This blog is a fan of Amazon reviewer Jackson Eskew. His Guides and Lists are full of wonders, many discoveries, others just long forgotten. My favourite list is Mustapha Mond is now President
America has elected Mustapha Mond as its President. It isn’t surprising; the breakdown has long since prepared the way for this catastrophe. No, this man didn’t have to stage a coup. He was actually elected. Applauded. Embraced. Tears flowed. For Mond is the apotheosis of Hope (one of the three theological virtues, note well) for a godless world. Yes, he’s hailed as a kind of neopagan messiah. He accordingly promises bread and circuses – and much death (haven’t heard of FOCA yet? You will). And this is applauded.
Mustapha Mond is the World Controller in Huxley’s Brave New World
Here is Jackson reviewing Amazonís own Kindle device:
While its novelty is undeniably dazzling, novelty is neither a necessary nor a sufficient ground for embracing a thing. Our consumerist age has, alas, largely forgotten this, just as it’s forgotten that convenience isn’t always rightly a supreme criterion of value. In spite of Jeff Bezos’s crusade to annihilate physical books, along with the thick vapor of chronological snobbery in which this crusade breathes its lifeblood, they’ll likely be around for some time to come, though possibly with a radically reduced readership. This is because many people, like me, still refuse to run with the herd. We decline, for example, to brand ourselves with tattoos, we’ll never become obedient subjects of today’s dictatorship of relativism, and we definitely prefer the materiality of actual books. Why? Because we sense today’s renunciation of the incarnational that increased digitization represents as the antiseptic stench of this age’s dread spirit. Fundamentally, we see it as yet another form of this dead age’s rejection of the Logos; that is, as yet another mutiny against the very ground of our being.
Why is our economy in trouble?
Our economy is in trouble because our culture is in trouble. Our culture is in trouble because it has adopted a dramatically reduced account of the human person. It has adopted this reduced account of the person because it does not care to hear the Christian gospel which tells us that man is made for love and freedom in relationship with God and his fellow human beings. Because it does not care to hear about this love, our culture is no longer confident of the value and significance of human beings. Our economic crisis reflects a crisis of cultural confidence that reflects a crisis of faith. Man is not convinced that he has a future, and this loss of confidence has eroded his long-term perspective and stalling our economy. Let us take a look at some of the connections between gospel, culture and economy that are at the root of our economic situation…
There are some good new pieces over at Fulcrum, on Blessing by Ephraim Radner, two perceptive pieces by Jordan Hylden, and more commentary on Archbishop Rowan’s latest statement by Bishop Tom Wright. Who would have thought it? Occasionally we Anglicans can be calm, measured, even faithful…
The mission (of Bernanke and Geither) is clear: to convince the world of two things at the same time… both impossible and mutually exclusive! The Chinese vigilantes must believe that the feds won‚??t undermine the dollar… and the rest of the world must believe that they will! Inflation is necessary for recovery and growth in the US… or so everyone believes.
It was French economist Jacques Rueff who revealed the scam more than half a century ago. The whole idea of Keynesian stimulus, he explained, was to cause inflation… which would reduce the real price of labour. In a modern democracy, politics prevents wages from falling. But in a correction, if wages don‚??t fall people don‚??t get jobs. Keynes‚?? didn‚??t mention it, but the only reason his stimulus works is because it pulls the wool over the eyes of the working classes ‚?? reducing their wages by inflation so employers can afford to hire them again. Ergo, no inflation… no recovery in the job market. No recovery in the job market… no recovery in the economy.
But inflation will cost the Chinese plenty. And they‚??ve let it be known they won‚??t sit still for it. Geithner promised a ‚??durable recovery led by private demand.‚?? In other words, it won‚??t be government spending that pulls the US out of its slump, he told the Chinese.
Stimulus will not produce genuine prosperity. You can‚??t cure a credit-caused crisis by offering more credit; it just won‚??t work. But rather than let the system correct itself, the feds are determined to ‚??do something!‚?? What can they do? They can only destroy the dollar ‚?? or try to ‚?? thereby destroying the value of China‚??s $1.5 trillion treasure.
Now, why private demand is going to weaken, not increase‚?¶ As the boom of the post-war period continued, consumer spending played a larger and larger role in the economy. It averaged 64% of the GDP during most of the period, but increased to 70% in 2007. Likewise, debt service as a percentage of disposable personal income rose too ‚?? from less than 5% in the ‚??50s and ‚??60s to over 14% now. If, as we suspect, the trend towards more and more consumer debt has finally peaked out; consumption should have peaked out too. We should now see the percentage of the economy devoted to consumption go down… year after year… until it reaches the ‚??normal‚?? level. Private debt too should go down, until it is at a more ‚??normal‚?? level.
We calculated that, during the last 7 years of the Bubble Epoque, consumers added $1.4 trillion in debt per year. That was the spending that made the old mare go. But now what? They are now adding no debt ‚?? zero. In fact, they are paying off debt. This alone removed $1.4 trillion in private demand from the economy. The only thing that would cause consumer spending to go would be a substantial increase in real wages. This would allow Americans to buy more ‚?? while simultaneously paying down debt. But it will be a long time before real wages increase at all… let alone substantially.
Bill Bonner Daily Reckoning