As Friedman said, inflation is a monetary phenomenon…by definition because it is measured in price changes. What Shane Oliver and most economists don’t get is that inflation is the most political measure there is because “money is a bridge between the present and the future” (Keynes). Asset price inflation is “pent up demand”: instead of buying perishable goods and services, people buy “strategic” assets that are industrially irreplaceable and politically strategic. But as asset prices rise, the vast majority of the population is left out which pressures wage demands and social cohesion. Even asset owners, once incomes from ownership can no longer support consumption, have to downsize… so either they receive welfare or they tighten their belts. Either way, lower real incomes lead to political instability and conflict… another word for inflation. You simply cannot separate asset prices from consumption goods when assessing inflation! If more people are forced to downsize, the pressure on consumption will translate into social unrest… Something has to give…
What is called Big Tech is nothing else than the reduction of real consumption by large swathes of the population…. TO A SCREEN! Quite simply, people constrain their consumption… and watch streaming instead! Big Tech has NOTHING to do with technology or productivity…which is miserably down in the last 30 years…
Big Tech has "reduced" people's free-dom, the domain.of.their activity, to staring at screens... it's alright for Franciscan monks like me (Cambridge) or even.Benedictine ones (Oxford)... but not for almost anyone else! - Which is why people turn to drugs and other forms.of deviance and transgressions, including crime ... which are then presented as... "lifestyles"! Funny...but tragic...
Here, Berlusconi links vaccination and social cohesion...much easier to achieve in Italy at this stage:
Actually, Berlusconi is a capable orator or perorator. This piece addresses also the calamitous role of Big Tech in shattering social cohesion even in nations with a homogeneous population and strong cultural traditions... Sooner rather than later, advanced nations will have to deal with "Big Tech"... WHICH IS WHAT THE BEIJING NAZIS ARE DOING! Again, it would be laughable if it wasn't tragic...
Berlusconi is a capable orator or perorator. This piece addresses also the calamitous role of Big Tech in shattering social cohesion even in nations with a homogeneous population and strong cultural traditions... Sooner rather than later, advanced nations will have to deal with "Big Tech"... WHICH IS WHAT THE BEIJING NAZIS ARE DOING! Again, it would be laughable if it wasn't tragic...
An explosive mix, indeed! Add to that income inequality and the obliteration of the.middle "liberal" class. Of course, the two factors, "technical-informatic-mediatic" and the strictly economic are interactive... which causes which is hard and maybe pointless to determine... it's not an important point, except for the old Marxists...
The complex interaction between inflation as pent-up demand fuelling social conflict, rising income inequality, thinning and expropriation of middle and working classes… and rapidly diminishing social cohesion is illustrated, if vaguely traced, in this NYT article that I just came across:
There is also this long-winded, wordy, anecdotal piece in The Atlantic… Don’t even bother… I just link it to show the pervasiveness of the problem…
And for the sake of completeness, this article in the Washington Post:
Stephen Bartholomeusz at The Age takes a position almost identical to mine. Whilst he stresses the totalitarian and antarctic aspects of the Chinese party-state economy, he also decries implicitly the harm that Big Tech is wreaking to Western society :
"It looks like an assault on China’s private sector, particularly the fast-growing digital businesses that now accounts for nearly 40 per cent of China’s GDP – businesses that for decades had been encouraged because of the growth and dynamism they had injected into an economy previously dominated by inefficient state-owned industrial and property enterprises.
Under the crackdown, private education companies are banned from making profits, raising capital or going public. It also banned them from teaching foreign curriculums, importing foreign textbooks and employing foreign teachers.
Under the crackdown, private education companies are banned from making profits, raising capital or going public. It also banned them from teaching foreign curriculums, importing foreign textbooks and employing foreign teachers.CREDIT:GETTY IMAGES
That would be consistent with the tightening of the Communist Party’s control of everything within China under Xi Jinping’s leadership.
It also, however, reflects the increasing maturity of the economy.
The sectors China is now reigning in experienced their explosive growth largely because they were essentially unregulated. The businesses are now of a size – and the sectors and the wealth they have created so concentrated – that it isn’t particularly surprising that the authorities have decided to start regulating their activities.
Whether the concerns are financial stability or – as in the anti-trust actions – consumer protections, the authorities’ actions aren’t out of kilter with how such dominant and monopolistic businesses would be regulated elsewhere. There are similar concerns in western economies about the power of Facebook, Google and Amazon and analogous efforts to regulate them."
Here is the full article :
The word "Antarctic" in the post introducing this piece should read "autarkic"... obviously AI is still too artificial to be intelligent !
We have now a situation where unelected unrepresentative unaccountable central bankers have “nationalised” bond markets - no, they’re even in the business of buying corporate bonds and… shares! - with the complicity of governments, of course (Alan Kohler used to say that “everyone looks the other way” - whilst the said government refuse to nationalise Big Tech! All the while, the very rich get richer… and the middle and working classes get the picture! Here is how Big Tech was doing the same in China… until those horrible Communist beasts decided to shut down the ballroom party!
The story below in today's WSJ has to be read to be believed. Talk about the absentee state: one of the greatest flaws and dangers of capitalism historically is that whilst the bourgeoisie is brutal and ruthless against its own subaltern classes, it is far less inclined to protect the national interest when this diverges or hampers the hip pocket. Lex Luthor inthe Superman saga is the epitome of how rapacious capitalists are quite ready to betray their country if such treachery can be turned into personal gain or profits. You know how incredulous I am at the way our Western governments have allowed Taiwan to develop a virtual monopoly in semiconductor production. The suggestion by this WSJ editor is that, of course, Taiwan could turn Chinese at the drop of a hat -with obvious catastrophic strategic consequences for the West - though it must be added that TSMC relies on Dutch lithographic machines to design and cut the chips. Still, the sheer indolence of our political and industrial elites in this sphere is something akin to treason, for which somebody should be held responsible, be tried, and punished accordingly. Here is the story:
A sterling instance of “the new aristocracy” from Gottliebsen at The Australian - middle class wankers in cushy government or middle management jobs costing everyone else their livelihoods to soothe their leftie conscience… and leading us toward civil unrest, first, and economic ruin next. Justice Bromberg: a picture of those pure Aussie judges leading the fight … to bury Australia. In the US, this was the task of the Supreme Court, until Republican Presidents began to change its composition. Now, the damage is done by Federal District Court judges (see decisions on Tim Tok, WeChat, Chinese academic spies, gas pipelines), but they can be appealed to the Supreme Court. In Oz, you can go to the High Court, where the likes of Michelle Gordon will give you a warm welcome…heh heh… The Pell decision was just… a miracle…
Incidentally, but it’s a vital point to understand, these are all instances of how governments are abdicating their political leadership to unelected unrepresentative and unaccountable branches of the executive (courts, central banks, bureaucracies like health departments), which therefore make POLITICALLY IRRESPONSIBLE decisions that further undermine the political legitimacy of governments. Gottliebsen, with impeccable intuition, adverts in the article above to the seeming paralysis of elected politicians and parliaments in making these vital decisions!Effectively, these parallel bodies representing the new aristocracy at the service of “the 0.1 per cent” have become the new legislators, replacing governments that draft and introduce legislation for parliaments to review and enact. Democratic parliamentary institutions are in serious trouble.
The relevant passage: “Clearly the Commonwealth can appeal but we are dealing with a global legal movement spiked with emotion that starts with the Shell customer base.”
In other words, governments are hostage to a noisy minority mis-informing and dividing the rest of society to the extent that it then becomes the voting majority (the majority of the people who actually vote, especially in key electorates) - making effective government impossible. As Sigmund Freud said, presaging developments in Western liberal parliamentary politics, “Three tasks are impossible: to lead, to teach, to heal”.
Just passim (Latin for “by the bye”), contrast the attitude of quite possibly the biggest corrupt imbecile on earth, Stephen Roach, and that of an honest smart upstanding journalist, Stephen (they only share the first name) Bartholomewsz, to the measures taken by those Beijing “pazzoidi” against Big Tech. No need to waste your precious time on Roach, just a fleeting look at his argument will do. What the Communist crazies have realised is that, yes, the CCP will destroy China,…. but Big Tech will get there much sooner unless something is done about it! The dictatorship’s actions are meant exclusively to preserve the Party: but they know also that the “other party”, will lead to another bloody revolt and revolution in China unless these tycoon leeches are stopped in their tracks! The devastating reality is that Big Technism”sucking the air out of the economy” (John Authers, another fine journalist) and tearing the social fabric apart! Roach (cockroach) stumbles blindly against the barrier of the public/private distinction, which is no real distinction at all, except in the political management of industrial activity, unless the “public” part merely allows the “private sector” to devour society to the last bone! … which is exactly what’s happening in the West…
Oh, by the way, Roach is the bright guy who ONLY A FEW WEEKS AGO was prophesying in article after article in the FT and elsewhere the inevitable decline of the West and the inexorable rise of China... doesn't take much to change the feeble mind of a numskull...
If the Big State is absent when it comes to Big Tech, it is very present when it places insuperable obstacles in the way of access to welfare and social services... almost always for no reason whatsoever, except to humiliate the applicant or... supplicant ("supplizio" in Italian means The Cross ! ). If the State wished merely to save taxpayers' money, it would make no sense whatsoever to indulge in the kind of chicanery exposed in this piece. "No taxation without representation" ALWAYS was meant to mean: "No representation without taxation ! ".... which is the paradox of Western governments : how can you have a "stakeholder democracy "?... and still call yourself... a democracy ?