Tuesday, November 08, 2011

A World of Wonders and Worries

From the vitally important... See the most significant article of 2011: The Capitalist Network that Rules the World.  Consider how Adam Smith himself would have disapproved of the consolidation of total economic power into the grip of just a few hundred people... and Karl Marx would be rubbing his hands right now, murmuring yessssss! I'll discuss this further, soon. Those of you who have read EARTH - or studied any history at all - know where this leads. Proving that the present generation of aristocrats ain't anywhere near as smart as they think they are.  (More politics at-bottom.  But first lots of science & cool stuff.)

To the way-cool fun... James Erwin posted a 350 word what if story, Rome, Sweet Rome, about a U.S. Marine battalion plopped into the Roman Empire... went off for a meal... and came back to find “viral” had a whole new meaning. Thousands were writing for more. Within a day he had an agent. By week’s end he had sold movie rights!  And when I re-tweeted this? Mr. Erwin tweeted back “In my next work, they'll have to fight off 2,000 Holnists. Honored by the retweet.”

Hey James, my man, keep up the what-if spinning!  Great stuff.

...to "it's about time!  Remember in EARTH where people use brain scanners to achieve meditation feats like monks, faster and easier?  Two brain-training games tested at Stanford University have proven remarkably successful at preventing depression in at-risk teenagers before it starts. A generation ago it was called "biofeedback" and seemed to show real promise. Now, this may just be the start of some long-delayed powers... and challenges to wisdom.

== Fighting back with light ==

One way a man dealt with suspicions from the FBI: by logging his own life, posting every flight, every trip, every detail online, by flooding the world... and the surveillors... with personal data, photos of his meals, travel itineraries, receipts, logs of people met. Here is Hasan M. Elahi's rationalization: You Want to Track Me? Here You Go, F.B.I!

In an era in which everything is archived and tracked, the best way to maintain privacy may be to give it up. Information agencies operate in an industry that values data. Restricted access to information is what makes it valuable. If I cut out the middleman and flood the market with my information, the intelligence the F.B.I. has on me will be of no value. Making my private information public devalues the currency of the information the intelligence gatherers have collected.

“My activities may be more symbolic than not, but if 300 million people started sending private information to federal agents, the government would need to hire as many as another 300 million people, possibly more, to keep up with the information and we’d have to redesign our entire intelligence system.”

An interesting experiment and believe me, as author of The Transparent Society, I am sympathetic with transparency-oriented experiments in spilling accountability upward.  Still, in the end I find this all rather silly.  Oh, the fellow has found a way to turn lemons into lemonade and he -personally - will probably never be bothered again, because he has become a quasi-public-figure.  In the end, this is a stunt. It is not “sousveillance” at all. Of course the state and corporations will adapt and Moore’s Law style surveillance AI will learn to cope with such floods.

== And more... ==

The ACLU issued a document clarifying your right to photograph in public. "When in public spaces where you are lawfully present you have the right to photograph anything that is in plain view. That includes pictures of federal buildings, transportation facilities, and police. Police may not delete  your photographs or video under any circumstances." I'm moderate about the state looking at us, but we must be militant about looking back.

And see this: The Justice Department Wants To Be Able To Lie In Response To Freedom Of Information Requests. Federal agencies would be able to deny the existence of documents they choose to withhold.

Rather than just recording what you think will happen, PredictionBook allows you to record just how sure you are that it will happen. Not quite as sophisticated as what I meant by a Predictions Registry, but it’s getting closer.  WIll some volunteers try it and report back? Another such site is Longbets: The Arena for Accountable Predictions.

New data from a national math test show that U.S. fourth- and eighth-graders have made slight gains since 2009, but only 35 to 40 percent of the students tested showed proficiency in math.

== More Science! ==
Could the brain be using electromagnetic fields to communicate between hemispheres — the electromagnetic field theory of consciousness proposed by Johnjoe McFadden (School of Biomedical and Life Sciences, University of Surrey)?  Now Neuroscientists at Caltech have made a puzzling finding: people born without a corpus callosum (which links the two hemispheres of the brain) still show remarkably normal communication across the gap between the two halves of their brains. This occurs in approximately one of every 4000 live births. The typical corpus callosum comprises almost 200 million axons  -- the largest fiber bundle in the human brain. (I was at Caltech when Roger Sperry started working with the split brain....)

A research team at Georgia Tech has discovered how to do exactly that, using a smartphone accelerometer — the internal device that detects when and how the phone is tilted — to sense (very nearby) keyboard vibrations and decipher complete sentences with up to 80 percent accuracy.

Quantum cryptography — which uses the quantum states of photons to encode information for transmission — exploits the fact that measurements cannot be made of a quantum system without disturbing it. It was thought impossible for an eavesdropper to intercept a quantum encryption key without disrupting it and triggering alarm bells. But “uncrackable” quantum cryptographic systems can in fact be cracked by using lasers to “blind” photon polarization detectors and force them to detect fake quantum-entanglement correlations, falsely indicating that a key is certified as secure.

Scientists generated a strain of mouse in which all the senescent cells can be purged by giving the mice a drug that forces the cells to self-destruct. Rid of the senescent cells, the Mayo Clinic researchers reported online Wednesday in the journal Nature, the mice’s tissues showed a major improvement in the usual burden of age-related disorders. They did not develop cataracts, avoided the usual wasting of muscle with age, and could exercise much longer on a mouse treadmill.

Re consciousness, this from childhood chum Daniel Packman: “ It is interesting to see two different evolutionary routes to increased mental capacity: apes & company with bolted on stuff like the prefrontal lobes and parrots with a more fully developed reptilian brain. Both lead to some of the same thought processes so perhaps higher thought processes are an emergent inevitability of complexity.”

Ah, the power of words to kill…Four times, Captain Kirk talked evil computers into committing suicide. In Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, enemies exposed to the dour views of Marvin the Paranoid Android choose to commit suicide. Doctor Who manages this trick as well, as does Oedipus, when he solves the mystery of the sphinx. Here’s a compilation of the ways monsters and enemies have been talked to death…

==The Political Lamp is Lit ==

See, all-too clearly, the effects that Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 tax plan would have on the middle and upper classes.  Class War has already been declared.  And, as Warren Buffett said “my class is winning.”

Folks.  Order this T-Shirt.  Seriously. “Scudder for President 2012.”  People will ask you about it.  You’ll explain. They will come away wanting to (1) read Heinlein and (2) do anything in their power to prevent it.

The Earth's surface is warming, after all, says a team of researchers who sought to investigate claims that flawed data and methods had skewed existing analyses of global temperature trends. "When we began this, I didn't know whether we would see more warming than people had previously seen, or less. I knew that some skeptics had raised legitimate issues that needed further study," said Muller, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley. "We've done that study now, and I think I'm surprised that the results agree with previous groups."

Alas, the fact that the group is located at Berkeley means it will simply be shrugged off by those who need to consider it most.

Why is the CIA withholding its own report on Climate Change?

And finally....

Researchers at University College in London find brain structure differences in young adults with varied political beliefs.  “We found that greater liberalism was associated with increased gray matter volume in the anterior cingulate cortex, whereas greater conservatism was associated with increased volume of the right amygdala. These results were replicated in an independent sample of additional participants. Our findings extend previous observations that political attitudes reflect differences in self-regulatory conflict monitoring [4] and recognition of emotional faces [5] by showing that such attitudes are reflected in human brain structure. Although our data do not determine whether these regions play a causal role in the formation of political attitudes, they converge with previous work [4, 6] to suggest a possible link between brain structure and psychological mechanisms that mediate political attitudes.”

46 comments:

sociotard said...

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/nov/08/two-thirds-support-social-media-blackout

70% of people polled in Britain said they would support a facebook and twitter blackout in an emergency (like a riot).

Now we know why Dr. Brin's failsafe P2P cell phone texting network will never be implemented.

Rob said...

Has the CIA stopped beating its wife yet, David?

(I had a fascinating conversation with someone about AGW, just yesterday. He's convinced it's happening but refuses to believe people did it. I had just finished a study (again) of the hydrologic system in a geology course I'm taking. It's interesting to me (in a heartening way) that a BYU course on geology would spend so much time hammering climate change home; I think there must have been seven questions out of 50 on that subject alone in the midterm exam. It's almost as though the Mormons who run that place *want* people to think about deep time and what humans do to the planet!)

(Well, no: it's exactly like that's what they want.)

sociotard said...

The "Rome Sweet Rome" sounds a bit like a Jerry Pournelle novel, Janissaries.

David Brin said...

Anybody know if Sharon Bialek is one of those who got a settlement from the Restaurant association? Or is she just now coming out of the blue?

If it is the latter, and she had kept silent years ago, then why should anyone respect her? Her duty was to speak up THEN!

David Brin said...

http://a4.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc7/379824_10150352571516721_362474601720_8394224_2131142578_n.jpg

http://a4.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-
ak-snc7/379824_10150352571516721_
362474601720_8394224_2131142578_n.jpg

David Brin said...

Wow... An eye-opening letter in the Times and one wonders why this wasn't brought up till now!

From a letter in the LA Times by Sandy Smith: "I don't know what Bible the folks in Mississippi are reading, but it's not one I'm familiar with. The New Testament has no references at all to a fetus, but the Old Testament is very specific.

If a man kills another man, he must pay with his life; if he kills an animal, he must offer restitution. But, according to Exodus 21:22: "If men who are fighting hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely but there is no serious injury, the offender must be fined whatever the woman's husband demands and the court allows." A fetus was considered potential property."

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/letters/la-le-1108-tuesday-20111108,0,4896750.story

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/letters
/la-le-1108-tuesday-20111108,0,4896750.
story

I say again, the whole and entire purpose of the anti-abortion crusade was to give the right a "moral high ground" that would let them say "saving babies trumps all other things that would've made that hippie Jesus side with the left!"

Tony Fisk said...

The only reference to meditation feats in Earth I have found are the dazers (who didn't use brain scanners). Can anyone recall something a bit more positive?

In the not entirely serious dept, anyone who likes "Rome, Sweet Rome" would love Poul Anderson's 'High Crusade'; a flip side of the idea (crusaders vs an interstellar empire). Some fun scenes featuring trebuchets and tactical nukes, as well as longbows in space.

Those of you who have read EARTH - or studied any history at all - know where this leads.

They can run, but can they hide? Credit Suisse to hand over account details to US Internal Revenue. I wonder if that includes a transaction history...

Psychopaths may occupy a lot of boardrooms, but personality profiling tests exist to detect them. The 99% need to learn how to get out of the way of (and confuse) the sharks.

Which leads me to this wonderful bit of natural photography: A murmuration

mializo: serenade sung by one brain hemisphere to its other half.

David Brin said...

Tony thanks. But the natural photography link failed.

sociotard said...

The Dazers did use biofeedback equipment. (Roland says that when he's bleeding in a tunnel) I certainly envisioned a brain scanner when I read the book.

The wikipedia page does list electroencephalographs as possible biofeedback tools, so other brain scanning equipment would seem to fit in naturally.

Wait. Here we go. part VII, Biosphere. Dazers use homemade tomography scan kits to get realtime images of their brains, so they could learn to daze. Also in part IX, Crust. NeoZen and Sufis use brain wave monitors, essentially to daze.

I could have sworn there was a mention in there somewhere about good uses for the tech.

Tony Fisk said...

Try http://t.co/86cqoBjj

Thanks for the heads up sociotard!

Just a moment...
There appears to be a serious problem with Phobos-Grunt post-launch

popodsm: when social standing is defined by your iPod.

sociotard said...

In Part III Teresa uses Biofeedback techniques learned in school to drain away tension. There is no mention of scanners of any kind, but then there wouldn't be. Scanners were there for practice, so that people could use meditation techniques without spending a lifetime of sacrifice earning them. Dazers used them at first, and eventually did not need them anymore. Teresa learned how to remove her tension in highschool, and then she didn't need a machine anymore.

Interestingly, the depression article implied the same thing. The girls could learn depression managment on the machine, and use the skill later without the machine.

Tony Fisk said...

Aha! p119: it's ironic that Roland is too busy to apply all the bio-feedback training he's received to dull the leg wound (it is distinct from 'dazing', as he later muses on its usefulness at that moment, although he knows the corps doesn't take addicts.)

David Brin said...

Sociotard, thanks! That absolutely nails it as a prediction!

Tony, that murmeration video was choice!

David Brin said...

Phobos mission. Aw crap. Double dang kaka doodoo.

Aw man.

David Brin said...

Thanks Tony... though some of the things you call "obvious"... can you show me who else was predicting them?

Anyway you're great for keeping up the predictions wiki.

We'll have to start one for EXISTENCE!

Robert said...

They believe the spacecraft is in safe mode and the mission may still be doable tomorrow.

Rob H.

Tony Fisk said...

I deliberately used a subjective measure of the insight implied by the prediction, as follows:
- trivial: as in 'the sun will rise tomorrow'
- obvious: anybody might make the same prediction, with a little thought. (Though few did.)
- subtle: some others could see this coming, with access to the right information.
- obscure: truly insightful, if it comes to pass!

So 'obvious' can be taken to mean '...I knew that! in hindsight'

Biofeedback is interesting. Its uptake as part of the general curriculum is, perhaps, obvious (or is it, with War on Drugs etc?). The Stanford results are much more subtle.

(I might have been thinking of mailing lists etc when I marked the Web as obvious. In hindsight, I admit that it might be considered subtle, having just read Stephen Fry's account of the almost-meeting between Steve Jobs and Tim Berners-Lee! Considering what happened next, maybe this was a Good Thing!?)

Another scale might be used for 'Existence'.

Phobos-Grunt appears to be in safe mode at this time. Initial reports of two objects in orbit would appear to be what would be expected (One being the discarded second stage). Extremities crossed.

(ahem: Remy's last moments are p192, not p119)

Tim H. said...

The November 8th entry at robertreich.org is interesting , "The Corporate Pledge of Allegiance".

"plart", offensive bodily noise in herbaceous civilizations.

Useless Eater said...

H Beam Piper's Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen is even closer to Rome Sweet Rome than Janissaries.

Although in Piper's tale it was a single individual with superior military knowledge that changed the entire course of (an alternate) history.

mingialk: Where the merciless one goes for his morning stroll.

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin:

Anybody know if Sharon Bialek is one of those who got a settlement from the Restaurant association? Or is she just now coming out of the blue?

If it is the latter, and she had kept silent years ago, then why should anyone respect her? Her duty was to speak up THEN!


I've got all kinds of mixed feelings about this woman's story, but I'm not sure that your particular concern is one of them. One version of the story that I heard on progressive talk radio (admittedly biased) is that she DID make complaints years ago, and that she is able to show corroborating statements from witnesses that she made the charge back in the 90s.

On the other hand (in Cain's favor), the details of her side of the encounter, with herself as a wide-eyed innocent ("You know I have a boyfriend. I didn't come here for that!") and Cain as a mysogynist supervillain ("You said you wanted a job, right?") is just too cute for words.

The thing is, this woman has been identified as a Republican and a Tea-Partier and a listener to Christian talk radio, all characteristics which are supposed to give her credibility because they supposedly indicate that she doesn't have any ulterior motive--not like those libr'ls in the media who want to knock Cain out of the running! But if anyone is targeting Cain with leaks (and I agree with the candidate that such a thing is likely), I'm thinking that the most likely suspects to want him gone are other CONSERVATIVES. This is not a general election, where the choice is Cain or Obama. This is a primary, where they're trying to select just who can best UNSEAT Obama. And Cain isn't it.

LarryHart said...

And if you can stand another running comment on "Kiln People"...

Got a kick out of the name you gave to the soldier who escorts Albert around the military base in an ape-like golem body--Gordon Chen. Chen being a common Chinese name is, I'm sure, a prevelant one in your part of the west coast. But it also suggests your term for a male chimpanzee in "The Uplift War". And "Gordon" may or may not be a nod to Gordon Krantz of "The Postman". I prefer to believe it is.

Tacitus2 said...

I am afraid we are going to have to get used to lurid scandals as part of our political process. It is just too powerful a weapon.

Regards Cain et al. Someone is lying and it will become evident who that is in a few days. I don't have a lot of energy invested in this because Cain does not meet my criteria for a serious presidential option.

Either this is all seeping out of other Republican sources, or the Democratic hit machine is inept (this is too early to help Obama), or it is just a case of spontaneous combustion, a bit of political methane that just chose this moment to flash.

Interesting of course to compare similar claims against candidate B.Clinton, that were minimized as "bimbo eruptions", but you could sure argue that we are in a new age of information for better and/or worse.

I do get a slightly different vibe from Cain than I did from the manifestly guilty Weiner. Are we more cautious because of the racial dimension here? Do the last names of the candidates play a role? A semi tragic Mark of Cain vs The Weiner.

Well, time will tell.

Interesting tidings from Ohio. Put to rest the notion that public employees are a docile bunch of apolitical schoolmarms, they are the Gorilla of State politics in some places. The People have spoken loudly. The ones listening most intently are the Blue State governors who were hoping, before yesterday, to use the cover of Red State experiences to make needed changes. So ironically it will be places like California that are hurt the worst by the Blue "victory".

Interesting times.

Tacitus

LarryHart said...

Tacitus2:

I am afraid we are going to have to get used to lurid scandals as part of our political process. It is just too powerful a weapon.


Even from the other side of the aisle, I totally agree with your air of resignation here. It's not that I disbelieve for a moment that powerful men engage in sexual harrassment. But the signal-to-noise ratio of these accusation is so low that it's hard to separate the wheat from the chaff.


I don't have a lot of energy invested in this because Cain does not meet my criteria for a serious presidential option.


Agreed here too. At the lowest, most cynical level, Cain would make a bad opponent for Obama because he wouldn't energize the white racist vote the Republicans need to win. At a higher level of criticism, Cain simply comes across as a clown rather than as a serious contender. This is why I don't find it credible that the LEFT is underhandedly trying to take Cain out of the running.


Either this is all seeping out of other Republican sources, or the Democratic hit machine is inept (this is too early to help Obama),


Agreed, and I've already made my case for the former of the two.


Interesting of course to compare similar claims against candidate B.Clinton, that were minimized as "bimbo eruptions",


As long as you compare from both sides. I presume you're saying that Dems who defended Clinton and demonized his accusers were hypocrites. But the same applies to Gingrich et al who (never mind his own personal lapses) are now shocked, shocked to discover that political opponents use such charges for partisan gain!


but you could sure argue that we are in a new age of information for better and/or worse.


The Clinton years were probably the tail end of an older era where a politician would resign in disgrace just to prevent that sort of accusation from becoming public. Clinton, the first baby-boomer president, not only stayed in office through the ordeal, but survived politically. That alone probably helped usher in the current age where the accusations are so common as to become banal and close to meaningless.

I do get a slightly different vibe from Cain than I did from the manifestly guilty Weiner. Are we more cautious because of the racial dimension here? Do the last names of the candidates play a role? A semi tragic Mark of Cain vs The Weiner.


Heh.

Sometimes, I'm so much in agreement with you, and then we suddenly and distressingly diverge. To me, Weiner was manifestingly guilty, but guilty of a triviality that shouldn't have even been an issue. I'm not convinced of Cain's guilt, but what he's accused of is a more serious offense.

continued...character limits...

LarryHart said...

Tacitus2 (continued):

Interesting tidings from Ohio. Put to rest the notion that public employees are a docile bunch of apolitical schoolmarms, they are the Gorilla of State politics in some places. The People have spoken loudly.


Once again, agreed. But then...


The ones listening most intently are the Blue State governors who were hoping, before yesterday, to use the cover of Red State experiences to make needed changes. So ironically it will be places like California that are hurt the worst by the Blue "victory".


You're assering as fact "needed" changes, i.e., slashing government spending. If 'twere 1999, I'd mostly agree with you. However, it's the middle of Great Depression II with no end in sight. Spending (even wasteful spending) is a good thing in that it makes more money into high-velocity money.

The uber-wealthy are doing just fine, thank you very much. The 99% are hurting. The idea that "what needs to be done" is to sacrifice benefits for the 99% because the 1% doesn't wish to be bothered paying taxes...let's just say I think your position is rapidly becoming obvious as the wrong side of history. I'm thinking that in my liftime (given family history, probably no more than 30 years) this decades's austerity meme will be as socially unacceptable as overt racism or anti-Semitism.


Well, time will tell.


Indeed, it will.

LarryHart said...

As recently as yesterday's Thom Hartmann radio show, I've heard the tired argument that the "Occupy" movement or the 99%-ers or whatever name you want to use are "takers", while the Tea-Partiers and the conservative Republicans are "makers". It's a remarkable jiu-jitsu move to pin the sins of the few ONTO the many. They're trying to hold onto the ingrained notion that populist protests are about ENVYING the rich and looking to CONFISCATE their wealth.

To me, that's entirely backwards. It's not about how much money an individual has, but about what they did to the rest of us to get that wealth. Again, no problem with a Bill Gates or a Steve Jobs. BIG problem with zero-sum gamers who get wealthy by removing value from corporations, or by demanding increased workloads but slashing wages, or by pocketing insurance premiums and denying benefits. Those sorts of winners in the game are the true "takers" of the fruits of the "makers's" labor.

So it was refreshing in the extreme to see this article today:

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/11/08-7

I recommend the article in its entirety (it's long). A few exceprts will follow next post.

LarryHart said...

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/11/08-7

I recommend the article in its entirety (it's long). A few exceprts though:

...
The findings of the psychologist Daniel Kahneman, winner of a Nobel economics prize, are devastating to the beliefs that financial high-fliers entertain about themselves. He discovered that their apparent success is a cognitive illusion. For example, he studied the results achieved by 25 wealth advisers across eight years. He found that the consistency of their performance was zero. "The results resembled what you would expect from a dice-rolling contest, not a game of skill." Those who received the biggest bonuses had simply got lucky.
...
So much for the financial sector and its super-educated analysts. As for other kinds of business, you tell me. Is your boss possessed of judgment, vision and management skills superior to those of anyone else in the firm, or did he or she get there through bluff, bullshit and bullying?
...
The psychopathic traits on which the bosses scored so highly, Board and Fritzon point out, closely resemble the characteristics that companies look for. Those who have these traits often possess great skill in flattering and manipulating powerful people. Egocentricity, a strong sense of entitlement, a readiness to exploit others and a lack of empathy and conscience are also unlikely to damage their prospects in many corporations.
...
This is not to suggest that all executives are psychopaths. It is to suggest that the economy has been rewarding the wrong skills. As the bosses have shaken off the trade unions and captured both regulators and tax authorities, the distinction between the productive and rentier upper classes has broken down. Chief executives now behave like dukes, extracting from their financial estates sums out of all proportion to the work they do or the value they generate, sums that sometimes exhaust the businesses they parasitise. They are no more deserving of the share of wealth they've captured than oil sheikhs.

The rest of us are invited, by governments and by fawning interviews in the press, to subscribe to their myth of election: the belief that they are possessed of superhuman talents. The very rich are often described as wealth creators. But they have preyed on the earth's natural wealth and their workers' labour and creativity, impoverishing both people and planet. Now they have almost bankrupted us. The wealth creators of neoliberal mythology are some of the most effective wealth destroyers the world has ever seen.

What has happened over the past 30 years is the capture of the world's common treasury by a handful of people, assisted by neoliberal policies which were first imposed on rich nations by Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan.
...
In his book The Haves and the Have Nots, Branko Milanovic tries to discover who was the richest person who has ever lived. Beginning with the loaded Roman triumvir Marcus Crassus, he measures wealth according to the quantity of his compatriots' labour a rich man could buy. It appears that the richest man to have lived in the past 2,000 years is alive today. Carlos Slim could buy the labour of 440,000 average Mexicans. This makes him 14 times as rich as Crassus, nine times as rich as Carnegie and four times as rich as Rockefeller.

Until recently, we were mesmerised by the bosses' self-attribution. Their acolytes, in academia, the media, thinktanks and government, created an extensive infrastructure of junk economics and flattery to justify their seizure of other people's wealth. So immersed in this nonsense did we become that we seldom challenged its veracity.

This is now changing.
...
It felt like history being made. The undeserving rich are now in the frame, and the rest of us want our money back.

Hans said...

Larry,

I read the article. It says: What has happened over the past 30 years is the capture of the world's common treasury by a handful of people, assisted by neoliberal policies which were first imposed on rich nations by Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan.

I must not understand what "neoliberal" means. Can anyone explain this?

And, kind of unrelated, what do you people think of a tax plan that has:

A progressive personal income tax with a deduction of some fraction of average annual income.

Captial gains taxed as income for both individuals and corporations.

A progressive corporate asset tax with a deduction equal to some multiple of annual operating expenses plus capital assests

And an estate tax with a deduction of some multiple of average annual personal income?

My thinking is that the asset tax and estate tax would keep money at a higher velocity, and a corporate income tax is pointless since the cost is passed onto consumers anyway.

Don't worry about being blunt.

Regards,

Hans

LarryHart said...

Hans:

I must not understand what "neoliberal" means. Can anyone explain this?


My limited understanding is that the term "neoliberal" in the 1980s meant what is now called "neoconservative". And I have no idea what the word "liberal" is doing in there. The meaning of the term is certainly not intuitive.

Tacitus2 said...

"I'm not convinced of Cain's guilt, but what he's accused of is a more serious offense."

Weiner was an abrasive fellow who had few real friends in power. And you may recall the line from That Hideous Strength about tools being discarded when no longer useful.

Maybe John Edwards would have been a better parallel. Although I do feel criminal charges for his skanky behavior is going a little overboard. His peccadillos were apparently commonly known to the press but not deemed newsworthy.


Tacitus

Stefan Jones said...

'My limited understanding is that the term "neoliberal" in the 1980s meant what is now called "neoconservative". And I have no idea what the word "liberal" is doing in there. The meaning of the term is certainly not intuitive.'

No. Very different things.

From Wikipedia:

"Neoliberalism is a market-driven[1] approach to economic and social policy based on neoclassical theories of economics that stresses the efficiency of private enterprise, liberalized trade and relatively open markets, and therefore seeks to maximize the role of the private sector in determining the political and economic priorities of the country."

Drastically simplified: Neoconservative is currently a label for conservatives a muscular foreign-policy. You might spin this as saying that they want to make the world safe for neoliberalism, but there are strains of chauvanism in there that a neoliberal just wouldn't care about.

The tea baggers -- extreme movement conservatives -- currently dragging the GOP to the right are not neoconservatives either. They're populists, with only an incidental interest in foreign policy.

The sane and pragmatic conservatives of legend aren't any of these.

Hans said...

Larry,

Ok, I've got it. Neoliberal is an economic term. Its liberal with respect to more centrally controlled economies, like communist or feudal economies. That makes sense.

Regards,

Hans

David Brin said...

Tacitus, males are weasels but all accusations aren't alike.

B Clinton was a liar about grabbing some utterly consensual blow-nookie in a hallway. But the man had a courtly-consensual style and would utterly never touch a women without consent. Those other accusations lacked a scintilla of cred.

In any event, the towering hypocrisy of IMPEACHING a president over that... trying to reverse a landslide re-election and huge popularity in the polls and exquisitely effective government... and prosecuting him with 12 GOP reps a MAJORITY of whom had had messy, horrific divorces, featuring vastly worse affairs, was just part of the sinking of conservatism into insanity.

Weiner? His crime was Junior High immaturity. Dopey and harmed no one and he had to go.

Slightly worse but still dopey and mostly-harmless were the purported "harrassments" that Anita Hill accused Clarence Thomas of performing. Oh, I utterly believe her story... and she's still an utter villain! Her duty, long ago, as a vivacious young black lawyer for the EQUALITY COMMISSION (!) had been to slap him down then and there and teach him a lesson on the spot... not to stay silent till years later. That silence had one purpose... to ride CT upward through flirtation... and her later attacks on him were utterly self-serving.

The opposite of a hero.

Cain is worse than all of these, by far. Groping and demanding sex for jobs? Much worse.

Still, I agree that this is clearly being trumped up by Perry or some other Rt Wing power.

Tacitus: "The ones listening most intently are the Blue State governors who were hoping, before yesterday, to use the cover of Red State experiences to make needed changes."

I am going to surprise you by agreeing completely. But the blame is clearly on the right for making this situation one of pure "sides". If Blue America is finally waking up, and cohering into a unified partisan side, whose fault is that?

sociotard said...

NYC arrest records: Many Occupy Wall Street protesters live in luxury

Tony Fisk said...

LarryHart said:
They're trying to hold onto the ingrained notion that populist [ie occupy] protests are about ENVYING the rich and looking to CONFISCATE their wealth.

I think you earlier alluded to the traditional win-win notion of a capitalist free market vs the rampant concentration of wealth.

A counter-jiu-jitsu move from occupy tweets has been to proclaim that they're seeking to save capitalism from greed.

carpolit: the auto-democratic principle of one car, one vote. Fleet owners rule!

Jacob said...

Hi Hans,

I'd like to directly answer an aspect of your general tax question.

I do not believe that having or increasing an Estate tax is a good way to increase Money Velocity. At least not described as such. It will have that effect, but I expect you'll have almost no success in bringing it about with that description.

The motivations of those thinking about Estate Taxation is leaving things to their children.

Consider rather...
You want to change tax policy to reduce the burden on our children when they need it most. Specifically when they have the lest income and assets. We could shift Taxes from young adults trying to establish themselves. Income and first home buying. It would be a tax reduction in this area with an equivalent increase in estate taxation in order to be revenue/government size neutral. This would have the benefit you were looking for in increasing money velocity. People in their 20s and 30s are much more likely to use the additional purchasing power to stimulate the economy than those nearing the end of their life.

Those are my thoughts anyway. I recommend a lot of polish.

Robert said...

@sociotard: I attribute that to less on the socioeconomic status of the protesters and more on the stupidity of the richer protesters. The poorer ones are careful NOT to get arrested and listen to the cops when asked to move out of an area because they can't afford lawyers and the like. The richer protesters (who are still not the 1%) are perhaps a tad more spoiled, used to getting things their way, and doing stupid things.

That, and claiming the 99% Protests are a bunch of rich kids crying about the economy is a way of selling papers. Who wants to hear that the 99% Protests are, in fact, protesting legitimate griefs?

Rob H.

Robert said...

The Liberal parties of the Nineteenth Century were close to what would be called libertarianism now, and Hayek and von Mises both consistently called themselves liberals.

Between around 1880 and 1920 the British Liberal party slid from the original Liberal position to something close to what most Americans (but not Europeans) call liberalism now - a mixed economy with a lot of intervention and redistribution, and a tendency toward some pretty crude egalitarianism. And, or course, they kept calling themselves liberals the whole time. The Socialist parties, finding real Socialism almost impossible to implement, with or without mass murder, landed in almost the same place, and kept calling themselves Socialists, which added to the confusion.

Meanwhile, on the Continent, Liberalism kept its Nineteenth Century meaning. Thatcher and Reagan were "Neo-Liberals" because they were bringing back something much closer to 19th century liberalism than to traditional "Throne and Altar" conservatism. The latter hardly exists in the US, and hasn't since the Revolution, even in the South (what we have there is off-the-rails populism).

Bob Pfeiffer

David Smelser said...

So what if some of the occupiers have large mortgages (i.e. expensive homes)? So what if some of them have nice salaries? They can still be part of the 99%.

It isn't that the 99% are against the "winners", it is that they are against the cheaters.

Banks have admitted to money laundering for Mexican drug cartels, selling cap loans on purpose to the tune of 80% of their production, and filing over 100,000 perjured affidavits. Each of these is a crime, and yet no one has gone to jail.

Jao Romero said...

this may interest folks who've read The Foundation Series.
http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2011-10/man-could-rule-world
i literally got goosebumps when i relaized this man here is talking about a real working science of Psychohistory.

it's like, did Hari Seldon just jumped out from fiction into reality?

Stefan Jones said...

Oh, fooey!

My cable plan doesn't include Science Channel.

Robert said...

I think what really angers people is that the people who caused the Bush Depression have had complete immunity from the consequences of their actions.

Commit theft or fraud - even in the narrow sense of the used by libertarians? Too few will be prosecuted to deter anyone.

Break regulations in existing law (we hardly need new regulations - we need enforcement)? Nothing will happen.

Sell or buy crap that nobody in a real "caveat emptor" free market would ever touch? No problem, the government has guaranteed your loans.

The Occupiers are mixed bunch. Some, probably the majority, are simply angry at the irresponsible clowns who got us in this mess. Quite a few of them may get the reasons wrong. A smaller number really do want to bring capitalism down. A smaller number yet might want to do it violently. There are a few Sixties-type rich kids in the mix; they don't dominate. There are a few homeless people. And some criminals will try to exploit the disorder. My main critique of the occupiers is that seeing through the 1% and protesting against them doesn't mean that you really represent all of the 99%. Nobody does and nobody can.

Bob Pfeiffer

Tim H. said...

2012 candidates presented as Dungeons & Dragons characters...
http://www.funnyordie.com/lists/e0cb0351f6/presidential-candidates-explained-through-dungeons-and-dragons-character-sheets
Might as well laugh, next year it'll be a choice of sold out to big money, and astoundingly sold out to big money.
"chessio", strategy game for short attention spans.

David Brin said...

onward

LarryHart said...

It doesn't seem right to post this in Dr Brin's listing of sci-fi suggestions for kids, so I'll just post here and maybe re-post on a later political thread.

So WHAT if some of the "Occupy Wall Street" protestors live in houses which cost more than average across the United States? They live in NEW YORK! Housing costs in New York City are among the highest anywhere.

That aside, if any of the protestors are comfortable enough that they have no need to protest, doesn't that speak to the validity of their protesting MORESO than if they were just out there trying to improve their own personal lot? This complaint is like saying that anyone who complains about faulty refereeing in a sports game when their OWN team sometimes benefits from those faulty calls is a hypocrite. The criticism AS criticism makes no logical sense.

Paul451 said...

LarryHart,
"So WHAT if some of the "Occupy Wall Street" protestors live in houses which cost more than average across the United States?"

I had a chuckle that, of the 900+ arrested, around 90 had homes worth over $500k. So the top ten percent of the 99%.

Wouldn't you expect them to be above average? Is that really so shocking?

(Krugman has been pointing out the new Fox&co meme, that any member of the 1% (or especially the 0.1%) who advocates higher taxes on the rich is a "hypocrite". As he said, "I don't think that word means what they think it means".)

Paul451 said...

Oh, Larry. I wasn't being rude, not replying to your critique of my election scheme (the party-swap). I replied a few times and blogger ate every one. Even when I posted a one-liner saying I couldn't post.

(I do not understand.)