Monday, November 21, 2011

The Great Money Map

As seen live on XKCD!

The Great Money Map: "There, I showed you it."
Note the obviously substantial, real quantities required to provide very high levels of Basic Income, "Amount needed to give everyone an income over $250,000 ... or $100,000." These numbers make a comparatively modest Basic Income a complete no-brainer. It can even be done on a global basis, as World GDP of $63,000,000,000,000 represents the sum total of all our efforts and energies, a pool of liquidity like the permanent fund dividend oils beneath Alaskan permafrost or Saudi sands.

"We are allowed to speak about alternatives." #ows

We need not make value judgments to observe the clinical fact that hoarded wealth creates massive blood clots in any resource circulatory system. Massive blood clots kill the entire body, no matter where they lodge.

On the chart, a U.S. Basic Income of $44,700 costs the Top 1% a mere sliver. The most entitled whining is likely to come from the top 20%, who don't "feel" as rich as they actually are, in both relative and absolute terms; and those who wanted their own shot at becoming the next pathological hoarders and indiscriminate, unmitigated overindulging self-servers. Like porn, gross overindulgence may be difficult to define, but everyone knows it when they see it; and the consequent obesity is empirical.

Follow @BasicIncome on twitter as a vote of support for an idea who's time and necessity have come. The more followers that account has, the larger the constituency we represent.


An Inconceivable Truth: 53.9% Real U.S. Labor Participation Rate

Even if you still haven't seen the Charles Ferguson, Sony Pictures Classics documentary Inside Job, which receives an unheard of 97% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, we now know that we pretty much can't believe a single word out of a single mouth on Bloomberg, CNBC, or any of the financial media. So today, we shed light on one of the most potentially disruptive and disturbing measures of just how delusional the current conversation about the Job Trance has become.
The current mathematical fact is this: nearly half of all Americans, an inconceivable 46.1% over the age of 16, are non-participants in the Civilian Labor Force (CLF), today.
That's right, a 53.9% Real Labor Participation Rate means a 46.1% total jobless rate. Right now. November, 2011. Not 9%. Not even the begrudgingly acknowledged U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) U-6 measure of 16.2%, as of October, 2011. 

Nope. Not 9. Not 16. A full 46.1% of Americans over the age of 16 in America are JOBLESS, right now, and we're gonna' break it down for you in real time, right here: the almost staggeringly inconceivable truth that the current financial reporting house of mirrors is set up to distort, divert, and deceive worker ants from seeing plainly. It's not a conspiracy, it's plain old diversion and deception.

Unemployment and the Civilian Labor Force Participation Rate

When most people hear the standard headline numbers of "9% unemployment" or "16% unemployment," what do they imagine? If you're like most, those numbers might conjure a picture where 100 people live in a village and 5 villagers don't have a job. Or, when things are really bad, 16 people of the 100 don't have a job. Either way, in the worst possible case, 84 people of the 100 are in great shape (employed, anyway) so what's there to complain about, right? Things should drift back to normal any day now; certainly there is no need for drastic action like an emergency basic income act.

That's exactly what the Wall Street econo-charlatans want you to believe, and it's astounding just how well it's worked, for so long. 

So, let's get to the bottom of this supposedly simple measurement scheme. According to the U.S. BLS, the U-6 number is "a percent of the Civilian Labor Force plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force." But what is this Civilian Labor Force, exactly? For that definition, we need to refer to the Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey, where we find the latest October 2011 Civilian Labor Force Participation Rate of 64.2%. 

Like every jot and tittle on this blog, don't believe me, look it up for yourself. Here's what you'll find:

Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey
Data extracted on: November 20, 2011 (10:01:11 PM)
Series Id:  LNS11300000
Seasonally Adjusted
Series title: (Seas) Labor Force Participation Rate
Labor force status: Civilian labor force participation rate
Type of data: Percent or rate
Age: 16 years and over

Civilian Labor Force (CLF) Participation Rate

What does all this mean? It means that due to the exponential efficiency of information technologies and the globalization of business, the U.S. Civilian Labor Force Participation Rate has been on a rapid downhill slide for at least the past decade, resting now at 64.2%. We are a civilization far closer to a technological singularity than a return to anything even remotely resembling full employment. Pick your favorite comforting fiction, the facts remain.

In 2012 we live in a completely different kind of civilization from 1912.

To put a positive spin, as I'm keen on repeating, we are the victims of our own astronomical success. We are so productive and efficient as a post-information age society, that nearly 50% of Americans, age 16 years and over, are not among the Civilian Labor Force and never need to be, ever again. 

What we've learned is that when mainstream corporate media refer to the peripheral U-3 and U-6 measures of unemployment, they are talking about fractions of the Civilian Labor Force, a term we've never heard explained or discussed in the mainstream. Therefore, when we read of 16% U-6, that means sixteen percent of the CLF, which is 16% of 64.2%, or 0.1027. That is 10.27% of the whole, further subtracted from the 64.2%. 

64.2% CLF - 10.3% Net U6 = 53.9% Real U.S. Labor Participation
Roughly half of all Americans, 46.1% over the age of 16 are jobless, non-participants in the Civilian Labor Force, today.
I heartily invite mathematical refutation of these numbers. It can't be done. Econospin word blenders can be used to mince and chop interpretations into various viscosities of indecipherablility, but the numbers are what they are.

So, by all means, let's keep fixating on the fiction of jobs, jobs, jobs and the make believe "unemployment rate" that has increasingly nothing to do with the real lives of growing numbers of Americans living in RV's, campers, cars, and tent cities across the United States. Put another way, if this isn't the end of the Job Trance, the clarion call to all out War On Poverty, and the wake up call to an absolute National Economic Emergency, then I surely don't know what is.


Sunday, November 13, 2011

World Ultra Wealth Report 2011: Uncovering Pockets of Opportunities

"The fortunes of the world’s ultra high net worth (UHNW) individuals have surpassed $25 trillion and is set to increase, spurred by the growth of developing Asia. Wealth-X estimates that the global market of UHNW individuals has reached 185,795. Wealth-X forecast that the UHNW population in Asia-Pacific will surpass that of Europe in 2024 and overtake that of the U.S. in 2032."
In case there are any questions, later, about what caused The War.

The End of Social Mobility in Uber-Capitalist America

Nation of Change on Why Income Inequality Suddenly Matters:
"for all the right-wing mythology about "Eurosocialism" snuffing out upward mobility, data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development show that social mobility in uber-capitalist America is actually lower than in most industrialized countries.
This is why almost three-quarters of respondents just told The Hill newspaper's pollsters that income inequality is a problem.
This is why my local TV news is suddenly airing pieces on economic inequality between sports, weather and all the "you stay classy" small talk."
Too late for platitudes. This is our Declaration of War.

Monday, November 7, 2011

It's the Arrogance and Entitlement, Stupid

Couldn't make this up if you tried:
Anyway, the bankster told her "You'll be back. Credit unions can't provide the services you need."  We'll see about that.  She withdrew over $200k from Wells Fargo. Next we went to Bank of America.  I closed my last account with hardly any questions asked.  Of course, I had taken most of my money out so there wasn't much left to take.  My sister on the other hand had a large balance in multiple accounts.  They actually refused to cut her a check for the full amounts.  They only gave her 1/3 of her money and told her she'd have to come back to withdraw the rest.  They claimed they were only allowed to make checks for a certain amount, and that they had no authority to cut additional checks on the same day. 

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Who's Stupider?

“When I was a child, I thought as a child; when I became an adult, I put away childish things.”

Transcript Excerpt
>>the swaps market, which is where a lot of this leverage lives, has little to no capital requirements and exists in the off exchange with nobody clearing it. blaming greece for these problems is like blaming the subprime borrowers. greece stupid? yeah, you bet, they're real stupid. but they're also the size of dallas, texas. so who's stupider? greece, who was like, we'll take all the money, or the western bank regulators who said it was legal to give the greeks this kind of leverage?
>> well, look at the swaps market. the swaps market is anywhere between $300 trillion and $600 trillion (CORRECTED) -- and the whole global economy, you know, its capital value, is not that much. it’s a fraction of that much. which means if rhode island fails, just the swaps on rhode island's debt is enough to take down the entire u.s. banking system and ripple across the pond. and that's exactly the problem. greece is like rhode island failing.
>> that's the interconnectedness, and that's why you need not just financial reform in this country, but financial reform that has a global reach.
>> absolutely.
So, isn't it time to grow up out of our safe little fairy land and act like responsible grown ups? Isn’t it time to stop pretending that this bass-ackwards game of Railroad Tycoon that we call Vintage 19th Century America Industrial Capitalism is any more legit or inalienable than Tidily-winks or Parcheesi? Isn’t it long past time to fold up that tired old board game and get to work creating a scalable, adaptive world game that might be worth our kids inhabiting over the next couple of decades and long beyond?
Now, to be clear, nobody is suggesting some kind of expeditious transition to a global peaceful postscarcity scenario, here, right? I mean, who can afford the risk of a rational, diversified, mixed-economic model working in symbiosis with some kind of utterly pathetic socialist utopian crap? No, we simply MUST return to the conservative comfort of doing things the way we always have, bombing the living hell out of anything and anyone that we don’t understand or can’t utterly dominate and control, right?
Or not.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Red, White, and Blue of Economic Inequality

David Brooks is a genius at finding a middle road that gently slopes right, tamping down hyperbole and histrionics. He’s long been a personal hero and role model for encouraging cooler heads to prevail. In the case of the occupy movement, however, he’s set up a brilliant, deceptively simply, and false dichotomy. David writes:
But the fact is that Red Inequality is much more important. The zooming wealth of the top 1 percent is a problem, but it’s not nearly as big a problem as the tens of millions of Americans who have dropped out of high school or college. It’s not nearly as big a problem as the 40 percent of children who are born out of wedlock. It’s not nearly as big a problem as the nation’s stagnant human capital, its stagnant social mobility and the disorganized social fabric for the bottom 50 percent.
If your ultimate goal is to reduce inequality, then you should be furious at the doctors, bankers and C.E.O.’s. If your goal is to expand opportunity, then you have a much bigger and different agenda (NYT).
Wait? Furious at doctors? The people who cure us and care for us? Oops. Sometimes deadlines help us focus, other times they just make us rush. I’m fairly confident David would never want to utter the phrase, “society should be furious at doctors.”
Nevertheless, the article is an attempt to provoke current and potential new occupiers to question whether or not the cause justifies such sustained efforts, mobilized direct action, and relentless focus on Economic Inequality, which knows no color or other division.
Economic Inequality may manifest itself as Red and Blue in some cases, but it’s White all over. Relax, that’s not a racial slur, Caucasians.
Mr. Brooks and his 1% paymasters fear nothing more than the efficacy of the full 99%, unpartitioned by superficial politics, race, geography, culture; and that’s precisely what the #occupy movement is all about.
Beneath and within the Red and the Blue, the underlying White fabric of all economic injustice is woven of a frayed and decayed fabric, of 19th century industrial capitalism and cotton, dipped and striped a billion too many times in the dye of Any Rand’s sociopathological objectivism, and Made In America by Frederick Taylor’s scientific management, valuing humans as mere cogs to be optimized in the machine.
The 99% are not Red, White, or Blue. We are Human Beings of every hue, united against every stain of imbalance and injustice.
Setting up a false Red and Blue dichotomy seeks to drive a wedge into the 99%, encouraging the kind of polarization that Brooks claims to oppose every Sunday morning, on an issue that is entirely colorless at it’s core.

Bottom Line: the usual whipping posts of education and opportunity will not distract the public this time from the astronomical costs and hoarded profits that exacerbate All Inequality, consequent to the one corrupt economic OS this movement is properly focused on upgrading. It’s time for the full system reformat. Delete all partitions. Reboot. Restart.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Does Economic Expansion Require Growing Inequality?

Obviously, economic expansion does not require hoarding, quite the contrary. We're impressed to finally see Business Week taking the situation seriously and reporting the facts more accurately in Ms. Rand, Meet Singapore. Mr. Hayek, Meet Norway, including an occupy-wall-street tag: It's a great start.
"Is rising inequality the price of rapid economic growth? Advocates of deregulation often argue that the increasing concentration of wealth is driven by greater rewards going to innovators and entrepreneurs who drive the economy forward. But is this kind of trade-off really a given? Not really."

Thank you for demonstrating the integrity to present the data as it is, BW!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Path to Real Prosperity: David Korten's Take on #OccupyWallStreet

"A new jobs plan is thinking too small. What we need is a new economy."
In YesMagazine:
As I witness the devastation wrought by the Old Economy, my greatest source of sadness comes from an awareness of the profound gap between our human reality and our human possibility. My greatest source of joy and hope is my awareness of the vitality of the human spirit as demonstrated by the millions of people who are working to realize their shared vision of a just and sustainable world that works for all. My greatest source of motivation is the knowledge that it is within our collective means to unleash the positive creative potential of the human consciousness and make that vision a reality. We are privileged to live at the most exciting moment of creative opportunity in the whole of the human experience. Now is the hour. We have the power to turn this world around for the sake of ourselves and our children for generations to come. We are the ones we have been waiting for.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Conservative American Enterprise Institute Supports #BasicIncome

In Our Hands: A Plan to Replace the Welfare State:
"America's population is wealthier than any in history. Every year, the American government redistributes more than a trillion dollars of that wealth to provide for retirement, health care, and the alleviation of poverty. We still have millions of people without comfortable retirements, without adequate health care, and living in poverty. Only a government can spend so much money so ineffectually. The solution is to give the money to the people. This is the Plan, a radical new approach to social policy that defies any partisan label. Murray suggests eliminating all welfare transfer programs at the federal, state, and local levels and substituting an annual $10,000 (that was 2006, $15,000 more realistic) cash grant to everyone age twenty-one or older. In Our Hands describes the financial feasibility of the Plan and its effects on retirement, health care, poverty, marriage and family, work, neighborhoods and civil society."
Current models indicate that $1,200/mo is much more realistic in U.S., today. The exact number is secondary to first educating the American public about this vital, fundamental, fiscally responsible overhaul of the costly, hopelessly fragmented, often duplicated, abused, and ineffective needs-based welfare programs.

H/T @Benjamin_Flex

Dig Deeper:

#CanYouFigureOut What They Want? #BasicIncome #99percent #ows

(1:18) "For the whole of the time that the #OccupyWallStreet protesters have been making their case for a sea change in the way we Americans permit big business to draw and quarter and circumscribe our lives; media, too corrupt or too dense to understand anything more complicated than whether the blonde is missing or the verdict is guilty, have parroted "what do they want? what is their catch phrase?" 
In our third story, it is not a catchphrase but it is a declartion of what they want, that the document which I will read in full in a moment is not a list of laws to be repealed nor politicians to be elected, may only confuse the precious ninth graders now passing for TV anchor news men these days; but the absense of the kind of painted footsteps with which they used to mark the floors of dance instruction studios is, in a way, breathtaking; the two-by-four that Errol Louis described
It implies that there is so much to change, that such a tipping point has been reached, that some easy to apply band aids just are not going to be enough. And it implies that the commentators and politicians and monied interests that do not come to understand the scope of what must change will be without influence and without power before they realize that the change Has Happened." - Keith Olberman
Dig Deeper:

Friday, October 7, 2011

Pension Funds Braced for Collapse of Capitalism

Carl Hess, Global Head of Investment, Towers Watson, on FTfm:

@ 00:40 "Well, 'may you live in interesting times' is the old curse, right? We are living in interesting times, indeed."

@ 04:20 "Gold represents a good hedge against some of the more extreme risks that could be out there, whether that's the collapse of capitalism, or just a major nation defaulting on it's debt."

Amazing how question #1 of economics, “compared to what?” plays out at this juncture. “Just” a major nation defaulting on it’s debt. Awesome.

To speak actuality to denial; true light to false lights; to encourage readers to open eyes, hearts, minds; to learn, adapt, and thrive in the global Mixed Economy of the present and future.

It’s simply not breaking news to announce that we live today, right now, in the techno-utopian future envisioned by the enlightened founders. The 18th and 19th century agro-industrial capitalist transition worked. We beat that level. It took around 200 years, but we won. Achievement earned. Level up. We don’t need a singularity to #occupy the actuality of the here and now. We are finally free to:

“Death is very likely the single best invention of life. It is life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new.” – Steve Jobs.

"This is the real news of our century. It is highly feasible to take care of all of humanity at a higher standard of living than anybody has ever experienced or dreamt of. To do so without having anybody profit at the expense of another so that everybody can enjoy the whole earth. And it can all be done by 1985." Buckminster Fuller, The World Game, 1971.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

#OccupyWallStreet Official Demands, MLK on #BasicIncome: A Reasoned Response to Accelerating Structural Inequality #99percent

Per @OccupyWallSt, "The only official demands will be off our website and the GAs."

Though if you're more anxious for demands right now, MLK made them 45 years ago.

"We are demanding an emergency program to provide employment for everyone in need of a job, or if a work program is impractical, a guaranteed annual income at levels that sustain life and decent circumstance." 
"It is now incontestable that the wealth and resources of the United States make the elimination of poverty absolutely practical." 
- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community? 1967.
  • Follow @Livable4All and @BasicIncome.
  • We live in 2011, not 1811. Time to Break the Job Trance.
  • If this is your first visit to this site, you have a LOT of homework ahead. 
  • If you are offended by this site, your assignment is to do the math. All of it. We can happily discuss after you've finished all your homework; which will be in about 3-4 years.

It's the Inequality, Stupid #Redux

It's the Inequality, Stupid

Thanks, Mother. Still, a hat tip might have been nice. #JustSayin

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Michael Moore at #OccupyWallStreet

The crowd's repetition of what he says is not some sort of strange ritual -- it's an ingenious way of adapting to the no-amplified-sound-in-the-park law. When a speaker addresses the group in the park, they use the "people's mic" so that the hundreds around them who are outside of earshot can hear what the speaker is saying, as well. There are only 400 of them - the richest, greediest, pathologically hoarding, kleptomaniacs - and 250 MILLION or more of us. You don't have to be into sports to know the outcome of that game. They think their power is in their bank accounts, but we know our power is in the people. Follow @BasicIncome and teach yourself more about Basic Income as an equitable long term means of sustainable resource circulation in an advanced technological era of postscarcity.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

60 Minutes: Inside High Frequency Trading

"We're getting down to how fast can the electrons travel."
- Lawrence Leibowitz, COO, NYSE (60 Minutes)

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Next Leg Down, Up, Down, What, and Then What?

Revised 8/23/2011.
Good Morning, America:
  • Only 58% of American adults are in your workforce, at all. If this isn't Marxian unemployment, the 100% predictable outcome of the massive success of the capital industrialization process, then nothing is.
  • According to the most recent available Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers, just 48.9% of your youth is employed (16-24 y.o.). This was the lowest July rate on record for the series, which began in 1948; and July is the BEST month for summer employment.
  • The longer people stay unemployed, the less employable they become; your human resources are literally rotting on the vine.
  • As youth are equally or more deleteriously impacted than mature Americans this time around, you can't just discard an inconvenient surplus of spent humans; dumped off on the corner to live as the next wave of invisible people, or euphemistically whisk them away into so-called retirement, living in silent poverty or near-poverty.
  • This second recent major stock market correction, presently underway, coincides with record profits and consolidation for the wealthy; which literally makes no fundamental sense, right? If profits are the supposed definition of success, then rational markets would reward said success, not punish it. Think about it this way: what sane parent beats their child for bringing home straight A's? Yet this is precisely how dysfunctional markets behave.
  • Having enjoyed a youthful 200 years of absolutely stratospheric success and wild popularity, Wall Street has today become a doped up sagging starlet in Las Vegas; maniacally addicted to a distorted permutation of casino capitalism, with you America, human beings as cardboard chips.
  • This blog continues to be about encouraging enlightened, adaptive, non-Marxian (certainly non-violent) progress. Think of our global and national economic systems like software that ran well on the old machine, but is incompatible with the best of the new. Time to increment; hence, the '++.'
Moreover, bullshit make-work jobs are NOT the answer; nothing zaps human value, productivity, and  self-esteem faster than reporting to a bullshit location, answering to bullshit processes, to engage in bullshit behavior in the name of a so-called job. It's time to break the job trance: the concept of J.O.B. as sole or ultimate Justification Of Being for humans. Jobs are simply no longer sufficient nor scalable to adaptive progress, moving forward.

What could possibly ever replace, or at least complement jobs, as authentic, productive, identity-legitimizing human activity? Purpose, to begin with, along with some pretty damned impressive mathematics, lifelong learning, and highly laudable roles -- equal in scale to their achievements -- for emergent artificial intelligence, extended cognition, and augmented realities; once we get to specifics of implementation, below. Certainly, in everyday life, editing the invisible hand's implicit spin on the "what do you do" question at cocktail parties -- what's meant is what do you do, for money, of course -- will take a lot of time and positive cultural reinforcement. Nobody is pretending that altering the trajectory of human behavior isn't among the most challenging and complex hacks imaginable.

Perhaps your purpose is mastering a dozen languages (half of them computer languages). Perhaps bringing smiles to the faces of the elderly, or people in general, most builds your own sense of accomplishment and pride, while powerfully encouraging others to work hard to accomplish their goals. Did you notice what happened there? Work and Goals didn't go anywhere in a world without jobs. At least not in a world without jobs in the sense we've known them for the past couple of hundreds of years.

Maybe your favorite thing to do is smoke weed and stay drunk 90% of the time. Shocking, right? Obviously, our default reality has long complained that without jobs, people would all become lazy dope-head alcoholics. Closer to truth is that the people who are going to behave that way are already behaving that way; in fact, research suggests that we are causing significant increases in this undesirable behavior, due to the current regime of obliterating human dignity outside of the narrow context of slips of paper or digits on a spreadsheet exchanged for the valuable commodity in the known universe: human energy and attention.

Maybe your purpose could be to compassionately foster new opportunities for people who's purpose is helping others find a purpose! Maybe you could be the one helping such people to find something that's more compelling and interesting than staying baked all day every day. Don't you think that would give your life more meaning than putting pot smokers in cages -- paying for their food, board, and healthcare -- while earning $8.00/hour to hold them hostage with guns?

Though by all means, let us please get back to lamenting about the impossibility of JOBS, JOBS, JOBS, particularly given the clinical reality of 50% actual unemployment. Even if we did create a massive 1930's style work projects administration, to function as a motorized wheel-chair for a paraplegic industrial economy, we can't put a nation of knowledge workers, physicians, lawyers, computer engineers, and software architects to work building dams and bridges; it's time to grow up, humans.

Recently, lamestream media commentators have remarked that markets have corrected as a vote of no confidence in government's ability to manage it's own affairs in the wake of the AA+ downgrade. This doesn't even pass the blush test, and epitomizes the ROTFLMAO test. 

To suggest that the same demented, delusional, crazed, schizophrenic markets -- which just got done running to government for $1.2 trillion and their own very existence on the cusp of 2008 to 2009 -- could cast such a vote with any credibility whatsoever, is not merely laughable, it's scary stupid. Idiotic. Reckless. Not funny or even sporting. Just plain wrong-headed.

Yes, a lot of these realities sting. I'm actually not nearly as pessimistic as much of this may sound. In fact, I wouldn't put the effort into these entries if I didn't deeply believe in the universal human potential to adapt and advance. Yet, like that dysfunctional drunken starlet, admitting to symptoms is only the beginning; getting to root causes is the only way to sustainable recovery and a flourishing future.

Moreover, it is exceedingly difficult to reach anything resembling a better place -- to get there from here -- if people can't agree where there is. A central proposition of this blog is that we already got there --  in terms of the material and economic goals envisioned by the architects of the American Experiment -- a decade or so prior to the bicentennial, and then we didn't know what to do with ourselves. Hence, the relatively drunken derivatives partying and reveling by a rapidly shrinking few, ever since.

Presently, the fact that there is still vastly more than enough supply of stuff on the shelves for everyone; as there will continue to be into the indefinite future -- with only 49% to 58% of people working, thanks to astronomical industrial efficiencies -- is a pretty fair measure of thereness, insofar as our forebears would have imagined any massively technologically advanced, postscarcity world, from their vantage point. This entire world game comes down to perspective, after all, doesn't it?

Since examples are a great way to illustrate a point, here's another. As a culture, we are so dysfunctionally addicted to scarcity thinking that government agencies must do battle with communications companies over who makes up the rules to the games for manifesting profits literally out of thin air; all by pretending that there is a shortage of freakin' radio waves and lightwaves that move ephemeral packets of information across the internet. To wit, "the Deregulators belief in a world of bandwidth scarcity, which justifies their tiered-pricing approach to [pricing and] services; and the Openists belief that a world of bandwidth surplus is upon us if we would but build it" (Educause). That is really stretching beyond credibility to create a scarcity-based game out of infinite photons and electromagnetic pulses.

Okay, I do admit that building more radio repeaters and connecting them with more fiber optic cables is one logical labor program for a post-information economy; though such works programs are hardly the solution to sustainable half-employment, moving forward. The one-time sunk cost and effort of such an infrastructure labor program only further proves the rule about the proliferation of non-material ways that people create and circulate information, knowledge, and social value in an advanced postscarcity context.

Overall, if we are to have any hope of getting through this global and domestic transition, there's a good chance that we must encourage continued education and development of an entire nation of futurists, everyday people who think carefully and critically about the kind of society we want to live in, so that we might stand a better chance of coming together for this next leg of history's journey. A journey that is far more likely than not to include some form of Mixed Economy

Now would be a good time to begin learning about any number of viable alternatives, some basic math, including domestic and international sustainable resource circulation research from the past four of five decades.

Our industrial capitalist republic has long been referred to as the American experiment; and it's been magnificently successful in countless ways. Like any good longitudinal science, perhaps today we're in the very process of falsifying some of the base assumptions of that experiment, in a manner that can begin moving us forward again, empowered by this liberating data -- data that demonstrates that a society can not only survive, but thrive, with only half-employment -- rather than disillusioned and derailed by it. Even if Roubini is right that Marx was right.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

What to do with a bought Congress

Mixed Signals Indicate Popped Hedge Bubble

Excerpts from Asia Times. Please click through to read the full story:
There's something deeply anomalous about a stock market crash at the peak of United States corporate profitability. Nothing like this ever has happened before. 
Standard and Poor's downgrade of American sovereign debt from the highest, triple-A rating may be the silliest pretext for a stock market crash in world history. America is the only big industrial country in the world that will have more taxpayers rather than fewer when a newly-issued 30-year bond matures.  
... why is the market selling an S&P earnings yield of 8% to buy 10-year Treasuries at 2.5%?  
... the link between US GDP and corporate earnings is the weakest in history, and 46% of S&P sales are outside the US
... we have never had stock market crash when stocks earned nearly three times the Treasury bond yield on a current basis. 
The bubble that has popped here is not American government debt, but the overstretched and overpromised hedge fund industry. It's not the end of the world. It's just the end of the hedge fund industry.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Ayn Rand's Ultimate Oligarch Central Planning Wet Dream Comes True

Via P2PFoundation (@mbauwens) and Global Guerrillas (@johnrobb):
The answer is that an extreme concentration of wealth at the center of our market economy has led to a form of central planning. The concentration of wealth is now in so few hands and is so extreme in degree, that the combined liquid financial power of all of those not in this small group is inconsequential to determining the direction of the economy. As a result, we now have the equivalent of centralized planning in global marketplaces. A few thousand extremely wealthy people making decisions on the allocation of our collective wealth. The result was inevitable: gross misallocation across all facets of the private economy.
NOT because of government or democracy or collectivist cooperation as Rand ranted; quite the contrary, all of this is because her very own beloved industrial era capitalism ran it's full course; and ran it quite well in bringing humanity out of the agrarian age, thank you very much. However, unchecked by democracy, and unbalanced by an adaptive mixed-economy model:
The result of [industrial market capitalism's] central planning in the US has finally hit the wall.  The list of problems is endless. The misallocations range from the dangerous $600 trillion derivatives market to the destruction of the US middle class.
It's not time to hate or blame. We were all complicit. It's time to admit we were wrong, misinformed, fooled, or just not paying attention. It's time to increment: Capitalism++

Peaceful State Failure HOWTO: The Way Out Is Through

Peaceful, productive State Failure HOWTO from the Bucky-Gandhi Design Institution.

One human species. One precious planet. So feck off, ye haters, destroyers, and fear merchants. We will not empower you to blow up this beautiful, pale blue dot. We choose to move forward.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Economies are Circulatory Systems

Currencies go into and out of circulation, not distribution. It's not about redistribution at all, lunkheads, it's about sustainable global resource circulation. If you clot up 43% of your blood in 1% of your body, it doesn't matter where the clot is; the whole body is going down. People and societies are complex adaptive biological systems, not rigorous, reductionist mathematical formulations.

Basic Income (global | us) is not merely about the theoretical mathematics of economics. It's about acknowledging and addressing the everyday biological realities of human existence, lack, homelessness, hunger, and the persistent threat thereof, which strips economic agents -- American, and global citizens -- of anything even remotely resembling democratic, free market bargaining power.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Work Doesn't Work: Breaking the Job Trance

@JasonFried provides a nice TEDxMidwest update to Modern Work is Mostly a Lie and maybe even contributes a little additional progress toward breaking the Job Trance: J.O.B. as only valid Justification Of Being in the world.

Jobs just don't work any more for at least 20% of the U.S. population (U6 + understatement variable) and growing 40% of the U.S. population. Jobs aren't the problem in post-industrial, post-services, post-information-age, transitional postscarcity economies. Jobs have never and will never create breakthroughs like this.

Unemployment often creates the greatest breakthroughs in human history. We should not be striving for full employment, we should be striving for full unemployment. Our cultural incentives and aims are utterly inverted; some say unconscionably perverted. Another case in point, Unemployment Driven Innovation:

These are not outlier events. These are evidence that humans are not fundamentally lazy sloths; we are fundamentally productive, cooperative, connected, driven to achieve and contribute. If we were fundamentally lazy, we never would have survived the forests and savannas and deserts and bitterly cold tundra.

The point we wish to continue clarifying is that the Job Trance is just that: a cultural trance. An induced catatonic state. All people do not need jobs to live full productive lives, experience rich and meaningful social participation, and maximize their economic contribution to society. Jobs might be fine as one way to experience those things; but they are certainly not the only way. They are certainly not the cause of our current economic malaise.

Blood clots in the resource circulatory system are the problem literally killing us, and we need to either dissolve or remove them, stat. That means evolving adaptive means to ensure that cash, the economic lifeblood of our resource circulatory system, gets out to the capillaries where all transpiration occurs, on a consistent and sustainable basis.

Obviously, politicians can't just turn on a dime on this topic, because consensus reality is a very large, lumbering, stupefied, savage beast that at best marginalizes and mocks, and most commonly simply crushes anything it doesn't understand.

The good news is that we have nearly half a century of BasicIncome, USBig, and even Postscarcity scholarship behind us already. So completing this long, slow course correction over the next six to ten years is not at all asking to make a screeching, smoking, hairpin, 180° turn. It's time.

Are you even more confused than when you clicked on this article? Good. Let's help continue to resolve that cognitive dissonance for you:

  • Notice that we live in 2011, not 1811, and the real Labor Participation Rate is less than 54%.
  • Notice that it's been almost 50 years since MLK's Official #OWS Demands.
  • Don't listen to me, listen to Dr. Cornell West: don't be afraid to say Revolution.
  • Go easy on yourself. If this is your first visit to this site, you may have a LOT of homework ahead. 
  • If you are starkly offended by this site, your assignment is to do the math. All of it. We can happily discuss after you've finished all your homework; which will be in about 3-4 years.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Everyone. Period.

There is no checking to see who brought in how many fish last season. No means test. No popularity perks. No VIP parking. Basic subsistence is a fundamental penguin right. Pay attention, humans. This is how resilient and sustainable #EarthOS economies work. Everyone is entitled to the basics of food, shelter, healthcare, and education. Everyone. Period.

When fishing season starts, it's every penguin for themselves again. These seasons of cooperation and coopetition are true of markets, also. A universal Basic Income Grant is fundamental to creating a Free and Fair Marketplace where all participants bargain from a status of fundamental existential security. So long as labor is extorted by threat of utter destitution, loss of housing, healthcare, and food, there can be no Free Market. If you want a sustainable, scalable, resilient, adaptive post-information age free market, you have to begin with free agents as participants.

The homeless, hungry, ill, and illiterate are not free agents and therefore cannot experience anything resembling free market economics. Imagine if we were to eliminate every welfare program and the minimum wage, and replace them with a guaranteed basic income sufficient to provide subsistence level food, housing, healthcare, and access to education? Imagine a resilient, sustainable world apprehending postscarcity.

"You may say that I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one." - John Lennon

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Banks are now "Too Big to Fail, squared. Concentration has gotten worse, not better, since the 2008 crisis."

  • "The top ten banks now control 77% of all bank assets."
  • "There is no way to practice, in advance, [the Too Big To Fail legislation now enacted by Congress]."
  • "I worry about [a second housing crash]. I don't want to tell you we're going to have a crash, crash; I think there is still a lot of pressure on the housing market."
  • "I think it's a jobs story ... which I'm not very confident about at this moment."
  • "What is the new normal around employment? Is 8% the new normal? Is 9% the new normal?
-- Andrew Ross Sorkin, full MTP interview, below.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Poverty: Equal Opportunity Oppressor

Poverty cares not whether you're black, white, technicolor, 3D, American, African.

Read more at AlterNet ...

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Economic Recovery / Reboot Complete!

Everything's great at Goldman-Sachs, and you're right back where you started, so I don't know what your whiny problem is all about:
Home price gains since spring 2009 vanish

The home price gains made after the housing market bottomed in spring 2009 have vanished, with 10 cities posting fresh lows in February, according to a closely watched index that tracks home prices in America's biggest metropolitan areas. The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller index for 20 major U.S. cities, released Tuesday, came within a hair of its previous bottom hit in April 2009. The renewed drop in home prices indicates the nation's housing woes continue despite a recovery in the broader economy. "There is very little, if any, good news about housing. Prices continue to weaken, while trends in sales and construction are disappointing," said David M. Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at Standard & Poor's.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Jobs & Housing: No Easter Resurrection, Ascension, Redemption, or Return in Sight

Stimulus by Fed Is Disappointing, Economists Say
"[M]ost Americans are not feeling the difference, in part because those benefits have been surprisingly small. The latest estimates from economists, in fact, suggest that the pace of recovery from the global financial crisis has flagged since November, when the Fed started buying $600 billion in Treasury securities to push private dollars into investments that create jobs" (NYT).
Builders of New Homes Seeing No Sign of Recovery
"The recession hurt a lot of industries, but it knocked the residential construction market to the mat and has kept it there, even as the broader economy has started to fitfully recover.

Sales of new single-family homes in February were down more than 80 percent from the 2005 peak, far exceeding the 28 percent drop in existing home sales. New single-family sales are now lower than at any point since the data was first collected in 1963, when the nation had 120 million fewer residents.

Builders and analysts say a long-term shift in behavior seems to be under way. Instead of wanting the biggest and the newest, even if it requires a long commute, buyers now demand something smaller, cheaper and, thanks to $4-a-gallon gas, as close to their jobs as possible. That often means buying a home out of foreclosure from a bank.

Four out of 10 sales of existing homes are foreclosures or otherwise distressed properties. Builders like Mr. Meier who specialize in putting up entire neighborhoods on a city’s outskirts — Richmond is some 50 miles northwest of downtown Chicago — cannot compete despite chopping prices" (NYT).

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Taxation Misrepresentation: @WSJ Earns Tufte Tsk-Tsk-Tsk

Edward Tufte would have just three words for the Wall Street Journal: "Where the Tax Money Is." Tsk, tsk, tsk. WSJ carves up IRS data into a False Middle Class:

The chart above is intended to impress and scare seventh grade educated newspaper readers into opposing any and all means of responsibly addressing the astronomical war debts incurred by the bi-partisan military industrial complex, just as Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower promised, 50 years ago.1

What's worth dwelling on for just a moment is the fact that these pictures all depend upon how one stacks the kindergarten blocks. In everyday America, the following is vastly closer to the True Middle Class we experience IRL. Take those blocks conveniently tossed aside to the right, by the right, and stack them up proper and you get a dramatically different picture.

But let's keep this real. We promise long ago that this was eventually going to get uncomfortably personal. My wife and I may not "feel" well off by working two jobs and "barely" grossing $70K annual income for two in the Bay Area; yet the fact of the matter is we are quite well off compared to most Americans; even as we literally live dirt poor on rice and beans living next door to Atherton and Los Altos Hills.  I've been out there in the highways and byways and know first hand how financially fecked average people are in America. Rather than feel offended for "calling us well off," or jumping on the defensive when someone says, "you make $140K? you're rich!" We should get off of our high horses and  respond with some modicum of empathy for others. "Holy crap! Most people are really that poor?! This is totally unacceptable!"

The entire premise of this vital civic conversation must be turned on it's head, because we're completely  upside down in debt thanks to the system that drove us off this debt cliff in the first place.

1. Although Eisenhower is from the same era, the military industrial complex is not to be confused with tinfoil hat Kennedy UFO conspiracy theory fictions. This is just a snippet of plain old boring, factual American history; business as usual. Nothing new here, move along.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Conflicted over Classroom Capitalism

I don't even know where to begin in teasing apart the mishmash of motivations and behavioral acculturations around teaching children what money is all about in this context. Supposedly, money was once about a means of exchange, it had something to do with allocating and managing scarcity; increasingly today, money appears to be more about behavioral compliance. This may not be an entirely bad thing, if the behaviors rewarded and encouraged directly and proportionally benefit the individuals in question. It's complicated.

Amplify’d from

New Behavior Reward in my Classroom

I use a Behavior Ladder (basically a clip chart) in my classroom to manage student behavior. Students earn dollars (Star Bucks) when they move up and lose dollars if they have to move down. They can use their dollars to buy items from the treasure box or pay to eat lunch in the classroom. This system has worked well for me. I've been slacking off on treasure box lately. I'm tired of having to buy things for it, and parents aren't always consistent in sending things in.
The machine takes quarters, and one night in bed I found myself re-thinking my Star Bucks. Money is such a hard concept for first graders to master. Why am I making them count fake money when they could be counting REAL money? I decided that after Spring Break I am getting ride of the Star Bucks. Star Bucks will be replaced with REAL pennies which they will trade in for REAL nickels, dimes, and quarters. I'm so excited about this! Since next year I will be using this system from the beginning of the year I think it will really improve their counting money skills!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

It's Not About Pie - It's About Fostering Sustainable Human Flourishing

Comment Posted By: InCincy(2940) on 4/5/2011 | 3:41 PM ET
"That is one impressive image. This should be on the US Currency replacing the pictures of the Presidents & Statemen who are probably unrecognized by many anyhow. many by using pictures, we could make up for the lack of learning in Civics and Math classes."

Thursday, April 7, 2011

How Much Cocaine Backs Global Currency?

This is a bit of an editorial diversion from the usual curation algorithm, so if it's your first time visiting the blog, I hope you'll dig a little deeper.

In this video, scroll to the 4:00 mark to skip the meandering segue. Like any television content, the facts presented should be double checked. In this case, the delivery was just too entertaining to withhold, even if it does wax a bit Foxish, hyperbolic.
The Keiser Report may qualify as O'Reilly Report, Left Edition. Because Max also makes fun of Obama and the current administration, it would be funny to insert some of these pieces into the Fox broadcast stream, just to see how soon that audience can be turned on a dime; independent of message or independent thinking, solely attributable to message delivery method. Pay the network enough and you could probably run the experiment. Come on, surely we've got just one billionaire reader out there with nothing better to do this year. Have some fun! Life's too short! How long would it take to invert Fox's message and audience mindset? Five years? One year? 3 months? How vapid are the monkey minds, really? See you on the other side. ;-)

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Economic Security Beyond Reach of Many Americans

"A separate report being released Friday tries to go beyond traditional measurements like the poverty line and minimum wage to show what people need to earn to achieve a basic standard of living."
The study, commissioned by Wider Opportunities for Women, a nonprofit group, builds on an analysis the group and some state and local partners have been conducting since 1995 on how much income it takes to meet basic needs without relying on public subsidies. The new study aims to set thresholds for economic stability rather than mere survival, and takes into account saving for retirement and emergencies.

“We wanted to recognize that there was a cumulative impact that would affect one’s lifelong economic security,” said Joan A. Kuriansky, executive director of Wider Opportunities, whose report is called “The Basic Economic Security Tables for the United States.” “And we’ve all seen how often we have emergencies that we are unprepared for,” she said, especially during the recession. Layoffs or other health crises “can definitely begin to draw us into poverty.”

According to the report, a single worker needs an income of $30,012 a year — or just above $14 an hour — to cover basic expenses and save for retirement and emergencies. That is close to three times the 2010 national poverty level of $10,830 for a single person, and nearly twice the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.


"But here’s the crucial element: it looks very likely that we’re in a period where the large patterns we’ve seen before aren’t working right.

Instead, we’re in an environment that will force swift and sometimes frightening evolution.

Businesses, communities, social institutions of all kinds, will find themselves facing a need to simultaneously experiment rapidly and keep hold of a longer-term perspective. You simply can’t expect that the world to which you’ve become adapted will look in any way the same – economically, environmentally, politically – in another decade.

As a result, you simply can’t expect that you will look in any way the same, either.

The asteroid strikes. The era of evolution is upon us. It’s now time to watch the dinosaurs take flight" (IEET).

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Economic Democracy is a precondition for Political Democracy

Clip 1: Economic Democracy and Political Democracy.

Clip 2: Wider Context. Peace is an Economic Issue.

Footnote for MSNBC: The hard pre-rolls aren't going to cut it here; especially with multiple clips on a page. I'll leave this here this time, but if I don't get a share -- a significant revenue share -- of the pre-roll ad revenue for which I alone am the proximate cause and courier, I'm not going to distribute your advertising for free.