notes march 17 2008

March 17, 2008 § Leave a comment

and
Fed Acts to Rescue Financial Markets

By EDMUND L. ANDREWS

The Fed approved a $30 billion loan for the takeover of Bear Stearns and announced a new lending tool for investment firms.

I had thought the news over the weekend was that MS could buy BS. But it is the taxpayers who will pay for this, obviously. The war of who wins and who loses will get intense as people shuffle in the musical chairs to take cash out, own equity, push taxes onto others, and distribute loses while taking gains.

and

Web creator rejects net tracking

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/7299875.stm

Excerpt:

The creator of the web has said consumers need to be protected against systems which can track their activity on the internet. Sir Tim Berners-Lee told BBC News he would change his internet provider if it introduced such a system. Plans by leading internet providers to use Phorm, a company which tracks web activity to create personalised adverts, have sparked controversy.

Sir Tim said he did not want his ISP to track which websites

he visited. “I want to know if I look up a whole lot of books about some form of cancer that that’s not going to get to my insurance company and I’m going to find my insurance premium is going to go up by 5% because they’ve figured I’m looking at those books,” he said.

AND

a good overview of Iraq FIFTH ANNIVERSARY.

By Dan Froomkin

Special to washingtonpost.com
Monday, March 17, 2008; 1:30 PM

Unless the economy disintegrates entirely, President Bush’s chief legacy will almost certainly be the war in Iraq — or, more accurately, the violent occupation of Iraq — that enters its sixth year later this week.

Economy: let see, the bailout to tax payers is 150 million and to Morgan/BearSterns 30B, that a fact or of 200.

Reading

Critical Theory and the Crisis of Social Theory

By Douglas Kellner

Pasted from <http://www.uta.edu/huma/illuminations/kell5.htm>

Horkheimer delivered an inaugural address on January 24, 1931, entitled “The State of Social Philosophy and the Tasks of an Institute for Social Research” (Bronner and Kellner 1989:25-36). In this text, Horkheimer defines social philosophy as an attempt to elucidate the “fate of human beings, insofar as they are parts of a community, and not mere individuals. It concerns itself above all with the social life of people: state, law, economy, religion, in short, with the entire material and spiritual culture of humanity” (ibid:33

he specialized sciences abstract from the structure and organization of society as a whole to describe limited domains of social experience.

to raise the question of “the interconnections between the economic life of society, the psychic development of the individual and transformations in the realm of culture… including not only the so-called spiritual contents of science, art and religion, but also law, ethics, fashion, public opinion, sport, amusement, life style, etc.” (ibid:43). the attempt to derive all forms of life from one metaphysical substance is “bad Spinozaism.”

In one of his finest aphorisms, from One-Way Street, Walter Benjamin remarks that the essential unfulfilled task for modern society is achieving ‘mastery over the mastery of nature.’ The thought remains as true today as when it was

Max Weber’s earlier distinction between instrumental rationality and value rationality, developed in his Economy and Society (1914)—although he cites Weber on many other points

Pasted from <http://www.uta.edu/huma/agger/fastcapitalism/2_2/leiss.html>

And

Op-Ed Columnist

The B Word By PAUL KRUGMAN

Published: March 17, 2008

O.K., here it comes:

Between 2002 and 2007, false beliefs in the private sector — the belief that home prices only go up, that financial innovation had made risk go away, that a triple-A rating really meant that an investment was safe — led to an epidemic of bad lending

.

I don’t believe it was beliefs. Possible, but I think it was more “here is a wave’ lt’s ride it. Get our money out and let the future tke care of itself.”

The U.S. savings and loan crisis of the 1980s ended up costing taxpayers 3.2 percent of G.D.P., the equivalent of $450 billion today. Some estimates put the fiscal cost of Japan’s post-bubble cleanup at more than 20 percent of G.D.P. — the equivalent of $3 trillion for the United States.

According to late reports on Sunday, JPMorgan Chase will buy Bear for a pittance. That’s an O.K. resolution for this case — but not a model for the much bigger bailout to come. Looking ahead, we probably need something similar to the Resolution Trust Corporation, which took over bankrupt savings and loan institutions and sold off their assets to reimburse taxpayers. And we need it quickly: things are falling apart as you read this.

And I don’t quite believe this. The sold assets were often bought by the S and L owners, or board, for much less than they original price. Sure, the proceeds went to “taxpayers” but the difference between mortgaged value and sale price was pocketed by the boards. I believe.

Pasted from <http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/17/opinion/17krugman.html?_r=2&hp&oref=slogin&oref=slogin>

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