Ktismatics

1 December 2011

Dollar Sale at the Fed

Filed under: Culture, Reflections — ktismatics @ 7:21 am

The Dow Jones rose 4% yesterday. From the NY Times:

On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve, the Bank of England, the European Central Bank, the Bank of Japan, the Bank of Canada and the Swiss National Bank, trying to bolster financial markets as the euro zone grinds on, announced that they would reduce by about half the cost of a program under which banks in foreign countries could borrow dollars from their own central banks, which in turn get those dollars from the Fed… The move is intended to free up liquidity and ensure that European banks have funds during the sovereign debt crisis… It was unclear even after Wednesday’s move whether banks would loosen up lending or whether the market enthusiasm would last… The dollar fell against an index of major currencies. The euro rose to $1.3433 from $1.3328.

So what does that mean? What is the “program” by which world banks are able to borrow dollars? All I can figure is that the “program” is to borrow dollars from the source of dollars, namely the Fed. If the Fed reduces the cost to the banks of borrowing dollars — i.e., by lowering the interest rate it charges — then the Fed can expect demand for dollars to go up. How does the Fed meet that demand? By printing more dollars: that’s why the dollar is also called a Federal Reserve Note. So this move is an indication that the Fed is prepared, based on increased demand, to expand dramatically the supply of dollars in the world economy.

Why will easing access to dollars alleviate the debt crisis in Europe? Because most of the lenders of last resort for the Greek and Italian governments aren’t the European central banks but the money markets, which lend short-term for higher interest rates. Evidently most of the money markets are majority owned by Americans and deal in American currency. The money markets aren’t limited to investing only their depositors’ money; they can also borrow, using their deposits as collateral, just like any other financial institution. If the money markets spot a high-yield lending opportunity like, say, a European government that’s been cut off from its usual cheap source of funds, they borrow low in order to lend high.

What if the borrower gets in too deep and can’t pay back the loan? This is what happened when the housing bubble burst. Solution: get a bailout. Have the Fed print more dollars; the banks borrow from the Fed for cheap; the money markets borrow from the banks for cheap. Then the money markets can prop up their balance sheets without having to sell their “toxic assets,” which in this case are the debts owed by the Italian and Greek governments. Then make sure that the borrowing governments pay back their loans: impose another round of austerity, expand government-owned production, whatever it takes. Just make sure that those governments don’t do like Iceland and Argentina and default, telling their lenders to go fuck themselves so they can dig themselves out of the hole and start over, deploying what Paul Krugman calls the “bankrupt yourself to recovery” model.

But that’s next year, and it’s not a sure thing. For right now, the money markets have access to more cash that they can lend at high interest rates to those same governments. Will it help right those floundering ships, or is it throwing good money after bad? We’ll worry about that later, say the money market managers. Of course it’s their call whether they’re going to continue lending to Greece and Italy, or whether they’ll pass on their own lower borrowing costs to their debtors. The stock market is betting that they will: bank stocks were the biggest gainers in yesterday’s trading.

If the “program” works, there will be a lot more total dollars in worldwide circulation. That means that any individual dollar is worth less, and so the dollar sinks against other world currencies. That means that the price of purchasing American goods goes down relative to goods produced in other countries, which should signal an expansion of production among other US industries, especially since they too can borrow dollars more cheaply than before. The devaluation of the dollar also means that American workers will cost less for employers to hire, so maybe domestic unemployment goes down. The flip side of that coin is that the American worker’s paycheck will have less purchasing power, an effect achieved not by cutting the amount of dollars being paid out but by cutting the value of those dollars. But it’s far from a sure thing that business expansion will happen in America, since third-world workers will still be cheaper than their American counterparts even after devaluing the dollar. And devaluing the dollar is also likely to mean an increase in domestic prices for goods and services, which might further suppress consumer purchasing within the US.

So this big banking move should enhance the position first of banks and then of other businesses that do a lot of business in American dollars. It might increase US employment while simultaneously decreasing the real income of American workers. And Greece and Italy might still decide they’d rather not pay back their enormous and crippling national debts, thereby collapsing the balance sheets of the money markets and second-tier banks that continue lending to them. So we’ll have to wait and see.

There’s one thing we can be sure of though: the central banks will always survive, because they can always crank up the printing press to make more money for themselves. There is one move that would pull the rug out from under the sure thing: the national governments that borrow from the central banks could decide to tell those banks to fuck off and start printing their own money. Argentina did it, and so did Iceland, and their economies and governments are doing fine. What if Greece and Italy did it? What if the US did it?

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33 Comments »

  1. That does sum it up nicely and the game goes on.

    Less purchasing power and we’ll see that strange anomaly that sank Carter’s ship – low interest rates + staggering inflation. Employers will be happy as they shed jobs and shrink payrolls and another generation of highly experienced but unemployable folks will be pounding the pavements and not making ends meet, stop mortgage and credit card payments, and here we go for round 3!

    Hilary will be happy if Obama gets bumped but he’s not quite out for the count yet! Obama has Bush’s terror war on his side for the time being, at least till Americans start asking what they got for the $$$ that are still disappearing down that rabbit hole. Then, as you do eventually pull back, there will be all those out of work, troubled, and unemployable veterans…

    Comment by sam carr — 1 December 2011 @ 2:11 pm

  2. Hi Sam. That’s a very possible scenario: the cheaper dollar lowers the US unemployment rate while raising the cost of living. A report came out last week indicating that American workers’ productivity rose last quarter while total labor costs declined — so companies are squeezing more work out of fewer workers. With persistent high unemployment and lower pay rates for those who still have jobs, it’s no wonder the US economy is stagnant, growing maybe 2% this year. The Occupy Wall Street movement may have shifted the conversation away from debt repayment to jobs, but there’s only so much the government can do about unemployment unless it hires back a lot of those government workers it laid off last year.

    In contrast, I see that India’s growth rate is strong at about 7%. However, businesses expected even more robust growth, so they borrowed heavily for expansion and now they have to pay these loans back without much to show for it. I see also that the Indian stock market has dropped more than 20% this year, presumably because of this lower than anticipated growth. I see that the national government debt of India is a bit lower than the US based on % of GDP. Is there a big push there to pay back this debt via austerity measures? The unemployment rate in India is about the same as the US, even though there has been a net outsourcing of American jobs to India. So I presume this means that there is enough competition for jobs that there won’t be any large salaries in India any time soon, which might prompt the multinationals to hire more American workers.

    Comment by ktismatics — 1 December 2011 @ 3:04 pm

  3. India and China are both growing at a healthy rate but in India’s case, most of the growth has been an offshoot of American-European outsourcing. Our stock markets are down now because there is so much less work being generated in the developed world. However, a $1,000 a month is still a very big salary here, and we have an abundant English literate – computer savvy workforce available, so the multinationals are still rapidly expanding their Indian operations. I’d imagine that taxing that outsourcing would really be an excellent option for generating some income for the US, but mysteriously that does not seem to be on the cards!

    The earlier prediction for growth in India (about a year back) was over 10%, but following the global pattern, that’s been pared back and will probably contract further. The relatively large inflow of US$ has also fed inflation, so we will see costs continuing to rise, but we’re a long ways away in terms of salary parity from the developed world, so the outsourcing trend will surely continue to increase.

    Strangely enough our economists all believe that we should be following where the West has led, in spite of seeing more and more evidence that that’s a slow but sure bubble trap. With the ‘death’ of communism, there now seems to be no attempt at all at thinking outside of the capitalist box. OWS may have been the first indication of a push in that direction, but is it going anywhere, and what are the emerging alternatives? Perhaps facing the fact that there is a problem is itself a big enough leap forward…

    Comment by sam carr — 1 December 2011 @ 3:43 pm

  4. The whole thing about debts is that it’s just a monetary issue. Being so, it’s not really “debt” in the normal way we use the word, i.e. we can painlessly “pay it back” by simply printing dollars. The US and Europe don’t have a “debt” crisis, it’s only a crisis of wrong headed monetary policy. We should create enough dollars / euros so that our living standards live up to our potential. Nothing more as it would be inflationary, but certainly nothing less. Society can’t be in debt to itself and we need to drop the whole nonsense.

    I disagree with your conclusion: “If the “program” works, there will be a lot more total dollars in worldwide circulation. That means that any individual dollar is worth less, and so the dollar sinks against other world currencies.”. There’s a number of theories on how currency value is determined and what causes inflation and your conclusion is based on one of them. But does it really make sense? If the world is say at 60% of its productive capacity and we create additional money to bring more people “on line”, and our capacity utilization (I hate that economic term) then increases to 80%, why would that lead to inflation? So much of economic theory is designed to support an ideological view of the world.

    Comment by Jim — 1 December 2011 @ 4:26 pm

  5. Hey Jim. I was out taking a walk in the snow thinking about whether I should ask you questions about these issues on your blog or in an email, but now that I’m back I’m happy to see that you’ve opened the door here.

    You say that the federal debt can be resolved by printing dollars. But isn’t that the source of the debt in the first place? The Treasury “buys” dollars (i.e., Federal Reserve notes) from the Fed in exchange for Treasury notes. If the exchange between the Treasury and the Fed consists of offsetting balance sheet entries, why does the Treasury have to pay the Fed interest? The Fed has to return to the Treasury any profits it earns, which I presume includes interest it collects on the national debt. Why not just cancel the Treasury interest payments altogether?

    In places like Italy the government has borrowed more than the central banks are willing to lend it, so they have to pay higher interest rates. Is the US government in this boat as well? I.e., does the federal government borrow from any sources other than the Fed?

    I think I understand your last point about money supply. People who already have jobs might take a hit in the short run if more money gets printed and they don’t get a pay raise. But increasing the amount of money in circulation also increases the ability of businesses and governments to expand their operations, which puts more people to work. An increased supply of goods and services available for sale in the marketplace should increase producer competition, which would result in lower market prices. And increasing the money supply also makes it easier to pay back outstanding debts to the banks.

    Comment by ktismatics — 1 December 2011 @ 5:06 pm

  6. Hey John, either my site or yours is great for discussion. Funny that I wrote a post today on central banks as well.

    I think it’s best to consolidate the treasury and the fed to just one entity – the government. It’s separated only for political reasons, largely due to fears of printing money which has been one of the greatest concerns of the large New York banks going back to the 19th century. He who has the gold wants to make it dear and keep power. New York finance has obviously succeeded, with great assistance from the economics “profession”, in convincing most that the Fed and monetary policy need to be “independent”, meaning of course undemocratic. And also convincing most that federal debt is a grave crisis and dollars can only be obtained through taxes or borrowing or digging them out of the ground.

    Italy and other Euro governments can’t directly print their own currency so they’re in much worse shape than the US. Of course they do have influence over the EU and I think ultimately the ECB will print euros given the alternative of a breakup. They’ll try to really squeeze the populations as part of the bargain. It’s really criminal that this logic is forcing many people into sub standard living standards, not only there but here as well.

    I think people who already have jobs could take a hit if dollars were printed but only in the sense that if dollars weren’t printed we’d have a depression & the employed would benefit short term from deflation. Of course they’d become increasingly likely to become unemployed as well and eventually their paychecks would likely be deflated also. Printing dollars would offset the deflation. But I don’t think it’s logical to expect inflation to result as long as what we “printed” stayed in line with our productive capacity. Not to say those with money wouldn’t speculate and potentially cause inflation from their own actions. That risk I’d think could be controlled through regulation.

    Comment by Jim — 1 December 2011 @ 6:07 pm

  7. Thanks, that’s clear and well-reasoned. With respect to productive capacity, I wonder whether the rhetoric of anti-consumerism reinforces the austerity ethos, as though it’s a moral failing for people to want things. Of course advertising artificially stimulates desire, with planned obsolescence forcing people to keep buying things they already have. But technological advances, automation, best practices, and ever-increasing worker productivity should make it possible for more people to have access to continually better stuff for ever-lower prices. Instead production capacity is artificially suppressed and cost savings result not in lower prices but in higher profits. Consumerism is a bourgeois worry, like dieting and exercise. Too many people don’t have enough stuff when it should be widely available and affordable.

    Comment by ktismatics — 1 December 2011 @ 6:45 pm

  8. Well put:Consumerism is a bourgeois worry. As is greenery as we see with the Pearl Street hustlers every day. But I’m also against consumerism and very much in favor of protecting the environment. The problem seems to be that the arguments on the state of the world have many dimensions. If we’re on “Dimension A” we argue that public debt is a false worry and that we should spend to assure widespread prosperity. Those on Dimension B step up and say they’re against consumerism and we need to cut back. They’re right, but not because of the arguments of the austerity folks in Dimension A. I find you need to be quick on your feet going back and forth. We need to cut back but people should live secure lives. We should cut back but for the right reasons. Bottom line: we need to cut back, but within a non-capitalist system.

    Comment by Jim — 1 December 2011 @ 9:24 pm

  9. Have you been to the new Occupy Boulder on Pearl Street, Jim? I’ve not Occupied since the day we chatted at the old Broadway and Canyon location. Evidently the overnight occupiers discovered what the homeless people in this town already knew: that they’re allow to sleep outside only at the discretion of the police, and that the same cop who looked the other way last night might give you a ticket tonight. I guess the goofy compromise is that you can put up a tent overnight, but you can’t sleep in it. This seems like a battle not worth having won. The high school I attended had a rule requiring boys to wear belts on their trousers. Some nerd got around the rule by cutting the belt loops off of his pants. He was so pleased with himself.

    Evidence suggests that the 1% are in a win-win position relative to monetary policy options on the table in first-world countries. Austerity measures further contract the public’s buying power while also putting people out of work, so the government needs to borrow more money, etc. etc. The endgame is the government’s going-out-of-business sale, when all publicly-owned assets are auctioned off at 5 cents on the dollar. Alternatively, the US government can continue expanding money in circulation by borrowing from the Fed, but since so much of the federal government has already been privatized most government spending amounts to a direct transfer of money from the public coffers to for-profit government contractors. And those government contractors still outsource production to lower-cost sources of labor and land, pocketing the profits and further exacerbating domestic unemployment.

    Unless the government actually uses its money to hire workers from the domestic labor pool, or lets contracts only to non-profit worker co-operatives, it’s hard to see how these alternative monetary policies don’t just exacerbate the problem. As you say, we need a non-capitalist alternative.

    Comment by ktismatics — 2 December 2011 @ 8:43 am

  10. Let’s assume that the US government debt isn’t debt per se but rather a way of expanding the money supply in circulation. And let’s say that the government uses its money not to hire workers but to buy stuff from private contractors. Why not just keep doing this? Eventually every American can quit working and go on the dole. Private industries can raise their prices as high as they like, while the government just keeps creating money and paying the bills without ever concerning itself with repaying the debt. I guess the big problem is that the dollar eventually becomes Monopoly money, not even valuable enough in the international marketplace for companies to hire third-world sweatshop workers. So presumably the limit on currency inflation in a global capitalist economy isn’t the amount in circulation but rather its international exchange value.

    Comment by ktismatics — 2 December 2011 @ 9:41 am

  11. …and the exchange value of money is ultimately a matter of its fueling both consumption and the means of production. Widespread distribution of money that doesn’t contribute to production will eventually render the money worthless. By the same token, unproductive dollars sitting in the 1%’s bank accounts does nothing for revving up production or consumption. If those dollars are out of circulation, new ones need to be injected into the economy.

    Comment by ktismatics — 2 December 2011 @ 9:55 am

  12. I read this morning that the US unemployment rate has dropped from 9% to 8.6% over the past two months. HOWEVER:

    Private employers added 140,000 jobs in November, while governments shed 20,000… Still, more than 300,000 people stopped their job searches last month, so they were no longer officially counted as unemployed. That accounts for some of the drop in the unemployment rate.

    “Some of the drop”? The “no-longer-officially-counted” count as at least 70% of the calculated decline in unemployment. It’s probably more than that, since the economy has to generate some tens of thousands of new jobs every month just to keep up with the working-age population increase. I wish I could remember or find that break-even job creation number for the US.

    Comment by ktismatics — 2 December 2011 @ 10:40 am

  13. Yes, I thought that unemployment drop was unbelievable to publish even in that semi-apologetic form as well. No drop at all, an increase, in fact.

    Here’s Nick’s latest installment in his ‘Suspended Animation’ series, with Keynesian fiscal and monetary policy and ‘magic tricks’ we’ve lived in. http://www.thatsmags.com/shanghai/article/1491/suspended-animation-part-4

    This sentence I don’t like, even if what he says about the rest of it is true (you’ll both be the better judges, John and Jim.) It doesn’t really affect (as far as I can tell, unless it’s somehow necessarily related that such would be an inevitable part of the Keynesian ‘con’) the rest of it, but here it is: “Given the exponential trend of social history, most of what has ever happened has taken place since the Great Depression began, and during this time the world has inhabited — more or less consciously — a deliberately constructed system of illusion, or confidence trick.”

    What does he mean by “most of what has ever happened has taken place since the Great Depression began”? I do not see where on earth that can come from, not at all. How can you decide things have ‘happened more’ due to ‘exponential trends’ or really anything? I don’t buy it. This makes the whole piece troubling, because if he also says that there is ‘elementary common sense’ about what he seems to talking about as a hardcore economic reality of not being able to economically demand without giving something return, we can at least talk about ‘elementary common sense’ in such a discourse. So what on earth does ‘most of what has ever happened’ possibly mean? It is impossible to state this, confidently or not: ‘What has ever happened’ is not quantifiable. Ordinarily, I would think it was sloppy writing, but that’s not something Nick does. He’s more likely to write something false than poorly crafted (at least in a post, which he’s worked at carefully), and I’ve seen things that I’ve thought are off-balance enough before, and surely in less formal writing things that didn’t make any sense, as in a comment at Hyperstition, when he seemed to be defending Bush/Cheney’s not putting enough emphasis on getting OBL–and they certainly did NOT do this to the degree that Obama did, even if they would have liked the trophy had they managed it in their 2007 attempt-as the impenetrable and intertwined loyalties of factions and tribes in Waziristan, where we all thought Bin Laden was, as ‘nobody wants to do that’ [deal with the extreme difficulties, perhaps even they could be called 'major inconveniences', that Waziristan posed]. That’s when he wrote a lot about the Iraq War, but since then I haven’t been sure how his thinking worked on that; after all, the bleug was called Hyperstition, and it allowed for some fantasies that had no room for what you find in regular journal reporting (the accuracy or not of that is not in question here, since we know it’s often not), and he could have just thought that my consistent determination (as with Obama’s focus on Pakistan) that the Iraq War was so obviously not to the point of the 9/11 attack, and everyone knew it after awhile: Judith Miller was fired and the NYTimes did its best mea culpa, Scooter Libby suffered little and Karl Rove only his continued weight gain, was just a boring and obvious solution, but he called it a ‘rather lawyerly’ point of view, as though there would be something wrong with that. What had happened was that it really was embarassing to the Bushies that they could not get Bin Laden, and they may have played OBL’s importance down as publicity for themselves and their failure, because we did find out after OBL was finally killed in early May, that the Bushies thought they were going to get him en route to an Al Qaida meeting in 2007. We hadn’t heard that before.

    Some of that is just thinking out loud, so you know where I’m coming from about some of Nick’s writing. When it works on things like the Calendar, it’s more fully convincing. When it talks about ‘reality’ and how ‘such a truth’ was not accessible, so most lived through a ‘magic trick’, he has then enhanced it with ‘most of what has ever happened’, which seems to me makes the whole piece less convincing, as if the ‘most of what has ever happened’ lived inside this Keynesian falseness. So that there may BE a ‘reality’, but since most of ‘what has ever happened’ has been since 1930, only a small percentage of people have ever not lived in this. As he says “Someone could easily expend their life within the Keynesian dream-palace, literally living a lie, with the implication that whatever importance ‘reality’ might have in theory, it need have almost nothing to do with us. We can miss it completely, caught up in a magic show that exceeds our longevity, half-hypnotized by illusions that no one really believes in.”

    Trouble with that part is that it seems that that ‘living a lie’ is all-encomassing, includes all existence. Do you take it to mean that? Even if the ‘Keynesian dream-palace’ were a lie, does that still mean that that could exclude all ‘reality’, or better, could exclude anything at all of importance, since that was only a ‘lie’. Because he doesn’t go on to say that there is evidence that this ‘lie’ was only lies. He writes: “Who cares about a truth that never arrives? A magic trick that lasts your whole life is your life. Scarcely anybody alive today has known anything else.”

    That last seems very much the philosopher talking, and it comes across as derailed to me. I know some of what he’s talking about on a huge social level, how it’s false, and how everything works together in a virtually conspiratorial way to ensure that it stays that way, so maybe he’s just exaggerating it by saying that ‘most of what has ever happened’ was ‘doing this magic trick’ by living inside it. But one could easily say that, if so, ‘almost none of what has ever happened has taken place since the Great Depression’, since all that ‘ever happened’ just ‘went through the motions of things that really do happen’. Maybe that’s the Marxian leanings he has, due to looking toward a ‘Singlosphere’ which, by virtue of economic gigantism with official Marxianisms left in place (China has them still, didn’t see why it should give them up just because it didn’t want to be like North Korean purists would prefer it), but which he never referred to. To take it slightly further, these Marxianisms are always a subtext even if you’re writing as a European expat there. So that much of the talk about neo-conservatism as a positive thing when the Bushies were getting away with it in that form seems incomprehensible to me when you’re working within a society in which Bushian neo-conservatism has many aspects of ‘liberty’, despite its meanness, that have never been entertained in Communist China (and it IS that, no matter what anybody says), not when they were being massacred at home by Mao Tse-Tung, and not after Deng inaugurated all the reforms that lead to this economic boom. How MUCH of everything is an economic boom? Is that in itself enough to determine everything?

    Comment by illegal dances of new york city — 2 December 2011 @ 12:14 pm

  14. And these graphs can give me a headache, but here’s another article that’s i think similar http://bit.ly/tGdB9i

    Comment by sam carr — 2 December 2011 @ 1:00 pm

  15. Thanks Sam. The first graph shows that the US is in the deepest, longest-lasting employment trough since the Depression. And later in the article we find that, taking into account the vast numbers of Americans who have given up looking for work, the unemployment rate in the US is currently closer to 11% and rising. Sobering figures.

    Comment by ktismatics — 2 December 2011 @ 1:51 pm

  16. Other matters require my attention for the next few hours, but here’s the first sentence of Austrian economist Friedrich Hayek’s 1976 book The Mirage of Social Justice: “In a free society the general good consists principally in the facilitation of the pursuit of unknown individual purposes.” It is Hayek’s belief that the sum total of individual pursuits will result in an emergent economic order that is better than any order in which conscious planning or intervention is involved. This is an ideological position in which immanent forces working through individuals are moving everyone toward a collective ideal outcome. According to this ideology any sort of tinkering with money supply, taxes, regulations, and so on are hindering the invisible hand’s creative economic artistry. Briefly, I’m not persuaded that a spontaneous emergent order is necessarily any better than a planned or tweaked order. Biological evolution is not moving toward some ideal end either; it’s just what happens.

    Comment by ktismatics — 2 December 2011 @ 2:49 pm

  17. That’s oblique and interesting, but is not what I asked. It may be that that sentence I singled out negates for me the whole thesis, although I know I don’t believe the ‘magic trick’ was ever as all-pervasive as he seems to be proclaiming it. The quote I’d focussed on reminded me of ‘history is the history of the ruling class’, meaning that part of the ruling class is a kind of fame that then infects historical document. What he’s said is that “Given the exponential trend of social history, most of what has ever happened has taken place since the Great Depression began,” which sounds as if “social history” means that somehow “more has happened”, even “most”, because it has been documented to include more than the ‘ruling class’ as would be the case with 20th century communications, even if the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire made it into the papers.

    Without believing the sentence about ‘exponential trends of social history’ having ‘made most of whatever has happened’, the impact of the ‘magic trick’ (which I don’t necessarily believe either, or only partially) and it’s all-pervasiveness is lessened even if you do believe it. There seem to be plenty of other ‘magic tricks’ one could point to, including plenty of non-Keynesian ones throughout the 20th century. It still seems to me that if it was all an ‘illusion’ or ‘magic trick’, then precisely less or even mostly nothing happened, at least as it reads.

    But I’ll ask him in a couple of weeks. I don’t know if he can wait that long, but I can.

    Comment by illegal dances of new york city — 4 December 2011 @ 12:01 pm

  18. “What does he mean by “most of what has ever happened has taken place since the Great Depression began”? I do not see where on earth that can come from, not at all. How can you decide things have ‘happened more’ due to ‘exponential trends’ or really anything? I don’t buy it.”

    I have no idea what he means by this declamation. Let me know what he has to say about it. Without further clarification by the author I don’t buy it either. Besides, even if he explained it, what does it have to do with what, as best I can determine, is his core position, namely that macroeconomic adjustments to the economy are ill-conceived and counterproductive? Why does he think this? It’s why I quoted Hayek, which isn’t oblique at all but is exactly the point, since Land repeatedly cites the “Austrian economists” as his inspiration. And note the title of Hayek’s book: The Mirage of Social Justice — “mirage” fitting nicely into a cluster of words like “confidence trick,” “magic show,” “illusion,” and “dream palace” that Land invokes. Intentionally attempting to reduce unemployment, to increase widespread access to healthcare or education, to reduce global warming, etc. is to stand in the way of the subhuman gnostic forces propelling humanity toward its posthuman destiny. Land writes as though everybody knows these things to be true, but he offers nothing in particular to back it up other than oblique references to other people’s opinions as if they were laws of nature. It’s a piece intended to persuade not through analysis or evidence but through rhetoric.

    Comment by ktismatics — 4 December 2011 @ 12:43 pm

  19. Thanks so much. I tend to agree that that’s what kind of piece it is, and for some reason, his rhetorical techniques work, or at least open up new areas to think about that one wouldn’t otherwise (I’ve noticed this a lot with his things), but the creative imagination is so vivid that it seems to depend very much on what subject he’s tackling: It has often come across to me as an enormous success or a huge miss–the latter sort I sometimes think he thinks he ‘must see it that way’, so that he may even convince himself by various arrangements that it can only be (seems more likely than that he thinks it’s otherwise, and thinks someone else just won’t know all those other variables–and they won’t, but they might know some of them.) I think one of his assets is exactly that they make you think, it’s just that with the new articles I wasn’t seeing these wild statements such as the one I singled out. And that statement is so extreme that it has to be clarified with some (probably many) specifics.

    But no, what you wrote was in itself not oblique (bad choice of words in that case), rather that that particular statement was reminiscent of the 90s Land things, not the more recent ones, which have had unusual and esoteric ideas but backed up by facts, but not ones that can easily be seen as outlandish assertions if they’re standing there naked, as it were.

    Comment by illegal dances of new york city — 4 December 2011 @ 2:05 pm

  20. “his rhetorical techniques work” (obviously, as I clarify later, I mean “WHEN they do work, it seems to depend on the subject, at least to some extent”, although, no matter what I said, it’s possible he wrote this rather hastily, which I haven’t noticed on anything in the new bleug, and hadn’t the time to be as careful as most of these newer pieces have been, with very carefully chosen and ingenious language: This example that I found so blatant is anything but ‘careful’ in any sense of the word, it’s just a matter of finding out if he meant for it to be, that he thought people would take it at face value)

    Comment by illegal dances of new york city — 4 December 2011 @ 2:11 pm

  21. Merkel says that she doesn’t want the EU to expand the Euro money supply, which would enable the floundering Italian and Greek governments to pay back their sovereign debts more easily, to borrow more money, and to rev up their domestic economies. Why not? Because, she says, Germans never again want to experience the hyperinflation that beset their country in the 20s.

    I’m no historian, but wasn’t German hyperinflation caused largely by the massive World War One reparation debt imposed on Germany in the Treaty of Versailles? Germany didn’t have the money to keep up with the payments, and much of the country’s infrastructure had been wrecked during the war so they couldn’t ramp up production fast enough. They had to print more and more money in order to service the foreign debt, eventually resulting in nearly worthless currency. Knowing that they’d never get out from under this burden, and resentful toward the rest of Europe and the banks in particular for putting them in this deep hole, the Germans eventually landed on an alternative nationalist solution, part of which was the Final Solution, along with world domination in which everybody else would start working for the Germans instead of the other way around.

    It seems, then, that for the Germany-dominated EU central banks to make it impossible for the Greeks and the Italians to get out from under their debt is to impose on them the same draconian terms that the Allies imposed on Germany nearly a century ago. Not incidentally, Keynes was one economist who saw the writing on the wall, who knew that the Versailles reparations would be too onerous for Germany to bear and thus should not be imposed.

    Comment by ktismatics — 7 December 2011 @ 10:10 am

  22. Hello John,

    you say “And let’s say that the government uses its money not to hire workers but to buy stuff from private contractors. Why not just keep doing this? Eventually every American can quit working and go on the dole.” This doesn’t quite add up. The govt under such a full employment idea would print money only when there is unemployment and unused capacity. So, in your example, say it funded massive infrastructure through private contractors. Presumably unemployment would drop dramatically so I don’t see where the idea of the dole comes in.

    There are many ways to consider using the important insight that society itself can create its own purchasing power and has no need to borrow it. As a first pass, there’s never a need for unemployment. The deeper reality though is that in our ever advancing technological world, there’s a declining need for work itself. Ultimately we need to get beyond ideas that income must be tied to work or that there’s a such thing as a “dole”. That can’t happen under capitalism as we know it.

    Comment by Jim — 12 December 2011 @ 7:23 pm

  23. Hi Jim. Why doesn’t it add up? As I said the comment preceding the one you quoted, “those government contractors still outsource production to lower-cost sources of labor and land, pocketing the profits and further exacerbating domestic unemployment.” So unemployment would drop dramatically in the third world, while it rises in the US, which is something that has already been happening. At the limit, the US prints money for Americans to pay for goods all of which are produced elsewhere, while US unemployment reaches 100%. Then the dollar becomes valueless, both for purchasing goods and for paying 3rd-world workers. There are no legal constraints I know of to prevent multinationals from continuing to pursue this strategy.

    Comment by ktismatics — 12 December 2011 @ 8:38 pm

  24. I missed your earlier comment that the work was to be outsourced. Sorry, the numbers now tally. Any jobs program has to generate domestic employment to be effective.

    The problem with the global political economy is that it’s difficult / impossible to take just one issue in isolation, everything’s inter-related. We have a world that’s essentially ruled by multinational capital that’s free to locate anywhere but our politics are nation based. I don’t see how we can have true democracy as long as that continues – either we need to build walls around the country that prohibit capital from moving offshore or we need a global government.

    Comment by Jim — 13 December 2011 @ 10:10 am

  25. I agree entirely. It’s conceivable that some form of anarcho-syndicalism could do the trick from the bottom up, but it’s hard to compete on a global scale against heavily-capitalized companies that can squeeze out competitors with price wars, advertising saturation campaigns, collusion, dirty tricks, and political influence at every level.

    Comment by ktismatics — 13 December 2011 @ 10:37 am

  26. Interesting comments, these last ones.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/16/opinion/gop-monetary-madness.html?src=me&ref=general

    Nick wrote: “When abstracted from its squalid psychosis, the pattern is mathematically quite neat. It’s called the Martingale system, better known to Americans as ‘double or nothing’ (and to Brits as ‘double or quits’). Cochrane already touched upon it (“the US simply doubled down our bets”). Wager on red, and it comes up black. No problem, just double the bet and repeat. You can’t lose. (If you like this logic, Paul Krugman has an economic recovery to sell you.)”

    In that linked article, Krugman wrote: “Mr. Paul identifies himself as a believer in “Austrian” economics — a doctrine that it goes without saying rejects John Maynard Keynes but is almost equally vehement in rejecting the ideas of Milton Friedman. For Austrians see “fiat money,” money that is just printed without being backed by gold, as the root of all economic evil, which means that they fiercely oppose the kind of monetary expansion Friedman claimed could have prevented the Great Depression — and which was actually carried out by Ben Bernanke this time around.”

    And I had already commented at Nick’s (for the first time in several weeks) that yes, Krugman sold it to me.

    Don’t YOU think that there is a limit to being able to talk about ‘economics’ but not about ‘politics’? Who really believes one is free to speak about political systems in China, other than praising the one you have there? I don’t, so that the only other alternative seems to be to talk about ‘economics’ without politics, as though it were the determiner, and only one, of all politics. And you’re not free to do it. Due to his living in China, he seems to be seeing it ‘the Chinese way’, with an emphasis purely on ‘harshest economics’, although all of it is pretty harsh. This has a weird provincialism to it, because the economics Nick Land talks about grows out of what he sees practises in China, and that’s not the only one that ‘works’, just because there’s been a ‘capitalism’ and a boom there; just because you get a big ‘capitalism’ doesn’t mean you get a democracy–of any kind at all unless you have decided that ‘free market economics’ is the only important kind of democracy, which is definitely stretching it. I cannot take his economic writing seriously, because it is hampered by what he cannot say. OBVIOUSLY, I’m going to take Krugman seriously. He’s a great economist and even a mensch. Nick does not seem to face the fact that he can write about certain kinds of things that are not politically controversial, like the Calendar Series, or any number of things about urbanity in Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong, but that having to avoid certain issues in your economic writing means they will not convince anybody who doesn’t come under the ‘preaching to the choir’ definition. I know you’ve already agreed with the basic things I’m saying, I think my point here is that if you are THERE, you can only talk about Chinese systems to Westerners as a kind of subtext: Otherwise, you turn them off, because Westerners are not keen to be exactly like China, nor should they be. If you speak AGAINST Chinese practise, then…’the evening breeze caressed the trees…’ etc.. it’s as if his desire for ‘Singlosphere-Central’ contains neo-conservatism and Marxian thinking at the same time, but he has mentioned the Marxianisms only once that I’ve seen, and never did before this current UF bleug.

    Some of it reminds me strangely of the way Arpege has decided that certain things work to ‘personalize and humanize’ in the further ‘imperialist conspiracy’ as in Twitters from a couple of days ago, when she went on and on about Nicholas Kristoff, a fine man who has done great work in much the tradition of Jimmy Carter, but also is young and has a column. Rather than laud his unquestionably fine works that go beyond just writing a NYTimes column, she has reduced him to being a kind of pawn of the NYTimes–so that we won’t see what he’s really up to. This kind of thing is very depressing. Not that she has not trashed every writer in the NYTimes, not that she hasn’t recently trashed Wagner’s musi8c, not that she doesn’t like ballet or want another Nureyev, and not that the ‘really good work in dance’ is, to her mind, only being done by such as Alvin Ailey (they are not that good, unless they do some of the old Ailey work: 3 years ago I saw a performance by them that was danced superbly, but had not a single decent work in it–they are what could be called a ‘major minor dance company’, and are not nearly as fresh as a much smaller company Ballet Hispanico, which has its home in Harlem (or Spanish Harlem), and that’s just to keep it ethnic, because she does not know anything at all about dance, and would love Ailey because it’s mostly black. That’s just not good enough reason (I know this seems off-topic, but everybody seems to have some ‘ethnic’ or ‘semi-ethnic’ agenda under their ideologies), because the CNB, the Cuban National Ballet, under Castro and the bitch-on-wheels Alicia Alonso, really is good despite the sucking-up Ms. Alonso did with Castro many decades ago. And the Russian companies under the Soviet regime were always among the 5 best in the world. I think Westerners who try to become ‘other-sympathizers’ blindly just don’t know, and also that that is why they’re not paid attention to. Nick sometimes does write great things, Arpege I read because it reads something like a kind of ‘hypnotic’ tirade, fascinating because you can’t even believe how sincerely and passionately false it is.

    Comment by illegal dances of new york city — 17 December 2011 @ 12:12 pm

  27. China too is very aggressive in using monetary policy to control inflation and growth. Just this week the Chinese central bank relaxed reserve requirements for commercial banks, thereby increasing their lending capacity and the money supply. They made these moves because they want to kick up growth without being as concerned about possible inflation. These are the same sorts of tools that Land regards as illusions or confidence schemes or whatever. China has at least two economic advantages over the US and the EU. Most importantly, its low wage base makes it attractive to multinationals for outsourcing of labor. Almost as important is the strong hand that the central government plays in all capitalist transactions. So, e.g., the government owns its central bank, and it ensures that the value of the currency stays low, which makes it hard for the Chinese people to afford to buy things, but at the same time stimulates exports and employment.

    Ron Paul recommends that the US default on its debt to the Federal Reserve, but that’s only because he wants private banks to exert full control over the money supply. Jim has reminded us that the US federal debt is mostly just a balance sheet artifact. Dollars enter into circulation only if the Treasury borrows from the Fed, but interest that the Fed collects on its loans is automatically paid back to the Treasury. I.e., if there were no US debt there would be no dollars in circulation. China doesn’t do it this way because the government also owns its central bank. I think that’s a good idea. Paul wants to go the opposite direction, which would make the government’s operations entirely dependent on private banks. That, IMHO, would suck big time.

    Comment by ktismatics — 17 December 2011 @ 2:46 pm

  28. See Jim’s recent post about wealth distribution in various countries. Japan and China are the most egalitarian on the list, while the US is the most top-heavy. Jim’s commentary:

    “What can we make of China, having no formal democracy, rating far better than the near pure oligarchy of the United States? I think the outward form of government means little in this comparison. Neither are democracies, China is ruled by a clearly visible dictatorship, the US by a slightly hidden oligarchy. Inequality is growing greatly in China but the majority at present still seem to have far more influence in the division of wealth than in the US and therefore can be said to “rule” to a greater degree. Which, of course, is not to say that China is anything close to an egalitarian nation.

    Comment by ktismatics — 18 December 2011 @ 6:59 am

  29. That’s very important, but still talks about ‘democracy’ as only referring to economics. Americans still value the Bill of Rights, even though this ‘top-heaviness’ is increasingly and deservedly coming under fire.

    “What can we make of China, having no formal democracy, rating far better than the near pure oligarchy of the United States? I think the outward form of government means little in this comparison.”

    In THAT comparison, he’s right. But there are other matters. Nobelists aren’t criminalized, and dissidents aren’t put in jail in the U.S. and the U.K., even when they overtly advertise their support for terrorists. And the #OccupyHangSeng? Maybe it’s there, but it was very salient that the reverberations from the Arab Spring were quickly put down in China, faster than anywhere else, because the ‘Central Office’ has got the money and the power to repress anything it doesn’t like (which doesn’t include the almost horitculturally-induced race of ‘fat children’ that Peter Jennings talked about as far back as 1993).

    This seems off-topic, but I have now realized that it was just that very Communist dictatorship of China that used to make us more interested in mainland China than in Taiwan, at least. It had ‘mystery’, and it also had mystery that even Hong Kong and Japan didn’t have. Not that Vietnam ever charmed by ‘becoming-Communist’, although North Korea’s freakishness certainly did, being the most extreme. But, having just spent time with Taiwanese, my whole perspective has changed. I was still, until very recently, fascinated by North Korea because of those very odious horrors. I realize now that the first Chinese person I’ve ever really thought of as one of my best friends is Taiwanese, living in Los Angeles. And I’ve known him for 11 years. It took all this long to ‘take’. I do remember that Nick also said that Taipei was delightful too, though.

    So that even my aesthetic has changed. As I went to bed last night, I realized I had never once looked at photos even on the internet of Taiwan and Taipei, so I just did it a few minutes ago. That’s what I’m sold on, and would definitely even choose Taiwan as a vacation destination over anything in Communist China. It’s that same sort of attraction that one has to ‘noir’, of which LA still has some, even though it’s pretty much a dead form for film after 9/11 and terrorism started seeming more cutting-edge for culture: The experience of ‘noir’ is a flavour you can actually still taste in LA, but not really in New York, unless you think the big Mafia neighborhoods are forms of that (realistically, they are, formally they’re not, although they’re definitely rather exciting). But the point is that it’s that sinister quality of ‘noir’ you like to get close to, but not all the way in it, or you’ll end up dead or like Dianne Selwyn in ‘Mulholland Drive’, doing unpleasurable masturbation (one of the most horrible paradoxes one can find). Likewise, it can be a real pleasure to go to one of the best New York mob restaurants (there was a time when ‘mob’ was the trendy term, not ‘Mafia’, and ‘grass’ for ‘pot’ has also gone the way of all flesh), but that doesn’t mean you don’t know not to start talking about the Gambinos while you have the Chicken Scarporiello.

    The U.S. was never a pure democracy, and Thomas Jefferson never wanted it to be. There should be no ‘equal rights among citizens’, and there never is, including in those p.c. circles where there daren’t be uttered that equality is a model to keep things from going out of total control; it’s never even meant to be a reality, because it doesn’t exist.

    To wit, a pianist friend of mine who has always played for ballet companies and is based for decades in Zurich, once told me he was ‘going to China–Fake China that is’. My opinion on this has changed. As far as I’m concerned. it’s been proved to me that Taiwan is the Real China. The ‘attraction to Twilight Zone Weirdness’, as obviously and by all accounts exists in its most extreme form in North Korea, is an immature taste, and gives way to the excellence that the best things have, even if they haven’t concocted ‘terror-paranoia mysteries’. By now, having given up all that, I look back at how we all thought Taiwan was ‘boring’, not the real thing. And yet that’s where you would always get Chinese culture without the oppression.

    And I wouldn’t agree that the U.S. oligarchy is ‘slightly hidden’; it’s becoming more exposed by the day. Isn’t it the same one that got in one huge hotel convention room and decided to dispense with the U.S. symbols one fine day in 2001, just like Arpege is still FREE to say if she cared to. And she couldn’t say this if she thought the Beijing Government decided to blow up the Pearl Tower and blame it on Zawahiri, so they could go and do a little plundering in Rawalpindi-Islamabad, or even skip over to Oman or whatever.

    Comment by illegal dances of new york city — 18 December 2011 @ 1:47 pm

  30. Austrian disciple Milton Friedman contended that so-called free market (i.e., collusive unregulated) capitalism paves the way for democracy. Big China’s authoritarian capitalism would appear to belie that notion. I don’t know much about Singapore, but it was an early exemplar of this sort of centralized capitalism. It has had great success in terms of economic growth. I don’t know if Singapore’s one-party rule and its restrictions on freedom of the press have lessened as the wealth has increased. As you point out, China’s central regime doesn’t seem to brook much dissent even as its economy continues to grow at 5 times the rate of the US and the EU. It’s also instructive that Friedman’s “Chicago Boys” regarded capitalism as more important than democracy in, e.g., their collaboration with the CIA to overthrow the socialist-democratic Allende regime in favor of capitalist dictator Pinochet. Iraq was supposed to play out as another experiment of this sort, with the US caretaker government selling off public resources, setting a 0% corporate tax rate and so on. I think it’s safe to say that Iraq hasn’t worked out so well either economically or democratically.

    Comment by ktismatics — 19 December 2011 @ 9:29 am

  31. More Krugman. You probably saw this, but naturally, I wouldn’t know that this was happening. Very interesting:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/19/opinion/krugman-will-china-break.html

    Comment by illegal dances of new york city — 19 December 2011 @ 3:18 pm

  32. Krugman points to what might the crucial difference between China’s housing bubble and the one in the EU and US:

    At this point consumer spending is only about 35 percent of G.D.P., about half the level in the United States… But the bigger story from China’s point of view is investment spending, which has soared to almost half of G.D.P.

    This wasn’t the case here before the bubble burst. Savings/investment rates had been declining for years vis-a-vis consumer spending. People didn’t invest in their houses; they speculated on them with borrowed money. Krugman says that there’s a lot of shadow banking behind the Chinese housing bubble as well, but I bet those banks require a lot more down payment than did the balloon mortgages precipitating the housing bust here. China’s recent move to loosen bank reserve requirements might move things closer to Krugman’s doomsday scenario. But then there’s the other factor to consider: even in its current slowdown, China is still growing economically at 8% per year. The US economy was growing at less than half that rate even before the housing bubble burst and the extended downturn began.

    Comment by ktismatics — 20 December 2011 @ 8:47 am

  33. “All economic statistics are best seen as a peculiarly boring form of science fiction”

    I thought that was good, esp. since economists don’t find them at all boring, even when they’re vague.

    Invaluable mastery and memory of these things, which I’ve never had any gift for. But the Japan matters are important too. He’s right about how it’s impossible to know for sure about what happens in China, of course, but the ‘pawnshop’ mention was colorful. Yes, of course, the Chinese economy is going to go ahead ‘despite-all’, this breeds strange illusions in itself, and one loses perspective. To wit, I recall in the early days of the Beatles, one of my cousins, a big fan, spoke of England as ‘a poor country’. They weren’t, and they’re not, they’re old and static in some ways, but that’s not precisely poor, which for the superficial onlooker they ought to be, what with loss of Empire and becoming the less-powerful in the ‘special relationship’.

    I don’t know how much natural resources matter, my father used to go on and on about how the U.S. had endless natural resources, but definitely not in all areas.

    What’s interesting about the Chinese economy is that that’s one of the world’s oldest countries, and it’s got a ‘new sensation’ to it that Russia never got, what with its Stalinism; and its ‘friend’ North Korea is anything but prosperous, they’re always starving (did you see the amounts of whiskey, maybe it was Chivas Regal, that Kim Jong-Il bought? He was the world’s biggest buyer–North Korea is a totally retarded ‘state’, like looking at a two-headed baby at the touring carnivals). So you get all this public relations from China, but it’s very obvious if you look just barely through the surface that the ‘old China’ is still there, and that the dictatorship keeps that in place while ‘livin’ it up’ as in the Dowager Empress days. What I mean is that some of all this talk of China (and Japan in the 90s) is a matter of both real economics and fashion and advertising. Nations with a long history of prosperity don’t usually just fall all the way through to the abyss if they have the habit of prosperity in their culture–Germany after WWII perfect example, rebuilt faster than anybody else, still strongest in Europe. But just as Britain had not really become ‘poor’, neither has the U.S. even when China overtakes it as the biggest economy. The excitement of being ‘number 1′ belies almost everything, and produces much bullshit. People talk, for example, about real unemployment in the U.S., and it’s there to see, but there are far larger percentages of still-starving Chinese. Small Western European countries have the highest standards of living in the world even with the woes of some of the others nearby, so then what? There are more factors than just this ‘thrill of boom’.

    What you can feel is the oldness of the U.S. prematurely sometimes. Like here in NYC, it does remind me, esp. at this time of year, of a Xmas i spent in London in 1971. That felt old and quiet, this feels old and relatively quiet, but since not spread out, it’s also incredibly rude still (we’ve talked about that, but the forms it’s taking now are putting lots of false ‘specials’ under items in places like Rite-Aid, as much as $6-8, and then they ring up with the original price, and they still won’t take down the false advertising. I am, in fact, going to report one particular store if this continues to happen, as it has 3 times now, and they are unrepentant). I was surprised, in my recent trip to Los Angeles, that it really does NOT feel like that there; after two years, I would have expected to feel the sensation in the air of slowdown, and California has long had it, with poor moving to Las vegas, etc., but you don’t. However, it’s here, where all the economic movement is centered more than in any other place in Wall Street, that all the sense of newness and electricity is gone away. That same ‘backwater’ feeling that London had in the 70s, and which was then Thatcherized in some quarters, is very evident in NYC now. I hadn’t quite noticed that never before, with these trips to LA, that I still had never really thought that it had surpassed NYC in the old competition that was talked about since the 80s with Woody Allen, etc. With 9/11, that made NYC seem especially important and central again, and that some of it still is centered here is undeniable, but even though my trip in 2009 was miserable, it was also creative, and I picked that up then as well. By this trip, the 10th Anniversary of 9/11 had come and gone, the buildings at Ground Zero were now taken for granted as continuing, and the strange ‘renewed centrality’ that 9/11 gave New York is fading again. There are so many cultural institutions already in place, and the reputation as the ‘world culture capital’ still so ingrained (including to you, as you pointed out a few months ago–’Manhattan is unique’, you said) that it will go on even if someone pronounces it dead the way Patrick Keillor did in ‘London’ about that city back in 1994 (and it wasn’t). But it really does have none of the vibrancy and freewheeling creativity of Los Angeles by now. I know someone who has come to see ‘Phantom of the Opera’ from Norway as a birthday present from her son, and that is just pitiful. On the other hand, China is importing, just as Japan did, these big B’way monstrosities among other things, and they always go for the most athletic ballet things (and win competitions as if it were only sport, and it is definitely going that way anyway) and then there are tours of ‘Les Miserables’, ‘Phantom’, ‘Cats’, this sort of thing.

    Just throwing out some thoughts, but there are many kinds of illusions, not just Keynesian ones. The idea that certain nations or cities are ‘dead’ is just filler for pundits and columnists to a degree. Japanese still have a high standard of living even through the ‘dead decade’ and stagflation that Krugman is always citing. The U.S. does have a volatile and violent quality, though, in which it probably would be most likely that very precipitous things would occur, as witnessed by the influence of the Tea Party. But then there have been the #Occupys too. I don’t know, but the complexity has brought about in me personally a loss of easy excitability, which is a most welcome occurrence, given that I used to think of this as a pleasurable constant of daily life. Overstatement and hyperbole become boring, which would seem to be a contradiction for someone like me, although not for others. Not so much that ‘moderation’ becomes attractive ever, but rather just that ‘excess’ isn’t either. You do either one of them as they become necessary. And daily and weekly journal writing about economics always has tendencies to excitability and outrageous, frightened predictions based on stock market fluctuations and the rest, only to find in a week or two that the most frightening predictions had not usually manifested themselves permanently. We STILL did not have the 2nd Great Depression just because we had the Great Recession, but we were SUPPOSED to. And we still could, of course.

    Comment by illegal dances of new york city — 20 December 2011 @ 10:45 am


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