Trade-offs between inequality, productivity, and employment

You can only consume so much, but you can hedge against risk to an unlimited degree, and the ultra-wealthy do, suggests Interfluidity, and this makes a mess of a consumption-based economy when you get too much wealth concentrated in a few actors.  It’s an interesting argument, but it does kind of hinge on a zero-sum game setting — insurance against risk going only to the highest of bidders (lifeboats on a libertarian Titanic).  WWII as a giant re-set button, leading to a temporary age of prosperity.  What’s the next re-set?  Climate change seems like a good candidate…

A Little White Lie-Bor

Turns out the world’s megabanks have engaged in a rate-fixing fraud for years.  The London InterBank Offered Rate (LIBOR) is an interest rate index that literally hundreds of trillions of dollars in financial instruments are pegged to.  And how is it set?  Well, someone phones up 18 duuudes around London every day and says “Yo, if you were gonna borrow money from some other bank right now, what rate would they charge you?”  And they can answer with whatever wild-ass-guess they want.  So they lied, in order to make themselves more money.  Shocking, I know.  Seems like the one thing you can trust banks to do is cheat when given the opportunity.

Wall Street Isn’t Winning, It’s Cheating

Matt Taibbi blows his stack at a fellow commentator who accuses the OWS protestors of simply being envious of the rich.  He gives a litany of examples of how, in fact, the Wall St. illuminati have gotten to where they are by cheating and gaming the system, or at the very best, by being lucky.  Not through hard work or supernatural skill.  Being pissed off about that isn’t being jealous of someone else’s success.  At what point do the “deviant” and “legitimate” financial sectors simply merge, with little to nothing in the way of externally imposed rules governing what’s acceptable, and what’s not?

Legalizing Crowdfunded Startups

Crowdfunding, Why the SEC Bans It, Obama Wants It, and Banks Fear It.  Kickstarter would be illegal if you were making investments in a business, instead of donations to a cause.  Even so, people have raised on occasion hundreds of thousands of dollars via the site for honor-system bound innovation.  Hopefully this will be legitimized soon.

A license to lie, backdated

Investment management firms have license to lie, backdated, courtesy of the Supreme Court decision in the Janus case.  It’s hard to believe, but the court decided that ultimately, nobody could be held accountable for misleading statements made in the mutual fund’s prospectus.  All the more reason to go with Vanguard, as it is the only mutual fund company which is wholly owned by the people whose money they manage, making it in effect a large investing cooperative.

Climate of Denial

Understanding American climate change politics by analogy with the World Wrestling Federation.  The Carbon Lobby is the “evil” wrestler, scientists the “good” one, and the media plays referee.  The kind of referee that’s always preoccupied with something outside the ring when the bad guy starts beating the good guy up with a chair.  From Rolling Stone of course.