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letsgetitdone's picture

Grexit: Exchanges on the IT Problem Continue


I've already been over Louis Proyect's critical analysis of the chapter on the IT software problem in my new e-book. But in the comments on Proyect's post a significant dialogue occurred between two commenters at NC: Ben Johannson and Clive. Here I analyze and comment on that exchange. Read more about Grexit: Exchanges on the IT Problem Continue

letsgetitdone's picture

Overcoming Systemic Voter Disempowerment with a System Changing Technology


Nancy Bordier and Joseph M. Firestone

Most governments claim they are democracies because they hold popular elections. A large majority of their citizens who cast votes also think their governments are democracies.

But there are other criteria besides elections for determining whether or not a country has a functioning democracy -- or a failing democracy.

A major criterion, possibly the most important one, is whether voters actually control elections and their legislative consequences.

- Can voters decide who runs for office and set the priorities for the legislation their elected representatives pass if they are elected?

- Can voters freely run their own candidates? Or must they vote for candidates run by intermediaries like political parties or special interests?

- Do institutions like the U.S. electoral college and election authorities place limitations on voters' ability to run their own candidates by imposing requirements voters find it difficult or impossible to fulfill, such as collecting massive numbers of signatures, paying unaffordable fees, etc.? Read more about Overcoming Systemic Voter Disempowerment with a System Changing Technology

ek hornbeck's picture

Why Jane Curtin Hates Me


I have a life you know.

Anyway I was part of this conference at the U.N. before they cleaned all the smoke off the walls and after the thrill of sitting in actual Ambassador chairs (Zimbabwe!) it was time for our box lunch (that's what they call a stale ham and cheese sandwich, a bag of potato chips, and a rather decrepit looking apple when they stuff it in a box).

Fortunately the soda was fresh and they had some club which was good enough for me before I went all low sodium (remember to order seltzer) because I don't much like the sweet stuff. Read more about Why Jane Curtin Hates Me

Young and Holtful - Young Holt Unlimited


We can still be holtful, if not hopeful. Just sayin'... Read more about Young and Holtful - Young Holt Unlimited

letsgetitdone's picture

Hey Patriotic Billionaires, You Can Do Better Than the Buffett Rule, Anyway!

Well, the legislation implementing “The Buffett Rule” has been voted down in Congress as we all knew it would be. But so what? The Federal Government doesn't really need your money, since it can generate all the money it needs to pay off the national debt and also close any gap between tax revenues and Federal spending that Congress may want to legislate for the foreseeable future.

There's no problem of Federal solvency. There hasn't been since 1971, when the US went off the Gold Standard! The idea that we risk insolvency is just a fantasy of people who won't acknowledge that the US Government is the monopoly supplier of fiat currency to the non-Government sector of the economy, including all of the private sector.

However, even though your money isn't needed by the Government, it is very badly needed to help fund two things, I'll describe below. But, before I do that, since your patriotism has moved you to advocate for higher taxes for yourselves, I hope and expect that you will be motivated to spend the same amount in the two areas of activity where your money is most needed and would be much more effective in bringing the United States back to the state of a healthy democracy, than it would be if you and and other similarly situated patriots paid it to the Government in taxes.

I know you've frequently heard the Republican response to your proposals for higher taxes on very wealthy people like yourselves, namely that if you're so sure that higher taxes on the very wealthy are the right thing to do, then you can always contribute the additional money to the government, if you really want to. Well, my view is that you can equally well, and with much greater effect on restoring fair and effective functioning to our democracy, contribute that money directly to activities that will change key background conditions that are driving our democracy towards plutocracy right now. Here are the two areas of activity. Read more about Hey Patriotic Billionaires, You Can Do Better Than the Buffett Rule, Anyway!

letsgetitdone's picture

(MMT - JG) + Medicare for All Not = MMT


In my last post, I discussed the first part of Beowulf's post entitled: “(MMT - JG) + Medicare for All = MMT,” and also some dialogues between Jamie Galbraith and both TomThumb and Beowulf related to the MMT Job Guarantee at one of FiredogLake's Book Salon's featuring Jamie's n Read more about (MMT - JG) + Medicare for All Not = MMT

letsgetitdone's picture

A Meta-layer for Restoring Democracy and Open Society: Part One, Conceptual Foundations


Joseph M. Firestone and Henk Hadders

The Disconnect

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

letsgetitdone's picture

Is there Macroeconomics?

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?

scarshapedstar's picture

Leaky Koch Disease


So an insider has unceremoniously dumped a number of internal documents from the Heartland Institute, a Koch front group. And it's a doozy. People are making a fuss over the "controversy" based climate denialism, but that's so obvious, it's not what intrigued me. Read more about Leaky Koch Disease

letsgetitdone's picture

The Job Guarantee and the MMT Core: Part Fifteen, Components of the Knowledge Claim Network

In this post I'll list the primary components of the MMT Knowledge Claim Network (KCN) classified under the major categories: the Social/Value Gaps; the Knowledge Gaps (Problems); the Descriptive Components (including Solutions); the Policy Prescriptions; and the Narratives.

The Social/Value Gaps mentioned by MMT developers

-- Failure of Economics to contribute to the Public Purpose as defined by the failure to close the other social value gaps listed below;

-- the gap between actual output and projected “full” output;

-- High involuntary unemployment vs. full employment;

letsgetitdone's picture

The Job Guarantee and the MMT Core: Part Fourteen, MMT Is A Holistic Knowledge Claim Network


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


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