notes oct 12

October 12, 2008 § Leave a comment

6:40 Money and interest and bad choice

So, money is created by banks to lend, and hence more must be paid back than was lent out. the result is an increasing increasing need for growth to make the payments. Not possible. How much did we allow ourselves to go down paths that we knew were wrong? for example, limits to growth. obviously we cannot go with infinite growth, yet we allowed ourselves to not notice. to go stupid.

 

8:35 On Cheney

But just as critics warned back in 1992 that American overreaching would ultimately create a coalition of enemies determined to check it, so Cheney’s relentless amassing of power and influence has finally rebounded on him in Bush’s second term. With the rise of Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, Cheney faces true rivals who command the president’s ear.

What of Roberts? And his current chief of staff?

I think he future will call this the Cheney presidency.

9:30 on Pragmatism. 

People act pragmatically. Pragmatism repeated becomes ideology. Until collapse/change happens. Ideas are not so important. it is the sums of pragmatic choices that make the situation.

What does this do to a pragmatic attitude? It must be contrasted with a rational driven model of action: recent history suggests these are worse. (fascism, communism, ..).

10:01  What is happening at the economic summit in Washington?  The pressure is on for solid announcements before Monday market opening.

10:19 report from La Jolla in the NYT. Angry uppers.

Letting Lehman fail was almost incomprehensible. It took the federal government many decades, after the banking collapse leading to the Great Depression, to restore confidence in the financial system. Then, in one horribly misguided moment, Mr. Paulson, with the apparent agreement of Ben S. Bernanke, chairman of the Fed, demolished that confidence. Now, we have to spend $700 billion to try to get it back, and it’s by no means certain that even this enormous bailout plan will work…

Frankly, I don’t know the answer. I just know that for a long time, we have paid Wall Street “experts” unimaginable sums for preparing for our retirement. They still have our money, and we have ashes. And I wonder whose side government is on, which is a bad thought to have, and I wish I didn’t have it. As the song goes, there is revolution in the air.

Ben Stein is a lawyer, writer, actor and economist. E-mail: ebiz@nytimes.com.

 

The truth is, we really don’t know. There does seem to be more debt than value. Sorting this out -politics, violence, external events, authoritarian centrism? Or evolution and innovation?

GardenWorld looks more and more necessary.

10:29 ordered John LeCarre A most Wanted Man

10: 31 Review of the freedom agenda by James Traub

modestly helpful.

And Ribaud

On a blue summer evening I shall go

down the path

And, brushed by wheat, walk on the

fine grass.

Dreaming along, I’ll feel the coolness

under my feet

And bathe my bare head in the poetic

wind.

I won’t speak, I will not even think,

But infinite love will geyser up in my

soul,

And I’ll go far, far away, like a Gypsy

Into the wilds — as happy as if I were

with a woman.

. . . who is present at his own invention as an actor in life (in more ways than two: the above is Rimbaud’s second known post-schoolwork poem, written at the age of 15, and it foresees his life — if in an innocent,

12:10 Tom Barnett, an alternative sort of to GardenWorld. Actually together.. from Amazon

Product Description
The author of the groundbreaking New York Times bestseller The Pentagon’s New Map brings us a remarkable analysis of the post-Bush world, and America’s leadership role in it.
In civilian and military circles alike, The Pentagon’s New Map became one of the most talked about books of 2004. “A combination of Tom Friedman on globalization and Carl von Clausewitz on war, [it is] the red-hot book among the nation’s admirals and generals,” wrote David Ignatius in The Washington Post. Barnett’s second book, Blueprint for Action, demonstrated how to put the first book’s principles to work. Now, in Great Powers, Barnett delivers his most sweeping— and important—book of all.
For eight years, the current administration has done much to disconnect or alienate America from the world, but the world has certainly not been standing still. Now, with a chance to start over, what do we do? Where’s the world going now, and how do we not only rejoin it but become a leader again in what has become the most profound reordering of the globe since the end of World War II?
In Great Powers, Barnett offers a tour de force analysis of the grand realignments that are both already here and coming up fast in the spheres of economics, diplomacy, defense, technology, security, the environment, and much more. The “great powers” are no longer just the world’s major nation-states but the powerful forces, past, present, and future, moving with us and past us like a freight train. It is not a simple matter of a course correction but of a complete recalibration, and the opportunities it presents are far greater than the perils. Barnett gives us a fundamental understanding of both, showing us not only how the world is now but how it will be.
There are those writing now who say America is in decline . . . and we just have to deal with it. Barnett says no. Globalization as it exists today was built by America—and now it’s time for America to shape and redefine what comes next. Great Powers shows us how. Bibliography. Notes. Index.

12:23   No savings and lots of debt. How to manage? The pressure will be on to “save hte system” rather than face the underlying reality that money created with interest due (what banks do) requires exponential growth. Seems to me that story is nearly finished, but the next president will try very hard to keep it going “just one more round before we go home.” But is that possible?  

That would be my take on the meaning of “Capitalism is amoral and rapacious.  Government is supposed to protect us from those negative aspects of capitalism while allowing us to benefit form the positive.”

Meanwhile see lots of progressive projects being stopped. Pressure on pollution regulations to be backed off so production can be cheaper. We can all come up with many examples.  

This week will be challenging.

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