The Real “Takers” in America: The Unproductive, Rent-Extracting Rich

The Real “Takers” in America: The Unproductive, Rent-Extracting Rich
by Michael Lind
Posted January 5, 2017

rich watching Occupy Wall St protestYou don’t have to be a Tea Party conservative to believe that the economy is threatened when there are too many “takers” and not enough “makers.” The “takers” who threaten the dynamism and fairness of industrial capitalism the most in the 21st century are not the welfare-dependent poor — the villains of Tea Party propaganda — but the rent-extracting, unproductive rich.

The term “rent” in this context refers to more than payments to your landlords. As Mike Konczal and many others have argued, profits should be distinguished from rents. “Profits” from the sale of goods or services in a free market are different from “rents” extracted from the public by monopolists in various kinds. Unlike profits, rents tend to be based on recurrent fees rather than sales to ever-changing consumers. While productive capitalists — “industrialists,” to use the old-fashioned term — need to be active and entrepreneurial in order to keep ahead of the competition, “rentiers” (the term for people whose income comes from rents, rather than profits) can enjoy a perpetual stream of income even if they are completely passive. More…

Russia Hysteria Infects WashPost Again: False Story About Hacking U.S. Electric Grid

Russia Hysteria Infects WashPost Again: False Story About Hacking U.S. Electric Grid
by Glenn Greenwald
Posted January 4, 2017

more fake news from the main stream mediaThe Washington Post on Friday reported a genuinely alarming event: Russian hackers have penetrated the U.S. power system through an electrical grid in Vermont. The Post headline conveyed the seriousness of the threat:

“Russian hackers penetrated U.S. electricity grid through a utility in Vermont, officials say”.

The article went on and on in that vein, with all the standard tactics used by the U.S. media for such stories: quoting anonymous national security officials, reviewing past acts of Russian treachery, and drawing the scariest possible conclusions. What’s the problem here? It did not happen. More…

Make 2017 Your First Year of Real Abundance

Make 2017 Your First Year of Real Abundance
by Phillip J. Watt
Posted January 3, 2017

we live on a planet of abundanceWhen we live in a scarcity-based system it’s easy to believe that having abundance is near impossible, but that’s just because we’ve probably got the wrong idea of what true abundance actually is.

The ideologies that dominate our societal landscape – particularly operationally – have skewed our collective view on what’s important and what’s not. For example, our materialistic culture which has been deceived by the debunked pop philosophy of the same name has generated a plethora of issues which have distracted the masses from aligning with natural law, divine values and their true nature.

Simply, a huge proportion of the populace are in a constant state of suffering which is caused from a complex mix of self-abusive lifestyle choices, as well as the general challenges of living within the current era. More…

The Greatest Bubble Ever: Why You Better Believe It, Part 2

The Greatest Bubble Ever: Why You Better Believe It, Part 2
By David Stockman
Posted January 3, 2018

biggest bubble everAs usual, however, the home gamers are the last to get the word. The unaccountable final spasm of the stock market in 2017 will undoubtedly come to be seen as the last call of the sheep to the slaughter. And owing to the speculative mania that has been fostered by the Fed and its fellow-traveling central banks, it now appears that the homegamers are all-in for the third time since 1987.

Indeed, Schwab’s retail clients have never, ever had lower cash allocations than at the present time—not even during the run-up to the dotcom bust or the great financial crisis.

But this time these predominately baby-boom investors are out of time and on the cusp of retirement—if not already living on one of the Donald’s golf resorts. When the crash comes they will have no opportunity to recover—-nor will Washington have the wherewithal to stimulate another phony facsimile of the same. More…


by George Musser
Posted January 2, 2017

crowds are not that smartCrowds aren’t as smart as we thought, since some people know more than others. A simple trick can find the ones you want. Metaknowledge functions as a powerful bullshit detector. It can separate crowd members who actually know something from those who are guessing wildly or just parroting what everyone else says.

The crowd is wise, but not in the way the error-correcting intuition assumed. There’s more information there. The bullshit detector isn’t perfect, but it’s the best you can do whenever you don’t know the answer yourself and have to rely on other people’s opinion. Which eyewitness do you believe? Which talking head on TV? Which scientist commenting on some controversial topic? If they demonstrate superior metaknowledge, you can take that as a sign of their superior knowledge. More…

Vote with your wallet: be part of the solution, not the problem

Vote with your wallet: be part of the solution, not the problem
By Dimitrios Tsivrikos
Posted January 1, 2017

you have great power with your spendingMaking consumers align their beliefs with their purchasing decisions is essential if we are to preserve the health of our planet and protect workers’ rights. Consumers are not only purchasing an end product but they are also supporting the processes involved with it.

While at first buying a daily Starbucks coffee may seem harmful to little other than your wallet, every disposable paper cup is in fact contributing to the destruction of trees and therefore having a negative impact on the environment. However, deforestation and the resulting loss of habitat for many animals and climate change are unlikely to be on the top of the consumer’s mind when deciding whether to opt for a Frappuccino or a Latte. More…

How Did a Nation Crippled by Wall Street Billionaires End Up With Them Running the Country?

How Did a Nation Crippled by Wall Street Billionaires End Up With Them Running the Country?
By Pam Martens and Russ Martens
Posted December 31, 2016

big finance is running the countryJust yesterday the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a study showing that there is a growing number of older Americans whose Social Security benefits are being reduced by the government to repay delinquent student loans. The government uses the benign sounding word “offset” to explain these reductions. According to the report, in 2015 there were 114,000 Americans impacted by these offsets, resulting in many living below the poverty level.

When serially charged banks like Citigroup couldn’t pay its bills during the 2008 crash, here’s what the U.S. government did to lend a helping hand: it injected $45 billion in equity into Citigroup; provided asset guarantees of over $300 billion; while the Federal Reserve secretly sluiced over $2.5 trillion in revolving loans to Citigroup for more than three years – much of which was at a loan interest rate of less than 1 percent as the bank charged its struggling credit card customers double-digit interest rates. More…

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