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AGelbert

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Re: Money
« Reply #405 on: August 01, 2018, 12:52:33 pm »
US Manufacturing PMI Slumps To Weakest In 2018 As Prices Surge, Orders Tumble

by Tyler Durden

Wed, 08/01/2018 - 10:07

After China's Manufacturing PMI tumbled to 8mo lows overnight (joining Japan in its demise to 13mo lows), US Manufacturing PMI for July has not been weaker since Dec 2017.



Markit's Manufacturing PMI signals stagflation with output prices at their highest since June 2011, production slide, and supplier delivery times fall to a record low.

And after decoupling from reality in the last two months, ISM Manufacturing tumbled back to 'hard data' at 58.1 (dramatically below expectations)...


ISM's survey suggests prices paid and new orders dropped in July...


ISM New Orders at their weakest since May 2017...


All ISM respondents can talk about is tariffs...

“Global demand is still strong . Working on contingency plans for the Chinese tariffs. We will probably onshore most of that material. Labor availability is becoming an issue.” (Computer & Electronic Products)

“As a result of new tariffs on materials to/from China, we are taking measures to move impacted materials ahead of effective dates, which in some cases is resulting in holding higher inventories.” (Chemical Products)

“Reviewing the business case for importing manufactured parts from China, as new tariffs will lead to increased costs that we will pass along to our domestic customers.” (Transportation Equipment)

“The steel tariffs are a concern to us. We have already seen steel prices increase due to the threat of the tariffs and are seeing kickback from our customers due to the higher prices. We are concerned that the end customer will go to off shore to purchase the finished product.” (Fabricated Metal Products)

“Tariffs are [resulting in] customs inspection-time increases on imported raw materials from China. Logistics seems to be improving, but we are seeing a [continuing] tight chemical bulk tanker market.” (Plastics & Rubber Products) 

"Our customer demand is high, but supply of aluminum is tight. Also, tariffs are negatively affecting our bottom line, as we are unable to pass increases to all of our customers. Plus, we are seeing increases in our construction costs because of the steel price increases. Labor market is extremely tight for professional personnel, plant technicians and support associates.” (Primary Metals) 

"The so-called trade war is now taking its toll on business activity, resulting in substantial reductions to new export orders. China has all but stopped taking orders, causing inventories to build up in the U.S. Domestic business is steady. However, it is too small to carry the load that export markets have retreated from. As a result, we will be meeting as a corporation next week to recast our second-half sales and revenue projections.” (Wood Products)

Chris Williamson, Chief Business Economist at IHS Markit said:

“The US manufacturing sector continued to expand in July , but shows increasing signs of struggling against headwinds of supply shortages, rising prices and deteriorating exports.


"The latest survey showed output rising at a rate roughly equivalent to an annualised 1% pace of expansion, which is the weakest since late last year. While a weakening of new export orders for a second successive month suggested foreign demand has waned compared to earlier in the year, the slowdown can be also in part attributed to increased difficulties in sourcing sufficient quantities of inputs. Suppliers’ delivery delays were more widespread than at any time in the survey’s history. With producers often scrambling to buy enough raw materials, suppliers enjoyed greater pricing power. Not surprisingly, with tariffs also kicking in, cost pressures spiked higher again.


"Some relief for manufacturers came from strong domestic demand, which meant firms were increasingly able to pass higher costs on to customers. Average prices charged for goods consequently rose at the steepest rate for seven years, which is likely to feed through to higher consumer prices in coming months."

Does that sound like a sustainable 4% economy? 

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-08-01/us-manufacturing-pmi-slumps-weakest-2018-prices-surge-orders-tumble


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AGelbert

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Re: Money
« Reply #406 on: August 02, 2018, 02:37:58 pm »


CMA CGM’s 22,000 TEU Ships to Feature ‘Bulbless’ Bow Made for Slow-Steaming

August 1, 2018 by The Loadstar

By Mike Wackett (The Loadstar) – A steel cutting ceremony took place in China last week on the hulls of the first two ships of CMA CGM’s order for nine 22,500 teu LNG-powered ULCVs, featuring a potentially game-changing bow design.

Alongside similar ULCVs being constructed for MSC in South Korea, these behemoths will be the largest containerships afloat, and the first to extend to 24 containers 👀 across the weather deck.



The French carrier’s new flagships will also be the first constructed with a “bulbless” bow, as the container line commits its future to slow-steaming.

An elegant protruding bulb shape at the bow has been a feature of containerships for decades, but the new tugboat-like design could become the new normal on liner trades where lower unit costs have won out over fast transit times.

The bulbous bow works by creating an artificial wave, modifying the water flow around the hull, which reduces drag and increases speed and fuel efficiency. Studies have put the fuel efficiency gain at up to 15% at near full speed.

However, consultant Alphaliner notes, the advantages of a bulbous bow containership – more complex and therefore more expensive – have waned with the advent of slow-steaming in the past decade, causing the fuel efficiency percentage gain to drop significantly.

Moreover, vessels that sail at less than full draught – with backloads of empty containers, for example – also see the advantages of a bulbous bow eroded.

This has prompted the retrofitting of replacement bows, designed specifically to be more efficient at slower speeds, to a number of container vessels over the past few years.

Alphaliner also notes that, at the time of CMA CGM’s $1.2bn order in September, the images released of the ULCVs were of a conventional bulbous bow design. New images, provided at Hudong Zhonghua Shipyard cutting ceremony, show a vertical stem design.

Notwithstanding the unit cost advantage of deploying LNG-powered vessels, CMA CGM is clearly seeking every opportunity to ensure its new ships will be the most cost-efficient in the industry.

Since September, the price of IFO 380 heavy fuel oil has risen from some $320 per tonne to $440, and with predictions of further spikes to come, the rise in the cost of bunkers is currently the biggest risk to sustained profitability in the industry. German rating agency Scope said this week it expects a rise of about 25% in bunker prices this year, compared with 2017, “squeezing the thin profit margins” of carriers.

“Increased crude oil and bunker prices and flat shipping rates will continue to put severe pressure on the operating profitability of older, less-efficient vessels,” said the Scope report.

Moreover, with the IMO’s 0.5% sulphur cap regulations coming into force on 1 January 2020, ocean carriers must endeavour to future-proof their fleets from the impact of a further potential 50% jump in fuel costs.

The Loadstar is fast becoming known at the highest levels of logistics and supply chain management as one of the best sources of influential analysis and commentary.

http://gcaptain.com/cma-cgms-22000-teu-ships-to-feature-bulbless-bow-made-for-slow-steaming/
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AGelbert

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Re: Money
« Reply #407 on: August 02, 2018, 04:43:44 pm »
 


Quote


Sliced into ribbons Thu, 08/02/2018 - 14:28 Permalink

America is going to be Trump's 5th bankruptcy.

 👍 37  🕵️
 👎 18  🙉 🙊

Yep.


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AGelbert

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Re: Money
« Reply #408 on: August 03, 2018, 02:00:55 pm »
Agelbert NOTE: Mike Mish Shedlock is correct that Trump is dead wrong to start a trade war. That said, the hit that US LNG exporters 🦕🦖 (Cheniere, Tellurian Inc. and other LNG developers) are taking by China jacking up tariffs on LNG is a good thing overall.    WHY? ??? Because it makes Renewable Energy products (which have ALWAYS been distributed, local and non-exportable for profit over people and planet) become much cheaper in comparison with polluting hydrocarbon energy products;D 

China Fires Back with Tariffs on LNG, Wheat, Whine: US LNG Exporters Dive

August 3, 2018

SNIPPET:

Quote
Mike Mish Shedlock: Some of my readers praise Trump for these actions on the basis he needs to "fight fire with fire". Such thoughts are complete silliness.

As I have stated dozens of times, if China is supplying the US with cheap steal, cheap solar panels, cheap whatever, we should be grateful.

Once again, this is indisputable: Standards of living rise when more goods are available at a cheaper price.

Full article:

https://moneymaven.io/mishtalk/economics/china-fires-back-with-tariffs-on-lng-wheat-whine-us-lng-exporters-dive-yCMCEUCnlE2OjE2JwBsTQA/

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AGelbert

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Re: Money
« Reply #409 on: August 08, 2018, 10:08:51 pm »

Truthdig

AUG 05, 2018

5 Key Financial Misadventures of the Trump 🦀 Era (So Far)

By  Nomi Prins / TomDispatch

Here we are in the middle of the second year of Donald Trump’s presidency and if there’s one thing we know by now, it’s that the leader of the free world can create an instant reality-TV show on geopolitical steroids at will. True, he’s not polished in his demeanor, but he has an unerring way of instilling the most uncertainty in any situation in the least amount of time.

Whether through executive orders, tweets, cable-news interviews, or rallies, he regularly leaves diplomacy in the dust, while allegedly delivering for a faithful base of supporters who voted for him as the ultimate anti-diplomat. And while he’s at it, he continues to take a wrecking ball to the countless political institutions that litter the Acela Corridor. Amid all the tweeted sound and fury, however, the rest of us are going to have to face the consequences of Donald Trump getting his hands on the economy.

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, entropy is “a process of degradation or running down or a trend to disorder.” With that in mind, perhaps the best way to predict President Trump’s next action is just to focus on the path of greatest entropy and take it from there.

Let me do just that, while exploring five key economic sallies of the Trump White House since he took office and the bleakness and chaos that may lie ahead as the damage to the economy and our financial future comes into greater focus.

Full article:

https://www.truthdig.com/articles/five-financial-uncertainties-of-2018-so-far/
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AGelbert

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Re: Money
« Reply #410 on: August 11, 2018, 01:26:56 pm »

Quote
Proverbs 1 KJV

31 Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices.

32 For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them.


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AGelbert

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Re: Money
« Reply #411 on: August 11, 2018, 05:08:01 pm »
CleanTechnica
Support CleanTechnica’s work via donations on Patreon or PayPal!

Or just go buy a cool t-shirt, cup, baby outfit, bag, or hoodie.


The Big Short Burn … Er, Explosion Implosion  ;D

August 10th, 2018 by Zachary Shahan

You don’t get much props for predicting something after it happened. This is sort of lame: “I knew that would happen. I didn’t say it, but I knew it.” So, I’m going out on a short limb and am making a prediction here in the open while the market remains irrational.

Well, to be honest, you don’t get much props for predicting something that someone else already predicted either. I’m just going on some simple, direct statements from a person who has shown for years that he’s exceedingly honest and often provides hints of things he knows are coming months in advance. He has also accomplished — several times — things that experts said were “impossible.” The task at hand here is not at all impossible.

That said, the stock market is acting as though Tesla CEO Elon Musk is either an idiot or a liar. In the age of a reality TV president, I guess this is par for the course, but it is shocking me yet again. If you’re just skimming the headlines and major media commentary about Tesla this week, you may well think Musk’s plan to take Tesla private is a dishonest, impractical, highly unlikely scheme. Perhaps you even think Musk is going to jail, just because the SEC is doing one of its basic jobs — very likely nothing more than some simple due diligence. Headline after headline makes it seem like a serious SEC investigation is growing and growing, but then I look into the details and nothing notable has changed. From what I have read, they are checking with Musk to make sure he does indeed have financing secured (as he tweeted) to take Tesla private. Given that he followed that up with the statement that all that was really a question mark at this point was whether shareholders voted for the plan — that doesn’t sound like someone I know to be honest fudging the facts.

So, no, I’m not concerned that Musk was serious. My first assumption isn’t that Musk was manipulating the market and has no one lined up to finance taking Tesla private. I don’t beat animals, dead or alive, but to further emphasize a point that I think doesn’t need to be emphasized: Musk has said for years that Tesla would probably be better as a private company, and he reportedly tried to convince Japan’s SoftBank last year about helping to make this happen. In other words, the man has been working on this for a while. This is not a joke. The chance that he did indeed get enough of a financial commitment to bring this proposal to the Tesla board of directors and the public is close to 100%, in my humble opinion. If you absolutely think that’s not true, you may as well skip the rest of this article.

I’ll get to Tesla short sellers in a moment, but first, let’s have a look at who owns Tesla. Thanks to some research and calculation work from Maarten Vinkhuyzen, this is how Tesla ownership breaks down (known, non-institutional shareholders are in red):

Owner                                           Date                        Shares                Value               Size

Elon Musk                                                                        06/13/2018                     33,737,921      $11,890,930,256       19.87%

PRICE T ROWE ASSOCIATES INC /MD/                                03/31/2018                    15,625,798        $5,507,312,505          9.20%

FMR LLC                                                                        03/31/2018                   14,214,496         $5,009,899,115         8.37%

BAILLIE GIFFORD & CO                                                06/30/2018                   13,171,801        $4,642,401,262          7.76%

TENCENT                                                                                              8,489,684       $2,992,189,214        5.00%

VANGUARD GROUP INC                                               03/31/2018                      7,123,666        $2,510,736,082         4.20%

BLACKROCK INC.                                                       06/30/2018                      6,459,236        $2,276,557,728         3.80%

CAPITAL WORLD INVESTORS                                       03/31/2018                     4,449,216         $ 1,568,126,179         2.62%

JENNISON ASSOCIATES LLC                                       06/30/2018                     4,332,187         $ 1,526,879,308         2.55%

SAUDI ARABIA Wealth Fund                                                                  3,395,874         $ 1,196,875,686         2.00%

BANK OF MONTREAL /CAN/                                               06/30/2018                      3,308,742         $ 1,166,166,118        1.95%

STATE STREET CORP                                                       03/31/2018                     2,488,466         $ 877,059,842        1.47%

BAMCO INC /NY/                                                       03/31/2018                     1,657,488         $ 584,181,646        0.98%

INVESCO LTD.                                                               03/31/2018                    1,427,089          $ 502,977,518            0.84%

MORGAN STANLEY                                                       03/31/2018                   1,395,354             $ 491,792,517        0.82%

SUSQUEHANNA INTERNATIONAL GROUP, LLP               03/31/2018                   1,278,592               $ 450,639,750        0.75%

PRIMECAP MANAGEMENT CO/CA/                               03/31/2018                   1,097,040               $ 386,651,748        0.65%

GOLDMAN SACHS GROUP INC                                       03/31/2018                   1,055,539               $ 372,024,721        0.62%

GEODE CAPITAL MANAGEMENT, LLC                               03/31/2018                   1,032,506               $ 363,906,740        0.61%

BANK OF NEW YORK MELLON CORP                               06/30/2018                     937,605               $ 330,458,882            0.55%

DEUTSCHE BANK AG\                                                       03/31/2018                     881,309               $ 310,617,357            0.52%

NORTHERN TRUST CORP                                               03/31/2018                     835,851               $ 294,595,685            0.49%

ALLIANZ ASSET MANAGEMENT GMBH                               03/31/2018                     799,486               $ 281,778,841            0.47%

NORGES BANK                                                               12/31/2017                     788,319               $ 277,843,032            0.46%

J&P(CHINA)CAPITAL MANAGEMENT CO.,LTD                       09/30/2017                     781,379               $ 275,397,029            0.46%

JPMORGAN CHASE & CO                                               03/31/2018                     769,800               $ 271,316,010            0.45%

MITSUBISHI UFJ TRUST & BANKING CORP                       03/31/2018                     708,321               $ 249,647,736            0.42%

AMERICAN CENTURY COMPANIES INC                               06/30/2018                     619,585               $ 218,372,733            0.36%

BARCLAYS PLC                                                               03/31/2018                    576,101               $ 203,046,797            0.34%

SUMITOMO MITSUI ASSET MANAGEMENT COMPANY, LTD  06/30/2018                    540,971                $ 190,665,229           0.32%

CREDIT SUISS AG/                                                      03/31/2018                    520,227               $ 183,354,006            0.31%   

LEGAL GENERAL GROU PLC                                              03/31/2018                    516,632               $ 182,086,948            0.30%

ILDER G GNON HOWE & C   LLC                                      06/30/2018                    514,365               $ 181,287,944            0.30%

Now, let me be clear — there’s very little info out there about how these institutional investors view the offer. Even for large shareholders, like Baillie Gifford, that think Tesla is worth far more than $420, it’s unclear if they have limitations that would prevent them from carrying over a large portion of their shares in a private Tesla. Furthermore, some may simply prefer the public accountability and stock market pricing system — even if that means a lot of FUD bringing the brand down.

As it goes, experts in the field who I respect seem to be throwing their hands up and just guesstimating that 50% of those institutional shares would transfer over to private shares. If you add that onto Elon Musk’s 20%, Tencent’s 5%, and the Saudi Arabia Wealth Fund’s 2%, you’re at about 54% of the shares. If you cautiously (I’d say pessimistically) consider that half of the remaining retail investors are interested in going private, that’s 64%.

Now, this is not an evaluation of whether shareholders will vote for Tesla to go private. Again, perhaps many of those institutional investors would rather Tesla stay public. However, if you assume that the shareholders do vote to go private, there’s another very interesting matter to consider here. Actually, this is a matter that could be highly relevant even before the vote.

As it stands, there is an enormous short position on Tesla. Approximately 35 million Tesla shares are “loaned” out to shorts/short sellers. Basically, shorts have “borrowed” the stock from a shareholder and then loaned it out to someone else, with a commitment to buy it back at some undetermined point in the future in order to give it back to its rightful owner. (See our extensive articles on short selling and Tesla shorts on the bottom of this article for more info on this topic.)

A “short squeeze” is sort of, kind of like a “run on the bank” (which you’ve probably learned about from It’s a Wonderful Life). Basically, if a company you’re shorting has strongly positive news, it would be smart of you to immediately buy back the share you borrowed and lent out. The stock price is likely to jump up, and if you wait too long, you’re going to have to buy that share back for much more than you lent it out.

The Tesla [TSLA] stock price jumped up rapidly earlier this week when there was news of the Saudi Arabia wealth fund investment and then more so when Musk tweeted about potentially taking Tesla private at $420/share. But a couple of interesting things happened. First, trading was halted for a couple of hours. This is standard in the situation we were in, but the point is that it gave everyone some time to think about the news and decide what to do. The much more interesting thing is that by and large short sellers by and large didn’t cover — they didn’t start buying back shares they loaned out.

This gets us back to the top of this article. Short sellers 😈 👹 didn’t buy the news. They seemingly didn’t believe that Musk would take Tesla private and that he had financing lined up (they’ve been claiming he lied about that). Some others seemed to think $420 was a ceiling for their losses anyway, but that theory doesn’t appear to be grounded in reality from what I’ve read. We’ll get to that in a second.

Some longs have added onto their holdings as well. (Full disclosure: With my meager opportunity for this, I was one of them.) However, many longs also seem skeptical that the deal is going through. They want more evidence before buying in at $350–370. Given that there have likely been hundreds of mainstream media articles and TV talking heads scaring people about a potential SEC violation and ruminating on the slim possibility (which they consider not so slim) that Elon Musk lied about securing financing and there’s no way that Tesla is going private, I can’t say I’m all that surprised. (Even normally pro-Tesla tech sites like ArsTechnica — an early inspiration for CleanTechnica — have been spreading the fear, uncertainty, and doubt.)

So, now we get to predictions. Here’s the thing I think is going to happen (but am not providing as investment advice!):

I, like Gene Munster, think that shareholders will vote to take Tesla private (or delist it if that’s what we’re actually talking about). Since some major shareholders think Tesla is worth far more than $420/share and since this will be the last chance for many people to buy into Tesla — for a long time at least (since it is going to be much, much harder to buy shares in private Tesla than in public Tesla) — I think the share price will jump. People who don’t plan to hold onto the stock would hold at least until $420 since Tesla would cash out their shares at that price.

Meanwhile, short sellers will finally get the message: Yes, Tesla is going off the market, and they need to buy back the shares they loaned out in order to return them to their rightful owners. Furthermore, they should finally understand that $420 is not a cap on the buyback price for them. If the stock price jumps to $1000 because people value private shares in Tesla that high, then they still need to buy back the shares they don’t really own in order to return them to owners. ;D

Furthermore, if the price gets up that high, the privatization deal may get dropped or have to be revised. $420 is not a ceiling. In fact, it’s more of a floor for short sellers if the deal moves forward. ;D

So, we are back to the point that approximately 35 million TSLA shares are shorted right now. If there’s a sprint for the door, those short sellers will be fighting to buy shares back — and shareholders can wait as long as they like to sell them back.    If they think the share price will go up to $500, they can wait till then. Furthermore, if they value the private shares at $2000 each, they may have no interest in playing games and selling to shorts until the price is $2001. Institutional investors surely understand this. Many of the retail investors understand this. Who the heck is going to sell a short a share for $420? You must be high to think that’s going to happen in a large volume.

The most epic short squeeze in history seems to be a Volkswagen short squeeze that happened in 2008. The short interest in the stock before this happened was approximately 13%. The short squeeze resulted in the stock price increasing multiple times over at its peak (see that link above for details). Approximately 20% of Tesla shares are shorted right now. 👀   

Perhaps the shorts with billions and billions on the line don’t want to believe the possibility of a short squeeze. Perhaps they are so obsessed with the idea that Elon Musk is a liar and a fraud that they can’t believe the simple tweets he sent earlier this week represent exactly what they say. If they are wrong, holy hell in a hot air ballon — this is going to be the most epic short squeeze in history. 🧐



I watched that video after writing this article. Even if you read the full piece above, I recommend watching it. A tip of the hat to JRP3 for sharing it.

Update: This article was updated shortly after publishing to fix a couple of errors.

Related stories:

Our Tesla Bankwuptcy archives 👍👍👍

The Tesla Short Thesis Just Collapsed — CNN, CNBC, Forbes, & Business Insider Are Still Lost In Shortsville
Tesla Model 3 — 7th/8th Best Selling Car In USA — In A Class Of Its Own
Tesla Executes
How I Learned To Stop Worrying About My Tesla Shares & Love The Short Sellers (Part 1)
How I Learned To Stop Worrying About My Tesla Shares & Love The Short Sellers (Part 2)
The Fascinating Tesla Short Story
Stormy Weather In Shortville Will Soon Look Like A Day On The Beach — Epic TSLA Tsunami Coming
Coming Tesla Short Squeeze? Will Stock Go “Supernova” In 3 Weeks? Elon Implies It Will
A Sinister Cellar Of The TSLA Short Story?
Jim Chanos’s Anti-Tesla Short Seller Arguments Debunked (Video)
Is The Possibility Of Perception Perversion The Real Reason Jim Chanos Is Short Tesla?
Elon Musk vs TSLA Shorts Is Personal, Not Business
Tesla [TSLA] Short Sellers Have Lost $1 Billion In 2018


Full disclosure: I am long TSLA. Because, duh.  😀
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AGelbert

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Re: Money
« Reply #412 on: August 12, 2018, 01:25:20 pm »
Yap Money 👀

Definitely NOT "pocket change"!   

On the small island of Yap in the western Pacific Ocean, large stone discs up to 12 feet (3.6 meters) wide  :o  are the local form of money and tend to be used for large purchases. Other unusual forms of money worldwide include time hours, a legal form of currency that allows tasks such as childcare or auto repairs to be bartered for other services. A modern form of currency known as Bitcoins was developed in the early 2010s as the first completely decentralized form of electronic currency that is accepted by some ecommerce websites.

More about unusual forms of money:

• Historically, the most valuable items for bartering have included shells, tobacco, tea leaves, animal fur and salt.

• In 1991, the town of Ithaca, New York, developed Ithaca Hours, a form of currency in which each piece of currency is worth the average wage of one hour of work.

• Areas that develop their own forms of money commonly cite their main reasons as fostering a sense of community and independence as well as having a poor economy.

http://www.wisegeek.com/what-are-some-unusual-forms-of-money.htm
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Re: Money
« Reply #413 on: August 13, 2018, 09:25:57 pm »
Economic Update: Hidden Failures of Capitalism

With Richard D. Wolff

August 13, 2018

This week: Updates on Europe’s higher labor force participation; NY Governor Cuomo’s campaign is faking “small donations;” U.S. restaurants decline as pinched incomes force home delivery of food; how the “market” housing system causes homelessness; and how the U.S. educational system fails to overcome a racial wealth gap; Interview with Dr. Harriet Fraad on the causes and consequences of US declining fertility rate


https://therealnews.com/stories/economic-update-hidden-failures-of-capitalism
« Last Edit: August 21, 2018, 02:14:13 pm by AGelbert »
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Re: Money
« Reply #414 on: September 01, 2018, 12:57:16 pm »

Aug 31, 2018  TD originals

Capitalism Is Beyond Saving, and America Is Living Proof

By David Shankbone

Policies that fail in the same way over and over are not failing. Someone is lying about their intent. The drug war didn’t fail to stem the flow of banned narcotics and to stop epidemic abuse and addiction; it succeeded at building a vast carceral and surveillance apparatus targeted at people of color as a successor to Jim Crow.

The war in Iraq didn’t fail to bring democracy to the Middle East; it smashed an intransigent sometimes-ally in the region, and deliberately weakened and destabilized a group of countries whose control of, and access to, immense oil reserves was of strategic American interest.

The “end of welfare as we know it” didn’t fail to instill in the nation’s poor a middle-class sense of responsibility; it entrenched a draconian regime of means-testing and a Kafkaesque bureaucracy for access to even meager social benefits for a rapidly shrinking middle class.

It’s not that “Capitalism isn’t working,” as Noah Smith recently argued in Bloomberg. It’s that it’s working all too well. 😈 👹 💵 🎩 🍌  🏴‍ ☠️ 🚩

Real wage growth has been nonexistent in the United States for more than 30 years. But as America enters the 10th year of the recovery—and the longest bull market in modern history—there are nervous murmurs, even among capitalism’s most reliable defenders, that some of its most basic mechanisms might be broken. The gains of the recovery have accrued absurdly, extravagantly to a tiny sliver of the world’s superrich. A small portion of that has trickled down to the professional classes—the lawyers and money managers, art buyers and decorators, consultants and “starchitects”—who work for them. For the declining middle and the growing bottom: nothing.

This is not how the economists told us it was supposed to work. Productivity is at record highs; profits are good; the unemployment rate is nearing a meager 4 percent. There are widely reported labor shortages in key industries. Recent tax cuts infused even more cash into corporate coffers. Individually and collectively, these factors are supposed to exert upward pressure on wages. It should be a workers’ market.

But wages remain flat, and companies have used their latest bounty for stock buybacks, a transparent form of market manipulation that was illegal until the Reagan-era SEC began to chip away at the edifice of New Deal market reforms. The power of labor continues to wane; the Supreme Court’s Janus v. AFSCME decision, while ostensibly limited to public sector unions, signaled in certain terms the willingness of the court’s conservative majority—five guys who have never held a real job—to effectively overturn the entire National Labor Relations Act if given the opportunity. The justices, who imagine working at Wendy’s is like getting hired as an associate at Hogan & Hartson after a couple of federal clerkships, reason that every employee can simply negotiate for the best possible deal with every employer.

To those for whom capitalism cannot fail but can only be failed, the answers lie at the margins. Neoliberal doctrine forecloses any hope of large-scale change; present circumstances always prevent future possibilities. Instead, as Smith writes, “there are some simpler, humbler changes that state governments can begin taking right away, without waiting for labor-friendly politicians to take control of the White House and Congress.”

These changes involve banning noncompete agreements, through which companies forbid employees from going to work for competitors, and more assiduously policing industry wage-fixing.

Both would be fine reforms, but neither would have much effect on the labor share of gross domestic product. They are minor symptoms of the capitalist disease. Capitalism isn’t broken; it’s working precisely as it’s supposed to: generating surpluses and giving all of them to a small ownership class. The New Deal and postwar prosperity, which barely lasted until 1980, represent historic outliers—the one significant period in which growth at the top was somewhat constrained and a relatively large share of wealth went to the middle. It was possible only through massive government intervention and redistribution, combined with a powerful labor sector backed by that same federal government. It took the collective power of entire societies to briefly restrain capitalism, which, left to its own devices, will do what it has always done: make the already very rich infinitely richer. Capitalism is “working” just fine.

What we are seeing, I suspect, is an acceleration of a broader social transformation that’s been occurring for some time. Rome, the saying goes, wasn’t built in a day, but neither did it fall in one, either. Changes to societies as large and complex as theirs or ours occur subtly and over years—if not decades. Those workers who do remain in the workforce increasingly depend on work and work alone for all their benefits. The companies for which most people work are like the Roman villas that gradually became central nodes of a manorial society as the imperial metropole retreated through a series of self-inflicted wars and crises of governance.

One moment you’re working for some kind of money wage in a fully monetized economy; the next you’re living in a company town, buying your groceries with scrip, and you can’t leave without your boss’ permission.

In America today, supposedly the most prosperous society ever to exist on earth, nearly a third of families report experiencing economic hardship. Sixty percent—60 percent!—say they could not cover an unexpected expense of $1,000, and nearly 40 percent have less than $500 in savings. People with good insurance get billed $100,000 for having a heart attack. People commute four hours a day because they can’t afford to live in the cities where they work.

The barbarians aren’t at the gates. They’re already here in the boardrooms; they’ve been here all along.

https://www.truthdig.com/articles/capitalism-is-beyond-saving-and-america-is-living-proof/

Proverbs 1 KJV

31 Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices.

32 For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them.




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AGelbert

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Re: Money
« Reply #415 on: September 02, 2018, 03:31:24 pm »

Sunday, September 2, 2018

t r u t h o u t

Capitalism Is Not the "Market System"

SNIPPET:

Richard D. Wolff, Truthout: Americans are once again discussing capitalism versus socialism. Fortunately, they are not doing so in the old Cold War manner of uncritically celebrating one while demonizing the other. For clarity and to make progress in this important debate, we must address the problems and differences in how we understand its basic terms.

Excellent full article:

https://truthout.org/articles/capitalism-is-not-the-market-system/





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Re: Money
« Reply #416 on: September 02, 2018, 05:52:54 pm »
AUG 26, 2018 TD ORIGINALS

Becoming Serfs


By Chris Hedges

A 2016 demonstration in Manhattan's Zuccotti Park, where the Occupy Wall Street movement started five years earlier. (Corinne Segal / pbs.org)

SNIPPET:

Capitalism is hollowing itself out,” he said. “The capitalists refuse to face this because they are making money, for a while. That’s the same logic as the monarchs before the French Revolution building the fantastic Versailles without understanding they were digging their own graves in those lovely gardens.”

The elites divert attention from their pillage by blaming foreign countries such as China or undocumented workers for the economic demise of the working class.

“It’s a classic ploy of crooked politicians stuck with a problem of their own making, blaming somebody else,” Wolff said. “We take the poor 10 or 11 million immigrants in this country with questionable legal status and we demonize them. We scapegoat them. They couldn’t possibly account for the difficulties in this economy. Throwing them out does not fundamentally change the dynamics of the economy. It’s childishly easy to show this. But it’s good theater. ‘I am smiting the foreigner.’ ”

Full article:

https://www.truthdig.com/articles/becoming-serfs/

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Re: Money
« Reply #417 on: September 03, 2018, 02:10:45 pm »
Chris Hedges, "America: The Farewell Tour"

50,071 views



Politics and Prose

Published on Aug 30, 2018

Chris Hedges, "America: The Farewell Tour", at Politics and Prose on 8/22/18.

A longtime foreign correspondent, Hedges has reported from more than fifty countries. His latest book is a profound exploration of one of the most troubled: today’s United States. Hedges, author of American Fascists and War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning, cites the opioid crisis, the increases in gambling and magical thinking, and the explosion of xenophobia as symptoms of a society that has lost hope. He traces this disillusionment to the twin ills of a de facto corporate coup d’état and a failed democracy. The anger and frustration these have spawned helped bring Trump to power and Hedges issues a passionate call to action to reverse them.

https://www.politics-prose.com/book/9...

Chris Hedges is a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist who was a foreign correspondent for fifteen years for The New York Times where he served as the Middle East Bureau Chief and Balkan Bureau Chief for the paper. He previously worked overseas for The Dallas Morning News, The Christian Science Monitor, and NPR. He writes a weekly column for the online magazine Truthdig out of Los Angeles and is host of the Emmy Award­–winning RT America show On Contact. Hedges, who holds a Master of Divinity from Harvard University, is the author of the bestsellers American Fascists, Days of Destruction­, Days of Revolt, and was a National Book Critics Circle finalist for War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning. He has taught at Columbia University, New York University, Princeton University, and the University of Toronto. He currently teaches college credit courses in the New Jersey prison system.

Founded by Carla Cohen and Barbara Meade in 1984, Politics and Prose Bookstore is Washington, D.C.'s premier independent bookstore and cultural hub, a gathering place for people interested in reading and discussing books. Politics and Prose offers superior service, unusual book choices, and a haven for book lovers in the store and online. Visit them on the web at http://www.politics-prose.com/

Produced by Tom Warren

AGelbert

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Re: Money
« Reply #418 on: September 03, 2018, 02:47:26 pm »
Chris Hedges, "America: The Farewell Tour"

50,071 views



Politics and Prose

Published on Aug 30, 2018

Chris Hedges, "America: The Farewell Tour", at Politics and Prose on 8/22/18.

A longtime foreign correspondent, Hedges has reported from more than fifty countries. His latest book is a profound exploration of one of the most troubled: today’s United States. Hedges, author of American Fascists and War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning, cites the opioid crisis, the increases in gambling and magical thinking, and the explosion of xenophobia as symptoms of a society that has lost hope. He traces this disillusionment to the twin ills of a de facto corporate coup d’état and a failed democracy. The anger and frustration these have spawned helped bring Trump to power and Hedges issues a passionate call to action to reverse them.

https://www.politics-prose.com/book/9...

Chris Hedges is a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist who was a foreign correspondent for fifteen years for The New York Times where he served as the Middle East Bureau Chief and Balkan Bureau Chief for the paper. He previously worked overseas for The Dallas Morning News, The Christian Science Monitor, and NPR. He writes a weekly column for the online magazine Truthdig out of Los Angeles and is host of the Emmy Award­–winning RT America show On Contact. Hedges, who holds a Master of Divinity from Harvard University, is the author of the bestsellers American Fascists, Days of Destruction­, Days of Revolt, and was a National Book Critics Circle finalist for War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning. He has taught at Columbia University, New York University, Princeton University, and the University of Toronto. He currently teaches college credit courses in the New Jersey prison system.

Founded by Carla Cohen and Barbara Meade in 1984, Politics and Prose Bookstore is Washington, D.C.'s premier independent bookstore and cultural hub, a gathering place for people interested in reading and discussing books. Politics and Prose offers superior service, unusual book choices, and a haven for book lovers in the store and online. Visit them on the web at http://www.politics-prose.com/

Produced by Tom Warren

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Re: Money
« Reply #419 on: September 05, 2018, 02:33:10 pm »
Capex & Taxes; What The Corporate Sector Is Saying About The Economy (Spoiler Alert: Nothing Good)
Wed, 09/05/2018 - 11:59 

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-09-05/capex-taxes-what-corporate-sector-saying-about-economy-spoiler-alert-nothing-good

   
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