Neuspešen boj Rogerja Watersa za mir v Ukrajini

Roger Waters, nekdanji frontman skupine Pink Floyd in avtor njihove monumentalne kritike totalitarizma “The Wall”, je pripadnik generacije iz 1960. let, ki se je borila za mir. Njihov projekt odpora je bila ameriška agresija na Vietnam in nepotrebno umiranje ljudi na obeh straneh. Waters se je zato tudi v primeru ukrajinske vojne postavil na stran miru. Nekajkrat se je javno izpostavil, tukaj je denimo njegov zelo znan intervju iz začetka avgusta letos:

In seveda bil deležen številnih kritik s strani liberalcev in libertarcev sedanjih generacij. Zdi se, da je med slednjimi danes šel v pozabo zgodovinski spomin na devastacije, ki jih prinašajo vojne. In da jim slab mir ne pomeni več kot vojna. Waters je postal nezaželjen v medijih in nekaterih državah, na Poljskem so mu prepovedali koncert.

Toda Waters nadaljuje svoj boj za mir, čeprav je to skrajno nepopularno. V začetku septembra se je  angažiral z odprtim pismom Oleni Zelenski, ženi ukrajinskega predsednika:

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Ne Rusija, pač pa “zelena” ideologija je spravila Nemčijo na kolena

On 17 December 1938, chemists Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassmann discovered nuclear fission at the Emperor Wilhelm Institute in Berlin. On 16 July 1945, American scientists, building on Hahn’s research as part of the Manhattan Project, detonated the first nuclear weapon in Jornada del Muerto, New Mexico. In less than a decade, the nuclear age had become a reality. By 1958, the world’s first full-scale nuclear power plant came online at Shippingport, Pennsylvania.

At this point, the world seemed ready to enter a new age of abundant energy – all fuelled by this incredible new power source. It was a moment when it felt as if science was leading the way forward, towards a more prosperous, technologically advanced future, unconstrained by the failed political ideologies of the past. American sociologist Daniel Bell even heralded ‘the end of ideology’ in a book of the same name, published in 1960.

Bell and others could not have been more wrong. New ideologies simply took the place of the old. In the late 1960s, new political movements, driven mainly by students, emerged throughout the West. These started to question the gains of technological progress, the authority of science and man’s aspiration to master nature. And they were almost invariably aggressively opposed to modern sources of energy production, from fossil fuels to nuclear power. These new social movements culminated in the formation of Europe’s Green parties.

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Trickle down bullshit

To zombi idejo, da znižanje davkov na najvišje dohodke vpliva na povečanje investicij in zaposlenosti ter pospešitev gospodarske rasti, smo večkrat razkrinkali kot povsem neutemljeno in je bila v empiričnih študijah vedno zavrnjena. Glejte denimo “Ti nesrečni davki“. Se pa ta zombi ideja vedno znova vrača z vsakim novim valom neokonzervativcev – donedavno v ZDA s Trumpom in zdaj s Trussovo v V. Britaniji. Zato še enkrat kratek povzetek najbolj kredibilnih empiričnih študij, ki sistematično zavračajo to “trickle down” hipotezo.

V resnici velja ravno obratno: znižanje davkov ali povečanje transferjev tistim z najnižjimi dohodki pospeši gospodarsko rast (ker ti sloji praktično ves dodatni dohodek takoj potrošijo, kar dvigne agregatno povpraševanje, medtem ko premožnejši ta dodatni dohodek večinoma prihranijo, kar je iz narodnogospodarskega vidika večinoma neproduktivno*).

The empirical evidence is just not there for the ‘trickle -down theory or the Laffer curve. Analysis published in 2012 by the Congressional Research Service found that reductions in top tax rates were not correlated with economic growth  Instead they were much more associated with rising income inequality. A 2012 study by the Tax Justice Network indicates that wealth of the super-rich does not trickle down to improve the economy, but it instead tends to be amassed and sheltered in tax havens with a negative effect on the tax bases of the home economy.  A 2015 paper by researchers for the International Monetary Fund argued that there was no trickle-down effect as the rich get richer: “[I]f the income share of the top 20 percent (the rich) increases, then GDP growth actually declines over the medium term, suggesting that the benefits do not trickle down. In contrast, an increase in the income share of the bottom 20 percent (the poor) is associated with higher GDP growth.”

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Trickle down economics

Michael Roberts Blog

The UK government’s economic policies under new PM Liz Truss have caused a stir among, not only leftists, but also among mainstream economists.  The new government says the solution to the stagnation and failure of British capitalist production is to cut taxation on the rich and on big business.  The extra income flowing to them will then be available to boost investment and spending that can deliver economic growth.

This is a reversion to a very old idea in neoclassical economics: trickle-down economics.  The term “trickle-down” originated as a joke by humorist Will Rogers  which he used to criticize economic policies that favoured the wealthy or privileged while being framed as good for the average citizen.

Trickle-down economics is often seen as part of what economists call ‘supply-side economic policies’ which argue that it is failures in production, not demand that is the problem for capitalist production…

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The liquidity crisis and drowning naked

Tako se je začelo:

“Chancellor of the Exchequer Kwasi Kwarteng last week set out an unfunded £45 billion tax giveaway, on top of an energy bill rescue plan costing over £100 billion across two years, with no details on how to balance the books. The plan sparked a run on the pound and sent market interest rates soaring.

Cuts to benefits, infrastructure projects and departmental spending totaling up to £47 billion ($52 billion) will be needed to bring the national debt under control, comparable to the austerity Osborne imposed during the financial crisis, the Resolution Foundation said. Bloomberg Economics projected the cuts may even need to exceed Osborne’s since borrowing costs have rocketed following the backlash against Truss’s package of tax cuts.”

Michael Roberts Blog

“If there was no intervention today, gilt yields could have gone up to 7-8 per cent from 4.5 per cent this morning and in that situation around 90 per cent of UK pension funds would have run out of collateral… They would have been wiped out.”  So says a UK bond trader yesterday. 

A liquidity crisis erupted in British bond markets after the announcement by the new right-wing Conservative government that it would spend up to £60bn to maintain and energy price cap for householders for up to two years, subsidise business energy costs AND also cut corporate and income taxes.  The total hit from this largesse (mainly to the rich) to the UK public debt level over the next few years has been estimated at over £400bn or nearly 20% of GDP.  With UK public debt already at 100% of GDP, that sounded the death knell for the UK…

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Ameriška bratska pomoč Evropi: Miniranje plinovodov do Rusije

Tale izjava ameriškega predsednika Bidna je iz dne 7. februarja letos, slabe 3 tedne pred ruskim napadom na Ukrajino.

No, slabih 9 mesecev kasneje se je to tudi zgodilo – Američani ali “neznani storilci” so našli način, da “naredijo konec Severnemu toku 2“. V ponedeljek so “neznanci” v mednarodnih vodah med Švedsko, Dansko in Poljsko z eksplozivom (švedski preiskovalci pravijo, da moč detonacije ene cevi ustreza okrog 700 kg TNT) razstrelili dve cevi Severnega toka 1 (ST1) in eno cev Severnega toka 2 (ST2). Po informacijah Reutersa je ena cev ST2 ostala nepoškodovana.


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Setting the story straight about Mencinger and privatization

David Ellerman

The late Joze Mencinger was the dominate voice in the privatization debates of the early 1990s arguing for pragmatism and gradualism as opposed to the shock therapy approach. Yet other smears are sometimes associated with his name, so now that he is no longer with us, I would like to set the record straight. The shock therapy approach advocated by the World Bank and other major western development advisory institutions (“The Washington Consensus”) was implemented in its purest form in Russia with devastating results for most of the population and with the creation of a domineering class of oligarchs and tycoons. We feel the repercussions today in the Russia’s Putin-fueled resentment against the West.

But there were opposing voices such as the World Bank’s Chief Economist, Joseph Stiglitz, who suggested that the shock therapy approach was a major error (“Whither Reform”, 1999 [Full disclosure: I was Stiglitz’s speechwriter]). The shock therapy approach did not fully prevail in Slovenia in spite of the intervention and advocacy by Jeffrey Sachs in 1991 in opposition to the Mencinger (or Korze-Mencinger-Simoneti) draft law on internal privatization. I was the American consultant to the Mencinger team concerning the US model of employee ownership, the Employee Stock Ownership Plan or ESOP. The Sachs approach tried to detach workers from ownership claims in their own enterprise in favor of certificates tradeable for shares in investment funds or the stock market.

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Testiranje nuklearnih živcev po “sramotnih” referendumih na zasedenih ozemljih

Strinjam se s ključno poanto tega in povezanih člankov v Bloombergu: ruska de iure aneksacija zasedenih ozemelj v Ukrajini bo na preizkušnjo postavila zahodne “zaveznice” Ukrajine. Bodo “zaveznice” Ukrajini res dale sodobna letala in rakete dolgega dometa, kot zahteva Zelenski, ali pa se bodo v strahu pred morebitno nuklearno eskalacijo raje malce pomaknile nazaj in Ukrajini ob deklarativni politični podpori še naprej pošiljale “le” konvencionalno staro orožje iz skladišč?

Tole je zadnja mapa zasedenih ozemelj, ki plastično pokaže dejanske ruske cilje v Ukrajini (zasedba večinsko proruskih regij na ozemlju nekdanje Novorusije in kopenska povezava Rusije s Krimom) (vir je naveden na sliki):

Ukraine occupoied 22092022

President Vladimir Putin is moving to turn the narrative of his war in Ukraine on its head as sham referendums end today in four regions occupied by Russia.

The results are a foregone conclusion. They’ll pave the way for Putin to annex the areas as soon as this week and recast the invasion as a war in defense of territory he defines as Russian.

The implication is they’ll be covered by Russia’s nuclear umbrella, underlining Putin’s threat that he’s willing to use all available weapons to achieve his goals.

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Bogati postajajo vedno bolj bogati, revni pa primerjalno vse revnejši: Kje so realne poti za zmanjševanje neenakosti?

Bine Kordež

Dohodkovna in premoženjska neenakost prebivalstva je vsekakor ena izmed najbolj izpostavljenih slabih strani sodobnega sveta. Verjetno ni teksta o tej tematiki, ki ne bi izpostavljal negativne plati povečevanja neenakosti, kot tudi ne bomo našli ene izjave, ki bi takšno  stanje zagovarjala. A ne glede na prevladujoče mnenje, se razmere na tem področju celo zaostrujejo. Povečuje se delež revnega prebivalstva, na drugi strani pa kopiči bogastvo ozkega kroga ljudi. Je razlog res samo v povezavi premožne elite s politiko, ki kljub demokratičnim procesom tega trenda ne uspe (noče) zaustaviti, ali pa so v ozadju tudi kakšni drugi razlogi, ki v obstoječem družbeno-ekonomskem sistemu vodijo v smer vse večje koncentracije dohodkov in premoženja?

Če torej želimo stopiti korak naprej od samo vsesplošnega zavračanja in zgražanja nad takšnim stanjem, je smiselno nekoliko podrobneje pogledati razloge, ki vodijo v vse večje  razslojevanje. Ukrepe za zaustavitev ali vsaj omilitev teh negativnih procesov je smiselno usmeriti predvsem tja, kjer so spremembe možne. V nadaljevanju analiziram posamezne segmente povečevanja neenakosti, in to na primeru Slovenije, kar so nam domače razmere pač bližje in bolj razumljive. Pri tem je vseeno potrebno poudariti, da imamo v Sloveniji skoraj najnižjo stopnjo dohodkovne neenakosti med vsemi državami na svetu, da uradni statistični podatki tudi ne kažejo, da se ta denimo zadnjih dvajset let poslabšuje. Drži pa tudi, da se je glede na razmere v nekdanji državi povečala ter da se tudi pri nas krepi delež premoženja v rokah ožjega kroga ljudi. Srečujemo se torej s podobnimi trendi kot v svetu. Trendi so pri nas sicer manj izraziti, a za iskanje razlogov povečevanja neenakosti lahko pogledamo tudi razmere in gibanja v Sloveniji.

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