Thinking About the Economy: Solutions

I’m still struggling with figuring out the economic crisis (for my research) and here is what I have to share.

In order for capitalism to function, it needs money to circulate. And it always needs more and more money to be spent on more and more goods because that’s the basic operating principle of capitalism: it needs more. Stagnation is death. Lack of mobility makes it explode.

Salaries have been stagnant in developed countries for about 30 years. This means consumers didn’t have more money to spend. But this didn’t lead to a collapse because there was a lot of credit. This was fake, imaginary money which didn’t lead to any real growth. And as we just discussed, capitalism can’t tolerate no growth. So the economy collapsed and we have an economic crisis.

Cutting expenditure is the commonly accepted way to battle this crisis but it’s a shitty way because, once again, capitalism hates the very idea of less spending.

The only practical solution is to get a lot of money back into circulation immediately. Another possibility is, of course, to forsake capitalism but since there are zero alternatives, let’s leave that shit to the especially air-headed among the Lefties.

So how do we get big money back into circulation? Governmental spending is out because that’s all borrowed money and we’ve already seen what it costs to pretend that fake money is real.

Pickety suggests extremely heavy taxation of the unused capital that’s lying around. I’m opposed to all taxation that is higher than 20% but it isn’t like anybody is suggesting any other alternative.

This is where I am right now. Let’s see if anybody else has any insights to contribute.

Tuesday Link Encyclopedia and Self-Promotion

There is such a drama being created around the removal of some American books from British syllabi you’d think the books are being outlawed. Have people heard of the outlandish concept of reading books that are not on any syllabus?

In Russian: a brilliant literary analysis of some famous Soviet-Ukrainian classics, including one of my favorite childhood books.

A cute article on the kitchen politics in the USSR.

A joke of the week about the Financial Times’s funny attack on Pickety’s best-seller: “Some lefties may think that of course this is what the FT would do. But in fact the newspaper is anything but a doctrinaire mouthpiece for the right. That an institution this august is going to the mat on this line suggests that the FT‘s editors have a lot of confidence in the conclusions they published over the weekend.

A student wants credit for not plagiarizing.

When I hear that people miss living in NYC, I can’t believe it. It’s like my brain really hears, “I miss living in Port-a-Potty.” There are some things so foreign to me that it’s like I can’t process them.” Same here.

And frankly, I don’t know why Mrs. Robinson is sleeping with him, either.  It’s established that he’s a virgin, and his personality is nasty, and he’s obviously got terrible hygiene.  Not to mention the whole problem of him being her partner’s son.” The answer is simple: the libido of 20-year-old men is at its peak. That’s the only reason middle-aged women sometimes agree to overlook their stinky feet and nasty personalities. But I agree with this blogger that the book is crap.

A very insightful article in why trigger warnings don’t help preventing traumatic flashbacks.

Aggrieved white male entitlement syndrome is killing white folks’ children, wives, daughters, sons, fathers, and mothers. Yet, White America stands mute.” Hear, hear!

In Russian: an interview with a young woman who was imprisoned by terrorists in Donbass.

It’s hard to believe that anybody can be this stupid: “What, exactly, is being criticized when we describe someone as infantile? Our primary cultural differentiation between children and adults is sexuality, which means that it’s going to be difficult to disentangle a criticism of “infantilization” from a claim that the “infantile” are at fault for failing to properly assume adult sexual roles.” I hate infantile people and this is one of my favorite insults to those who annoy me. But sex is the last thing on my mind when I talk about how disgusting immaturity is in adults. Infantile people, for me, are those who refuse to take responsibility for their actions. Their sexual roles are entirely immaterial.

I used to like this blogger but then he started prattling about things he doesn’t understand and turned into an idiot: “I personally like Charles. . . However, his recent statement comparing Putin to Hitler over their annexation of Crimea in the Ukraine has got me shaking my head. Does he really think we’re that stupid or is he just pulling a Vic Toews and repeating something he was told without thinking about it or actually looking at the voter count last election. Over 70% of the voters in Crimea voted for a pro Russian president in 2010. Over 70%. How much over 70% we don’t know but we do know it was over 70%. Enough to help a pro Russian president get elected that election over all.” What en election 4 years ago has to do with an invasion of Ukraine by Russians in 2014 is a mystery that only this blogger’s confused brain can unravel. Why do people choose to chirp idiotically and offensively on subjects they know nothing about?

Very interesting photos from Europe.

Kalugin talks about Snowden. Fascinating.

Universities start meaningless, gimmicky programs to attract the brainless while good, important programs (such as mine) are threatened with elimination.

No, no, misogyny isn’t specific to Islam. Of course not. But I’ve lived in an Islamic country. I’ve seen it for myself. And trust me, other than if you are in some cult here, the worst of what Christians do to women is usually better than the best treatment a woman gets in an Islamic country.” We never discuss anything controversial on this blog, so I suggest we take a shot at this interesting post.

Fed up with the current Germany-led, West-facing European Union, far right parties across Europe are making increasingly vocal pro-Russia arguments.”

In Russian: the true Russian intelligentsia (or what remains of it) celebrates the freedom of Ukraine.

First, a clarification: nobody, to my knowledge, has asked that students be exempted from reading material that they find emotionally difficult.” My students do it all the time. And so do the students of most of my colleagues. And we always oblige because we can’t afford to get the bad reviews we will if something like divorce, adultery, or lack of a happy ending offends their sensibilities. I’m sanitizing my syllabi all the time because of how damn sensitive everybody is.

Schopenhauer on Nationalism

The cheapest sort of pride is national pride; for if a man is proud of his own nation, it argues that he has no qualities of his own of which he can be proud; otherwise he would not have recourse to those which he shares with so many millions of his fellowmen. The man who is endowed with important personal qualities will be only too ready to see clearly in what respects his own nation falls short, since their failings will be constantly before his eyes. But every miserable fool who has nothing at all of which he can be proud adopts, as a last resource, pride in the nation to which he belongs; he is ready and glad to defend all its faults and follies tooth and nail, thus reimbursing himself for his own inferiority.

― Arthur Schopenhauer

The Life of the Mind in Russia

I just received an email from Russia that explains the peculiar workings of the book-publishing business in the country.

A single monster publisher has a monopoly on the book-publishing market. An author who wants to get published needs to pay an enormous bribe to the publishers. This is how things always are when you remove the capitalist competition for the consumers’ attention from the market.

A recent book fair in St. Petersburg concentrated on showcasing books and projects that promoted the creation of governmental bodies that would eradicate all ideas that departed from the party line. This is now said openly and nobody even tries to conceal these plans.

The state supports writers with grants. However, in order to get state support, you either need to denounce Jews all day long or collaborate with the secret service.

A recent state-sponsored poetry contest only  accepted contributions that celebrated the occupation of the Crimea or promoted saccharine Orthodox religiosity. The quality of the poetry presented there was awful but nobody cares about small things like these any longer.

Putin invaded Ukraine in order to defend the Russian language and culture (from whom it is still not clear but whatever). Those of us who actually care about the preservation of the Russian language and culture can’t fail to see that the real danger to it stems from the current government of the Russian Federation.

Writers from Russia are sending these messages to foreigners because that’s their only way of being heard. Nobody in Russia (or Ukraine) speaks any language but their own, so there is an enormous sense of isolation from the world. At the moment, the entirety of the Russian intellectual life has been ghettoized on the Livejournal website. Livejournal is owned by one of Putin’s pocket oligarchs who obviously does what his master tells him to. Livejournal differs from WordPress or Blogspot in that it is next to impossible to leave a comment on a Livejournal blog if you are not a Livejournal subscriber. I think it’s important to help these dissenting voices to break through.