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Comment: Re:End the Fed! (Score 2) 160

by blue trane (#49331367) Attached to: Energy Company Trials Computer Servers To Heat Homes

Even so.

$20 in 1913 was worth almost $500 today. But the nominal gdp per capita in 1913 was about $400, while in 2013 it was over $50000. So: $20 / $400 gdp per capita in 1913 = 0.05 or 5% of yearly income. $400 / $50000 = 0.008, or 0.8% of yearly income. Thus, purchasing power has increased since 1913. The equivalent of $20 today will buy you much more than you could get in 1913. That includes electronics that didn't exist in 1913: radios, wind-up LED lights, cell phones, etc.

Regarding your example of a good suit costing "in the thousands": 5% of $50000 is $2500. So your purchasing power has not decreased: you can spend the same percentage of yearly income on a suit, and get a very high quality one today, as you did in 1913. Also, there are so many electronic products that cost $infinity in 1913, such as computers, cellphones, TVs, and many other things we take for granted today.

The myth of inflation being such a destructive force is thus revealed to be hyperbole.

Comment: Re:End the Fed! (Score 2) 160

by blue trane (#49330847) Attached to: Energy Company Trials Computer Servers To Heat Homes

Purchasing power has advanced much faster than inflation. A common meme is "A suit cost $20 in 1913." But the GDP per capita in 1913 was much less. You can look it up (as I have) and you will find that as a percentage of GDP per capita, a suit today is something close to 5 times less than it was in 1913.

The money supply has increased significantly faster than inflation. The quantity theory of money is deeply flawed.

Comment: Re:End the Fed! (Score 3, Interesting) 165

by blue trane (#49322577) Attached to: RMS Talks Net Neutrality, Patents, and More

What non-governmental institution turns over its profits to the US Treasury? What non-governmental institution has to have its head approved by Congress? What non-governmental institution has its charter written by Congress?

The Fed should learn to keep interest rates low. If you look at a graph of interest rates, you'll see that interest rate hikes preceded 8 of the last 9 recessions. Only four out of 12 rate hikes didn't cause recessions.

Why should the Fed raise interest rates now? It just raises costs to borrowers and increases bank profits. Interest rate hikes caused the housing crisis in 2007, because the ARMs adjusted to the increased prime rates instigated by the Fed.

Why is there this mass hysteria that rates have to increase, when clearly rate increases precipitated the most recent crash?

"The Federal Reserve also ignored Bagehot's recommendation of what to do during a bank run: make money readily available but on good collateral at dear prices. Instead, the Federal Reserve paid good money for garbage from the banks."

I would argue that the collateral is good. It was market groupthink that resulted in the crash, gossip in chatrooms hysterically screaming that every mortgage was in default. In fact the vast majority of mortgages didn't default. A few did, which was expected, but irrational paranoiac fear took over, as the market loves to let it.

Bagehot was too conservative with his "at a high rate of interest" dictum. Also, the Fed should bail out individuals, not banks. Even Kenneth Rogoff agrees:

Without question the best and most effective approach to the problem would have been to bail
out the subprime homeowners directly, forcing banks to take losses but keeping them manageable.
For an investment of perhaps a few hundred billion dollars, the US Treasury could have saved
itself from a financial crisis whose cumulative cost, counting lost output, already runs into many,
many trillions of dollars. Instead of âoesaving Wall Street,â a subprime bailout would have been
targeted, almost by definition, at lower-income households. But unfortunately, this approach too
would have been politically impossible prior to the crisis.

It is up to us to change the political possibilities by educating ourselves and voting in representatives that will tell the Fed to help individuals instead of corporations.

Comment: Re:End the Fed! (Score 2) 165

by blue trane (#49322365) Attached to: RMS Talks Net Neutrality, Patents, and More

The Fed is not private. What private bank returns interest profits to the Treasury each year? What private bank explicitly is chartered to work in the public interest, and follow directives Congress gives it? The Fed was created to replace the private central banks ("clearninghouses") that had been evolved to expand the money supply in panics. The private sector realized that it was not good to have an individual such as J. P. Morgan as the lender of last resort, because as a private, profit-motivated individual he was in a position to help only his friends and hurt his enemies.

The Fed learns. In the Great Depression, it misguidedly tried to defend the dollar's gold conversion ratio and did not expand the money supply nearly enough. In the latest crisis, Bernanke expanded the Fed's balance sheet by a trillion dollars in a matter of weeks (and the predicted hyperinflation, from the quantity theory of money theorists, failed to materialize).

The Fed can and should continue to learn, to backstop individuals instead of corporations. The Fed should backstop social security, and local and state governments such as Detroit. We can expedite the learning process by voting in congressional representatives that tell the Fed: "Finance a basic income", for example. The Fed will figure out how, they know they can finance anything.

Comment: Re:It is a start (Score 1) 233

Let everyone get away with it. Try to transmit information. Information does not follow conservation laws: yoy can learn something as you teach it. You gain, the students gain. Use tests as voluntary exercises, where students are free to help each other, and can do the test ad many times ad they want without penalty.

Comment: Re:It is a start (Score 3, Insightful) 233

The tests are the problem. When police are involved, your education has ceased to become about knowledge transfer. It is about control.

Tests aren't needed. They are a lazy, inaccurate way of assessing learning. Socrates needed no tests. Buddha never taught with a closed fist holding some knowledge back. Censorship promotes an effete monoculture, not innovation.

Comment: Re: Hasn't been involved with Greenpeace since 198 (Score 1) 573

by blue trane (#49311203) Attached to: Greenpeace Co-Founder Declares Himself a Climate Change Skeptic .pdf

"In 1839, Swiss immigrant John Sutter settled in what is now Sacramento and began building a private empire defended by a fort. [...] Sutters fort became a symbol of oppression.

"Native Americans worked his fields [...] Sutter would control the Indian people through a system of forced labor.


"In 1848, the discovery of gold at Sutters sawmill set off a rush to California that would end the old world of the Sierra people and change their lives forever."

In other words, it started before the gold rush, but it could have been managed better without the blind greed of the forty-niners. It would have been slower, at least. Gold, the "barbarous metal".

Comment: Re:Hasn't been involved with Greenpeace since 1985 (Score 0) 573

by blue trane (#49310889) Attached to: Greenpeace Co-Founder Declares Himself a Climate Change Skeptic

The speeches Repubs are giving today are Calhoun with 'slavery' replaced by 'gay marriage' or 'abortion' or 'climate change'. Calhoun would win the Republican nomination.

Lincoln learned, unlike the conservatives of today.

In a speech delivered on April 11, while referring to plans for Reconstruction in Louisiana, Lincoln proposed that some blacks-including free blacks and those who had enlisted in the military-deserved the right to vote. He was assassinated three days later, however, and it would fall to his successor to put plans for Reconstruction in place.

Yes, we will be going to OSI, Mars, and Pluto, but not necessarily in that order. -- Jeffrey Honig