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Comment Re:Own what you mine (Score 1) 171

People have little incentive to build and grow on land they do not own.

In the UK all land is 'owned' by the 'Crown'. There are several buildings and farms though, as the people using the land have freehold or leasehold contracts (in effect) with the Crown. In fact most people are unaware of this legal nicety and go about their business as if they owned land themselves.

I don't suppose the World Bank has mentioned it, but the private monopolisation of land also has some negative effects, as famously noted by Henry George.

Comment Re:More Great Blowing Sound (Score 1) 162

So what you're saying is that because we've let our trade deficit run unchecked for many decades, eventually all our property will be owned by the foreign interests.

Is this an accurate summary?

The first part of this process is that the US gets all the wealth that China has produced, and China gets all the money the US has produced. This is obviously a better deal for the US.
The second part of the process is China buys US wealth with their US money. Naturally they will buy the good stuff, not the crap they sold before. So in the end the US has swapped its infrastructure and capital for trinkets. Not such a good deal.

I'm trying to identify the false assumptions made by standard economic theory

This will help: Debunking Economics

Comment The holy trinity of the new economy (Score 1) 324

To prevent the collapse of Western Civilization due to complete automation and unfettered rent-seeking we need to institute these three policies:

Universal Basic Income which will replace most forms of welfare. However, this will not work without...

Land Value Tax based on the rental value of land not including any improvements. This will replace most other forms of taxation. For this to have the desired effect we also need...

Full Reserve Banking which will remove the ability of banks to create money and then charge interest on it.

Private natural monopolies and every other form of rent extraction must be hunted down and neutralised.

If we don't do these things the booms and busts will continue to ratchet up wealth inequality until the economy collapses and the peasants revolt.

Comment microSD and the mail (Score 1) 236

I live in the rural third world. I pay 15 USD per GB for slow and flaky 3G mobile internet. So I ssh into an old laptop at my father's house in the UK to download media from iPlayer or usenet or bittorrent using his comparatively luxurious broadband. Then every couple of months he copies it onto micro SD cards and mails them to me. Then I mail them back. Not exactly instant gratification, but I get what I want eventually and it costs next to nothing.
To watch them I just use mplayer on my laptop with a Logic3 clock-radio for better sound.

Comment System Dynamics (Score 1) 157

I've been reading a lot of economics the last few years, trying to figure out why it's so full of shit.
It seems mainstream (neoclassical/keynesian synthesis) economists believe in mathematics but don't believe in reality.
Their close kin the Austrians don't believe in mathematics either.
They both believe economies are in equilibrium, this is a fundamental assumption, and other nonsense like 'people behave rationally', 'people have perfect information' etc.
These are not a priori assumptions like a physicist might make but come out of their theories and without which they do not work. This does not phase them.

Along the way I have discovered System Dynamics, a way of modeling complex dynamic systems which seems well suited to studying economics. There is an economist using this, he has designed his own System Dynamics software called Minsky, and unlike Krugman, Rogoff et al. he makes a lot of sense.
His name is Steve Keen and you can get Minsky from here: Windows, Mac or here: Linux.
He has an excellent book: Debunking Economics and you will find him on YouTube too.

Comment Re:Can the enemy actually shoot down the F35? (Score 1) 732

Those aren't US bases at all.

Lakenheath and Mildenhall most certainly are active USAF bases. Menwith Hill and Croughton are coms/listening posts and radar stations. Alconbury is some sort of support facility.
That does not seem to be an exhaustive list but some of the bases may have been closed since I last paid them attention (eg. Upper Heyford, where I once attended an air show). Mildenhall and Alconbury are slated for closure.

Comment Re:Can the enemy actually shoot down the F35? (Score 1) 732

The vast majority of those "bases" have just a handful of guys. That's not a base.

That's 132 countries not bases. There's 44 air bases and 22 naval bases according to Wikipedia (if my tired eyes are counting right). Some of those countries have over 100 'bases'. Even a small base can eavesdrop, run agents, torture abductees etc. What else are they for?
How would you feel if even Canada (say) had 100 military bases in the US? What sovereign country would allow that?

With good reason, too, which became clear soon after.

Yes, Iraq was a monumental fuckup on almost every level. But it was a strategic goal for the Neo-cons who aren't happy it has been given up, ISIS or no.

Comment Re:Can the enemy actually shoot down the F35? (Score 1) 732

132 countries have permanent bases (not counting 'black' sites). Some of those in Europe, and no doubt elsewhere, have nuclear weapons.
The stronger countries are probably not much intimidated by the military presence as such, it just forms part of the overall control mechanism. The weaker countries are essentially not free to choose a government opposed to US hegemony. Iraq is a special case, there are many in Washington who are furious that Obama agreed to (mostly) leave.
Guess which major Western European country has no US bases.

Comment Re:Can the enemy actually shoot down the F35? (Score 1) 732

So when the US doesn't fit the criteria for empire you just change the meaning of the word until it fits.

I have not changed the meaning of the word, the GP sought to (re)define it narrowly so as to exclude its current leading exponent.
Since it is traditionally used for such diverse organisations as the Mongol Empire and the British Empire to try to pretend it doesn't also apply to the "Washington Consensus" smacks to me of exceptionalism and self-delusion.
Having said that, even if we accepted GLMDesign's definition, three-quarters of the countries in the world currently enjoy a US military presence on their soil. I'm sure this has no effect at all on the excercise of their sovereignty.

Comment Re:Can the enemy actually shoot down the F35? (Score 1) 732

If troops aren't controlling your interaction it is not an imperial relationship.

That's an old-fashioned view. The modern empire uses economics as its primary means of control. Economic dependency is encouraged by bribing leaders, tailoring economic theory, foreign 'aid' and 'investment', intervention by 'international' institutions such as the World Bank and IMF, sanctions, blockades, and so forth.
Foreign leaders who pursue independence and decline the bribes find themselves voted out in rigged elections, or overthrown in 'local' coups and 'revolutions', or assassinated.
Only if all that fails do the troops invade, a friendly government is installed and a permanent military base is established to discourage backsliding. After that it's Hotel California...

Going the speed of light is bad for your age.