“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Sunday, September 18, 2011

3 Myths About the Great Depression


  1. The Great Overview of the Great Depression was "Rapid Mechanization," and "Smoot-Hawley."

    You, suddenly, had a vast workforce that wasn't needed.

    The "answer," it turns out, was to destroy all the production lines of all of your economic rivals, all over the world.

    Unfortunately (I'm kidding,) that option isn't available to us this time.

  2. We do have to be careful about "trade protectionist" sympathies, however.

    Smoot-Hawley was the final, self-inflicted, gunshot to the head that put us in a 10+ year coma.

  3. Massive Government "Deficit Spending" to build up our manufacturing base, and a total lack of competition from any other economies after the war WAS our Saviour.

  4. BTW, the old people that lived through the Great Depression will tell you that things were getting a little better by 1937, or '38.

  5. If these Democrats were around during the Great Depression, America would be one step below Haiti.

    For one thing, Obama sure as shit wouldn't come up with Lend-Lease to help the United Kingdom. Maybe the USSR. But the United States wasn't taking war to the Eastern Front, so there would be no wartime deficit spending to get out of the Depression.

    Even so, the gasoline rationing would have been implemented to make things fair for the other countries that were at war.

    And what happened to Mel?

  6. Not really. An idiot article by a guy that's been wrong every step of the way.

    Remember, the 2nd largest shareholder in the WSJ is Saudi Prince Alwaleed.

  7. Yergin is a fine writer, but his theories have been proven to be nonsense, and his facts, . . . uh, unfactual.

  8. You want to believe the guy that's telling you what you want to hear, go ahead.

    However, I'm on record, Here, having this story correct from the git-go. He's on record as having the call "backwards," from the git-go.

    Choose wisely, grasshopper.

  9. Now, this is the way you do it, making a strong statement of opinion while remaining a gentleman.

    Rufus II said...
    Yergin is a fine writer, but his theories have been proven to be nonsense, and his facts, . . . uh, unfactual.

    Sun Sep 18, 09:30:00 AM EDT


    In all fairness, there were so many variables in play at the time of TGD it is hard to get ones head around more than a few. One that gets less play than it deserves is the festering, growing impact of the consequences of WWI on the world's fragile political, philosophical and financial spheres in the aggregate.

    Although the terrible plight in which we now find ourselves in Atlanta, for example, has no direct correlatives in the TGD, I think there are lessons to be learned from the former that might give us some direction in dealing with the present. And I mean both positive and negative.

    For example, what role can the Federal government play in expediting the development and use of the new petroleum and natural gas recovery from abandoned fields all across the country? This sort of infrastructure investment might do what the great electrical generating projects did in the 1930's. Think of how weak our position would have been on 1 Sep 1939 through the War without that "excessive" capacity.

    ... hope some of this makes sense ... I'm not yet caffeinated.

  10. No rufus, you have been wrong at every turn and the odd time you dare throw out a fact it has been "from memory" and you have been wrong.

    There is and has not yet been any "energy crisis" contrary to your hyperventilating predictions.

  11. Then, why DID we take 60 Million Barrels out of our "Strategic Reserves?"

  12. And, why Is our economy flat-lining, and getting ready to go negative?

    Why Are we still below the GDP of the 4th qtr of 2007?

  13. Why Are we paying 30% More for gasoline than we were at this time last year, and why Is the unemployment rate back up to 9.1% - and rising?

    Why Did another 400,000 people go to "part-time" work last month?

  14. Why Did all of these things start the second half of February when we blew through $3.25/gal?

  15. Why was I able to call this recession, and why was I able to call Bullshit when Bernanke, and the Wall St. clowns said we would grow at a 3% Rate in the Second Half?

  16. you throw darts at the board and you get lucky once in a while. Remember how badly you got the '08 recession and financial crisis?

    Just because there is a financial crisis doesn't mean there is an energy crisis. The vast majority of problems occurring now have to do with the financial crisis.

  17. Which would you prefer?

    1. Working hard, getting rewarded for doing so and being praised by your boss for doing so?
    2. Working hard, having bosses who try to cut your pay by 25% without doing the same to themselves, being sneered at for doing a good job which showed up the bosses' incompetence.

    Or how about those who say that working for the 'public sector' is so principled, but when you decide to spend your own money doing your own thing, they decide that if they don't control it that you can't do it. Because 'socialists' can't abide others not doing what the socialist 'elite' order them to, can they?

    Those are the realities and the nasty venality of the wannabe millionaires in the upper middle classes, many of whom rose to that level of affluence from working class beginnings, with attendant lack of ethics, decency and fairness as a result.

    I don't want the charity of anyone who behaves like that.

    I want to earn a fair wage and be left alone to spend my money as I choose. Not to be subjugated, controlled and destroyed by venal control-freaks.

  18. I called the '08 "Recession" (it started in Jan of '08) in June of '07, and caught tons of derision. Admittedly, I missed the Banking Crisis.

    But, as for the present situation: Things were getting better, and GDP was running 2.5 to 3.0% in the Fall of 2010 when I made the call that rising gasoline prices were going to "sink us again."

    I said the Stock Market would start to wise up in the Spring, and that this would, likely, be a good time to "Sell in May, and Go Away." The Markets Topped on, either, May 1st, or May 2nd, if I recall.

    But, that's okay; if you don't believe there's an Energy Problem, that's your prerogative. Enjoy the show.

  19. The problem is not the take, the issue was and always is the spend. Politicians are now petrified of the monster their class has built: the client state which has reach tipping point in electoral terms.

    Enfranchised, those contributing absolutely nothing, can vote to put their hands in the pockets, not of the super rich, but the emancipated working class - now a broad, deep mid class - for a free ride.

    We have to stop politicians from bribing people for their votes with money for imaginary public sector jobs, or simply for doing nothing at all, or even for fecklessly producing hundreds of thousands of children in homes entirely funded by the state.

    We have to stop because this has gone way beyond the point where taxation on individuals and business can fund it - for that is why we have a deficit and the pretense of borrowing rather than printing - and why our costs as a manufacturing center - with taxes larded onto employees and employers - make us unable to compete any more.

  20. "But, that's okay; if you don't believe there's an Energy Problem, that's your prerogative. Enjoy the show."

    There is an energy problem because there is a taking problem and those who have been taken have not enough left to solve their energy problem.

  21. Kweku Adoboli, 31, an employee in the UBS’ exchange-traded funds unit had been named by the Wall Street Journal as the trader charged with $2.3B in trading losses.

    My God! I got an email from this guy three weeks ago telling me he needed my bank account to wire $2B into and I would get to keep 25%. I deleted it.

  22. .

    If the guy had made $2.3 billion doing the same things you would have never heard anything about it and UBS wouldn't be complaining.


  23. If the dollar is suddenly worth a nickel because Bernanke is printing them like no tomorrow, it's not recessionary when gas "blows through $3.25" like in Rufus' simplified model. Once again, he drifts into static thinking.

  24. W/O looking back, T, I seem to remember "Core" CPI (Minus food, and Energy) is running about 2.2% YOY. So, it seems the Dollar is still worth a bit more than a nickel. Wanna Try Again?

  25. Obama's American Jobs Act should be called the Union Payoff Act.

  26. "We all ran out our houses, some even jumped out of their windows. You can see some buildings that have developed cracks," Gangtok resident C.K. Dahal told CNN-IBN.

    Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has spoken to Sikkim chief minister Pawan Chamling and offered government assistance, NDTV said.

    Singh has ordered an emergency meeting of India's National Disaster Management Authority to be held in the wake of the tremor.

  27. In San Juan Capistrano, California, city officials say city code section 9-3.301 prohibits religious organizations in residential neighborhoods without a conditional-use permit. Chuck and Stephanie Fromm already have been fined $300 for holding Bible studies for their friends at their home.

  28. .

    China Shuts Solar Panel Factory After Anti-Pollution Protests

    BEIJING — The authorities have suspended production at a solar panel factory in eastern China following protests by residents who blame the plant for fouling the local air and water, a government Web site said on Monday.

    Since last Thursday, the factory, JinkoSolar Holding Company, has drawn hundreds of protesters, some of whom overturned vehicles and ransacked offices inside the plant in Haining city, Zhejiang Province.

    At least 23 people have been detained on charges of vandalism and public disorder, including a man accused of “spreading false information” about the impact of pollution from the plant, the Haining city government said on its Web site. Three company employees were among those taken into police custody after they tried to wrest television cameras away from reporters attempting to film the demonstrations.

    Villagers have complained about toxic smokestack omissions and factory wastewater they say killed a large number of fish. Government inspectors have confirmed that fluoride contamination was 10 times higher than acceptable levels after heavy rainfall swept improperly stored wastewater into a canal, according to the state-run media.

    Local residents have also blamed the five-year-old plant for what they claim is an unusual number of cancer deaths, although local officials say such fears are exaggerated...

    Local Officials Say 'Trust Us'