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The decision by Facebook cofounder, Eduardo Saverin, to relinquish his US citizenship led to a huge outcry, and to new bi-partiscan (a very rare event indeed) to tax him in advance and prohibit him from re-entering the country (the Ex-Patriot Act).  This is not a new phenomenon by the way. Kenneth Dart, inheritor to a styrofoam cup company and a few millions (billions?), renounced his US citizenship and became a citizen of Belize, a flight capital haven, in the 1990s for the same reason.

William McNeill differentiates between the micro-parasites and the macro-parasites, and Saverin and Dart are clearly in latter category. Macro-parasites also benefit from the host, and harm it in the process. And they evolve too. Dart is the owner of a Vulture Fund that made millions (700 or so) out of the Argentinean default back in the early 2000s.

Now, even though it has not received much attention, his Vulture fund has cashed US$ 400 millions out of the Greek payments after the last debt restructuring deal. Yep, there is where the money of Greek tax payers squeezed by the austerity programs of the EU and the IMF goes. Parasites and vultures exist, and will continue to thrive in capitalism, but there is no reason that governments should allow that to happen.

The impunite of parasites, vultures and other types of economic agents results from the lack of regulation with which corporations can act, and that has been the backbone of the neoliberal agenda. But I'll let the discussion of corporations for another post.

PS: Somebody reminded me that what Bain Capital and other private equity firms do is not very different from the parasitical behavior described above.

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Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
badnewswade
May. 28th, 2012 01:12 am (UTC)
Yes but this isn't going to change as long as Billy Joe-Blob and Edna Couchpotato remain convinced that the REAL problem is welfare claimants (ie, the victims of this system).

The thing to do is to market this message (ie, the truth) to the stupid, ignorant fuckwads who actually hold the balance of power in the world, to wit - the electorate.

This is a daunting task indeed, as you face a vast propaganda complex. The very best of luck to you.

Edited at 2012-05-28 01:12 am (UTC)
nebris
May. 28th, 2012 01:16 am (UTC)
stupid, ignorant fuckwads
badnewswade
May. 28th, 2012 01:29 am (UTC)
Re: stupid, ignorant fuckwads
Exactly. Tough call, huh? But that's what it all comes down to: Public Relations. P.R.

One can sell lies easily enough - so in theory the truth should be a really easy sell. But for psychological reasons, it's not: the truth is painful, it's hard to swallow. What we have to do is learn the deep psychology of the people you're trying to convince, and tailor our message to them.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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What is the
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According to the laypress, and even many economists, a recession is defined as two consecutive quarters of negative GDP (Gross Domestic Product). While this very simple definition is usually the case during recessions, it is not always so.

Most experts now acknowledge that GDP alone is an insufficient determinant of recession.

For one, GDP is often revised several quarters - even years - later, as more complete information becomes available that changes the components of the earlier, initial GDP estimates in what can be very substantial ways.

For another, not all serious downturns exact as serious a toll on GDP. Often, the decline is much more pronounced in GDI (Gross Domestic Income) and/or employment. If the income or employment of a nation is undergoing a pronounced, pervasive and prolonged decline even if for whatever various reasons its GDP may be holding up, is it not foolish to deny that a recession is underway?

For these reasons and others, the NBER (National Bureau of Economic Research), the official arbiter of recessions and expansions in the United States, determines whether or not the US has fallen into recession using a much more holistic approach.

As the NBER explains it:
Q: The financial press often states the definition of a recession as two consecutive quarters of decline in real GDP. How does that relate to the NBER's recession dating procedure?

A:
Most of the recessions identified by our procedures do consist of two or more quarters of declining real GDP, but not all of them. In 2001, for example, the recession did not include two consecutive quarters of decline in real GDP. In the recession beginning in December 2007 and ending in June 2009, real GDP declined in the first, third, and fourth quarters of 2008 and in the first quarter of 2009. The committee places real Gross Domestic Income on an equal footing with real GDP; real GDI declined for six consecutive quarters in the recent recession.

Q: Why doesn't the committee accept the two-quarter definition?

A:
The committee's procedure for identifying turning points differs from the two-quarter rule in a number of ways. First, we do not identify economic activity solely with real GDP and real GDI, but use a range of other indicators as well. Second, we place considerable emphasis on monthly indicators in arriving at a monthly chronology. Third, we consider the depth of the decline in economic activity. Recall that our definition includes the phrase, "a significant decline in activity." Fourth, in examining the behavior of domestic production, we consider not only the conventional product-side GDP estimates, but also the conceptually equivalent income-side GDI estimates. The differences between these two sets of estimates were particularly evident in the recessions of 2001 and 2007-2009.

Q: How does the committee weight employment in determining the dates of peaks and troughs?

A.
In the 2007-2009 recession, the central indicators–real GDP and real GDI–gave mixed signals about the peak date and a clear signal about the trough date. The peak date at the end of 2007 coincided with the peak in employment. We designated June 2009 as the trough, six months before the trough in employment, which is consistent with earlier trough dates in the NBER business-cycle chronology. In the 2001 recession, we found a clear signal in employment and a mixed one in the various measures of output. Consequently, we picked the peak month based on the clear signal in employment, as well as our consideration of output and other measures. In that cycle, as well, the dating of the trough relied primarily on output measures.

Q: Isn't a recession a period of diminished economic activity?

A:
It's more accurate to say that a recession–the way we use the word–is a period of diminishing activity rather than diminished activity. We identify a month when the economy reached a peak of activity and a later month when the economy reached a trough. The time in between is a recession, a period when economic activity is contracting. The following period is an expansion. As of September 2010, when we decided that a trough had occurred in June 2009, the economy was still weak, with lingering high unemployment, but had expanded considerably from its trough 15 months earlier.









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In the most general sense a Double Dip Recession occurs when an economy falls back into contraction for at least a couple of months (usually at least six) after a relatively brief expansion.

By this definition, the recession of 1981-82 which followed a year-long expansion after the very short, two quarter's long 1980 recession, seems to qualify. Also by this broad definition, the 1937 recession that occurred four years after the end of the 1929-1933 recession also qualifies. While each of those were technically "new" recessions, they happened so soon after their predecessors that many people tend to think of the separate 1980 & 1981-82 recessions as one nasty, long recession. Similarly, most people think of the 1929-1933 & 1937 recessions as encompassing "The Great Depression."

Another definition of a "Double Dip Recession" would be that of a recession which technically has not ended, and was only punctuated by a quarter or twos worth of head-fake rise in GDP. Many recessions throughout history have had such false hopes, only to swoon back down into contraction, until they finally came to an end.


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An alternate measure of a nation's wealth was conceptualized several decades ago as a means of cutting through the overemphasis on materialism of traditional wealth measures, and seeing the bigger picture.

According to GNHUSA.Org

  Gross National Happiness (GNH) is an indicator developed in Bhutan in the Himalayas, based on the concept elaborated in 1972 by the then King Jigme Singye Wangchuck. Since then, the kingdom of Bhutan, with the support of UNDP (UN Development Program), began to put this concept into practice, and has attracted the attention of the rest of the world with its new formula to measure the progress of a community or nation.

GNH is based on the premise that the calculation of "wealth" should consider other aspects besides economic development: the preservation of the environment and the quality of life of the people. The goal of a society should be the integration of material development with psychological, cultural, and spiritual aspects - all in harmony with the Earth.

The Four Pillars of GNH

  • the promotion of equitable and sustainable socio-economic development
  • the preservation and promotion of cultural values
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  • the establishment of good governance.



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