Lots of stuff to do today so I’ll try to make this brief.
I saw this video from Bill Black at Naked Capitalism yesterday. He has three practical demands that OccupyWallStreet should consider. They are:
1.) Jobs Now
2.) Stop the foreclosures
3.) Jail the bankers
The jobs part got my attention because it makes so much sense:
And then I started to wonder, if a scientist could find work but the employer (this time a decent outfit) couldn’t afford to pay her enough to live on, how much would you pay to get her off the dole? Collectively, as in a small one time donation.
Paul Krugman says that solar energy is following a Moore’s Law capacity vs cost trend and that pretty soon, it will cost as much to power your house by solar panels as from coal fired plants. That’s great, because I have a lot of gadgets that cost me a small fortune to charge. But don’t forget nuclear, Paul. We might not be ready to build another plant soon, but it wouldn’t be wise if we didn’t explore the possibility of safe nuclear energy. I’m a believer because I was raised by a nuclear reactor maintenance specialist. So, I don’t sker easy. Much of the rest of the developed world relies on nuclear energy with very few mishaps. We shouldn’t take it off the table. Or at least not until we can get our hands on more efficient batteries.
And here’s a little something for the Tea Partiers and the skeptics at the Crawdad Hole. This is what life is like in Equatorial Guinea, the most unequal society on the planet:
Another dissident offered to show me an alternative view of Equatorial Guinea. He smiled when he saw me emerge from a car with presidential licence plates, then asked if I was sure I wanted to join him since the last foreign journalists in Malabo had been detained by secret police then deported.
We wandered around Campo Yaoundé, a community of 25,000 people in the midst of the capital. The bustling streets were so muddy it was hard to walk without slipping. Soukous and hip-hop pounded out of bars as young children walked around hawking clothes. A man offered to show me his shack, made from planks of wood with a corrugated iron roof. Inside were two rooms for the four people living there, with buckets of water stored by the door and intermittent power. Many houses had far more people crammed in.
“Welcome to my home,” he said with a rueful smile. “Maybe half the people in Malabo live like this. Not just the unemployed but teachers, engineers, even economists. It’s a long way from Sipopo, isn’t it?” There were a handful of books on his shelves bought in Spain. “We must be the only country in the world where there are no bookshops,” he said when I mentioned them. Despite tough circumstances, he offered to share his dinner of rice and stew with me.
The corrugated roofed shacks are where the teachers and engineers live. “Pish-tosh!”, the Tea Partier says, “that will never happen here. Besides, if they weren’t such parasites, they wouldn’t be living in tin roofed shacks. Where is their entrepreneurial spirit?”
For those of you still kissing the whip, secure in your job thinking that you somehow “earned” that security because you’re just so damned virtuous, get a clue. There will be no entrepreneurial spirit until the people sitting on the money supply are forced to hand it over to the people who earned it. You can’t start a business without money. This is what will slowly happen to the country you are so proud of and do not hesitate to proudly proclaim for the “In God We Trust” bills that get rushed through Congress while more and more kids get shoved onto food stamps. Of course it could happen here. It *is* happening here. Thereisnospoon reported yesterday that his county is privatizing the libraries. Let that sink in. Where are you supposed to go to borrow books and use the internet when you can’t afford Amazon and Comcast? Don’t your tax dollars pay for that library? I know that mine do. I pay nearly $7000 in property taxes. I will occupy the library if they even think about privatizing it.
I keep pointing out the Irish Potato Famine for a very good reason. The reason that so many people starved was only partially due to the failure of the potato crop. The other failure was that of the populace of Britain that owned Ireland. They thought that too much charity would be a moral hazard to the lazy, starving Irish farmer. And then there were the businessmen who thought that laissez faire capitalism was the way to go. If they didn’t have to impose austerity on the Irish because of their own losses, maybe so many people wouldn’t have died. The Irish lost more people to starvation and emigration than any other country in history. It took them more than a century to build back their country and economy only to have it dashed again by the crash of 2008. More laissez faire speculators, more austerity, more misery.
Coming to a country near you if you don’t get a clue.