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Sunday, January 25, 2015

The technology revolution, which has been turbo-charged by globalisation, is an economic upheaval comparable in its scale and scope to the Industrial Revolution.

The last time we negotiated a comparable political and economic transition – the Industrial Revolution – it took economic depression, two world wars and communist revolutions in Russia and China before we were able to establish a new, economically and politically sustainable status quo

Even plutocrats can see profound inequality isn’t in their interests

As the smartest of the super-rich now understand, income inequality must be addressed before it tears societies apart

Chrystia Freeland 
Saturday 24 January 2015 22.30 EST

Not so long ago, inequality was a dirty word. The experience of my friend Branko Milanovic, the world’s foremost expert on global income inequality, was typical. “I was once told by the head of a prestigious thinktank in Washington DC that the thinktank’s board was unlikely to fund any work that had income or wealth inequality in its title,” Milanovic recalled in his 2011 book on the subject.

These were the days when Mitt Romney said discussions of income inequality should be conducted only in quiet rooms and when an American private equity tycoon compared an effort to raise taxes on his industry to Hitler’s invasion of Poland. To mention the increasing concentration of wealth at the very top was to court accusations of class envy – indeed, in his 2011 book, even Bill Clinton admonished Barack Obama for his tone in talking to and about America’s super-rich. After my book, Plutocrats, was published in 2012, I was even – and I know this will shock you – disinvited to a Davos dinner party!

Just three years later, inequality hasn’t merely become a subject fit for polite company, it has become de rigueur. It was a central preoccupation at a conference on inclusive capitalism at the Mansion House and Guildhall last May. The event was organised by Lady Lynn de Rothschild and the opening speaker was Prince Charles. And at Davos, income inequality has gone from taboo to top of the agenda.

There’s a good reason for this pivot. Rising inequality is becoming so pronounced it is impossible to ignore. The latest jaw-dropping statistic is Oxfam’s calculation that by next year, the top 1% will own more of the world’s wealth than the bottom 99%. What is less apparent is how those of us who have been worried about income inequality for a long time should respond to the embrace of this issue by the plutocrats themselves.
It is easy to be sceptical. But we should welcome the plutocratic critique of plutocracy. Here’s why. 

Surging income inequality is a symptom of a broader transformation in how capitalism is working in the 21st century. This change has brought tremendous benefits – it has helped to lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty in the emerging markets and provided cheaper goods and services, and many brand new ones, for us in the industrialised world. But it is also hollowing out the incomes and wealth of the western middle class, even as it enriches those at the very top.

This distributional shift is the great economic and political challenge of our time. It will tear some societies apart. The successful ones will be those that figure out how to solve it together.

The technology revolution, which has been turbo-charged by globalisation, is an economic upheaval comparable in its scale and scope to the Industrial Revolution. Just as the Industrial Revolution did not bring the end of farming, the technology revolution won’t bring the end of manufacturing. But just as the agricultural sector shrank as a share of the overall economy, particularly in terms of employment, the relative size of the industrial sector will decline, too.

Mike Moffatt, an economist at the Ivey School of  Business in London, Ontario, likes to use the example of Gary Works, in Indiana, to illustrate what is going on. It was once the world’s largest steel mill and remains the largest integrated steel mill in North America. At its postwar peak, Gary Works employed 30,000 people and could produce 6m tons of steel a year. Today, Gary can produce more than 7m tons of steel working at full capacity, but it takes just 5,000 workers to do that.
The same forces that have transformed Gary Works are changing every sphere of human activity. This isn’t just about the assembly line any more – 99% of us are, metaphorically, Gary steel workers.

The lucky 0.1% own a Gary Works or have invented the technologies that transformed them, and the rest of the top 1% work for them. Until now, these winners in our winner-take-all economy have backed a set of political measures – weaker unions, deregulation, lower taxes – which have exacerbated the distributional impact of the new economy.
As even Davos Man has realised, that is not sustainable. 

The weak economic growth that much of the western industrialised world is currently experiencing suggests that an economic system that hollows out the middle class will struggle to grow. And the vicious political polarisation should make us worry that an economy that produces cheap goods but even cheaper jobs will ultimately erode mass democracy.

Some think a violent confrontation between the new economy’s winners and losers is inevitable. As Nick Hanauer, an American technology billionaire, warned last year: “If we don’t do something to fix the glaring inequities in this economy, the pitchforks are going to come for us.” He’s right. After all, the last time we negotiated a comparable political and economic transition – the Industrial Revolution – it took economic depression, two world wars and communist revolutions in Russia and China before we were able to establish a new, economically and politically sustainable status quo.

That is a very high cost indeed. Which is why the smartest plutocrats understand it is in their best interest to work to build a 21st-century version of inclusive capitalism. For our own sakes, we should give them a chance to join the rest of us in figuring that out.

Chrystia Freeland, ex-deputy editor of the FT, is a Liberal MP in the Canadian parliament and author of Plutocrats (2012)


  1. Infrastructure that pays a dividend; that increases commerce, personal security, healthcare, education, defense (as opposed to war-making ), scientific research and space exploration, not financed by debt, but financed with direct project monetization, would strengthen the middle class.

    That and eliminating all charitable deductions, taking the cap off income caps on social security taxes and lowering the inequality of how income and capital tax is garnished would go a long way to creating a sustainable market economy.

    It is my opinion and experience that those that acquire great wealth are motivated by the acquisition process. Cutting down the income disparity would motivate them further. There is no difference between a worker that only counts his take-home pay as real and an investor that looks at after-tax income in his portfolio. The proposition that taxations reduces their ambition is self serving rot.

    1. We are kind of on the right track, in some respects. More people, percentagewise, are graduating High School than ever before in our history. Oh, and crime has been falling steadily for awhile, now.

      Correlated? Probably. :)

    2. Now, if we could just outlaw "religion."

    3. Abortion, And unwanted pregnancies are both falling. That's a plus.

    4. Solar, and Wind, now appear to be unstoppable, and California is building this country's first High Speed Rail.

      That's a Plus. :)

    5. My car is as comfortable as any, and has as good performance as most, and I drive most miles on corn, corncobs, stalks, and leaves.

      At a current price of approx. $0.05 / mile.

    6. As you know correlation does not imply causation. Demographics can also explain the falling crime rate.

    7. I wrote: "Correlated? Probably"

    8. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Rich folk, like Herr Rodent, should be forced to buy shares of companies at 5 year high stock prices rather than at the current heavily discounted price, that would help redistribute the assets from the looter 1/10th of 1% to the rest of us.

    Herr Rodent believes that you should BUY HIGH and sell LOW…

    1. Rat continues to be your focus, silly billySun Jan 25, 10:51:00 AM EST

      If "O"rdure could provide a reference for that statement, he would not be a liar.
      But since we all know he cannot ...

  3. Hey rufus,

    I'm curious why you see the need for US involvement in Iraq against IS but not Syria. Also, would you favor giving the Nigerian government similar support against Boko Harum? If not, why not given your stance regarding IS in Iraq?

    1. Syria doesn't have much oil.

      Not quite enough, in fact, to meet its own needs if life suddenly became "normal," over there.

    2. Nigeria has a bunch doesn't it? I don't think the Sunni areas of Iraq have much oil do they? Is that really your guiding principle for US military involvement - oil?

    3. National Interest is the guiding principle, Ash.

      The National Interest of the US is always in flux.
      Could the US provide some form of Close Air Support, probably.

      Has the Nigerian government request such assistance?

    4. Has the Nigerian government requested such assistance?

    5. Can you make he case that Boko Haram is part of the organization that has been determined to have attacked the US on 11SEP2001?

    6. No, what is the national interest in securing the deserts of western Iraq? If it is only the oil in Iraq we are concerned about why not just secure the oil fields?

      With respect to the case of Boko Haram being a part of the organization that attack the us on 911 I would suggest the case is about the same as the one for IS. How do the two cases differ in your view?

    7. The National Interest of the US in western Iraq is laid down in the 14SEP2001 AUMF.

      The Daesh are a derivative of al-Qeada, direct progeny as it were. At least that is the determination of the President.
      The President is the decider, when it comes to defining the National Interest as described in that 14SEP2001 AUMF.

    8. That is how that particular Law was written.

    9. Someone or another must have "Made the Case" that the Daesh are part of al-Qeada.
      It is not a hard case to make.
      Whether you would come to the same determination as Mr Obama, does not really matter.

    10. Well, then, the President, according to your interpretation of that law, has full discretion. Why shouldn't he commit the nation to help Nigeria as he has to help Iraq? You seem to be afraid to take a stand yourself Jack and just spout platitudes about the 14SEP2001 AUM.

    11. Because no one has made the case that Boko Haram is part of al-Qeada.

      It is not about me, Ash.

    12. "just securing the oil fields" would require troops.

      Obama doesn't want to "do troops."

    13. The US strives to be a 'Nation of Laws', not men.

    14. Because no one has made the case that Boko Haram is part of al-Qeada.

      At least not a case that has caused Mr Obama to make that determination, as of yesterday.

    15. IS is not part of al-Qaeda either. They seem to be quite at odds in fact.

    16. You ask questions, Ash, and then when supplied the answers, which are not based upon my personal opinions, want to get my opinions, which were not asked for.

      I do think that the Daesh are part of the al-Qeada organization.
      I do not think that Boko Haram is.

      If the Nigerian government were to ask for assistance, I would give that request serious consideration.
      Our past military training program with the Nigerian Army has been, which I know nothing about, would have great impact on what the 'best' US response to that request would be.

      What level of assistance would be prudent, depends upon the capacities of the local forces.
      I would not commit US ground troops to the fight.

    17. IS was originally "Al Queda in Iraq."

    18. Dependent upon whatour past military training program with the Nigerian Army has been, ...

    19. Although 'someone' may be able to 'make the case' that Boko Haram is part of al-Qeada.
      If that case were persuasive, I could change my mind.

    20. There's an awful lot at play. Nigeria's oil production is primarily offshore, and has been declining for several years.

      The terrain is not nearly so conducive to air power.

      How good is the government? Is it stable. Is it truly democratic?

      What's the quality of the Army?

      A lot of "known unknowns;" there must be quite a few "unknown unknowns."

    21. IS is not part of al-Qaeda either. They seem to be quite at odds in fact.
      You and the President are at odds, then, Ash.

      I would tend to agree with the President. There is a direct line of evolution that ties Daesh to al-Qeada.
      Whether or not the Daesh are loyal to Doc Z does not make much difference.
      The individuals are not what define the organization, marketing name changes do not change the reality on the ground

    22. Even though you do not agree with the President, Ash, you still are are one of US.
      Even if you denounced your relationship with the US, the government is not required to acknowledge that.

      Proof of that was illustrated from 1861 - 1865

    23. So even when members of an organization are at odds it does not sever their relationship to the organization

  4. What goes up can come down

    The Vanderbilts
    By the time he died in 1877, Cornelius "Commodore" Vanderbilt reportedly was worth $100 million, according to Forbes. He began his steamship and railroad empire in 1810 with $100 he borrowed from his mother. But six generations later, the enterprises he founded are no longer in the family. CNN anchor Anderson Cooper, a sixth-generation descendant, recently said on Howard Stern's radio show, "My mom's made clear to me that there's no trust fund." What’s left is a legacy of philanthropy, including Vanderbilt University.

    The Hartfords
    Huntington Hartford, heir to the A&P grocery chain fortune, lost his millions through failed enterprises and a playboy lifestyle. As the grandson of the founder of the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co., Hartford received an income of $1.5 million a year, according to The New York Times. In 1940, the Hartfords were ranked among the country's richest families by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Declaring bankruptcy years later, Hartford moved to the Bahamas in 2004 where he lived until his death at age 97 in 2008.

    The Kluges
    After nine years of marriage, Patricia Kluge divorced husband John Kluge, founder of Metromedia, and received a 200-acre estate and $1 million a year in a divorce settlement, according to Forbes. About 20 years later, in 2011, she was bankrupt as a result of pouring all her money into a vineyard that she'd purchased near her home, taking on too much debt in order to expand, and subsequently suffering through the real estate crash. After her property was foreclosed upon, real estate tycoon Donald Trump bought the vineyard for $6.2 million, according to Fox News.

    The Strohs
    Company founder Bernhard Stroh arrived in the U.S. from Germany in 1850 with $150 and a family recipe for beer. His sons expanded the empire. By the1980s, the Strohs controlled the country's third-largest brewing company, according to Forbes, which valued the family fortune at around $700 million. Today, five generations later, the company is gone, the victim of an overload of debt, stiff competition and missed opportunities.

    The Pulitzers
    Grandson of publishing magnate Joseph Pulitzer, Peter Pulitzer had to be bailed out financially by the husband of his ex-wife. According to Forbes, the 800-acre Florida citrus grove owned by Peter and his twin sons was in danger of foreclosure after an outbreak of citrus canker. Tim Boberg, husband of Roxanne Pulitzer, now holds a $220,000 mortgage on the property; he guaranteed another mortgage of $1.3 million and extended a line of credit for $400,000. In his 1982 divorce filings, Peter Pulitzer had an estimated net worth of $25 million.


  5. Fighters from the Islamist militant group Boko Haram have launched an attack on the key city of Maiduguri in north-eastern Nigeria.

    Fierce fighting was reported on the outskirts. The military is carrying out air strikes, and a curfew is in place.

    Maiduguri is home to tens of thousands of people who have fled Boko Haram attacks and was visited on Saturday by President Goodluck Jonathan.

    Another Boko Haram attack was reported in Monguno, north of Maiduguri.


    Separately, US Secretary of State John Kerry has arrived in Lagos for talks with President Jonathan and the main opposition's presidential candidate, former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari.

    Residents of Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state, say they woke to sustained loud explosions and gunshots. Roads and business have been closed by security forces.

    One resident on the outskirts of the town told the BBC that "hundreds of thousands of people" were fleeing and that the military was keeping a low profile.

    "Only prayers will save us now, not the military," she said, pointing out that the town's defences now depended on civilian volunteers who had formed to repel the militant threat.

    Another resident said there was a total lockdown of the city, with all businesses closed and no civilian vehicles on the roads.

    "Everyone is at home, but there are the civilian vigilantes, the police and the military who are patrolling on the streets," he said.
    The BBC's Chris Ewokor in Abuja says the military are carrying out co-ordinated air strikes and ground attacks against the insurgents.

    Militants also reportedly attacked Monguno, 140km (86 miles) north of Maiduguri.

    Security sources told Reuters the army there was being overwhelmed, with houses set on fire.

    A journalist in Maiduguri told the BBC that fleeing soldiers from Monguno were now arriving at the barracks in in Maiduguri.


  6. The rhythm of the advancing and retreating ice has been said to have acted as a biological pump of sorts a vehicle of hominization, increasing cranial capacity and efficiency. Whatever one may think of this idea, if it be true it has been an epic FAIL in the case of Generals rat "Crapper" Hawkins and "Doofus" Rufus.

    Perhaps we should hope for the next coming of the ice, for the betterment of the human race, and the taking out of the trash, so to speak, as exemplified most perfectly in d. rat. and others of similar cranial incapacity.

    1. criminal cranial incapacity

    2. Quirk has told me on the "q t" that if the ice advances again, he has his contingency plan in place, as exemplified in some of these photos -

      Pimps in fancy fur coats, photos -


    3. Deuce will undoubtedly high tail it to the warmer climes of Iran, and help fight for civilization.


      I intend to move to Las Vegas.

    4. Now have a draft dodger trying to disparage his betters.
      Little wonder, he was channeling "Hanoi Jane Fonda" not long ago.

      He has advocated for the shooting, butchering and cannibalizing of the 162nd Fighter Wing of the Arizona Air National Guard.
      That is all that has to be known in order to repudiate his raving and rants.

    5. And as an act of compassion and human solidarity I intend to take Noble Ash with me, by force if necessary.

    6. You are right again, you fucking d. rat.

    7. Now rat has just posted a nonsense comment using my name.

      See what I mean?

      Sick man, d rat.

    8. But d. rat is often more right than wrong, he sure has my number.

      Sometimes I just have to admit it, much as it disgusts me to do so.

    9. I will have my sign on by this afternoon, that will put an end to this bullshit

    10. I would do it myself, but computers are just beyond my comprehension.

      If I could only be half as smart as d. rat I would be twice as smart as I am.

  7. Sunday, January 25, 2015

    The Rasmussen Consumer Index, which measures consumer confidence on a daily basis, rose four points on Sunday to 121.5, the highest confidence rating since 2007. Consumer confidence is up seven points from a week ago, 14 points from a month ago and 23 points from three months ago.

    The Rasmussen Investor Index also rose on Sunday, climbing five points to a rating of 135.2. Investor confidence is up 10 points from a week ago, nine points from a month ago and 11 points from three months ago. This is also the highest level of investor confidence in eight years.


  8. Pay rat no mind, folks.

    I know the vast majority of you do not.

    He is a sick sick 'man' and needs treatment.

    He lives in his own fantasy world.

    How he finds the time to blog all day every day, with his vast business interests, including cattle, publishing, Portfolio Management, and now the hush hush business off the coast of Salvador is beyond us all.

    He is a true Renaissance Man, in his own mind.

    1. I mean Panama not Salvador, my bad.

      If only my brain were firing on all eight cylinders, but as of late, it just sputters along.

      Fucking ethanol.

    2. He was right abut my subdivision. I spent all that time and energy not to mention the legal and filing fees.

      Never did sell a single one of those lots. There was a lot more to real estate developing than I thought.

      d. rat tried to tell me that but he is so stupid that I dismissed his advise, .

    3. Rat remains a figment of the Draft Dodger's imaginationSun Jan 25, 01:39:00 PM EST


    4. Boobie, if you need help with your computer, or need a little savvy business advice, call on Jack Hawkins.
      He contracts out on a fee plus basis.
      He could fix your problems in no time, I'm sure.
      I know his base fee is usually $1,500 a day, but if you use me as a reference, the first consultation is only $500.

      Use promo code - boobie - he'll give you that discount.

  9. >>>But none of this seems to have kept Obama from his most important responsibilities.This week he found time to sit down for interviews with three wacky women, including a green lipsticked GloZell who posts online videos of her eating Froot Loops from her bathtub and is known for a comedy video where she says she loves Obama because:

    “He black! He black he black he black! Yes, I said it.”

    His priorities, public relations stunts and foreign policies are stupid! They’re stupid stupid! Yes, I said it.<<<

    January 25, 2015
    Obama's Glozell Diplomacy
    By Clarice Feldman


    Long article not for the weak of heart.

    1. Or the weak of brain.

    2. That d. rat had better stop it!

      I am going to call his mother, soon as I can figure out where my cell phone is.

  10. U.S. and European leaders threatened new sanctions against Moscow after a missile attack blamed on pro-Russian separatists killed 30 civilians in the eastern Ukrainian city of Mariupol, the latest escalation in violence that has brought Kiev’s fight with rebels back toward full-scale war.

    Russia reacted with defiance, blaming Kiev and its western backers for thee surge in fighting, but it also called for urgent talks on implementing a September cease fire. Separatists backed off earlier threats of a broad offensive on Mariupol and other targets, but shelling along the contact line between the two sides was “extremely heavy” over the weekend, Ukrainian military officials said.

    U.S. President Barack Obama said on Sunday he was “deeply concerned” about the latest break in the cease fire and escalating separatist aggression, saying he would continue to ratchet up pressure on Russia.

    “I will look at all additional options that are available to us short of a military confrontation in trying to address this issue,” the president said during a news conference in New Delhi.

    The European Union, saying the rebels “bluntly refuse to observe” the cease fire, called an emergency meeting of foreign ministers for Thursday to discuss a response.

    Diplomats said it isn’t yet clear whether the West is unified enough to agree substantial new sanctions against Russia, particularly since the latest explosion in violence came as a surprise, just as the EU had begun considering the conditions under which it could start to ease some limits on Russia. The U.S., meanwhile, is wary of taking major new steps without Europe’s support.

    Publicly, the Kremlin remains defiant, confident the Russian public will blame the West for the worsening economic pain caused by sanctions and the fall in oil prices. Kremlin insiders say the leadership is giving mixed signals on whether it is seeking to win an easing of sanctions by pressuring Kiev into a truce or preparing for further escalation.

  11. Fifty-nine percent of Republicans would like to see Romney jump into the 2016 race, while only 26 percent believe he should stay out, according to the CBS News poll.

    Fifty percent of Republicans would like to see former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush on the campaign trail as well, while 27 percent disagree. If both Romney and Bush run, analysts expect them to wage a competitive battle for the allegiance of the Republican establishment.

    Another potential candidate viewed favorably by the GOP establishment, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, is sought less eagerly by Republicans. Only 29 percent say they'd like to see Christie launch a bid, while 44 percent say otherwise.
    (Only former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's numbers are more underwater: 30 percent of Republicans say they'd like to see her run, but 59 percent disagree.)

    1. .

      Of course, the 30% who would want Palin to run would not be allowed to vote anyway due to voting rules regarding non compos mentis.


    2. You won't be able to vote, Quart?

      Gee, that's really unfair.

      Can't ya 'fake it' long enough to get into the voting booth?

      I could write up a phoney certificate of competency for you, if you want.

      As long as you promise Scout's Honor not to vote for Hillary.

  12. (Reuters) - Greece's leftwing Syriza looked set for a comfortable victory over the ruling conservatives, an exit poll showed, with a chance of winning a full majority to face down international creditors and roll back years of painful austerity measures.

    Syriza could gain 35.5-39.5 percent of the vote, well ahead of the conservative New Democracy party of outgoing Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on 23-27 percent, according a joint exit poll for Greek television stations issued immediately after voting ended. Other individual exit polls showed similarly strong leads for Syriza.

    If confirmed, the result would be enough to install 40-year-old Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras as prime minister at the head of the first euro zone government openly opposed to bailout conditions imposed by European Union and International Monetary Fund during the economic crisis.

    It would trigger an immediate standoff with austerity-minded


  13. Newly-released UK documents speak of Zionist Nazis, terrorists and savages

    This week, British intelligence documents released by the UK’s National Archives bring into sharp relief the extent to which the British government understood the truth about the Zionist criminals to which it was about to hand over Palestine, to be ethnically cleansed of its citizens and turned into the state of Israel.

    The documents reveal that, just two weeks before Israel’s unilateral declaration of “independence” , the British government’s high commissioner for Palestine, Alan Cunningham, viewed the behaviour of Jewish terrorists as comparable to that of the Nazis.

    On 30 April 1948, he wrote to his superiors that as the Jews celebrated military successes their
    “broadcasts, both in content and in manner of delivery, are remarkably like those of Nazi Germany”.

    In another report, he said that the Jews were prepared for statehood and an “all-out offensive” with “all the equipment of a totalitarian regime”.

    The papers, which make frequent references to Jewish “terrorists”, show the British understood that the Jews were willing “to go to almost any lengths to achieve their aim”.

    In one dispatch, an account is given of the massacre at the Palestinian village of Deir Yassin. In it, Cunningham wrote that 250 people were killed, with the attack “accompanied by every circumstance of savagery. Women and children were stripped, lined up, photographed and then slaughtered.”


  14. .

    What I don't understand:

    Obama realizes the burden student loans can have on future success.

    "Over the past three decades, the cost of college has nearly tripled," said Mr. Obama. "And that is forcing you, forcing students, to take out more loans and rack up more debt. Last year, graduates who took out loans left college owing an average of $24,000. Student loan debt has now surpassed credit card debt, for the first time ever. Living with that kind of debt means making some pretty tough choices when you're first starting out."

    In fact, he is working to help ameliorate some of the effects of the loans. On the other hand, he is also proposing major tax changes to 529 accounts that help people 'save' for college and thus minimize the need for student loans. Strange.

    Some say it is only the rich that can afford to save in the 529 accounts and therefore the changes are needed to even the playing field. This is of course absurd. There is a whole range of people who take advantage of the 529 plans and more importantly it is not the parents being punished by the changes but the students.

    What I do understand.

    The $240,000 the Obamas have already put away in 529 plans for their daughters will not be affected by the proposed changes.

    The only good thing about the Obama proposals? They don't stand a chance of passing.


    1. The whole idea of the free Junior College simply amounts to an extension of High School to six years.

      I'm for it.

      It would have done wonders for Quart.

    2. Though not for rat's dementia.