems not to see. If perchance you think I am perchance correct, please do not remain silent. Thank you.

  8. I suspect that here is the problem. As I say, most people do not understand the stock market any more than a cat understands a light switch. Therefore, most of the comments I receive, are not comments that any stock broker would make. They know that stock markets require growth and any suggestions otherwise are nonsense. Meanwhile, for obvious reasons, brokers and aficionados who do understand stock markets are unable to take an objective look at it. Meanwhile for all groups, questioning stock markets today is similar to questioning monarchies in medieval times. They may grasp at straws to reply superficially to my suggestions. But basically, the mind is closed before the discussion begins. Before even thinking, the unreasoned subconscious reasoning is, "Nobody else questions stock markets, so they must be alright." Period.

  9. Also, quoting from the new "question and answer" section 8 of my article... In the USA, initiatives to address “climate change” and all environmental concerns are automatically slandered as “anti-business.” Also, the stock market system can be seen as a global poker game, in which the USA is the clear winner, having amassed a huge pile of poker chips, aka “investment capital.” The S&P 500 index continues to fly ever higher as the USA wins over the chips from most other regions where stock markets are clear losers. Therefore, for progressive leaders to start questioning stock markets can only seem to be a lose-lose initiative within the USA. Nonetheless, before the recent performance of Bernie Sanders, it was similarly an apparent non-starter for a US presidential candidate to be a self-proclaimed “socialist.” Bernie has brought the USA a step closer toward all other developed nations where democratic socialism is well-respected. Similarly, it is extremely important for those who see the obvious truth about stock markets to begin speaking out in the USA. In other countries, it may be primarily the desire to imitate the USA that prevents intelligence from surfacing. As implied at the top of section 7 of my article–perhaps the best hope for humanity is that some nations which are obvious losers in the stock market game will initiate a sustainable system.

  10. Flip says, "it is not simply the stock market that requires growth - the "grow or die" philosophy goes way beyond the market. it has infected almost all those who start businesses and most of them will never see an ipo!"

Similarly, in the 1980's, I was involved in the anti-nuclear movement. One day, I got a letter from someone starting an anti-war organization. She said, "Why don't you join us instead--we are against all wars, not just nuclear!"

My reply: "What are your chances of stopping all wars? And even if we have a war, there is still hope to avoid the next war--if it is not nuclear. But if, in attempting to stop all wars, you fail to emphasize an end to nuclear proliferation--then we only need one war and it will be the last."

Today, the idea of non-proliferation is well established. And the greater danger might be the small wars that might lead up to a big one. So today, I might agree that a general anti-war movement might need priority over anti-nuclear.

But regarding stock markets--not one "pro-sustainability" or "anti-growth" expert has even suggested to get rid of them. Interestingly, there are books about post-growth or non-growth economies. But obviously, in order to work, chapter 1 should say, firstly of course, no stock market. But never does any chapter say that. So obviously, it is not going to work. Nor can we even "evolve" to a place where non-growth can work until we at least make baby steps to reduce the size of stock markets. Like, for example, stop giving Mitt Romney a cap of 14% on his stock market income. And eventually, stock markets should have more taxes, not less. Then we would not have so much money in them and so much suffering when there is a crash in this ridiculous game.

Another obvious starting point: when we "Occupy Wall Street," we should stop exchanging Facebook addresses. Instead, we should have a Moorbook that is not connected to Wall Street. Duh. And also have non-Wall Street alternatives to Amazon, Google, and Ebay. And which dedicate at least 50% of their profits to help each community that the profits come from. And maybe another 20% going to the most needy communities--20% going to stop global warming--and 10% to pay for administration.

Instead, we so-called "Occupy Wall Street" people continue to patronize Facebook and Google. Which are REQUIRED that 90% of profits are sucked out of local communities and given to Wall Street investors. And where in turn, like chips in a poker tournament, eventually most of the money ends up with 1% of the investors. Duh.

[-] 0 points by flip (7101) 6 days ago
  1. you know what they say about assuming

  2. how about get money out of politics

3 zakaria is not worthy to be mentioned in the same sentence as amy and howard

[-] 1 points by Alternatives2WallSt (51) 6 days ago

Re Flip: "2. how about get money out of politics."

That is a good choice for emphasis. That was my thinking in the 1970's. Nobody seemed to focus on this core issue--with the sole exception of Ralph Nader's "Public Citizen" group.

Then over the years there was a trend of significant "campaign finance reform." Until--in 2010--the Citizen's United Supreme Court decision instantly turned all of that progress upside-down. All supposedly in the interest of "separating Wall Street from politics." (As you will learn if you can tolerate watching Citizen's United's bizarre foundational so-called "documentary." Which is illustrated largely by clips from ancient cartoon shows.)

To this day, there is of course a strong sentiment to overturn "Citizen's United." But which is legally complicated and is likely to take decades. Especially if we get more Republican presidents putting more so-called conservatives on the Supreme court.

Also, it seems to me that even those who protest against Citizens United are somewhat missing the point. Anyone who does not understand that the core of democracy is "one person one vote" should not be allowed to practice law. Let alone be on the Supreme Court. Even more than that--the Citizen's United verdict enables foreign governments to make unlimited unlisted donations to US political advertising. And yet, this is all defended by so-called patriotic conservative Republicans.

The bottom line. So long as we have mega-corporations that hire tens of thousands of Americans--and both people and corporations with a net worth in the tens of billions--"keeping money out of politics" is as absurd as keeping the ocean out of a lagoon.

And if you understand the stock market--then you understand the stock market is what enables and indeed "requires" those corporations to merge and to "grow or die" until they get so big.

As I learned from reading Howard Zinn: corporations legally have "human rights." Except that a corporation can murder or cripple thousands of people--and there is nobody to put in jail for it. If caught, usually it just pays a fine. The most we can do is force it to declare chapter 11 bankruptcy. And which still enables the founder to make off with millions or billions in profits--and of course just start another corporation.

Mega corporations are worse than kings. Kings would eventually die off or produce incompetent heirs. Corporations can be eternal. Although generally, they are overtaken by other corporations with the exact same money-first agenda. And those which do not have a money-first agenda are of course automatically weeded out by the stock market system.

So, to remedy "money in politics," we really have four choices.

  1. Make corporations illegal. And thus make it extremely difficult for anyone to develop any kind of business. And possibly turn the US into another Venezuela...

  2. Or... gradually reduce the tax benefits of stock market investing... and eventually tax stock market investing... so that stock markets--which are primarily responsible for the creation and maintenance of billionaires and of mega corporations--are eventually reduced in size and influence to the level of Las Vegas casinos.

  3. And/or... develop a non-Wall Street business model, similar to Newman's Own. But that profit-shares with consumers--thus developing overwhelming public support--thus out-competing Wall Street corporations until they gradually go extinct.

  4. And/or... for some economics professor to write a book--explaining why Third World countries can never win the stock market game--and are either suckers or corrupt when they attempt to develop stock markets. And to suggest an alternate bond-based system which does well the next time that the rest of the world is having a 2008-level stock market crash. And thus eventually for more and more nations to develop a just political system--and a truly sustainable economy. Which obviously must be within a non-stock market economy.

[-] 0 points by flip (7101) 1 week ago

to quote the annoying orange - "oh god!" if you ever read howard zinn you for sure did not understand him. in the same way you certainly did not understand me - no defending of the stock market there. i simply pointed out that you are fixated and need to breathe.

you seem to think that if we get rid of the stock market many problems will be solved. that is doubtful but maybe if you keep writing long boring screeds we will find out. if you respond to me please say something different and interesting. we all get your point - not sure what others think but enough already - we get it.

[-] 1 points by grapes (4942) 1 week ago

The stock market's practices are guilty as charged, beyond reasonable doubts.

[-] 1 points by Alternatives2WallSt (51) 1 week ago

Per Flip's comment: "" if you ever read howard zinn you for sure did not understand him... you seem to think that if we get rid of the stock market many problems will be solved... that is doubtful but maybe if you keep writing long boring screeds we will find out... we all get your point... we get it""

  1. I cannot agree "you got it" if (as you admit in the same paragraph) you cannot see how many problems the stock market causes. I can only conclude that, like most people, you assume stock markets are harmless or benign. You evidently do not see stock markets as unfair enablers of institutionalized injustice. Nor as engines of unsustainable growth. Such that if growth stops, the stock market crashes, and all of society crashes. In addition to infinite industrial growth, stock markets require infinite overpopulation growth. Therefore society cannot follow a sustainable path and must come to a hard landing. And therefore all the good efforts at sustainability and social justice will have much less effect than they should. Unless we first reduce the sizes of stock markets.
  2. (And if you think no. 1 above simplistically claims that reducing stock markets will automatically solve all problems, please re-read. As I have repeatedly said, reducing stock markets will not necessarily solve anything--but is obviously essential to make long-lasting solutions possible. And the truth of this should be self-evident to anyone who claims to understand the negatives of stock markets.)
  3. And that is why "Occupy Wall Street" is so important. OWS is the first movement to make people feel the right seriously to question Wall Street institutions. Even that which is generally assumed to be beyond question.
  4. But I can agree this discussion has gotten too long, as well as my latest messages often too long. Later I will start a fresh discussion. Beginning with updates inspired by the best of this discussion.
  5. I have invited Flip to say what initiative(s) he thinks might have a better effect toward justice and sustainability than reducing stock markets. Flip has not responded. I hope that he and everyone else will feel welcome to respond here or in the next discussion.
  6. My thanks to Flip for his Max-Neef reference. A significant addition to this discussion.
  7. I highly respect Amy Goodman and Howard Zinn. All I am saying here is that they and all others seem never to have focused significantly against stock markets. I cannot imagine that Goodman or Zinn would disrespect this initiative. Incidentally, I recently defended Zinn's book against criticisms by Fareed Zakaria (who I also respect) and Michael Kazin (not sure about him). https://www.facebook.com/notes/fareed-zakaria/what-im-reading-howard-zinns-history-lessons/10154984978829253/
  8. I still do not understand why Flip does disrespect this focus against stock markets. Not sure if he thinks this focus is "wrong" or "nothing new." There are both indications in his statements.

I can only hope that Flip and others will consider the possibility that there are important ideas that have not been heard before. And that one of them is here.

Thank you anyone for wading this far into this discussion. Hopefully we can make the next reincarnation clearer and briefer.

[-] 1 points by grapes (4942) 1 week ago

Shareholders in aggregate have far more business-controlling rights than bondholders do. Who they put onto the governing boards can take drastic actions if necessary as they see fit. Of course, the revolutionary faction of the shareholders had better be willing to fight the reactionaries at multiple venues(as Winston Churchill had put it so eloquently as the Calling for the New World). None of that "Oh, he is family! We can't fire him," is to be allowed so we don't get the long-lingering ills of nepotism.

Bondholders are generally much more passive. They can be shut up as long as they are paid off. Shareholder revolts can be much tougher to suppress. For this reason, I like the checks and balances a governing board selected by shareholders can impose on management including firing the CEO and his cronies. I was on a few boards and also delved into some intrigues, so yes, I was in the so-called boardroom(maybe a laundry room is more apt due to the mostly boring nature of the meetings, similar to doing laundries[note that the other board members and significant shareholders precisely Appreciate sharing the boring/tedious burden]) dealing with "laundry list" items, saw some strange and untimely "bloodstains," and raised questions regarding the optimal population size, the efficacy of the Roman-Catholic-Church-approved "rhythm method" of physiological forecast, any violence, confiscation of condoms by the significant statist females, or whether "coitus interruptus"(with its religious, ethical, operational, psychological, etc. issues and tissues addressed and supplied) needs to be instituted.

Junk bonds are not created equal to the common stocks in this power of governance. That was why there were proxy fights for board seats by the significant junk-bond holders.

[-] 1 points by flip (7101) 6 days ago

as for the stock market what you say is true - so? do we need to go on and on and on?

[-] 1 points by Alternatives2WallSt (51) 1 week ago

Grapes--were you involved in a "public" or "private" corporation? My article only condemns the Stock Market = so-called "public" corporations. The stocks of private corporations are mere divisions of ownership. This is nothing like the "Stock Market" with a ponzi-like life of its own, above and beyond the actual values of the corporations.

Grapes--in any case, once again you add value to this discussion--this time with your erudition on stocks vs. bonds. Nonetheless I disagree here. And I suspect that you might change a bit after hearing me out.

The idea that 99% of society--who can never own more than 0.01% of an investment-grade stock market corporation--nonetheless have any significant voice in that corporation--is a centuries-old con game that originally sold the crash-prone stock market to a skeptical nineteenth-century world.

The idea that 0.01% shareholders are "part owners" of a stock market corporation is fully analogous to placing a toy steering wheel on a baby seat. Few people believe that their vote is significant in influencing the US Congress. And yet, the same people somehow believe that the overall slash-and-burn, grow-or-die mathematical necessity of stock markets is somehow going to be mitigated by their "votes."

A few historic facts, please. Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream of Vermont, ideological socialist cousins to Bernie Sanders, began with revolutionary ideas, such as, "A CEO salary is limited to X times a janitor salary," etc. Eventually, however, Ben and Jerry's inevitably sold out to the stock market. The original Mr. Ben and Mr. Jerry inevitably were gone. And their egalitarian rules with them. Ben and Jerry's Inc. continues to foster a "progressive" image, relatively speaking. But obviously not what it was.

Similarly, National Geographic--the primary educator of "climate change" and an ancient nonprofit organization--dabbled in partnerships with stock market corporations. Consequently, the magazine and TV channels are now owned by Fox News--primary "climate change denier." Without the old National Geographic, possibly very few of the young "millennials" who supported Bernie Sanders would have had a clue what Bernie was talking about vis-a-vis climate change.

(And perhaps the only hope for future awareness is my own fledgeling attempt to form a non-profit alternative to Facebook--which is apparently the news source of the future. And we will easily overshadow Facebook like Facebook overshadowed MySpace--IF supported by celebrities like Michael Moore and tech experts like "Anonymous" who supported OWS. Also perhaps some members of the Google and Facebook teams who had doubts about selling out to the stock market.)

I.e. If the billionaire founders of stock market corporations often lose control of the ethics--how much influence can a 0.01% investor hope to have?

Conversely--whatever token power that the 0.01% shareholders might achieve in votes--might never exceed the "power of the purse" held by bondholders. As Grapes knows: corporations are legally required to rip-off stockholders, if necessary, in order to pay-off bondholders, who are creditors. To my knowledge, bond holders do not vote on specific issues. But they can "vote with their feet" by refusing to invest when an unethical direction is taken. Not very significant, perhaps. But potentially as significant as any 0.01% stockholder vote.

Furthermore--any member of the 99% of society with less than $1 million should not invest more than 20% of portfolio, if anything, in individual stocks! About the only successful stock-picker for 2001-2010 was the Forbes Special Situation Survey. Nonetheless they broke their winning streak in 2011 because of picking Blackberry over Apple. And nobody really knows when an ipod will displace a blackberry or a Nokia may displace an ipod. Etc.

Conversely, with ETF investing at Interactive Brokers, it only costs $1 to enter or leave hundreds of corporations at a time. Example ETFs. GURU imitates the most successful hedge funds. FPX picks the most promising IPO stocks. There are 2-3 broad-based "socially responsible" ETFs that consistently do just as well as the S&P 500. These will reliably equal or exceed the S&P 500--while enabling anyone with $5,000 or more to have a fully "diversified" portfolio.

I.e., stock markets are fundamentally unsafe. Corporate bonds WOULD be safe if only there where not massive 2008-level stock market crashes. Currently, neither stocks nor bonds are safe. ETF investing, with pre-open Stop orders, enables the average investor to get out of the market instantly--and buy gold in the same instant. This may result in lower total gains than buy-and-hold during a bull market. However, it might be safer than clinging to so-called blue-chip bonds during a 2008-level crash. (And with computerized high-speed hedge funds, plus China and India operating at a 12-hour time difference--the next 2008-level crash could happen in minutes or during pre-open hours.)

I.e., if you buy individual stocks, the safety of stop-and-go investing can be cost prohibitive, even if you only pay $1 per trade. The only sensible way to invest in stocks is via ETF mutual funds. And this of course eliminates any "voting" significance.

PS. If by chance you think "solar energy" or "wind energy" is a safe investment--yes if you install solar panels on your property--but NO if you buy their stocks. Look at the history of any "green energy" ETF fund--the safest way to focus on green energy--but nonetheless the worst roller-coaster you are likely to see. Very uncertain to break even. I can only suggest SRI-type funds that are "broad based"--and thus, when a performance graph is compared to the S&P 500, will have equal stability.

[-] 1 points by grapes (4942) 1 week ago

I was not involved in the FIRE economy PRIMARILY. I was involved in the businesses in the FIRE sector. 'Tangent' was probably my poor choice of a word but I could feel the water droplets spun off of a wet umbrella. I think that we do have a FIRE economy needing to be pruned back but definitely not too drastically because modern economy depends on these businesses.

I saw its dependency on the insurance industry nearly in realtime in the October 2008 Crash(the Atlantis Syndrome!) when Jim Cramer(who was quite a character!) was almost hopping up and down about why AIG had to be bailed out. He said that most civilian airliners would stop flying because AIG was insuring most flights. AIG was putting out fancy advertisements before in previous years about its glorious financial innovations and soliciting for more partners(clients). Our government regulators were not regulating AIG's so-called innovations. Greed + Incompetence or Collusion = Disaster.

I doubt that people worldwide would prefer to have nearly all civilian airliners grounded.

[-] 1 points by agkaiser (1743) from Fredericksburg, TX 1 week ago

Your comment below is too far out for replies.

I refer to the "FIRE" sector often and have expanded the acronym a few times. Everyone should know what it is by now. The FIRE sector is a cancer that consumes the real economy. Conservatives don't see that. They know nothing of evil in the world except that which they project into it from their own limited intelligence. There would be no point in clarifying anything for them. They couldn't or wouldn't deal with it.

[-] 1 points by grapes (4942) 1 week ago

I was involved in fairly closely held corporations primarily non-profit ones so they were "private." This distinction is important to understand for agkaiser, flip, et al. but I think that they are too much into their own emotions and life experiences to transcend the idiosyncrasies.

I probably had a much wider span of experience with class, race, wealth, culture, etc . than they. I am deeply aware of cross-class, cross-racial, cross-wealth, cross-cultural absurdities so I probably come across as irreverent, humorous, ridiculous, informative, eye-opening, shocking, etc. all at the same time. I have boundary conditions to satisfy so cutting and stitching are required for harmony and peace in my mind. The truth has NO absurdities. I get a little bit closer by doing what I do - spanning and tailoring.

If I tell agkaiser that I was involved with the FIRE sector, he will go off on a tangent so it makes sense that silence is golden(안녕히 주무 세요 - may peace and love break in). George Bailey in "It's a Wonderful Life" was in the FIRE sector alright so was my Grandpa. Not all corporations are evil. It takes a pack of dogs to take down a pack of wolves coming for the sheep. Dogs are dumber smaller infantilized wolves but they have hearts of gold and been made in the mirror image of god. Who answers to Jesus's "Who will tend my flock?" It's going to be "rough, rough!"

I think that the key concept is the "accountability to one's duty towards one's conscience." One must see, feel, empathize, and understand. The alienation of the small-blocs share ownership of corporations from the daily operations resulting in apathy MUST be ended by breaking up the huge ones which had lost their hearts of gold. The goal is to serve.

我们都是普通人民解放军(in the A.R.M.Y.):

Is Kim Jong-un mentally unstable or possibly suffer from mental illlness? Chirayu Soni, Do not just try to think out of the box, think as if there is no box Answered Jan 27, 2015 Originally Answered: Is Kim Jong Un retarded? Probably yes, the way he leads his own country is no less than hell ( for citizens,of course). North Korea is one of the most secretive and pathetic countries to live in.

The atrocities faced by citizens of North Korea are:

  1. You have no internet connection unless you are a rich elite or a government official.

  2. If you want to own a laptop or a desktop or a television , u have to have special permission from the government.

  3. If you are caught watching south Korean movies or romantic movies , then you are sentenced to minimum 5 years of Labour camps.

  4. You do not have proper supply of water , food and electricity unless you live in the capital city of Pyongyang , in which only elite group of people can live that too with special permissions.

  5. If you try to oppose North Korean government or Kim Jong Un, u are almost dead.

  6. If you try to escape north Korea and you are caught, then you are sentenced to death (if you are lucky enough) , if not, u are sent to concentration camps and whole of your family is brutally punished . Nearly 3 generations of your family have to live in the concentration camps. The food given is just "few grains of rice". If u are lucky enough u would die of starvation ,if not, your stomach would force your mind to find and eat rats . If you are caught eating rats , you and your family is savagely beaten up and even the ladies and girls of your family are sexually molested and raped.

This is the country of 25 million people living in hell and has one of the most cruel leaders the world have seen . He is "Kim Jong Un". 만나서 반갑 습니다

[-] 1 points by agkaiser (1743) from Fredericksburg, TX 1 week ago

About tangents...

"If I tell agkaiser that I was involved with the FIRE sector, he will go off on a tangent so it makes sense that silence is golden. George Bailey in "It's a Wonderful Life" was in the FIRE sector alright so was my Grandpa. Not all corporations are evil. It takes a pack of dogs to take down a pack of wolves coming for the sheep. Dogs are dumber smaller infantilized wolves but they have hearts of gold and been made in the mirror image of god."

... everything in your paragraph after the word tangent is off on a tangent. About projection...

Get off my case. Your posts are sometimes useful but usually rambling nonsense.

[-] 1 points by Alternatives2WallSt (51) 1 week ago

Grapes, I must admit that you or agkaiser harping about a FIRE sector sounds like some kind of cult slang. Looking it up, it simply means, "A FIRE economy is any economy based primarily on the Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate sectors. Finance, insurance, and real estate are census bureau classifications. Barry Popik describes some early uses as far back as 1982. Since 2008, the term has been commonly used by Michael Hudson and Eric Janszen."

Nonetheless, constantly throwing in the acronym FIRE, without explanation, does not read very smoothly. Just saying. But after I got to know you folks better, then I see you know a lot, and just take it as one of your quirks.

If you or anyone here lives in the New England area, I sure would like to meet you and have a non-virtual chat. I bet you are all some real down home characters.

[-] 1 points by flip (7101) 2 weeks ago

we agree that the banks are vampire squids like matt taibbi says but disagree on the rest. in any normal economy it redistributes wealth from the rich to the less rich. wages go up - home prices (the source of most workers wealth) go up and home and auto payments go down and the stock market does poorly. the 70's are the perfect example of how inflation works and why the rich hate it.

paul Volker is the hero of the ruling lass because he created the first great recession - read "secrets of the temple" by William greider. volkers quote says it all - "the standard of living of the average American must go down."

I would think this is all obvious by seeing who hates inflation - the ruling class!

[-] 2 points by Alternatives2WallSt (51) 4 months ago

(Continued from above.)

5.) Richard Wolff's basic perspective seems potentially compatible with mine. I must attempt to contact him. Wolff is a self-avowed "Marxist," with which I do not agree. However, according to a Bill Maher interview, Wolff seems to claim a brand of Marxism that is not opposed to capitalism, so much as a method of simply removing the errors of capitalism. Wolff routinely denounces greed and the fragility of the stock market. However, I can not find anywhere that Wolff pinpoints the basic existence of the stock market as the main error to remove. Wolff's net message seems the same as from most "democratic socialists." We are not told to protest the fact that our economy is intertwined with risky and unsustainable stock markets. Instead, we are told to be less greedy and maybe elect politicians who are less greedy. Also that the collapse of capitalism is always around the corner. Obviously, someday this will prove correct. Meanwhile however, Wolff does not seem to be denouncing the existence of stock markets.

6.) Former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis seems to be a sincere and practical man who desires social justice. I should attempt to contact him. Varoufakis seems equally willing to use Marxist and capitalist economic theory, as well as to criticize them both. (theguardian.com/news/2015/feb/18/yanis-varoufakis-how-i-became-an-erratic-marxist) However, in my brief readings about Varoufakis, so far I can find no evidence of anything like my idea that capitalism can be made sustainable by deemphasizing stock markets. Even though, in my opinon, Greece is one of the most obvious cases of a nation which should deemphasize stock markets and emphasize corporate bonds. Greece clearly has no hope of winning the global stock market game.

7.) The website of Max Keiser seems to claim that current debt levels are dangerous for the stock market. This may be true. In any case, however, this is about standard short-term economics. This has no relationship to my criticizing the basic long-term unsustainability of the stock market. Indeed, in my view, the stock market itself inevitably causes increasingly excessive debt levels. A long-term solution can not be achieved by harping against debt levels. Sustainability might only be achieved by harping against the stock market itself.

8.) Gar Alperovitz calls to "democratize the ownership of our economy"--such as with a "public option" in health care--and that "worker ownership, including worker cooperatives, can and should be encouraged through federal policy initiatives." These are not new ideas but typical socialist ideas similar to those of Bernie Sanders. I like most of these ideas. However, how can we possibly "democratize the economy" if we do not greatly reduce the size and influence of stock markets? Conversely, if we do reduce the size of stock markets, then sustainability can be achieved without convincing Americans to become socialists. I admit that it may be equally improbable to convince Americans to reduce stock markets as to become socialists. However, my opinion is that reducing stock markets--or at least reducing the tax incentives to invest in stock markets--is clearly the more logical priority.

On the other hand, I must attempt to contact Alperovitz. Because I am delighted by the following quote provided by BeautifulWorld. This seems almost identical to some of my own writings, except being better-written:

"""So long as large private corporations must meet stock market demands for ever-greater (often quarterly) profit increases, they must “grow or die.” This dynamic is diametrically opposed to the need to slow or halt overall growth and resource use in general. And it also runs directly contrary to the need to control carbon emissions in particular. Additionally, corporate political power commonly acts as a powerful obstacle to progress on other vital ecological issues—as we have seen in the United States with the failed climate change legislation and continued efforts to discredit climate change science."""

Nonetheless, I feel rather befuddled by the following incongruities:

• A "stock market corporation" is officially labeled a "public corporation" but Alperovitz calls them "private." I suspect his use of "private" means "not government-owned"? If so, this is probably insignificant. But if not, I might be misunderstanding the paragraph?

• Much more importantly--Alperovitz apparently fails to go on to say that, therefore, we must phase-out stock markets!

My article--"Do Stock Markets Make Sustainability Impossible?--begins with a brief mention of the classic tale, "The Emperor's New Clothes." Everyone plainly sees a naked emperor. They are looking at him. And yet, somehow, nobody dares to see a naked emperor.

Similarly, in section 2 of my article, I discuss several progressive savants and institutions and documentaries that aggressively promote the phase-out of growth-dependence. Meanwhile, I ask, what is "the elephant in the room" for anyone who understands growth-dependence? What is the largest, most powerful, most obvious, most growth-reliant, most relentless and most basic engine of growth-dependence? What is furthermore by law and rule utterly required to remain growth-dependent? The stock market!

And yet, not one of those progressive savants and institutions and documentaries says, "Ahem. Obviously, phasing-out growth-dependence is impossible unless we phase-out the stock market."

In sum, this most-delightful quotation from Alperovitz simultaneously ends up as the most-depressing. Because here he is--saying precisly what I am saying--seeing what I am seeing--and equally understanding how things work. And yet, somehow failing to utter the obvious conclusion:

"Just say no to stock markets."

[-] 1 points by agkaiser (1743) from Fredericksburg, TX 2 weeks ago

The entire FIRE sector is a parasitic pyramid scam. That's all stocks and bonds and lending and investment in the work of others have ever been. Trading the goods produced by others dissipates economic energy. It makes money of money and can only be exploitive and inflationary. If it performs a useful and necessary service, it is one that must be done of, by and for the people on a non profit basis, in order to protect the real economy we depend on for life.

Wall St. [the metaphor] is the parasitic disease that threatens the survival of the human race.

[-] 1 points by agkaiser (1743) from Fredericksburg, TX 4 months ago

There's been no sustainable economy on Earth since Adam and Eve committed the Original Sin of cultural devolution from hunting and gathering. The devolvement continued to be documented through Genesis until completed by the financial tyranny implemented by Joseph in Egypt 4000 years ago.

Making something from nothing, the perpetual motion of money, has been the greatest threat to human survival from ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt to the absolute domination of the world by Wall St banksters, billionaires, hedge fund managers, CEOs and the rest of the ruling elite criminals that centrally plan our economy and own our government today.

[-] 1 points by Alternatives2WallSt (51) 2 weeks ago

""There's been no sustainable economy on Earth since Adam and Eve committed the Original Sin..."" Wrong!

Anyone with a high school degree can probably go to an island inhabited by a primitive tribe and create a sustainable economy--if by chance they do not have one already. Fertilize your crops. Do not poop where you swim. Create fish farms. Control the population. Voila. The ancient Hawaiians had it down pat. The only improvement I might suggest is to use condoms or vasectomies instead of ritual headhunting as the population control method.

Also, of course, the fisheries and water supply might be a problem today due to the pollution and huge commercial overfishing. But that cannot be blamed on the Hawaiians--nor it is a problem created by God but by people. It can be solved by people--primarily by being more like the ancient Hawaiians or the early Christians in the Acts. I.e., making the helping of one another the core of your existence. Instead of the piling up of absurd piles of money.

[-] 1 points by agkaiser (1743) from Fredericksburg, TX 2 weeks ago

"Wrong!" Why are you quibbling about my hyperbole instead of running with the metaphor? Where is there a living economy of non negligible scale that is sustainable since the dawn of written myth and history ?

The entire FIRE sector is a parasitic pyramid scam. That's all stocks and bonds and lending and investment in the work of others have ever been. Trading the goods produced by others dissipates economic energy. It makes money of money and can only be exploitive and inflationary.

Wall St. [the metaphor] is the parasitic disease that threatens the survival of the human race.

[-] 2 points by Alternatives2WallSt (51) 2 weeks ago

Thank you for the clarification AGkaiswer. Reading your entire statements, we do actually seem to agree. Just as you imply.

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (33090) from Coon Rapids, MN 2 weeks ago

I agree.

Though it seems that the Netherlands and now to a degree Iceland - are still fairly good to their public at large. The Netherlands seem to have been impossibly good to their public for a very long time and Iceland just had their successful revolution against the bankers.

Still both cases are aberrant (departing from an accepted standard) when looking at the rest of the world.

[-] 0 points by flip (7101) 2 weeks ago

you are correct to rail against wall street but that does not mean our financial system has to be the way it is today. and just so you know the amish community near me in western ny seems pretty sustainable.

[-] 1 points by agkaiser (1743) from Fredericksburg, TX 2 weeks ago

Yes... and there are still communes in Washington and Oregon but they and the Amish are, sadly, of a negligible scale. We need an economy for all of us that's sustainable.

The domination by Wall St. precludes such sustainability. They're like the casino that takes a cut of every hand in a card game. After a short while they've raked in all the money that is on average at the table. The only way the game continues is by new blood that the sharks smell from a mile away. Yeah, a few winners get out with more than they put in. But what are the odds?

[-] 1 points by flip (7101) 2 weeks ago

we agree that wall street is a cancer - now they want to go to a cashless economy so they can get 3% of every dollar spent. not sure if they can be controlled before they crash the economy again! maybe the next time will be the one that forces real changes

[-] 1 points by agkaiser (1743) from Fredericksburg, TX 2 weeks ago

anything's possible but what are the odds

[-] 1 points by flip (7101) 2 weeks ago

i think the odds are quite good that in the next 10-20 years we will see a very different world. i am betting oil will spike again and crash the world economic system. what comes out of that who knows. our unsustainable world runs on cheap plentiful oil - that will run out soon.

[-] 1 points by grapes (4942) 2 weeks ago

The keyword is 'scale'. We have long gone past the sustainability levels for most of our activities. There are indeed small pockets of sustainable cultures but as you have already said that they were Not to large scales.

I agree with Alternatives2WallSt that population control is very important to achieving sustainability. However, being a man myself, I know the potential severe failings of both condoms(I have used - desensitization, some lubricants and vigorous actions may cause breakages; non-lubrication may cause a stuck-in-there condom that had to be painfully removed traumatizing the sexual partner) and vasectomies(I haven't used - potential irreversibility, some men think that it makes them less masculine). I think middle-school-taught masturbation techniques, a vibrant porn industry, and cheap, widely available, and socially accepted sex toys/dolls/robots are better and more pleasurable ways to achieve sustainability. Most recently developed countries that achieved prosperity had embarked on population control programs. The equation is per-capita income = gross domestic product ÷ population, pretty simple to understand and apply except wherever cultures stand in the way. Human future will consist mostly of poor Muslims who will be replaced by machines with culturally evolved cyberomes after the cyborg wars. "Electric silicon will triumph over wet carbon."

Almost all cultures that have survived put a premium on "being fruitful" because continued human living was hard but once the population has grown to an unsustainable level these cultures have become maladaptive causing violence, conflicts, crimes, wars, etc. (these ill effects also occur in many other animal species once the population densities are high enough) Only the cultures that had amended their ways regarding "fruitfulness" achieved prosperous tranquillity without resorting to brutish population control methods.

With the advent of highly accurate genetic paternity determination, the age-old customs and taboos to ensure unambiguous paternity may be changed or relaxed. The U.S. has by now about 40% of babies being born out of wedlock and the government has taken up the costs of raising children. It pretty much says that marriage as an institution is Not as important as it used to be when unambiguous paternity must be established to promote paternal investment in the offspring(traditionally the most significant determinant of the quality of the child-rearing outcome - Dads, even the ones present in names only, are Important! My elementary/primary school had to pull up my birth certificate to straighten out records of my Dad's name in multiple dialects/languages and by an adolescent deputy who had messed up some transliterations). Hence, the establishment of unambiguous paternity(through sexual mating exclusivity, and for offspring's and societal well-being) was likely the evolutionary goal of the worldwide societal taboos regarding adultery(men's jealousy may have already become obsolete because exclusivity is no longer required for establishing the unambiguity of paternity; eliminating jealousy can reduce the number of "crimes of passion") and fornication. In my lifetime, fornication has already become the norm, not the exceptional taboo it once was in the U.S.A. Crimes of "honor killings" of female fornicators have nearly disappeared here. We probably get more sexually transmitted infections and broken psyches as results nowadays but not much else.

[-] 1 points by Alternatives2WallSt (51) 1 week ago

There is little need to get into the nitty-gritty of population control. The fact is, when men and women both are well-educated and have job opportunities, then there is gradual negative population growth. So, the common perception that population control is impossible is completely bogus.

The real problem is that--whenever there is natural population reduction--the governments panic and promote population growth. No matter how obviously overpopulated the region is. In Japan, Singapore and Italy, this is exactly what is happening.

"Religion" and "tradition" and "instinct" are pawns in this equation. The real culprits are the mathematically-trained economists. Because all that matters to them is the stock market. Population reduction can devastate the stock-based economy. They are right in that we cannot reduce population without collapsing a stock-based economy. But the most significant "religion" and "tradition" here is the stock market, the god that cannot be questioned.

Once again: stock markets make sustainability impossible. Because they make population control impossible. Every economist knows this. But nobody mentions it. Because even pro-sustainability experts dare not to question the ultimate god: the stock market.

And as I say, having "sustainability" experts who never question stock markets is exactly equivalent to having "clean air" experts who never question fossil fuels.

And so, we now are at a place where so-called rational experts are predicting we simply "must" be ready to grow from 7 billion to 14 billion. Never seeming to think, hmmmm... even if we can do that without wars and starvation and chaos... what then happens when we are start to grow from 14 billion to 28 billion...?

Right now, there is ad on CNN (as well as most channels) by Koch industries--saying, in paraphrase, "by 2050 each acre of farmland must produce twice as much food. Be assured Koch is rising to the occasion with GMO products!"

Nobody seeming to ask...

"OK, let us forget for a moment that we really do not know what we are doing with Frankenwheat and all that GMO technology except it makes billioins for biotech corporations... Even so, let us just consider this... If we must double productivity between 2015 to 2050... then we must also double productivity between 2050 to 2085... Etc., etc... So, how can this possibly end well for our grandchildren...?

"And more to the point--how can we claim that we give a damn?"

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (33090) from Coon Rapids, MN 2 weeks ago

Difficulty with SCALE - is basically another fiction sold to the masses as a Rock Solid Truth = that the smaller the scale the easier it is and that the larger the scale the more difficult (impossible) it becomes.

If it works - and it works well - then size of scale is not an issue - it is just as expensive or hard to do on a small (local) scale as it is on a massive (national) scale - the locals have to work just as hard as anyone else to realize success and sustainability as would everyone else all taken together. Size of scale as compared to difficulty is a myth - a task is the same on a small scale as it is on a large scale - if you have the details all accounted for - then - large scale can actually be easier than a small scale - as for one thing - mass production is much cheaper to do than small lots because the costs of development are shared out over a larger body and so is less expensive per unit - if - everyone is using the same developments and are not recreating the wheel for every application.

[-] 1 points by grapes (4942) 2 weeks ago

Let us define scale first. For me, it is the number of people supported at a comfortable standard of living on a FIXED level of resource inputs such as land, water, etc.

If you agree with it, we can talk more. Otherwise, tell me your definition.

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (33090) from Coon Rapids, MN 2 weeks ago

Scale and a comfortable healthy standard of living. Harder (more expensive to achieve) for one person than for ten together splitting costs. Still harder more expensive for ten rather than for 100 splitting costs - still harder and more expensive for 100 rather than for 1,000 splitting costs and so for 1,000 is harder more expensive than for 10,000 and so for 10,000 is harder more expensive than for 100,000 - and on and on and on...................... IF - markets are regulated (sanely) so that mass production is still cheaper than small lot production.

[-] 1 points by grapes (4942) 2 weeks ago

Therein lies the origin of modern FIRE-sector-propelled borderless prosperity and socioeconomic discontent. Agkaiser hates this FIRE sector.

I am more inclined to say that the FIRE sector has value to society but it has grown far beyond what is good for our society. Like an overgrown tree providing shade in the summer or a beautiful rose hedge sprouting fragrant roses, if it has overgrown and threatens the family living in the house by it, we must take a bushwacker to it. I love roses but if its hedge's prickly thorns grew to block doorways or walking paths, I would trim the hedge. If the shade tree is overgrown and threatens to keel over during hurricane season, I would take a chainsaw to it. We must know our priorities.

Your model pretty much requires the exchange of goods to work well. You are absolutely correct that those who trade are often better off than those who don't but trading can also foster undesirable dependencies. People around the world are so impressed by the rise of mainland China. Having starved tens of millions of Chinese to death in the worst man-made(political-ideological) famine ever(it should be taught in all schools), Red China's newly resurrected leader, Deng Xiaoping, turned in 1979 to the U.S.A. to trade with. It worked elsewhere, too - one reason why the U.S. has some staunch allies in its former deadliest enemies.

Red China can NEVER become a staunch ally of the U.S.A. because we have never beaten it to pulp like we did to Japan and it still holds on to its political dictatorship. The ideological divide is Unbridgeable. We have built up a Monster. It doesn't mean that all China is lost. There is the thriving democracy of the Republic of China.

I frankly would love to see water balloon tosses in our congressional chambers. I loved playing with my guppies swimming in a round basin when I needed to clean up their dwelling. It was fun to line them all up swimming as orderly as the soldiers marching in a parade in Paris. Then Godjilla came by! There was Trump, a queenly name, a Royal 'Clown' Colony, and U.S.S. Arizona.

The largest volume of trade in the whole world now is trans-pacific between the P.R.C. and the U.S.A. Whereas next door to the P.R.C., D.P.R.K. having a similar climate and striving for self sufficiency is nearly starving its people(even its seed corn) to death while popping fire crackers and shooting rockets in a childish phallic display of overfilled blue balls and multi-pronged vibratory dildos(it's understandably paranoid["Underconfidence plus insecurity always equals paranoia and backstabbing." - Anthony Scaramucci] having been wedged for millennia between the two most dominant East Asian cultures with imperial conquering ambitions - remember Korea's 'comfort women' under the Imperial Japanese Army. General MacArthur's G.I.'s were issued condoms in Yokohama to visit the jointly developed brothels after conquering Japan - condoms found by my Mom in my totebag elicited hysterical reaction due to what my Dad had told her about the U.S. 'occupation' of Japan['s women] - I got quite an earful of why I ought Never use condoms with my wife because of their association with Prostitutional Disrespect towards my 元配 who also liked going raw so both of my significant females had a united attitude, probably for different reasons). Dildo rattlings make me feel the pressure of the pent-up semen on both shores of the Pacific Ocean. I wish that they were Gay! Or get this at least.

안녕하세요 》Wie geht es Ihnen? Das graue Mädchen gefällt mir auch! Drucken Sie die Anleitung aus, bitte.《 Surf the Banzai Pipeline.

[-] 1 points by grapes (4942) 3 months ago

"perpetual motion of money" isn't quite correct. The root of all evils is the institutionalized perpetual theft from labor, "serving the best interest of labor." The stated goal is 2%(just about enough to confiscate all of a human battery's labor after a lifetime of working 40-50 years to make it drained and useless) confiscation of hitherto accumulated labor every year. National health care has become a government subsidy scheme for the medical insurance industry needing a bailout. The costs haven't come under control just because the government had put more money into the human batteries' pockets and forced them to patronize the medical insurance industry.

For the borrowers, there will be tax deductions, credits, depreciations, offsets, allowances, loan guarantees, federal backstopping, etc. Is it any wonder that the most productive country has been reduced to the most indebted country in the history of the world? The Liberals kept on muttering, "the U.S. is the wealthiest country in the world." It may be true but as with the Parable of the Prodigal Son, unwilling to reach into the pocket made the son live poorly. Due to our inbred polyticks, the bankruptcy of the U.S.A. will be remembered forever.

[-] 1 points by ImNotMe (1488) 4 months ago

''What a State-Owned Bank Can Do for New Jersey'', by Ellen Brown:

multum on parvo ...

[-] 1 points by ImNotMe (1488) 4 months ago

''Propaganda works by sanctifying a single value, such as faith, or patriotism. Anyone who questions it puts themselves outside the circle of respectable opinion. The sacred value is used to obscure the intentions of those who champion it. Today, the value is freedom. Freedom is a word that powerful people use to shut down thought.

''When think tanks and the billionaire press call for freedom, they are careful not to specify whose freedoms they mean. Freedom for some, they suggest, means freedom for all. In certain cases, this is true. You can exercise freedom of thought, for instance, without harming others. In other cases, one person's freedom is another's captivity.

''When corporations free themselves from trade unions, they curtail the freedoms of their workers. When the very rich free themselves from tax, other people suffer through failing public services. When financiers are free to design exotic financial instruments, the rest of us pay for the crises they cause.

''Above all, billionaires and the organizations they run demand freedom from something they call "red tape". What they mean by red tape is public protection.'' - from ...

radix omnium malorum est cupiditas ...