Srebrenica

11 Jul, 2020 at 09:45 | Posted in Politics & Society | 1 Comment


The Srebrenica genocide is the worst episode of mass murder within Europe since World War II. In July 1995 more than 7,000 Bosnian Muslims were slain by Bosnian Serb forces.

Today we pay tribute to the victims.

Let us never forget them.

Dags för socialdemokratin att göra upp med sin nyliberala åtstramningpolitik

4 Jul, 2020 at 16:00 | Posted in Economics, Politics & Society | 5 Comments

I stället för att använda den möjlighet som Coronakrisen inneburit att göra rent hus med nyliberalismens falska berättelser, har den socialdemokratiska partiledningen valt att försvara den ekonomiska politik som förts sedan 1990-talet …

bigOriginalTrots att nästan alla länder vi brukar jämföra oss med har kunnat göra lika stora eller betydligt större finanspolitiska satsningar i krisen, talas här i landet om att det skulle vara tack vare “ansvarsfull” sparpolitik förut som vi nu kan satsa och rädda jobb …

Trots att ojämlikheten förklarats vara tillväxthämmande och direkt farlig för demokratin. Och trots att Riksbankschefen förklarat att han kan skapa hur många svenska kronor som helst genom en enkel knapptryckning kommer redan varningarna från den socialdemokratiska ledningen och den moderata oppositionen om att vi snart måste börja “spara i ladorna” igen.

Åtstramning alltså, som svar på krisen.

Sofie Eriksson & Markus Kallifatides & Daniel Suhonen

Yours truly och några få andra nationalekonomer — som fortfarande har lite kontakt med verkligheten — har under ett par års tid nu frågat sig varför vi i det här landet har en regering som inte vågar satsa på en offensiv finanspolitik och låna mer. Inte minst mot bakgrund av de historiskt låga räntorna är det ett gyllene tillfälle att satsa på investeringar inom infrastruktur, vård, skola och välfärd.

Vad många politiker och mediala så kallade experter inte verkar (vilja) förstå är att det finns en avgörande skillnad mellan privata och offentliga skulder. Om en individ försöker spara och dra ner på sina skulder, så kan det mycket väl vara rationellt. Men om alla försöker göra det, blir följden att den aggregerade efterfrågan sjunker och arbetslösheten riskerar ökar.

En enskild individ måste alltid betala sina skulder. Men en stat kan alltid betala tillbaka sina gamla skulder med nya skulder. Staten är inte en individ. Statliga skulder är inte som privata skulder. En stats skulder är väsentligen en skuld till den själv, till dess medborgare.

En statsskuld är varken bra eller dålig. Den ska vara ett medel att uppnå två övergripande makroekonomiska mål — full sysselsättning och prisstabilitet. Vad som är ‘heligt’ är inte att ha en balanserad budget eller att hålla nere statsskulden. Om idén om ‘sunda’ statsfinanser leder till ökad arbetslöshet och instabila priser borde det vara självklart att den överges. ‘Sunda’ statsfinanser är osunt.

Tyvärr verkar det som om Magdalena Andersson — i likhet med många andra gamla studenter från Handelshögskolan i Stockholm — har rejäla kunskapsluckor. Kanske borde man sluta lära ut monetaristiskt Chicago-nonsens från 70-talet och istället följa med i teoriutvecklingen. Lite ‘functional finance’ och MMT kanske inte skulle skada även på maktelitens lekskola …

Ett lands statsskuld är sällan en orsak till ekonomisk kris, utan snarare ett symtom på en kris som sannolikt blir värre om inte underskotten i de offentliga finan­serna får öka.

Den ­svenska utlandsskulden är historiskt låg. Den konsoliderade statsskulden ligger idag på lite över 20 procent av BNP och enligt regeringens prognoser från tidigare i år kommer den att vara kring 16 procent om två år. Med tanke på de stora utmaningar som Sverige står inför i coronavirusets kölvatten är fortsatt tal om “ansvar” för statsbudgeten minst sagt oansvarigt. I stället för att ”värna om statsfinanserna” bör en ansvarsfull rege­ringen se till att värna om samhällets framtid. När numera t.o.m. IMF insett att det är kontraproduktivt att föra en ekonomisk politik med syfte att minska statsskulden, är det minst sagt bedrövligt när en regering inte insett att problemet med en statsskuld i en situation med nästintill negativa räntor inte är att den är för stor, utan för liten.

The concept of dynamics

4 Jul, 2020 at 08:59 | Posted in Economics, Politics & Society | 7 Comments

adornThe concept of dynamics, which complements bourgeois “ahistoricity,” is raised to something absolute, while it nevertheless, as the anthropological reflex of the laws of production, must be critically confronted in the emancipated society with need. The idea of unfettered doing, of uninterrupted creating, of chubby-cheeked insatiability, of freedom as intense activity, feeds on the bourgeois concept of nature, which from time immemorial has served to proclaim social violence as irrevocable, as a piece of healthy eternity. It was due to this and not any presumed equalization that the positive designs of socialism, against which Marx bristled, remained in barbarism. What is to be feared is not the slackening of humanity in a life of luxury, but rather the dessicated expansion of what, in the guise of the all-natural, is social – the collectivity as the blind rage of making. The naively mandated unambiguity of the tendency of development towards the raising of production is itself a piece of that bourgeois nature [Bürgerlichkeit], which permits development only in one direction, because, integrated into the totality, ruled by quantification, it is hostile to the qualitative difference. If one thinks of the emancipated society as one emancipated precisely from such a totality, then alignments become visible, which have little in common with the raising of production and its human mirror-images.

T. W. Adorno

Inequality and luxury

2 Jul, 2020 at 16:42 | Posted in Politics & Society | Leave a comment

thThus luxury is being hollowed out. For in the middle of general fungibility, happiness clings without exception to what is not fungible. No exertion of humanity, no formal reasoning can alter the fact that the clothing which shimmers like a fairy-tale is worn by the one and only, not by twenty-thousand others. Under capitalism, the utopia of the qualitative — what by virtue of its difference and uniqueness does not enter into the ruling exchange relationship — flees into the fetish character. But this promise of happiness in luxury presupposes once more privilege, economic inequality, precisely a society based on fungibility. That is why the qualitative itself turns into a special case of quantification, the not-fungible into the fungible, luxury into comfort and in the end into senseless gadgets. In such a circle the principle of luxury goes to pieces even without the leveling tendency of mass society, over which the reactionaries sentimentally fuss and fume. The inner composition of luxury is not indifferent to what useless things, through their total embedding in the realm of usefulness, experience. Its remainders, even objects of the greatest quality, already look like junk.

T. W. Adorno

The Deficit Myth

24 Jun, 2020 at 10:41 | Posted in Economics, Politics & Society | 15 Comments

keltonSoon after joining the Budget Committee, Kelton the deficit owl played a game with the staffers. She would first ask if they would wave a magic wand that had the power to eliminate the national debt. They all said yes. Then Kelton would ask, “Suppose that wand had the power to rid the world of US Treasuries. Would you wave it?” This question—even though it was equivalent to asking to wipe out the national debt—“drew puzzled looks, furrowed brows, and pensive expressions. Eventually, everyone would decide against waving the wand.”

Such is the spirit of Kelton’s book, The Deficit Myth. She takes the reader down trains of thought that turn conventional wisdom about federal budget deficits on its head. Kelton makes absurd claims that the reader will think surely can’t be true…but then she seems to justify them by appealing to accounting tautologies. And because she uses apt analogies and relevant anecdotes, Kelton is able to keep the book moving despite its dry subject matter. She promises the reader that MMT opens up grand new possibilities for the federal government to help the unemployed, the uninsured, and even the planet itself…if we would only open our minds to a paradigm shift …

Precisely because Kelton’s book is so unexpectedly impressive, I would urge longstanding critics of MMT to resist the urge to dismiss it with ridicule. Although it’s fun to lambaste “magical monetary theory” on social media and to ask, “Why don’t you move to Zimbabwe?” such moves will only serve to enhance the credibility of MMT in the eyes of those who are receptive to it.

Robert P. Murphy / Mises Institute

Can a government go bankrupt?
No. You cannot be indebted to yourself.

Can a central bank go bankrupt?
No. A central bank can in principle always ‘print’ more money.

Do taxpayers have to repay government debts?
No, at least not as long the debt is incurred in a country’s own currency.

Do increased public debts burden future generations?
No, not necessarily. It depends on what the debt is used for.

Does maintaining full employment mean the government has to increase its debt?
No.

dec3bb27f72875e4fb4d4b62daebb2fd161b36392c1a0626f00cfd2ece207d84As the national debt increases, and with it the sum of private wealth, there will be an increasingly yield from taxes on higher incomes and inheritances, even if the tax rates are unchanged. These higher tax payments do not represent reductions of spending by the taxpayers. Therefore the government does not have to use these proceeds to maintain the requisite rate of spending, and can devote them to paying the interest on the national debt …

The greater the national debt the greater is the quantity of private wealth. The reason for this is simply that for every dollar of debt owed by the government there is a private creditor who owns the government obligations (possibly through a corporation in which he has shares), and who regards these obligations as part of his private fortune. The greater the private fortunes the less is the incentive to add to them by saving out of current income …

If for any reason the government does not wish to see private property grow too much … it can check this by taxing the rich instead of borrowing from them, in its program of financing government spending to maintain full employment.

Abba Lerner

Über linke und rechte Identitätspolitik

22 Jun, 2020 at 14:00 | Posted in Politics & Society | 4 Comments

Wie links ist es etwa, wenn jüdische Studenten der Universität von Virginia von einer Initiative gegen weisse Suprematisten ausgeschlossen werden, weil sie aus Sicht ihrer gojischen, progressiven Kommilitonen und eifrigen Identitätskommissare als Juden bestimmt Israel unterstützen und damit dieselben Rassisten sind wie alle Israelis? … …

Identity_politicsEs gibt, glaube ich, noch eine weitere schreckliche Gemeinsamkeit zwischen linker und rechter Identitätspolitik … So wie die alten 20.-Jahrhundert-Nazis in ihrer Jugend ein Haufen zu kurz gekommener, neidischer, völlig unbegabter, asozialer deutscher Kleinstspießer und Lumpenproletarier waren, die sich in der bürgerlichen und ziemlich jüdischen Leistungsgesellschaft des ausgehenden 19. Jahrhunderts nicht zurechtfanden und sich, statt selbst gute Schriftsteller, Börsenmakler oder Ärzte zu werden, kurzerhand zu privilegierten Quoten-Deutschen, auch bekannt als Herrenmenschen erklärten, was die Deutschen an sich, als ewiges Zukurzgekommenenvolk, eh super fanden – genauso kommen mir heute viele, wirklich sehr viele Identitäts-Politik-People vor, die mit dem tränenreichen, stigmatisierenden Hinweis auf die sie angeblich beleidigende sexuelle, soziale, geschlechtliche, moralische Zugehörigkeit von Irgendwem zu Irgendwas einfach nur gesellschaftliche und berufliche Konkurrenten aus dem Weg räumen wollen, um zum Schluss selbst ihren Platz einzunehmen.

Maxim Biller / Die Zeit

Maxim Biller ist mal wieder gereizt. Eine Provokation? Ja. Aber auch ernüchternde!

Der Unterschied zwischen Schweden und Deutschland

22 Jun, 2020 at 10:28 | Posted in Politics & Society | Leave a comment

expertZEIT: Wenn Sie sehen, wie Experten im Fernsehen befragt werde, tut Ihnen das weh?

Angner: Ja, schon. Manchmal möchte ich meinen Fernseher hineinschreien: “Das können Sie doch gar nicht wissen!”

ZEIT: Der ehemalige schwedische Staatsepidemiologe Johan Giesecke hat gesagt: “Der Unterschied zwischen Schweden und Deutschland ist, dass Deutschland seine Wirtschaft ruiniert.”

Angner: Johan Giesecke ist so viel in den Medien, weil er sehr selbstbewusst ist und einfach sachen raushaut. Ein klarer fall von Selbstüberchätzung.

Die Zeit

Unforgettable picture

15 Jun, 2020 at 19:02 | Posted in Politics & Society | 1 Comment

 
unforgettable

Patrick Hutchinson carrying an injured white man to safety during protests in London because he didn’t want the reason for the protests to be lost in one moment of violence.
 
A courageous act. And courage is not anything very common. The value we put on it is a witness to its rarity.

Courage is to do the right thing in spite of danger and fear. To keep on even if opportunities to turn back are given. Like in the great stories. The ones where people have lots of chances of turning back — but don’t.

Diese Frage tut weh

12 Jun, 2020 at 22:53 | Posted in Politics & Society | 1 Comment

 

Yours truly gebe ehrlich zu dass er oft aus purer Neugier auch diese Frage gestellt habe. Aber — man lernt ja bekanntlich nie aus.

New study shows use of face masks can reduce the risk of infection

12 Jun, 2020 at 13:01 | Posted in Politics & Society | 2 Comments

Can-masks-and-surgical-masks-protect-against-the-coronavirusOur search identified 172 observational studies across 16 countries and six continents, with no randomised controlled trials and 44 relevant comparative studies in health-care and non-health-care settings (n=25 697 patients). Transmission of viruses was lower with physical distancing of 1 m or more, compared with a distance of less than 1 m (n=10 736, pooled adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 0·18, 95% CI 0·09 to 0·38; risk difference [RD] −10·2%, 95% CI −11·5 to −7·5; moderate certainty); protection was increased as distance was lengthened (change in relative risk [RR] 2·02 per m; pinteraction=0·041; moderate certainty). Face mask use could result in a large reduction in risk of infection (n=2647; aOR 0·15, 95% CI 0·07 to 0·34, RD −14·3%, −15·9 to −10·7; low certainty), with stronger associations with N95 or similar respirators compared with disposable surgical masks or similar (eg, reusable 12–16-layer cotton masks; pinteraction=0·090; posterior probability >95%, low certainty). Eye protection also was associated with less infection (n=3713; aOR 0·22, 95% CI 0·12 to 0·39, RD −10·6%, 95% CI −12·5 to −7·7; low certainty). Unadjusted studies and subgroup and sensitivity analyses showed similar findings.
Interpretation

The findings of this systematic review and meta-analysis support physical distancing of 1 m or more and provide quantitative estimates for models and contact tracing to inform policy. Optimum use of face masks, respirators, and eye protection in public and health-care settings should be informed by these findings and contextual factors. Robust randomised trials are needed to better inform the evidence for these interventions, but this systematic appraisal of currently best available evidence might inform interim guidance.

Derek Chu et al. / The Lancet

Trump — reckless, irresponsible and cruel

11 Jun, 2020 at 13:55 | Posted in Politics & Society | 4 Comments

 

American Alb-Dream

11 Jun, 2020 at 08:34 | Posted in Politics & Society | Comments Off on American Alb-Dream

 

Is basic income the answer after COVID-19?

10 Jun, 2020 at 16:06 | Posted in Politics & Society | Comments Off on Is basic income the answer after COVID-19?

 

L’urgence de ralentir

10 Jun, 2020 at 09:58 | Posted in Politics & Society | Comments Off on L’urgence de ralentir

 

8 minutes and 46 seconds

9 Jun, 2020 at 08:59 | Posted in Politics & Society | Comments Off on 8 minutes and 46 seconds

 

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