Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Crisis, Part Two (Plus Addendum)

View everything that has happened so far in the global economy as The Crisis, Part One. What is still to come is Part Two - and it's going to be worse. Why? Because we are going to get slammed with the effects of rapidly rising unemployment where it hurts most: consumption makes up 70% of GDP. No job, no spending.

Look at the chart below (click to enlarge): employment (blue line) is dropping at the fastest rate in 60 years. Meanwhile, total population is still rising at over 1% per year.

And here's the government's increasingly pressing Keynesian dilemma: borrowing trillions to salvage the financial sector from its own perfidy makes it all that harder to go on a public spending program to boost jobs and incomes in a counter-cyclical fashion.

But isn't all this new "bail-out money" created by the Fed and Treasury going to eventually find itself in the pockets of Mr. and Mrs. Average Joe? No, it won't - and AIG is the perfect example why: the $182.5 billion in public money it received to cover its CDS-related losses was immediately recycled back into the Wall Street trough. Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, et. al. are not exactly hurting and in no way contributing to balanced income re-distribution. Even if Wall Street bonuses are "slashed" by 50% (and they most certainly aren't) it still means a huge chasm in income disparity.

Let's see things for what they are, right now:
  1. Until 2008 tens of millions of American Average families supplemented their increasingly insufficient wages and salaries by borrowing. They didn't do so to buy into a Rich and Famous lifestyle, but to continue the American Dream middle class existence they inherited from their parents. A modest house, a nice car, college, medical care, a bit of vacation. This package, unfortunately, became unaffordable as real incomes stagnated; so household debt soared, instead.
  2. The debt bubble blew out of all proportion and finally burst. All that so-called innovative finance did with its inumerable alphabet derivative contraptions was to mask reality and keep the party going for just a bit longer.
  3. Households cannot borrow as before and cannot resume consuming at their previous pace. Thus, GDP will continue to drop until it gets in balance with the carrying capacity of earned incomes.
  4. Since the government is not currently providing Keynesian fiscal stimulus to the real economy this process will be drawn out and unemployment will continue to rise.
  5. Higher unemployment will quickly hit even those sectors of the economy that have - so far - mostly escaped serious damage: consumer staples, discount retailers, healthcare, etc. For example, look at the huge overperformance of McDonalds shares (MCD) vs. banks (BKX).
McDonalds (black) vs. US Banks (yellow)

Bottom line: our previous economic "growth" was a debt-induced mirage and has now disappeared. Current global economic policy measures are aimed almost 100% at salvaging the bankrupt and discredited (literally) financial sector. This will prove a huge and costly policy mistake that will quickly backfire as the real economy continues to adjust downward to its "natural", lower debt state.

___________________________________
Consumer Confidence addendum (April 29, 2009)

The Conference Board yesterday announced that its reading of consumer confidence for the month of April jumped a very significant 13.2 points, from 26 to 39.2. On the face of it, this sounds very encouraging - until we dig a little deeper: the rise was almost entirely due to a jump in the Expectations Index, up almost 20 points. The Present Situation Index was almost unchanged, as were other sub-indexes that measure current business conditions and job prospects. Hope dies last?

As I said in the previous post [scroll down, see point (b)] we are in the midst of a manufactured feedback loop that is aiming to boost peoples' morale. The stockmarket's recent performance is a big factor in all of this, no doubt. An entire generation of Americans (and plenty of others, too..) has grown up with the religious belief that green "up" arrows on the Dow scrolling below their CNBC screen is - somehow - a good thing for them, even if they own zero stocks and bonds.

For them, I suggest they should instead look at this chart, below: continued claims for unemployment insurance as a percent of the civilian labor force, i.e. the real economy, right now. Unfortunately, it doesn't look good; if we reach the 5% level of 1975, then we are looking at an additional 2 million continuing benefit claimants, on top of the record 6.1 million currently.

And if things get significantly uglier (remember, "worst crisis since 1929"?), say to the tune of 8%, then we will have to deal with 12.5 million people claiming unemployment benefits. Truly ugly.

So, if the real economy doesn't turn around in the current quarter there will be hell to pay; from a psychological perspective alone, dashed expectations are very powerful negative motivators that will induce people to really go into their shells.

And that's when the Crisis will go into its most virulent, Part Two phase. Just in time for the swine...

55 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hell,

Our money backed by debt monetary system required exponential debt growth. Our energy use is exponentially growing as is global population. The age of permagrowth is or nearly is over. The status quo dies hard. All the attempts so far are simply a futile effort to revive a system that is doomed to fail. Their Herculean efforts will only delay its demise. This has been the theme of your blog.

The more interesting questions at this time are what are some solutions to the above problems.

Tiago said...

Anonymous,

I would guess that solutions are actually not difficult to come by: steady-state economics, renewable energy, mass recycling and reuse, less throw-away, sustainability, greenback, bla bla bla (there are variations, but not lack of solutions)

For me, the interesting question is how all this will unfold? The transition... Will it be orderly or chaotic?
Will the next years be ones of rational transition, careful policies based on the idea that debt and increasing consumption of resources is unsustainable or will it be through trying to maintain the current status-quo ensuing an hard-landing with suffering maybe war, etc?

Marcus said...

Hell, Beautiful writing here:...(government)borrowing trillions to salvage the financial sector from its own perfidy...

Maybe we can regulate that the financial sector execs have to buy 40" TVs for all 30 rooms, have to buy 40 Fords instead of 2 Bentleys, and 1,000 pairs of sneakers for their kids to make up the lack of consumer purchases.

Anonymous said...

@ Tiago,

" that solutions are actually not difficult to come by: steady-state economics, renewable energy, mass recycling and reuse, less throw-away, sustainability, greenback, "

These solutions are still costly and will result in money extracted from consumer spending and pressure employment and production in consumer related sectors. This is not necessarily a bad long run shift away from consummables to sustainable production but to manage it we need programs to pick up the economic slack and the unemployment created. If not it will significantly exacerabte the downturn.

A "work to live" program where anyone who needs welfaf]re of any type, except those physically unable, can find government sponsored work sort of like the WPA would need to be implemented. It must provide a living wage, day care, health care and minimum benefits. It could use the person's skills where possible but absent that community lanscaping, , cleanup, road repair, forest management are a small sample of the types of programs that could be created where other opportunities were lacking. Call it socialism - - right on! How muchh more crisis it will take before the elites are weakened enough to allow for the wide acceptance it probably already has to manifest itself for all to see? We shall have to wait to find that one out.

SS

P.S. The 7:01 Anonymous post is not from me but echos what I have said several times. I am not going to repeat it here though, so if you see it in the future again someone else will have come to this same conclusion. I might suggest that if you have such sentiments posting at least a moniker would help us know that they are not all from the same person.

Joe said...

Great post and spot on. It will get much worse and there is no way for an orderly transition, it will be very ugly, too much debt involved.

The only question now is one of timing but I do believe it will be within months and not in a year or 2.

Joe M.

Anonymous said...

What sucks is that all those decades of easy money which people thought was normal induced people into a false sense of complacency.

Instead of managing fancy restaurants or being real estate agents they could have been studying the sciences or engineering and would have laid the foundation for innovation and real economic growth.

This is misallocation of resources on a massive, gargantuan, global scale.

Thanks Greenspan!

Debra said...

Well, I for one figured this one out years ago, courtesy of J.K. Galbraith.
I will turn things around to suggest that this is NOT in any way a crisis, as this situation was a given, as soon as we started implementing automatisation with the industrial revolution.
It is false to imagine that this is a crisis, in the same way as it is also false to imagine that solutions are not already being worked on at an individual, not at a governmental or societal level, but then neoliberalism has ensured the atomisation of our society also, with the resulting breakdown of the concept of the "common good".
Even OUR reactions on this blog, I mean the reactions of many of the regulars on this blog reflect the tremendous difficulty we have contemplating the ramifications, and the implications of the impending collapse of our monetary systems.
But I will go further.
Since I have said elsewhere that the monetary system is just ONE of our symbolic systems, I should also add that ALL of our symbolic systems are in the red (lol...) because we are having troubles with our symbols. THEY are bankrupt too.
And all the greenbacks in the world won't take care of that...

Anonymous said...

The solution is simple:

Create a proper social security net for all Americans on par with what "the greatest generation" had, then get out of way.

Obama is on the right path but congress GOP and DEMs are blocking the way.

Universal Health Care, drastically downsize the Pentagon and CIA.

Re-regulate banking back to banking as a service industry to the main economy and not the economy.

Re-afirm the separation of church and state.

Make property taxes illegal across the country so that we can once again have true property ownership.

Get rid of the federal reserve and hanve congress print money as the founding fathers intended. Cancel the US taxpayer's trillions in debt to the federal reserve as it is illegal.

Put Hank Paulson, GW Bush, and Dick Cheney in jail.

Avl Guy said...

Hell, this inability to use more and more debt to further enable consumers to drive the GDP is why I keep posting that Debt Unwind is rendering our GDP model moribund. The evidence is mounting that the model had only a 25-yr lifespan and will be as hard to re-animate as would be 'the dead'.

Worse, this put us in a Structural Economic Transformation on par with the 1973-1982/84 wrenching transformation we undertook when we were 1/3rd smaller in population (1973=200 Million). Using the Jan 1973 onset of the S&P Crash as the beginning, we underwent 9 years of wrenching economic pain, plus 2 additional years before sustained job growth appeared in 1984. By then, 1984, we had jettisoned our manufacturing based along with numerous mgf-related livelihoods in favor of a 25-yr experiment with the ‘Service Economy’ and its attended 'Creative Class' and Knowledge Workers' who, sadly, face 21st century downward-pulling tidal forces on wage growth due to globalization. Therefore they require debt rather than wage growth to 'make ends meet'...and Debt Unwind is limiting that option.

Debt Unwind will eventually deposit us (via an ‘L’-shaped DESCENT, not recovery), with us kicking & screaming the entire way, somewhere on the bumpy floor of an economic crater, far away from that old model of GDP 70% driven by debt-enabled consumer spending.

Ergo, we’re in an involuntary Structural Change to our economy...without any hands (yet)directing the trajectory of the irrepressible change.

Anonymous said...

I love some of these comments ... "Obama is on the right path but ... DEMS are blocking the way ..."

and yes, we can "fix" it with universal health coverage ... hahahahahahahaah

too good. thanks for that!

Anonymous said...

Unemployment in Germany was 30% when Hitler rose to power. Right now, we're at 15-20% real numbers (not the crap that drops you from the tally after 6 months).

Hence in 10 more percent we will have large numbers of unemployed youths. No jobs, no credit cards or ipods no Tijuana spring break.

You guess what will happen.

Anonymous said...

Most people have no money, in fact most people have negative money (debt) so crisis #2 will help most people.

Crisis #2 will hopefully transfer back to the middle class trillions in wealth stolen by the Bush mafia.

Anonymous said...

You are correct, the battle is between Obama and the criminals in Washington and Wall-Street.

If Obama does not win then there may actually be a revolution in America and Washington plus Wall Street is taken back through force.

Anonymous said...

Universal Health Coverage puts a "floor" under consumer cofidence so they are no in a constant panic of losing thier life savings do to some minor surgery.

America truely is a backwards slave state, it is really crazy how anyone live in America if you are making less the say 800K per year.

I would be on the first train out to a civilized country if was not for the $$ that I am stashing away.

When the $$ dries up, then I'm on the first plane out of America back to a civilized country. One where I can walk down the street without fear of some redneck, mexican, niggar or other warped American killing me.

Kenneth said...

No one is commenting on the effect ultra-low interest rates are having on consumer savings. Instead, all the focus is on debtor relief and credit. It is impossible for conservative investors to spend if their investment income is non-existent.

Nevertheless, the reality of Bernanke's experiment will become clear. Just as early users of x-rays were enthusiastic, those who were exposed to the rays soon found the ghastly side of them. So too with bloating the Fed's balance sheet to re-inflate the bubble. The end result will be more devastating then the masters of the universe imagined.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 4:57

"where I can walk down the street without fear of some redneck, mexican, niggar or other warped American killing me."

While I have lived abroad around the world in many places I have found that though the USA has very serious character faults so too do many other countries. Europe for one including my beloved France and Italy has a serious problem with fascists and neo-nazis which persists, you think one would have learned. But regardless, I always spent my time learning about the culture what it had that was enriching and not in insulting the natives in terms worse than they would have come up with themselves. You appropriately criticize a strain of violent no-nothing behavior here but in terms that even those you criticize would applaud. I'm afraid our embrace of people like yourself may be part of the problem. I would hope I am wrong and that the language was simply a very misplaced rhetorical flourish.

SS

Thai said...

I couldn't agree more with you SS. Alas we do have to admit that our loathing of such characterizations is just as flawed/just as zero sum as this is to us.

As Yoyomo rightfully points out, "everyone behaving a little better" is an elitest solution.

We can't have it both ways either.

Either we expand the boundaries of the system we live in, or accept the reality that our view is just as ugly to some as this is to us.

Regards

Hellasious said...

Civility is not elitist.

Avl Guy said...

Hell, WHY is this needlessly racist vomit still allowed to appear here in your blog?
It is not censorship to enfore civility on a blog; Anonymous can start his own blog if he wants to post such vomit.

I hope you respond.
-Avl Dao
Anonymous said... One where I can walk down the street without fear of some redneck, mexican, niggar or other warped American killing me. April 29, 2009 4:57 AM

Avl Guy said...

Every serious and responsible major blogger I read has accepted responsibility for deleting needlessly offensive reader posts:
Mish, Calculated Risk, The Big Picture. Yves Smith recently reminded her readers that she is escalating comment deletions and bans as part of her accountability to the quality of her blog.
I hope you follow suit.
Again, if Anonymous wants to express himself, he is free to start his own blog.

Anonymous said...

Hell:

In short, you hit the nail squarely on the head. BRAVO...!

There are however, other factors driving economic policy directly into the great abyss. Popular consensus manufactured by the the political and media establishment, favors a discredited economic model that advocates permagrowth with all it's warts and what we clearly see are cancerous lesions.

There is, in this writer's opinion, little doubt that the worst is yet to come. I'm seeking a tell, in order to hedge my economic well being. Perhaps the dollar or treasuries. Whatever it is, it will not be gradual. A sovereing systemic failure, will be fast, furious and catastrophic.

Best regards,

Econolicious

Tiago said...

Econolicious,

For me a "sovereign systemic failure" (debt defaulting) of a "big" country will precisely be the uber-turning point... If there is to be such a point in time where clearly the things fall apart and the process stops being continuous and becomes abrupt - (continuous as it has been until now).

Avl Guy said...

Tiago said..."...For me a "sovereign systemic failure" (debt defaulting) of a "big" country will precisely be the uber-turning point."

The final big country a sovereign default would apply to would be the US and there's a likely lesson here. From the recent run-up of $8 to $14 Trillion in additional guarantees, obligations, bailouts and loans, I realized the US will use spinning to ensure it's never said that the US defaulted.
What we will experience is an “Undeclared yet Defacto Sovereign Default” where new 'workable' terms are 'negotiated' or 'understood', ‘re-structuring undertaken’ mutually between parties of debtors and creditors.
I think China, the EuroZone, UK, Japan, IMF. WB, all understand this and similar treatment will be applied to these big boys.
The mainstream media will play along and only in blogdom will you see the words Sovereign Default.
You will be deprived of the ‘Screaming headlines’ thru obfuscation, financial alchemy, and sleight-of-hand just as we were over the past months as Bernanke/Geithner/Blair took the Bush/Paulson financial alchemy to even higher levels.

That is the unlearned lesson of “the Tipping Point’: that as long as people keep screaming that it a Tipping Point is approaching and what it looks like, etc, (as the wonking are want to do) the easier it is to diffuse the socio-cultural forces needed to ignite the Tipping Point by modifying words and perceptions.

Avl Guy said...

"as the wonking" should have been typed as "wonk-ish".

dink said...

Hell,

I'm gonna have to side with Avl Guy on this and encourage you to delete the comments of the anonymous racist. It tarnishes the character of the site as a whole.

Anonymous said...

ref.: impolitic comments

My druthers would to be to accept all types of posted comments even the worst trash. Clusterstock - Henry Blodget's very popular business and politics site - - he was invited in on Obama's blog conference call on the stimulus plan - - does this. Every time someone with a swarthy demeanor like Roubini or Taleb is featured in an item the racists get on the comment thread in force.

What is the value of this. Well we give them a chance to identify themselves so we can know exactly what we are up against and to reply with what I feel is the only tool we have for constructive change, public reprobation.

Many people reply to their bursts of hatred and petti mindedness with outrage and I think it serves a purpose to let them know how unpopular and isolated they are, not to mention how stupid.. As Debra will tell you peer pressure is an enormous social force. It gives me a chance to tell how when I grew up "olive" not white skinned Italians were referred to as the n**gers of Europe and ask if we have been graduated and if so why?

This usually shuts them up. In fact I have noticed on the site a distinct decline in racist hate comments as they are routinely and overwhelmeningly denounced.

SS

Anonymous said...

ref.: On Another Subject

Please Google the following:
TechTicker - America in Terminal Decline? No Way, Says Geopolitical Expert George Friedman

for a very interesting counter-argument on America's decline. Some of his points are valid but I don't believe he takes into account the moral decline of the country and what that implies for or organizational ability and potential social chaos. Nevertheless, very interesting thesis.

SS

But What do I Know? said...

You really have zeroed in on the problem here. I would only add that in previous recessions a "V-shaped" recovery would result from two things: expansion of credit (helped along by lower interest rates) and a resurgence in manufacturing. Of course, this time the expansion of credit is dampened by the inability of the Fed to effectively cut interest rates for consumers (yes, I know, mortgage rates have come down a whole percentage point for the best borrowers, big whoop-de-do..) but another part of the problem is that a service economy doesn't expand and contract as quickly as a manufacturing one (IMHO). So how precisely are things to get much better quickly? (To say nothing of the lost consumption of folks living off interest on their capital.)

dink said...

"This usually shuts them up. In fact I have noticed on the site a distinct decline in racist hate comments as they are routinely and overwhelmeningly denounced"

I disagree; you can't reason with an entrenched personality disorder (often they enjoy the attention anyway). Deletion is the only effective remedy.

Hellasious said...

Re: comment moderation

I have in the past deleted comments when they crossed the line. This guy has, too, but I am leaving his comment on for one reason only: he claims that it takes $800,000 per year to live decently in the US.

This is such an astonishing statement that it deserves the infamy of publicity.

H.

Avl Guy said...

Leaving racists post alive on Sudden Debt does NOT shut them up.
Nor does it ‘inform us’ of what racists are thinking.
Racists already have their own vast collection of web sites; if you have a personal need to check in on what they’re thinking, go to their websites and engage them there on their territory.

Blogger Yves Smith method is best; 1)remove their posts; 2) PUBLICLY denounce them as the web 'authority figure' for the blog; and 3) warn them that a ban is possible if they continue to offend. Her #1 offers a punitive response that exceeds the comforting fairytale of ‘peer pressure’.
For those what want to explore a peer pressure experiment, please go to the many racists sites on the web, register as a member, and wage a battle on their web home.
You can report back to us.
There is a Slippery Slope from Intellectual Curiosity to Tolerance to Cowardice, folks.

Avl Guy said...

Hell you always have the option to memorialize that quote that so intrigues you and memorializing the source by referencing him; nonetheless that derogatory slander creates a stench that only spreads deeper into the fabric of your blogsite.

You always have the option to surf other sites of stupidity and provide links to idiocy posted there. You have options.

At this point, such rationale is raising questions about the size of one’s 'blind spot' to racism and questions on whether one too easily pursues 'intrigue' as a fair exchange for exhibiting a serious insensitivity to Black people, Mexican naturals and immigrants, and others.

Again....very slippery slopes.
And growing blindspots?

Anonymous said...

@ Avi Guy

"There is a Slippery Slope from Intellectual Curiosity to Tolerance to Cowardice, folks."

Where did you get this from? Have you actually dealt with the racism on Clusterstock or denounced Anonymous to any extent here?

I do respect Hell's decision on this and understand it well. But having been denounced as "olive" skinned for a third of my 60 years here only because my last name ends in a vowel I can say for myself I would rather have someone upfront in his hatred than behind my back. The best of course would be to have no hatred at all.

You protest too much Avi. One absurdity that came up on the clusterstock site was jews denouncing Arabs as expletive anti-semites. I was able to point out that they are both Semites and seemingly quiet the furor. The person apparently didn't know that and was treating Arabs as an expletive race. Even today's discussion seem to have some benefit in Hell's pointing out that civility is not elitism. No the point is not rational arguments as much as shaming and peer pressure which you obviously could not do by visiting a racist site where they all congregate.

So while I respect any decision that Hell makes on this delicate matter, one wouldn't want the site overrun or distracted after all, I do think some of you are suspicously sensitive on the subject.

SS

Avl Guy said...

@ Anonymous SS wrote
"@ Avi Guy
...Have you actually dealt with the racism on Clusterstock or denounced Anonymous to any extent here?"

SS, any other site, ur preferred Clusterstock included, is completely irrelevant to what I posted. I don’t care who or what goes on within those sites...if you do, then fine, indulge urself, fella.

You are super-imposing ur ‘Olive Skin’ issues and another web site's issues atop my comments. My comments are strictly about this site and only this site.

And finally, what, pray tell, is the distinction you see between being "sensitive" versus being "suspiciously sensitive"?
If u respond at all...please pontificate on the distinction you see and the merits it contains.
Let me be blunt...
”WHAT is your suspicion?”

Anonymous said...

@ Avi

My suspicion is that you may be latently racist - - to some extent we all are - - and so much so to be afraid to acknowledge it and deal with it head on in others. I really hope that this is not the case and have no idea more than a suspicion since I don't know you. Racism is out there and must be dealt with. I do acknowledge though that shutting it off the site is one way of dealing with it and sometimes the best.

Personally I thought that the poster this morning could be acknowledged and challenged as an individual. Doing that every time a nasty comment comes up is admittedly another question but not as shut and dried as your anger would suggest.

Best Wishes

SS

Debra said...

Sigh....
I'm disappointed that we are spending SO MUCH TIME AND ENERGY being self righteous and finger pointing about racism on this site, when we could actually perhaps ignore it and discuss other issues.

I remember the time that I actually managed to get laid by the really cute, Algerian Science Po intellectual who opened up my eyes to my government's evil-doing in the world, after having been in a serious stable relationship with a brilliant American Jew for over six months.
His triumphant crow ? "I bet you never saw a circumcized dick before did you ?"
I will let you guess what I had the prescience to retort...

Actually, it HAS come to my mind that, WOW, 8% unemployment, you guys on the other side of the Atlantic are getting off easy, OVER HERE it's like, almost 12% and rising.
But then, maybe you STILL have government subsidies to keep the gas prices down, like WE DON'T HAVE OVER HERE, AND HAVEN'T HAD FOR A LONG LONG TIME...
And I think that of all the things Barack Obama should be thinking about, getting some handgun legislation pushed through during this time of crisis would not be such a bad thing for EVERYBODY in the U.S.
I'm mystified to understand why in France, we are not shooting each other up more often, and I can only conclude that the handgun issue is a great part of it.

This much said, I was not responsible for that post about rednecks, and the N word.
I promise...

Anonymous said...

@ AVLguy
First time contributor, long time commenter here.... AVL, who made you the cyber-police? You know, it's ironic that before I opened the blog today, I was thinking to myself, "Let me post a comment and just thank this guy for everything he's done." It's such an informative and well written blog, it's truly a second education to read this every day, or every other day. So many great points seem so effortlessly communicated about 5 times a week.

So that said, yes I feel as well that racism is a gross reality we face. However it's Hell's blog. He stated his reply, leave it at that. You don't have to read this, just like you don't have to gratify someone's negativity with this ongoing crusade of yours. I don't see you writing information like this, and that's because I have no desire to, because frankly, you're annoying and seem completely ungrateful (grateful dead spelling intended). I am not the same poster as the racist, by the way.

Yours,

Andrew

Camabron said...

Another excellent post hellasious. Precise and clearly written. We truly are facing the end of era, yet so many people simply ignore or can't grasp this fact, until it hits them in the face I suppose. We are in the process of reverting to the tried but true economic principles of always.

Anonymous said...

Edit to my last post: I am a first time contributor, long time reader.

AVL, otherwise, thank you for advancing the discussion. One day I hope to be able to contribute on this level.

Andrew

Avl Guy said...

Let us force ourselves to re-read what was written:
“One where I can walk down the street without fear of some redneck, mexican, niggar or other warped American killing me.”

@ SS
So your logic is that anyone who argues against something...as is the word Niggar as well as the assumption of being murdered by them or a redneck or a mexican... is latently for it? So I’m for it, eh? I’m now latently racist.
Ergo, the great work done by Hell for the 12 months I ve read this post really means he's latently for MORE debt, for MORE permagrowth simply because he consistently argues against it?
Wow.

and you, @ Andrew.....oh brother. Let's just move beyond you.

Hell, I've read ur blog for over a year and have engaged many of ur readers, esp Thai and recently Debra, in periodic dialogues about debt, finance, peak oil, etc., even Dune.
IF you have been deleting racists and misogynist’s posts in the past, then you made this blogsite a better place in the past.
You now see what happens when you allow Anonymous racism to enter.
It brings out the inadvertent ‘intellectually curious’ passive Enablers of racism (SS, Andrew etc).
If allowing racism and misogyny to appear, even occasionally, makes this a better blog, then by all means continue to not delete them.
But every one you choose to not delete something that includes:
“One where I can walk down the street without fear of some redneck, mexican, niggar or other warped American killing me.”

will only raise more questions that distract from the larger issues of perma-growth, unsustainable debt levels, as well as the structural economic transformation that my recent posts have focused attention on.
It really is not worth the distraction.
And I purposely repeat it here to make it harder for folks to intellectualize it away. it is offensive.

And I doubt you have any way to measure how offensive it is to Black people, Mexican naturals and immigrants, and any other group where it is assumed they do not read this blog. Without direct vocal LOUD feedback from people like me, how will anyone have direct evidence of how offensive it is?

And THAT is one reason why I continue to challenge this issue, and shine a light on the fallacy of SS’s (non) reasoning and now Andrew’s passive Enabling.

Hell, SS and Andrew, if you have Black and Mexican friends and associates, please direct them to this post, THAT offensive reader's comment, and ur written rationales, and have them deliver you direct feedback to your face.

Avl Guy said...

I'd add Rednecks to the list of friends and associates for feedback, as well, for feedback, except you will find it is not so easy to determine who in your midst considers themselves to be a redneck these days.

Anonymous said...

@ Debra,

Dearest, you've been in France too long and, alas, we now all understand why, that is until your comment is summarily deleted from the thread; way worse than racism here you talked about sex!! And a female expressing sexual thoughts and feelings not to mention "actions, " bad. So goodbye, dear Debra, farewell, Aurevoir mon chou - - my cabbage - a common French expression - - just so I don't get tagged by the site police.

SS

Thai said...

Yet another example of how solutions to the tragedy of the commons always create their own problems.

For better AND worse, we have to admit this blog is a complex system.

My own sympathy leans with Avl and Dink- I truly find this stuff disgusting. And yet I strongly sympathize with SS's bent towards public humiliation and I too have a strong anti censorship bias.

Further the selfish side of me truly hates the idea that Hell spends ANY time dealing with spam/hate speech/etc... seems such a waste where it distracts him from posts/comments, etc... I do realize he has a non-blog life.

But "we have to choose sides" and in the end we do have to live by rules and "civility" does seem a good one.

So if readers' comments have any sway on you Hell, I vote you throw the bum off the island, this stuff crosses the line imo. But if this stuff is taking much time, I hope you will let us know and we can come up with a collective solution.


@Andrew- Welcome :-)

@Deb- I think I will avoid guessing for obvious reasons :-)

@SS- Play nice. Context is everything and we all know it.

Anonymous said...

Chou a Lacanian conundrum -

What is a "chou", someone you like but nobody really likes cabbage? So "chou" is the perfect Lacanian conundrum, an expression commonly used but without "affect" without "signifiant."

As big a puzzle for Lacanians as "Unified Field Theory" was for Einstein and that's a mouth-full.

Science bloggers to the rescue - millions of Frenchman call their dearest "chou" but no one really likes cabbage; and we all circulate through the universe but unified field theory is ripe with contradictions. I'm totally lost!

SS

Anonymous said...

AVL- I have black cousins...we get the point that you don't like was said. We're here to read Hell though and those who contribute to the discussion. Best part about this country is the right to free speech and Hell's interpretation of it via "passivity". (Also, look at his name. Do you get any implication of hand-holding from it? I didn't.)

Thai- been an admirer of your thoughts as well. Thanks for the welcome!

As not to be hypocritical, I'll only be back when I can contribute to the topic.

Hell thanks again.

Thai said...

"... I'll only be back when I can contribute to the topic."

Bummer...

For to quote T.S. Elliot

Jellicle Cats come out to-night
Jellicle Cats come one come all:
The Jellicle Moon is shining bright -
Jellicles come to the Jellicle Ball.

Jellicle Cats are black and white,
Jellicle Cats are rather small;
Jellicle Cats are merry and bright,
And pleasant to hear when they caterwaul.
Jellicle Cats have cheerful faces,
Jellicle Cats have bright black eyes;
They like to practise their airs and graces
And wait for the Jellicle Moon to rise.

Jellicle Cats develop slowly,
Jellicle Cats are not too big;
Jellicle Cats are roly-poly,
They know how to dance a gavotte and a jig.
Until the Jellicle Moon appears
They make their toilette and take their repose:
Jellicle Cats wash behind their ears,
Jellicle dry between their toes.

Jellicle Cats are white and black,
Jellicle Cats are of moderate size;
Jellicle Cats jump like a jumping-jack,
Jellicle Cats have moonlit eyes.
They're quitet enough in the morning hours,
They're quitet enough in the afternoon,
Reserving their terpsichorean powers
To dance by the light of the Jellicle Moon.

Jellicle Cats are black and white,
Jellicle Cats (as I said) are small;
If it happends to be a stormy night
They will practise a caper or two in the hall.
If it happens the sun is shining bright
You would say they had nothing to do at all:
They are resting and saving themselves to be right
For the Jellicle Moon and the Jellicle Ball.

Regards

Marcus said...

I vote we let Hell retain his position as CEO of Hell's Blog.

Avl Guy: If you hold zero tolerance dogmatic positions on anything the terrorists win.

Anonymous said...

@ Thai

"(Jellicle Cats)Reserving their terpsichorean powers
To dance by the light of the Jellicle Moon."

Shhh France is sleeping!

Anonymous said...

Listening to Obama today I was thinking of McCain, I am so f'ing glad that Ann-Randian WWIII pyscho bomb Iran and send another Trillion dollars on bombs retard did not get elected.

Thank God America Woke Up!

Anonymous said...

what if there is not crisis part 2?

Just some minor long term inflation and some uber rich scumbags getting taxed back into the middle class.

I for one will never vote Republican again unless a Ron Paul take over the party.

Republicans have become pure fascists, whatever that means.

Anonymous said...

The fact that American's cannot discuss or use the word "nigger" unless you are a retarded gangster rapster is absurd.

To me, it is an interesting reflextion on how pathetic Americans have become, cowards and crybabies.

The term "nigger" is fun to use specifically to contrast "redneck" when making fun of Americans, still living back in the 20th century.

I think I'll start using "gringo" instead of "redneck", lots of Mexicans like to go around calling people "gringo" makes them feel better I guess. LOL.

As for Mexicans, it is not a race, just a sad country that is 100% disfunctional, I'd be trying to escape as well, can't blame them.

It is hard to understand why Mexicans that do escape to America try so hard to keep thier culture and language, given they risked thier lives to escape that cess pool?

It is impossible to be racists through the use of words but something like the Bush Doctrine and the system of Government pushed by the Republican is 100% racsist.

Also you need to believe in race by definition to be racist. I challange you to define "nigger" and "gringo" in scientific terms that make anymore sense then the intelligent design stuff many of you retards actually believe in.

And here is another poem for you Yanks to think about:

Stick and stones will break my bones, ... LOL

Anonymous said...

America is:

Gringos - run the show, like to talk about how great America is and spew on about the constitution and stuff. The especially like to believe that America is run by a democratic government and has free financial markets.

Mexicans - invading America and who can blame them. un-regulated, un-enforced, illegals, pushed on by corportismt and greedy republicans as a new type of American slavery. The other end of the financial crisis everyone is afraid to discuss.

Niggers - the millions of men the gringos lock up in prision for victimless crimes to provide jobs for the rednecks cousins. Gringos are so afriad of niggers that they are scared of even using the word on anonymous message boards.

Rednecks - the dumb gringos. God does not discriminate when handing out brains, so there are lots and lots of rednecks that look just like gringos but are basically retarded.

Jews - really smart gringos, can be any religion, most are athiests but do not admit it in America because they sell their services at high prices to the gringos.

Indians - pretty much drunks because they existed before the earth was created by God and so can not handle alcohol. Many now are multi-millionaire casino owners because they partnered with the Jews to extract funds from the rednecks and Mexicans.

Asians - Run all the good restaurants and will soon take over the entire world. Gringos have a thing for thier women because makes them imagine they are like the niggers they fear so much.

Terrorist - All the rest, mostly brown people from countries Gringos did not learn anything about in school and cannot pronounce. Gringos are very conflicted in that niggers also seem to be scared of terrorist, very confusing to the gringos.

Debra said...

To the LAST anonymous who just posted, well...
FRANCE just woke up and doesn't particularly appreciate the usurpation of her PROVOCATIONS on this blog.
We have now WASTED mucho time and energy on this silliness.
SS, I am impressed when you flex your Lacanian muscles...
Thai, is that REALLY T.S. Eliot ?
I'm going to have to reread...
Shucks, you guys almost made me late for my piano lesson this morning, wading through all the (off-topic) comments...
Cheers.

fajensen said...

Avl Guy said...
Hell, WHY is this needlessly racist vomit still allowed to appear here in your blog?
Quit Whining already:

"Racist" these days means "anything that (might) offend anyone (soemwhere)" and the decision is not made by the potentially offended part either!!

We got enough yapping from the EU and the UN already!!

Egy Azziera said...

The world economy has not yet emerged from the crisis, but the worst has been left behind.