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Daily Digest 5/24 - CA Single Payer Proposal Could Run $400B, LA Budget "A Train Wreck"

Chris Martenson - 8 hours 47 min ago
  • Tab For Single-Payer Proposal In California Could Run $400 Billion
  • Lawmaker says Chavez's childhood home set aflame (Venezuela)
  • LA’s Budget: A Train Wreck
  • Chicago school board to consider up to $500 million more long-term borrowing
  • Puerto Rico pension, highway agency join government in bankruptcy
  • Kentucky Needs $700 Million More Per Year for Pension Debt
  • Top credit agency fears Sydney is a bubble that could burst
  • The day China’s version of the Lehman crisis explodes
  • Canada Must Deflate Its Housing Bubble

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Categories: Economics

Trump’s Budget Is Full of Contempt—and Numbers That Don’t Add Up

Trillions of imaginary dollars run throughout the budget. Never mind “fake news.” This is fake government.
Categories: Economics

Global Sharing Week 2017 Puts Social Impact in the Spotlight

Shareable Magazine - May 23, 2017 - 10:25

It's nearly that time of year again when Global Sharing Week, the largest mass engagement campaign on the sharing economy co-organized by The People Who Share and Shareable, turns the spotlight on just what sharing can achieve. 

Categories: Economics

Daily Digest 5/23 - Sea Level Rise 'Accelerating,' Adverse Childhood Experiences Trigger Addiction

Chris Martenson - May 23, 2017 - 08:58
  • Even Harley-Davidson Can’t Resist the Tug of Overseas Factories
  • Addiction doc says: It’s not the drugs. It’s the ACEs – adverse childhood experiences
  • An Underground College For Undocumented Immigrants
  • Pew Research
  • Shale Oil & Gas Production Costs Spiral Higher As Monstrous Decline Rates Eat Into Cash Flows
  • The 5 Possible Outcomes Of The OPEC Meeting
  • My Electric Bike is Not ‘Cheating.’ And It Could Replace Cars for Millions of People
  • New sea level estimates show strong, recent acceleration

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Categories: Economics

Why Bernie Sanders Is Pushing for More Employee-Owners in the Workforce

In times when Washington is unlikely to agree on much, employee ownership offers a bipartisan approach toward building a stronger and more just economy.
Categories: Economics

German Nonprofit Creates New Open-Source License for Seeds

Shareable Magazine - May 22, 2017 - 13:46

We know about open-source software and hardware, but can the concept – decentralized development and open collaboration for the common good – be expanded to address other global challenges? The nonprofit OpenSourceSeeds based in German town of Marburg has just launched a licensing process for open-source seeds, to create a new repository of genetic material that can be accessed by farmers around the world, in perpetuity.

Categories: Economics

Podcast: Anthropologist Jason Hickel on How Capitalism Fuels Climate Change

Shareable Magazine - May 22, 2017 - 13:14

In this episode, we spoke with Jason Hickel, an anthropologist at the London School of Economics. Originally from Swaziland, Hickel's research has focused on development and globalization. He has written extensively on a number of topics, including inequality, climate change, basic income, and soil regeneration.

Categories: Economics

Daily Digest 5/22 - What The Health Insurance Market Needs, Lights Going Out In The Middle East

Chris Martenson - May 22, 2017 - 07:48
  • The Lights Are Going Out In The Middle East
  • Where Both the ACA and AHCA Fall Short, and What the Health Insurance Market Really Needs
  • Longer jail sentences do deter crime, but only up to a point
  • It Pays To Ignore Wall Street
  • Modernism - Part Three
  • U.S. regulators approve VW diesel fix for 84,000 vehicles
  • “By 2030, 95% Of Consumers In The World Won’t Own A Car”
  • The Race to Understand Black Carbon’s Climate Impact

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Categories: Economics

Joel Salatin: Curing Society's Constipation Of Imagination

Chris Martenson - May 21, 2017 - 17:19

The always colorful "renegade farmer" Joel Salatin returns to the podcast this week to share his latest thoughts on creative yet practical solutions society could and should be pursuing vs limiting and litigating everything under the sun.

Much of what's needed is a shift in thinking and priorities, says Salatin. And it starts with embracing initiative, accountability, and a 'do more with what we have' mentality -- which stands in stark contrast to the "we just need more stuff" narrative of today's status quo.

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Categories: Economics

Daily Digest 5/20 - Trump Won't Break Up Big Banks, Who's Hiring and Who's Firing

Chris Martenson - May 20, 2017 - 08:46
  • Employment: Pick a Number, Any Number
  • It's Official: The Trump Administration Won't Break Up Big Banks
  • Betsy DeVos hits hard reset on student loan servicing contracts
  • Who’s Hiring? (Software Companies) Who’s Firing? (Hardware)
  • Brain Region Found to be Associated With Fear of Uncertain Future
  • Silver: Train Leaving Station Soon
  • New French Science Minister Appointed
  • The Painful Truth About Teeth 
  • America's Largest Pension Fund Has Dumped a Fortune Into Monsanto Stock
  • The Secret Life Of Urban Crows

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Categories: Economics

Software needed by the Credit Commons Collective

Matslats - May 20, 2017 - 02:31
The Credit Commons Collective is collaboration between, initially at least, three community currency networks.
  • CES has been providing community currency software-as-a-service since 2002
  • Community Forge has been providing free web sites for LETS and timebanks since 2009
  • CES Australia became independent from CES in 2011, to run its own local web server.

Despite their social impact, these networks find it very hard to engage software developers, to keep up to date, to embrace recent technologies, to be visible to donors. We see the froth of innovation all around us, beautiful new software galore but with zero users, while our networks which have outgrown what any single developer could support, are stagnating.

We want to transition to a new software architecture which

  • uses new languages and approaches and hence has a ready pool of volunteers.
  • allows our different local communities more ways to interact
  • is comprised of smaller, more modular components for ease of maintenance and ownership by many parties
  • has re-usable components so we don't have to reinvent the wheel.
  • allows members to be identifiable within the group, but private from the outside.
  • supports non-community currency groups with tools not tied to a particular ideology.

This probably needs to be done gradually, delivering benefits to users at each stage. So I'm going to describe the series of initiatives which we have in mind.

1. Mobile phone app.
Our platforms and other community currency platforms are way behind when it comes to mobile app development and we are surely failing to reach the young and the poor. However since the functions of community exchange are very similar in all platforms, we should all be able to use the same mobile app. It is a relatively simple matter to extend each platform to serve the same API, and much progress has been made on this. But we need app developers to finish it!
2. Standardised noticeboard index
There are many, many advertising spaces on various web platforms from facebook.com to streetbank.com. But with different networks competing in the same spaces, users unable to see their next-door neighbours on different platforms are not being well served. We want to create a web service for indexing member ads accross platforms, with a REST interface to interrogate it. Ads should be geolocated and the host platforms should forward messages to the ad owners in order to restrict their identities only to the respective groups of which they are members. We want the ads themselves to be in a politically neutral space (like a blockchain) and to choose which sources of ads to index for our users. We think this tech would be widely useful, and if we had it right now we could migrate off CES ancient platform.
3. Standardised ledger service (becoming Credit commons service)
Each community and each platform currently does its own accounting in its own database. This works if you think a community currency is so specialised as to justify its own platform, but if you want to add a currency to an existing community it is less useful. We need therefore a REST service for community currency accounting, so that app developers do not have to build a back end - they can just plug in. Another reason for standardising the accounting function is to make transactions interoperable, as described in our Credit Commons white paper

We imagine other standardised REST services for group applications, for example savings pools accounting, forums, news & events, ridesharing, governance/decision-making. They would serve equally well both the outdated web platforms we now use and the more modern app-only approach.

The collective exists to offer software and coordination not only for complementary currency projects but for, broadly speaking, the rather dispersed relocalisation movement. We believe decentralisation is an important political goal, but not an absolute Good; coordination is critical within decentralised structures.

Will you help us? We are seeking long term volunteers to commit of course to writing and maintaining software, and also to spreading the word, building relationships, seeking funding, translating.

Categories: Blogs

Prepare For The Great Global Contraction

Chris Martenson - May 19, 2017 - 17:01
Executive Summary
  • The repercussions of the Fed's Free Money Machine
  • Why debt-funded state control stagnates productivity
  • The importance of the 8-year cycle
  • What should guide investors' focus and decisions

If you have not yet read Part 1: How Long Can The Great Global Reflation Continue? available free to all readers, please click here to read it first.

In Part 1, we asked these questions: can we just keep doubling and tripling the economy’s debt load every few years? What if household incomes continue declining? Are these trends sustainable?

In the near-term, we asked: is this Great Reflation running out of steam, or is it poised for yet another leg higher? Which is more likely?

Let’s start by looking at the mechanism that funds the government’s deficit spending, i.e. its ability to borrow and spend enormous sums of money year after year.

The Free Money Machine

The state can afford to continue or increase fiscal stimulus (deficit spending) because the central bank (the Federal Reserve) has created what amounts to a free money machine. Here’s how the machine works.

The federal government issues $1 trillion in new bonds to fund another $1 trillion in deficit spending. The central bank (Federal Reserve) creates $1 trillion with a few keystrokes, and buys the $1 trillion in bonds with newly created money.

The Federal Reserve earns interest on the $1 trillion in bonds it now owns, but it returns this income to the Treasury, minus the Federal Reserve’s relatively modest expenses of operation. Let’s say the bonds carry an interest rate of 2.5%.  The government pays the Federal Reserve $25 billion in annual interest, and the Federal Reserve returns $20 billion annually, so the net cost of borrowing and spending $1 trillion is an insignificant $5 billion.

If this isn’t entirely free money, it’s extremely close to free money.

So in ten years, the Federal Reserve owns $10 trillion more in federal bonds (assuming the bonds are long-term and didn’t mature).

It's no wonder that some economist propose...

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Categories: Economics

How Long Can The Great Global Reflation Continue?

Chris Martenson - May 19, 2017 - 17:01

Given the extraordinary failure of both Keynesian stimulus and private-sector credit growth to create a self-sustaining cycle of expansion whose benefits flow to the entire workforce rather than to the top few percent, what can we expect going forward? Can we just keep doubling and tripling the economy’s debt load every few years? What if household incomes continue declining? Are these trends sustainable?

In the near-term, is this Great Reflation running out of steam, or is it poised for yet another leg higher? Which is more likely?

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Categories: Economics

Daily Digest 5/19 - Good News Friday: Rooftop Agriculture In Brooklyn, The Secret to Killing Superbugs

Chris Martenson - May 19, 2017 - 07:54
  • 50 floating screens will clean the Pacific garbage patch next year
  • Coastal Liberals Look Out: The Working Class Is the New Face of Activism
  • For Voting Rights Advocates, Court Decision Is ‘Temporary Victory’
  • New York’s Legislature Is On The Brink Of Passing Universal Healthcare
  • This wasn't just a primary victory. This was a revolution
  • Brooklyn’s Newest Condo Amenity: Rooftop Agricultural Plots
  • Where a solar roof works and where it doesn’t
  • Komodo Dragon Blood May Hold the Secret to Killing Superbugs

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Categories: Economics

Off The Cuff: Volatility Attacks!

Chris Martenson - May 18, 2017 - 23:03

In this week's Off The Cuff podcast, Chris and John Rubino discuss:

  • Volatility Attacks!
    • The market calm is suddenly shattered
  • Trading A Credit Crisis For A Currency Crisis
    • How all this ultimately ends
  • Misuse & Abuse Of Power
    • Is the norm these days, not the exception
  • The Coming Reset
    • Yes, it will be painful. But let's focus on what we want to come afterwards

In this week in which volatility in the markets -- which has been MIA for longer than any other time in history -- has suddenly come roaring back, Chris and John focus on the inherent fragility of the financial system, which is now utterly dependent on continued central bank subsidization. 

Click to listen to a sample of this Off the Cuff Podcast or Enroll today to access the full audio and other premium content today.

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Categories: Economics

Escape from prison and oppression

Beyond Money - May 18, 2017 - 11:07

In this video below, Professor Jem Bendell of Cumbria University (UK) interviews South African Tim Jenkin about his anti-apartheid work in the 1970s and his more recent alternative exchange activities. Jenkin briefly recounts how he assisted the African National Congress (ANC) in their struggle to end apartheid, work that resulted in his 1978 imprisonment and subsequent remarkable escape. The escape story is soon to be made into a major motion picture, “Escape From Pretoria,” that will star  Daniel Radcliffe in the role of Tim Jenkin. The film is scheduled to begin production on location in South Africa in early 2018, but you need not wait to get a detailed account of the escape, you can read Jenkin’s autobiography, Inside Out: Escape from Pretoria Central Prison, or view the existing documentary film, also titled, Escape from Pretoria.

Later in the interview, Jenkin describes his more recent efforts to demonstrate how people can make a similar escape from the bondage of political money and the global debt-money regime by means of a simple ledger system that records the value of what people give and receive from one another. His Community Exchange platform  currently hosts 921 local exchanges in 86 countries.


Categories: Blogs

Q&A: David Bollier on the Potential of the Commons

Shareable Magazine - May 18, 2017 - 10:05

David Bollier is an author, activist, blogger, and consultant who spends a lot of time exploring the commons as a new paradigm of economics, politics and culture. In 2010, he co-founded the Commons Strategies Group, a consulting project that works to promote the commons internationally. He was also founding editor of onthecommons.org and a fellow of On the Commons from 2004 to 2010. He has written, co-authored, or co-edited 12 books.

Categories: Economics

Daily Digest 5/18 - The Malware That Wreaked Chaos, Has Global Oil Demand Really Surpassed Supply?

Chris Martenson - May 18, 2017 - 07:03
  • The Malware That Wreaked Global Chaos
  • Fluxology revisited — how Steven Chu will save us
  • Payoffs From Putin to Trump? McCarthy Says No, He Was Just Kidding
  • Falling U.S. Jobless Claims Add to Signs of Labor Tightness
  • $6.40 an hour for nine years: how I got stuck in a career as a Walmart employee
  • US immigration arrests surge 40% under Donald Trump
  • Has Global Oil Demand Really Surpassed Supply?
  • Where Have All The Insects Gone?

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Categories: Economics

How to Set Up a Community Co-op

Shareable Magazine - May 17, 2017 - 08:38

Before joining the Institute for Solidarity Economics recently, I spent the last five years working for rural communities charity the Plunkett Foundation, an organization which supports the establishment of community co-operatives. Community co-operatives are businesses which trade primarily for the benefit of their community. Controlled by the community themselves, they have open and voluntary membership and, crucially, they encourage people to get involved – either by becoming a member, or by volunteering time or getting involved in another way.

Categories: Economics

Daily Digest 5/17 - Playing Catch-Up On Pension Funding, Italy Inflation and Debt Rise

Chris Martenson - May 17, 2017 - 06:32
  • Vermont Health Insurer Asks to Increase Rates 12.7 Percent
  • Fairfield pension costs projected to reach $37.5M yearly
  • Playing catch-up on public pension funding
  • Forget Puerto Rico, What About U.S. States' Soaring Pension Debts?
  • Gov. Malloy Revises Budget To Plug $2.5 Billion Deficit
  • Italy Inflation, Debt Rise
  • Italian economy to shrink slightly this year: S&P

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Categories: Economics