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EJ
02-17-11, 07:55 AM
Next Bubble or Last Hurrah? - Part I: Stocks and houses


http://www.itulip.com/images2/NYCJan282011.png

Times Square, New York City, January 2011 (Photo credit: Eric Janszen)


• All about the stock market
• Inflation is a process, not an event
• The consumer credit surprise

The condition of high unemployment and rising cost-push inflation from high energy and food prices and a weak currency while housing prices sink doesn’t need a new name like “biflation” or some other nonsense. Inflation is a process not an event.

Monetary policy with respect to housing in the FIRE Economy and commodity prices and wages in the Productive Economy are separate but related phenomena. As asset prices in sectors of the FIRE Economy continue to deflate, inflation is developing from the early stages, when manufactures reduced package sizes and inputs quality, as we forecast, to the next stage, good old fashion goods, services, and wage price inflation.

If the Fed doesn’t get on the stick and stop it, commodity and wage price inflation is going to get ugly in the Productive Economy in the coming quarters. On the other hand, if the Fed does not act to stop it, the FIRE Economy will crash anew, with the politically critical real estate sector taking the biggest hit.

This culmination of the inherent contradiction of monetary policy objectives between the FIRE Economy and the Productive Economy is the end of the line for the either the FIRE Economy or the Productive Economy. The Fed will be forced to choose between them.

CE: Where've you been?
EJ: Traveling, traveling, and more traveling.

CI: What, did you join the Navy?
EJ: Speaking gigs, research projects, magazine articles, book proposals, and more, all producing valuable inputs into the ever-expanding iTulip worldview.

CI: What about that company you invested in and joined the board of? What is it? What do they do? How are they doing?
EJ: Article One Partners. The company does crowd sourced intellectual property search for patent validation, meaning if you are a high technology, pharmaceutical, auto manufacturer or other company that deals with patents and you need to know the quality of a patent we put our team of over a million scientists and technologists including subject experts around the world on the case. The company has more than 60 clients including 13 of the top Fortune 100. Out of that huge group a few dozen will typically be expert in a client's subject area. Researchers review all kinds of related literature, from old product brochures to obscure speeches. It’s a much more thorough process than the typical process of hiring a small team of generalists to review the patent literature, particularly for publications in foreign languages. It’s amazing what they can turn up to invalidate a claim. Conversely, worldwide brands use Article One to strengthen their patents with research that indicates that their patents are strong.

CI: How do you make money doing that?
EJ: As a researcher you are in a contest with others to be the first to get your response accepted by the client as the winning piece of evidence to a research request. If you go to the company’s web site today you can see recent $5,000 and $10,000 rewards. Close to $1 million has been awarded to researchers so far. So it’s not chump change. The company is also starting a business line for its community to identify buyers and sellers of patents in commercially valuable business areas. iTulipers who are techies, who like to sleuth for technical minutia and enjoy a good contest of wits, or are informed about the business opportunities to broker patents, will probably enjoy being an AOP researcher.

CI: And supplement their income. Cool. You mentioned in our pre-interview that a publisher asked you to write a book proposal for a new book…
EJ: The proposed book is on a topic I’m expert on but frankly I’m not sure that’s the right book for me to write just now. No book of major significance is going to get much national attention, our media being what it is today. The best economics-related books out there are the books you’ve never heard of, where they get lost in the heap of Glenn Beck type books. These books live outside the extremist framework of discussion that the FIRE Economy media creates so they get no national media attention, so you have to go look for them. The debate process is itself broken.

CI: Give me an example of a broken debate.
EJ: For example the debate about inflation or deflation as potential outcomes of the US credit bubble. They have for years been debated as equally likely and viable outcomes, when in fact one is as likely as summer in the northern hemisphere in August and the other as likely as Paris Hilton inventing a stem cell cure for cancer. The debate should have been about what kind of inflation we’ll have, that we are now having. But for a country that’s ballooned its external Treasury debt from $1.4 trillion to $4.5 trillion in six years, and faces impossible refinancing costs should interest rates rise to reflect the actual rate of default and inflation risk facing the US bond market, a debate about inevitable inflation is put off until the inflation evidence becomes undeniable. By then it’s too late for most people to protect themselves – gold, silver, and commodities prices in general will have already anticipated the event. Same deal for the stock market and housing bubbles. The system provides belief formation cover for a period of time, long enough for a group of interested parties to, for example, make off with money from sales of worthless securitized mortgage securities before the roof caves in, if you’ll excuse the pun. It’s a perverse application of the system of propaganda that Edward Bernays explained in his book titled “Propaganda (http://www.historyisaweapon.com/defcon1/bernprop.html)” in 1928, back before the term carried negative connotations.

CI: Your book idea?
EJ: It explains how the American media operates today. Two objectives. Objective one is to arm readers with a tool for self-defense, to prevent them getting sucked into the latest scam, whether it’s like the New Economy scam of the dot com era, the dream of home ownership scam of the housing bubble, or the weapons of mass destruction scam of the Iraq War. Objective two is that you can’t fix a broken system if you don’t know how it’s broken. It’s not simply an issue of media ownership concentration. The system is more subtle than that. I haven’t seen any book that adequately explains it, and going into the Peak Cheap Oil era it will be critical for Americans to understand how opinion formation is accomplished by special interests, else the public policy response is likely to be highly unconstructive, with the vast majority of Americans passionately pushing for policies that are completely against their own interests.

CI: As they did in the case of the health care debate?
EJ: Yes, as they did in the case of the so-called health care so-called “debate.” That debate was framed by health insurance companies. The key principle is this: whoever frames the debate wins the debate. The objective for a group of interests is to narrow the debate to two positions, the average of which is a positive outcome for the interested parties. The health care “debate” was framed between death panels versus free enterprise. The health care plan we got as a result was a compromise between two absurd extremes. Imagine if the debate was instead about which approach achieves the lowest economic rents and management overhead, helps the most citizens, best promotes sickness prevention, encourages medical technology innovation, and motivates bright young people to enter the medical industry? Instead, in the end the health insurers gave up the immoral privilege of denying coverage to those who most need it, a privilege they should never of had in the first place, in exchange for 40 million new customers at taxpayer expense. Good deal for the health insurers, bad deal for the American people. And it will happen again and again and again as long as the system persists. My friends in Europe and Asia watch slack jawed at the way public policy issues are debated in the US. But most Americans have no idea how broken our media is, yet wonder why nothing gets fixed.

CI: That is an important book for the country, but do you think the national media will promote a book that criticizes the national media?
EJ: I'd write it in such as way as to stimulate debate about public policy debate itself, not vilify the media. I have friends in the media going back to my college days and they don’t like the system, either. Many are approaching retirement age and aren’t in a position to try to provoke reform from within, so it will have to be the next generation of journalists that leads the charge. This all presumes I find the time to write it.

CI: Okay, on to stocks, bonds, gold, inflation, and housing, our favorite topics. Bonds have been taking a beating. Inflation rising?
EJ: More likely the bond market is playing chicken with the Fed. What happens after June when the Fed’s latest buying program winds up? At that point the Fed will hold more Treasury debt than China and Japan combined. Bernanke floated the idea of a QE3, to keep the bond market guessing. Bond traders are testing the Fed’s resolve. I call it “walking the plank.”

CI: Investor options?
EJ: You can, like Bill Gross, bet that bond yields will continue to rise as bonds prices fall. That strategy has failed him several times in the past ten years, but in the context-free, zero-memory-world of the business media, Bill Gross getting out of Treasury bonds for the Nth time in a decade is news all over again. It’s obvious that if not for purchases by governments, the US Treasury bond market would have weakened considerably by now, and may be despite bond purchases. If this is the real deal, the beginning of the end of The Game, I’d expect gold to behave differently than it is today.

CI: Like how?
EJ: That’s outside the scope of this discussion.

CI: But isn’t Bill Gross’s point in that CNBC interview that the political crisis in Egypt failed to cause the usual flight to safety response, to the dollar and into 10-year Treasury bonds, didn’t happen?
EJ: Yes, but it’s a question of interpretation.


http://www.itulip.com/images2/mubarakbonddollartradeJan2-Feb152011wtmk.png

The market indeed did the opposite of a flight to safety response. One interpretation is that the dollar and US bonds are no longer considered safe by foreign investors. That’s Gross’s read. Another interpretation is that market participants were not worried about the outcome of the Egyptian uprising, so there was no capital taking flight. I think it’s partly the latter and partly the fact that other factors effecting dollar value and bond yields are more important, in particular the Fed’s post-bubble bind, the contradiction between the need to continue to reflate, to maintain negative real interest rates to manage debt deflation in the real estate market, and the need to manage inflation expectations in a Peak Cheap Oil world. The entire global monetary system has to be revamped to take ever-rising energy costs into account, but no one knows how to do it.

CI: What do you think of the views of authors who think the US is a nation of half-wits that the world hates?
EJ: Not much. The US is the most under-appreciated nation on earth by North Americans themselves. In speeches I explain the reason: only 10% of Americans even have a passport and less than 5% of them use it more than once ever few years. In my travels outside the US I don’t experience the majority as hating America. They are disappointed in us because of recent screw-ups, but still see the American experiment in individual liberty and economic freedom as the most successful to date. We’re the model, the best incarnation of an ideal so far. But we do have to keep fighting to keep it, and at this time I think addressing the dysfunctional media issue is a first priority. Other countries will continue to aspire to the model if we maintain it. That is our responsibility.

CI: Back to bond markets, where the rubber meets the road. Are US lenders running negative real rates?
EJ: Consider these two charts. The first shows interest rates and inflation in China from Jan. 2002 to Jan. 2011. Notice that as inflation has begun to rise from near zero in early 2009 to near 5% in early 2011, and interest rates have risen from 5% to nearly 6%. If the People’s Bank of China remains true to form, it will keep cranking rates up as it did in 2008 when inflation peaked at over 8% before the US-centric financial crisis and resulting global economic mess saved China from having to chase inflation up the yield curve.


http://www.itulip.com/images2/chinarealrates2002-Feb2001wtmk.png
Rising inflation and interest rates in China

CI: The chase started in 2003, the beginning of the first Peak Cheap Oil cycle.
EJ: Yes. Now let’s look at the US.


http://www.itulip.com/images2/USrealrates2002-Feb2001wtmk.png
Rising inflation but not interest rates in the US

After a brief decline and leveling off of inflation in 2009 and 2010, inflation is on the rise, but interest rates remain officially a full 2.4% under the official inflation rate.

CI: By “inflation” in the charts you mean PPI finished goods, your preferred measure?
EJ: No, this comparison uses the officially reported CPI numbers for each country. It’s useful insofar as it indicates real rates of interest. MIT recently launched a new service called the Billion Prices Project (http://bpp.mit.edu/) that monitors “daily price fluctuations of ~5 million items sold by ~300 online retailers in more than 70 countries.”

Given that these are online-only retail prices, you’d expect a strong discounting bias in the data. Nonetheless, the index picks up a full point more inflation than the CPI does.


http://www.itulip.com/images2/BLSCPI2008-2011wtmk.png
CPI inflation by the BLS

The CPI registered a deflation bottom of -2% in December 2010 – the bottom limit that we forecast, by the way – peaked just below 3% in Dec. 2009, and then fell to 1.4% inflation in December 2010, in time for Bernanke’s 60 Minutes appearance for a discussion of deflation threats. The MIT inflation index registered a -2.6% deflation bottom, as you’d expect when they were measuring the retail FIRE sale we talked about in 2008, as dozens of retailers went belly up, and stood at 2.5% in Dec. 2010, at the time of Bernanke’s deflation protest. Again, the measure likely understates inflation because of the online-only price data sourcing. It’s at least 3% if not higher.


http://www.itulip.com/images2/MITCPI2011wtmk.png
CPI inflation by MIT

CI: “So who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes?”
EJ: It’ll stop being funny by Q3.

Next Bubble or Last Hurrah? - Part I: Stocks versus everything


http://www.itulip.com/images2/orlandoJan2011.png
Orlando, Florida, January 2011 (Photo credit: Eric Janszen)

CI: Is that why are stocks up? Inflation?
EJ: The usual reasons, plus a few new ones. There’s the pig pile effect of fund managers throwing in the towel and jumping in because they look bad sitting on the sidelines while their braver competition that got back in earlier rakes in the big returns. Every quarter that a fund manager sits out the party, the more painful it is. Then there’s the escape from bonds into stocks to balance inflation risks. But any discussion of the stock market requires historical context.


http://www.itulip.com/images2/S&P1980-2011nominalwtmk.png

Since the birth of the FIRE Economy in the early 1980s, the US stock markets have gone through three distinct periods that correlate to developments in the political economy. The first is the 1983 – 1995 disinflationary boom as interest rates fell. The debt structure of the entire economy was re-financed at ever lower interest rates for 12 years. Next came the 1995 – 2002 stock market bubble and bust that developed out of the extraordinary changes in reserves rules and regs (see What Really Happened in 1995? (http://www.itulip.com/forums/showthread.php/292-What-%28Really%29-Happened-in-1995-Aaron-Krowne)). Next came the 2002 – 2009 housing bubble and bust housing bubble and bust. Finally, we get to the period we are in today. more... $subscription... (http://www.itulip.com/forums/showthread.php/18528-Next-Bubble-or-Last-Hurrah-Part-II-Stocks-versus-everything-Eric-Janszen?p=189866#post189866)

iTulip Select (http://www.itulip.com/forums/showthread.php/1032-iTulip-Select-Subscription-Description?p=7837#poststop$session[sessionurl_q]): The Investment Thesis for the Next Cycle™
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For a concise, readable summary of iTulip concepts read Eric Janszen's 2010 book The Postcatastrophe Economy: Rebuilding America and Avoiding the Next Bubble (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1591842638?ie=UTF8&tag=wwwitulipcom-20&link_code=as3&camp=211189&creative=373489&creativeASIN=1591842638)http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=wwwitulipcom-20&l=as2&o=1&a=1591842638.

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Bill_G
02-17-11, 11:10 PM
Hello EJ,

First, I want to say that when I started reading your book, I could not put it down. I am an economist by training, and it was quite clear to me after reading your book, that much of the economic theory presented in grad school, is of limited or no relevance in today's global economy. I have read a couple of other books describing recent events in terms of market disequilibria and market failure, but your book seems to reveal many new, previously un-recognized chains of causality between macro-economic drivers.

Sadly, my main takeaway and conclusions about the likelihood of transitioning the U.S. economy from a FIRE to TECI economy are grim. I hold these two conclusions; 1) Democracies are now unable to impose austerity on the people, to effect the transition you advocate and; 2) the entrenched monied interests are too powerful to be removed via the political machinery within democracies.

Re 1), When we went to war, rather than summon the country to share the sacrifices of war, Bush institutes a massive tax cut w/ the "Maestro" providing monetary accomodation. Re: 2) Look no further than Obama and his promise for change, as you have already written about in your book.

These are truly dark times, and I believe we are in the eye of the storm. And I think back to Lord Keynes' retort when called to task on the long-run consequences of deficit spending, he quipped "In the long run, we are all dead".

The gap between the "long run" and the short run, has no closed.

Chris Coles
02-18-11, 03:49 AM
May I also add that the last graph above has an intriguing element; it does not seem to show any effect, (decline in the economy), during the period 1989 - 1992 where we here in the UK, (certainly those of us down at the grass roots level), saw the economy come to an almost complete stop. The general effects of the FIRE economy are now so large, compared to the effects at the bottom of society; that considerations of such lower level groups; has no effect upon the larger, FIRE, picture.

One slight negative; the use of the phrase "free enterprise" to describe the "I" (Health Insurance companies), of FIRE; I would contend that is the wrong phrase to describe such. That free enterprise is defined as the manager of the business owns the business and has no place, used in the manner you have here, in such a discussion.

jk
02-18-11, 07:31 AM
Hello EJ,

First, I want to say that when I started reading your book, I could not put it down. I am an economist by training, and it was quite clear to me after reading your book, that much of the economic theory presented in grad school, is of limited or no relevance in today's global economy. I have read a couple of other books describing recent events in terms of market disequilibria and market failure, but your book seems to reveal many new, previously un-recognized chains of causality between macro-economic drivers.

Sadly, my main takeaway and conclusions about the likelihood of transitioning the U.S. economy from a FIRE to TECI economy are grim. I hold these two conclusions; 1) Democracies are now unable to impose austerity on the people, to effect the transition you advocate and; 2) the entrenched monied interests are too powerful to be removed via the political machinery within democracies.

Re 1), When we went to war, rather than summon the country to share the sacrifices of war, Bush institutes a massive tax cut w/ the "Maestro" providing monetary accomodation. Re: 2) Look no further than Obama and his promise for change, as you have already written about in your book.

These are truly dark times, and I believe we are in the eye of the storm. And I think back to Lord Keynes' retort when called to task on the long-run consequences of deficit spending, he quipped "In the long run, we are all dead".

The gap between the "long run" and the short run, has no closed.

i think it will take another crisis, worse than '08, before anything MIGHT change. and then it remains to be seen whether that change would be for the better.

bill fleckenstein, who has been accurate in his assessments at least since i started reading him in the late 1990's, writes about a coming "funding crisis." by this, he means a crisis in the dollar and/or t-bond. at that time, he says, the fed may finally have its printing press taken away. until that time, the fed will continue to print, support the banks and downplay inflation.
.
.
.
edit- just came across this on a blog i follow:
...tax increases aren't on the table which, as Mr. DeLong notes requires a ballot box fix. In his words, "What is the solution to our long-run deficit problem? It is simply this: elect honorable and intelligent women and men to Congress."

On reflection he adds, " I guess our long run fiscal problem is really dire and insoluble."

Chris Coles
02-18-11, 09:15 AM
bill fleckenstein, who has been accurate in his assessments at least since i started reading him in the late 1990's, writes about a coming "funding crisis." by this, he means a crisis in the dollar and/or t-bond. at that time, he says, the fed may finally have its printing press taken away. until that time, the fed will continue to print, support the banks and downplay inflation.

And right beside this in my inbox is this:
Fed Lifts US Outlook, Stands Behind QE2

02-18-2011 | Source: emii.com (http://www.emii.com/)
The U.S. central bank upgraded its outlook for the country’s economy at the latest meeting, although the improvement was not enough to deter officials from pursuing a second round of quantitative easing, according to The Wall Street Journal.

http://www.emii.com/CampaignArticles/492391/2771387/3845/Fed-Lifts-US-Outlook-Stands-Behind-QE2.aspx?LS=EMS492391

Chris Coles
02-18-11, 09:19 AM
On reflection he adds, " I guess our long run fiscal problem is really dire and insoluble."

This is where I disagree; the answer is to find a way to re-invest back into the productive economy. And, moreover, it will be in almost everyone's interest to do that. But as with anything in business; timing will be everything.

metalman
02-18-11, 01:24 PM
May I also add that the last graph above has an intriguing element; it does not seem to show any effect, (decline in the economy), during the period 1989 - 1992 where we here in the UK, (certainly those of us down at the grass roots level), saw the economy come to an almost complete stop. The general effects of the FIRE economy are now so large, compared to the effects at the bottom of society; that considerations of such lower level groups; has no effect upon the larger, FIRE, picture.

One slight negative; the use of the phrase "free enterprise" to describe the "I" (Health Insurance companies), of FIRE; I would contend that is the wrong phrase to describe such. That free enterprise is defined as the manager of the business owns the business and has no place, used in the manner you have here, in such a discussion.

isn't that the point of the example... the health care debate framed between two absurd arguments? nothin 'free enterprise' about health care in the usa today... health insurance racket is all.

metalman
02-18-11, 01:35 PM
edit- just came across this on a blog i follow:
...tax increases aren't on the table which, as Mr. DeLong notes requires a ballot box fix. In his words, "What is the solution to our long-run deficit problem? It is simply this: elect honorable and intelligent women and men to Congress."

On reflection he adds, " I guess our long run fiscal problem is really dire and insoluble."

i'm tired of hearing this simple minded refrain. plenty of good folks in congress trying to do the right thing...

<iframe title="YouTube video player" width="480" height="390" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/ky2gylhdXRA" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

...but the system is broken. ej says if we don't fix the media reform is hopeless. truth.

jk
02-18-11, 02:53 PM
i'm tired of hearing this simple minded refrain. plenty of good folks in congress trying to do the right thing...


...but the system is broken. ej says if we don't fix the media reform is hopeless. truth.
i don't think it's "the media." our whole political "debate" is distorted, suborned by moneyed interests, and intellectually debased. the media reflects and embodies the political process [and the culture], not the other way around. honest and intelligent people may enter politics, but they won't stay long or go far unless they go with the flow of corrupting influences. consider, e.g., obama.

metalman
02-18-11, 03:00 PM
i don't think it's "the media." our whole political "debate" is distorted, suborned by moneyed interests, and intellectually debased. the media reflects and embodies the political process [and the culture], not the other way around. honest and intelligent people may enter politics, but they won't stay long or go far unless they go with the flow of corrupting influences. consider, e.g., obama.

why not have a debate about how to fix the problem.. that 'honest and intelligent people may enter politics, but they won't stay long or go far unless they go with the flow of corrupting influences'? oh, right... there's no national media outlet where that question can be debated.

jk
02-18-11, 05:19 PM
why not have a debate about how to fix the problem.. that 'honest and intelligent people may enter politics, but they won't stay long or go far unless they go with the flow of corrupting influences'? oh, right... there's no national media outlet where that question can be debated.

as things get worse, formerly taboo utterances are being heard. e.g.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bCPz2SzROFQ

definitely worth watching [even if only for the reactions of the hosts], not that what he says should surprise anyone around here, but he's saying things not usually said out loud in the msm. like, at 3:19, "both parties are financed by wealthy people." etc

as jesse wrote recently:

"The US resembles post Soviet Russia just prior to its currency collapse and the rise of the oligarchs who sought to monopolize productive assets which they bought with paper and financial manipulation. Communism died, and it ended in oligarchy. Democracy is dying, and it too will end in oligarchy, unless something is done to change the outcome."

my own conclusion is that things aren't bad enough. yet.

Raz
02-18-11, 05:59 PM
i'm tired of hearing this simple minded refrain. plenty of good folks in congress trying to do the right thing...

<IFRAME title="YouTube video player" height=390 src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/ky2gylhdXRA" frameBorder=0 width=480 allowfullscreen></IFRAME>

...but the system is broken. ej says if we don't fix the media reform is hopeless. truth.

Well, I'm not certain just what "procedure" the Congresslady is referring to, but I can guess.
She's not comfortable speaking in clear terms because she's (a) disingenuous, or (b) having some pangs of remorse for what she inflicted on her preborn child.
(And since, to my knowledge, it is IMPOSSIBLE for the baby to enter the cervix from the vagina, perhaps she misspoke.)

I truly hope there is a vendetta against Planned Parenthood. ;_TUThey are liars and mass-murderers.
And I don't want one damn penny of my tax dollars going to pay for abortion - no matter what the excuse.;_O

swgprop
02-18-11, 07:20 PM
Well, I'm not certain just what "procedure" the Congresslady is referring to, but I can guess.

Speier underwent a dilation and evacuation at 17 weeks into her pregnancy in her early 40s, while she was serving in the California Assembly in the 1990s, because medical difficulties made it impossible to continue the pregnancy. The procedure used was the same type that Smith's book described. As she listened, Speier said she became more emotional and made the decision to speak out. "This was a wanted pregnancy, it was the second miscarriage I had had...What they express doesn't come close to the experience that a woman goes through when she is losing a baby or when a pregnancy is terminated. It's a painful, gut-wrenching loss."

Raz
02-18-11, 09:56 PM
Speier underwent a dilation and evacuation at 17 weeks into her pregnancy in her early 40s, while she was serving in the California Assembly in the 1990s, because medical difficulties made it impossible to continue the pregnancy. The procedure used was the same type that Smith's book described. As she listened, Speier said she became more emotional and made the decision to speak out. "This was a wanted pregnancy, it was the second miscarriage I had had...What they express doesn't come close to the experience that a woman goes through when she is losing a baby or when a pregnancy is terminated. It's a painful, gut-wrenching loss."

Thank you for the clarification, swgprop.

That being said, I'll be willing to bet $1,000 that she didn't have this procedure at a Planned Parenthood "clinic".
And her situation has NOTHING to do with Planned Parenthood. And for her to say that it does, or in any way to insinuate
that it does, is classic spin-garbage.
This crap comes from the Left as readily as the advocacy for the American Empire (which also kills children) comes from the Right, although I say that this so-called "Right" - the NeoCons - have NOTHING to do with conservatism.

Planned Parenthood is the genetic offspring of Margaret Sanger, a cold-blooded racist and advocate of eugenics.
Congress might as well ask me to approve of my tax dollars going to the Klan.

jk
02-18-11, 11:13 PM
Thank you for the clarification, swgprop.

That being said, I'll be willing to bet $1,000 that she didn't have this procedure at a Planned Parenthood "clinic".
And her situation has NOTHING to do with Planned Parenthood. And for her to say that it does, or in any way to insinuate
that it does, is classic spin-garbage.
This crap comes from the Left as readily as the advocacy for the American Empire (which also kills children) comes from the Right, although I say that this so-called "Right" - the NeoCons - have NOTHING to do with conservatism.

Planned Parenthood is the genetic offspring of Margaret Sanger, a cold-blooded racist and advocate of eugenics.
Congress might as well ask me to approve of my tax dollars going to the Klan.
guess it's ok for rich people. like a lot of things.

Bill_G
02-18-11, 11:26 PM
Agreed. Our failed political system can only respond to crises. It will take a collapse to institute real change.

Chris Coles
02-19-11, 02:23 AM
Thank you for the clarification, swgprop.

That being said, I'll be willing to bet $1,000 that she didn't have this procedure at a Planned Parenthood "clinic".
And her situation has NOTHING to do with Planned Parenthood. And for her to say that it does, or in any way to insinuate
that it does, is classic spin-garbage.
This crap comes from the Left as readily as the advocacy for the American Empire (which also kills children) comes from the Right, although I say that this so-called "Right" - the NeoCons - have NOTHING to do with conservatism.

Planned Parenthood is the genetic offspring of Margaret Sanger, a cold-blooded racist and advocate of eugenics.
Congress might as well ask me to approve of my tax dollars going to the Klan.

If we are going to bring children into the discussion; try this from last weekend here in the UK.

Children's author and campaigner Michael Morpurgo gives the 35th Dimbleby Lecture.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006ptbl

harset
02-19-11, 08:42 AM
EJ says:

"The best economics-related books out there are the books you’ve never heard of, where they get lost in the heap of Glenn Beck type books. These books live outside the extremist framework of discussion that the FIRE Economy media creates so they get no national media attention, so you have to go look for them. The debate process is itself broken."

can you suggest some good economics books which we members should read......

Chris Coles
02-19-11, 09:44 AM
EJ says:

"The best economics-related books out there are the books you’ve never heard of, where they get lost in the heap of Glenn Beck type books. These books live outside the extremist framework of discussion that the FIRE Economy media creates so they get no national media attention, so you have to go look for them. The debate process is itself broken."

can you suggest some good economics books which we members should read......

My favourite is The Downwave by Robert Beckman. That book, published in the early 1980's, got me thinking about every aspect of what was wrong with the existing financial system and which mindset eventually brought me into contact with EJ and iTulip. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Downwave-Surviving-Second-Great-Depression/dp/0903852381

And, while it can be said I blow my own trumpet, try my free PDF e-book The Road Ahead from a Grass Roots Perspective, particularly chapters 2, 4, 5, and 6 - will set the scene for a revision of the rules for a true free market, free enterprise economy. http://www.chriscoles.com/page3.html

yernamehear
02-19-11, 09:56 AM
[QUOTE=jk;189971]as things get worse, formerly taboo utterances are being heard. e.g.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bCPz2SzROFQ

definitely worth watching [even if only for the reactions of the hosts], not that what he says should surprise anyone around here, but he's saying things not usually said out loud in the msm. like, at 3:19, "both parties are financed by wealthy people." etc

============================
Sorry, this guy is an ignoramus. The hackery around the "rich run the country" is either complete ignorance or planned lies. Washington, Jefferson, et.al. were the Warren Buffets and Bill Gates of their day! This country has always been a plutocracy. Let's do a thought experiment. Do you want the rich people or the guy sleeping under the freeway running your government? Trust me, you want the rich running your country.

(Read the history of Andrew Jackson, the first populist president. He wasn't all good or all bad, as any real person. Until him, the country was perceived to be run by a small elite- otherwise known as the founding fathers. There was a lot of truth to that.)

Now, you don't want the rich bribing the government, as we have now. How do you prevent that? Elect rich people! This is exactly what turned around LA politics in the past 20 years. Louisiana finally got wealthy people into the governors mansion (Dem and Repub), and now the state is doing noticeably better.

Part of the problem has to do with the quote that iTulip had up for a long time about the depression almost being worth it to see how idiotic our smart people are. That happens every 30-50 years. We have developed such a specialized economy that the elite/rich have little real world skills, unlike 200 years ago. Do you think TurboTax Timmy or The Bernank could really run a bank? ;]] They can't even figure out how to buy and finance their own personal residences! (do a search on the subject). These guys are highly specialized technocrat/bureaucrat politicians. They'll try to ride out this storm with bureaucratic responses. I hope they get it mostly right, but their ilk certainly screwed it up in 2007-2008, didn't they.

Taxes are indeed probably too low, and spending too high. The numbers show it.

Ideologues who think the gubmint has to solve all our problems are too ridiculous to waste time on.

yernamehear
02-19-11, 10:38 AM
Trying to do the right thing? I don't think she has a very good grasp of biology, let alone plenty of other subjects.

Chris Coles
02-19-11, 11:08 AM
Ideologues who think the gubmint has to solve all our problems are too ridiculous to waste time on.

I had not gone on to watch the video until you made the above comment and I have to agree with jk. To my way of viewing what is going on, that is a very well presented argument against the idea of reducing taxation while reducing tax expenditure at the bottom of society.

c1ue
02-19-11, 12:50 PM
Washington, Jefferson, et.al. were the Warren Buffets and Bill Gates of their day!

Can you provide some proof of this statement?

Because I don't believe it is correct.

Jefferson and Washington were wealthy, but neither of them owned companies which literally touch every single American. They were more on the order of a car dealership owner.

Raz
02-19-11, 01:07 PM
If we are going to bring children into the discussion; try this from last weekend here in the UK.

Children's author and campaigner Michael Morpurgo gives the 35th Dimbleby Lecture.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006ptbl

The video won't work in my location, Chris, so I took the link and read the entire transcript of the speech given by the Prince of Wales.

Although he made some good points, perhaps he should give the problem a bit more analysis before he pontificates.


"The World Faces a Population Bomb."

Yes, but of old people. Not so long ago, we were warned that rising global population would inevitably bring world famine. As Paul Ehrlich wrote apocalyptically in his 1968 worldwide bestseller, The Population Bomb, "In the 1970s and 1980s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now. At this late date, nothing can prevent a substantial increase in the world death rate." Obviously, Ehrlich's predicted holocaust, which assumed that the 1960s global baby boom would continue until the world faced mass famine, didn't happen. Instead, the global growth rate dropped from 2 percent in the mid-1960s to roughly half that today, with many countries no longer producing enough babies to avoid falling populations. Having too many people on the planet is no longer demographers' chief worry; now, having too few is.
<!-- AddThis Button BEGIN --><!-- AddThis Button END -->
It's true that the world's population overall will increase by roughly one-third over the next 40 years, from 6.9 to 9.1 billion, according to the U.N. Population Division. But this will be a very different kind of population growth than ever before -- driven not by birth rates, which have plummeted around the world, but primarily by an increase in the number of elderly people. Indeed, the global population of children under 5 is expected to fall by 49 million as of midcentury, ...

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2010/10/11/think_again_global_aging?page=full

FRED
02-19-11, 02:12 PM
[QUOTE=jk;189971]as things get worse, formerly taboo utterances are being heard. e.g.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bCPz2SzROFQ

definitely worth watching [even if only for the reactions of the hosts], not that what he says should surprise anyone around here, but he's saying things not usually said out loud in the msm. like, at 3:19, "both parties are financed by wealthy people." etc

============================
Sorry, this guy is an ignoramus. The hackery around the "rich run the country" is either complete ignorance or planned lies. Washington, Jefferson, et.al. were the Warren Buffets and Bill Gates of their day! This country has always been a plutocracy. Let's do a thought experiment. Do you want the rich people or the guy sleeping under the freeway running your government? Trust me, you want the rich running your country.

(Read the history of Andrew Jackson, the first populist president. He wasn't all good or all bad, as any real person. Until him, the country was perceived to be run by a small elite- otherwise known as the founding fathers. There was a lot of truth to that.)

Now, you don't want the rich bribing the government, as we have now. How do you prevent that? Elect rich people! This is exactly what turned around LA politics in the past 20 years. Louisiana finally got wealthy people into the governors mansion (Dem and Repub), and now the state is doing noticeably better.

Part of the problem has to do with the quote that iTulip had up for a long time about the depression almost being worth it to see how idiotic our smart people are. That happens every 30-50 years. We have developed such a specialized economy that the elite/rich have little real world skills, unlike 200 years ago. Do you think TurboTax Timmy or The Bernank could really run a bank? ;]] They can't even figure out how to buy and finance their own personal residences! (do a search on the subject). These guys are highly specialized technocrat/bureaucrat politicians. They'll try to ride out this storm with bureaucratic responses. I hope they get it mostly right, but their ilk certainly screwed it up in 2007-2008, didn't they.

Taxes are indeed probably too low, and spending too high. The numbers show it.

Ideologues who think the gubmint has to solve all our problems are too ridiculous to waste time on.

EJ writes in:

The way I put it is that the difference between a 1st and a 3rd world country is that in a 1st world country you have to be accomplished in business before you have sufficient money and skills to run for office and win whereas in a 3rd world country you run for office in order to get rich. My observation is that in the US over the past 30 years, the latter case is becoming more frequently true than the former.

In a world run by me, to qualify to run for office you have to have run a company and made payroll for at least three years. The reason is that until you have, you don't understand how to abstract yourself as you must as a corporate leader, to be responsible for others before yourself, and to put the well-being of the company before your own interests, to put the investors, employees, and customers first, and that this is how you personally succeed.

There are other ways to learn this lesson, however, as in the peculiar case of Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

His reputation as a socialist caused a major correction in the Brazilian Real and bond market after he was elected. But once in office he proved to be anything but a hard line socialist, and Brazil's economy boomed.


http://www.itulip.com/images2/lulasbrazilbonds2001-2011wtmk.png


"Not long after the start of his second term (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luiz_In%C3%A1cio_Lula_da_Silva), Lula, alongside his cabinet, announced the new Growth Acceleration Program (the Programa de Aceleração de Crescimento, or PAC, in Portuguese), an investment program to solve many of the problems that prevent the Brazilian economy from expanding more rapidly. The measures include investment in the creation and repair of roads and railways, simplification and reduction of taxation, and modernization on the country's energy production to avoid further shortages. The money promised to be spent in this Program is considered to be around R$ 500 billion (more than 250 billion dollars) over four years. Part of the measures still depend on approval by Congress. Prior to taking office, Lula had been a critic of privatization policies. In his government, however, his administration has created public-private partnership concessions for seven federal roadways."

What happened to Lula? He learned. He improved over time.

Can that happen here in the US? You never know. I would not discount the possibility.

jk
02-19-11, 02:17 PM
In a world run by me, to qualify to run for office you have to have run a company and made payroll for at least three years. The reason is that until you have, you don't understand how to abstract yourself as you must as a corporate leader, to be responsible for others before yourself, and to put the well-being of the company before your own interests, to put the investors, employees, and customers first, and that this is how you personally succeed.
i think you might want to refine your criteria. imo running a company is neither necessary nor sufficient for such learning. ready to support a presidential bid by angelo mozilo?

WDCRob
02-19-11, 02:24 PM
Beat me to it JK, but then I saw EJ mention that business isn't the only place to learn the lessons below...slightly edited...



abstract yourself
be responsible for others before yourself
put the well-being of the [organization] before your own interests
put [stakeholders] first

EJ
02-19-11, 02:41 PM
i think you might want to refine your criteria. imo running a company is neither necessary nor sufficient for such learning. ready to support a presidential bid by angelo mozilo?

I didn't say that everyone who has run a business is qualified for elected office, or even that anyone who hasn't run a business isn't qualified. It's the experience of having run an organization that is critical. That's what happened to Lula. He learned the lesson of accountability, and that reshaped his thinking. If you have had the experience of being accountable for the well being of an organization, without necessarily having direct control over it, as in a military chain of command, you are have already received a major part of the training that you need to succeed in elected office.

Let me put it another way, who would you rather have perform brain surgery on you, a surgeon who has performed 1000 surgeries and never lost a patient, or a guy who has read a lot of books about brain surgery?

we_are_toast
02-19-11, 02:55 PM
i think you might want to refine your criteria. imo running a company is neither necessary nor sufficient for such learning. ready to support a presidential bid by angelo mozilo?

Thanks jk, I was biting my tongue pretty hard.

I don't think there is any specific employment, be it a CEO or a brain surgeon, that can make you a good elected official. If you empathize with all of your constituents, and you have an excellent ability to reason well, you've got as good a chance to do well whether you're a CEO or a plumber.

gnk
02-19-11, 03:22 PM
Now, you don't want the rich bribing the government, as we have now. How do you prevent that? Elect rich people! This is exactly what turned around LA politics in the past 20 years. Louisiana finally got wealthy people into the governors mansion (Dem and Repub), and now the state is doing noticeably better.
.

Here's another exception:

I am from New Jersey. Before and during the onset of the crisis, we had Jon Corzine, Goldman Alum that spent tens of millions of his own money to run for governor of NJ. A lot of good that did NJ... He was like Dick Cheney - deficits don't matter.

Now we have a cost-cutting Republican, that is well liked. His background? A Lawyer, Lobbyist, and former US Attorney.

If you think about it, Corzine's credentials seem Republican, and Governor Christie's credentials seem more Democrat. And the two are very different. But to be honest, Christie stepped in at a time when he had no choice but to take on the Unions and cut the budget.

Keep an eye on Christie - I think he's got a future.

But what America needs right now is a "traitor to his class," a Roosevelt, Teddy, I'd prefer. But he was an accident of history. With today's media budget requirement, the game is pre-rigged by the biggest campaign contributors and soft money. And so, our choices for President are already well vetted by the elites. We really don't have a choice. The guy that becomes President answers to the moneyed interests first and foremost. If there's time and money left over, "pet projects" may follow.

Chris Coles
02-19-11, 05:38 PM
The people in "office" that constantly worry me are those that say nothing in public, never step forward to argue their case; but are quick as a flash to vote as a group.... to do whatever the executive want of them.

chr5648
02-19-11, 06:20 PM
Here's another exception:

I am from New Jersey. Before and during the onset of the crisis, we had Jon Corzine, Goldman Alum that spent tens of millions of his own money to run for governor of NJ. A lot of good that did NJ... He was like Dick Cheney - deficits don't matter.

Now we have a cost-cutting Republican, that is well liked. His background? A Lawyer, Lobbyist, and former US Attorney.

If you think about it, Corzine's credentials seem Republican, and Governor Christie's credentials seem more Democrat. And the two are very different. But to be honest, Christie stepped in at a time when he had no choice but to take on the Unions and cut the budget.

Keep an eye on Christie - I think he's got a future.

But what America needs right now is a "traitor to his class," a Roosevelt, Teddy, I'd prefer. But he was an accident of history. With today's media budget requirement, the game is pre-rigged by the biggest campaign contributors and soft money. And so, our choices for President are already well vetted by the elites. We really don't have a choice. The guy that becomes President answers to the moneyed interests first and foremost. If there's time and money left over, "pet projects" may follow.

As a fellow new jerseyan, christie's spending cuts and brute realization of the reality of nj's fiscal state is a welcomed change. The problem is that even with his spending cuts, the state will still be bankrupt, the reforms that need to be done are too radical even for a so called revolutionary like christie.

yernamehear
02-19-11, 09:43 PM
[QUOTE=yernamehear;190029]

EJ writes in:
The way I put it is that the difference between a 1st and a 3rd world country is that in a 1st world country you have to be accomplished in business before you have sufficient money and skills to run for office and win whereas in a 3rd world country you run for office in order to get rich. My observation is that in the US over the past 30 years, the latter case is becoming more frequently true than the former.

In a world run by me, to qualify to run for office you have to have run a company and made payroll for at least three years. The reason is that until you have, you don't understand how to abstract yourself as you must as a corporate leader, to be responsible for others before yourself, and to put the well-being of the company before your own interests, to put the investors, employees, and customers first, and that this is how you personally succeed.


What's bothering me is that the lack of ethics and competence is so deep that you can have the spectacle of an oil company having its CEO knighted for achievement, only to have the chief of the company's operations in a certain area take the 5th (due to lack of job performance in a regulated duty), the CEO resigns soon afterward in disgrace because of other issues, and have the next CEO preside over an environmental catastrophe. The latter CEO was not immediately fired and/or resigned.

Another anecdote is the CEO who lost >90% of his stock's value due to botched M&A activity, also sits on the board of a money center bank that had to be bailed. This individual still has both positions (note: CEO, President and chairman of a mega-cap company).

An executive who was in on the founding of a company might understand the issues you talk about, e.g. accountability to shareholders, employees, other stakeholders. A "corporate hack" CEO who rose up through a huge old company? Yet another technocrat who may not even know fundamentally how or why his corporation makes money (seriously).

I don't think there is much competent leadership in any particular area in the 1st world at the moment. ;_FP

harset
02-20-11, 02:05 AM
Thanks chris.....i will read both books....

Chris Coles
02-20-11, 04:10 AM
The video won't work in my location, Chris, so I took the link and read the entire transcript of the speech given by the Prince of Wales.

Raz, try this one, http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00ymf57/The_Richard_Dimbleby_Lecture_15_02_2011/ but there are only three days left to see it.

Taking your point about another matter entirely, population growth; surely that also means the planet is going to see a severe collapse in numbers after we "oldies" all die out?

raja
02-20-11, 10:44 AM
But what America needs right now is a "traitor to his class," a Roosevelt, Teddy, I'd prefer. But he was an accident of history. With today's media budget requirement, the game is pre-rigged by the biggest campaign contributors and soft money. And so, our choices for President are already well vetted by the elites. We really don't have a choice. The guy that becomes President answers to the moneyed interests first and foremost. If there's time and money left over, "pet projects" may follow.
How about Eliot Spitzer?
He's brave, got an amazing track record of challenging authority, and is a "traitor to his class".
I think the lessons he learned from the whore scandal chastened some of his impetuosity, which needed chastening.

I recommend the documentary Client 9.
You'll get to know him better . . . .

c1ue
02-20-11, 11:39 AM
But what America needs right now is a "traitor to his class," a Roosevelt, Teddy, I'd prefer. But he was an accident of history. With today's media budget requirement, the game is pre-rigged by the biggest campaign contributors and soft money. And so, our choices for President are already well vetted by the elites. We really don't have a choice. The guy that becomes President answers to the moneyed interests first and foremost. If there's time and money left over, "pet projects" may follow.

Actually, Teddy was simply a very oppositional kind of guy with strong opinions.

You should note that Teddy rose to the Presidency via a gigantic raft of insurance company money, but he believed this to be wrong. Thus after attaining office, he changed the laws to prevent this from recurring.

Obama, on the other hand, has zero history of being opinionated and/or oppositional. He also rose to office on a gigantic raft of money.

Unfortunately there has been zero indication of any TR type behavior.

And I'm not holding my breath.

c1ue
02-20-11, 11:44 AM
http://www.itulip.com/forums/images/misc/quote_icon.png Originally Posted by jk http://www.itulip.com/forums/images/buttons/viewpost-right.png (http://www.itulip.com/forums/showthread.php?p=190054#post190054)
i think you might want to refine your criteria. imo running a company is neither necessary nor sufficient for such learning. ready to support a presidential bid by angelo mozilo?

I didn't say that everyone who has run a business is qualified for elected office, or even that anyone who hasn't run a business isn't qualified. It's the experience of having run an organization that is critical. That's what happened to Lula. He learned the lesson of accountability, and that reshaped his thinking. If you have had the experience of being accountable for the well being of an organization, without necessarily having direct control over it, as in a military chain of command, you are have already received a major part of the training that you need to succeed in elected office.

I understand the basis behind your view, but I have to point out:

Besides the Mozilo factor, Obama actually has been thoroughly accountable to the massive donations he's received.

The 'it' factor cannot be pure 'accountability' - it has to be the idea of fiduciary responsibility to the American people.

Fiduciary responsibility:


It is defined as a relationship imposed by law where someone has voluntarily agreed to act in the capacity of a "caretaker" of another's rights, assets and/or well being. The fiduciary owes an obligation to carry out the responsibilities with the utmost degree of "good faith, honesty, integrity, loyalty and undivided service of the beneficiaries interest." The good faith has been interpreted to impose an obligation to act reasonably in order to avoid negligent handling of the beneficiary's interests as well the duty not to favor ANYONE ELSE'S INTEREST (INCLUDING THE TRUSTEES OWN INTEREST) over that of the beneficiary. Further, if the agent should find him/herself in a position of conflicting interests, the agent must disclose the dual agency (acting for two parties at the same time) or risk being accused of constructive fraud in regards to both or either principals.

flintlock
02-20-11, 04:37 PM
Experience, be it running a business, a military unit, or even a law practice is preferable to someone with non of the above. (That means all you internet blogger/know-it-alls don't bother.:( )Sorry, but just the ability to think and reason is not, in my opinion, a decent qualification for high office. And I am 100% in agreement with EJ that public office is more and more becoming a means to enrich oneself in the US, much like 3rd world nations. The US government is for sale. Fix that and you go a long way towards fixing the problem. Most "rich" people are NOT the kind of sociopaths like we have in office today. Many are office holders are sociopaths who just happen to be rich. Excluding the rich does nothing but dilute the talent pool. Sometimes I wonder if any of the anti-rich people out there actually know any?:o

And don't confuse leadership skill with brains. The best leaders are usually not the ones with the highest test scores. They are the ones who can organize and assemble a team that is smart, and then be willing to listen to them.

metalman
02-20-11, 04:51 PM
Experience, be it running a business, a military unit, or even a law practice is preferable to someone with non of the above. (That means all you internet blogger/know-it-alls don't bother.:( )Sorry, but just the ability to think and reason is not, in my opinion, a decent qualification for high office. And I am 100% in agreement with EJ that public office is more and more becoming a means to enrich oneself in the US, much like 3rd world nations. US government is for sale. Fix that and you go a long way towards fixing the problem. Most "rich" people are NOT the kind of sociopaths like we have in office today. So excluding them does nothing but dilute the talent pool. Do any of you anti-rich people out there actually know any?:o

same as he says in his book... waxing ayn randish... a safe, sound & prosperous usa sits on a foundation of entrepreneurs. gov't by ex-entrepreneurs makes sense to me. china's run by engineers... a close second. the usa's run by friggin lawyers. the worst of all...

we_are_toast
02-20-11, 06:56 PM
Hmmm, the last 2 business presidents:

http://mbascene.files.wordpress.com/2010/09/george-bush-harvard-mba.jpg


http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51ZVR9BQXHL._SL500_AA300_.jpg

Sorry, I'm going with the empathetic, excellent reasoning plumber!
:(

metalman
02-20-11, 08:17 PM
Hmmm, the last 2 business presidents:

http://mbascene.files.wordpress.com/2010/09/george-bush-harvard-mba.jpg


http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51ZVR9BQXHL._SL500_AA300_.jpg

Sorry, I'm going with the empathetic, excellent reasoning plumber!
:(



bush sr. ran an oil corp but his boy couldn't run a lemonade stand. bush sr. was a way better pres than bush jr.

i like my plumber... but he'd last 37 seconds as president like all the other armchair quarterbacks out there.

http://soundbiteblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/06/armchair-quarterback.jpg

Slimprofits
02-21-11, 12:05 AM
If you think most Americans don't need a crash course on critical thinking and how to specifically apply it to media reports, please think again.

Fox News isn't going to be in any hot water from their viewers over this act of deception and propaganda:

<iframe title="YouTube video player" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/lwo0Iyrh1Zk" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="390" width="480"></iframe>

metalman
02-21-11, 12:20 AM
why isn't bernays taught in school... when he must be one of the most important men of the past century...


"Life" magazine satirically expresses this idea in the reply which it represents an American as giving to the Britisher who praises this country for having no upper and lower classes or castes:

"Yeah, all we have is the Four Hundred, the White-Collar Men, Bootleggers, Wall Street Barons, Criminals, the D.A.R., the K.K.K., the Colonial Dames, the Masons, Kiwanis and Rotarians, the K. of C, the Elks, the Censors, the Cognoscenti, the Morons, Heroes like Lindy, the W.C.T.U., Politicians, Menckenites, the Booboisie, Immigrants, Broadcasters, and—the Rich and Poor."

Yet it must be remembered that these thousands of groups interlace. John Jones, besides being a Rotarian, is member of a church, of a fraternal order, of a political party, of a charitable organization, of a professional association, of a local chamber of commerce, of a league for or against prohibition or of a society for or against lowering the tariff, and of a golf club. The opinions which he receives as a Rotarian, he will tend to disseminate in the other groups in which he may have influence.

This invisible, intertwining structure of groupings and associations is the mechanism by which democracy has organized its group mind and simplified its mass thinking. To deplore the existence of such a mechanism is to ask for a society such as never was and never will be. To admit that it exists, but expect that it shall not be used, is unreasonable.

Emil Ludwig represents Napoleon as "ever on the watch for indications of public opinion; always listening to the voice of the people, a voice which defies calculation. 'Do you know,' he said in those days, 'what amazes me more than all else? The impotence of force to organize anything.'"

It is the purpose of this book to explain the structure of the mechanism which controls the public mind, and to tell how it is manipulated by the special pleader who seeks to create public acceptance for a particular idea or commodity. It will attempt at the same time to find the due place in the modern democratic scheme for this new propaganda and to suggest its gradually evolving code of ethics and practice.

eg... this guy...

http://salsa.wiredforchange.com/o/5180/images/george-w-bush-karl-rove.jpg

Chris Coles
02-21-11, 04:47 AM
If you think most Americans don't need a crash course on critical thinking and how to specifically apply it to media reports, please think again.

Fox News isn't going to be in any hot water from their viewers over this act of deception and propaganda:

<iframe title="YouTube video player" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/lwo0Iyrh1Zk" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="390" width="480"></iframe>

There is no doubt that I am going to upset a lot of Americans here; but my reaction to the Fox News report is that it represents the most serious example of flagrant Treason, I have ever seen, or heard described.

The United States is supposed to be a free nation led by people that recognise the duties imposed by the ideals set into stone by their constitution; but what we see is a desperate group of unworthy criminals prepared to do anything they can to undermine the purpose of that freedom.

Here in the UK, I would expect that the smiling individual that headed up the report AND the fellow followers in the background .... running right to the top of the tree of responsibility; would have been summarily shown the door, never to find such employment anywhere again.

Considering that there are millions of Arabs putting their lives on the line for the same freedoms denied to them under dictatorships liberally propped up by CIA money for many decades; perhaps this is only to be expected.

I call that broadcast Treason.

yernamehear
02-21-11, 09:38 AM
bush sr. ran an oil corp but his boy couldn't run a lemonade stand. bush sr. was a way better pres than bush jr.

i like my plumber... but he'd last 37 seconds as president like all the other armchair quarterbacks out there.



Remember that the POTUS is just a person, even though we want to believe they are all above average. In my lifetime I think there have only been mediocre to poor except maybe Eisenhower and Reagan. BushI vs. BushII? Not much to differentiate-country club repubs.

Most history is an "accident"= right place/right time. Reagan comes to mind. He was a pretty mediocre governor, but a very good president (far from perfect). FDR= excellent prosecution of the war, pretty mediocre domestically (active, but caused as much damage as benefit).

As I said, the pols are just the tip of the iceberg. The businessmen, who used to help keep the pols in line, have gone brain dead too. I think that has more to do with our economic problems that some dopey pol/consultant.;_Y

vinoveri
02-21-11, 10:22 AM
There is no doubt that I am going to upset a lot of Americans here; but my reaction to the Fox News report is that it represents the most serious example of flagrant Treason, I have ever seen, or heard described.

The United States is supposed to be a free nation led by people that recognise the duties imposed by the ideals set into stone by their constitution; but what we see is a desperate group of unworthy criminals prepared to do anything they can to undermine the purpose of that freedom.

Here in the UK, I would expect that the smiling individual that headed up the report AND the fellow followers in the background .... running right to the top of the tree of responsibility; would have been summarily shown the door, never to find such employment anywhere again.

Considering that there are millions of Arabs putting their lives on the line for the same freedoms denied to them under dictatorships liberally propped up by CIA money for many decades; perhaps this is only to be expected.

I call that broadcast Treason.

George Orwell, Aldous Huxley, Thomas More .... the most noted authors of dystopian fiction .... and not coincidently all British!

Sometimes I fear we americans like our gilded cages a bit too much.

Mn_Mark
02-21-11, 10:56 AM
CI: As they did in the case of the health care debate?
EJ: Yes, as they did in the case of the so-called health care so-called “debate.” That debate was framed by health insurance companies. The key principle is this: whoever frames the debate wins the debate. The objective for a group of interests is to narrow the debate to two positions, the average of which is a positive outcome for the interested parties. The health care “debate” was framed between death panels versus free enterprise. The health care plan we got as a result was a compromise between two absurd extremes. Imagine if the debate was instead about which approach achieves the lowest economic rents and management overhead, helps the most citizens, best promotes sickness prevention, encourages medical technology innovation, and motivates bright young people to enter the medical industry? Instead, in the end the health insurers gave up the immoral privilege of denying coverage to those who most need it, a privilege they should never of had in the first place, in exchange for 40 million new customers at taxpayer expense. Good deal for the health insurers, bad deal for the American people. And it will happen again and again and again as long as the system persists. My friends in Europe and Asia watch slack jawed at the way public policy issues are debated in the US. But most Americans have no idea how broken our media is, yet wonder why nothing gets fixed.


I'm confused....is EJ suggesting that health insurers should always have been required to sell an insurance policy to someone for an illness or condition they already have? Doesn't that defeat the purpose of "insurance"?

I'm sure you've heard the analogy of requiring a company that sells homeowner insurance to sell a policy to someone whose house is already on fire.

How in the world is it "immoral" for a company in the business of insuring against the possibility of a health problem developing to decline to sell a policy to someone who already has the health problem? That's not just MORAL, that's essential to survival as a business.

I don't get it...I didn't expect this kind of "social justice" nonsense out of E.J. I think I must have misunderstood his point somehow....otherwise I have to say this makes me question his judgment.

Chris Coles
02-21-11, 11:40 AM
George Orwell, Aldous Huxley, Thomas More .... the most noted authors of dystopian fiction .... and not coincidently all British!

Sometimes I fear we americans like our gilded cages a bit too much.

Blimey! Dystopian..... And, surely, your gilded cage has got very tarnished lately; has all the Gold turned out to be "Fools Gold"?

c1ue
02-21-11, 12:32 PM
I'm confused....is EJ suggesting that health insurers should always have been required to sell an insurance policy to someone for an illness or condition they already have? Doesn't that defeat the purpose of "insurance"?

I'm sure you've heard the analogy of requiring a company that sells homeowner insurance to sell a policy to someone whose house is already on fire.

How in the world is it "immoral" for a company in the business of insuring against the possibility of a health problem developing to decline to sell a policy to someone who already has the health problem? That's not just MORAL, that's essential to survival as a business.

I don't get it...I didn't expect this kind of "social justice" nonsense out of E.J. I think I must have misunderstood his point somehow....otherwise I have to say this makes me question his judgment.

Maybe that's because you're overly enamored with your own libertarian mindset.

The reality is that no health care insurance company should be allowed to deny coverage.

The entire business of insurance is intended for arbitrage. Those who actually use health care less still pay their equalized share according to actuarial averages.

To increase profit by excluding those who experience the unfortunate low probability events - why even bother with insurance at all then? This is worse than pay as you go.

With Pay-as-you-go, at least the damned health insurance company overhead is removed. Or does your libertarian brain not understand the fiscal impact of 500,000+ health care insurance company employees? This number doesn't include Medicare or other government related payment system jobs.

jk
02-21-11, 12:52 PM
about 25% of all healthcare dollars are spent on ins co overheads, and most of that is spent figuring out ways NOT to pay for care: to deny coverage to prospective participants with a history of illness, to retract coverage already paid for by finding a technical problem in the original application so as to avoid responsibility for care already delivered, to refuse payment for medically indicated treatment by declaring it experimental, to refuse payment for prescribed medications because there is something else, cheaper, they'd rather you use [sometimes reasonably] or by saying that the dose is beyond what they want to cover [i've had insurers say they will only pay for 1 of each pill, even if the recommended doses are higher]. what they spend on actual care is called the medical LOSS ratio, and if they can keep that low enough, the c-level execs get big bonuses.

DSpencer
02-21-11, 12:58 PM
I'm confused....is EJ suggesting that health insurers should always have been required to sell an insurance policy to someone for an illness or condition they already have? Doesn't that defeat the purpose of "insurance"?

I'm sure you've heard the analogy of requiring a company that sells homeowner insurance to sell a policy to someone whose house is already on fire.

How in the world is it "immoral" for a company in the business of insuring against the possibility of a health problem developing to decline to sell a policy to someone who already has the health problem? That's not just MORAL, that's essential to survival as a business.

I don't get it...I didn't expect this kind of "social justice" nonsense out of E.J. I think I must have misunderstood his point somehow....otherwise I have to say this makes me question his judgment.

Not saying this is EJ' view, but some people reach this conclusion by starting with the premise that healthcare is a "right". If you start by saying "anyone who is born has a claim to the services and money of everyone else in order to extend or enhance their life beyond what nature would allow" it's not a stretch to say that companies should be forced to "insure" against known risks even if it means going out of business. Absurd premises yield absurd conclusions.

Hopefully something else was meant. Either way the end point is still true. The goal of the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act" had very little to do with either protecting patients or making care more affordable.

DSpencer
02-21-11, 01:48 PM
Maybe that's because you're overly enamored with your own libertarian mindset.

Just out of curiosity, how would you describe your own political views? You seem very intent on bashing libertarians.


The reality is that no health care insurance company should be allowed to deny coverage.


Is this "reality" based on anything other than your authoritative assertion?

Does this reality apply to all insurance companies or simply health care?


about 25% of all healthcare dollars are spent on ins co overheads, and most of that is spent figuring out ways NOT to pay for care: to deny coverage to prospective participants with a history of illness, to retract coverage already paid for by finding a technical problem in the original application so as to avoid responsibility for care already delivered, to refuse payment for medically indicated treatment by declaring it experimental, to refuse payment for prescribed medications because there is something else, cheaper, they'd rather you use [sometimes reasonably] or by saying that the dose is beyond what they want to cover [i've had insurers say they will only pay for 1 of each pill, even if the recommended doses are higher]. what they spend on actual care is called the medical LOSS ratio, and if they can keep that low enough, the c-level execs get big bonuses.

Yes, they are crooks, no doubt about it. They have rigged legislative/judicial system to protect themselves, for example McCarran–Ferguson Act (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McCarran%E2%80%93Ferguson_Act). Most of what you mention are deceptive or fraudulent practices. I spend a good deal of my time dealing with these issues. I also would benefit from more sick people having insurance. Nonetheless, I still don't understand why not providing insurance to people who you know in advance will cost more than they will pay in premiums is somehow illegal or immoral.

EJ
02-21-11, 01:55 PM
I'm confused....is EJ suggesting that health insurers should always have been required to sell an insurance policy to someone for an illness or condition they already have? Doesn't that defeat the purpose of "insurance"?

I'm sure you've heard the analogy of requiring a company that sells homeowner insurance to sell a policy to someone whose house is already on fire.

How in the world is it "immoral" for a company in the business of insuring against the possibility of a health problem developing to decline to sell a policy to someone who already has the health problem? That's not just MORAL, that's essential to survival as a business.

I don't get it...I didn't expect this kind of "social justice" nonsense out of E.J. I think I must have misunderstood his point somehow....otherwise I have to say this makes me question his judgment.

I understand the confusion that my assertion may produce in the minds of some readers.

First let me say that I came to this conclusion after interviewing a half dozen former health insurance industry claim managers. They told me that not paying customers for the insurance product they purchased was the whole point of their role as administrators, and a major source of profits for health insurance companies. They were selected for the job for their unique quality of insensitivity to the suffering that this practice caused the customers they worked with, who were often very ill.

Second, I'll note that most Americans don't know this about their health insurance industry for the same reason most did not know from the early 1920s until the 1980s that cigarette smoking will kill you. Health insurance as a product has been sold by health insurance companies much as consumer and mortgage debt was sold the banking industry since the late 1970s, and exactly as cigarette smoking was sold by the tobacco industry since the 1920 until the federal government finally started to crack down in the 1970s.

How to successfully sell a dangerous product that kills millions of people.

1. Employ trusted public icons to sell the message.


http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_mfVDtgnmV-M/TM9QNE5AoQI/AAAAAAAAABA/o4KqBsNtut4/s1600/ronaldreagan.jpg


And respected authorities to sell the message.


http://img2.timeinc.net/health/images/slides/moredoxsmokeluckies-notext-400x400.jpg


http://www.itulip.com/images2/cigarettessafe2.jpg


And famous movie actors in cross-publicity programs, exchanging free cigarette product placements for free movie advertising (http://www.asrn.org/journal-nursing-today/454-tobacco-movie-industry-financial-ties-traced-to-hollywoods.html).


http://www.itulip.com/images2/cigarettesmovies2.jpg

http://www.itulip.com/images2/cigarettesmovies3.jpg

http://www.itulip.com/images2/cigarettemoviecontracts.png


2. Use false messaging, such as by associating smoking with health.


http://img.izismile.com/img/img2/20091125/bonus/7/cigarette_ads_17.jpg


Such as claiming scientific evidence that smoking is safe.


http://www.itulip.com/images2/cigarettessafe1.jpg

http://www.itulip.com/images2/cigarettessafe7.png

Such as planting false information about the safety of smoking in the press.


http://www.itulip.com/images2/cigarettessafe4.jpg


3. Profit.


http://www.itulip.com/images2/cigarettescancer.jpg

http://www.itulip.com/images2/cigaretteskill1.jpg


It's tough to execute a libertarian ideal of a society founded on individual responsibility when we have a mass media system of product sales and marketing that can convince millions of American adults that smoking is cool and sophisticated and safe, or that racking up $100,000 on your credit cards and taking out a mortgage that consumes 66% of your income makes you a responsible, successful, and accomplished person, or that voting to take rent seekers out of the health care loop is an affront to the American free enterprise system -- and 99% of the population doesn't even know the system exists.

I've long been fascinated by how consumer rights protection generally, whether tobacco or credit products, has become framed as a conservative versus liberal issue, as if some group doesn't want the consumer debt issue discussed for what it is, the successful sales and marketing of credit products by credit product manufactures.

There are two challenges facing anyone who attempts to educate the public on this topic: one, to convince the reader that 90% of human behavior is driven by unconscious impulses not by free will; and two, that our unconscious has been consciously shaped by others, that many of our own most treasured beliefs were constructed by forces beyond our own will, including the belief in free will itself.

This book that I have in mind is thus a very difficult project from the start. It begins by asking readers to set aside, to suspend, the core belief that their beliefs are their own.

The object of the book will be to allow anyone to deconstruct the sources of their own beliefs so that they can they reconstruct them but consciously, so that they are truly their own, and they are in the end truly free.

Finally, readers can be forgiven for wondering what any of this has to do with economics, markets, and investing. I can make the case that if we understand how beliefs were shaped in the collective mind of the American people in the past, we can determine the beliefs that are being shaped in our minds now, by whom, and why, and use that information for forecasting purposes. Consider the idea of anthropogenic global warming or AGW. There is no conclusive science to back the theory, but many of us believe in it passionately. How did that come about? Who benefits? If we can answer that question we know everything we need to know about how to invest in energy in the future, because AGW isn't about pollution, the output of energy consumption, it's an indirect tool for managing the input, the carbon-based fuels themselves, at a time when a direct approach may produce the crisis that the AGW approach is attempting to diffuse: Peak Cheap Oil.

we_are_toast
02-21-11, 03:25 PM
Consider the idea of anthropogenic global warming or AGW. There is no conclusive science to back the theory, but many of us believe in it passionately. How did that come about? Who benefits? If we can answer that question we know everything we need to know about how to invest in energy in the future, because AGW isn't about pollution, the output of energy consumption, it's an indirect tool for managing the input, the carbon-based fuels themselves, at a time when a direct approach may produce the crisis that the AGW approach is attempting to diffuse: Peak Cheap Oil.

How very, very sad to see you make this incorrect statement.

Chris Coles
02-21-11, 03:47 PM
How very, very sad to see you make this incorrect statement.

You make EJ's point for him; his brief tells us that all of our opinions are manipulated to one degree or another by outside influences beyond our control. So? So EJ suffers like everyone else.

we_are_toast
02-21-11, 03:52 PM
You make EJ's point for him; his brief tells us that all of our opinions are manipulated to one degree or another by outside influences beyond our control. So? So EJ suffers like everyone else.

Well put!

But who then is qualified to write the book EJ proposes to write?

vinoveri
02-21-11, 03:55 PM
.

I've long been fascinated by how consumer rights protection generally, whether tobacco or credit products, has become framed as a conservative versus liberal issue, as if some group doesn't want the consumer debt issue discussed for what it is, the successful sales and marketing of credit products by credit product manufactures.

To overcome this, there are two challenges facing anyone who attempts to educate the public on this topic: one, that 90% of human behavior is driven by unconscious impulses not by free will; and two, that our unconscious has been consciously shaped by others, that many of our own most treasured beliefs were constructed by forces beyond our own will, including the belief in free will itself.

This book that I have in mind is thus a very difficult project from the start. It begins by asking readers to set aside, to suspend, the core belief that their beliefs are their own.

The object of the book will be to allow anyone to deconstruct the sources of their own beliefs so that they can they reconstruct them but consciously, so that they are truly their own, and they are in the end truly free.

Finally, readers can be forgiven for wondering what any of this has to do with economics, markets, and investing. I can make the case that if we understand how beliefs were shaped in the collective mind of the American people in the past, we can determine the beliefs that are being shaped in our minds now, by whom, and why, and use that information for forecasting purposes. Consider the idea of anthropogenic global warming or AGW. There is no conclusive science to back the theory, but many of us believe in it passionately. How did that come about? Who benefits? If we can answer that question we know everything we need to know about how to invest in energy in the future, because AGW isn't about pollution, the output of energy consumption, it's an indirect tool for managing the input, the carbon-based fuels themselves, at a time when a direct approach may produce the crisis that the AGW approach is attempting to diffuse: Peak Cheap Oil.

Granted that propaganda and marketing are deliberately used, from an early age on, to form and reinforce belief systems. Recognizing this with the end of mitigating/combatting it is important, I agree. Critical and scientific thinking and analysis are not taught nor held in the highest esteem in our culture as you know. Sentiment and sound bites carry the day.

I believe though what you are really pointing to can be handled by always asking the question "Cui Bono?" (in whatever language suits), and keep asking that question until you arrive at the one or multitude of causes. People act in their self interest, and by golly one man's interest may be to another man's detriment, unfortunate, but true nonetheless.

Your further points however, with respect, smell of modern doubt and it consequence: relativism.

Things do have causes, always (even if they are not readily identifiable completely). The Principle of Causality. I choose to belief that axiomatically, call it a priori knowledge, common sense, a sine qua non, for rational inquiry, what have you. I don't need to "deconstruct" this belief as I remember how I constructed it.

Skepticism is different than doubt. Skepticism in good faith can lead to truth. Doubt, i.e., of Truth, leads to belief in the loudest bullhorn (as you describe) and to the political and ecnomic tyranny and individual despair.

Question? Absolutely, but don't Doubt (that there is Truth that can be apprehended by reason).

Perhaps "There's no Market for Truth" would be an appropriate title.


Great Pics by the way!

Chris Coles
02-21-11, 03:57 PM
Well put!

But who then is qualified to write the book EJ proposes to write?

EJ, for the very simple reason that he can see beyond his own shortcomings; and, moreover, has clearly demonstrated that skill to us for some years now. I will trust someone that knows his shortcomings and can have the strength to be able to allude to them. None of us is perfect; so who would trust the perfect man?

EJ
02-21-11, 04:24 PM
How very, very sad to see you make this incorrect statement.

The most interesting thing I learned in my several years of research into the AWG issue is that the strongest adherents to AGW theory hold liberal views generally while opposition to the theory is largely conservative, as if the question was political rather than scientific.

My position is that there is insufficient scientific evidence to prove or disprove AGW. Mind you, as a recipient of a BS in Resource Economics I have since college believed intuitively that dumping tons of carbon emissions into our tiny atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels cannot possibly be a good thing for the environment, and intuitively I still believe that it is bad. But intuition is not science. Everywhere I looked as I studied the AWG issue I found the telltale signs of a Bullhorn sales and marketing operation, from the co-opting of the scientific community with research funding to the selection of TV producers with AGW sympathies. One source I spoke with who is also agnostic on the question said his research shows that beliefs are even more emotionally driven than by inclination toward liberal or conservative views. Polls show that a large percentage of Americans change their view on AGW based on the weather: when it's hot they believe and when it's cold they don't.

But why? Who is using the threat of rising oceans to sell AGW in 2011 like the dream of home ownership to sell the securitized debt that financed the housing bubble in 2002? To what end? Who gains and who loses from policies to reduce carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels?

The reason I haven't made any previous statements about AGW is that I'm certain holding a rational debate on a topic as charged with religious fervor is as futile as the gold bubble versus no gold bubble debate, the inflation versus deflation debate, or any of the other nonsense debates that the US media frames that I've wasted umpteen hours on over the years that divert us from the issue.

It's time to get to the bottom of things.

Ever wonder why there isn't a "peak oil versus no peak oil" debate in the media? I believe the answer is in the AGW misdirection.

EJ
02-21-11, 04:43 PM
Granted that propaganda and marketing are deliberately used, from an early age on, to form and reinforce belief systems. Recognizing this with the end of mitigating/combating it is important, I agree. Critical and scientific thinking and analysis are not taught nor held in the highest esteem in our culture as you know. Sentiment and sound bites carry the day.

I believe though what you are really pointing to can be handled by always asking the question "Cui Bono?" (in whatever language suits), and keep asking that question until you arrive at the one or multitude of causes. People act in their self interest, and by golly one man's interest may be to another man's detriment, unfortunate, but true nonetheless.

Your further points however, with respect, smell of modern doubt and it consequence: relativism.

Things do have causes, always (even if they are not readily identifiable completely). The Principle of Causality. I choose to belief that axiomatically, call it a priori knowledge, common sense, a sine qua non, for rational inquiry, what have you. I don't need to "deconstruct" this belief as I remember how I constructed it.

Skepticism is different than doubt. Skepticism in good faith can lead to truth. Doubt, i.e., of Truth, leads to belief in the loudest bullhorn (as you describe) and to the political and economic tyranny and individual despair.

Question? Absolutely, but don't Doubt (that there is Truth that can be apprehended by reason).

Perhaps "There's no Market for Truth" would be an appropriate title.

Great Pics by the way!

I agree with all of your points until "People act in their self interest."

The point of the Bullhorn is to get the masses to act against their own interests but instead in the interests of an interest group.

LazyBoy
02-21-11, 04:44 PM
[ Post deleted by author. I'm going to think about it a while. ]

EJ
02-21-11, 04:56 PM
Trying to understand, probably failing spectacularly:
So someone with the power to create and frame this debate (oil interests? politicians? military industrial?) gave us AGW to talk about instead of PCO?
So people will support higher prices as a disincentive to damaging the planet?
So we'll continue buying oil as it runs out instead of moving our $$ to other technologies?
So we would pay less attention to meddling in the middle east?
Or is it that one world-wide environment issue is all we can keep in our heads?
Is Gore a player or a dupe?

I love the focus on propaganda, PR, packaging for consumption, etc. This thread has led me to seek out some books to read. But I can't solve the riddle here. Why not tell us the whole theory?

I recommend you start by reading the original analysis of the American system of propaganda, Edward Bernays' (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Bernays) 1928 book Propaganda (http://www.historyisaweapon.com/defcon1/bernprop.html).

The theory cannot be made convincingly in a few posts here. The challenge is to prove the existence of a system of propaganda the key evidence of which is the absence of certain topics and frameworks of debate.

For example, why is this issue (http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=2270473&page=1) is not openly debated in the US as it is in other countries?

EJ
02-21-11, 04:59 PM
EJ, for the very simple reason that he can see beyond his own shortcomings; and, moreover, has clearly demonstrated that skill to us for some years now. I will trust someone that knows his shortcomings and can have the strength to be able to allude to them. None of us is perfect; so who would trust the perfect man?

In such a book, there will be something for everyone to hate. After all, it attacks the very idea that one owns one's beliefs, that one has reasoned them for oneself. I only hope that I'm not too late. The way things are going in Libya, the Bullhorn is no doubt gearing up for an onslaught of a "we meant to do that" variety.

bill
02-21-11, 05:05 PM
Who gains and who loses from policies to reduce carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels?

About time we get to that subject.
Low carbon energy controllers.

http://www.itulip.com/forums/showthread.php/3772-Interview-Dr.-Michael-Hudson-Part-II-Crisis-in-the-FIRE-Economy?p=33297

gnk
02-21-11, 05:29 PM
Consider the idea of anthropogenic global warming or AGW. There is no conclusive science to back the theory, but many of us believe in it passionately. How did that come about? Who benefits? If we can answer that question we know everything we need to know about how to invest in energy in the future, because AGW isn't about pollution, the output of energy consumption, it's an indirect tool for managing the input, the carbon-based fuels themselves, at a time when a direct approach may produce the crisis that the AGW approach is attempting to diffuse: Peak Cheap Oil.

I'll admit, I bought into the AGW view wholeheartedly in the beginning. But I also have a slightly different view, though yours seems correct as well.

At first, I heard about Goldman Sachs buying into some derivatives market/exchange regarding carbon credits. Another Ponzi scheme, I thought.

And then I read about the conflict between Obama and China at Copenhagen...

And so, I thought, "who benefits?" China, and many other large manufacturing/polluting nations also have cheap currencies. One way to affect that trade advantage was to make the manufacturing process expensive. To "even out" the advantage. Environmental regs are a convenient tool for that end. In some way, it accomplishes the same thing a stronger yuan would.

As for Goldman Sachs and the carbon credits exchange - that screamed at me. How obvious the deception, and how easily I bought into it.

I question everything now. No knee jerk agreements or jumping on bandwagons, however convincing they are.

jk
02-21-11, 06:09 PM
you might enjoy a book called "how real is real?" by Paul Watzlawick, a psychiatrist and an oss officer in wwii, on the social construction of reality, social effects on cognitive psychology, disinformation, and so on. both a lot of fun and thought provoking.

we_are_toast
02-21-11, 07:14 PM
The most interesting thing I learned in my several years of research into the AWG issue is that the strongest adherents to AGW theory hold liberal views generally while opposition to the theory is largely conservative, as if the question was political rather than scientific.

My position is that there is insufficient scientific evidence to prove or disprove AGW. Mind you, as a recipient of a BS in Resource Economics I have since college believed intuitively that dumping tons of carbon emissions into our tiny atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels cannot possibly be a good thing for the environment, and intuitively I still believe that it is bad. But intuition is not science. Everywhere I looked as I studied the AWG issue I found the telltale signs of a Bullhorn sales and marketing operation, from the co-opting of the scientific community with research funding to the selection of TV producers with AGW sympathies. One source I spoke with who is also agnostic on the question said his research shows that beliefs are even more emotionally driven than by inclination toward liberal or conservative views. Polls show that a large percentage of Americans change their view on AGW based on the weather: when it's hot they believe and when it's cold they don't.

But why? Who is using the threat of rising oceans to sell AGW in 2011 like the dream of home ownership to sell the securitized debt that financed the housing bubble in 2002? To what end? Who gains and who loses from policies to reduce carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels?

The reason I haven't made any previous statements about AGW is that I'm certain holding a rational debate on a topic as charged with religious fervor is as futile as the gold bubble versus no gold bubble debate, the inflation versus deflation debate, or any of the other nonsense debates that the US media frames that I've wasted umpteen hours on over the years that divert us from the issue.

It's time to get to the bottom of things.

Ever wonder why there isn't a "peak oil versus no peak oil" debate in the media? I believe the answer is in the AGW misdirection.

Thank you for expressing your reasoning for holding this position. But I would urge a great deal of caution in taking this public position. If you are incorrect about this scientific matter, and I will assure you you are, you run a risk of doing great damage to your reputation, and possibly discrediting your book before the 1st word is written. This is not an economic, non-science question that deals more with trying to understand how humans will react to specific circumstances, such as if the price of gold will go up, or if there will be inflation by the 1st quarter of 2010 or deflation, or whether the Chinese bubble will burst in 2010 or 2011, this is real science with mountains of real scientific data and near unanimity of agreement.

Your observations about liberal vs conservative on this issue are keen indeed, but once again, this is science, and public opinion no matter what the political persuasion, has nothing to do with the scientific facts. You might very well listen to that intuitive voice in the back of your head that is telling you that the gigatonnes of man made CO2 emitted into the atmosphere annually, is indeed having an impact on the worlds climate.

As a recipient of a BA in physical Geography, and having the unique opportunity to actually work in the field, with at first, 7 years working with meteorological research data for the federal government, then 8 years working with cryospheric data for climate research at a NASA data center in a large university, I can assure you my conclusions have not been formed by the media you are referring to. My conclusions were drawn from trying to organize for discovery and distribution petabytes of data from everything from dozens of instruments on board several spacecraft platforms, to bore holes in Greenland, to radar sounding in the heart of Antarctica, to personal observations of native Inuits... I also had the opportunity to have numerous hundreds of hours of discussions with some of the worlds leading climate scientists. I have spoken to scientists from China, Germany, England ..., and all of the scientists at the facility. Not one fails to shake their head at anyone who would deny the libraries of data that have been collected.

Although AGW is considered established science by the scientific community, I agree with you that I would much prefer to have the conversation about Peak Oil rather than AGW. Peak Oil will be a slap in the face of the public, while AGW is the boiling frog. The Bullhorns apparently reach more people and are more persuadable than I imagined, and have already misled too many people.

Given the makeup of the internet, denying established science may improve your subscriber numbers, and may even bring back PythonicCow, but the cost may end up to be higher than you expect.

Jill Nephew
02-21-11, 09:24 PM
Wow, how weird to post for the second time to a website i have been reading for 11 years...

I studied climate science in graduate school and got to live a few years in center of this hurricane. Let me strip this down to what to me, is the core issue.

Asking if the current state of the earth system is caused by X (can be anything, let's say fossil fuels in the atmosphere) is NOT A SCIENTIFIC QUESTION. For two reasons.
1. In science you need a control group to infer causality. There is no 'control' earth to compare our earth to, one with lots of CO2, one without.
2. Earth is a chaotic system. So even if you had two earths, or a thousand earths, you will not be able to do the experiment to determine cause and effect, you can only see how the group of outcomes shifts with the given inputs (assuming you can get a signal above the noise).

We will NEVER be able to say that the current warming is due to anything we did to the planet. Never. We do not have the rational tools, the scientific method at our disposal to infer such a thing. It will never be answered.

With that said, there is NO DOUBT that we are screwing with a human life support system. We know that the carbon cycle is delicate, we are dependent on it, and we are messing with it willy nilly by re-released all this carbon that used to be trapped into the atmosphere/oceans etc.

We have known this since the 50's. We didn't need to do any more science after that to know what the right thing was to do. It's nice to do climate research, and it is useful for all kinds of things, but it gets us NO CLOSER to answering the above question. The conclusions there were obvious to those rational and without agendas: re-value carbon based energy to mitigate what we unleash by our 'experiment' on the life support system. For those that don't believe we may accidentally blow up the earth in all kinds of ways we don't yet understand and may never understand (it happens to be a pretty complicated place), i ask you to consider the ozone hole story (at the end of this post). Further, re-value carbon based energy so that we burn it as slowly as possible and as responsibly as possible.

SO, i don't care about the debate, it is nonsense. Everyone that takes either side has bought into increase the veils of confusion and muddying the issue. I agree with EJ, everything and everybody that did NOT get at the core of this issue since the 50's (the oil company speaking heads, the climate scientists who have an agenda to fund their research or feel important forming international committees) are all in the same camp and they may not even know who's agendas they are really promoting.

EJ, if you can wake people up, all the more power to you. It is so demoralising, truly.

The Ozone Hole Story (as told to me by my professor who shared the nobel prize for discovering it)

Around the time the hole first popped up climate scientists no longer studied the stratosphere (where the hole is). It was a simple system and considered known and predictable in all ways (nothing like the troposphere, which remains deeply unknowably complex and we base all our climate predictions on). It was so well known that when the ozone hole was first detected on ground, they replaced the machine because the satellites weren't seeing it and it was 'impossible'.
The new machine had issues to it seemed, so they fired the graduate student. After going a few rounds with this, they realized the satellites were filtering this data out because they had been programmed that those readings are systematic errors.
Some odd years later they finally got the satellites fixed up (still having no idea how this was possible), and figured out it was CFC's that were causing the trouble.

So, you may be saying, well, so what, some people in Australia have to wear hats. However, the punchline is, we didn't have to use CFC's for aerosol cans, we could have easily used Bromide based propellants. Good thing we didn't, they are more powerful and in the time it took to find the problem the bromide would have destroyed the ENTIRE supply of stratospheric ozone. Without ozone in the stratosphere, you can say goodbye to any plant or animal being able to exist in the light of the sun. Mitigate that.

So NOW we are consciously, knowingly messing with what we know is part of the life support system, in a part of the earth system we readily agree we don't understand. Talk about collective loss of reasoning and common sense. It boggles the mind.

bill
02-21-11, 09:34 PM
SO, i don't care about the debate, it is nonsense.

So please, guys/gals tell me what energy solution?
The core issue is what energy satisfies AGW and Peak Oil?

c1ue
02-21-11, 11:12 PM
Just out of curiosity, how would you describe your own political views? You seem very intent on bashing libertarians.

Fiscal conservative. Social Moderate.

Libertarians in contrast desire all their rights, but without a government to regulate or enforce them.

Were it not for the bizarre focus on rights, this would otherwise be known as anarchy.

And yes, I do bash the libertarians as represented by such fine examples of humanity as Lyndon LaRouche.

I don't bash conservatives on principle, nor do I bash liberals on principle. Both are representative of common mind sets and can work.

Libertarianism in contrast is a fantasy.


Is this "reality" based on anything other than your authoritative assertion?

Does this reality apply to all insurance companies or simply health care?

This reality is based on the model of insurance. You don't provide protection because you don't think you're going to have to pay, you provide protection to a group of people from which you expect a specific set of losses.

I have no problem with an insurance company - in an ideal, isolated situation - charging a person with preexisting conditions more for insurance ... again assuming the extra cost is representative of the actuarial risks from said preexisting condition and not all other issues.

But I do have problems with insurance companies finding excuses not to pay, booting people out for pre-existing conditions, denying coverage for those with pre-existing conditions, etc etc - all behaviors intended to cheat on the actuarial odds.

Let me put it another way: if you have a terrible driving record, it is reasonable that an insurance company charge you more for providing auto insurance to you.

How often do auto insurance companies deny coverage completely to even bad drivers?

If you cannot understand why denial of coverage is wrong, then I cannot help you as you clearly have no idea what insurance is.


Yes, they are crooks, no doubt about it. They have rigged legislative/judicial system to protect themselves, for example McCarran–Ferguson Act (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McCarran%E2%80%93Ferguson_Act). Most of what you mention are deceptive or fraudulent practices. I spend a good deal of my time dealing with these issues. I also would benefit from more sick people having insurance. Nonetheless, I still don't understand why not providing insurance to people who you know in advance will cost more than they will pay in premiums is somehow illegal or immoral.

Again, you are conflating denial of coverage with enforced coverage for all at a fixed price.

In a situation where the entire population is forced into a single plan, then this is invalid.

Equally so, if a company chooses to simply exclude the 'high risk' population from its models, then said company isn't providing insurance.

It is acting on a Ponzi scheme where those most likely to require payouts are simply booted out.

c1ue
02-21-11, 11:28 PM
If you are incorrect about this scientific matter, and I will assure you you are, you run a risk of doing great damage to your reputation, and possibly discrediting your book before the 1st word is written.

Again, you seek to bring to bear social pressure as opposed to fact.

We've gone many rounds, and you've yet to provide a single convincing argument which conclusively demonstrates that fossil fuel derived CO2 is the one and only factor in driving climate change today.

You've failed to show that the climate today and its changes is unusual.

You've failed to clearly separate out CO2 as the single cause ascendant over all other human and natural causes.

You've failed to show any skill in prediction, either personally or anywhere in the entire 'climate science consensus' establishment

I've posted the entire AGW argument in full before, and again it is:

1) CO2 is a greenhouse gas (true)
2) CO2 is the strongest climate driver (extremely false)
3) The climate has a net positive feedback - i.e. any changes made to it are magnified (demonstrably false in the past, zero proof whatsoever outside of computer models in the present)


As a recipient of a BA in physical Geography, and having the unique opportunity to actually work in the field, with at first, 7 years working with meteorological research data for the federal government, then 8 years working with cryospheric data for climate research at a NASA data center in a large university, I can assure you my conclusions have not been formed by the media you are referring to. My conclusions were drawn from trying to organize for discovery and distribution petabytes of data from everything from dozens of instruments on board several spacecraft platforms, to bore holes in Greenland, to radar sounding in the heart of Antarctica, to personal observations of native Inuits... I also had the opportunity to have numerous hundreds of hours of discussions with some of the worlds leading climate scientists. I have spoken to scientists from China, Germany, England ..., and all of the scientists at the facility. Not one fails to shake their head at anyone who would deny the libraries of data that have been collected.

And so what? All you're describing is a closed group of intellectuals - who clearly do not accept outside concepts or ideas.

I've posted numerous times how it is well documented that human beings seek out information which confirms their own beliefs.

The entire purpose of the scientific method is for those with differing beliefs to clash, and in the clash, for the truth to emerge.

Having a huge group of group-thinking climate scientists doesn't do anybody any good.

I've noted endlessly how the pronouncements of the 'experts' continue to be wrong.

I've noted all sorts of issues which were clearly not scientific in any way - concerning projections on the Amazon, on the Antarctic, on the Arctic, on floods, on storms, etc etc.

But of course nothing dents your group think.

Chris Coles
02-22-11, 02:20 AM
C1ue, I have to suspect that you do not live very high up in the Northern hemisphere. Here in the UK the weather has changed quite dramatically over the last fifty years. Rainfall has increased more than 25% year on year; temperatures are rising; spring is showing very good signs of coming very early this year. But all that being said; the only thing that might change your mind is perhaps when sea levels suddenly rise, as I am, personally, sure they will. So let us leave the debate until we have something that will settle the matter. Except that, as they say, the frog is in the pot and the water is getting hotter year by year and if sea levels do suddenly rise by, say, 30 feet, then civilisation as we know it comes to an abrupt end, and this debate will be the least of our concerns.

Chris Coles
02-22-11, 02:27 AM
We will NEVER be able to say that the current warming is due to anything we did to the planet. Never. We do not have the rational tools, the scientific method at our disposal to infer such a thing. It will never be answered.

With that said, there is NO DOUBT that we are screwing with a human life support system. We know that the carbon cycle is delicate, we are dependent on it, and we are messing with it willy nilly by re-released all this carbon that used to be trapped into the atmosphere/oceans etc.

So NOW we are consciously, knowingly messing with what we know is part of the life support system, in a part of the earth system we readily agree we don't understand. Talk about collective loss of reasoning and common sense. It boggles the mind.

One of the difficulties with a long post is that one can get carried away and end up pointing in both directions as here. But please, do not stop making comments; they are much appreciated.:(

bagginz
02-22-11, 04:10 AM
I recommend you start by reading the original analysis of the American system of propaganda, Edward Bernays' (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Bernays) 1928 book Propaganda (http://www.historyisaweapon.com/defcon1/bernprop.html).

The theory cannot be made convincingly in a few posts here. The challenge is to prove the existence of a system of propaganda the key evidence of which is the absence of certain topics and frameworks of debate.

To underline your points about Edward Bernays, smoking and the power of mass media propaganda:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-TYCXnAaZU&feature=related

The whole documentary "The Century of the Self" is an excellent documentary all about propaganda and public relations and well worth the time spent.

You can find it here:

http://www.archive.org/details/AdaCurtisCenturyoftheSelf_0




"Ever wonder why there isn't a "peak oil versus no peak oil" debate in the media? I believe the answer is in the AGW misdirection.

Interesting idea I'll live with that one for a while.




For example, why is this issue (http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=2270473&page=1) is not openly debated in the US as it is in other countries?

Yes. Contrast with Harry "bullet magnet" Windsor for example:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t1hDUpLS71o&feature=related

His uncle Prince Andrew flew helicopters in combat in the Falklands.

Say what you want about the Royals but they instinctively know that they have to earn the respect of their "subjects" .


I'll admit, I bought into the AGW view wholeheartedly in the beginning. But I also have a slightly different view, though yours seems correct as well.

At first, I heard about Goldman Sachs buying into some derivatives market/exchange regarding carbon credits. Another Ponzi scheme, I thought.

And then I read about the conflict between Obama and China at Copenhagen...

And so, I thought, "who benefits?" China, and many other large manufacturing/polluting nations also have cheap currencies. One way to affect that trade advantage was to make the manufacturing process expensive. To "even out" the advantage. Environmental regs are a convenient tool for that end. In some way, it accomplishes the same thing a stronger yuan would.

As for Goldman Sachs and the carbon credits exchange - that screamed at me. How obvious the deception, and how easily I bought into it.



That screamed at me also gnk - very loudly.

Imagine the power: everyone on planet Earth needs so called carbon credits in order to trade and function. As Goldman Sachs you manage to finegle your self into a position where you have the power to administrate (and create?) these units.

It seems to me it's exactly the same concept as the power to issue money; to create billions of dollars at a computer keyboard by pressing the zero key.

The only thing that changes is the name; "carbon credit" instead of "dollar" what remains is exactly the same: conjuring a monopoly of power over everyone else on the planet from thin air.

Smells very much like this to me:

"Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws." Mayer Amschel Rothschild (1744-1812)

So I came to yet another view (which is currently):

Climate change is real but it's been co-opted as a tool for the profit of the financial elite.

Makes sense, it's far, far more powerful to co-opt and harness the huge momentum of a pre-existing cultural conversation which has years of scientific research and popular sentiment on it's side than to attempt to concoct and propagate a new cultural story from scratch. (Though that appeared to work quite well with the pig flu scam)

The whole business is not a binary choice but a lot more insidious with various shades of nuance which have to be carefully parsed. We now live in Orwell's world of newspeak (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newspeak).

In my view, the main danger here is throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

Cheers,
bagginz


‎"Banking was conceived in iniquity and was born in sin. The Bankers own the Earth. Take it away from them, but leave them the power to create deposits, and with the flick of a pen they will create enough deposits to buy it back again. Howe...ver, take it away from them, and all the fortunes like mine will disappear, and they ought to disappear, for this world would be a happier and better world to live in. But if you wish to remain slaves of the Bankers and pay for the cost of your own slavery, let them continue to create deposits."

Sir Josiah Stamp, President of the Bank of England in the 1920s, the second richest man in Britain.

xPat
02-22-11, 04:31 AM
CI: Give me an example of a broken debate.
EJ: For example the debate about inflation or deflation as potential outcomes of the US credit bubble. They have for years been debated as equally likely and viable outcomes, when in fact one is as likely as summer in the northern hemisphere in August and the other as likely as Paris Hilton inventing a stem cell cure for cancer. The debate should have been about what kind of inflation we’ll have, that we are now having.

A subject near and dear to my heart. I continue to lobby Jim Puplava to organize a Hyperinflation vs. Sustained High Inflation debate, because all of the people who predict hyperinflation seem to base their predictions on the experiences of Argentina, Zimbabwe and Weimar Germany, without ever taking into account the differences between those countries and the United States.

I've suggested an EJ vs. John Williams debate on this subject several times, but so far Jim's not taking the bait. My strong impression is that the reason I've not been successful is that nobody but me is asking for this. Perhaps if more people made the same request, Jim might be persuaded to tackle this subject, which IMHO is probably the most important question we face navigating what's ahead. The Inflation vs. Deflation debate series was one of the most popular in the history of FinancialSense, and IMHO the Inflation vs. Hyperinflation question is both far more interesting, and far less obvious. Very few people even seem to understand the real difference between the two, which is night and day.


CI: Like how?
EJ: That’s outside the scope of this discussion.

AAARRRGGGHHH!!!

Obviously the answer is of great interest to your readers, so why make it a secret? If you really feel it's outside the scope of this conversation, how'bout posting another thread and making it in-scope in that thread.

I used to want to castrate engineers who would write technical documentation that would say "<blah blah="" question="" you="" really="" need="" an="" answer="" to="">[some topic the reader really needs an answer for] is outside the scope of this document." Obviously they were aware readers wanted the answer, else they wouldn't have had the presence of mind to include this idiotic statement! Why not just answer questions you know your readers are interested in, rather than taunting them with this sort of comment? If the issue is that to do the subject justice would require considerable space, I can certainly understand that. But another dedicated post would be far better than a tease!

xPat</blah>

Chris Coles
02-22-11, 06:50 AM
If the issue is that to do the subject justice would require considerable space, I can certainly understand that. But another dedicated post would be far better than a tease!

xPat

May I presume to give an answer. As a creative, it took me many years to learn to understand that, with many calls for "creativity" there comes a moment in time where the brain tells us to "shut up and sit down to think". It truly is quite impossible to answer every question without running the very real risk of being sent 'Nuts' in the process. So my guess here is EJ simply wants to use his time to what he views as his best advantage.

EJ
02-22-11, 11:14 AM
Wow, how weird to post for the second time to a website i have been reading for 11 years...

I studied climate science in graduate school and got to live a few years in center of this hurricane. Let me strip this down to what to me, is the core issue.

Asking if the current state of the earth system is caused by X (can be anything, let's say fossil fuels in the atmosphere) is NOT A SCIENTIFIC QUESTION. For two reasons.
1. In science you need a control group to infer causality. There is no 'control' earth to compare our earth to, one with lots of CO2, one without.
2. Earth is a chaotic system. So even if you had two earths, or a thousand earths, you will not be able to do the experiment to determine cause and effect, you can only see how the group of outcomes shifts with the given inputs (assuming you can get a signal above the noise).

We will NEVER be able to say that the current warming is due to anything we did to the planet. Never. We do not have the rational tools, the scientific method at our disposal to infer such a thing. It will never be answered.

With that said, there is NO DOUBT that we are screwing with a human life support system. We know that the carbon cycle is delicate, we are dependent on it, and we are messing with it willy nilly by re-released all this carbon that used to be trapped into the atmosphere/oceans etc.

We have known this since the 50's. We didn't need to do any more science after that to know what the right thing was to do. It's nice to do climate research, and it is useful for all kinds of things, but it gets us NO CLOSER to answering the above question. The conclusions there were obvious to those rational and without agendas: re-value carbon based energy to mitigate what we unleash by our 'experiment' on the life support system. For those that don't believe we may accidentally blow up the earth in all kinds of ways we don't yet understand and may never understand (it happens to be a pretty complicated place), i ask you to consider the ozone hole story (at the end of this post). Further, re-value carbon based energy so that we burn it as slowly as possible and as responsibly as possible.

SO, i don't care about the debate, it is nonsense. Everyone that takes either side has bought into increase the veils of confusion and muddying the issue. I agree with EJ, everything and everybody that did NOT get at the core of this issue since the 50's (the oil company speaking heads, the climate scientists who have an agenda to fund their research or feel important forming international committees) are all in the same camp and they may not even know who's agendas they are really promoting.

EJ, if you can wake people up, all the more power to you. It is so demoralising, truly.

The Ozone Hole Story (as told to me by my professor who shared the nobel prize for discovering it)

Around the time the hole first popped up climate scientists no longer studied the stratosphere (where the hole is). It was a simple system and considered known and predictable in all ways (nothing like the troposphere, which remains deeply unknowably complex and we base all our climate predictions on). It was so well known that when the ozone hole was first detected on ground, they replaced the machine because the satellites weren't seeing it and it was 'impossible'.
The new machine had issues to it seemed, so they fired the graduate student. After going a few rounds with this, they realized the satellites were filtering this data out because they had been programmed that those readings are systematic errors.
Some odd years later they finally got the satellites fixed up (still having no idea how this was possible), and figured out it was CFC's that were causing the trouble.

So, you may be saying, well, so what, some people in Australia have to wear hats. However, the punchline is, we didn't have to use CFC's for aerosol cans, we could have easily used Bromide based propellants. Good thing we didn't, they are more powerful and in the time it took to find the problem the bromide would have destroyed the ENTIRE supply of stratospheric ozone. Without ozone in the stratosphere, you can say goodbye to any plant or animal being able to exist in the light of the sun. Mitigate that.

So NOW we are consciously, knowingly messing with what we know is part of the life support system, in a part of the earth system we readily agree we don't understand. Talk about collective loss of reasoning and common sense. It boggles the mind.

What a fascinating response, on many levels.

On the question of AGW, I am willing to modify my position that “we don’t know the answer yet” and accept your notion that “It will never be answered.” We lack the tools. That said, I also agree with you that CO2 emitters should be motivated to reduce CO2 emissions without governments awaiting proof of the impact of human CO2 emissions on the global ecosystem.

The question is how, and is the system that is being motivated by the AGW argument fair, economical, and practical or is it the foundation of yet another scheme by FIRE Economy interests to extract economic rents from the Productive Economy?

More than 30 years ago I took the unpopular position with my fellow Natural Resource Studies students at the University of Massachusetts that we needed to build more nuclear power plants to reduce our dependence on the burning of coal and gas for electricity, heating, and industrial processes. These contribute five times as many pollutants than liquid fossil fuels do when burned for transportation.

At the time, the auto industry and utility companies that owned coal power plants were putting up a full bore bullhorn campaign to slow government initiatives to force them to reduce sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides emissions that were causing acid rain. The usual arguments that the costs were too high, would be passed on to consumers, and will make the US uncompetitive and so on were floated. They failed and the legislation that passed was successful. Here’s the Wikipedia entry on it (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acid_rain):

“In 1990, the US Congress passed a series of amendments to the Clean Air Act. Title IV of these amendments established the Acid Rain Program, a cap and trade system designed to control emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides. Title IV called for a total reduction of about 10 million tons of SO2 emissions from power plants. It was implemented in two phases. Phase I began in 1995, and limited sulfur dioxide emissions from 110 of the largest power plants to a combined total of 8.7 million tons of sulfur dioxide. One power plant in New England (Merrimack) was in Phase I. Four other plants (Newington, Mount Tom, Brayton Point, and Salem Harbor) were added under other provisions of the program. Phase II began in 2000, and affects most of the power plants in the country.

“During the 1990s, research continued. On March 10, 2005, EPA issued the Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR). This rule provides states with a solution to the problem of power plant pollution that drifts from one state to another. CAIR will permanently cap emissions of SO2 and NOx in the eastern United States. When fully implemented, CAIR will reduce SO2 emissions in 28 eastern states and the District of Columbia by over 70 percent and NOx emissions by over 60 percent from 2003 levels.

“Overall, the Program's cap and trade program has been successful in achieving its goals. Since the 1990s, SO2 emissions have dropped 40%, and according to the Pacific Research Institute, acid rain levels have dropped 65% since 1976. However, this was significantly less successful than conventional regulation in the European Union, which saw a decrease of over 70% in SO2 emissions during the same time period.

“In 2007, total SO2 emissions were 8.9 million tons, achieving the program's long term goal ahead of the 2010 statutory deadline.

“The EPA estimates that by 2010, the overall costs of complying with the program for businesses and consumers will be $1 billion to $2 billion a year, only one fourth of what was originally predicted.”
But unlike the CO2, the direct impact of SO2 and NOx emissions on the environment are measurable. CO2 is an input to the natural cycle of CO2 exchange between the atmosphere, land, and sea. We know that human activity added 0.8% to total global atmospheric CO2 in 2006. That sounds like a lot to me, but how much of that annual output gets absorbed in the carbon cycle and how much accumulates in the atmosphere?

It is generally agreed that in the last 100 years atmospheric CO2 increased from 270 to 388 parts per million, an increase of 30% of a gas that is 0.039% of an atmosphere that is 78.09% nitrogen, 20.95% oxygen, and 0.93% argon. So while the 30% change in CO2 contributes only 0.0118% to the total, CO2 may play a crucial role in the ecosystem such that even small variances can result in out-sized changes in the ecosystem, never mind a 30% increase in 100 years. Whether that result is heating or cooling of the atmosphere, or some other impact, as you say, is immaterial. Waiting for results is unwise. Your CFCs versus Bromides example is spot on. We got lucky then. Maybe we won’t be so lucky with CO2.

I thought it was a good idea to lower fossil fuel emissions 30 years ago and still do today, and remain a proponent of nuclear power as an alternative to burning coal and gas. However, unlike the case of SO2 and NOx emissions, since we cannot measure the cost of the impact of CO2 emissions we cannot price the cost of reducing emissions.

This is where I get nervous about AGW. My experience since starting iTulip in 1998 is that when you can’t price something in the market and governments get involved, a racket that benefits campaign contributors develops soon thereafter, with the full engagement of the bullhorn to sell it -- the co-oping of specialists in government and academia, of journalists, and so on. I hope to interview an authority on the carbon exchange itself to answer some of my questions.

All that said, I believe that Peak Cheap Oil will trump AGW concerns.

Remember the truck drivers that sat idle when diesel prices went to $4.73 per gallon in May 2008 (http://money.cnn.com/2008/03/27/news/economy/diesel_impact/index.htm)?

After falling to $2.14 in Feb. 2009 diesel prices are back up to $3.44 today nationally, and $3.65 at the Mobile station up the street where I go to fill my car.

Peak Cheap Oil means we throw out AGW concerns as:


We tear the planet to shreds to produce the liquid fossil fuels in a desperate bid to keep our low distillates cost dependent transportation and food production system functioning.
Increased federal government fuel subsidies either grow our fiscal deficit and depreciate the dollar further, and raise energy prices even more due to import price inflation, or we cut, say, health care to pay for fuel subsidies.

All Peak Chap Oil roads lead to reducing the consumption of liquid fossil fuels, to conservation. Maybe as I get farther down the road in my research I’ll discover that the idea behind AGW, that explains the pattern of bullhorn propaganda for it, is that it is intended as a forcing function to reduce carbon emissions, which can be most economically achieved by reducing fossil fuel consumption, versus dubious technologies such as CO2 capture that require additional fuel consumption. The alternative is to raise the official alarm about peak oil, which can have all kinds of unpleasant consequences from a governance standpoint, ranging from the governments of oil producers consolidating their power positions vis-à-vis oil consumer countries, to market panics that drive oil prices to $200/bbl in months or weeks.

As for the value of a book that explains the American system of propaganda, the first step toward ending the demoralization that it creates is to explain how it works. But it will give readers more than that. I've often been credited with having a crystal ball. In fact I have learned to filter the bullhorn, to deconstruct its operation with respect to specific products. You might say to write such a book is to give away the keys to the kingdom, but it's more like explaining how to pick a particular brand of a highly sophisticated lock, or method to find the combination to break into a vault. That is the commercial application of it; the social value is inestimable going into the kind of period we are entering now. It merits serious consideration, but there are major downsides for the writer in my position besides the cost of creating economic and market forecasting competition.

I’m honored to have you as a reader for 11 years. I wish you’d post more often. These forums are like a virtual classroom, composed of a relatively small number of frequent participants and a large number of infrequent participants, many of whom have a great deal to say but who for various reasons choose not to. If I were a lecturer I’d say, “I always see the same hands. I'd like to see some new hands raised.” Not to diminish the contributions of the frequent contributors, but it’s great to hear new voices in the discussion. Thank you.

jk
02-22-11, 11:59 AM
a direct tax on carbon would be as effective as tradeable carbon permits, but the latter- under a banner of [somehow] increased efficiency - allows for the establishment of a huge marketplace for financial intermediaries to milk.

EJ
02-22-11, 12:20 PM
A subject near and dear to my heart. I continue to lobby Jim Puplava to organize a Hyperinflation vs. Sustained High Inflation debate, because all of the people who predict hyperinflation seem to base their predictions on the experiences of Argentina, Zimbabwe and Weimar Germany, without ever taking into account the differences between those countries and the United States.

I've suggested an EJ vs. John Williams debate on this subject several times, but so far Jim's not taking the bait. My strong impression is that the reason I've not been successful is that nobody but me is asking for this. Perhaps if more people made the same request, Jim might be persuaded to tackle this subject, which IMHO is probably the most important question we face navigating what's ahead. The Inflation vs. Deflation debate series was one of the most popular in the history of FinancialSense, and IMHO the Inflation vs. Hyperinflation question is both far more interesting, and far less obvious. Very few people even seem to understand the real difference between the two, which is night and day.

You have to consider the debate on another level. Inflation versus deflation appears to be about economics and the mechanisms of money growth and so on but it's really a political debate.

The inflationists tend to be conservative and the deflationists liberal. The inflationists distrust the government and monetary authorities while the deflationists tend to trust them. This dichotomy makes sense for a debate that is grounded in an agreement on the operations of monetary tools and the effects of policy. The disagreement is about how those tools will be used and their effectiveness. My position is that I trust the government and monetary authorities to reflate, which in monetary policy circles is the politically correct way of saying "inflate" but without producing an inflation rate much above 2%. I don't think they'll be able to keep it to 2% for political reasons, but I don't think it will go to to 1000% because the tools are available to a reserve currency issuer to prevent that from happening.

The hyperinflationists, the inflation extremists, belong in the same camp as the hyper-deflationists, those who forecast a deflation spiral, the deflation extremists. Both see either inflation or deflation running out of the control of monetary authorities. Compounding the confusion of a conservative versus ideological debate, neither understands the operations of monetary tools and the effects of policy so there isn't even a foundation for disagreement.

My favorite comment on the hyper-deflationists, Steve Keen among them, was by Michael Hudson in an interview when I asked him in 2007 what he believed is behind the deflationist's concerns, such as those of our mutual friend Steve. He said, "It's psychodrama. Modern monetary policy is based on double-entry book keeping, of the central bank adding to the assets and liabilities sides of the balance sheet at will. How can you not believe in it? It's like worrying that gravity might stop tomorrow and we'll all float up into the air!"

Marvelous. Since then I have convinced Keen to look more carefully at the way monetary policy is actually conducted, and additionally capital flows and their impact on currency valuations, and the impact of currency depreciation on inflation expectations, and as a result his site now reflects a thoughtful analysis of why deflation didn't happen.

I got into a lively email debate with Randall Wray who argues that a sovereign can print as much money and issue as much debt as it wants with impunity. An Austrian ideologue would dismiss the idea out of hand but I'm always interested in understanding the full range of ideas out there. After I got an introduction to him I sought an interview with him. He quickly dismissed my inflation argument as "video game economics" and then got rather abusive. For I presume ideological reasons he cannot enter currency depreciation into his calculus of sovereign debt and currency creation limitations, or I should say his theory of the unlimited power of sovereign debt and currency creation limitations does not include foreign exchange inputs. I walked away from the discussion concluding that there is no there there. Wray's argument is ideological, rhetorical and stylistic. I decided not to bother to interview him.

I've reluctantly come to that conclusion about nearly everyone in the field today. I either know what they are going to say or know that the level of discussion will be limited by their miscomprehension of the operations of monetary tools and the effects of policy.

I'm often asked which school of economics I belong to. No one of them works for me. I have to take bits from one and from another to create my own. I wound't want to join any economics school that would have me as a member.

Steve is a so-called "New Keynesian" in his own words. I've tried to pin Hudson down, but it's impossible, and that's a good thing. He tends to trust democratic government more than oligarchy, a position that is often confused for a pro-government, socialistic stance, understandably given his Marxist background. Wray is I think trying to start his own school. Let's call it the Wrayvian school. He certainly raved at me enough to earn it.


AAARRRGGGHHH!!!

Obviously the answer is of great interest to your readers, so why make it a secret? If you really feel it's outside the scope of this conversation, how'bout posting another thread and making it in-scope in that thread.

I used to want to castrate engineers who would write technical documentation that would say "<blah blah="" question="" you="" really="" need="" an="" answer="" to="">[some topic the reader really needs an answer for] is outside the scope of this document." Obviously they were aware readers wanted the answer, else they wouldn't have had the presence of mind to include this idiotic statement! Why not just answer questions you know your readers are interested in, rather than taunting them with this sort of comment? If the issue is that to do the subject justice would require considerable space, I can certainly understand that. But another dedicated post would be far better than a tease!

xPat</blah>

If you search iTulip for the terms Bullhorn and Kazoo you'll see the concept outlined. But as my movie script writer sister Karen taught me 20 years ago, some ideas are essays, others are articles, others are screenplays, and others are books. This idea is a book.

vinoveri
02-22-11, 12:58 PM
Steve is a so-called "New Keynesian" in his own words. I've tried to pin Hudson down, but it's impossible, and that's a good thing. He tends to trust democratic government more than oligarchy, a position that is often confused for a pro-government, socialistic stance, understandably given his Marxist background. Wray is I think trying to start his own school. Let's call it the Wrayvian school. He certainly raved at me enough to earn it.

If you search iTulip for the terms Bullhorn and Kazoo you'll see the concept outlined. But as my movie script writer sister Karen taught me 20 years ago, some ideas are essays, others are articles, others are screenplays, and others are books. This idea is a book.

Perhaps in the context of "In a social democracy all roads lead to inflation" OR "Thou shall not steal ... except by majority vote" - attributions unknown

I've always instinctively trusted the "mob" over the intellectuals; it is an almost intuitive inclination, which is likely shared by most. Perhaps Bernays knew this too and saw that a frontal assault could not be used b/c it would be recognized, and thus saw the subtlety of propaganda as the way.

How about a website along with the book? A practical and real time site that tackles the propaganda associated with and promulgated by various interests groups on a variety of topics. Showing the vested interests on each issue and dissecting conclusions to reveal the false/questionable premises and fallacious conclusions. "iPropaganda.com"?

bill
02-22-11, 01:00 PM
Maybe as I get farther down the road in my research I’ll discover that the idea behind AGW, that explains the pattern of bullhorn propaganda for it, is that it is intended as a forcing function to reduce carbon emissions, which can be most economically achieved by reducing fossil fuel consumption,

I have always said, using toxic pollutant is more effective and convincing.
EPA
http://www.itulip.com/forums/showthread.php/showthread.php?p=60924#poststop

What a political football!
http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0211/49857.html

2/19/11 12:07 PM EST
<SCRIPT type=text/javascript>showInitialOdiogoReadNowFrame (_politico_odiogo_feed_ids, '0', 290, 0);</SCRIPT>
House Republicans led a charge late into the night Friday against Obama administration decisions to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, block mountaintop removal mining and allow increased use of ethanol in gasoline.
The continuing resolution faces an uphill climb in the Senate and a veto threat from President Barack Obama, but the myriad votes against the administration's energy and environmental initiatives this week will likely not be the last.


Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho), chairman of the Interior-EPA Appropriations subpanel, said the strong support for riders blocking the Environmental Protection Agency will build momentum for future attempts to pass more permanent pushbacks on the agency's regulations.
"The same thing that you see on the floor with all the people offering amendments [on EPA] is the same thing I hear out in my district," Simpson told POLITICO. "If the issue of the EPA comes up, it dominates the rest of the conversation, and the EPA needs to know that."
The entire debate – covering hundreds of amendments over several days – was largely anticlimactic as well-worn partisan differences ruled the day. Democrats didn’t even bother to offer amendments aimed at stripping out the Republican language trumping EPA’s ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.



http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2011/02/12/new_epa_rules_will_create_jobs/

Feb 12, 2011
THE REPUBLICAN attack on the Environmental Protection Agency began in earnest Wednesday with Representative Joe Barton of Texas saying that regulations to curb pollutants and limit greenhouse gases will “put the American economy in a straitjacket, costing us millions of jobs.’’
Lisa Jackson, the EPA administrator, was ready to combat the job-killing rhetoric. In her opening statement to a House Energy and Commerce Committee subcommittee, she quoted a UMass Amherst study that found that the construction and retrofitting investments in the eastern US under two new EPA air quality rules would produce nearly 1.5 million jobs over the next five years. The rules limit the emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, mercury, lead, dioxin, arsenic, and other pollutants. She said the EPA’s implementation of the Clean Air Act, even in the last year of a Republican Bush administration loath to admit to the dangers of global warming, “contributed to dynamic growth in the US environmental technologies industry and its workforce.’’
James Heintz, associate director at the UMass’s Political Economy Research Institute, which did the study, said in a telephone interview that the potential job growth was not only dynamic, but diverse. “You are talking about an intense infusion of new capital for construction and installation and direct jobs for [people making] boilers, pollution control technologies, scrubbers, and component parts,’’ he said. “The indirect jobs are the kind created that when you install a natural gas-fired generator’’ which includes components made at factories across the country.

The report
http://www.peri.umass.edu/fileadmin/pdf/other_publication_types/green_economics/CERES_PERI_Feb11.pdf


Nuclear, its coming.
http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/NP-France_redirects_its_nuclear_giants-2202118.html


France redirects its nuclear giants
22 February 2011
In addition, the French Ministry of Energy will lead a working group to look into the technical, legal and economic aspects of low power (100-300 MWe) reactor projects, which are becoming increasingly popular.


http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/NN-Westinghouse_announces_Small_Modular_Reactor-1802117.html


Westinghouse announces Small Modular Reactor
18 February 2011
Westinghouse has officially "introduced" its 200 MWe Small Modular Reactor (SMR), and says it is preparing for a role in the US Department of Energy's demonstration program.

c1ue
02-22-11, 01:24 PM
C1ue, I have to suspect that you do not live very high up in the Northern hemisphere. Here in the UK the weather has changed quite dramatically over the last fifty years. Rainfall has increased more than 25% year on year; temperatures are rising; spring is showing very good signs of coming very early this year. But all that being said; the only thing that might change your mind is perhaps when sea levels suddenly rise, as I am, personally, sure they will. So let us leave the debate until we have something that will settle the matter. Except that, as they say, the frog is in the pot and the water is getting hotter year by year and if sea levels do suddenly rise by, say, 30 feet, then civilisation as we know it comes to an abrupt end, and this debate will be the least of our concerns.

That's funny, because the Central England Temperature record - the single longest continuous temperature record on earth - disputes your view:

http://hadobs.metoffice.com/hadcet/

Yes, there has been some warming, but only in the last 20 years. And furthermore it should be noted that there is no clear trend prior to this period - especially given the CET began roughly at the low point of the Little Ice Age.

This is highly inconvenient as this graph in no way resembles atmospheric CO2 buildup.

This doesn't even get into 2010 being in the 2nd coldest winter in CET history which was posted here on iTulip:

http://www.itulip.com/forums/showthread.php/18143-Jan-14th-to-be-MUCH-BELOW-AVERAGE-TEMP-for-the-Upper-Mid-west-and-throughout-much-of-the-South-eastern-U.S.

Then there's sea level rise: yes, again as temperature increases, sea level rises.

But the rise has been very small and consistent - and appears to be slowing down, not speeding up:

http://sealevel.colorado.edu/current/sl_noib_global.jpg

Even at the prior rate, we're talking about 1 foot in 100 years. Hardly a catastrophe.

As for spring coming early - time will tell. Certainly the winter hasn't been mild as has been forecast for the past 3 years.

Again, I have no objection to alternative energy.

But alternative energy can be grid-parity - i.e. at or below existing grid energy costs - without the imposition of massive regressive taxes.

Trying to force a mandate via shoddy science, trying to stampede the herd into a specific political goal - this is neither objective nor rational.

It is demagoguery.

Bill_G
02-22-11, 01:30 PM
Don't the monied interests within the FIRE represent a political "Oligarchy" of sorts?

LargoWinch
02-22-11, 02:48 PM
Perhaps in the context of "In a social democracy all roads lead to inflation" OR "Thou shall not steal ... except by majority vote" - attributions unknown

I've always instinctively trusted the "mob" over the intellectuals; it is an almost intuitive inclination, which is likely shared by most. Perhaps Bernays knew this too and saw that a frontal assault could not be used b/c it would be recognized, and thus saw the subtlety of propaganda as the way.

How about a website along with the book? A practical and real time site that tackles the propaganda associated with and promulgated by various interests groups on a variety of topics. Showing the vested interests on each issue and dissecting conclusions to reveal the false/questionable premises and fallacious conclusions. "iPropaganda.com"?

Good one, but one needs to understand its target audience, hence I suggest: "Dancing with the Bullhorn"

Chris Coles
02-22-11, 03:46 PM
May I presume to give an answer. As a creative, it took me many years to learn to understand that, with many calls for "creativity" there comes a moment in time where the brain tells us to "shut up and sit down to think". It truly is quite impossible to answer every question without running the very real risk of being sent 'Nuts' in the process. So my guess here is EJ simply wants to use his time to what he views as his best advantage.

I'm going to stick to my own personal mandate that, if it is clear I have placed my proverbial "foot" in it; ))O then I should have the common decency to acknowledge that.

But thank you EJ for putting me in my place with such comprehensive answers to others questions.

AlexPKeaton
02-22-11, 08:56 PM
EJ,

How does your thinking diverge from Chomsky's in _Manufacturing Consent_?

Chomsky
02-22-11, 09:01 PM
EJ,

How does your thinking diverge from Chomsky's in _Manufacturing Consent_?


Thanks for asking this question. It perhaps obviously was the first thing that came to mind when EJ mentioned this book idea.

Jill Nephew
02-22-11, 10:49 PM
Thank you EJ for the encouragement to post. Even more surreal to have a direct response! With that encouragement, i will add a bit more to the mix...

You wrote: "Maybe as I get farther down the road in my research I’ll discover that the idea behind AGW, that explains the pattern of bullhorn propaganda..."
My personal take on the propaganda (i expect this to go down in flames as this is way outside my area of expertise...) is that oil companies wish to keep the debate alive as long as possible to postpone inevitable regulation and take as much profits as possible before the party is over. It is just a smokescreen.

You wrote: "It is generally agreed that in the last 100 years atmospheric CO2 increased from 270 to 388 parts per million, an increase of 30% of a gas that is 0.039% of an atmosphere that is 78.09% nitrogen, 20.95% oxygen, and 0.93% argon. So while the 30% change in CO2 contributes only 0.0118% to the total, CO2 may play a crucial role in the ecosystem such that even small variances can result in out-sized changes in the ecosystem, never mind a 30% increase in 100 years. Whether that result is heating or cooling of the atmosphere, or some other impact, as you say, is immaterial"

I don't want to slide into a big climate debate thing here, but there are some things you can hang your hat on.
1. CO2 is a greenhouse gas, no doubt, the others aren't, only water vapor (4%). Therefore with two identical earth systems (lets forget about feedbacks/internal dynamics that may be an effect of the CO2) the one with more CO2 will trap more outgoing radiation.
2. Now if you include feedbacks the only mechanism that gets you out of the warmer earth argument (that has been found so far to the best of my knowledge) is if you argue, we don't know how clouds react to a warmer atmosphere, so let's assume there are more (most people just assume it will stay the same in the absence of knowing). More white stuff around the planet (clouds) that reflect the sun. It could work that way. However, you add more clouds, you change where is sunny, where is cool, where it rains, where it snows so even if you kept the planet about the same temperature, you changed the climate...
2. The CO2 in the atmosphere is due to burning fossil fuels (we can carbon date it).
3. Any extra CO2 that we don't burn can green the earth to a point (plants need other stuff too and eventually that becomes limiting) but we are already measuring that a bunch is being absorbed by the oceans (again, we know it is ours by carbon dating).
4. Oceans CO2 levels are critical for all kinds of things having to do with the bio-geo-chemistry of the planet, making shells is a big one, can't do it with too much CO2, they just dissolve.
5. CO2 is a powerful greenhouse gas because it's absorption spectra falls in a gap (one of the few) that water vapor doesn't cover. Where there is less water vapor (where it is colder and the air is dryer) CO2 becomes a HUGE player. AKA the poles. The poles are white. If you melt them, they become dark and absorb more sunlight and you heat up the surface pole water (on top of having more greenhouse gases up there to warm things up). The poles are where the surface water gets dense enough to sink to the bottom of the ocean and drive the upwelling that gives us nutrients to feed the plant life on the surface that makes all the oxygen for us to breath. If you warm up that water, it may not sink. So water won't rise up somewhere else, so maybe no more oxygen? Who knows.

I dunno. Seems like a potential powder keg to me. There are a lot of moving parts that can go off the rails, and this is just a few of the many and as mentioned before, just the subset we stumbled upon so far poking around measuring stuff.

With all that, I believe part of what has fueled the AWG debate is the climate models. The policy makers asked the climate scientists to be fortune tellers (IPCC), and i believe the scientists should have told them (IMHO) sorry, that's not my job.

But instead, the modellers began trying to become fortune tellers.

Unfortunately in academia, once a sub-field is set up it becomes self funding and hard to kill. If it were up to me, i would kill that wing of academia (boy, talk about sticking my neck out!). The problem is, that the modellers have given the impression that the earth system is predictable on climactic time scales and chaotic systems simply are not. The issue is that, there are all kinds of thresholds, feedbacks and tipping points (a couple mentioned above) or simply things we have observed in the climate history that we cannot quantify enough to put in a model but concerns us, that simply are not captured. A good example - the sliding of an ice sheet off of bedrock. When does that interface become slippery enough for that sheet to go? Not really possible to model, could happen today or effectively never. Clouds and their feedbacks, impossible problem, have to wait and see.

Any climate change is a bad change, we want the climate (the average of the weather) to be stable because societies are built on them. Animals and plants can migrate and adjust their numbers, cities, water supplies, structures at sea level, agriculture, not so easy. To me the climate debate has always been first an economic one, funny how it got spun to the be the opposite.

Some other culprits in the AGW mess (from my perspective) is the organizational structure of academia. First, merit shouldn't be based on unique research for earth science. Experiments need to be coordinated across groups, repeated in a tedious and ongoing manner perhaps at the expense of new findings. Not very exciting for academics. Should be more of an 'earth corps' where people could volunteer and learn how science is done and maintain a weather station or some soil samples somewhere on the planet. Instead, we kind of fudge that climate science research and USGS has got that area covered. But really, they don't. So the data is nowhere what it could be.

Another problem is that academia is broken into silos. If academia was set up so that reviews went across disciplines and even to the general professional public, a lot of stuff would be cleaned up. For instance, if you wanted to publish a climate modelling research paper you would have a non-linear dynamics (math/computer science) expert review your paper as well as meteorologists. Either field may find your work essentially unpublishable, whereas the climate modelling community may think it is grand. If you want to publish a paper on paleoclimatology you may have to have it reviewed by statisticians, which may find your signal to noise so high that there is nothing you can conclude. If you want to publish an IPCC prediction, you may have to have it reviewed by a philosophy of science expert who would inform you that you are not answering scientific questions but speculating and placing bets.

Within the silos the academy is competitive and hierarchical by design and does not always promote the best person to be the leader of the field (it is almost impossible to displace a dictator, you will never get a group of scientists to rebel against a leader in the field that controls all the research money and yet does rotten science - weirdly, it happens).

I believe it should be replaced by a different organizational structure all together and I believe in many ways the internet is allowing that to happen in many areas. So much empirical and good data and lots of people learning how to interpret it. People like yourself self-educating across fields and gaining credibility and audience. People like me with no economic background, barely able to follow the arguments here, but grasping enough that i seem to be in the rare position to have preserved and grown my capital this past decade and stay ahead of the ball (let me take a moment to say - thank you EJ!). From what i am seeing, i don't believe the academics can keep up.

You wrote: "That is the commercial application of it; the social value is inestimable going into the kind of period we are entering now. It merits serious consideration, but there are major downsides for the writer in my position besides the cost of creating economic and market forecasting competition."

I'm not sure what other downside you are concerned about. I am guessing that to think outside the box, you have to be a closet revolutionary. And to mix with the folks you have to mix with, you have to keep a lid on it.

But I agree whole-heartedly that now is the time to put a lot on the line to build social value. It is a heroic act. And i think sometimes that we forgot what those are in this country (more of the propaganda that made us all shameless materialists).

I am biased, I quit my job a year ago as a software engineer in silicon valley working for an up and coming start-up to build and self fund a non-profit web application to attempt to harvest and grow the net amount of human wisdom and constructive future thinking and agency. To me collective human capital as character strength is the only way out of this mess we are in. I guess to support my point, i looked into an academic collaboration and was told by a professor in the closest related field that "most people from the outside are not happy with the pace and rigidity of academia and eventually prefer to work alone".

Maybe the whole system of education has made itself obsolete by its arrogance and protectionism.

flintlock
02-23-11, 10:37 AM
Just out of curiosity, how would you describe your own political views? You seem very intent on bashing libertarians.



Is this "reality" based on anything other than your authoritative assertion?

Does this reality apply to all insurance companies or simply health care?



Yes, they are crooks, no doubt about it. They have rigged legislative/judicial system to protect themselves, for example McCarran–Ferguson Act (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McCarran%E2%80%93Ferguson_Act). Most of what you mention are deceptive or fraudulent practices. I spend a good deal of my time dealing with these issues. I also would benefit from more sick people having insurance. Nonetheless, I still don't understand why not providing insurance to people who you know in advance will cost more than they will pay in premiums is somehow illegal or immoral.

Excellent post.;_BR

c1ue
02-23-11, 10:51 AM
My personal take on the propaganda (i expect this to go down in flames as this is way outside my area of expertise...) is that oil companies wish to keep the debate alive as long as possible to postpone inevitable regulation and take as much profits as possible before the party is over. It is just a smokescreen.

I've posted many times on the tens, if not hundreds of billions of dollars spent by various governments on AGW. Even now in 'News' there is a thread where it is noted that the Japanese government spent 6.5 trillion yen ($80 billion) in the last 6 years just on anti-AGW biomass research.

Thus it is quite unclear to me that the oil companies are the ones to blame. There's a lot of money sloshing around, and very little of it, if any, is in 'denial of AGW'.

There is, however, absolutely a dynamic at work: the natural gas companies want to push coal out of electricity generation. The oil companies actually spend far more donating to various foundations and universities than even all their indirect funding for all areas, and in turn the oil companies were the ones who spent the most money on alternative energy research prior to the last decade.


1. CO2 is a greenhouse gas, no doubt, the others aren't, only water vapor (4%). Therefore with two identical earth systems (lets forget about feedbacks/internal dynamics that may be an effect of the CO2) the one with more CO2 will trap more outgoing radiation.

This is true, but you're focusing only on the atmosphere. Through irrigation and dams, humans have significantly interfered with the 'natural' water cycle via the most powerful greenhouse gas: H20. In addition, it is very clear that there is at least some effect via surface albedo changes due to urbanization/infrastructure building (i.e. roads and houses). Then toss in the effect of agriculture: how does monoculture whether vegetable or animal differ than the previous 'natural' habitat.

The IPCC has chosen to call all of these as being insignificant compared to CO2, but their evidence is underwhelming being entirely based on computer modeling. As someone who has extensive experience in modeling - models only tell you what you can envision, unless straightened out by real life test cases.

Unfortunately, there cannot be a real life test case for a computer climate model extrapolating 100 years into the future, though the performance in the past 1, 2, 5, 10, and 20 year intervals is pathetic.

Lastly there are clearly natural cycles also in play. There are demonstrable multi-decadal cycles in ocean temperature behavior. There are decadal cycles in atmospheric currents. There are millenial cycles via the sun.

Thus to say that CO2 is the primary driver is to reframe the normal scientific question entirely. Normally a single factor amongst such a wealth of other factors has the burden of proof; somehow this has been reversed in 'climate science'.


2. Now if you include feedbacks the only mechanism that gets you out of the warmer earth argument (that has been found so far to the best of my knowledge) is if you argue, we don't know how clouds react to a warmer atmosphere, so let's assume there are more (most people just assume it will stay the same in the absence of knowing). More white stuff around the planet (clouds) that reflect the sun. It could work that way. However, you add more clouds, you change where is sunny, where is cool, where it rains, where it snows so even if you kept the planet about the same temperature, you changed the climate...

This again is focusing on a specific aspect related to CO2. Yes, the net effect of clouds can be either positive or negative, and there is no known method right now of either modeling or empirically measuring cloud feedback either way - though the 'consensus' assumes it is positive.

Some of these other effects include:

1) How much loss due to entropy? The models are all kilometer scale, but the fundamental behavior is all molecular scale. Also a factor in the 'butterfly effect'

Normally this is insignificant, but the warming effect due to CO2 're-absorption' is so small that it is on a similar scale as entropic losses throughout the climate system.

2) How much energy dissipated via tornados/hurricanes/typhoons?

These effects all funnel high energy air into the upper atmosphere and thus increase energy radiation into space - unclear if these scale up or down in number (there is no pattern either way), or in energy with greater temperature/atmospheric energy (Again, no pattern in total hurricane energy). Note that neither hurricane incidence nor energy has clearly increased as a function of CO2 or anything else except El Nino, but the energy lost via pumping warm air into the upper atmosphere can/should increase - because these storms function due to temperature differential, but energy radiation is a function of absolute temperature.

3) How do rainfall patterns change with temperature, if at all? This area is totally chaotic: more evaporation could mean more rain or higher water vapor in the atmosphere (in reality it has been stable/dropping). Or, warmer atmosphere could mean less water vapor and more rain. Or more rain could change surface albedos higher/lower via plant growth.

There are literally dozens of other, likely smaller effects.

The ultimate point is: whether CO2 is involved or not - it is quite unclear what the net climate feedback is, but historical evidence absolutely points toward a slight negative. There has never been a documented historical example of CO2 preceding a temperature increase; in contrast there are many periods where temperature fell even as CO2 level rose.


2. The CO2 in the atmosphere is due to burning fossil fuels (we can carbon date it).

Yes, and it also came from the atmosphere to start with. CO2 levels in the past were far far higher (10x or more).


3. Any extra CO2 that we don't burn can green the earth to a point (plants need other stuff too and eventually that becomes limiting) but we are already measuring that a bunch is being absorbed by the oceans (again, we know it is ours by carbon dating).

CO2 in the atmosphere also greens the earth. Tons of documentation showing how plants in higher CO2 environments grow faster.


4. Oceans CO2 levels are critical for all kinds of things having to do with the bio-geo-chemistry of the planet, making shells is a big one, can't do it with too much CO2, they just dissolve.

Another complete fabrication. The 'acidification' being spoken of is from something like 8.0 to 7.8 - i.e. basic, not acidic. Besides historical CO2 levels being 10x higher when present day corals were evolved, the ocean itself varies in pH well beyond this delta. This is a complete scare tactic.


5. CO2 is a powerful greenhouse gas because it's absorption spectra falls in a gap (one of the few) that water vapor doesn't cover. Where there is less water vapor (where it is colder and the air is dryer) CO2 becomes a HUGE player. AKA the poles. The poles are white. If you melt them, they become dark and absorb more sunlight and you heat up the surface pole water (on top of having more greenhouse gases up there to warm things up). The poles are where the surface water gets dense enough to sink to the bottom of the ocean and drive the upwelling that gives us nutrients to feed the plant life on the surface that makes all the oxygen for us to breath. If you warm up that water, it may not sink. So water won't rise up somewhere else, so maybe no more oxygen? Who knows.

Again, overfocus on CO2. The Arctic has been ice free several times in the past 100 years, yet no 'tipping point' was reached - furthermore historically there have been numerous cases of ice-free Arctic periods.

The research extant actually indicates that Arctic Ice is much more a function of wind patterns than temperature; Lindzen for example has noted that the increase in Arctic temperatures actually has to do with the periods between summer and winter, i.e. summer and winter temperatures are the same, it is autumn and spring which are warmer.

Similarly in the Antarctic, whatever warming purportedly occurs (and there has been documented example of peer review blocking going on there), the temperatures at worst are varying from -65 to -64...hardly a recipe for disastrous melting.

Your views on 'climate science' are admirable, but I would note that your beliefs have been shaped by the 'consensus' more than you realize.

flintlock
02-23-11, 10:53 AM
Some great posts btw.

The reason many don't buy into the AGW scenario is they see the "racket" forming to profit from it. Fix that and you might be able to convince more. But of course, a lot of the support for it flies out the window once you do that.

I'm always amazed at how people will pick their political affiliation, then only seek information that will support that party line. When in fact, there should be more randomness on how people's opinions fall in regard to the issues. So they are more influenced than they think they are.

It's also funny with some of these posts that assert, "How can you not see things like I do? Therefore you discredit yourself entirely!" Come on, that is neither tactful nor intelligent.

DSpencer
02-23-11, 01:07 PM
Libertarians in contrast desire all their rights, but without a government to regulate or enforce them.

Were it not for the bizarre focus on rights, this would otherwise be known as anarchy.

Not all all libertarians are anarchists. Many (I would guess the vast majority) do want a government to protect rights. A political philosophy with a "bizarre" focus on human rights... OH THE HORROR!!


And yes, I do bash the libertarians as represented by such fine examples of humanity as Lyndon LaRouche.

I don't know lots about Lyndon LaRouche. My understanding is that he has Marxist/Socialist/Labor party backgrounds, runs for office as a democrat and has views that are not at all typical of libertarians. I assume this is just an attempt to sling mud at a group you dislike by associating them with a political extremist. But don't just take my word for it:

"I’ve never been a Libertarian, though some people have tried to confuse me with them. I don’t know why." —Lyndon LaRouche Oct 19th 2004 (WCIN AM interview)


But I do have problems with insurance companies finding excuses not to pay, booting people out for pre-existing conditions, denying coverage for those with pre-existing conditions, etc etc - all behaviors intended to cheat on the actuarial odds.

My goal is to point out the difference between dishonest acts that defraud patients, doctors, hospitals and situations that are unfortunate but not illegal or immoral. I still think it's important to understand the details rather than just say that ins. companies are bad and therefore everything they do is bad.


Let me put it another way: if you have a terrible driving record, it is reasonable that an insurance company charge you more for providing auto insurance to you.

How often do auto insurance companies deny coverage completely to even bad drivers?

All the time. My brother can no longer get coverage through State Farm. I have State Farm for my auto and renters insurance but they won't give me an umbrella policy because my brother lives with me and they will not insure him in any way.


If you cannot understand why denial of coverage is wrong, then I cannot help you as you clearly have no idea what insurance is.

If I don't agree with your position on this issue then I'm hopeless because obviously I don't understand the issue or else I'd come to the same conclusion? Wow. Thanks for that reasoning. You may as well just type "I'm right, you're wrong" for all of your posts instead of discussing/debating.


Again, you are conflating denial of coverage with enforced coverage for all at a fixed price.

In a situation where the entire population is forced into a single plan, then this is invalid.

Equally so, if a company chooses to simply exclude the 'high risk' population from its models, then said company isn't providing insurance.

It is acting on a Ponzi scheme where those most likely to require payouts are simply booted out.


I understand the ability to vary premium payments based on risk. However, if an ins. co. estimates that a person will have a 90% chance of requiring $100k+ of medical care in the next year due to an existing condition. What are they supposed to do? Offer them premiums of $95,000 a year? It just becomes impractical.

Insuring against KNOWN outcomes is NOT the nature of insurance. The goal is to pool risk in a group where nobody knows which person will need the insurance. I do understand that insurance companies only want to insure healthy people because that's where the profit is. I also understand that health insurance is more complicated because many people have pre-existing risk factors that won't necessarily lead to expensive treatment.

There's definitely problems in our system. There's also solutions if we understand the root cause of the problems.

jk
02-23-11, 01:16 PM
some thought experiments:
1. suppose you had a crystal ball that allowed you to foresee all the medical events in a person's life. would you sell him insurance?
2. suppose you had a printout of someone's dna, with a list of relevant genes and probabilities of various medical events. would you sell him insurance?
3. if the purpose of insurance is to spread risk, and relieve the particular burden on those who happen to draw a bad number in the lottery of life, what is the purpose of underwriting? if knowing someone's zipcode, gender, ethnic background, height, weight, diet, habits and so on, allows you to assign probabilities of various medical events, how would price insurance? going back to the crystal ball model, if you price insurance so that it is essentially prepayment for services which will be delivered, what are you selling? and what do you want to do about people who under no circumstances can afford the services their illnesses will necessitate?

jiimbergin
02-23-11, 03:02 PM
some thought experiments:
1. suppose you had a crystal ball that allowed you to foresee all the medical events in a person's life. would you sell him insurance?
2. suppose you had a printout of someone's dna, with a list of relevant genes and probabilities of various medical events. would you sell him insurance?
3. if the purpose of insurance is to spread risk, and relieve the particular burden on those who happen to draw a bad number in the lottery of life, what is the purpose of underwriting? if knowing someone's zipcode, gender, ethnic background, height, weight, diet, habits and so on, allows you to assign probabilities of various medical events, how would price insurance? going back to the crystal ball model, if you price insurance so that it is essentially prepayment for services which will be delivered, what are you selling? and what do you want to do about people who under no circumstances can afford the services their illnesses will necessitate?

as a retired actuary, my answers are:

1. yes, as long as I could price it

2. same answer

3. spreading the risk is not the purpose of insurance. Spreading the risk only works when essentially all members of a given population are in the risk pool, whether voluntarily or by force. Insurance is risk taking by the insurer for a price much like a bookie, which is the purpose of underwriting. Much of what is now called health insurance is not truly insurance. Group Health insurance is not in general 'insurance". Those who can never afford their illnesses need to be taken care of by others, either family, friends, charity or the government.

DSpencer
02-23-11, 04:47 PM
some thought experiments:
1. suppose you had a crystal ball that allowed you to foresee all the medical events in a person's life. would you sell him insurance?
2. suppose you had a printout of someone's dna, with a list of relevant genes and probabilities of various medical events. would you sell him insurance?
3. if the purpose of insurance is to spread risk, and relieve the particular burden on those who happen to draw a bad number in the lottery of life, what is the purpose of underwriting? if knowing someone's zipcode, gender, ethnic background, height, weight, diet, habits and so on, allows you to assign probabilities of various medical events, how would price insurance? going back to the crystal ball model, if you price insurance so that it is essentially prepayment for services which will be delivered, what are you selling? and what do you want to do about people who under no circumstances can afford the services their illnesses will necessitate?

jiimbergin pretty much answered these how I would but here are my additional thoughts:

The prepayment of services is in many ways what a lot of insurance is today. Routine office visits, dental cleanings, lifelong pharmaceuticals, contacts/glasses. Buying insurance that covers things like this may perform a variety of functions: group discounts, preventative care incentives, subsidizing higher cost patients, etc but in my opinion it's not really "insurance" even though it's bundled together. What sense does it make for a transaction where I buy insurance that pays for contact lenses when I know in advance I will need them. The conclusion must be that either I pay more in premiums and/or the optometrist takes less in payment and the insurance company pockets the difference.

I think family, friends, and charities are the best options to take care of people who can't afford their treatment although those support systems have been somewhat displaced by government.

It's also worth mentioning that a huge percentage of medical conditions are the result of people's lifestyle choices. Everyone cries foul about how high risk people get denied coverage. In many (most?) workplaces the obese, heavy-drinking, smoker still pays the same premiums as the healthy co-worker down the hall and gets the same coverage. I'm not sure why that is considered fair. If on a national level, health care is too expensive, a big reason is that people are too unhealthy and it's mostly preventable.

jk
02-23-11, 04:48 PM
as a retired actuary, my answers are:

1. yes, as long as I could price it

2. same answer

3. spreading the risk is not the purpose of insurance. Spreading the risk only works when essentially all members of a given population are in the risk pool, whether voluntarily or by force. Insurance is risk taking by the insurer for a price much like a bookie, which is the purpose of underwriting. Much of what is now called health insurance is not truly insurance. Group Health insurance is not in general 'insurance". Those who can never afford their illnesses need to be taken care of by others, either family, friends, charity or the government.

as i understand it, the bolded text above is the reason insurance is mandatory in the recent package.

jk
02-23-11, 04:55 PM
It's also worth mentioning that a huge percentage of medical conditions are the result of people's lifestyle choices. Everyone cries foul about how high risk people get denied coverage. In many (most?) workplaces the obese, heavy-drinking, smoker still pays the same premiums as the healthy co-worker down the hall and gets the same coverage. I'm not sure why that is considered fair. If on a national level, health care is too expensive, a big reason is that people are too unhealthy and it's mostly preventable.

unfortunately, our gov'ts agricultural policies encourage the consumption of subsidized corn in all its highly processed forms: corn starch, corn oil, corn syrup. i wish we would abolish the agricultural subsidies and the corn ethanol boondoggle.

DSpencer
02-23-11, 04:58 PM
as a retired actuary, my answers are:

1. yes, as long as I could price it

2. same answer


Really, the answer should be: OF COURSE, as long as I could price it! But the real question then is: if you could buy insurance from someone who had a crystal ball and knew exactly what your medical costs would be, would you buy it? And my answer would be: definitely not!

EJ
02-23-11, 05:07 PM
Really, the answer should be: OF COURSE, as long as I could price it! But the real question then is: if you could buy insurance from someone who had a crystal ball and knew exactly what your medical costs would be, would you buy it? And my answer would be: definitely not!

INSURANCE, n. An ingenious modern game of chance in which the player is permitted to enjoy the comfortable conviction that he is beating the man who keeps the table.
- Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary (http://www.thedevilsdictionary.com)

DSpencer
02-23-11, 05:16 PM
as i understand it, the bolded text above is the reason insurance is mandatory in the recent package.

I'm more inclined to believe it's because of MONEY MONEY MONEY for the insurance companies when they get millions more insured. Plus many people who don't have insurance are healthy - which is why they don't buy insurance in the first place! Healthy people are the insurance companies' goldmine.


unfortunately, our gov'ts agricultural policies encourage the consumption of subsidized corn in all its highly processed forms: corn starch, corn oil, corn syrup. i wish we would abolish the agricultural subsidies and the corn ethanol boondoggle.

On one hand: Protectionist sugar import quotas
On the other hand: Corn subsidies to farmers

Everybody wins! Unless of course you're a US consumer and not one of these small protected/subsidized groups, in which case you lose.

When people talk about the "free market" in the US, it's hard to choose between arguing, laughing or crying.

c1ue
02-23-11, 05:16 PM
Not all all libertarians are anarchists. Many (I would guess the vast majority) do want a government to protect rights. A political philosophy with a "bizarre" focus on human rights... OH THE HORROR!!

Perhaps you can elucidate some of these human rights supposedly shared by libertarians.

Because on the one hand, they want 'human rights' to be protected by government.

But on the other hand, they don't want to pay taxes.

Similarly the lifestyle enjoyed by Americans in general is that of a wealthy nation - a nation for which its wealth is significantly furthered by the infrastructure built by government, by the laws made and enforced by government, and by institutions like public education.

My position is more that of public good. Human rights are just words; specific liberties exist not because they are 'rights' but because they are a net benefit to society either in production or prevention.


I don't know lots about Lyndon LaRouche. My understanding is that he has Marxist/Socialist/Labor party backgrounds, runs for office as a democrat and has views that are not at all typical of libertarians. I assume this is just an attempt to sling mud at a group you dislike by associating them with a political extremist. But don't just take my word for it:

"I’ve never been a Libertarian, though some people have tried to confuse me with them. I don’t know why." —Lyndon LaRouche Oct 19th 2004 (WCIN AM interview)

His quote is because in reality, his goals are similar to a number of libertarian goals. Whether he chooses to allow himself that label is irrelevant - for one thing one reason he doesn't is because there is an American Libertarian party.

As such, perhaps you should define what you consider libertarianism to be - with some specific people as examples and a platform.


My goal is to point out the difference between dishonest acts that defraud patients, doctors, hospitals and situations that are unfortunate but not illegal or immoral. I still think it's important to understand the details rather than just say that ins. companies are bad and therefore everything they do is bad.

I have never advocated the elimination of private health care insurance companies.

Nor have I advocated the heavy handed government regulation thereof.

What I have derided is the fact that these health insurance companies are not only in the business of making profit, they are specifically preventing reform via their political contributions.

Making a profit itself isn't a crime; preventing any alternatives from being developed - knowing full well this kills a lot of people unnecessarily - this is.

You'll note that what I've proposed as an alternative is a parallel public system - one based on the VA's existing infrastructure - which would give everyone an alternative to private health care.

You'll also note that I've also proposed that the government itself run a health insurance company - again as an alternative.

Because the present system is effectively an oligopoly.


All the time. My brother can no longer get coverage through State Farm. I have State Farm for my auto and renters insurance but they won't give me an umbrella policy because my brother lives with me and they will not insure him in any way.

Perhaps you can provide some details on why this is so. In particular, is this denial due to something he did, or something he might do?

If a person otherwise seemingly normal suddenly gets into 2 or 3 DUI at fault accidents, it is certainly understandable why an insurance company would no longer want to cover him - for one thing, state auto insurance regulators impose an effective cap on insurance charges. There is a point where future insurance payments will never make up for any future, much less past losses.

Keep in mind, however, that this isn't the same thing as being denied coverage for something that hasn't even happened yet. The equivalent for what health insurance companies' do is to deny collision coverage for someone who has made 2 claims due to broken windows.


If I don't agree with your position on this issue then I'm hopeless because obviously I don't understand the issue or else I'd come to the same conclusion? Wow. Thanks for that reasoning. You may as well just type "I'm right, you're wrong" for all of your posts instead of discussing/debating.

Your view is apparently that an insurance company can do whatever they want, whenever they want, however they want.

Yet this is false in its face. An insurance company has tremendous potential for abuse: Insurance companies are regulated in how they invest their 'float'- the sum of all existing insurance policy payments minus payouts - because in the past there were numerous instances where this float was embezzled, was invested recklessly, was manipulated financially, etc etc.

Similarly insurance companies are regulated on how much cash they must keep around in order to pay claims, as well as theoretically regulation on their corporate governance.

So I'd like to hear just why this behavior is considered acceptable by you - given that insurance companies are not just regulated by government, but also in many ways are subsidized by government starting with the employer tax break on corporate insurance policies.


I understand the ability to vary premium payments based on risk. However, if an ins. co. estimates that a person will have a 90% chance of requiring $100k+ of medical care in the next year due to an existing condition. What are they supposed to do? Offer them premiums of $95,000 a year? It just becomes impractical.

Insuring against KNOWN outcomes is NOT the nature of insurance. The goal is to pool risk in a group where nobody knows which person will need the insurance. I do understand that insurance companies only want to insure healthy people because that's where the profit is. I also understand that health insurance is more complicated because many people have pre-existing risk factors that won't necessarily lead to expensive treatment.

There's definitely problems in our system. There's also solutions if we understand the root cause of the problems.

I agree with your example, but the point of disagreement is seen best by adding a time component to your example.

Let's say you were perfectly healthy from age 20 to age 40, then developed the condition you note above.

The insurance company then cancels your policy.

Is this right?

It is not. Because the insurance premiums you paid in the previous 20 years were for the possibility that you'd have that or some other condition develop.

Actuarially speaking of course the insurance company has the right to preserve its financial health, but in this case what is actually happening is that the insurance company is cutting its otherwise agreed upon payout.

This is what I mean by you're not understanding how insurance works. It isn't how much of your present insurance payment is to pay some percentage of unhealthy 'free loaders', it is that your payment in aggregate with all of the others is intended to even out over the lifetime of your policy and you.

By chopping down the actual payout, the insurance company then grows even more profitable than otherwise possible via actuarial analysis.

It is very similar as a 2nd order concept to mortgages: most people focus on the monthly payment, but the reality is that every time you refinance, you've literally thrown away the payments (mostly interest) you made previously. Just because you get a lower payment does not mean that you necessarily are financially better off - in fact in most cases it is untrue.

Health insurance companies in turn rely on ignorance of this to cheat.

DSpencer
02-23-11, 05:29 PM
INSURANCE, n. An ingenious modern game of chance in which the player is permitted to enjoy the comfortable conviction that he is beating the man who keeps the table.
- Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary (http://www.thedevilsdictionary.com)

It seems like a great stock investment. Until you realize that the execs are also ripping off the shareholders:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UnitedHealth_Group#Resignation_of_McGuire


On 6 December 2007, the SEC announced a settlement under which McGuire was to repay $468 million, including a $7 million civil penalty, as a partial settlement of the backdating prosecution.

McGuire's exit compensation from UnitedHealth, expected to be around $1.1 billion, would be the largest golden parachute (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_parachute) in the history of corporate America (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporate_America).Poor guy. He had to pay back some of his backdated stock options and then just barely got over a billion dollars when he left the company.

DSpencer
02-24-11, 01:53 PM
I'm going to leave the libertarian debate for another thread that's more relevant.



What I have derided is the fact that these health insurance companies are not only in the business of making profit, they are specifically preventing reform via their political contributions.

Making a profit itself isn't a crime; preventing any alternatives from being developed - knowing full well this kills a lot of people unnecessarily - this is.

You'll note that what I've proposed as an alternative is a parallel public system - one based on the VA's existing infrastructure - which would give everyone an alternative to private health care.

You'll also note that I've also proposed that the government itself run a health insurance company - again as an alternative.

Because the present system is effectively an oligopoly.

I think our views on this subject are not as different as you're making them out to be. My view is that the insurance companies have bought themselves a politically protected position from which they can make excessive profits and never really answer for any wrongdoings.

Is your proposed public system funded entirely by its users or is it funded/subsidized by taxpayers? That distinction would be very important to me.


Your view is apparently that an insurance company can do whatever they want, whenever they want, however they want.

That's not my view at all. In fact, I've pointed out specifically that the only area I'm debating is the denial of coverage for people who have pre-existing conditions.


So I'd like to hear just why this behavior is considered acceptable by you - given that insurance companies are not just regulated by government, but also in many ways are subsidized by government starting with the employer tax break on corporate insurance policies.

This is where I think the reform should start. First, we stop these subsidies such as employer tax breaks. I think that issue alone is a big part of the problem. The consequences of that law have been very significant, widespread and negative.

As a side note, being involved in the health insurance decision process at my workplace, I hate making these decisions. Trying to choose one plan or even a couple options that are the best fit for different people in different circumstances is impossible. It's like deciding what kind house or apartment every person should live in.


It is not. Because the insurance premiums you paid in the previous 20 years were for the possibility that you'd have that or some other condition develop.


This is sort of the reverse house on fire scenario where the insurance company cancels your existing policy right when someone throws a molotov cocktail through your window

If we get rid of the other problems that protect insurance companies from competition and insulate them from any real penalties for their behavior I think these problems will be addressed. If we stop the subsidies and protective regulation and none of the problems go away, I would be much more inclined to look to regulation or public options as a solution.

Jill Nephew
02-24-11, 10:39 PM
SERIOUSLY???

Are you REALLY trying to have a climate debate with me here? That is hilarious. Did you not get that this is a waste of time? What is your agenda? Because clearly you didn't read a word i wrote and are assuming *you* have some sort of authority to judge the degree by which i have been influenced by the consensus.

You poor man. Put your energy somewhere more productive. I am seriously trying to stop this stupid climate debating.

You really want to do this? You want to spend all your energy on this vendetta? And what happens if i win? What would you do if i knocked all your facts out of the arena and left you in a bloody pool? What would that accomplish? I could address each of your points in kind. But instead lets play this game. You address my points:

1. Why do you trust somebody that says they are 'skeptics', why do you believe them?
2. Why do you trust somebody that says they are a critic?
3. Why do you not believe that you are being played as much as the opposition is being played by somebodies agenda? Why not just cut to the chase and stop fighting by proxy?
4. Why do you assume that i learned anything from the consensus? Because they are more consistent with basic physics most likely. My degree is in physics, my publications are in physics, my patent is in software algorithms, and i got kicked out of graduate school for standing up to my climate science professors. And yet, my RATIONAL view STILL falls closer to the consensus because that community as problems, but they are also way closer to correct than everything you reference.

I will not debate this any more.

I care far more about over-population, peak oil, plastics, uni-crops and the end of topsoil to be honest. This is a black hole. Get it yet? A friggin black hole.

Please, WAKE UP. And put your energy somewhere useful.

Please. Read more carefully before you assume somebody's bias. Because, in case you did not notice, you exposed yours in full glory.

bill
02-24-11, 10:59 PM
I am seriously trying to stop this stupid climate debating.



Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!
I would like to make a little $$$$$.
Now, what is Soros doing joining with Grosser and hiring Cathy Zoi.
What industries get the government checks?

http://news.cnet.com/8301-11128_3-20036038-54.html

February 24, 2011

There have been hundreds of green technology start-ups funded by venture capitalists but a new fund with an impressive pedigree is looking to scale up clean energy technologies.
Private equity company Silver Lake today said (http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Silver-Lake-to-Launch-New-bw-1055941382.html?x=0&.v=1) that it has joined with George Soros' Soros Fund Management to create Lake Kraftwerk, a fund designed for late-stage investments in energy technology companies.

Former Foundation Capital venture capitalist Adam Grosser will head the fund. Cathy Zoi, which recently resigned as acting under secretary of Energy at the Department of Energy and assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy, is part of the investment team.

Silver Lake Kraftwerk will focus on companies involved in energy efficiency, waste and emissions reduction, renewable energy, and better use of natural resources.
The point is to provide "growth capital" for companies that already have developed technology and a proven business model, Grosser said in an interview today. It will stay away from traditional project finance, the type of investments used to finance building new factories.
Specific areas that Silver Lake Kraftwerk expects to invest in are in the grid, such as sensors or software for more efficient operation, Grosser said. Efficient LED lighting, low-carbon content building materials, and alternative solar technologies are also of interest as well as remediation methods for the coal and oil industries, he said.
There have been billions of dollars of venture capital invested in the clean tech category in the past decade but there have only been a handful of companies which have successfully gone public and remain profitable, in part because energy businesses are typically require lots of capital to get to large scale.
Investors often say there's a funding gap (http://news.cnet.com/8301-11128_3-20024982-54.html) between the money that's needed to develop products and get first customers and capital to expand. Grosser said that Silver Lake Kratwerk aims to be the "last money" in before a company is self sustaining.

metalman
02-25-11, 12:08 AM
SERIOUSLY???

Are you REALLY trying to have a climate debate with me here? That is hilarious. Did you not get that this is a waste of time? What is your agenda? Because clearly you didn't read a word i wrote and are assuming *you* have some sort of authority to judge the degree by which i have been influenced by the consensus.

You poor man. Put your energy somewhere more productive. I am seriously trying to stop this stupid climate debating.

You really want to do this? You want to spend all your energy on this vendetta? And what happens if i win? What would you do if i knocked all your facts out of the arena and left you in a bloody pool? What would that accomplish? I could address each of your points in kind. But instead lets play this game. You address my points:

1. Why do you trust somebody that says they are 'skeptics', why do you believe them?
2. Why do you trust somebody that says they are a critic?
3. Why do you not believe that you are being played as much as the opposition is being played by somebodies agenda? Why not just cut to the chase and stop fighting by proxy?
4. Why do you assume that i learned anything from the consensus? Because they are more consistent with basic physics most likely. My degree is in physics, my publications are in physics, my patent is in software algorithms, and i got kicked out of graduate school for standing up to my climate science professors. And yet, my RATIONAL view STILL falls closer to the consensus because that community as problems, but they are also way closer to correct than everything you reference.

I will not debate this any more.

I care far more about over-population, peak oil, plastics, uni-crops and the end of topsoil to be honest. This is a black hole. Get it yet? A friggin black hole.

Please, WAKE UP. And put your energy somewhere useful.

Please. Read more carefully before you assume somebody's bias. Because, in case you did not notice, you exposed yours in full glory.

http://www.itulip.com/images/clapping.gifhttp://www.itulip.com/images/clapping.gifhttp://www.itulip.com/images/clapping.gif
http://www.itulip.com/images/clapping.gifhttp://www.itulip.com/images/clapping.gifhttp://www.itulip.com/images/clapping.gif
http://www.itulip.com/images/clapping.gifhttp://www.itulip.com/images/clapping.gifhttp://www.itulip.com/images/clapping.gif

c1ue
02-25-11, 01:44 AM
Is your proposed public system funded entirely by its users or is it funded/subsidized by taxpayers? That distinction would be very important to me.

Clearly if there is to be a public network, it must be funded through public funds. The question is whether/how much is needed.

I don't think there is any debate that a huge amount of public funds is already being used: between welfare/health care programs, Medicare, VA, and existing government health plans, there absolutely is already a gigantic pool of money.

Of course this pool isn't free for the taking, but then again neither does the public system need to be an end-all, be-all replacement right away.

Even taking the baby steps of having said public system be available for GP level work and/or prevention/early diagnosis would be a huge change.


That's not my view at all. In fact, I've pointed out specifically that the only area I'm debating is the denial of coverage for people who have pre-existing conditions.

Perhaps the issue is that you're talking about pre-existing conditions in isolation.

If, hypothetically, a person who's never paid a dime for health insurance got ill, then got a pre-existing condition, certainly this is a very different actuarial situation for which an insurance company justifiably can choose to protect itself.

In reality, most people have had some type of health insurance at some point. Clearly they have paid into the system, thus the denial after a pre-existing condition develops is a very different situation. And this happens because there is no portability of benefits or of 'presence' in the insurance scheme.

The reality that people need more health care as they age dovetails nicely with this paradigm.


This is where I think the reform should start. First, we stop these subsidies such as employer tax breaks. I think that issue alone is a big part of the problem. The consequences of that law have been very significant, widespread and negative.

As a side note, being involved in the health insurance decision process at my workplace, I hate making these decisions. Trying to choose one plan or even a couple options that are the best fit for different people in different circumstances is impossible. It's like deciding what kind house or apartment every person should live in.

You'll note that while I describe the employer health subsidy as a root cause of the problem, I don't advocate its unilateral repeal. Besides being extremely vulnerable to political demagoguery, it is unclear that there is any infrastructure capable of handling the switchover to a more individual health insurance paradigm.

Secondly the fact that health insurance is employer subsidized assumes the problem is only on the payment side - when in reality there is as much problem on the provider side.

It isn't that doctors are greedy - I've noted before in my own case that the doctors literally did not know what the operation cost. If the person conducting the operation doesn't know, then it is difficult to imagine a patient having a prayer of knowing.

That's why I suggest having an alternative: a provider which doesn't have a profit incentive and thus is able to inject fiscal reality into the equation.


This is sort of the reverse house on fire scenario where the insurance company cancels your existing policy right when someone throws a molotov cocktail through your window

If we get rid of the other problems that protect insurance companies from competition and insulate them from any real penalties for their behavior I think these problems will be addressed. If we stop the subsidies and protective regulation and none of the problems go away, I would be much more inclined to look to regulation or public options as a solution.

As I note above, the problem isn't just on the payment side. thus removing the subsidy isn't going to solve the problem.

What we have is a 5 decade old weed infested jungle of entrenched interests. My view is the only way to start fixing the problem is cutting a few paths through which let in some sunlight.

The objective of the public option isn't to take over health care, nor to subsidize it.

It is to inject transparency.

c1ue
02-25-11, 01:50 AM
SERIOUSLY???

Are you REALLY trying to have a climate debate with me here? That is hilarious. Did you not get that this is a waste of time? What is your agenda? Because clearly you didn't read a word i wrote and are assuming *you* have some sort of authority to judge the degree by which i have been influenced by the consensus.

You poor man. Put your energy somewhere more productive. I am seriously trying to stop this stupid climate debating.

You really want to do this? You want to spend all your energy on this vendetta? And what happens if i win? What would you do if i knocked all your facts out of the arena and left you in a bloody pool? What would that accomplish? I could address each of your points in kind. But instead lets play this game. You address my points:

1. Why do you trust somebody that says they are 'skeptics', why do you believe them?
2. Why do you trust somebody that says they are a critic?
3. Why do you not believe that you are being played as much as the opposition is being played by somebodies agenda? Why not just cut to the chase and stop fighting by proxy?
4. Why do you assume that i learned anything from the consensus? Because they are more consistent with basic physics most likely. My degree is in physics, my publications are in physics, my patent is in software algorithms, and i got kicked out of graduate school for standing up to my climate science professors. And yet, my RATIONAL view STILL falls closer to the consensus because that community as problems, but they are also way closer to correct than everything you reference.

I will not debate this any more.

I care far more about over-population, peak oil, plastics, uni-crops and the end of topsoil to be honest. This is a black hole. Get it yet? A friggin black hole.

Please, WAKE UP. And put your energy somewhere useful.

Please. Read more carefully before you assume somebody's bias. Because, in case you did not notice, you exposed yours in full glory.

You choose not to debate because in your mind, everything is 'settled'.

I posted a video in the Video section which shows a Dr. Richard Muller, a person who believes in the AGW thesis much as you do, but who recognizes the lack of scientific rigor in the present 'consensus' position.

His view at least recognizes that the criticisms leveled at the IPCC, at the high priests of AGW, are valid, and furthermore recognizes the underlying facts about CO2.

So you may not choose to debate, but the reality is that there is much to question and debate about.

Your complete faith in what you've been told is clearly unshakable, even in the face of fact.

For my part, I refuse to allow the terms of the engagement to be set by those who have demonstrated zero objectivity and capability.

You might note that I have many times clearly supported alternative energy, but not at massive subsidies. Massive subsidies help nobody except those industries which immediately profit - the poor don't get helped, the Earth doesn't get helped, nor are natural resources/energy sources conserved.

Zoi in fact is a good example: as 'Alternative Energy Czar' or whatever ridiculous title she had, she steered government funds into a company managed by her husband, as well as to a company for which she and her husband were granted 120,000 'founder' shares. This woman's presence as a 'leader' in 'investment' is actually a red flag, at least for those who care about results as opposed to movement.

You can choose to learn, or you can choose to wallow in your beliefs.

bill
02-26-11, 02:29 PM
Zoi in fact is a good example: as 'Alternative Energy Czar' or whatever ridiculous title she had, she steered government funds into a company managed by her husband, as well as to a company for which she and her husband were granted 120,000 'founder' shares. This woman's presence as a 'leader' in 'investment' is actually a red flag, at least for those who care about results as opposed to movement.

I choose to make $$$$.
Be prepared for the movement.
Like it or not carbon markets will develop.
http://www.brettonwoodsproject.org/art-567581


World Bank corners climate funds?

<!--type-->News<!--author-->|Bretton Woods Project<!--date-->|17 February 2011<!--update-->|
<!--print--><!--<a target="_blank" href="/print.shtml?cmd[884]=x-884-567581">-->

<!-- no contents list -->As governments reached an agreement at the climate negotiations in Cancun in December 2010, the World Bank continued to stir controversy as it attained a role in a new global climate fund, launched new carbon market initiatives, and touted the success of the controversial Bank-housed Climate Investment Funds.
While some civil society groups applauded the Cancun agreement, there was warning about optimism from a range of organisations. “A careful analysis will find that its text may have given the multilateral climate system a shot in the arm and positive feelings among most participants … but that it also failed to save the planet from climate change and helped pass the burden onto developing countries,” said Martin Khor, Executive Director of think tank the South Centre.
Ongoing opposition from civil society groups to the role of the Bank in climate finance came to a head, with over 100 NGOs signing an open letter to governments demanding there be no role for the Bank in future climate change architecture, and staging protests in Cancun. “[Having] directly experienced the consequences of loans, loan-financed projects and policy conditionalities, to us, it is inconceivable that this institution can be entrusted with climate finance," said Abdul Awal of SUPRO, a network of grassroots community groups in Bangladesh and a member of Jubilee South.
Others such as Brussel-based NGO Eurodad highlighted that the Bank is unfit for a role in climate finance stating “The World Bank will deliver a significant part of climate finance as loans that will very likely come attached with conditionalities, advisory services and undermine recipient ownership of the funds. The World Bank's governance structures are undemocratic, with representation dominated by governments of rich, industrialised countries that will pursue their own commercial interests through the process." The group also drew attention to the Bank's privileging of the private sector.
Despite uproar about Bank involvement, an agreement to create a new Green Climate Fund (GCF) was reached, naming the Bank as interim trustee for the first three years. This role was hotly debated, with several negotiators from developing countries trying to define that role as narrowly as possible, and civil society groups speaking out against it. Tim Gore of international NGO Oxfam expressed the opinion, repeated by many civil society organisations and delegates from developing countries, that the fund must “act under the authority of the UNFCCC … independent from institutions such as the World Bank.”
The fund is to be designed by a transitional committee that will report at the next negotiations at the end of the year in Durban. The committee will be comprised of 40 members, with 25 from developing countries, as well as staff seconded from multilateral development banks (MDBs) and UN agencies. As think tanks Overseas Development Institute and the Heinrich Boell Foundation point out in a January paper, it is likely that Bank experts will be seconded to the transitional committee to recommend operational procedures, project selection criteria, and performance standards or safeguard measures for adoption in Durban. According to UK government officials, thus far the MDBs are the only ones to put forward names for secondment. Attention has also been drawn to the question of whether and how civil society participation will take place, with more than 50 NGOs submitting a letter to the UNFCCC calling for full civil society participation as “active observers”. The letter also calls on the UNFCCC to ensure balance in those selected for the transitional committee. “We particularly encourage you to ensure the secondment of staff with expertise in areas such as gender, sustainable development and poverty alleviation, new renewable energy and efficiency technologies, and social and environmental safeguards and not over-rely on experts from the finance community and multilateral development banks,” it states.
In early February, at an event in the UK parliament, Bank president Robert Zoellick highlighted that the GCF needs resources committed to it. This was followed by the message that the Bank is eager to apply the knowledge it has gathered through the Climate Investment Funds (CIFs). In Cancun, comments from Bank staff about being a development institution that would rather apply its knowledge than just write cheques, further suggests the Bank’s ambitions for long-term participation in the international climate architecture go far beyond that of a trustee role. That said, the Bank does receive significant earnings by providing trustee services. The high costs rendered for these services led the Montreal Protocol to move to use Barclays Bank, in conjunction with UNEP, as trustee.
[B]Touting the Climate Investment Funds

The Bank held a high profile event in Cancun alongside other MDBs, hosted by Mexican president Felipe Calderón, extolling the virtues of the CIFs as “a new model for transparency, cooperation, and scaling-up climate action.” The CIFs will hold another Partnership Forum (see <CITE>Update 70 (http://www.brettonwoodsproject.org/climfin70)</CITE>) in March where stakeholders are expected to discuss lessons and experiences so far, with rumours that the focus will be on how these can be applied to the design of the GCF.
Civil society groups have highlighted an array of continuing concerns over the CIFs (see <CITE>Update 72 (http://www.brettonwoodsproject.org/climate72)</CITE>, <CITE>68 (http://www.brettonwoodsproject.org/climatefinance68)</CITE>, <CITE>61 (http://www.brettonwoodsproject.org/cif61)</CITE>), including the extent to which projects are genuinely contributing to transformational change, the monitoring and accountability of MDBs who act as implementing partners in CIF projects, and whether the CIFs are offering developmental gains. A February 2011 Eurodad report, <CITE>Storm on the horizon</CITE>, focuses on how the Bank is disbursing climate finance at the CIFs. It finds that only one sixth of the pledged funds will be delivered as grants, and that eligibility criteria for CIF funding “may constrain the policy space available for developing countries to decide on their own pathways for sustainable development.” It highlights the fact that over one third of CIF funding is channelled to the private sector, arguing that “private equity is a risky and opaque instrument, likely failing to deliver on intended climate purposes and often undermining country-led equitable and sustainable development.” It also suggests that this type of investment is often marked by “a lack of transparency and environmental and social safeguards.”
Doubts also remain over the extent and depth of community participation. A notable example is the failure of the Forest Investment Program’s Dedicated Mechanism, aimed at ensuring extensive consultation with indigenous peoples and local communities, to be developed in time to allow participation in the development of investment strategies.
A recent report by the Global Gender and Climate Alliance and the United Nations Development Programme has critiqued CIF policies' and projects' approach to gender. The report argues that CIF projects risk “perpetuating existing gender imbalances in climate change funding.”
Carbon finance

In Cancun, the Bank also launched the Partnership for Market Readiness (PMR), a fund designed to help middle-income countries establish and participate in international and domestic carbon markets through a range of market instruments. A recent report on the PMR by NGO Carbon Trade Watch identifies how it is seeking to pioneer new market instruments beyond those agreed under the UNFCCC’s Kyoto Protocol. Despite the fact that the Cancun accords state that new mechanisms should be agreed in Durban in 2011, “the Bank clearly intends to pursue the creation of new carbon market mechanisms irrespective of UNFCCC negotiations.” This includes controversial 'sectoral carbon markets', which would for the first time oblige developing countries to reduce emissions in certain specific sectors of their economies. The report warns that this could “chip away at the idea – enshrined in the UNFCCC – that Annex 1 (industrialised) countries bear the burden of current and historical responsibilities for climate change, and seek to extend further obligations to developing countries”.
The Bank’s ambition to drive forward the growth of carbon markets was further underlined in January when the Umbrella Carbon Facility, one of its carbon funds, announced a new funding tranche of $92 million. The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Bank’s private sector lending arm, also launched its $200 million Post-2012 Carbon Facility. Both funds are aimed at ensuring the operation of carbon-credit creating business beyond the potential expiration of the Kyoto Protocol commitment period in 2012, when there would no longer be a legal obligation for countries to reduce emissions.
However, a recent overview of the Bank's role in carbon markets by London based NGO the Bretton Woods Project outlines a wide range of concerns, from both civil society and internal Bank reviews, regarding the effectiveness of Bank carbon finance in reducing emissions and generating development benefits. These include a lack of meaningful additional emissions reductions, an improvement in the profitability of fossil fuel intensive industries, and a lack of focus on development in both design and monitoring of projects.

c1ue
02-27-11, 09:37 AM
I choose to make $$$$.
Be prepared for the movement.
Like it or not carbon markets will develop.

Did you invest in the Chicago Climate Exchange?

http://www.itulip.com/forums/showthread.php/17583-US-to-Gore-CO2-indulgences-not-gonna-happen.-Chicago-Climate-Exchange-is-dead.?p=181391

How about the RGGI?

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-02-23/nh-house-votes-to-repeal-cap-and-trade-program.html

What about European carbon credits? [trading suspended due to theft]

http://www.redd-monitor.org/2011/01/25/the-case-of-the-missing-carbon-credits/

Between the Republican House, and the ongoing freezing weather, and most importantly the ongoing economic malaise, carbon trading is in for a very rough ride.

bill
02-27-11, 01:13 PM
Did you invest in the Chicago Climate Exchange?

http://www.itulip.com/forums/showthread.php/17583-US-to-Gore-CO2-indulgences-not-gonna-happen.-Chicago-Climate-Exchange-is-dead.?p=181391

How about the RGGI?

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-02-23/nh-house-votes-to-repeal-cap-and-trade-program.html

What about European carbon credits? [trading suspended due to theft]

http://www.redd-monitor.org/2011/01/25/the-case-of-the-missing-carbon-credits/

Between the Republican House, and the ongoing freezing weather, and most importantly the ongoing economic malaise, carbon trading is in for a very rough ride.

I invest in “Real Assets” not paper.
Unfortunately gov. subsidies do move market pricing and low carbon energy going forward will get its fair share.
I passed on farm land in 2006 for the very reason not wanting to rely upon gov. ethanol subsidies. That was a mistake, farm land in Iowa doubled.
http://www.itulip.com/forums/showthread.php/showthread.php?p=12550#poststop

bill 07-20-07
ethanol (never exercised option on farm ground I had tied up in Iowa 1 year ago and since then the price doubled) and if Nuclear comes into the picture wind and ethanol will struggle.

I purchased over 1000 ac. (2000+ rai) and still accumulating rice and cassava farm land in Thailand. No gov. subsidies needed to turn a profit.
With oil 100+ alternative energy, energy efficiency and nuclear are more competitive without subsidies.
That does not mean I’m focused on USA market for investments.

Jill Nephew
02-27-11, 02:45 PM
I apologize for anything i said that might have been inflammatory.

I have a big emotional button around this because i watched and researched carefully the propaganda machine evolve around the 'climate skeptics' movement while being embedded in a different propaganda machine (academia).

I tried to give public talks at the time (2003) to raise the discourse to a rational argument but found that i could not find a rational audience. We simply have failed to educate our society to think critically. I tried to simply put some facts out there, but even that seems to be impossible in this environment.

Further, i find that rational solutions get little audience. The real root cause of this issue (to me) is that people aren't used to rational discourse over debate. You cannot debate facts. You debate inferences based on those facts. And in the end everybody has a couple agendas they do not wish to give up:

1. Short term economic gains and the cost of the long term
2. A desire to consume shared resources in a selfish, irresponsible manner (myself included, i would love to do a road trip right now, what hypocrisy!).

It is another variant on 'the tragedy of the commons' - with all things environmental.

As such i have 3 real tools at my disposal:
1. Try to push political agendas that force governing bodies to consider the commons at the expense of the individuals right to choose.
2. Use social pressure with my immediates (shaming, shunning, ridicule etc. - all the normal unpleasant social tools that have, for example, driven the massive green movement)
3. Educate people how to examine their thinking processes

I did 3 very poorly by escalating to make a point. Didn't feel good. Again, sorry.

c1ue
02-28-11, 12:04 PM
I apologize for anything i said that might have been inflammatory.

No worries!


I have a big emotional button around this because i watched and researched carefully the propaganda machine evolve around the 'climate skeptics' movement while being embedded in a different propaganda machine (academia).

Indeed. You may note I have not made any comments on the recent drubbing on AGW in the House due to Republicans' new control. What's going on there is purely political; the reactionary side is no more correct than the revolutionary one.



I tried to give public talks at the time (2003) to raise the discourse to a rational argument but found that i could not find a rational audience. We simply have failed to educate our society to think critically. I tried to simply put some facts out there, but even that seems to be impossible in this environment.

Further, i find that rational solutions get little audience. The real root cause of this issue (to me) is that people aren't used to rational discourse over debate. You cannot debate facts. You debate inferences based on those facts. And in the end everybody has a couple agendas they do not wish to give up:

Indeed, this is what EJ has referred to by the BullHorn and the kazoo analogy. He's also noted in this very thread how poorly this entire situation has been set up and how it seems very politically motivated as opposed to factual.

EJ has also noted, as I have (in the Austrian vs. FIRE thread: http://www.itulip.com/forums/showthread.php/18289-Austrian-School-vs.-itulip-FIRE) that there seems to be something beyond pure self interest in how people behave.

Whether this is due to enemy action (MSM), some inherent human herding behavior, some strange metaphysical/emotional meme, or combination thereof, nonetheless it seems clear that there are 'tipping points' at least with human behavior.


I did 3 very poorly by escalating to make a point. Didn't feel good. Again, sorry.

Again, no worries. I actually am fairly thick-skinned - I have no people on my 'ignore' list and I do pretty much read all thread and all replies.

At some point, generally after dozens and dozens of posts where a clear agenda and also a clear lack of desire to learn is exhibited, then I will react.

There are a number of those whom I disagree with but have agreed to disagree. Some things simply are not able to be settled by debate.

However, I would note that one fundamental weakness of rational debate is the assumption that the person/movement/idea being debated is of equally rational and objective provenance.

While I am not a conspiracy theorist - getting rich people to act in concert is no more easy than getting poor people, and likely more difficult, nonetheless all groups of people do share certain areas where there is clear mutual interest.

The furthering of this mutual interest can take many forms both conscious and subconscious.

cjppjc
02-28-11, 09:06 PM
getting rich people to act in concert is no more easy than getting poor people,

Much good could be accomplished if a way could be found to get rich people to act in the best interests of all. I wish I had a good idea.

bill
03-01-11, 11:01 AM
bill
Be prepared for the movement.
Like it or not carbon markets will develop.


On 15 February 2011 Mercer's Responsible Investment (RI) team launched Climate Change Scenarios - Implications for Strategic Asset Allocation,
http://www.mercer.com/articles/1406410


MSM
Dan Rather Reports, March 1, 2011
http://www.hd.net/programs/danrather/


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5COxe9SFBYg


I noticed Dan Rather interviewing Hyperion, they may need all the help they can get.
http://ecocentric.blogs.time.com/2011/02/23/the-first-nuclear-battery/

February 23, 2011


This week I wrote a piece for the magazine (http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2050039,00.html) on what many energy analysts believe to be the future of the nuclear industry: small modular reactors.
These mini reactors, which generate up to 300 megawatts compared to 1500 megawatts for traditional large nuclear power plants, are all the rage because they are versatile and cheap. My story focused on the smallest of the small reactors--the 25 megawatt Hyperion Power Module (a.k.a the nuclear battery) which Denver-based Hyperion Power hopes will soon fuel subdivisions, mining operations, military bases, hospitals, desalination plants and even cruise liners around the world soon.
But it is a competitor, it seems, that may be the first company to break ground on a commercial mini reactor in the U.S. This week the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) revealed to me that the Tennessee Valley Authority, the U.S.'s biggest public utility, had exchanged letters with the NRC about receiving licensing for two small reactors at its Clinch River site—and the reactors will be designed by Babcock & Wilcox, a maker of nuclear-propulsion systems for the US Navy.
That's significant because a problem facing Small Modular Reactors is that the NRC is already reviewing a dozen applications for new large reactor designs. The Babcock & Wilcox design, called mPower, is based on existing (but miniaturized) technology. That makes it more likely to have a smooth licensing process than more novel designs, the NRC told me.
The Hyperion Power Module is a new design, which the company says makes it more safe than traditional reactors but which the NRC, while not commenting the company's claims on safety, says will require the module to undergo a particularly extensive review before it can be licensed.
Hyperion's executives have expressed frustration at energy conferences about the NRC's lengthy review process, and have said that it will likely build modules abroad first as a result. Not so fast, say the NRC, as any nuclear technology exported from the U.S. would need approval from several agencies, including the NRC.
So it may be Babcock & Wilcox that wins the race to be the first mini reactor by a U.S. company. Recently Babcock & Wilcox told The Economist (http://www.economist.com/node/17647651) that the company's small reactor offers another advantage on top of mature technology: "Because it can use existing power-transmission lines without overloading them, the mPower can act as a "drop-in replacement" for ageing coal furnaces without the need for costly refurbishment."


Hyperion power's nuclear battery has all the gee-whiz factor of new technology--and it's CEO may indeed be proven correct that the reactor is a "game-changer" for the industry. But as of now, it seems that it will be reactor with more a mature and tested design that will likely be the first small reactor licensed in the U.S. by the NRC.

c1ue
03-01-11, 11:20 AM
On 15 February 2011 Mercer's Responsible Investment (RI) team launched Climate Change Scenarios - Implications for Strategic Asset Allocation,
http://www.mercer.com/articles/1406410

The problem with listening to Mercer, much a similar problem with listening to Munich Re, is that they're talking their own book.

Certainly financial companies would love to get into the Carbon Credit scheme - it allows yet another vehicle for derivatives. However, the failure of CCE as well as the ongoing failure of the European carbon credit system (it is cheaper to buy the credits than it is to actually stop emitting CO2) should form a cautionary tale.

Equally so the tale of how AGW was used to derive $82M in additional insurance premiums despite clear scientific 'consensus' that there is no upward trend in either hurricane incidence or intensity:

http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20101114/ARTICLE/11141026/2055/NEWS?p=all&tc=pgall&tc=ar


Hurricane Katrina extracted a terrifying toll -- 1,200 dead, a premier American city in ruins, and the nation in shock. Insured losses would ultimately cost the property insurance (http://www.heraldtribune.com/section/TOPIC0305//) industry $40 billion.

But Katrina did not tear a hole in the financial structure of America's property insurance (http://www.heraldtribune.com/section/TOPIC0305//) system as large as the one carved scarcely six weeks later by a largely unknown company called Risk Management Solutions.

RMS, a multimillion-dollar company that helps insurers estimate hurricane losses and other risks, brought four hand-picked scientists together in a Bermuda hotel room.

There, on a Saturday in October 2005, the company gathered the justification it needed to rewrite hurricane risk. Instead of using 120 years of history to calculate the average number of storms each year, RMS used the scientists' work as the basis for a new crystal ball, a computer model that would estimate storms for the next five years.

The change created an $82 billion gap between the money insurers had and what they needed, a hole they spent the next five years trying to fill with rate increases and policy cancellations.
RMS said the change that drove Florida property insurance bills to record highs was based on "scientific consensus."

The reality was quite different.

Today, two of the four scientists present that day no longer support the hurricane estimates they helped generate. Neither do two other scientists involved in later revisions. One says that monkeys could do as well.

In the rush to deploy a new, higher number, they say, the industry skipped the rigors of scientific method. It ignored contradictory evidence and dissent, and created penalties for those who did not do likewise. The industry flouted regulators who called the work biased, the methods ungrounded and the new computer model illegal.

Florida homeowners would have paid more even without RMS' new model. Katrina convinced the industry that hurricanes were getting bigger and more frequent. But it was RMS that first put a number to the increased danger and came up with a model to justify it.

As a result of RMS' changes, the cost to insure a home in parts of Florida hit world-record levels.
Hundreds of thousands of homeowners were forced to find new insurers as national carriers fled the state.

Yet the prediction of a more dangerous Florida has not played out.

The new RMS model called for at least 11 hurricanes to come ashore in the United States by the end of 2010, most of them aimed at Florida.

Four hurricanes struck the U.S. None hit the Sunshine State.

RMS stands by its five-year outlook and contends that the risk of hurricanes remains higher than normal. Company officials last week said they would continue to adjust their model as needed, but a single five-year lull does not disprove their results.

Yet a growing number of experts now wonder if the changes spurred by RMS -- and the accompanying spike in insurance premiums -- were justified.

The woman credited with launching the industry of hurricane modeling questions how near-term models were introduced. She accuses RMS of overselling software that lacked sufficient scientific support, and says insurers accepted the output of that model as if it were fact.

"I've never seen the industry so much just hanging on what a handful of scientists or one model would say," said Karen Clark, founder and former CEO of AIR Worldwide, an RMS competitor.

"They're just tools," Clark said.

"They're models.

"They're wrong."

FOUR MEN, FOUR HOURS

The daily papers were still blaring news about Katrina when Jim Elsner received an invitation to stay over a day in Bermuda.

The hurricane expert from Florida State University would be on the island in October for an insurance-sponsored conference on climate change. One of the sponsors, a California-based company called RMS, wanted a private discussion with him and three other attendees.

Their task: Reach consensus on how global weather patterns had changed hurricane activity.

The experts pulled aside by RMS were far from representative of the divided field of tropical cyclone science. They belonged to a camp that believed hurricane activity was on the rise and, key to RMS, shared the contested belief that computer models could accurately predict the change.

Elsner's statistical work on hurricanes and climatology included a model to predict hurricane activity six months in advance, a tool for selling catastrophe bonds and other products to investors.

There was also Tom Knutson, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration meteorologist whose research linking rising carbon dioxide levels to potential storm damage had led to censoring by the Bush White House.

Joining them was British climate physicist Mark Saunders, who argued that insurers could use model predictions from his insurance-industry-funded center to increase profits 30 percent.

The rock star in the room was Kerry Emanuel, the oracle of climate change from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Just two weeks before Katrina, one of the world's leading scientific journals had published Emanuel's concise but frightening paper claiming humanity had changed the weather and doubled the damage potential of cyclones worldwide.

Elsner said he anticipated a general and scholarly talk.

Instead, RMS asked four questions: How many more hurricanes would form from 2006 to 2010? How many would reach land? How many the Caribbean? And how long would the trend last?

Elsner's discomfort grew as he realized RMS sought numbers to hard-wire into the computer program that helps insurers set rates.

"We're not really in the business of making outlooks. We're in the business of science," he told the Herald-Tribune in a 2009 interview. "Once I realized what they were using it for, then I said, 'Wait a minute.' It's one thing to talk about these things. It's another to quantify it."

Saunders did not respond to questions from the Herald-Tribune. Knutson said if RMS were to ask again, he would provide the same hurricane assessment he gave in 2005.

But Emanuel said he entered the discussion in 2005 "a little mystified" by what RMS was doing.
He now questions the credibility of any five-year prediction of major hurricanes. There is simply too much involved.

"Had I known then what I know now," Emanuel said, "I would have been even more skeptical."
Elsner's own frustration grew when he attempted to interject a fifth question he thought critical to any discussion of short-term activity: Where would the storms go?

The RMS modelers believed Florida would remain the target of most hurricane activity. Elsner's research showed storm activity shifted through time and that it was due to move north toward the Carolinas.

But RMS' facilitator said there was not enough time to debate the matter, Elsner said. There were planes to catch.

In the end, the four scientists came up with four hurricane estimates -- similar only in that they were all above the historic average.

RMS erased that difference with a bit of fifth-grade math. It calculated the average.

Thus, the long-term reality of 0.63 major hurricanes striking the U.S. every year yielded to a prediction of 0.90.

Contrary to Elsner's research, RMS aimed most of that virtual increase at Florida.

On paper, it was a small change from one tiny number to another tiny number.

Plugged into the core of a complex software program used to estimate hurricane losses, the number rewrote property insurance in North America.

Risk was no longer a measure of what had been, but what might be. And for Floridians living along the Atlantic, disaster was 45 percent more likely.

RMS defended its new model by suggesting it had brought scientists together for a formal, structured debate.

Elsner disputes that idea.

"We were just winging it," he said.

PREDICTING APOCALYPSE

In the Oz of insurance, RMS is the man behind the curtain.

The company is a Silicon Valley prodigy created 22 years ago by four Stanford graduates and their engineering professor, who parlayed a research project into a commodity: calculating earthquake probabilities and selling them to the insurance industry.

It was a short leap from there to run odds on just about every terrible and unlikely event, from Florida hurricanes to Japanese typhoons to European tempests, what RMS CEO and co-founder Hemant Shah calls a "full portfolio of apocalyptic hazard events."

The company Shah started from his California apartment is now a $200 million-a-year enterprise.

Major insurance and reinsurance companies the world over pay annual subscriptions of $1 million or more to lease RMS' disaster-predicting software.

The impact these private models have on the insurance price homeowners pay is so great that Bob Hunter, insurance director for the Consumer Federation of America, calls them unregulated "rate bureaus."

For most of the past two decades, risk models have relied on actual hurricane activity recorded over more than 100 years to produce averages and other estimates of storm formation.

But even before Katrina, RMS was under pressure to disband the long-term outlook. Insurance insiders wanted something they believed would be more accurate. And they wanted it to forecast hurricane activity for next few years based on current conditions, not simply assume history would repeat itself.

The pressure came from several places. Some reinsurers sought validation that global warming was increasing the threat of hurricanes. Others in the industry wanted a short-term model to encourage investors, who wanted odds on their returns in the near term.

Shah says he had an obligation to pursue the short-term model because of the belief that hurricanes had gotten more dangerous.

"How are you going to incent people to mitigate their homes if you don't have the right kind of signaling on what risk really is?" he told the Herald-Tribune in 2008.

An accurate prediction of the near future could save insurers billions of dollars by indicating when to raise rates or drop policies in places most likely to be ravaged. It's the difference between predicting how many times the number 1 will appear in 100 rolls of the dice, and anticipating what number is expected for the next five rolls.

That, essentially, was what RMS promised.

RiskLink 6.0, RMS chief researcher Robert Muir-Wood wrote in a February 2006 column, "is likely to be the most eagerly awaited model ever introduced into the reinsurance market." [see below]

RUSHING TO RAISE RATES

Records show reinsurers and insurers did not wait.

Using numbers RMS provided in its promotional materials, they began increasing their own hurricane loss estimates 30 to 40 percent, six months before the new model was finished in May 2006.

Florida insurers in turn sought rate boosts in anticipation of what the new model would do to their own costs.

But the yet-unpublished five-year model did not become an industry standard until December 2005, when it was embraced by A.M. Best, the Chicago firm that provides financial ratings for insurance investors.

Best said it would determine an insurer's soundness by simulating its performance in back-to-back 100-year hurricanes as calculated by the five-year model.

The reasoning was simple.

"Catastrophe is the single largest threat of insolvency to an insurance company," Devin Inskeep, senior financial analyst at A.M. Best, said in an interview.

According to a confidential presentation one of its officers gave an industry think tank, RMS calculated its new hurricane model raised the expected cost of a major U.S. hurricane by $55 billion.

Plugging that model into A.M. Best's stress test meant the industry as a whole would need to raise $82 billion to remain solvent.

RMS' two chief competitors argued there was inadequate scientific grounding to heavily promote a five-year outlook.

Clark, at the time CEO of AIR Worldwide, said she urged A.M. Best to reconsider requiring a model "based on theories."

Having alternative models available was good, she said, but "I personally was an advocate of not rushing into something that was not tested and would have a dramatic change. Certainly, I had a lot of conversations with A.M. Best."

The warnings were not heeded. Both Eqecat and AIR eventually produced their own five-year versions, though AIR warned clients it considered the only credible version to be the long-term model.

By January 2006, five months before RMS released its new model, at least half a dozen reinsurers were pricing their contracts based on the new numbers, comments made in quarterly earnings calls show. The pricing triggered a cascade of rate hikes in Florida.

In a calculation Florida regulators learned about two years later, State Farm added a $1.5 billion "frequency adjustment" to its potential hurricane losses. That, in turn, required it to buy more reinsurance from its parent, a cost that resulted in a 47 percent rate increase to its Florida customers.

Allstate increased the loss estimates of its long-term hurricane model by 41 percent, a "climate cycle" adjustment it only briefly noted within its 4,000-page request for a 22 percent rate hike.

By the time the actual model was released in May 2006, it had already reshaped the Florida property insurance market, unleashing the largest spike in premiums in state history.

Florida has a law intended to prevent just such chaos.

A state commission must review and approve catastrophe models before insurers may use them to set rates. No short-term model has ever passed that test.

RMS in 2007 submitted its model for review by the Florida Hurricane Loss Methodology Commission -- the only body of its kind in the nation.

Meteorologists, statisticians and engineers for the commission began a lengthy review. But when RMS learned those reviewers planned to reject the model, the company withdrew it from consideration.

A draft report shows the objections centered largely on how RMS had determined its new hurricane rates.

The panel said the model change failed to meet credibility and bias tests, and it questioned how RMS had picked its four scientists and why so few were invited.

Shah later told the Herald-Tribune he believed Florida was "mucking things up," suppressing a credible view of risk "so pricing can be more affordable."

"If you artificially constrain your view of risk then you're not going to have the clarity of insight that suggests what really needs to be done to solve the problem," he said.

RMS continues to promote its short-term model as the preferred option for its customers. A survey by Bermuda officials shows it is the dominant model for Bermuda reinsurers, the most crucial source of private hurricane protection for Florida.

MONKEYS COULD DO THIS

At the outset in 2005, RMS promised to revisit its forecast at the end of every season. "If there is a material change," the company said, "rates would be updated."

So it was in October 2008 that RMS assembled a group of seven weather science experts at the Hotel Victor on Miami's South Beach.

Rather than produce their own storm predictions, they were asked by an expert in gathering scientific opinion to rank 39 different climate models that RMS would then run to produce a five-year forecast.

The man running the show was Tony O'Hagan, a British statistician who had developed drug trials for AstraZeneca. He came armed with Tiddlywinks, 30 for each scientist, to help them visualize and rank the weather simulators.

What struck University of Colorado environmental science professor Roger Pielke as he played with his pile of green chips was the pointlessness. Pielke, already a critic of the five-year forecast, believed the 39 models were a stacked deck, "biased upwards."

RMS said it gave its experts the option of sticking with a long-term average. "We were strongly encouraged not to do so," Pielke said.

Another participant, Georgia Tech climatologist Judith Curry, had her own misgivings. She believed the selection too narrow.

"I thought all of the models were wrong. I didn't have confidence in any of them," Curry said.

When RMS averaged the scientists' choices, the number of expected storms had dropped from the previous finding in 2005.

This time, the number of Category 3 and higher hurricanes expected to strike the U.S. each year dropped, from .9 to .8, a seemingly small change.

That decrease meant the risk of hurricanes had dropped by a third. Presumably, homeowners' premiums should follow suit.

But there was no rush to adjust homeowners' bills and no publicity surrounding the new scientific "consensus."

RMS in December 2008 described the results as "consistent" with past findings. It disclosed the lower numbers six months later in an April 2009 confidential report to clients. By then it was too late to effect that year's reinsurance rates for many insurance companies.

Company vice president Claire Souch denied that RMS promoted the increase and downplayed the decrease. "Our time lines were the same," she said.

Even after it was released, brokers said, the revised model was not roundly embraced.

"It is true that many 'set aside' the model change when underwriting this year," said John DeMartini, vice president at the Towers Watson brokerage.

"While they were quick to adopt near-term when it raised loss estimates, they didn't commit to sticking with it through reductions."

Following the unusually inactive 2009 season, RMS announced it would skip its annual expert review.

By fall 2010, RMS had changed its methodology to remove the human element, Souch said. Souch said a new model will be released in February. It is expected to decrease rates along the coast and increase them inland, RMS officials said.

For his part, Pielke returned to Colorado and set up a random number generator to rank RMS' 39 climate models from 2008 -- akin to blindly throwing darts to choose the best model.

The outcome nearly matched the scientists' consensus.

"So with apologies to my colleagues," he wrote in his science policy blog, "we seem to be of no greater intellectual value to RMS than a bunch of monkeys."
Note: Muir-Wood is a prominent AGW proponent, even to the point of participating in public debates:

http://omniclimate.wordpress.com/2010/02/06/ordered-notes-about-the-pielke-jr-vs-ward-vs-muir-wood-london-debate/

Zen$
03-02-11, 09:40 AM
Amen sister: "collective loss of reasoning and common sense" pretty much nails it. However, I wonder if "we" ever had it in the first place.

I will offer this perspective from armenian mystic George Ivanovich Gurdjieff:
Gurdjieff claimed that people cannot perceive reality in their current states because they do not possess consciousness but rather live in a state of a hypnotic "waking sleep".
"Man lives his life in sleep, and in sleep he dies."[16] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Gurdjieff#cite_note-15) As a result of this condition, each person perceives things from a completely subjective perspective. Gurdjieff stated that maleficent events such as wars and so on could not possibly take place if people were more awake. He asserted that people in their typical state function as unconscious automatons (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automaton), but that one can "wake up" and become a different sort of human being altogether.[17] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Gurdjieff#cite_note-16)
[source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Gurdjieff (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Gurdjieff])


Seems to be the problem on all sides of a political question.
<sup id="cite_ref-16" class="reference">
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Gurdjieff#cite_note-16)</sup>

Zen$
03-02-11, 09:45 AM
No it does not point in both directions. Her point is about the nature of the scientific method and controls and inquiry.

Sharky
03-02-11, 08:36 PM
There are two challenges facing anyone who attempts to educate the public on this topic: one, to convince the reader that 90% of human behavior is driven by unconscious impulses not by free will; and two, that our unconscious has been consciously shaped by others, that many of our own most treasured beliefs were constructed by forces beyond our own will, including the belief in free will itself.

That certainly will be a challenge, because there's no such thing as "unconscious impulses." The unconscious mind does not force you to do anything. All actions and choices are made volitionally, through free will. The fact that some people choose to evade the consequences of their actions, or choose not to focus or not to critically view the things put in front of them, is much, much different from saying that we are somehow controlled by unconscious impulses. Humans do not, and in fact cannot, simply wander around the world and rely on their unconscious for survival. In order to be acted upon, memories or concepts must first be made conscious -- whereupon they come under the influence and control of the conscious mind, which means choice and free will.

In the case of smoking, people made a choice to listen to advertising; perhaps they used those words and pictures to justify their evasion of the knowledge that smoking is harmful; they wanted to smoke, and were happy to find any reason to support that view, in spite of knowing that it was actually harmful. Blaming their subsequent actions on "unconscious impulses" is simply a cop-out.

Sharky
03-02-11, 09:01 PM
Amen sister: "collective loss of reasoning and common sense" pretty much nails it. However, I wonder if "we" ever had it in the first place.

I will offer this perspective from armenian mystic George Ivanovich Gurdjieff:
Gurdjieff claimed that people cannot perceive reality in their current states because they do not possess consciousness but rather live in a state of a hypnotic "waking sleep".
"Man lives his life in sleep, and in sleep he dies." As a result of this condition, each person perceives things from a completely subjective perspective. Gurdjieff stated that maleficent events such as wars and so on could not possibly take place if people were more awake. He asserted that people in their typical state function as unconscious automatons, but that one can "wake up" and become a different sort of human being altogether.

Mystic, subjectivist nonsense.

Humans, like all living organisms, must take specific actions in order to survive. Those actions would not be possible in a "hypnotic waking sleep." We are conscious, and to be conscious is to be conscious of something. There is a universe, and it exists independent of perception -- not because of it.

Wars don't happen because people are asleep. If the world was truly subjective, then why would wars even matter? Or how could you even be sure that there was a war?

Chomsky
03-02-11, 09:20 PM
That certainly will be a challenge, because there's no such thing as "unconscious impulses." The unconscious mind does not force you to do anything. All actions and choices are made volitionally, through free will. The fact that some people choose to evade the consequences of their actions, or choose not to focus or not to critically view the things put in front of them, is much, much different from saying that we are somehow controlled by unconscious impulses. Humans do not, and in fact cannot, simply wander around the world and rely on their unconscious for survival. In order to be acted upon, memories or concepts must first be made conscious -- whereupon they come under the influence and control of the conscious mind, which means choice and free will.

In the case of smoking, people made a choice to listen to advertising; perhaps they used those words and pictures to justify their evasion of the knowledge that smoking is harmful; they wanted to smoke, and were happy to find any reason to support that view, in spite of knowing that it was actually harmful. Blaming their subsequent actions on "unconscious impulses" is simply a cop-out.

You say this as though it were fact, but really it's very much unproven and subject to eternal ethical debate. Having convictions is great, but it doesn't mean you're right (or wrong).

Regardless, the point is that people are easily and subtly influenced, and there are manifold influences shaping people's behavior, often to their detriment.

Sharky
03-02-11, 09:48 PM
You say this as though it were fact, but really it's very much unproven and subject to eternal ethical debate. Having convictions is great, but it doesn't mean you're right (or wrong).

And just because something has been eternally debated doesn't mean that it isn't a fact, or that it can't be proven to be true. The underlying issue is, of course, philosophical -- as is the acknowledgment of the existence of any facts at all (along with their knowability).


Regardless, the point is that people are easily and subtly influenced, and there are manifold influences shaping people's behavior, often to their detriment.

People aren't "influenced" by external forces beyond their control. They allow themselves to be influenced; the resulting change in behavior is a matter of choice, not force or the "unconscious". The difference is crucial.

Sharky
03-02-11, 09:59 PM
Much good could be accomplished if a way could be found to get rich people to act in the best interests of all. I wish I had a good idea.

Do you mean doing something instead of providing jobs and investment capital? How is that not in everyone's best interests?

Is a rich person's money better spent by giving it away, or by investing it to increase not only their wealth, but the overall wealth of society?

I hope you're not thinking along the lines of Michael Moore:
http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2011/03/02/moore_on_wealthy_peoples_money_thats_not_theirs_th ats_a_national_resource_its_ours.html

jk
03-02-11, 10:02 PM
That certainly will be a challenge, because there's no such thing as "unconscious impulses." The unconscious mind does not force you to do anything. All actions and choices are made volitionally, through free will. The fact that some people choose to evade the consequences of their actions, or choose not to focus or not to critically view the things put in front of them, is much, much different from saying that we are somehow controlled by unconscious impulses. Humans do not, and in fact cannot, simply wander around the world and rely on their unconscious for survival. In order to be acted upon, memories or concepts must first be made conscious -- whereupon they come under the influence and control of the conscious mind, which means choice and free will.

In the case of smoking, people made a choice to listen to advertising; perhaps they used those words and pictures to justify their evasion of the knowledge that smoking is harmful; they wanted to smoke, and were happy to find any reason to support that view, in spite of knowing that it was actually harmful. Blaming their subsequent actions on "unconscious impulses" is simply a cop-out.

sharky, you are a font of wisdom. not only are you, by your own testimony, cognizant of the only true and objective morality, you are also an expert in the foundations of behavior and neuroscience. amazing.

the only thing greater than your knowledge is your modesty when you share it.

Sharky
03-03-11, 12:12 AM
sharky, you are a font of wisdom. not only are you, by your own testimony, cognizant of the only true and objective morality, you are also an expert in the foundations of behavior and neuroscience. amazing.

the only thing greater than your knowledge is your modesty when you share it.

Really? An ad hominem is the best you can do? No questions about how I can support the things I said? You just dismiss them out of hand? Why?

I'm an atheist too. Care to heap on any more sarcasm? Maybe with a dish of dogma or two?

c1ue
03-03-11, 02:07 AM
That certainly will be a challenge, because there's no such thing as "unconscious impulses." The unconscious mind does not force you to do anything. All actions and choices are made volitionally, through free will.

Repeatedly I been told this sentiment, but repeatedly I have not been convinced.

Because there are so many examples where both groups and individuals, even entire populations, repeatedly engage in behavior which is not just unknowingly negative, but knowingly negative.

In other words, the so called free will of these decision makers decided on behavior which was bad in every sense of the word.

Until this behavior can be explained - and stupidity isn't the only reason - the idea that there is nothing but free will is and will continue to be a myth albeit an attractive one.

Indeed, the best evidence of "free will" being a myth is often the person believing it. They somehow think they are alone, as lamp-posts in the night, standing tall and strong in their free will and self-sufficiency, when in fact they are connected to the rest of the grid by the same cables.

Chris Coles
03-03-11, 03:34 AM
This is a subject dear to my heart; but for different reasons. As I see it, we have been enormously influenced by what I have come to believe is the primary influence; instinct. A good example is if you move your hand towards a butterfly, it will "instinctively" move away from your touch. That, as such, our instinctive reaction to many events in our lives comes not from the use, or application of, knowledge; but instead, we are reacting to our instinctive impulse to react. Moreover, that such instincts take us right back to the beginning, many billions of years ago. That our instinctive reactions, long before knowledge, have shaped the way we think today. Even more so, shape "of action", must therefore be seen to be based upon each individual experience, built upon all those billions of years, of instinctively reacting to each individual event, along our individual lines of separate evolution.

That religion, (as an example), is in fact, our "instinctive" reaction to that which, in the past, we had no knowledge base upon which we could base a rational explanation for events we could not understand. That even the simplest things we take for granted today; lightening, thunder, plants dying off in the winter and re-growing in the spring, wind and rain; all must have seemed inexplicable a thousand years ago, let alone one hundred million years ago. As we all evolved from creatures that lived themselves with the same "instincts" of the butterfly; we carry that as our evolutionary burden.

It is time to move on into a more enlightened future.

Sharky
03-03-11, 05:07 AM
Because there are so many examples where both groups and individuals, even entire populations, repeatedly engage in behavior which is not just unknowingly negative, but knowingly negative.

In other words, the so called free will of these decision makers decided on behavior which was bad in every sense of the word.

Until this behavior can be explained - and stupidity isn't the only reason - the idea that there is nothing but free will is and will continue to be a myth albeit an attractive one.

Engaging in behavior that is knowingly negative doesn't happen because of a lack of free will.

The primary cause is a willful suspension of one's consciousness; the refusal to think. It's a form of evasion; not blindness, but a refusal to see. It's not automatic, or imposed; it's a conscious choice.

The motivation is wanting to have your cake and eat it too -- to want things that are contradictory, such as smoking and health, or overeating and being skinny, etc. Since it's impossible to deny reality, people evade it instead; if they don't think about something they don't like, then they can pretend it's not real. If they do this enough, it can appear automatic (although it isn't), but that doesn't change the fact that the behavior is ultimately there by choice.

Sharky
03-03-11, 05:19 AM
As I see it, we have been enormously influenced by what I have come to believe is the primary influence; instinct.

An instinct is a fixed, innate behavior; something you are born with.

Can you give an example of a behavior in humans that you think is instinctual -- something that requires no learning and therefore no use of concepts or rational thought? Religion, for example, isn't instinctual, because it requires concepts, learning and thinking, and we aren't born with it.

jk
03-03-11, 09:26 AM
Really? An ad hominem is the best you can do? No questions about how I can support the things I said? You just dismiss them out of hand? Why?

I'm an atheist too. Care to heap on any more sarcasm? Maybe with a dish of dogma or two?

1. have you LOOKED at my avatar and understood it? i prefer doubt to dogma, and flexible analysis to rigid belief. certainty is comforting, i know, but unfortunately it is usually wrong.

2. how many neuroscience courses have you taken, sharky? how many papers have you published in relevant fields? why should we accept your view of what shapes behavior? you are welcome to whatever belief system you wish to hold, but i think you are foolish to assert its validity quite so dogmatically. i have been impressed over the years that those who know and understand the most are quite aware of the limits of their knowledge.

if you want to say that what you are asserting constitutes a religion or ideology, then of course it cannot be questioned. but face it, that's what you are propounding.

c1ue
03-03-11, 09:48 AM
The primary cause is a willful suspension of one's consciousness; the refusal to think. It's a form of evasion; not blindness, but a refusal to see. It's not automatic, or imposed; it's a conscious choice.

If your language has no word for blue, you can't say or see it.

Is then your inability to see or say blue a 'willful' act?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010/jun/12/language-glass-colour-guy-deutscher

What about the numerous example of subconscious bias I've posted? The research which shows that many people - including scientists - are influenced by their belief systems despite a clear agenda to seek the truth?

Is this also willful?

The problem with your dichotomy is that it is backwards: you assume that just because the optimal course wasn't taken, that the only proximate cause is lack of will - and you engage in all sorts of twisty rationalization to prove it.

The Calvinist doctrine of predestination has much the same dogma - and much the same responses. Only the Calvinists are buttressed by their dogma that God is omnipotent and omniscient, therefore there cannot be free will - whereas you believe choice is omnipotent and omniscient, therefore there can only be free will.

vinoveri
03-03-11, 11:17 AM
1. have you LOOKED at my avatar and understood it? i prefer doubt to dogma, and flexible analysis to rigid belief. certainty is comforting, i know, but unfortunately it is usually wrong.

2. how many neuroscience courses have you taken, sharky? how many papers have you published in relevant fields? why should we accept your view of what shapes behavior? you are welcome to whatever belief system you wish to hold, but i think you are foolish to assert its validity quite so dogmatically. i have been impressed over the years that those who know and understand the most are quite aware of the limits of their knowledge.

if you want to say that what you are asserting constitutes a religion or ideology, then of course it cannot be questioned. but face it, that's what you are propounding.

I have also found that the wisest tend to be those who recognize the limitations of their own knowledge.

"Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom" ... is really a statement reflecting this principle. Humility. All cultures as far as I know throughout history have recognized and given thanks to "the gods".

In my view atheism is the easy route (and is its own dogma). Man doubt's God, Truth, purpose and meaning, but fails to doubt himself (and what we have is a narcissistic culture as a result).

When faith (read: humility prevailed), man doubted himself, but did not doubt that there is Truth, meaning, and purpose, and so sought those out, always doubting himself living up to the Ideal. The age of Ideals, chivalry, etc, are more preferable than the age of narcissism IMO.

If "Faith and Reason" is objectionable to atheist, how about "Humility and Reason"?

cjppjc
03-03-11, 01:37 PM
As Gurdjieff said, the worst thing you can tell a man is that he is asleep.

DSpencer
03-03-11, 03:00 PM
My perspective:

Consciousness and Free Will are two different concepts and not equivalent. Making a conscious decision does not mean it's isolated from outside influence nor does it mean that "free will" made the choice.

I believe that humans are wired to make decisions they perceive to be in their own best interest. They may make decisions that don't achieve the desired goal (and may even have no chance). They also prioritize based on different factors and different time frames. The decisions are generally conscious decisions but the basis for why they are made is shaped by many factors which can simplified into the concepts of nature and nurture.

I think this is where the idea of "unconscious impulses" comes into play. A person may make a conscious decision to eat a steak rather than a hamburger but he may not fully understand why he considers it preferable. Some of it may be predisposition to liking the flavor. Or maybe a recent steak advertisement. Or health concerns. He may or may not even bother to question why he makes that particular choice.

Given that I believe in cause and effect and that decisions are made through physical processes, I don't see how "free will" would exist, depending on how it is defined. Many people seem to consider it some type of mystical quality that humans have. I admit that I don't particularly "like" to believe there is no free will. I also don't like some of the implications of that belief.

Sharky
03-03-11, 06:20 PM
i prefer doubt to dogma, and flexible analysis to rigid belief. certainty is comforting, i know, but unfortunately it is usually wrong.

Certainty is usually wrong? I am certain that I am typing on a keyboard. I am certain that I am alive. I am certain that I am breathing. There is very little in my world that I am uncertain about -- and for those things, I am confident in my ability to become certain if I put in enough time and effort.


2. how many neuroscience courses have you taken, sharky? how many papers have you published in relevant fields? why should we accept your view of what shapes behavior? you are welcome to whatever belief system you wish to hold, but i think you are foolish to assert its validity quite so dogmatically. i have been impressed over the years that those who know and understand the most are quite aware of the limits of their knowledge.

Arguing from authority is weak; my background should be of no import. You should only accept my view if it makes sense to you.

The things I'm saying are readily provable to anyone willing to put in the time and effort to understand them, with no reliance on authority or faith.

Oh, my view is that the questions we are discussing here have nothing to do with neuroscience. They are issues that more reasonably fall in the area of epistemology, or perhaps the subfield of psycho-epistemology: the areas of study that address how we know things.


if you want to say that what you are asserting constitutes a religion or ideology, then of course it cannot be questioned. but face it, that's what you are propounding.

What I'm doing is arguing from a certain philosophical perspective -- it's the same thing that everyone does, although not always explicitly. Perhaps I'm more confident in my beliefs than others because I've taken the time to understand them and to prove them to myself.

Sharky
03-03-11, 06:43 PM
If your language has no word for blue, you can't say or see it.

From the link you posted:


Can we see something for which we have no word? Yes. The Greeks were able to distinguish shades of blue just as vividly as we can now, despite lacking a specific vocabulary for them.


Is then your inability to see or say blue a 'willful' act?

There are many colors that we don't have words for, yet I can both see them and describe them. There is no "inability," just a lack of desire to conceptualize -- which is a willful act.


http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010/jun/12/language-glass-colour-guy-deutscher

The author of the article has confused cause and effect. Words and language are a reflection of concepts, not the other way around. The people he writes about who don't have words for right and left don't need those words because of their ability to determine compass directions. The words don't drive their ability to navigate; their ability to navigate drives the words.


What about the numerous example of subconscious bias I've posted? The research which shows that many people - including scientists - are influenced by their belief systems despite a clear agenda to seek the truth?

Is this also willful?

Take a step back. How do people adopt a belief system in the first place? It's not forced on them; they aren't born with it. It's a matter of choice.

So yes, I agree that a belief system can influence people. However, since the adoption of belief systems is willful, so is the resulting influence.


The problem with your dichotomy is that it is backwards: you assume that just because the optimal course wasn't taken, that the only proximate cause is lack of will - and you engage in all sorts of twisty rationalization to prove it.

I'm saying that each decision we face is subject to choice, and therefore free will.


The Calvinist doctrine of predestination has much the same dogma - and much the same responses. Only the Calvinists are buttressed by their dogma that God is omnipotent and omniscient, therefore there cannot be free will - whereas you believe choice is omnipotent and omniscient, therefore there can only be free will.

Are you denying free will? Or do you think that we are free to make some choices and not others? If the latter, which choices are we not free to make?

jk
03-03-11, 09:34 PM
sharky, you espouse an ideology- a consistent belief system which does not admit of disproof. thus it fails popper's criterion for a scientific hypothesis. since i prefer science to ideology, and since i find ideological argument disturbing and distracting, i will cease replying.

c1ue
03-03-11, 10:38 PM
There are many colors that we don't have words for, yet I can both see them and describe them. There is no "inability," just a lack of desire to conceptualize -- which is a willful act.

In fact, if you deal directly with cultures that lack the same description, these people cannot in fact distinguish blue from green.

So you can say they 'see' blue, but in fact what they see is something different than what you think.


The author of the article has confused cause and effect. Words and language are a reflection of concepts, not the other way around. The people he writes about who don't have words for right and left don't need those words because of their ability to determine compass directions. The words don't drive their ability to navigate; their ability to navigate drives the words.

The author of the article seeks to illustrate a point, but the argument you use in effect assumes that concepts are identical everywhere.

In fact, this is untrue.

You again are assuming that your world view is identical to everyone else's. When I lived on Guam, there were many Guamanians who could not navigate in the street number/name sense, but could describe in great detail the landmarks of paths through the undergrowth. Clearly their concept of navigation is radically different than yours, and works better in their own context.


Take a step back. How do people adopt a belief system in the first place? It's not forced on them; they aren't born with it. It's a matter of choice.

So yes, I agree that a belief system can influence people. However, since the adoption of belief systems is willful, so is the resulting influence.

Wrong again.

You are exactly born into most of your beliefs.

The beliefs your parents have, for example, form the single largest influence on any person.

Even those who are rebels or contrarian, are oppositional to specific modes of belief, as opposed to truly original.

Or are you going to try and tell me that you were formed fully rational and educated even as a child?

It is exactly these types of bedrock belief systems which build the most insidious and pervasive biases.


I'm saying that each decision we face is subject to choice, and therefore free will.

And so, the anti-Calvinist known as the modern rationalist again exercises dogma in the face of countervailing evidence.

And again, you insist all activities are choice, when in reality most people don't even see the full menu.


Are you denying free will? Or do you think that we are free to make some choices and not others? If the latter, which choices are we not free to make?

Free will exists.

But it is far rarer and unusual than you would like to think.

The choices we fail to make can be due to fear of non-conformity. It can be due to bias. It can be due to inability to conceive. It can be due to poverty.

There are myriad reasons why choices are rarely free.

Sharky
03-03-11, 11:30 PM
sharky, you espouse an ideology- a consistent belief system which does not admit of disproof. thus it fails popper's criterion for a scientific hypothesis. since i prefer science to ideology, and since i find ideological argument disturbing and distracting, i will cease replying.

It's curious to me that so many scientists tend to reject "ideology," while silently adapting an ideology of their own. It's also surprising since philosophical areas of study such as epistemology are so central to the work they do (really "we"; I'm a scientist too). In science, how can you ever know that you truly know something, without a solid philosophical base?

Limiting yourself to falsifiable hypotheses (Popper's criterion) strikes me as a very narrow view of science and the world. Much of what we know comes from induction, which is not falsifiable. Given that ideology, though, I can see how you prefer skepticism and uncertainty.

OK, I'm done here now, too.

(no reply required)

vinoveri
03-04-11, 12:19 AM
Free will exists.

But it is far rarer and unusual than you would like to think.

The choices we fail to make can be due to fear of non-conformity. It can be due to bias. It can be due to inability to conceive. It can be due to poverty.

There are myriad reasons why choices are rarely free.

Free will exists.

Agreed that the exercise of it is subject to bias and pressure that calls into question innate, spontaneous and unhibited volition.

But that one can control one's own will is a fundamental truth. And it is this truth that is at the core of ethics/morality, responsibility or not, even collectivism vs individualism.

I believe it was the stoic philosophers who said that the only thing that an individual has control over is what they do, i.e., their will.

To me, life would have little meaning and be a bore w/o this freedom; we would be mere cattle.

The people we remember, famous and infamous, tend to be individuals of strong wills. Socrates, Thomas More, and every other martyr; Hitler and every other tryant.

c1ue
03-04-11, 08:52 AM
But that one can control one's own will is a fundamental truth. And it is this truth that is at the core of ethics/morality, responsibility or not, even collectivism vs individualism.

You'll note that I've never said you cannot control your own will.

What I've said is that most people do not.

The reasons why can be physical, it can be subconscious, it can be ignorance of other choices, bias, etc etc.

If you don't have full awareness of choices as well as knowledge of the consequences of your actions, is this then free will?

Having the capability is vastly different than exercising it.

We can all run 6 minute miles in potential, but the ones who actually are able to do it are the ones who have exercised themselves towards that capability.

If we recognize these physical limitations, why then can we not recognize the mental equivalent?

Ghent12
03-09-11, 01:11 PM
You'll note that I've never said you cannot control your own will.

What I've said is that most people do not. The choice to "go with the flow" or to "go along to get along" is still a choice. Choosing inaction is still a choice. Making a choice in ignorance is still making a choice.

c1ue
03-09-11, 02:10 PM
The choice to "go with the flow" or to "go along to get along" is still a choice. Choosing inaction is still a choice. Making a choice in ignorance is still making a choice.

So making a choice - even when you don't know you had a choice - is a decision?

I agree that inaction in certain circumstances is also an action, but to say that all actions or inactions are choices immediately removes the possibility that all choices are made to an individual's best interest.

The biggest criticism of any centralized government is that the government must make all decisions. This simply isn't possible - and gets worse if the government is a tyrant.

Conversely, however, it is equally impossible for an individual to make correct decisions on everything. There are simply too many to make - both long and short term.

That's why individuals look to their friends, family, trusted figures, society, etc for guidance on many issues - without actually thinking about said issues.

cjppjc
03-09-11, 08:09 PM
Free will is an illusion. If we make a decision can it be attributed to free will. If so then I'm wrong.

EJ
03-09-11, 08:22 PM
Free will is an illusion. If we make a decision can it be attributed to free will. If so then I'm wrong.

It's most interesting to consort with people from the East. In the West one might say, for example, to a spouse with whom one is arguing, "You made me so angry!" The idea makes no sense in the philosophy of my Eastern friends. They think, "I have allowed myself to react to this other person in a way that does not benefit me." The first thing you learn in acting school is that acting is not about pretending to be a character, but the art of reacting to others in the story and to the story itself in a way that is psychologically plausible. Free will is a very Western idea, as naive as the West is young. We are a collection of our emotional reactions to the outside world. It defines our inside world. An adult is self-aware, and understands how he or she is reacting in the moment and remains in control of the process. Children simply react without thinking. Most people are somewhere in between.

Jay
03-10-11, 06:37 AM
Engaging in behavior that is knowingly negative doesn't happen because of a lack of free will.

The primary cause is a willful suspension of one's consciousness; the refusal to think. It's a form of evasion; not blindness, but a refusal to see. It's not automatic, or imposed; it's a conscious choice.

The motivation is wanting to have your cake and eat it too -- to want things that are contradictory, such as smoking and health, or overeating and being skinny, etc. Since it's impossible to deny reality, people evade it instead; if they don't think about something they don't like, then they can pretend it's not real. If they do this enough, it can appear automatic (although it isn't), but that doesn't change the fact that the behavior is ultimately there by choice.
If I bang on your patella tendon and you are healthy, you will straighten your leg, whether you want to or not. A healthy newborn will turn its head towards a brushed cheek. As a conscious adult you may choose to run or seek out food. The dichotomy between reflex and volition is not as stark as you wish to make it.

Ghent12
03-10-11, 02:15 PM
So making a choice - even when you don't know you had a choice - is a decision?

I agree that inaction in certain circumstances is also an action, but to say that all actions or inactions are choices immediately removes the possibility that all choices are made to an individual's best interest.

The biggest criticism of any centralized government is that the government must make all decisions. This simply isn't possible - and gets worse if the government is a tyrant.

Conversely, however, it is equally impossible for an individual to make correct decisions on everything. There are simply too many to make - both long and short term.

That's why individuals look to their friends, family, trusted figures, society, etc for guidance on many issues - without actually thinking about said issues.

What you say is correct, but you must be careful when equating "acting in one's own best interest" to "making a decision from one's own will." People do not necessarily will something that will be in their own best interest by any given metric ("one's own best interest" is subject to multiple criteria and varies based upon the subjectivity of the analysis). People will what they will--that is, in a general sense, people will what they want or what they perceive to be best for them utilizing their own, unique (and impressionable) decision calculus which includes all the various criteria they care to consider.

"One's own best interest" is not some universal standard, nor is it applicable to free will except as one small aspect. I think this is where the confusion comes from.

steveaustin2006
03-10-11, 02:25 PM
It's most interesting to consort with people from the East. In the West one might say, for example, to a spouse with whom one is arguing, "You made me so angry!" The idea makes no sense in the philosophy of my Eastern friends. They think, "I have allowed myself to react to this other person in a way that does not benefit me." The first thing you learn in acting school is that acting is not about pretending to be a character, but the art of reacting to others in the story and to the story itself in a way that is psychologically plausible. Free will is a very Western idea, as naive as the West is young. We are a collection of our emotional reactions to the outside world. It defines our inside world. An adult is self-aware, and understands how he or she is reacting in the moment and remains in control of the process. Children simply react without thinking. Most people are somewhere in between.

This is precisely the thing I most admired in those I met during my travels throughout China/SE Asia/Indonesia. They seem to realize that 90% of our behavior is unconscious & impulse driven, not free will driven. To control those impulses to one's benefit is to be truly in control of oneself... or at least closer to control.

flintlock
03-19-11, 11:29 PM
Engaging in behavior that is knowingly negative doesn't happen because of a lack of free will.

The primary cause is a willful suspension of one's consciousness; the refusal to think. It's a form of evasion; not blindness, but a refusal to see. It's not automatic, or imposed; it's a conscious choice.

The motivation is wanting to have your cake and eat it too -- to want things that are contradictory, such as smoking and health, or overeating and being skinny, etc. Since it's impossible to deny reality, people evade it instead; if they don't think about something they don't like, then they can pretend it's not real. If they do this enough, it can appear automatic (although it isn't), but that doesn't change the fact that the behavior is ultimately there by choice.

So true. Only normally its 6 year olds acting this way, not adults. I say find out why some people won't grow up and you'll have your answer. Or at least part of it. Perhaps its too easy today not to grow up? Less consequences for your actions? Get fat, there a pill for that. Cancer from smoking? We treat that too. But we had this same type behavior in the past. Perhaps not so many though. Today its an epidemic.

I'll tell you one thing, people were a lot more serious in the past. Death was common happening, not just something that happens to old people or the very unlucky. That has a way of sobering up even the worst case of Peter Pan syndrome.

cjppjc
03-20-11, 07:17 AM
People who drink too much.
People who smoke too much.
People who eat too much.
People who make others miserable.
People who participate in financial bubbles.
Have they all willfully suspended their consciousness? Or are they slaves unable to breakout of their prison? If I'm not one of them, is it because I have free will? Or is there another prison that maybe I need to breakout of?

Boerg
04-12-11, 09:14 AM
A lot has happened since Feb. 17 and nothing new from EJ?

Slimprofits
04-26-11, 02:32 PM
CI: Your book idea?

EJ: It explains how the American media operates today. Two objectives. Objective one is to arm readers with a tool for self-defense, to prevent them getting sucked into the latest scam, whether it’s like the New Economy scam of the dot com era, the dream of home ownership scam of the housing bubble, or the weapons of mass destruction scam of the Iraq War. Objective two is that you can’t fix a broken system if you don’t know how it’s broken. It’s not simply an issue of media ownership concentration. The system is more subtle than that. I haven’t seen any book that adequately explains it, and going into the Peak Cheap Oil era it will be critical for Americans to understand how opinion formation is accomplished by special interests, else the public policy response is likely to be highly unconstructive, with the vast majority of Americans passionately pushing for policies that are completely against their own interests.

Joe Bageant (RIP 2010):

http://www.alternet.org/story/146888/we%27re_living_in_a_theater_state_--_plug_in_and_be_lit_up_by_the_american_hologram/

Ahhhh … Safely in the American national illusion, where all the world's a shopping expedition. Or a terrorist threat. No matter, as long as it is colorful and wiggles on the theater state's 400 million screens. Plug in and be lit up by the American Hologram.

This great loom of media images, and images of images, is so many layers deep that it has replaced reality. No one can remember the original imprint. If there was one. The hologram is a hermetic snow globe, a self-referential circuitry of images, and a Möbius loop from which there is no logical escape. Logic has zilch to do with what is going on. The smallest part holographically recapitulates the whole, and vice versa. No thinking required, we just cycle and recycle through an aural dimension. Not all that bad, I guess, if it were not generated by forces out to fuck every last pair of eyeballs and mind plugged into it.

For the clear-eyed citizen, there is a growing inner horror and despair in all this, with nowhere to turn but the Internet. The Net is a cyber reality, no more real than the hologram, and indeed a part of the hologram, though not quite yet absorbed and co-opted by capitalism. We take what relief we can find.

However, for the unquestioning rest, the hologram, taken in its entirety, constitutes the American collective consciousness. Awareness. It enshrouds every citizen, defining through its permeation the daily world in which we all operate. Whether we love or hate it, there is no escape. Go live in a shack in the woods. Call that escape. But everything in the outside world continues to run in accordance with the humming energy of the hologram. There is no cutting our umbilical link to the womb of this illusion, this mass hallucination. There is only getting a longer umbilical cord, closing your eyes, and pretending that what the rest of the nation does has no effect on you. We were all born and raised in that womb. We can no more divorce the neurochemistry and consciousness it shaped in us, than we can deny that we had an earthly mother and are of her tissue. Our consciousness is born of the hologram's connective neural and electrical tissue.
http://www.joebageant.com/joe/2007/08/the-great-ameri.html

In effect, the economic superstate generates a superhologram that offers only one channel, the shopping channel, and one sanctioned collective national experience in which every aspect is monetized and reduced to a consumer transaction. The economy becomes our life, our religion, and we are transfigured in its observance. In the absence of the sacred, buying becomes a spiritual act conducted in outer space via satellite bank transfers. All things are purchasable, and indeed, access to anything of value is through purchase. Even mood and consciousness, through psychopharmacology, to suppress our anxiety or enhance sexual performance, or cyberspace linkups to porn, palaver and purchasing opportunities. But most of all, the hologram generates and guides us to purchasing opportunities.

[..]

Through advertising and marketing, the hologram combs the fields of instinct and human desire, arranging our wants and fears in the direction of commodities or institutions. No longer are advertising and marketing merely propaganda, which is all but dead. Digitally mediated brain experience now works far below the crude propaganda zone of influence, deep in the swamps of the limbic brain, reengineering and reshaping the realms of subjective human experience.

Yet we are the hologram, because we created it. In a relentlessly cycling feedback loop, we create and project the hologram out of our collective national psyche. The hologram in turn manages our collective psyche by regulating our terrors, cravings and neurological passions through the production of wars, whores, politics, profits and manna. Like legions of locusts, we pray before its productive engines of commerce and under the shifting aurora borealis of the hologram's drama and spectacle. It is us. We are it. The psychology of the individual becomes irrelevant as the swarm relentlessly devours the earth.
http://www.joebageant.com/joe/2010/12/america-y-ur-peeps-b-so-dum.html

Two hundred years ago no one would have thought sheer volume of available facts in the digital information age would produce informed Americans. Founders of the republic, steeped in the Enlightenment as they were, and believers in an informed citizenry being vital to freedom and democracy, would be delirious with joy at the prospect. Imagine Jefferson and Franklin high on Google.

The fatal assumption was that Americans would choose to think and learn, instead of cherry picking the blogs and TV channels to reinforce their particular branded choice cultural ignorance, consumer, scientific or political, but especially political. Tom and Ben could never have guessed we would chase prepackaged spectacle, junk science, and titillating rumor such as death panels, Obama as a socialist Muslim and Biblical proof that Adam and Eve rode dinosaurs around Eden. In a nation that equates democracy with everyman's right to an opinion, no matter how ridiculous, this was probably inevitable. After all, dumb people choose dumb stuff. That's why they are called dumb.

But throw in sixty years of television's mind puddling effects, and you end up with 24 million Americans watching Bristol Palin thrashing around on Dancing with the Stars, then watch her being interviewed with all seriousness on the networks as major news. The inescapable conclusion of half of heartland America is that her mama must certainly be presidential material, even if Bristol cannot dance. It ain't a pretty picture out there in Chattanooga and Keokuk.

The other half, the liberal half, concludes that Bristol's bad dancing is part of her spawn-of-the-Devil mama's plan to take over the country, and make millions in the process, not to mention make Tina Fey and Jon Stewart richer than they already are. That's a tall order for a squirrel brained woman who recently asked a black president to "refutiate" the NAACP (though I kinda like refutiate, myself). Cultural stupidity accounts for virtually every aspect of Sarah Palin, both as a person and a political icon. Which, come to think of it, may be a pretty good reason not to "misunderstimate" her. After all, we're still talking about her in both political camps. And the woman OWNS the Huffington Post, fer Christsake. Not to mention a franchise on cultural ignorance.

Chris Coles
04-26-11, 03:03 PM
While reading the above, I was reminded of that first, spectacular, Apple Advert, where a nobody from the audience runs forward, down the centre isle of the theatre with a huge sledge hammer and throws it through the screen; except that, perhaps we are witnessing the same thing, but for real, with the collapse of US foreign policy with regard to the Middle East and North Africa.

Jill Nephew
05-09-11, 01:55 AM
This is simple, please, do tell, what do i believe? I will be surprised if you get a single answer right. You need to step back and see how you have projected a set of beliefs onto me. If you can see how you are doing this, you will have an amazing tool to use for the rest of your life. If you want to debate, start the debate there.

Chris Coles
05-09-11, 03:06 AM
But who did you post your comment towards?

Sharky
05-09-11, 04:38 AM
So true. Only normally its 6 year olds acting this way, not adults. I say find out why some people won't grow up and you'll have your answer. Or at least part of it. Perhaps its too easy today not to grow up? Less consequences for your actions? Get fat, there a pill for that. Cancer from smoking? We treat that too. But we had this same type behavior in the past. Perhaps not so many though. Today its an epidemic.

I think the epidemic we're seeing today is the subordination of emotions to thought. People readily come to believe that they cannot control their emotional impulses, and that they must "learn to live with them" instead (in other words, give in, but have an excuse).

Emotions come from ideas. People come to ideas by either thinking or non-thinking, and this is a choice. This means there is a volitional acceptance, though not necessarily a conscious acceptance of those ideas. Free will is the choice to be conceptually conscious or to lapse toward the perceptual level.

"Thinking is not an automatic function. In any hour and issue of his life, man is free to think or to evade that effort. Thinking requires a state of full, focused awareness. The act of focusing one's consciousness is volitional. Man can focus his mind to a full, active, purposefully directed awareness of reality—or he can unfocus it and let himself drift in a semiconscious daze, merely reacting to any chance stimulus of the immediate moment, at the mercy of his undirected sensory-perceptual mechanism and of any random, associational connections it might happen to make." (in other words, acting on emotional impulse).