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Ch. 2: Finance: The New Real Economy? 
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Ophelia wrote:
The people who wanted to make these bad deals in the US and get rich quickly purposefully sold those products all over the planet so as to spread the risks, and , er... we're not too happy. Of course, if our own bankers had been more careful and less greedy they might have found out.
And I'm sorry about what happened to your retirement saving plan! :(
I'm like Camacho, I don't have enough money to invest so I'm not concerned personally.

Thanks, Ophelia, for your condolences. So I work until I'm 75, so what, right? Something in me even rebels at calling these things "products." I suppose in some ways, finance is looked upon very favorably by economic movers and shakers--the ultimate "green" industry with high wages to boot. In this country we seem to have dropped manufacturing like a bad habit, and I must admit I have never been nostalgic about it until recently. Kevin Phillips says that this speculative frenzy is a hallmark of the English speaking countries. Can you make anything out of that? Does speaking English cause financial hooliganism? :hmm:


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Thu Jan 22, 2009 2:44 pm
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Does anyone see this as a big conspiracy to devalue the American dollar?



Thu Jan 22, 2009 3:01 pm
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Dwill wrote:
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Kevin Phillips says that this speculative frenzy is a hallmark of the English speaking countries. Can you make anything out of that? Does speaking English cause financial hooliganism?



I hadn't thought of that!:shock:
I think what matters is how much regulation of capitalism there is in a given country. If capitalists are left to their own devices their greed is bound to get the upper hand.

Camacho wrote:
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Does anyone see this as a big conspiracy to devalue the American dollar?


I don't know about a conspiracy, but it seems that everybody who is in economics and government is thinking about a devaluation of the dollar.
There are two scenarios: a small devaluation and a really big one, say 30 or 40 %. Experts are saying it will be very difficult for Obama not to use devaluation, or in other words it will be tempting to use it to boost exports. In that case, the griping little European here says that the US, after exporting their subprimes to us, will be shifting the economic problems to us too by making the Euro uncompetitive. (Don't worry though, I still love you guys at Booktalk).
In theory everybody could retaliate and devalue too but this doesn't seem to be considered in the Euro zone.
It will be interesting to see what Obama does. Also it will be interesting to see how the Chinese will react. They're the ones who've been buying American debt, they don't want a weak dollar that would lower the value of what they've bought, and it would make sense that the US try not to to upset such a valuable customer. I've heard they have already started to diversify their investments in case the dollar is devalued.


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Thu Jan 22, 2009 3:12 pm
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This is true to a point but I think the larger question is whether or not ideologically bound thinking serves us well when we are facing rot in our economic system of the nature that Phillips is describing.


I don't see how we can separate anything except perhaps some particular philosophies of science away from the idea-ideology-life relationship. I don't feel that you have described satisfactorily to what point comparing ideologies is useful to. A non-ideology bound thinking is still an ideology. The best I can summarize is that you feel there should be no direction or limits to the system. You seem to me to say that to fundamentally fix the financial sector we would remove all objectives or goals, and not define the limits on its functions. Thereby fully separating the function from the ideology. I understand that these are the two most important ideas that you can ever give to any system.

Phillips decrys the supposed naturalness of the sector asserting that there are few meaningful facets of it which can be explained rationally.

"...one can read through almost every principals of economics text, or even money and banking texts, without learning that private debts are several times larger than public debts and growing in a wholly unsustainable fashion." I couldn't find a much better quote but this seems to show some type of confusion in ideology. Teaching one set of ideas while another is the reality of the situation. Perhaps what you are suggesting? A revision in the very culture of human development to meaningfully affect every aspect of a persons life, their wants, desires, morals, ethics and thoughts. Perhaps not?

What ideology do you see Americans having adopted? I'm having trouble separating Western life from a very personal and yet macro-national process of constant imagining.

P.S. - this is definitely a Chapter 3 topic, also you may be interested in the slave/master relationship brought up there, there are definitely some big ideas to that.

:book:



Thu Jan 22, 2009 5:41 pm
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I think part of the lesson we need to learn is how to reign in the financial sector and continue creating jobs in manufacturing, specifically technology. Financial gains aren't real in the classic sense, they are profits made by moving money around. We must have the wisdom to continue growing our base production.



Thu Jan 29, 2009 6:33 pm
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This poses an interesting question of logistics. Especially considering China's and similar low labor cost position in the world. I some ways I think that American industry has suffered just as greatly by outsourcing of work as it has from financial sector favoritism. While many discourage the positive idea of an auto sector bailout the hope is that it can become an important future American export, and there is Obama's idea for a green collar economy, the latter of which will be undoubtedly needed soon in the future. Can the American standard be cost competitive in a globalized world that encourages low production costs?

:book:



Thu Jan 29, 2009 7:17 pm
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Grim says:
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This is the best explanation in his book thus far to explain public ineptitude when it comes to America's most important sector. They don't understand because they simply don't want to not because they lack the resources. I can relate, and the sector encourages it. It is one thing to read about derivatives or fiat currency it is another to read about it in a way that you could comment on it. What better way to keep the meddling masses out of your institution than to tell them they do not understand what they are talking about?


I have never really thought about this before. While individuals do have a responsibility to educate themselves, it may also be that there is a degree of trying to keep the public out of the financial sector. I have never really understood finance and even reading this book have been telling myself that I do not really understand this. Maybe that is not entirely true. Maybe it becomes more complicated because I believe that it is too complicated for me. I like your train of thought, Grim. Very interesting to think about.



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Post Sacrifice Must Be Made
Grim wrote:
Can the American standard be cost competitive in a globalized world that encourages low production costs?

:book:


Grim,

You are correct that our economy must transition more into manufacturing and concentrate less on finance, which produces no real product, just profits for the already rich who simply move money around and SUCK these fees from the middle-class wannabee-rich people. You are also right that if this transition to manufacturing happens, we must be cost-competitive in doing so, especially with low-cost producers in Asia. Therefore, if you continue your line of reasoning, one realized that there MUST be a decrease in real wages for Americans because, typically, the most efficient way to cut costs is to cut direct-labor costs (wages) and manufacture overhead (mostly salaries and wages). This is because direct-labor and manufacture overhead costs not only comprise a high percentage of total cost of manufactured goods, but are the easiest to eliminate. With this logic in mind, the result is some much needed sacrifice on behalf of the American people in the short run. The million-dollar question is if this sacrifice is politically expedient. It is definitely not. The American public will be outraged by a government telling them they have to sacrifice for the common good after this same government has instilled in them greedy individualism. Basically, Americans need to depart from their traditions of materialism and individualism to be competitive in this new globalized world. Can this be done? Only time will tell...



Thu Feb 26, 2009 12:50 am
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Post Re: Ch. 2: Finance: The New Real Economy?
"The separation between the finance economy and the real economy is real. This is not some fake idea. You can’t call that class warfare. That’s a fact."



Mon Dec 21, 2009 3:20 am
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Post Re: Ch. 2: Finance: The New Real Economy?
Karen,

What do you mean you can't call that class warfare? I dont understand. Please elaborate. I mean it is pretty clear that there is class conflict among Americans, this meaning that the interests of the rich upper class are completely divergent from the interests of the middle-class and poor. Furthermore, you say that the finance economy is not the real economy? That is absurd because finance is the largest sector of our economy! The finance economy IS such a large part of our real economy. This is not some fake idea. This is the truth whether you like it or not. Also about class warfare and the really real finance economy, did you read "Bad Money" by Kevin Philips? Neoliberalism by David Harvey? Neoliberalism and global order by Noam Chomsky? The Global Class War by Jeff Faux? Do you read the news? Haven't you been reading that the banking sector now, about a year after the economic crisis, are making humongous profits while regular Americans are hurting more than ever? Don't you see the biggest concentration of wealth now evident according to countless sources? I really don't understand what your statement means but, based on reality, your statement is really far-fetched.



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Wed Dec 23, 2009 6:40 pm
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Post Re: Ch. 2: Finance: The New Real Economy?
there seems to be so conspiracy around and truth unknown



Thu Jul 08, 2010 10:57 am
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Post Re: Ch. 2: Finance: The New Real Economy?
Jamie, that wasn't even a sentence.



Fri Jul 09, 2010 1:20 am
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Post Re: Ch. 2: Finance: The New Real Economy?
Quote:
It's too bad, then, that Canada and most of the world is sucked into the vortex of our financial flushing.



if bankers were less greedy they may be able to come out from the vortex of financial flushing.



Wed Dec 07, 2011 2:44 am
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