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What happens in your brain when you reconnect with an ex:
Technicals warning a breakdown in yields is increasingly probable, protect for a move to 2.00% RBC
The dark truth behind the design of Oreo cookies
3 trends are shaping the rapid rise of drones. @chr1sa
May, Macron Clash on Timetable for Brexit Talks in First Meeting
Try and see whos having the least fun.
Africa is Not Poor, its Wealth is Being Stolen #Africa
#ANCNEC - Fate of South Africas Zuma to Be Determined? #SouthAfrica
#Kirchentag all over the place #dekt17
Preet Bharara on Montana Republican: If he were an immigrant, hed face deportation
So much water pulsed through a melting glacier that it warped the Earths crust
Some investors bet Brazil has further room to fall
Tunisia opens trial over 2015 Sousse beach killings
Slow times fuel stunt foods
Strong homepage this morning. Great work, @AmerBanker team. Now get back to work.
Clinton on election loss: I won’t lie, Chardonnay helped
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This is the difference between investing in infrastructure and giving your kitchen to Olive Garden.
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European body backs Greek judges over Turkish officers extradition
Time for QE4 @ChicagoFed
As Ramadan begins, read up on key findings about Muslims by @pewresearch:
Robo Doc ...beats #Roboadvisor @HSBC finds: via @business MT @annairrera #fintech
Taxi for Theresa May? @stephenkb explains why the Tories falling poll lead isnt a surprise
House will vote on bill repealing parts of Dodd-Frank next month
Americans are obsessed with eating healthy ... and with Twinkies
BMW, Mercedes become latest carmakers caught in Trumps crossfire
Or Revlon. $REV Good grief.
How built-out Barcelona found space for an urban forest
MIT engineers have figured out how to 3D print pasta:
Trump still not backing Paris climate agreement: Italys PM
Why Donald Trump’s weird handshake matters
This hacker built his own iPhone using parts from Chinese electronics markets
The forward 12-month P/E ratio for $SPX is 17.6, above the 10-year average of 14.0.
Pentagon Admits U.S. Airstrike in Mosul Killed 105 Iraqi Civilians
The Fall of the Damned - Peter Paul Rubens - 1620.
Nokia: The AI-Driven Rise Of Predictive Customer Service -
Safe Sex: Chinese buy condom business as savvy youth spur demand
.@ArianaGrande Will Return to Manchester for Benefit Concert
Behold, the rarely seen inbox zero message in Gmail
I dont think Ive ever checked out a Rite Aid chart before. $RAD
Corbyn branded crass for linking terror at home to wars abroad, reports @carldinnen
In Manchester, a show of determination, anger, fear and love
NY Times rips Trump over embarrassing NATO speech
Preparations for the Islamic holy month of #Ramadan #AA
#Shipping failing to meet #emission reductions targets: IEA by @Splash_247
NDs @kmitsotakis : No confidence in government handling of new-generation #terrorism
Boehner: Almost everything Trump has done in office has been a complete disaster
Solar PV sets new record for GB, generating 8.8 GW
Asias First Fully #Automated #Terminal Operational by @Mar_Ex
Macron snubs Britains May on post-#Brexit trade deal talks
ChOTD-5/26/17 $XOI Oil Gas Stocks Testing Lifetime Up Trendline…AGAIN (Close Up)
ICYMI: Jony Ive named chancellor of one of the world’s most prestigious art schools
Abandoned wellhead casing
UNC has a fun excuse for its recent scandal: fake news.
ChOTD-5/26/17 $XOI Oil Gas Stocks Testing Lifetime Up Trendline…AGAIN (Zoomed Out)
Alabama governor signs law banning cities from removing Confederate monuments
As the U.S. Sends More #Oil to World, #OPEC Sends Less to U.S. by @climate
Today in #London is great for many things... but not for selling woollen clothes.
Greece’s experience in EZ is in a league of its own @SoberLook @jsblokland @DeanDijour
Did Admiral Mike Rogers tell the NSA that Trump colluded with the Russians?
This is why corporate money has no place in politics:
Trump rows shadow ‘toughest G7 in years’
The 5 things the Tories arent telling you about their manifesto, by @JuliaRampenMM
Clinton tells grads: There may be trolls in life who may call you a nasty woman
#Venezuela Secretly Plotted to Sell Banned #Syrian #Oil to the U.S. by @bpolitics
Top Trump economic adviser admits ‘Coal doesn’t even make that much sense anymore’
Almost 100 prisoners escape from Brazilian prison
Portraits of protest: We speak to 10 Thais gagged by lèse-majesté law
2:00PM Water Cooler 5/26/2017
Hillary Clinton is auditioning for a role in the Trump resistance.
Trump son-in-law #JaredKushner to cooperate with FBI over Russia investigation #Russiaprobe
Merkel says it was six to one against Trump on climate change
Trump to maintain or even strengthen Obama-era sanctions against Russia, top adviser says
I’d found a family I didn’t know I was missing. @scottkjohnson on @cwdiabetes
No, not THAT J.C.
Brexit may be curbing immigration even before its happened
5 things you need to know about the global pension crisis
Legal General, Aviva plan Ireland moves post-Brexit
Trump and other leaders clash on trade, climate at G7
BA and Iberia plan third-party booking surcharge, Amadeus shares hit
The Germans are bad, very bad, Trump reportedly told EU officials in a closed-door meeting
Tech firms must do more to remove harmful content from Internet: UKs May
Sheriff David Clarke directed officers to hassle plane passenger who criticized him: report
Electric cars seen cheaper than gasoline models within a decade
Mother of Manchester attack victim pays tribute to daughter with a tattoo
There’s more time to weigh in on new data project measuring outdoor rec’s economic impact.
G-7 leaders embrace brevity as Trump cuts goals down to size via @bpolitics
Trump still not backing Paris climate agreement: Italys PM
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New airport scanners could end bans on laptops and liquids
How to spend $182,000 on a low-key convertible
Zambian court allows opposition leader to challenge treason prosecution #Zambia
Masked gunmen kill 28 in attack on Christians in #Egypt
South African Union Vows to Intensify University Strike #SouthAfrica
Sometimes its good to enjoy the journey, not just the result. #smallsteps #behappy
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Experts have upgraded Donald Trump’s impeachment odds yet again
Now house prices are being cut in Londons property hotspots
Behind the scenes at yesterdays summit in#Brussels: #Trudeaus #NATO socks! #Canada #Trudeausocks
cuisine, St Malo,
Inmates of Chicagos Cook County Jail can now order gourmet pizza made behind bars.
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Alabama executes 75-year-old man
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Da kommt noch was und das von allen Seiten
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Charles Hugh Smith
Our Intellectual Bankruptcy: The "Religion" of Economics, UBI and Medicare For All
1 month ago




Clinging to magical-thinking fixes that change nothing on the fundamental level hastens collapse.
Here we stand on the precipice, and all we have in our kit is a collection of delusional magical thinking that we label "solutions." We are not just morally and financially bankrupt, we're intellectually bankrupt as well.
Here are three examples of magical thinking that pass for intellectually sound ideas:
1. Mainstream neo-classical/ Keynesian economics. As economist Manfred Max-Neef notes in this interview, neo-classical/ Keynesian economics is no longer a discipline or a science--it is a religion.
It demands a peculiar faith in nonsense: for example, the environment--Nature-- is merely a subset of the economy. When we've stripped the seas of wild fish (and totally destroyed the ecology of the oceans), no problem--we'll substitute farmed fish, which are in economic terms, entirely equal to wild fish.
In other words, the natural world cannot be valued in our current mock-science religion of economics.
Other absurdities abound. Stripping the seas of wild fish adds to GDP, so it's all good, right? Dismantling newly constructed buildings and building a replacement structure also adds to GDP, so it's an excellent source of "growth."
As Max-Neef points out, conventional economists have absolutely no understanding of poverty. If you need a sobering account of just how this abject willful ignorance works in the real world, I recommend reading The White Man's Burden: Why the West's Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good.
Gail Tverberg (among others) has shown how the existing economic model no longer makes sense of the actual economy we inhabit: The Economy Is Like a Circus.
As for rising wealth/income inequality--there is a cure for that, but it's not in mainstream econ textbooks: The Only Thing, Historically, That's Curbed Inequality: Catastrophe Plagues, revolutions, massive wars, collapsed states—these are what reliably reduce economic disparities.(via Arshad A.)
2. Universal Basic Income. As noted in yesterday's essay, wages are no longer an adequate means of distributing the dwindling surplus of advanced economies. Wages as a share of GDP have been declining for decades, and only click up temporarily during massive speculative bubbles. Once these bubbles pop, which they inevitably do due to their instability and unsustainability, wage earners' share of GDP plummets to a new low.
The mainstream is enthusing about the "solution": Universal Basic Income (UBI). The solution to low pay and scarcity of middle-class paid work is to give everyone a basic income for doing nothing.
Delusional academics anticipate a flowering of creative talent akin to a new Renaissance as people are freed from work by robots and automation. But if we look at people already receiving the equivalent of "free money" UBI--disability-- studies find recipients are simply watching more TV and YouTube videos and pursuing opioids, not writing poetry and composing concertos.
They are not volunteering in their community or engaging their communities in any positive fashion. What actually happens with UBI is recipients become isolated and miserable because UBI strips their lives of meaning, purpose and the need to contribute to a community.
The real purpose of UBI is to chain every household to the state, and drain all social relations between the isolated "consumer" and the state.
As tragic as the delusion of UBI is to individuals, it is unworkable financially because profits will fall as automation becomes commoditized, and the surplus available to distribute to every household will diminish.
Much of what is passed off as "corporate profits" is accounting fraud and the monetization of what was once free. For example, all that customer labor: now that we pump our own gasoline, check and pack our own purchases, do our own banking--who's skimming the output of our labor? Yup, the corporations.
Commoditization of software and tools + the Internet = loss of monopoly. This is a problem, for the core function of the state-cartel version of capitalism we inhabit is the state enforces a cartel-monopoly structure to guarantee steady surpluses it can tax for its own expansion.
As automation is commoditized, profits plummet as competition can no longer be controlled by cartels or even the state--just as Marx laid out.
Combine declining productivity and declining surplus (profits) (both for deeply structural reasons) and there cannot be enough money to fund UBI. Weirdly, proponents of UBI never even perform a back of the envelope calculation of cost and the source of all this free money (tax revenues and/or borrowing from future generations). Perhaps they intuit that such an exercise would reveal the bankruptcy of their magical thinking.
As we shall see below, the system can't even support the entitlements it has already promised to hundreds of millions of people, never mind an additional universal entitlement.
(Note to UBI enthusiasts: there are limits on what robots and automation can and will do: they will only perform work that is highly profitable. Since most human work is not profitable (or even paid), the idea that robots and automation will free everyone from work is delusional fantasy. I explain all this in greater detail in A Radically Beneficial World.)
3. Medicare for all. I understand the desire for a single-payer healthcare system, and have published various proposals over the years for such a system.
The latest magical-thinking "solution" attracting widespread support (again, without any basis in actual numbers) is Medicare for all. The idea is: take a system (Medicare-Medicaid) that's already bankrupting the government and the nation and expand it from 70 million people to 320 million people.
Uh, right.
Shall we consult reality before embracing delusional "solutions"? Here's a chart of the rise of administrative costs in healthcare, public and private. Proponents of Medicare for All claim admin costs are lower in Medicare, but this conveniently overlooks the estimates that 40% of Medicare costs are paper-shuffling, needless or harmful tests, procedures, etc. and outright fraud.
We know a few things as fact. One is that the populations qualifying for Medicare and Medicaid (the elderly and low-income households) are expanding at a high and very predictable rate.
The other thing we know is that the Medicare-Medicaid costs are rising at a rate far above the growth rate of the economy that supports these programs (GDP), far above the growth rate of tax revenues and far above the growth rate of wages, which matters because payroll taxes fund Medicare.
It doesn't take much to extend these lines and conclude Medicare-Medicaid alone will bankrupt the federal government and the nation. The problem is these programs are bloated by fraud, defensive medicine, predatory pricing for medications, and every other costly ill of our healthcare system.
Like every other centrally funded/regulated sector, Medicare-Medicaid is optimized for maximizing private-sector profits and increasing regulatory costs.This is one manifestation of the diminishing returns on the entire centralized-control model:
We'd all like "solutions" that don't change anything, but when the system itself is the source of our problems, changing nothing guarantees collapse. As noted in the article linked above, various inequalities and asymmetries get resolved by collapse.
Clinging to magical-thinking fixes that change nothing on the fundamental level hastens collapse. In that sense, magical-thinking fixes are "solutions," but not the sort their proponents imagined.


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