DoomwatchTM vs. Timesizing®

Collapse trends - Jan. 16-31, 2003
[Commentary] ©2003 Philip Hyde, The Timesizing Wire, Box 622, Cambridge MA 02140 USA (617) 623-8080 - HOMEPAGE


1/30/2003  headlines from hell -
  1. [buried deep in the Wall Street Journal today we find -]
    Bush speech leaves [market] sentiment grim, by Craig Karmin, WSJ, C14.
    [and right beside it -]
    Dollar declines against rivals, hurt by Bush speech, Fed [non-]move, by Tyler Lifton, Dow Jones via WSJ, C14.
    [compare yesterday's -]
    The empire strikes first - The axis of evil shrinks to one, op ed by Maureen Dowd, 1/29/2003 NYT, A27.
    ...The state of the union is skeptical....
    [and that's putting it milder than the Wall Street Journal!]

  2. [and then there's American insurers who are croaking right and left -]
    Troubled insurers halt payments - Consumers struggle to collect on claims amid rash of insolvencies by auto, home carriers, by Christopher Oster, WSJ, D1.
    ...A rash of insolvencies among insurers means hundreds of thousands of consumers are at risk of not collecting on their auto or homeowners claims. In the case of..\..Legion Insurance Co...now being run by the Pennsylvania insurance department, more than 11,000 claims have yet to be paid in California alone.
    [Isn't it funny that under Clinton, a hated big-government (YUK) Democrat, government shrank, but under our boy Dubya, supposedly a small-gov't Republican, government and the deficit have grown by leaps and bounds, and every time you turn around, some other part of the beloved and "efficient" private-sector is rushing desperately to the shrunken-except-at-the-Pentagon gov't to get rescued from itself. Pathetic. Check out our retirement record, especially, eg, 1/30/2003 #2 and 1/25/2003 etc, etc, etc. Timesizing and its successors iron out these problems one gripper and one trailer dimension at a time, first employment and skills, then income and skills, then wealth and skills, then credit and skills....]
    Over the past two years, huge losses on everything from workers' comp insurance to 9/11/01 resulted in delays to some individual policyholders even though the company was primarily a commercial insurer. In [each of] 2000 and 2001, there were 30 insurance-company insolvencies,.. a huge increase from previous years.... Adding to the problem is the fact that insurance premiums are soaring nationwide....

  3. [and then there's your computer -]
    In Net attacks, defining the right to know - As more companies are hit by hackers, the question is, how much should consumers be told?, by Katie Hafner with John Biggs, NYT, E1.
    As electronic sieges go, the so-called Slammer worm that attacked the Internet last weekend fell short of calamitous.
    [What happens when hackers get REAL smart and nasty?]
    Although the rogue program hit tens of thousands of computers and clogged parts of the network all over the world [hell, spam does that every day times ten!], Slammer paled in comparison with Code Red, the worm that attacked the White House website in 2001.
    [Hit the White House and missed Dubya and an Indepedence Day style meltdown? Tsk tsk. Back to the Slammer -]
    By Monday, most of the patching of systems had been accomplished and few traces of Slammer remained. Yet some companies were hit worse than others, notably Bank of America, which discovered that thousands of its ATMs could not dispense cash.
    [Gee, Argentina had to practically collapse economically to achieve that scenario. Let's talk about a subtle area that we seldom touch on. Sooner or later, us humans, a so-called "intelligent species," are going to have to realize that with this level and power of technology - which is constantly rising - we're going to have to make more concrete and integrated our common interest, because as long as we allow ourselves to grab far more than our share, to indeed avoid defining "share," and to virtually accumulate, eg, spending power per person WITHOUT LIMIT, the obscenity and absurdity of this picture is going to mean that there will be some among us who wish to destroy the whole picture, without limit. So far hackers have been pretty nice. You might even say, restrained. But as long as we act like conventional jackasses - Sharon in Israel still trying to respond to desperate Palestinian home-made bomb-bearing suicides, Bush in the White House still trying to respond to desperate Bin Laden boxcutter-bearing suicides - with mega humungo gargantuo superduper sneak & destructo overkill, instead of justice and common sense, we're going to have bigger and bigger incidents. One by one, small countries will smarten up and start galvanizing common interest along real basic, real obvious lines - like share of vanishing human employment per person aka the workweek dba timesizing. Who's going to pay for all this? "On whose back" is all this change of direction going to happen? On the back of our burgeoning armies of ROBOTS, you morons! That's what robots are FOR! They're sure as hell not for triggering layoffs and making life harder = a hell of financially insecure unemployment/"retirement"/"disability"/temporary welfare/homelessness/incarceration. They're for more financially secure leisure, despite our die-hard determination to "work hard (ie: long hours) to get ahead." We no longer have that option, unless we're willing to reinvest our overtime/overwork earnings in training and hiring to spread our prerequisite love of the overtime work to our fellow humanoids and cut the crap of infinite accumulation of unuseable buying power and unused stuff. A common workweek ceiling, with only those who love their jobs enough to reinvest overtime earnings in training and hiring - first at the corporate and city levels, then at the industry and state levels, then at the economywide and national levels, then at the continental level (eg: EU, NAFTA), then globally - within which subgroups can always make it shorter than the prevailing workweek max at the immediate more aggregate level. Now that is a integrating anchor of common interest.]

1/29/2003  headlines from hell -
  1. Disney awards chairman Eisner, other top executives bonuses, by Bruce Orwall, WSJ, B5.
    Despite its woeful stock price and continuing earnings slump, Walt Disney Co.'s board granted Chairman and CEO Michael Eisner a $5m restricted stock bonus for fiscal 2002 and awarded both restricted stock and cash bonuses to other top executives....
    [Eisner a couple of years ago was the highest paid executive in the developed world, and may still be. Of what interest to him - if there is any interest left in him, or to him - is another $5m? Is it any wonder that -]
    Rich are negative about economy, Dow Jones via WSJ, D3.
    [How ironic. They're the ones strangling it by concentrating waaaaaaaaay more spending power than they can spend, and starving even the markets away from their own investments. But they don't know what to do or how to change this. The general goals and steps are in the Timesizing program.]
    Wealthy people...defined as having personal income of $150,000 or more or personal investable assets of $500,000 or more..\..are generally negative about the economy and stock markets, according to a recent survey. McDonald Financial Group, a Cleveland banking and brokerage firm whose specialty is affluent investors, said a survey of 400 wealthy Americans...conducted by Penn Schoen & Berland..\..resulted in a score of 41 out of 100 on its new Affluent Consumer Confidence Index. A score below 50 shows negative sentiment toward the markets and economy.
    46% of those surveyed believe the U.S. is in a recession, and 93% of those holding that view think it is somewhat or very likely that recession will continue 3 months from now....

  2. [and what contributes to the pre-depression demoralization?]
    How fears of impending war already take an economic toll, by Bob Davis & Susan Warren, WSJ, front page.
    bringing the total war-fear costs to ¾%, or $75B less in goods and services and 900,000 fewer jobs, says Economy.com....

  3. [and stoking war ...]
    The results are in, and peace lost - How Arafat and Sharon help each other's cause, op ed by Gadi Taub, NYT, A27.
    Amram Mitzna, the leader of the Labor Party, offered Israelis the most realistic solution to the Palestinian conflict.... If negotiations fail to yield agreement within one year, Israel should unilaterally withdraw from the territories and impose independence on a reluctant Palestinian leadership. This plan is not just different from that of PM Ariel Sharon. It is an utter reversal of the basic assumptions of Israel's prevailing political discourse. According to Mr. Mitzna, leaving the territories is not a concession to the Palestinians; it is in Israel's most vital and urgent self-interest. If they do not withdraw, Jews will soon be a minority in their own country..\..
    With Labor's defeat in yesterday's elections, prospects for peace are now even more remote and once again rest with the two men - Ariel Sharon and Yasir Arafat - whose unspoken alliance has frustrated the hopes of Israelis and Palestinians alike....
    [Background -]
    Ariel Sharon's paradoxical victory, editorial, NYT, A26.
    After two years of unprecedented violence, insecurity and an ailing economy, Israelis voted yesterday to keep PM Ariel Sharon and his Likud Party in power. The strong Likud showing was something of a paradox, considering that opinion polls show that a consistent majority of Israelis favor exactly what Mr. Sharon has not done so far - [and]
    Israeli voters hand Sharon strong victory, by James Bennet, NYT, front page.
    ...Based on results from 99.9% of the polling centers, Likud won 37 seats..\..in the 120-seat Parliament..., and Labor only 19 - the fewest ever for the party with a mighty past.
    [but some good news -]
    ...Sinui...appeared to have surged to 15 seats from 6 in the last Parliament. The party's name means "Change," and its rise reflected in part a protest against Israel's status quo....

1/28/2003  headlines from hell -
  1. [the short term -]
    Fears of war with Iraq send blue chips below 8000, by E.S. Browning [boy or girl?], WSJ, C1.
    [compare -]
    Darwin was right: Venture deals are off 50% in a selective market, by Ann Grimes, WSJ, C5.
    [that's IT! - we're not in a recession! we're just getting SELECTIVE!]
    [more -]
    The Saddam excuse, by Jesse Eisinger, WSJ, C1.
    ...It's bad. So bad that 2003 is looking, so far, like a fourth down year in a row for stocks....
    [even more -]
    Getting ready for a double dip - How to prepare for chance of a renewed recession; 'Don't avoid the market', by Opdyke & Simon, WSJ, D1.
    ["SISS-boom-BAH,
    BOOM-chicka-BOOM,
    SEND more MONey
    To FACE its DOOM."]

  2. [the mid term -]
    College loans rise, swamping graduates' dreams, by Greg Winter, NYT, front page.
    [The new American Dream = hitting the lottery or suing the deep pocket.
    The new American pension = dying on the job or dialing 800-KEVORKIAN.
    The solution to both = Timesizing.]

  3. [the long term -]
    Closed or not, nuclear plant and its dangers won't vanish - A radioactive legacy, by Randal Archibold, NYT, A23.
    The first Indian Point reactor, build in 1962, is no longer in use. [map caption]
    The Indian Point reactors, on the bank of the Hudson River, are near residential suburban housing in Westchester County. [photo caption]
    [Nice that these carcinogenic timebombs are near the wealthy for a change. Maybe that'll get some action.]

  4. [bonus - "Gee, Ain't That Too Bad!" dept. -]
    Worm hits Microsoft, which ignored own [patch] advice, by John Schwartz, NYT, C4.
    [BULLSEYE!]

1/25-27/2003  headlines from hell -
  1. [Powell loses it -]
    1/27 Powell on Iraq: 'We reserve our sovereign right to take military action', NYT, A8.
    [Since when is there a sovereign right to attack peaceful nations, just because you think they might have dangerous weapons?]
    [Followup -]
    Patience gone, Powell adopts hawkish tone, by Steven Weisman, 1/28/2003 NYT, front page.

  2. [Israel loses it -]
    1/27 Israeli forces raided Gaza, news summary, WSJ, front page.
    ...killing at least 12 Palestinians as they hit deeper into the city than in the past 2 years....
    [but the policy of always waiting - waiting for the Palestinians to do the right thing first even though they have nothing and the Israelis have $3½ billion from us every year - is having unintended consequences -]
    1/27 Israel attracted 29% fewer visitors, news summary, WSJ, front page.
    ...in 2002 than in 2001, government figures on tourism said. More than 2 years of war have brought the industry to its lowest level in 20 years.
    [especially significant in light of tomorrow's -]
    World tourism rises, AP via 1/28/2003 NYT, W1.
    [credit low airfares?]

  3. 1/26 Doonesbury, cartoon by Gary Trudeau, Boston Globe, Cartoons 1.
    [Gary gives a glowing list of Bush's environmental no-no's -]
    1st frame - "OK, let's move on to our contributors from the extraction industries - is everyone happy there?"
    2d frame - "Very, sir! With all the national security distractions, we've been able to quietly gut one environmental protection regulation after another...
    3d frame - "For instance, we've...
    1. produced new rules to speed up logging in national forests,
    2. rolled back protections of 58m acres from roads and developments,
    3. based pollution controls for power plants and factories,
    4. rejected new fuel-efficiency standards,
    5. sped up permit-granting for power companies...
    6. [4th frame] ...lifted a ban on snowmobiles in parks,
    7. proposed 51,000 new natural gas wells,
    8. removed limits on coal producers for dumping mountaintop fill in streams,
    9. reduced EPA fines of polluters by 64%,
    10. opened up Padre Island to drilling,
    11. halted funding for several superfund sites,
    12. replaced scientists who don't support our views,
    13. rejected the Kyoto global warming treaty,
    and much, much more!...

  4. 1/27 Crime is soaring in cyberspace, pointer digest (to C4), NYT, C1.
    [Then there's the Journal's "death by 1000 qualifications" version -]
    Who's getting ripped off online? - No, consumers aren't the main victims - Businesses are - Here's what they can do to fight back, by Riva Richmond, WSJ, R1.

  5. 1/27 Editors and lobbyists wage high-tech war over letters - Advocates create mass mailings, and only the signature changes, by Jennifer Lee, NYT, C10.
    Newspapers and political organizations are engaged in technological one-upmanship over...letters to the editor that look like authentic "grassroots" responses from readers but are not. \They're more like\ "AstroTurf" \responses.\
    One letter written by the Republican National Committee has appeared this month in more than 20 papers, including these Web versions, under a different name each time. [photo caption]
    [The letters shown are variously titled "Bush's cuts are the way to go," and "Bush tax cuts help economy, create jobs." Of course, we learn today from the Wall Street Journal that even this deviosity may not help Wall Street get its chestnuts out of the fire -]
    Bush faced intensified opposition, pointer summary (to A2), WSJ, front page.
    ...to his dividend-tax cut, with Greenspan playing down its stimulative effect on the economy.

  6. [the wages of American litigiousness -]
    1/27 Asbestos quagmire - Plaintiffs target companies whose premise contained any form of deadly material - Swamped courts practice plaintiff triage, by Susan Warren, WSJ, B1.

  7. 1/27 Radioactive dump on Pacific wildlife refuge raises liability concerns, by Katharine Seelye, NYT, A20.
    In the 1950s and 60s, the US Air Force conducted 12 test launchings of nuclear missiles on tiny Johnston Atoll in the Pacific Ocean. In 1962, two of the shots were aborted and the missiles exploded over the runway, drenching the area in radioactive contaminants.
    In November, 40 years after those two failed missions, the Air Force finished burying thousands of cubic meters of plutonium-contaminated waste in a 25-acre landfill on the atoll. In 2004, the military is to leave the atoll, which was designated a wildlife refuge in 1926, in the care of the US Fish & Wildlife Service.
    [Thus raising the question, what the H was the Air Force screwing around doing nuclear missile test launches in a wildlife refuge???]
    But the Fish & Wildlife Service is worried about potential liability from the radioactive dump and is not particularly enthused about the duties of caring for the atoll, a nesting ground for green sea turtles, a habitat for 300 species of fish and an essential resting ground for 20 species of migratory birds....

  8. [here's another factor clobbering restraining consumer spending -]
    1/26 Mortgage money pit: More poured into 1st homes - House poor in Massachusetts, by Christopher Rowland, Boston Globe, City 4.
    Skyrocketing Massachusetts real estate prices in the 1990s inflicted the greatest economic pain on residents of urban areas, as low-income families, immigrants, and first-time home buyers in city neighborhoods sacrificed larger shares of their paychecks to get a toehold in the market. The trend, revealed in the 2000 Census, focused the sting of being "house poor" on residents of Dorchester, East Boston, Chelsea, Revere, and a handful of ring cities such as Lawrence and Brockton, where wages failed to keep pace with housing costs....
    Average homeowner expenses in several sections of Somerville, for example, consumed more than 40% of residents' median household income. Despite the burdens, Somerville resident Rosanne McNamara...expressed no regrets about paying roughly 35% of her $40,000 salary for her condominium. "I don't shop as much as I used to, but it's OK," said McNamara, an office manager for a graphic design firm in Cambridge....
    As recently as 5 years ago, when a 28%-of-income threshold was the rule of thumb for approving loans, allowing home buyers to spend 35% or more of their incomes on housing was considered an unacceptable risk. But banks, mortgage companies, and government-sponsored lending agencies have been willing to exceed the limits in response to rising real estate prices. Lenders have extended credit to thousands of first-time buyers ready to stretch paychecks to the breaking point....
    [Note nearby article -]
    Getting by, barely - With 58% of her income spent on housing, Christine Jones is among many in town with a miracle to make each month, by Johnny Diaz, Boston Globe, City 1.
1/23/2003  headlines from hell -
  1. Economic inequality grew in 90's boom, Fed reports, by Edmund Andrews, NYT, C1.
    Economic inequality increased markedly as the boom of the 1990's fizzled, even as incomes increased at almost every level, according to a detailed new survey by the Federal Reserve released [yester]day.
    [So even though your slice of the pie got smaller, in absolute terms it's bigger than last year (unless we do more careful calculation of inflation), so siddown & SHADDAP. Us top executives may be raping you but you should just lie back and enjoy it!]
    Conducted at the end of 2001, when the economy was in a recession [get that? - the Fed's party line says it's not in a recession now - trust them, TRUST them], the survey compared wealth and income with levels [in] 1998. It suggests that the benefits of the economic boom [ah, that should be "bubble," not "boom"] were widespread but extremely uneven. The survey is compiled every 3 years and is based on interviews with more than 4,000 families. Its results come as pResident Bush proposes a plan to cut taxes $674B over 10 years. Opponents of the plan, which has as its centerpiece a proposal to eliminate most taxes on stock dividends [i.e., unearned income], say most of the benefits would be showered on the richest taxpayers....
    [Thus concentrating the spending power of the nation even more tightly in the top income brackets and deepening the downturn. An economy with tightly concentrated spending power is like a human being with an unusual extra vein from his lungs back to his heart, but instead of going to the left atrium like the normal lung-to-heart vein, where the blood passes down into the normally large left ventricle and gets pumped out into the whole body system, the extra vein of the concentrated-wealth economy takes a shortcut back to the right atrium so the blood can go down into the normally smaller right ventricle for pumping right back to the lungs. More and more of the spending power of the nation takes this shortcut, as the relatively few wealthy, with limited time, simply invest or give money to the biggest investment targets or charities. Most of their money never strays far from the tightly concentrated zones. And back to the body metaphor, the body economic begins to starve for oxygen and nutrients and begins to clog with waste - even though there is plenty of blood circulating - it's mostly in that shortcut, and the right atrium and ventricle are getting hypertrophied, that is, abnormally enlarged. Not a formula for sustained health, or even life. This metaphor is complementary to that of "astrophysical" economics where the wealthy dismantle the centrifugal mechanisms one by one and finally, the centripetal forces on the nation's income are so overwhelming that they create a black hole of spending power in the top brackets, surrounded by an event horizon beyond which little or nothing concentrated inside can escape.]

  2. [the resulting desperation also intensifies -]
    Identity-theft cases have doubled, AP via WSJ, D2.
    WASHINGTON - The government received twice as many identity-theft complaints last year over 2001, with victims reporting hijacked credit cards, drained bank accounts and tainted reputations. The number of identity-theft complaints rose to 162,000 in 2001, the FTC said. The figures comes from a government database of 380,000 fraud complaints collected by the FTC, the FBI and scores of law-enforcement and consumer groups.
    Identity theft accounted for 43% of the [overall total of] complaints, topping the list of consumer frauds for a 3rd consecutive year. Gripes about fraud in Internet auctions ranked No. 2 [at only] 13% of complaints.
    Up to 700,000 people in the U.S. may be victimized by identity bandits each year, the Justice Dept. says. It costs the average victim more than $1,000 in expenses and reputations, the FTC has said.... In 2001, the FTC began promoting a dedicated website and toll-free phone number for victims.
    [Which are???....... The WSJ does not condescend to tell us. Thanks a million guys.]

1/21/2003  headlines from hell -
  1. Welcome to the 'Joys of Bush Bashing' Dept. - LAUGH while your country goes to hell - what else can you do (except timesize for all you're worth!) -
  2. [& he-e-ere's the godfather of Bush bashers - who doesn't quite make his point -]
    A touch of class [warfare] - It's not about envy, op ed by Paul Krugman, NYT, A23.
    [What is it about, Paul?]
    ...When people like me stress how few Americans will gain from the Bush plan, we're not talking about envy; we're talking about priorities \like\ allocating enough money to meet [Bush's] own goals for homeland security, or...adequate[ly] funding for Medicare..., promised pay increases for the military, ...aid to desperate state governments. And bear in mind that the budget deficits of state and local governments are forcing cuts in medical care for the poor and public services for everyone. Many states, even those with Republican governors [nice try, Paul], will be forced to raise taxes too - but the burden of those increases will fall on the middle class, not the rich....
    [Ah, ye olde Tragedie of the Commons (hat tip to Garrett Hardin).   Bleeding heart liberalism, Paul.   Lame lame lame.   Here's what your punchline should have said, "When people stress how few Americans will gain from the Bush plan, we're not talking about envy; we're talking about how it will actively deepen the recession and in the longer term, hurt the very people it's designed to benefit, the very wealthy." Paul, get out that underused tool from your shed, the marginal utility of wealth, and show how we wealthy are consolidating and concentrating sooo much unspendable spending power that we are actually strangling the markets away from our own investments and rendering those investments unstable and our privileged position insecure. Take the battle right into the gated communities and quit bawling and mopping your eyes.]

  3. [and then there's -]
    The annoying new face of customer service - Virtual phone reps replace the old touch-tone menus [pretty annoying in themselves!]..., by Jane Spencer, WSJ, D1.
    [Still think that all our technological whizbang is Undiluted Blessing?]

1/17/2003  headlines from hell -
  1. A faltering German economy worsens - Growth is just 0.2%; Europe effects seen, by Mark Landler, NYT, C13.

  2. U.S. Green Berets have arrived, summary blurb (standalone), WSJ, front page.
    ...in Colombia to train the army there to protect a key oil pipeline....
    [We have a bad feeling about this.]

  3. Somali parents, summary blurb (standalone), WSJ, front page.
    ...are paying smugglers to drop off their children at airports and train stations around the world, hoping they will find their way to a better life, a U.N. report says.
    [And what's to stop the smugglers from just dropping them off in the ocean?]

1/16/2003  headlines from hell -
  1. [finally the barefaced truth about Iraq]
    U.S. oil wants to work in Iraq - Firms discuss how to raise nation's output after a possible war, by Thaddeus Herrick, WSJ, A10.
    [iiiiit's BLATANT.]
    ...Executives of U.S. oil companies are conferring with officials from the White House, the Dept. of Defense and the State Dept. to figure out how best to jump-start Iraq's oil industry following a war, industry officials say.
    [This is the scary thing about today. All the things we used to just suspect about United Fruit Co. et al. in Central America and elsewhere, all the things that the lefties used to just whisper about in the 1960s and 70s, are now being shouted out, almost boasted about, from the Wall Street Journal. Our foreign policy is being run for the benefit of the few supermegahighly paid top executives in the oil industry who have complete access to the White House and all these other agencies that can easily evoke a lot more 9/11's or get our goose cooked anyplace in this country. And the $$$$$$$$$$benefits that they so obsessively, unbalancedly, and BORINGLY scrabble for are totally wasted to the cause of solid economic recovery because they already have way way way more than they could spend in a dozen lifetimes.]
    With oil reserves second only toi Saudi Arabia's, Iraq would offer the oil industry enormous opportunity should a war topple Saddam Hussein. But the early spoils would probably go to companies needed to keep Iraq's already rundown oil operations running, especially if facilities were further damaged in a war. Oil-services firms such as Halliburton Co. [oh what a surprise], where VP Dick Cheney formerly served as CEO [no wonder this corrupt 'public servant' wants to cover up the energy papers!], and Schlumberger Ltd. are seen as favorites for what could be as much as $1.5 billion in contracts. The major oil and natural-gas producers won't be far behind....
    While the Bush administration is loath to be seen as waging war for oil, industry officials say Washington is leaning heavily on the expertise of the U.S. oil industry so that it is prepared to address its top postwar priority: funding a new Iraqi regime with oil revenue....
    [Has any group of cynical mass murderers ever before debated postwar spoils and looting so brazenly in the public media in advance of a war? Here's hoping every one of their children are drafted and killed to wake them up and snap out of "they know not what they are doing." Only when son Quentin was killed over France did Teddy Roosevelt snap out of his war longing. And it gets worse. These guys think we are really stupid -]
    "If we go to war, it's not about oil," says Larry Goldstein, president of the Petroleum Industry Research Foundation in New York. "But the day the war ends, it has everything to do with oil."...
    [Hey guys, if really "it's not about oil," then we'd be focused on war with the greater threat to continental USA = North Korea. And we aren't.]

  2. Producer prices hold steady amid fresh signs of deflation - Excluding food, energy, indicator declines 0.3%..., by Jon Hilsenrath, WSJ, A2.
    [Deflation, one of the major symptoms during the Great Depression. Perhaps the point where we start getting too much of a good thing, where the usefulness of capital concentration turns dark, foreboding and self-destructive, is the threshold when we pass from slow inflation, which slowly centrifuges concentrated spending power, to slow deflation, which slowly concentrates it even more. This threshold may, in future, turn out to be too crude and too late, as our expectations rise, but it's hard to miss the comparison with astronomers' black holes at this turning point, because with black holes, the gravity is sooo strong, the concentration so dense, that nothing escapes beyond the "event horizon" around the black hole, not even photons (ie: light waves/particles). So a good argument for the formation of a self-vanishing black hole in economics is the existence of this "event horizon" that declares itself when the wealthy have diverted sooo many income flows to themselves and strangled the markets that support their wealth sooo much, that they "succeed" in reversing the centrifugal forces of the most diffuse kind in the economy - currency inflation - and then their total suicidal triumph is not far off, because the price levels that have supported them begin a secular (not cyclical) decline, dragging the wealthy down with them, and transforming the whole economy from a single big pyramid of income and wealth to two separate islands, one huge and dirt poor, the other tiny and fabulously, meaninglessly, rich, with virtually no passage between them - in short, a Third World scenario.]

  3. [and Bush's solution? Keynesianism without the huge nation-binding military-spending scenario that saved Germany and Japan in the 1930s and the USA in the 1940s - ergo -]
    Bush aide see deficit in 2003 of $200 billion, by Rosenbaum & Andrews, NYT, front page.
    ...and probably go over $300 billion next year....
    [and we call these profligates "conservatives"? - what a violation of language!]
    [Here's Krugman's take tomorrow -]
    Off the wagon - [Bush administration] going on a deficit bender, op ed by Paul Krugman, NYT, A25.


For earlier collapse stories, click on the desired date -

  • Jan. 1-15/2002.
  • Dec/2002.
  • Nov/2002.
  • Oct. 16-31/2002.
  • Oct. 1-15/2002.
  • Sept. 10-30/2002.
  • Sept. 1-9/2002.
  • August/2002.
  • July 16-31/2002.
  • July 1-15/2002 + Jun 30.
  • June 16-29/2002.
  • June 1-15/2002.
  • May/2002.
  • April/2002.
  • Mar.12-31/2002.
  • Mar.1-11/2002.
  • Feb.16-28/2002.
  • Feb.1-15/2002.
  • Jan/2002.
  • Dec/2001.
  • Nov.16-30/2001.
  • Nov.1-15/2001.
  • Oct/2001.
  • Sep.15-30/2001.
  • Sep.1-15/2001.
  • Aug/2001.
  • July/2001.
  • June/2001.
  • Apr-May/2001.
  • Mar/2001.
  • Feb/2001.
  • Jan/2001.
  • Dec.21-31/2000.
  • Dec.11-20/2000.
  • Dec.1-10/2000.
        Earlier Y2000 months accessible via links at bottom of Dec.1-10/2000 page.
  • Dec.16-31/99.
  • Dec.1-15/99.
        Earlier 1999 months accessible via links at bottom of Dec.1-15/99 page.
  • Dec/98.
        Earlier months accessible via links at bottom of Dec/98 page.


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