There is no good billionare.

From Reddit:

Billionaries aren’t just a policy failure, they are the embodiment of immorality. You can’t be a billionaire and a good person, despite what their astroturfing PR teams on reddit may try to tell you for some of the ‘good ones’. It’s literally impossible to accumulate that much wealth without the mass exploitation of others and the profits their labor generated. Not to mention the exploitation of the earth until it’s uninhabitable for human life.

George Washington was the richest man in the country when the US was founded, and he “only” had today’s equivalent of 500 million. That wouldn’t even get him in the room with some of these ghouls today. If people only understood just how obscenely rich these monsters were, they wouldn’t be able to show their face in society while millions suffer. I like to use the analogy of a staircase, with each step on the staircase representing $100,000 of net worth:

HALF of people in the united states are on the base or the very 1st step. Almost 200 million people who can’t even get one step up in this system. Those households at the 80th percentile, richer than 4/5 Americans, are on the 5th step. That’s about five seconds of walking to get up there. Those with more money than 90% of fellow Americans, millionaires who we consider our upper-middle class professional class and live more than comfortably, are on the 11th step. A few more seconds of walking up from that previous middle-class step.

A billionaire is ten thousand steps up the staircase. That’s enough to walk up five Empire State buildings. That’s almost three hours of walking non-stop. And Jeff Bezos? He’s so high up it only makes sense to describe his staircase in distance. His stairs take him up 133 miles. That’s more than halfway to the space station. That’s more than 24 consecutive Mt. Everest’s stacked on top of each other. It would take walking, non-stop, no sleep, over three months to ascend that high. All while more than half the country remains at or below that very first step…

There is no justification in the universe to that much money being hoarded by one family, and anyone working to justify it is an agent of evil.

Princes of the Yen

POTY_BOJ

A most excellent documentary on how the Japanese became an economic miracle thanks to their economic planning —  via Window Guidance, a process by which the Bank of Japan imposed where the credit went, and what quantity of it. It also shows how unbridled capitalism, which took hold of the country in the 80s, made it prey to boom and bust cycles and caused it to become the most indebted country in the world.

You can watch it in YouTube.

So, this happened.

image

It was a really, really interesting night.

Long story short:

The average voter takes an interest in politics when a story really stands out, or when it is urgent to decide who to vote. So, very occasionally during the four years preceding an election, and then the previous week. Trump stood out as an outsider. And he really stood out, in general. And there is a general discontent with how the elites are managing the country – it is a failure of capitalism itself but, again, this is not what the average voter wants to think about. They will vote someone who will disrupt and change what the government has been doing. Hillary Clinton really really tried to appear level-headed and moderate, the sensible option. Not the right strategy. Should have been Sanders in her place, but she (and the rest of the apparatus of the Democrat party) saw fit to push him aside and use the opportunity given by a joke of a contender to have four years of helping her corporate friends and paying back favours inside the party.

And then she lost. She lost hard.

There are people protesting over the fact that she technically got more votes. They would not be protesting if it was the other way around. The democrat party have done nothing to fix this, because it was useful for them. They knew how to play the game. They had more money, more experience, more celebrities, more everything. Trump even had another right wing candidate stealing him around 3% of the vote. And he won. He won hard. Against all odds.

This is a disaster, of course. But it is Hillary Clinton’s fault. Again, it should have been Bernie Sanders. She knew it was him who had the supporters and the natural candidate. I am really angry at her. Trump is going to destroy the climate and push the whole world’s political discourse to the right.

The only good thing coming out of this is that, finally, there might be a worker’s movement. A real left. A fight for socialism.

EDIT: apparently Sanders wrote a bit about it.

Prosa Cipotuda

dirty-dicks-pub

 

En este artículo de El Español, Iñigo Lomana repasa exponentes de lo que ya se puede calificar de corriente literaria: votantes potenciales, cuanto menos, de Ciudadanos, gente de extremo centro, con la costumbre de combinar rudeza impostada con lírica también impostada y llamarnos a todos nenazas y moralistas.

Leedlo porque es extremadamente divertido y brillante.

Corrientes adversas al libre mercado

The New York Times habla en un reciente artículo de la creciente consciencia sobre la espada de doble filo que es el libre mercado. La teoría económica más básica permite entender que unir dos territorios en un mismo mercado económico, sin divisiones, implica cambios para ambos territorios. No es, por tanto, algo que quienes han impulsado uniones económicas y tratados de libre comercio hayan descubierto ahora: quien ha defendido un tratado de estas características lo ha hecho porque se sabe parte de los que saldrían beneficiados de ello, y sabiendo que habría perjudicados. Hay una mayoría de ciudadanos que, sin embargo, no eran conscientes de que las atractivas rebajas en productos de consumo significarían, al cabo de no demasiado tiempo, unas difícilmente evitables rebajas en sus condiciones laborales.
La defensa del libre mercado se apoya, dice el artículo, en la identificación de los ciudadanos de países occidentales (Estados Unidos en el original) como consumidores. Si se consigue que la discusión se centre en los precios de los productos, y no en los salarios de los trabajadores, es difícil resistirse a lo que nos ofrece derribar fronteras y aranceles. Se ha intentado sugerir en campañas políticas alrededor del mundo que los tratados de libre comercio brindarían nuevas oportunidades de negocio y que todos saldríamos beneficiados, pero las pruebas nos dicen lo contrario. Quien ha podido –y, por supuesto, sabido– beneficiarse de esta expansión del mercado ha visto como su público potencial se multiplicaba y sus proveedores le ofrecían condiciones y precios cada vez mejores debido a la competencia. El problema radica en que el trabajador es un proveedor más, y también debe enfrentarse a una competencia mucho mayor. Esto ha tardado más tiempo a llegar, pero ha llegado y la política se ha empezado a hacer eco de ello.
Las campañas políticas en el período reciente han buscado maneras de justificar y soluciones que ofrecer a los salarios estancados, cuando no en recesión, y a las pésimas perspectivas para las clases trabajadoras que ofrece el panorama laboral del momento. Por primera vez en mucho tiempo hemos oído mensajes en contra de los tratados de libre comercio y la libre circulación de capitales, si bien no en estas palabras. Si bien es muy posible que hablen únicamente en clave electoral, estos conceptos permean y llegan hasta los ciudadanos menos interesados en economía, que al oír algo distinto a lo habitual empiezan a pensar en qué posición es la mejor. En muchos casos seguirán lo que su grupo, o partido político, defienda. En otros, sin embargo, habrá un análisis de pros y contras. Que no haya un mensaje homogéneo es siempre favorable.

Model economics

Not knowing about economics is hard. This is the main reason I want to start a degree in economy next year: I am going to absorb that knowledge and spread it as fast and wide as possible. The Foundation for Economic Education (fee.org) has the right name but, sadly, it turns out not to live up to it.

This article in the web page defends government regulation of the economy is unnecessary, as the market will self-regulate thanks to boycotts and consumers making the right moral choices (“Moral outrage makes markets work: social signaling makes top-down regulation irrelevant”). It is an extremely attractive theory, and it looks like it should work, all the more in a society where social networks and wide access to the internet makes it easier for citizens to share information. This is the kind of model economics taught in universities: they make for very nice and clean explanations.

There are two fundamental flaws, however: first, assuming consumers are absolutely free to choose and, second, that they have perfect access to information. This is so much not the case it really surprises me the author was able to ignore reality long enough for him to be able to finish the article. We are not free to choose. Our salaries, to start with, condition what we can buy. It would be absolutely in our best interest to buy free trade products, to only buy from companies that do not participate in human rights violations and do not exploit the poor. It’s just that we cannot. The price attached to those products makes it impossible. Furthermore, not everyone knows what is in their best interest, as even when the information is available it takes time and a previous education to be able to understand certain facts. What’s more, we are still influenced in a great deal by what the mass media say. These media know how to explain better, make it sound more convincing, influence more.

The consumer is seldom perfect, and this makes top-down regulation not only a good idea but a necessity for society to thrive.