Category Archives: Business

Aristocracy stymied corptocracy

European countries do not kowtow to corporations the way the United States does. In the US, the corporations own the politicians and they do the bidding of the plutocrats and the oligarchs — you know, the share holders and board members.

But European countries don’t let corporations run the show. And I wondered why this is.

Could it be that because Europe has had the bad taste in its collective mouth regarding kings and queens through the ages, that when it came time to form democratic governments they KNEW how to construct rules of government that limited the power of the powerful?

In the US, the new aristocracy are the corporate plutocrats that run and pay for government. The Koch asshats, and their ilk. When the corporations were just beginning to become “a thing” in the US, the likes of the robber barons, the train tycoons, the oil and steel magnates (Rockefeller and Morgan) we tried to handle them and the monopolies they formed (as all true capitalistic enterprises will eventually try to do). But when dozens, then hundreds and then tens of thousands of corporations and the power they wielded rose and demanded control of the country, its resources and its wealth — US Citizens had NO IDEA what to do? Why? Because we’d never had tyrants trying to run our lives for century after century.

So, is the United States just an aristocratic victim in the making because there’s no way that the plutocrats in power are going to relinquish that power? Or, like Europeans, can we learn to control the corptocracy?


Why Owners and Workers?

Owner : worker

How long has it been this way? Always?

Why is our relationship to each other in regards to producing goods and services organized this way?

Is this hierarchy the root cause of inequality?

When did I become subservient to you? When did your needs become more important than mine? When did my children, my home, my well-being assume to be lesser-than than yours? Is this some extended form of patriarchy; the father in charge, and the sons (and daughters) accepting less or portions of the harvest, the land, the wealth?

When the first merchant-like person requested help from their neighbor, to make pots or plant grain or chop firewood, did that person not consider that both he and they were equals? Or did that person, upon that singular act: “Do this for me and I will reward you,” create the first class system?

And have we lived this way ever since?

Capitalism, the outgrowth from such a domination hierarchy, and its founder, Adam Smith, seem conflicted:

“Labour was the first price, the original purchase – money that was paid for all things. It was not by gold or by silver, but by labour, that all wealth of the world was originally purchased.”

“It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.”

Above, from those two quotes, Adam Smith both acknowledges that labor is wealth and, from my mind, should be treated equally as wealth. But then assumes that the merchants, who must hire the laborers, do so not in recognition that labor is wealth, but in order to leverage that labor to their own interests.

The fallout from this relationship, today’s corporatism, has turned the worker in to a puny commodity, one which is denigrated and slighted, so much so that they lose all power in society. Only the owners, the capitalists shall be granted voice and power in this wealth based society.

From this we get the incomprehensible inequality we have today. The capitalists own thousands if not millions more wealth than the workers on whom they have depended, in a word, exploited.

Could we have built any other type of system — from the start? Could that first merchant-like person have not said: “Do this and I will reward you” but “We’ll do this together and the both of us shall be rewarded.”?

Could Adam Smith not have reinterpreted his beliefs such that:

“The price of labour shall be the price of ownership where all who struggle and persevere shall benefit from their toil.”

Or, “It is from the understanding that all who endeavor at a goal be it animal husbandry, brewing, or baking shall be rewarded with not only the fruits of their labour but ownership in that which their labour supports.”

Could these not have been the way we moved forward as an economically driven species?

Could we ever redirect our trajectory toward such an equality oriented system?


UBI is not the solution

The idea of Universal Basic Income is like a band-aid on a sucking chest wound, it appears as though the situation is solved, but the underlying problem remains.

UBI tries to solve the problem of inequality but will fail at this. Why? Because the problem of inequality can only be solved by the equalization of wealth. Yes, giving cash — outright — to a select few individuals, or group does, generally, lift those people up out of the mire of poverty, or elevate them enough, give them a glimmer of hope so that the specter of impoverishment is pushed to the shadows.

But, give everybody the same allotment of cash and all you’ll do is inflate the currency and we’ll be back to Zimbabwe or the Weimar Republic. The elites will still be thousands of times more wealthy than the median population.

That’s the inequality that will not be cured. That’s why a full coverage UBI will fail.

But what can we do? Well, we could start with understanding why the wealthy are wealthy. If we figure that out, and universally distribute that — whatever it is — then perhaps the inequality will be reduced, eventually, to a socially acceptable level.

So, why are the wealthy wealthy? No doubt there are dozens of reasons we could cite, but the primary one is that they do not work for their income. As Warren Buffet famously said “If you don’t find a way to make money while you sleep, you will work until you die.”

Okay, so what can we do with that thought? Let’s see, if the wealthy let their wealth earn them money, and if this is predominately done with investments in the corporations, the means of production, the growth and expansion of productivity, then somehow we need to get that into the hands of everyone.

What about this: create a financial instrument which can be distributed — UBI style — to every citizen of the country. Let’s say we create an ETF, an exchange traded fund, which is comprised of the rolling top 10000 companies and utilities, include bonds and treasuries in the instrument – a smorgasbord of components that represent the country’s economy.

We take that EFT and we give shares of it away to every citizen, one share per month, for life. We make investors out of every single person in the country, invested in the country itself, its progress, its future.

Some people will turn around and sell their shares right away. That’s okay, let them. They can use that money like the common UBI that has been proposed.

Others will let their shares sit. Accrue. Gain value and multiply. When they need cash for emergencies or buying a house or car, they can sell them then.

We could label this ETF: USAA — United States of America for All.

This would give cash to those who need cash, but for most, I suspect, it would give them a sense of participating in the wealth growth of the nation. Their investment would be making them money – “while they slept.”

This let’s every citizen participate in the economy just like the elites on Wall Street. This distributes Wall Street level prosperity down to Main Street where it’s needed.

GO USAA!

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Sure, this is not the whole solution — the wealthy still have thousands or millions of times more wealth than the median population. And there are solutions for that too — namely progressive taxation…

Employee Income Inequality Tax
https://anonymole.wordpress.com/2016/01/16/employee-income-inequality-tax/

Scaled Tax Schedule:
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1NOAMnmO8XQnUwZbUWDWETC8Bs9jPeTehOj1LGWyMi-4

Scaled Federal Tax Schedule
Individual Income %Tax $Tax $Net
10000 10 $1,000 $9,000
11000 10.1 $1,111 $9,889
15000 10.5 $1,575 $13,425
25000 11.5 $2,875 $22,125
50000 14 $7,000 $43,000
75000 16.5 $12,375 $62,625
90000 19 $17,100 $72,900
100000 20 $20,000 $80,000
200000 21 $42,000 $158,000
300000 22 $66,000 $234,000
500000 24 $120,000 $380,000
1000000 30 $300,000 $700,000
10000000 40 $4,000,000 $6,000,000
100000000 50 $50,000,000 $50,000,000
1000000000 60 $600,000,000 $400,000,000

Google to buy Netflix

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE [5/12/2017] :

Alphabet (Google) has offered $180/shr for Netflix in a 1/2 cash 1/2 share buyout.

Netflix will join YouTube in Alphabet’s (Google’s) growing media powerhouse. Details of the deal were not available as of this writing. However, Alphabet’s bank account, (GOOG: Marketwatch) can more than deal with the purchase. NFLX CEO Reed Hastings remarked, “With Google’s, I mean Alphabet’s, introduction of their ChromeView — [their television plus intelligent agent set-top box] — Netflix will have even better domestic and growing world-wide exposure. I look forward to working with that team creating vivid and engaging content, both for our flagship Netflix platform as well as the quirky but wildly popular YouTube channel venue.”

Officers at Alphabet were unavailable for comment, but a quick tweet from CEO Larry Page “A natural fit: Netflix and Google” and positive remarks from Sundar Pichai seem to indicate that the deal will succeed. Anti-trust sources at the DOJ were also unavailable for comment.


Typical Microsoft – threats!

“Your account is inactive. Sign in to keep access to your files.

OneDrive

Don’t lose your important files

We noticed you haven’t used your OneDrive account in a while. If your account remains inactive, it may become locked in the future.
A lot can happen to your devices. With OneDrive, if you forget your laptop in a taxi or drop your phone in a puddle, it doesn’t mean losing valuable work and photos.
Sign in and continue to use OneDrive to avoid losing your files.

You’re receiving this email because you have not logged into your OneDrive account for more than 60 days.”

~~~

I just happen to be reading Lawrence Lessig’s The Future of Ideas. In it he depicts all the strong arm tactics Microsoft used to stymie innovation in the computing / internet world.

Why should we expect anything better from such a company?

 


No Money in antibiotics

Corp-Pharmaceuticals are waiting until the epidemics are eminent before they even consider wasting research and production on antibiotics. This is not across the board of course, but the trend is there. Actually ‘saving’ the world is a low priority for corporations. making money once it gets really bad — well, that’s a profitable mode of operation.

Corp-Pharma = Evil.

“Antibiotic resistance is growing, and we are fast running out of treatment options. If we leave it to market forces alone, the new antibiotics we most urgently need are not going to be developed in time.”

WHO priority pathogens list for R&D of new antibiotics

Priority 1: CRITICAL

  • Acinetobacter baumannii, carbapenem-resistant
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa, carbapenem-resistant
  • Enterobacteriaceae, carbapenem-resistant, ESBL-producing

Priority 2: HIGH

  • Enterococcus faecium, vancomycin-resistant
  • Staphylococcus aureus, methicillin-resistant, vancomycin-intermediate and resistant
  • Helicobacter pylori, clarithromycin-resistant
  • Campylobacter spp., fluoroquinolone-resistant
  • Salmonellae, fluoroquinolone-resistant
  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae, cephalosporin-resistant, fluoroquinolone-resistant

Priority 3: MEDIUM

  • Streptococcus pneumoniae, penicillin-non-susceptible
  • Haemophilus influenzae, ampicillin-resistant
  • Shigella spp., fluoroquinolone-resistant

 

http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2017/bacteria-antibiotics-needed/en/

~~~

How to cure this? (ha!)

Put a society funded (government) bounty on creating effective drugs that combat drug resistant bacteria — with a guaranteed production and delivery of N numbers of doses over X number of years, all at an agreed upon ‘society benefiting’ fixed price.

Penalize drug companies that do not participate by adding additional months of FDA approval time to any drugs on the docket.

“Hey, Drug Companies! Society needs this. You’re in the business. DO IT! Or find another means to fill your shareholder’s bank accounts.”

 


One potato two potato

What is money?

It’s a proxy, a stand-in for exchanging value for value.

Does money have value? Should it? I think not.The entities being exchanged have value but money should never have intrinsic value. Money should be a temporary representation of value that is used in transactions between entities exchanging real things of value for other real things of value.

Something like the gold standard therefore is the wrong approach as this gives intrinsic value to a rare resource. Gold, silver, platinum are useful for various industrial and decorative purposes and their relative value might be representative of some worth. But because they are rare and permanent they can be hoarded and controlled. Money (value for value exchange) should never be allowed to be “cornered” or overtly controlled; rarity is not a system of value.

Say I grow corn. And you raise chickens. I’d like some of your chickens and you would like some of my corn. We could establish a system of value for value exchange, e.g. money or currency, by creating a temporary contract, 5 chickens = 1 bushel of corn. Currency is always a ratio: x of these equals y of those. If I plant corn in the spring but would like to acquire some of your chickens before the corn can be harvested, I could create a little promissory note, “NOTE WORTH ONE BUSHEL of CORN”. If you *trusted me* I could give you one of these and depending on how valuable you considered my corn, you would give me five of your chickens.

Now, here’s the part that fails with our current monetary system. Harvest comes and I have corn to spare. You come to me with that NOTE I gave you and exchange it for a bushel of corn. But what should happen to that NOTE now? Our contract is complete. I got chickens and you got corn. That NOTE I created as a promise should be destroyed. I no longer own you a bushel of corn. I have possession of this NOTE and it *should* no longer possess representational value.

Our current monetary system uses dollars. These dollars, these NOTES, have no intrinsic value. Nor have they been created as promises, as proxies or stand-ins for real value. That’s the rub. That’s the problem. Today’s money exists not as true proxies for value for value exchange, but as some fabricated, faked up promise created out of thin air. Money, the dollar, is magically created from nothing and somehow we accept it as representing value. And it gets worse. That dollar is not just magically created from thin air — a promise is made to banks to pay them a dollar — for nothing! We, government, society, goes into debt to create dollars owed to banks with which we then trade among ourselves, value for value.

We need a new monetary system.