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Truth In Polling

Now “the people” get to speak about the quacks who created our current mess: Dynamite Prize in Economics :

The Dynamite Prize in Economics is to be awarded to the three economists who contributed most to enabling the Global Financial Collapse (GFC), or more figuratively, to the three economists who contributed most to blowing up the global economy.

Vote early and often for false prophets who justified greed with their “academic brilliance” and love of the works of a chain-smoking, Russian-immigrant, romance novelist who never learned to share. Select 3 ne’er-do-wells from this Rand-om selection of cult figures with a Galt complex.

Note: Alfred Nobel made his money by inventing dynamite. Irony in every bite.


1 Badtux { 02.14.10 at 5:36 pm }

The folks over at Angry Bear point out there’s some good (bad?) economists not on that list who should be on there. Such as Greg Mankiw, Republican shill and ne0-classical fruitcake who inexplicably gets prime real estate in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal on a regular basis (oh WTF, we both know why that’s so, he gives our oligarchs intellectual cover for the raping and pillaging of the world economy that they’re doing). I would definitely vote for Mankiw, his stuff is not only destructive, but it’s dishonest — he says things he knows aren’t true, but which his corporate masters pay him well to say. I guess being a tenured Harvard professor doesn’t pay as well as being a corporate whore…

– Badtux the Economics Penguin

2 Bryan { 02.14.10 at 5:50 pm }

Yeah, after tenure, you can pretty much do what you want, no matter how intellectually dishonest it is, as long as it isn’t published in one of the select journals. Mankiw is a shill, but he came late to the game compared to the ‘floundering fathers” in the poll.

3 Kryten42 { 02.14.10 at 7:41 pm }

I wanted to vote for all of them! 🙁 And yeah, Angry Bear say’s that Mankiw & Jensen should be on the list.

I still can’t believe Geithner was made Treasury Sec!! Talk about foxes & the hen house! Now you really do have all your eggs in one basket.

You know, if the US had any brains, they’d ship the lot of them to China. They’d either bankrupt China in a few years, or get shot as soon as they open their mouths… Either way… 😉 *shrug* 😆

4 Bryan { 02.14.10 at 10:40 pm }

The only problem with bankrupting China is that the US would have to redeem their bonds, which would be a bit dicey. Other than that, sounds good to me.

5 Badtux { 02.15.10 at 1:40 am }

Bryan, it’s this new invention called the “printing press”. Have the Federal Reserve purchase the bonds for freshly-printed dough. For laughs and giggles, deliver the entire sum to the docks at Oakland as boxcars of $100 bills, and tell the Chinese they’ll need to send their own fleet of ships to fetch them :-). Well no, there isn’t enough money-grade paper in existence to print $500B (roughly the amount of dollar-denominated holdings by the Chinese) as $100 bills, but the Fed simply adds a few digits to Chase Manhattan’s account at the Federal Reserve, Chase accounts it to the Chinese Sovereign Fund’s balance, and the Chinese Sovereign Fund then wires it to whoever.

Deal is, the U.S. foreign debt is dollar-denominated. As long as it is, foreign powers holding massive amounts of our debt are as much at our mercy as we are at theirs, because if all else fails we could always print their debt into non-existence. Of course, then you’re risking hyperinflation, and the people whose debt you printed into non-existence will never purchase your bonds again, but if the Chinese suddenly wanted their $500B of Treasuries turned into dollars we could do it. Which the Chinese realize. Which is why they’re nervous right now instead of gloating about how they hold so many dollar-denominated instruments…

– Badtux the Economics Penguin.

6 Bryan { 02.15.10 at 9:53 pm }

I’m aware of the process, but it isn’t something anyone would like to take place, given all of the repercussions. It would be good for the small woolen mill in my Mother’s home town, Oriskany, New York, as they have the equipment used to create the paper felts for the manufacture of US currency paper. The Treasury actually does all the work, but it is so lucrative a contract that all of the local workers get paid time off while the Federal felts are being made.

They bring in their own materials and workers, and sterilize the plant when they are done. No one, other than the Feds, knows what actually goes into the product, what color the finished felts are, or even what size they are.

Actually, $0.5 trillion is minor the way the Feds have been working lately. That’s less that what the Shrubbery blew through on average every year he was in office.

7 Badtux { 02.16.10 at 12:54 pm }

It’s really a MAD (Mutual Assured Destruction) situation. All these foreign countries are holding U.S. sovereign debt… but it’s all denominated in dollars, so the U.S. could print it out of existence if those foreign countries tried to do the same number on us that they did on the Ottoman Empire. Standoff. Which is probably for the best.

– Badtux the Monetary Penguin
.-= last blog ..Of building codes and safety =-.

8 Bryan { 02.16.10 at 4:10 pm }

If the Chinese finally float their currency things could get very interesting.

Maybe we should swap them something for their note… how about Mississippi? 😈

9 Kryten42 { 02.17.10 at 12:54 am }

Kansas! 😀 Though… Then China would have about a quarter of you ICBM’s and top secret USAF research and black-budget stuff. Kansas in itself is pretty worthless otherwise. 😉 🙂

Personally, I’d sell them D.C. That has to be the most worthless real estate in the USA these days. So long as everyone there goes with the land deal, and throw in Redmond for good measure. 😆 Mind you… If you did make that offer to China,you’d probably have to pay them to take it. *sigh* 😆 Hmmm… one incentive could be that all the poli’s and admin staff could make live target’s for Military practice. 🙂 At least they’d have some use, albeit briefly. 😉 😆 *shrug*

10 Bryan { 02.17.10 at 9:53 pm }

Rumsfeld consolidate Kansas out of the Air Force inventory. The Army facility at Fort Leavenworth is about all that is left. The US military is over concentrated in MNSHO, and vulnerable as a result. You can buy former missile silos cheap, if you’re interested. You are responsible for the toxic materials clean-up if you buy one.

DC will be gone with the sea level rise, so not even the Chinese will take it. It was a swamp to begin with, and will return to the waters.

The Chinese prefer their own “counter-revolutionary elements” as targets, and party members who embarrass the leadership by being less than competent in their graft and corruption.

11 Badtux { 02.18.10 at 12:38 am }

Showing your age, Bryan. China no longer has “counter-revolutionary elements”, it merely has “disruptive elements” who “foster disharmony”. The deal being that China’s leaders are trying to keep the lid on, and regular reminders to the people that at one point in time the Chinese people kicked out previous leaders are… disharmonious ;). Oh, there’s still the regular parade on October 1 and they held a real blowout on the 60th anniversary of Mao assuming uncontested rule of China back in October, but they tend to downplay the “revolution” part of the whole affair and downplay those who criticize or oppose their rule as common criminals intent upon vandalization and disruption rather than as some sort of real threat to China that must be tagged “counter-revolutionary”. I guess that’s what happens when the revolution becomes the status quo (especially true given that few are now alive who remember life before the revolution) — suddenly, revolution isn’t seen by the powers that be as a *good* thing anymore ;).

And China’s rulers have realized the social problems caused by graft and corruption, and have basically an unwritten code that now they’ll only accept “honest” Mayor Daley style graft and corruption that gets the potholes filled and the streets cleaned, not the old-fashioned “steal all the potholes and streets money to build me a mansion” kind of corruption. In short, they no longer tolerate merely competent graft and corruption either, it has to be “honest” graft and corruption. If you are a provincial government and are sent a certain amount of money to pay the school teachers, the school teachers better be paid, even if some of them are your relatives and are giving you kickbacks to get onto the payroll ;).

Change, baybee! As for what will happen next in China… hey, don’t ask me. There’s only so much I can learn while talking to Chinese friends about music and software engineering ;).

– Badtux the China-watchin’ Penguin
.-= last blog ..Food for the trail =-.

12 Bryan { 02.18.10 at 3:07 pm }

Oh, yeah, they’ve gone through a “rebranding” of their image. Can’t be associated with the bad things that “didn’t happen” during the non-existent Cultural Revolution.

Full-employment for scribes re-writing history.

It will take a while for the “leaders” to die off, and real change to take hold, but they are already up to 1960s Chicago for a government.

13 Badtux { 02.18.10 at 7:27 pm }

Well, can’t really say rewriting of history doesn’t happen here either, though at least you don’t go to prison for doing pushback against it. Usually we rewrite history via omission. The million or so Filipinos killed during our little to-do at the beginning of the 20th century bringing Christianity to the (already-Catholic) heathen Filipinos? Dude. Not taught in a single classroom anywhere in America. The multitude of times the Marines have gone into Haiti and Central America and fucked the place over on behalf of American business interests? Not covered either. America is always a pure and holy place in the rewritten history taught to our students in both high school and in (most) colleges, all this bad shit we’ve done over the years? Never happened.

Deal is, we’re just smarter about it than the Chinese, because we have a couple hundred years experience at it. But give’em credit, the Chinese are learning quick, lickity split. I think they’re definitely up into the 20th century now and big-city “machine” politics, why, another ten or fifteen years or so, they might even get as good at propaganda as our best propagandists for the Demopublicans, who are so good that their propaganda goes down slick as licorice and people just slurp it up like chicken soup and say “yummy!”

Not saying that I’d want to live in China. Their government makes no pretense of being free or democratic, and even the pretense we have here in America is a lot better than that, for the most part we get the government we want here, even if we have a lot of help from our propaganda chiefs who own our media that tells us what to think and feel when it comes to deciding what we want and even if what we want is often idiotic. What I *am* saying is that China is changing so fast now that you look away for a decade and suddenly everything you knew about it isn’t operative anymore. What will China look like ten years from now? I have no idea.
.-= last blog ..Food for the trail =-.

14 Kryten42 { 02.18.10 at 8:26 pm }

One of the biggest differences between the USA (and other well *developed* Nations) and *newer* developed Nations such as China (even though China is far older as a Nation than the USA and has a very old culture, I mean the perception of a modern caring Nation) is that the USA has had more time and has more experience at crafting the mask the USA wants to project to the World. China is learning fast and will not take much longer IMHO in perfecting that veneer of a society they want to project to the World. In the USA, if someone really becomes a nuisance, it’s easy to find a law that can be used to deal with that person. GWBush/Cheney/Rumsfeld/Rove proved that, but they were clumsy and foolish and rather than using the *system* as it was intended, exposed it for the World to see. They went so far as to try strip the superficial veneer of democracy, law, tolerance, and respectability to make that hidden America nobody wanted to know about, the new reality. If someone disagreed, they were arrested. People’s privacy and rights were invaded for the narrowest of reasons, and where there wasn’t enough of a reason, new laws were introduced to give a reason. I’m sure you know Bryan that if the *system* really wants to deal with someone, it’s not hard to find a law to deal with them. 🙂 Bush and co didn’t just let the mask slip, they threw it away in their arrogance and essentially said “This is what we really look like! Fear us!” But they failed to understand how the World actually works. Every Nation has it’s mask, even here in Aus. And all the Bushmorons did was make the rest of us annoyed and angry because they wouldn’t play the game any more. It’s one of the reasons Howard lost here, people began to question and look under the mask, and didn’t like what they finally *saw*, even if most knew it was there. People don’t like having their noses rubbed in it. 😉 I suspect it’s why Obama won, and not for any other real reason. People wanted Obama to put the mask back. 🙂

China have had a long history and I suspect that when they perfect their modern mask, possibly after the current old school are gone, they will be very good at it.

15 Bryan { 02.18.10 at 10:59 pm }

Aleksandr I was extremely generous to “historians” who discovered new and much more favorable history of the Slavic people. He was much more generous than the current rightwing welfare system in the US, which is following the same path.

When you consider that for a very long time all history was solely in the hands of one or another church, because the clerics were the only people who could write, history has always been subject to “editing”, by one power center or another.

The Egyptians did it by destroying monuments built by or to people who were no longer in favor.

Actually, Badtux, my great grandfather who is buried at the Chalmette National Cemetery was with the Ninth Infantry Regiment and fought in both the Philippines and the Boxer Rebellion in China. My paternal grandfather was with the 11th Infantry in the Caribbean, making it safe for democracy, so I have family history in those areas, but most Americans are totally unaware of how US agribusiness screwed over the Haitians, or the sort of things that United Fruit did in Central and South America. Few Americans know why you don’t mention Panama to a Colombian if you’re within striking distance.

I have infinite faith in the ability of the Chinese to create a very reasonable facade to convince the rest of the world that they have a wonderful free, and open country, while there is little real change underneath. It is amazing how many supposedly intelligent people say “you can do business with the Chinese”. Yes, you can, as long as you follow their rules, which tend to benefit them more than you. I believe an Australian executive is finding out personally the truth in that as he faces trial for “espionage”.

Oh, Kryten, if you are alive in the state of New York, I can find a perfectly legal way of arresting you for that heinous act. There are so many laws in the US, that if someone in power has it in for you, you can be arrested. You can always be picked up for emitting “greenhouse gases” in violation of the environmental laws – willfully increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by breathing. 😉

16 Kryten42 { 02.18.10 at 11:30 pm }

The Aussie exec failed to pay off the *right* people. 😉 And he should have known better. *shakin head*! 😀 I have little sympathy. The know the rules, they play the game, and if they don’t do it properly… game over. Way it was, is and will be. It’s what happens when arrogance and a failure to take the real *culture* (whether National or Corporate is immaterial), into full account. One of the very first of ten lessons I was taught training as a project manager was “If you fail to deal with the culture, the culture will deal with you”. The same with people who seem to think that smuggling drugs into Indonesia or Thailand is a good way to make money. Unless you have paid off all the right people beforehand, you are looking at a very short life-ending career as a smuggler. 🙂

Bush and co had the same *failure* mindset. They were doomed to fail, not because they were bad or evil, but because they decided the rules didn’t apply and they could do what they pleased. And the people who allowed them to get away with it for so long are the ones paying the price. There’s always a price. 🙂

We have laws here that many consider ridiculous and obsolete, even archaic. and they are… But they serve, or may serve, a useful purpose, so no legislator is in any hurry to abolish them. 🙂 For example, you can still get arrested here for driving a car at night without a walker with a lantern in front. 😉

17 Bryan { 02.19.10 at 12:12 am }

He may have felt that his ethnicity would give him a pass, but I think it raised the bar on compliance as far as the Chinese are concerned. Euros can get away with more than ex-pats in most of Asia – not a lot, but more – at least for the first deal. After the first deal, you are expected to know the system and they cut you no slack at all. It works the same in most of the world when you are dealing with other cultures – learn the rules and pay your dues or expect to experience a major failure.

My dealings were mainly with Taiwan, but the rules track very closely based on what my brother said about dealing with the Chinese from Hong Kong. “Presents” are expected, and you’d better have them.

The walking in front with the lantern or flag is still on the books in many US states.

18 Badtux { 02.19.10 at 7:47 pm }

The “presents” thing reminds me of selling into school districts in Louisiana ;). One school district, we had to set up several relatives of school board members with personal computers in order to get the sale. Luckily we had a stash of retired computers we’d just yanked out of *another* district that we could upgrade with a bit more memory and hard drive space to run Windows (they had exceeded their 5-year life span and we told the district that after 5 years, they could lose all their student transcripts and attendance at any time, so they paid us to take the computers away and sell them new faster ones, yay recycling! 😉 ).

Like you say, know the rules… my boss might have been griping and moaning and groaning about all the palms he had to grease to make the sales, but he knew what he had to do, or some other company would come and do it. Only good thing about Louisiana is that at least Louisiana pols are cheap, with the possible exception of Cold Cash Jefferson ;).

19 Badtux { 02.19.10 at 7:51 pm }

Thinking more about culture and project management, closest I ever came to a failed project was a new startup where 1/3rd of the staff was ex-SGI, 1/3rd was ex-Sun, and the remaining 1/3rd was a mix of Linux geeks, NAS guys, and so forth. The SGI and Sun people had a long-running feud about how things should be done and spent more time sabotaging each other than working together to get the project out the door. It took us close to three years to get that first product out the door, and I left shortly thereafter because the only way a startup can succeed is to release more quickly than the behemoths can — and clearly that was not going to happen. It was all about project management being weak and not handling the culture wars, in the end… a shame, because that company had some *great* talent, the most talent of any place I’ve ever worked, but they just couldn’t work together because management did not manage the culture.

– Badtux the Culture Geek
.-= last blog ..Food for the trail =-.

20 Kryten42 { 02.19.10 at 10:02 pm }

Yup! I know how that works Badtux.

Worst project I ever worked on was in the mid 90’s for a major project for our largest retailer after two retailers merged (The Coles supermarket chain and the MGB (Myer-Grace Bros) Group (which at the time included Target, K-Mart and others). For whatever reasons, they had decided to keep merge *part* of the MGB and Coles IT divisions, and keep some separate (I believe it had to do with the completely different systems, software and even network infrastructure that would take years to consolidate, and was part purpose of this project). The newly formed IT group was called CMIS, and the original was simply MGB IT. The project was being run and budgeted by MGB. CMIS believed they should control it and they spent the next two years doing all they could to sabotage it. I was hired as a roving *trouble shooter/fixit* guy, answerable to the Board. Because of the gurilla warfare CMIS waged, they caused the MGB Group (and of course, the Coles-Myer shareholders) to waste $246mill. The project was finally cancelled after almost 3 years, about 2-3 months before it would actually have been completed (final testing had just begun). IBM didn’t help, part of this new project required 60 PC’s, and they decided to stick with IBM and their new (untested) Valuepoint series based on ‘486 CPU’s and we needed to run Windows for Workgroups 3.11 which had never been tested on these PC’s, and didn’t in fact work. After a month of testing, I concluded the BIOS was seriously faulty. I reversed engineered it as best I could and discovered it was not even beta, the version was 0.0.2! Then, we got lucky and one was delivered from the local IBM reseller that was one of the earlier revisions. It had a Pheonix BIOS, not the new IBM inhouse BIOS. It worked. Turned out, the original PC’s had Pheonix, IBM got caught in copyright violations, and they settled, but they were not allowed to use Pheonix BIOS in the PC’s. So, they made their own. IBM flew two R&D engineers out from the USA. They had a special notebooked hooked up to their R&D lab via encrypted sat link. It took 11 rewrites to get it to even boot and limp along. (the first rewrite killed the KB, the next killed the display… etc). Looking at all the trace data, we could see that somewhere between the code and the CPU, data was getting garbled randomly. I discovered a simple fix. If we removed the IBM 2nd level cache SIM module, and used one from Kingston, it worked! 😆 IBM refused to ship with anything other than IBM cache, so they rewrote the BIOS to bypass the cache altogether, and the system became as slow as an old 8088! I had enough and went and got 4 HP Pavillion PC’s, and they worked out of the box. And that was how IBM lost one of it’s biggest customers here and they went HP, including the big HP server systems. The other reason was that IBM refused anything other than *token* (no pun intended) support for Ethernet and would only support Token Ring networks. BTW, IBM quietly killed the whole valuepoint range after that, so you can thank Coles-Myer and yours-truly for that! 😆

The fact that the Board of Coles-Myer failed to deal with the two completely different cultures when the two merged is the main reason why CM have had so much trouble the past 2 decades and have just limped along, and have had so much financial difficulty. One example is that in the main Myer department store in Melb (one of the largest stores in the World), they decided long ago that upto $10k/day in stock loss (theft etc.) was acceptable! And that thinking didn’t change until profits dropped like a rock in recent years and they had to replace almost all of the top and middle management and even lowe-level staff to change that culture. It was part of a culture and mindset where the Myer family had a problem a couple decades ago where they went public and got a lot of mom-dad investors. When they had a great year of high profits and dividends, most of these investors sold their stocks and made a great profit. Unfortunately, one of the bigger investors saw these small stocks being sold and got a bit nervous, decided that the margin was too good to ignore, and sold most of their stock, which caused a panic in other major investors, and almost killed Myers! So, they created a secret department whose job was to ensure by any means possible that their share prices never rose too high or too fast, including allowing a certain level of theft or stock-loss (we would sometimes get a container shipment of goods and discover a lot missing. Usually when the share price was high, for eg). Amazing what companies will do… 😉

21 Bryan { 02.19.10 at 11:14 pm }

Hell, those were at least different companies, this crap goes on between divisions in some companies when they are broken down into “profit centers”. You come in as a contractor and you have to create a demilitarized zone around your project to get anything done.

You need a scorecard to figure out who is playing on which team, and who you can actually talk to, because half the time the people you dealt with to get the contract, aren’t the people affected by the work. There is nothing like walking into an area to begin the work and finding out that no one there was aware any work was going to be done.

Large corporations make the military look good by comparison. They should consider using unit insignia, so you know who the “enemy” is.