Department of Analytical Tools
It's hardly news that there’s a very wide chasm between voters, lawmakers and political parties. The rage in America reflected in the Republican primary contests is palpable. And there's also rage among progressives as well, though it's not finding an outlet in the Democratic Party. The same is true in Europe, where we see unrest in many nations. People in developing nations are demanding democracy, and making some progress too. But, everywhere one looks in developed countries, democracy is retreating, and Michels's (p. 400) “Iron Law of Oligarchy” is triumphant.
In the U.S. most Americans believe lawmakers don't care what they think, Congress's approval rating is at an all-time low, and most Americans believe the major parties won't represent them. Neither tries to match its policies to a majority of voters’ preferences, and both continuously support laws that seem designed to benefit large corporate interests and the 1%, but not working Americans. There are now more unaffiliated voters than party-affiliated ones, and major party candidates often win elections with only 25% of potential voters.
Most voters want most federal incumbents defeated, but legal constraints on minor parties and candidates typically ensure their defeat, whether they are “insurgents” from within the party, or candidates from third parties. This skewing of electoral outcomes leads voters to think that they have to vote for major party candidates, or “waste” their vote. Angry voters alternate election cycles between major party candidates to “punish” incumbents. But the new “winners” ignore what voters want, just as the old ones did. So, how can we repair this disconnect? How can we make office holders accountable and representative again? Read more about A Meta-layer for Restoring Democracy and Open Society: Part One, Conceptual Foundations
The claim of Austrian school economists that "there is no macroeconomics" because the political-economic system at the macro level is explainable in terms of the aggregated attributes and activities of political-economic agents at the micro-level of that system is false, silly, and ignores the findings of many other sciences! That's because macro-level behavior includes structural and holistic properties of these systems that are not explainable by individual level phenomena or aggregations of them. Read more about Is there Macroeconomics?
After reading one of my rants about the stupidity of policies aiming at a balanced budget, somebody in my Facebook environment, commented by saying: “1 + 1 = 2.” Here's my answer.
Yes, 1+1 = 2.
Now here's an accounting identity from macroeconomics, called the Sectoral Financial Balances (SFB) model:
Domestic Private Balance + Domestic Government Balance + Foreign Balance = 0.
It's like 1 + 1 = 2. But just slightly more "wonkish." Read more about One + One = Two (Not Too Wonkish)
I'm still processing Hedges' rant on TruthDig - I was so struck by his endorsement of violence in Greece and his condemnation of violence her in this country. I found an interesting essay at Viewpointmag.com via a comment on SMBIVA and this passage struck me as something that we should all chew on: Read more about Thinking About Oakland
I followed a link in Eureka Springs' comment on DCbloggers' Tweet of the Day post to Zunguzungu and then followed a link in that essay to an essay by Darwin Bond Graham, which provides some interesting background on the events that have taken place in Oakland in the last few years. It is very interesting reading and I recommend it. Read more about Thoughts on Oakland
Robert Prasch has what I think is a pretty good piece on Obama's SOTU address over at Translation Exercises, if anyone wants to mosey on over there. I am not at all familiar with Robert Prasch, so I would welcome the reaction of Correntians who are well-versed in economics to his work. Read more about Robert Prasch on Obama's SOTU address
The recent extensive blogosphere discussion on the JG and the MMT core began with a post by John Carney that stated his opposition to the Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) Job Guarantee proposal and claimed it either wasn't an essential component of MMT, or that if it was, then MMT was wrong. Cullen Roche, a well-known popularizer of MMT at his Pragmatic Capitalism blog then asserted: Read more about The Job Guarantee and the MMT Core: Part Fourteen, MMT Is A Holistic Knowledge Claim Network
Perhaps this is cheating, but rather than giving a link to follow, I'm reproducing a newspaper column by David Sirota. The original can be found here. He makes a very good point - one that I think is the reason that liberals are foaming at the mouth about Ron Paul. Agree or disagree?
Our Selective Definition of Bigotry
"If they have any value at all anymore, presidential election campaigns at least remain larger-than-life mirrors reflecting back painful truths about our society. As evidence, ponder the two-sided debate over Republican candidate Ron Paul and bigotry. Read more about David Sirota on Bigotry
"That is why the politics of freedom refuses to view the state as the conservative does: as a constraint. Or as the welfare-state liberal does: as a distributive machine. Instead, it views the state the way the abolitionist, the trade unionist, the civil rights activist and the feminist do: as an instrument for disrupting the private life of power. The state, in other words, is the right hand to the left hand of social movement." Read more about More From Corey Robin
I'm browsing around Corey Robin's site, after being pointed in that direction by Lambert. There's some challenging writing over there. For those of us who are committed to the de-centralization and localization movement as a response to the crimes of the centralized State, there is lots of food for thought over there. You might want to start with this essay. Quite interesting. Read more about Anarchism, Libertarianism & the Coercive State