25 thoughts on “General debate, October 22, 2012

  1. BJ,

    While we know the current system is broken, the human condition has not been factored into any alternative.

    Lots of ideas and theories but no “painted picture” of how the theories will operate in a free society.

    I dont think a revolution as per a single “event” will occur. The revolution will be one of a degrading of the current system into some sort of finacial “black hole” from which will emerge an alternative.

    That alternative may or may not be based on current theories but will be formed by peoples needs and wants.

    My feeling is that there will be very little financial structure after the revolution and a new structure will form the needs and wants of the people.

    What ever that is I dont know, but whatever finacial token can be exchanged between two parties to an swapping of goods and services.

    Capitalism will return to its pure roots is my gut instinct, based on human needs ands wants.

  2. Michaela – I didn’t read Keen or Keynes until after I’d figured our my own answers. Most of my answers resonate strongly with Keen and with the Austrians ( I haven’t yet read your linked paper by Bichler and Nitzan ), and with the “Social Credit” theory.

    Like the guy who came up with Social Credit I am an Engineer. My “theory” such as it is, is simple enough at its heart. It gets more complicated when it has to be implemented in real world systems.

    “Money represents work done.”

    That is fair enough. All monetary systems become more complicated than the simple models that inspire them, when confronting the real world.

    I recommend Keen for his incisive demolition work. Much of it echoing my own efforts. He explains more of the details of the way we’ve fooled ourselves for the past centuries than most can, and he is a “real economist” so the morons who keep asking me what sort of economics courses I’ve taken can’t use that particular idiocy with him. Even though he says exactly the same nasty things about their favorite frauds.

    Thanks for the link though. I’ll dig into it soon.

  3. Gerrit – Any upheaval large enough to put us in a position to start to implement our plans has to be classed as a form of revolution. We’ve discussed the transition to some extent here.

    The current economic system IS broken… and will in due course deliver such massively unsatisfactory results that revolution WILL occur. I am pretty sure that is something implicit in the thinking of the authors.

    The result can be something no smarter than we had before, just with different fools running it (a common experience in history)… or something different. The Greens propose something different.

  4. Michaela,

    Heavy reading in both linked references.

    What strikes me in both is the total lack of reference to what the people think or want.

    No reference at all to how human beings react, live, aspire, dreams, etc.

    No reference at all in how people may want to live.

    Maybe they haven’t heard of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs?

    Until these revolutionist (and we do need a revolution) take into account the human beings they are trying to convince to change, the theory will remain just that, theory.

    People will be influenced to change if the revolutionist “paint a picture” of how people will live, interact, and be part of society are better then what they have today.

    Another shortcoming in all of the theoretical ideas is how to manage the transition from here today to the introduction and implementation of the theories.

    So while the theories are impressive and the research impeccable, what chance their introduction in today’s non-rational, victim-hood and vision-less society?

  5. Keen’s treatment of the Jubilee in the book is probably a little more extensive than in his interview with Kim Hill but not sufficiently so to justify it’s purchase solely for that. His discussion is scattered over about half a dozen pages. As an alternative to purchase, suggest it to your local library (Wellington?), I’ve had several technical titles bought by various libraries, librarians do like personal recommendations.

    As a different but possibly complementary approach to economics I would like to suggest Nitzan & Bichler’s thesis of capital as power: http://www.paecon.net/PAEReview/issue61/BichlerNitzan61.pdf and use the link in note 1 to access their book: Capital as Power: A Study of Order and Creorder (2009), it’s fully downloadable for free.

    Unlike Keen who demolishes both neo-liberal and Marxist economics from a theoretical perspective before developing a modeling approach, Nitzan & Bichler do their demolition from a philosophical standpoint before developing an entirely new philosophy based on Thorstein Veblen’s writings. I’ve found the book fascinating and the new approach explains many aspects of economics that neither neo-liberal nor Marxism can account for. Developing the ramifications of their thesis would be a marvelous project for a Green economic think tank.

  6. I do prefer to buy from Unity Books whenever possible (or Arty Bees for secondhand) – just because the staff in there actually know about books! – but online, Book Depository is definitely the one.

  7. Hmmm… UK prices look a lot sweeter than Amazon for several titles I’ve been after. Thanks Gregor, I had not heard of them…

    I am still working on my local bookstore ( I am trying to support them to the extent possible :-) ), but I may have reached the limit for that… I wonder how they manage to get such prices here…

  8. Version 2 (2011) $35 incl post on Book Depository of you get in quick, bj.

    PS – get around your limit by buying it for your daughter!

  9. More than my monthly “optional spending” budget… I make enough except for the fact that I have a teen-aged daughter and so cannot by definition, EVER make enough. :-)

    Since you have it… could you tell us if there is a more “in depth” discussion of his Jubilee in there?

  10. You can get more details here, but I see he is still sparing with anything but an outline of the potential problems.

    http://www.debtdeflation.com/blogs/2012/01/03/the-debtwatch-manifesto/

    I suspect he has more to say about it in his actual books.

    Which I really want to borrow or buy but which aren’t in the library here. Which makes them expensive things for me.

    Of interest too, though not specifically related I see this about what Keynes ACTUALLY proposed and why it wasn’t accepted… and is now forgotten.

    http://www.monbiot.com/2008/11/18/clearing-up-this-mess/

    ciao
    BJ

  11. BJ,

    Devil is in the detail, yes?

    People should stop making wide sweeping statements without providing links to detailed background information.

    And a speech is not detailed background information.

  12. If it is going to happen Gerrit, it is going to happen in such a way as to prevent that sort of rort. You DO know that, don’t you?

  13. Kz

    Can you tell me when this debt jubilee is about to start. Have my eye on a nice bit of retirement property on the Coromandel.

    Be nice to have the government pay for this. I wont need to borrow anymore after resettelment so “sweat man, real sweat deal”.

    How much taxation will the state have to raise to wipe all private debt?

    Or will this simply be “printed” money.

    Most private debt is people borrowing for the family home.

    How do you quantify a family home as able to produce an income?

    That asset produces no income so will banks lend money on family homes?

  14. How to save our economy:

    1) use a debt jubilee to pay down PRIVATE debt. If someone is in debt they get some of it paid off by the government and cannot borrow it again. If you don’t have debt you get that same amount as a cash injection.

    2) get banks to make loans on based on the income of the asset rather than the income of the person buying the asset.

    http://lecture.canterbury.ac.nz/ess/echo/presentation/717bb6dd-7ff3-4380-903d-b96392ef6293
    Steve Keen, time approx 1hr, 20 mins.

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