Showing posts from February 15, 2018

Today's Trumpery


Cleaning out the Closet


Financial Markets Have Taken Over the Economy. To Prevent Another Crisis, They Must Be Brought to Heel.

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[Also very good! On the death of the real economy. *RON*]

Posted on February 14, 2018 by Yves Smith, Naked Capitalism

Yves here. Get a cup of coffee. This is an important, one-stop treatment of how financialization has harmed the real economy and increased inequality.

By Servaas Storm, Professor, Department of Economics, Faculty TPM, Delft University of Technology and co-author, with C.W. M. Naastepad, of Macroeconomics Beyond the NAIRU (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press), which has just won the Myrdal Prize of the European Association for Evolutionary Political Economy. Originally published at the Institute for New Economic Thinking website

Banks have long had undue influence in society. But with the rapid expansion of a financial sector that transforms all debts and assets into tradable commodities, we are faced with something far worse: financial markets with an only abstract, inflated, and destabilizing relationship with the real econ…

Why Is It So Hard for Democracy to Deal With Inequality?

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[Quite a good and thoughtful piece. *RON*]

Thomas B. Edsall, New York Times, 15 February 2018

In theory, in a democracy, the majority should influence — some would even say determine — the distribution of income. In practice, this is not the case.

Over the past few decades, political scientists have advanced a broad range of arguments to explain why democracy has failed to stem the growth of inequality.

Most recently, Thomas Piketty, a French economist who is the author of “Capital in the Twenty-First Century,” has come up with a straightforward answer: Traditional parties of the left no longer represent the working and lower middle classes.

In a recent Power Point presentation, “Brahmin Left vs Merchant Right,” Piketty documents how the domination of the Democratic Party here (and of socialist parties in France) by voters without college or university degrees came to an end over the period from 1948 to 2017. Both parties are now led by highly educat…

Zuma's departure ends South Africa's most troubled period since apartheid

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[Accused of corruption and economic mismanagement, Zuma denies all wrongdoing. See also: Who is Cyril Ramaphosa? South Africa's new leader faces huge challenges. *RON*]

Jason Burke, The Guardian, 15 February 2018

Jacob Zuma’s resignation as president of South Africa ends a nine-year rule seen by many as the most troubled period for the “rainbow nation” since the end of the apartheid regime 24 years ago.

Zuma’s decision came after days of intense pressure from opponents within the African National Congress (ANC), the deeply divided ruling party.Quick guide
Jacob Zuma charge sheetShow

The political veteran leaves office mired in claims of wrongdoing, ranging from improper relations with a family of wealthy businessmen to economic mismanagement. He has denied all the allegations against him.

Cyril Ramaphosa, the deputy president and standard-bearer of the reformist wing of the ANC, will take power as interim president pending election by parliamentar…

Ultra-processed foods linked to increased cancer risk

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[Increase in ultra-processed foods linked to heightened cancer risk. Ultra-processed food makes up 60% of the US diet and more than 50% in the UK. *RON*]

Jen Christensen, CNN, 14 February 2018

Ultra-processed foods are not known for their health qualities. We know this, yet it's hard to resist the doughnuts your kind colleague brought into the office. Now, research published Wednesday in the BMJ may give you at least a longer pause before you pick the pink one with sprinkles.
Researchers discovered that people who eat more ultra-processed foods have a higher risk of cancer. Such foods are the ones with unrecognizable and unpronounceable words on the list of ingredients -- anything from the candy that turns your tongue blue to healthier-sounding canned soups packed with artificial flavors, additives or emulsifiers. Most food is processed to some degree, but ultra-processed foods are typically much more calorie-, sodium- and sugar-packed.