"The mind is a compact, multiply connected thought mass with internal connections of the most intimate kind. It grows continuously as new thought masses enter it, and this is the means by which it continues to develop."

Bernhard Riemann On Psychology and Metaphysics ca. 1860

Today's Elites


Sunday, October 19, 2008

What went wrong?

Well, since the economics blogs are on the subject of what was done to quell speculative excess in the 1930s, the "800 lb gorilla in the room" happens to be Bretton Woods. Why? What led to derivatives (recently rightly referred to in Congressional testimony as the latest incarnation of Bucket Shop practices) engulfing the world monetary system? It was none other than the end of the system of settling imbalance of trade among nations in gold. After the Nixon administration pulled the plug on this in 1971 the scene was set for a global casino of currency speculation. One bubble after another was created and blown out. Now we are at the point of either attempting insanely to further hypothecate our economies or to return to the Bretton Woods system of stability.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Question for Paul Krugman

Mr. Krugman, would you have advocated during the collapses of the South Sea Island, the Tulip, the Mississippi Land, et al. speculative bubbles that governments should have simply printed up more such promissory notes to give the speculators proper government backing? What does this do but promote a more vicious hypothecation of the self same bubble? By the way, it is wrong to characterize this crisis as resulting from merely the latest incarnation of monetarist speculation, i.e. the housing bubble. The credit default swap derivatives the are undergoing de-leveraging are but a small proportion of the cancerous multi hundred trillion derivatives "markets." Until this insane gambling casino mentality is extirpated and replaced any attempt to prop it up is foredoomed. You can bet on that.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Honorable men ?

If you recall the congressional testimony during Oliver North Iran Contra hearings, one thing that conspicuously stood out was so many Republican "character witnesses" incessantly referring to North as an "honorable man." Yesterday it was widely reported that John McCain stood up for Barrack Obama in like manner when some woman at one of his rallies assailed Obama as an "Arab." McCain, pulling the microphone from her hands, declaimed that Obama was an honorable man, or some words to that effect. Well now, it seems that the old saw "it takes one to know one" perfectly applies in this case. McCain, after all, dumped his ailing crippled wife for a young beer heiress and then went on to choose a ex-beauty pageant Governor as his running mate. Why wouldn't such a man admire how Obama parlayed his many years long connections with the Ayers family into a successful run for the Democratic Party Presidential nomination, all the while keeping it at arms length. What was it that Roosevelt said about Joe Kennedy?

Friday, October 10, 2008

Prediction from Thingumbobesquadamus

Today, Messer George Bush will regale the nation with this needful admonition: "Remember, my fellow Americans prosperity is just around the corner." ... or words to that effect.

Dance with a corpse, anyone?

I'm afraid it is much worse than merely losing one's spectacles. The bankers' ball has admitted a number of putrefying corpses onto the dance floor. They tell us, imploringly, they are just now oh so sure that if only we will believe. Yet I'm afraid all the perfume they have applied so far hasn't done the trick. Why, the erstwhile bon-vivant suitors are perspiring off the dance floor holding their sides and retching. Such a scene is unheard of. Lack-a-day.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Way too little, way too late

While today's NY Times article exposing the SEC does a service after the fact in uncovering some of the chicanery unleashed by the pro deregulation crowd, the economic problem that has been posed from the beginning of the creation of exotic and esoteric derivative instruments of speculation goes unchallenged. However, it is the mindset that created these speculative instruments that are now "deleveraging" on a gargantuan scale that is threatening us all with a financial collapse of historic proportions. Until and unless that mindset that created this disaster is effectively exposed and replaced by a return to sound credit policies instead of attempts to bailout the malefactors at the expense of the real economy, all such analyses, however enlightening are merely the proverbial whistling past the graveyard.

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