Ode to the Kurds

The Kurds have been shamefully abandoned by President Trump despite there being a loyal ally.

Explain this as imperialist expansion in service to authoritarian dictators Putin and to Erdogon

Then indicate that the Kurds were followers of Murray Bookchin.

Delphi Definition

Delphi as Zettelkasten or EIC, compiles, uh, WaynesWorld as PostProfWork.

Delphi captures mission of lighting a path to the future (2050), which, to me, looks bleak. So, rediscover notion of ProfWork as K2L around a speculative foresight knowledge base, of sorts.

Major breakthrough based on CMS in WP.

Will Big Oil sabotage carbon budgets?

Oil Companies Will Sabotage Global Carbon Budgets

According to a reliable report by an energy analyst, says the Guardian, oil companies will increase production even as global demand slows. Huh?

Look at the situation this way. Oil companies own the rights to a resource whose value will be threatened by a mandate to lower carbon emissions and by competition from renewable resources. The longer they wait to liquidate these resources, the more they will lose in market price, so produce now. These corporate citizens (Citizens United ruling by SCOTUS) maximize profit. This is capitalism in action.

According to the IMF, a massive increase in the carbon tax to $75/ton (now shadow priced at $2) will be needed. Nobody believes that this will happen.

If oil companies flood the market, their action lowers the price, inhibits fuel shifting, and destroys the carbon budget allocation. This also threatens their “social license to operate,” so they must use their enormous political clout to prevent policies such as a carbon tax.

I have long publicly stated that such behavior can be expected by oil companies and sovereign wealth funds and that efforts to forestall such climate-destructive actions will never happen.

This behavior is among those that I believe create an inexorable conflict between capitalism and climate warming, which, given time lags and subtle feedback, will contribute to a climate catastrophe by the middle of the 21st century.

Discussion

This stub reflects my concern that a handful of oil interests can undermine the well-being of all of humanity and contribute to the ecocide unfolding around us. In my opinion, this destruction will not be stopped.

I intend to elaborate further, soon.

Recession?

Recession? Stakes are High

Maybe in USA but “yes” in rest of world (ROW), even China. The Friday Jobs Report provides an unclear snapshot: the economy slows but labor markets hit 3.5% unemployment rate and the consumer, 70% of the US economy, remains strong — although concerns about a weak second consecutive holiday buying season are widespread. The US stock market,  a leading indicator, has sharply declined recently. Folks are worried, uncertainty abounds, financial conditions are tightening and trends inflect downward. Even the Federal Reserve is worried, so is Bullard.

A main drag is the ongoing Trump-initiated trade war, focused on China but spreading to the EU — which will surely evoke a response from the EU designed to hurt key industries in the USA, such as Cummins and Deere. And the robots are coming.

So, our paradigms fail to help us understand and to forecast: The weakest economy in the EU is Germany while the strongest is Greece. Brexit? China? Iran? Shock to oil supply? Upcoming US elections lurk in the background. Go figure.

The declaration of recession from NBER comes well after the recession has begun. Every recession is different, so policy-makers, widely percieved as failing, fight the last recession, not the recession under their feet. Watch the Atlanta Fed for hard numbers.

Are Profits Falling? Manufacturing is.

The critical, typically high-wage, manufacturing sector trends downward:

Thomas Piketty rocked the economic world with his book. The core driver of inequality: r > g. Profits drive capitalist investment, expansion, and economic growth.

I contend that in the period 2019-2030, profits, investment, and productivity will decline, dragging down economic growth and evoking an internal contradiction within capitalism between two camps: good capitalism and bad capitalism. Therein lies the story.

 

Climate, capitalism, and class

Dear Reader: See “The only way to halt climate change is to challenge the logic of capitalism,” by Grace Blakely in the of the New Statesman.  Ms. Blakely rightly points out that the rich cause climate change that their class imposes on the poor. Indeed. Such is the logic of capitalism, in part.

The article otherwise does not spell out the “logic of capitalism,” a daunting challenge. I try to do this in the context of climate change. My strategy tries to grasp the expected changes that create vulnerabilities among the many varieties of capitalism, some more virulent (neoliberalism, the USA under Trump) and some less (see Norway).

Ms. Blakely states that the Earth’s temperature will rise by over 3 degrees Celsius by 2030 — news to me, but we do not know: Hence the precautionary principle should be evoked. A 3 degree Celsius rise would be catastrophic and likely irreversible, crossing many unknowable tipping points/

The inter-generational aspects of climate change is another insight offered by Ms. Blakely: The older folks, like myself, caused climate change, but younger people will feel its full impacts. I also point out that budget deficits and degraded infrastructure will also be a part of this shameful legacy — which I think are also internal to virulent capitalism.

So, I recommend the article, but still seek to define the inner logic of capitalism and attempt to offer a feasible path toward an alternative, knowing that time is short.

Join this effort in your own unique way, but let me know how you feel.

Wayne Hayes

April 8, 2019