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In the turbulent times of Trump, it seems like an eternity, but last week, Gary Cohn, the president’s chief economic advisor, resigned from his position. President Trump had asked “Cohn directly” if he could be relied on to help implement tariffs. Cohn said no, by Bloomberg Politics’ telling. Hours later, he was out. Asked and... Read More
In his September 1, 2017 speech to incoming Russian schoolchildren, Putin made waves by proclaiming that whoever becomes the leader in AI will become "ruler of the world." This provoked a variety of reactions, from Elon Musk commenting on his belief that competition for AI superiority will be the likeliest cause of World War III... Read More
Trump’s series of threats this week was a one-two punch. First, he threatened to impose national security tariffs on steel and aluminum, primarily against Canada and Mexico (along with Korea and Japan). Then, he suggested an alternative: He would exempt these countries IF they agree to certain U.S. demands. But these demands make so little... Read More
While data from various IQ tests are useful for global scale analyses (e.g. GDPcc correlations), they are far less reliable for particular countries. That's why I'm a big fan of the OECD's PISA assessments, which are highly standardized, have large samples from similar age groups, take place concurrently once every three years, test those aspects... Read More
The Next Financial Crisis -- Not If, But When
There’s been lots of fire and fury around Washington lately, including a brief government shutdown. In Donald Trump’s White House, you can hardly keep up with the ongoing brouhahas from North Korea to Robert Mueller’s Russian investigation, while it already feels like ages since the celebratory mood over the vast corporate tax cuts Congress passed... Read More
Last year's summary: Russian Demographics in 2017 Preliminary data for 2017 is in. There were about 1,689,884 (11.5/1,000) births in 2017, a decline of 10.7% relative to the 1,893,256 (12.9/1,000) births in 2016. There were about 1,824,340 (12.4/1,000) deaths in 2017, a decline of 3.4% relative to the 1,887,913 (12.9/1,000) deaths in 2016. Consequently, the... Read More
Camden Tent City, 2009
Indoctrinated for decades by relativism, we’re supposed to consider all life styles equal and never pass judgments. There must be legitimate reasons for a culture to embrace, for example, child marriage, bride kidnapping, female circumcision, Oprah Winfrey, or universal, all day long access to pornography. Shit, though, is a hard sell, thus open sewers or... Read More
America's greatest strategic mind of global recognition, Alfred Thayer Mahan, in his seminal work The Influence of Sea Power upon History saw the World Ocean and activity in it as the foundation for national greatness and power. The pivot of this greatness was a powerful navy. Through Mahan, the Theory of Navalism reached American elites... Read More
The idea of annulling debts nowadays seems so unthinkable that most economists and many theologians doubt whether the Jubilee Year could have been applied in practice, and indeed on a regular basis. A widespread impression is that the Mosaic debt jubilee was a utopian ideal. However, Assyriologists have traced it to a long tradition of... Read More
Outlook for the 1% (and the Democratic Party split), 2018
Low interest rates, "quantitative easing," and the mitigation of antitrust laws led to more mergers and acquisitions in 2017, but that's only going to fuel greater wealth inequality and tighten the corporate grip on the political system, explains economist Michael Hudson. GREGORY WILPERT: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Gregory Wilpert coming to you... Read More
As we move into 2018, I am swinging away from the Republicans. I don’t support the Paul Ryan “Better Way” agenda. I don’t support neoliberal economics. I think we have been going in the wrong direction since the 1970s and don’t want to continue going down this road. Opioid Deaths: As we all know, the... Read More
A sense of betrayal seems to lie just behind today’s political discourse—a feeling of being left behind, a suspicion that those at the top, in media, corporations, politics, academia, and finance, have motives and goals at odds with those of the broader population. Put simply, Americans of all backgrounds fear and loathe a hostile elite.... Read More
Class Struggle and Imperial Wars as the Motor Force of US History
Introduction The American welfare state was created in 1935 and continued to develop through 1973. Since then, over a prolonged period, the capitalist class has been steadily dismantling the entire welfare state. Between the mid 1970’s to the present (2017) labor laws, welfare rights and benefits and the construction of and subsidies for affordable housing... Read More
Shake Up and Shake Down
Introduction Major changes are roiling the states, societies and ruling classes of the biggest industrial economies, oil regimes and military complexes. China is re-allocating its economic wealth toward building the most extensive modern infrastructure system in history, linking four continents. Saudi Arabia is transferring a trillion dollars of pillage from princes to princes, from old... Read More
West Scranton, 2017
On Thanksgiving, I came to Scranton to stay with a 65-year-old friend who’s going through a cage fight kind of divorce, though only one side is dishing out the sharp elbows and knees. Just hearing Christmas music at the Dollar Store was driving him mad, Chuck confessed. The four-hour bus ride from Philly stopped in... Read More
Introduction to the German Edition
In theory, the global financial system is supposed to help every country gain. Mainstream teaching of international finance, trade and “foreign aid” (defined simply as any government credit) depicts an almost utopian system uplifting all countries, not stripping their assets and imposing austerity. The reality since World War I is that the United States has... Read More
Guangzhou, China (/r/Cyberpunk) Some time ago a commenter asked me about the state of China Studies in Russia, an issue that is pretty germane as they increasingly align with each other. TL;DR - Catastrophic. Simply put, Russia does not have the cognitive tools to understand the country that Kremlin talking points describe as Russia’s "strategic... Read More
Some Stuff Worth Knowing
For Americans concerned about Mexico and Mexicans, and what sort of wights they be, a little history may help. We seem to know almost nothing about a bordering nation of 130 million. It is not what most of us think it is. It is certainly not what the Loon Right would have us believe. For... Read More
"If the tax reform bill goes through, do you plan to increase your company's capital investment?" The question was posed to a sizeable group of CEOs at The Wall Street Journal's CEO Council, in the presence of White House economic adviser Gary Cohn. A pitiful show of hands failed to wipe the smirk off Mr.... Read More
Secretary of the Treasury for the .01%
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin doesn’t exactly come across as the guy you’d want in your corner in a playground tussle. In the Trump administration, he’s been more like the kid trying to cop favor with the school bully. That, at least, is the role he seems to have taken in the Trump White House. When... Read More
New York, 2017
To go home, I had to take a taxi to Saigon’s airport, fly to Hanoi, then on to Hong Kong, where during a 5 ½ hour layover I’d take a train to Central to hang out a bit, then back to the airport to fly to JFK, then hop on two trains just to get... Read More
(Lumpen Capitalism refers to an economic system in which the financial and military sector exploits the state treasury and productive economy for the 1% of the population.) Introduction US journalists and commentators, politicians and Sinologists spend considerable time and space speculating on the personality of China’s President Xi Jinping and his appointments to the leading... Read More
That's the Rub, It Can't
In order to understand China and how the world works, I am very lucky to have lived here during two very different time periods. It started 1990-1997. In the first book of The China Trilogy, 44 Days Backpacking in China, I called this period the Wild East Deng Xiaoping Buckaroo Days. It was intense, crazy... Read More
2017 compared to 1917
Socialism flowered in the 19th century as a program to reform capitalism by raising labor’s status an
The latest in our series of translations of Russian national-conservative thinker Egor Kholmogorov. Translated by: Fluctuarius Argenteus; slightly edited by AK. Original: *** It may seem strange that, at the turn of the 21st century, the word “Socialism” is back in the popular political idiom. The final decade of the preceding century seemed to have... Read More
Home cooking in Hanoi, 2017
I’m back in Hanoi. Noi Bai Airport was sparkling after its recent upgrade, and I rode into town on a wide, well-landscaped freeway named after general Vo Nguyen Giap. On both sides were shops and restaurants. “I don’t recognize any of this, brother,” I said to the taxi driver, a man in his mid 40’s.... Read More
An interview with journalist Chris Hedges
On Monday, WSWS International Editorial Board Chairman David North interviewed Chris Hedges, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, author, lecturer and former New York Times correspondent. Among Hedges’ best-known books are War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning, The Death of the Liberal Class, Empire of Illusion: the End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle,... Read More
It should be called the Leona Helmsley tax plan, only the little people will pay taxes
S. Peries: It's the Real News Network. I'm Sharmini Peries coming to you from Baltimore. A general consensus is emerging that Trump's tax plan, which he presented last Wednesday will benefit mostly the country's upper classes and corporations. In fact the only people that got a tax increase are the poorest taxpayers. A quick scan... Read More
America has the greatest inequalities, highest mortality rate, most regressive taxes, and largest public subsidies for bankers and billionaires of any developed capitalist country. In this essay we will discuss the socio-economic roots of inequalities and the relation between the concentration of wealth and the downward mobility of the working and salaried classes. How the... Read More
East-Central Europe - the Visegrad nations and the Balts - are commonly considered to have had far better post-Communist transitions than Russia. They started earlier, and from a more privileged position; in contrast, the Soviet economy was more distorted in the first place, and there were no living memories of prewar capitalism. They got more... Read More
Immigration patriots are fighting back against Donald Trump’s dalliance with a DACA [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals] Amnesty, and there’s evidence they’re having the predicted impact. But in the furor, the H-1B “temporary” worker program has been pushed to the background. Patriots need to keep their eyes on this program as well. Most readers... Read More
The fall of 2017 will witness the most brutal assault on working and middle class living standards since the end of World War II. Three presidents and their congressional allies will ‘revise’ labor legislation, progressive income tax laws and regulations and effectively end the mixed economy in France, the US and Brazil. Throughout the summer,... Read More
Marseille, 2017
Born in Nghe An, he quit school after the 9th grade to start working full time at 15-years-old. He got a job in Saigon, then Phu Quoc Island, the southernmost part of Vietnam. He visited Hanoi and remote Dien Bien Phu, right on the Laotian border. At 18, he agreed to pay $15,000 to be... Read More
Photo by Charleston’s TheDigitel | CC BY 2.0
Interview with Vlado Plaga in the German magazine FAIRCONOMY, September 2017. Originally, you didn’t want to become an economist. How did it come that you changed your plans and digged so deep into economics? I found economics aesthetic, as beautiful as astronomy. I came to New York expecting to become an orchestra conductor, but I... Read More
A Broad Spectrum Column
OK, I’m trying to figure out cars. Especially the electric and nuclear-powered ones. Mostly the fizzing and fuming about how great electrics are, or maybe the end of civilization, seems political. Liberals love them because they will prevent pollution, end global warming, and maybe stop hair loss. Libertarians hate them because they associate them with... Read More
Trump is Turning Against the White Working Class that Elected Him
SHARMINI PERIES: It's the Real News Network. I'm Sharmini Peries coming to you from Baltimore. The rise of stock prices in the US stock market could be an indication of economic growth and prosperity, but it could also be an indication of the concentration of wealth of the rich and powerful. Which is it? To... Read More
U.S. Sanctions Aimed at Russia Strike Western European Allies
Do they know what they are doing? When the U.S. Congress adopts draconian sanctions aimed mainly at disempowering President Trump and ruling out any move to improve relations with Russia, do they realize that the measures amount to a declaration of economic war against their dear European “friends”? Whether they know or not, they obviously... Read More
Back in the 1990s stock bubble it was common for analysts to say things like price-to-earnings ratios (PE) no longer mattered. They were right, at least for a while, as the stock valuations of companies like AOL and Priceline soared way beyond anything that could conceivably be justified by current or future earnings. Of course... Read More
What will those rascals in Moscow do next?
It has been another week full of news about Russia. Americans might be surprised to learn that nearly every aspect of their lives has been somehow impacted by the insidious covert activity of a former global enemy that now has an economy the size of Spain or Italy. One of the latest claims is that... Read More
Amid the proverbial doom and gloom pervading all things Syria, the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune sometimes yield, well, good fortune. Take what happened this past Sunday in Beijing. The China-Arab Exchange Association and the Syrian Embassy organized a Syria Day Expo crammed with hundreds of Chinese specialists in infrastructure investment. It was a... Read More
Ancient Silk Road Routes.  Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Peter Frankopan's The Silk Roads: A New History of the World shows why we need to re-vision history
The word revisionist derives from roots meaning "to look again." And since history is an ongoing project, whose main purpose is to help us understand where we have come from and where we are going, we obviously need to keep taking fresh looks at the past as we propose new visions of the future. Obligatory... Read More
Pretty much everything our media tells us about China is wrong–or at least one-sided–including its tales of a China ‘debt problem’. The Chinese are, in all times and places, debt-averse and China’s government which, unlike ours, must take long-term responsibility for the economy, is no different. Mao set the example and grew GDP by 6.2... Read More
To one watching the advance of Chinese science and technology, or to me anyway, several things stand out. First, the headlong pace. Second, the amount of it that appears aimed at making China independent of the West technologically and getting the United States off Beijing’s back. Third, the apparent calculated focus. It looks like intelligent... Read More
As a rule I try to see my glass half-full, leaving the half-empty one to other fellows. And now there are some good reasons for an eternal optimist to stick to his positive schedule. Though it tarried, the summer has come, after all, to the North. The skies are blue, the grass is green and... Read More
Glass-Steagall or Another Economic Meltdown?
Donald, listen, whatever you’ve done so far, whatever you’ve messed up, there’s one thing you could do that would make up for a lot. It would be huge! Terrific! It could change our world for the better in a big-league way! It could save us all from economic disaster! And it isn’t even hard to... Read More
As published in Harper’s Magazine. Let’s start with your 2006 Harper’s article. What did you see happening at that point? It was very clear that more and more of everybody’s income had to go to buying a
In the years since the 2008 economic crisis, financial transactions taxes (FTTs) have gone from a fringe idea to a policy that is in mainstream policy debates. They are seen as a way to both raise large amounts of money and to slow the pace of churning in financial markets. For this reason, most progressive... Read More
SHARMINI PERIES: Just prior to the economic collapse of 2007-2008 there were several economic indicators which could have given us a clue of the impending disaster. If we look at the economic situation today in the US, we find many of these very same indicators. Housing prices are getting very high. Credit card debt has... Read More
Economist Tyler Cowen of Marginal Revolution interviews Stanford economist Raj Chetty and borrows a number of his questions from my appreciative 2015 critique in Taki's Magazine, "Moneyball for Real Estate," of the flaws in Chetty's methodology in his huge and much publicized study of how income mobility over the generations varies by county across the... Read More
If One Arm is Right, the Other Will Be Left, No?
This worthy and public-spirited column seldom dives into the thickets of military hardware, which it regards as excessively technical. However, the arms race between China and Washington is of enough gravity that its more exotic armaments may be of interest. Herewith, the truly dangerous weaponry of the contending sides. C-919 A Chinese narrow-body intended to... Read More
Category Classics
A simple remedy for income stagnation
Which superpower is more threatened by its “extractive elites”?
The sources of America’s immigration problems—and a possible solution