Artwork: Statement on the New Economic Policy and the Return of Hoarded Gold to the Federal Reserve Banks

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Artwork licensed under Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0 


Artwork: Gold Confiscation Executive Order 2013

Also available in a pdf file.

Artwork licensed under Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0


Qianhai is a toe

 Quand un représentant de la nation qui a inventé les arts martiaux vous dit que "Qianhai est un orteil", ce n'est pas à prendre à la légère.

In January, a dozen banks in Hong Kong signed yuan loan agreements with companies in Qianhai. This is the only channel for overseas yuan to flow back to the mainland. Many are looking closely now whether this will be challenged.
One official from the Qianhai Administration Bureau, however, shrugged off the concern and said Qianhai and Shanghai are positioned differently.
"Beijing is the brain, Shanghai is the heart and Qianhai is a toe," he said. "Financial innovations can be risky. They are not suitable for the heart but can be tried out on the toe."
Les orteils sont en effet indispensables pour maintenir en équilibre le corps. Ils apportent agilité, stabilité et proprioception. Et que vaut un champion s'il ne peut pas se tenir droit?
 La finance est définitivement un sport de combat, surtout en ces années de guerre monétaire. 

C'est dans cet esprit d'agilité que s'est située mon intervention lors du dernier séminaire organisé par le LEAP 2020 et l'université MGIMO à Moscou les 23-24 mai, lequel a réuni des représentants de plusieurs pays de la zone Euro, de la Commision Européenne et de tous les pays BRICS, dans la perspective de la préparation du prochain G20.  Une note de synthèse stratégique a déjà été diffusée.

J'ai évoqué lors de ce séminaire l'utilisation des zones administratives spéciales, déjà connues pour le commerce, pour leur associer les flux de la finance liés au commerce. La zone de Qianhai en est justement une bonne illustration. Nous diffuserons dans quelque temps le texte de cette intervention.


World population in 2050 : new revision but what about accuracy?

United Nations has released this month the 2012 revision of their demographic forecast :
the world population of 7.2 billion in mid-2013 is projected to increase by almost one billion people within the next twelve years, reaching 8.1 billion in 2025, and to further increase to 9.6 billion in 2050 and 10.9 billion by 2100. These results are based on the medium-variant projection.

Source : United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division (2013). World Population Prospects: The 2012 Revision, Key Findings and Advance Tables.

The "constant fertility" scenario assumes the current fertility rate in the different countries remains unchanged in the future. This rate is the most critical parameter in the U.N. projections, whereas there are many others important parameters.

This global trend is putting even further pressure on natural ressources, as described in our previous articles about the Global Ecological Crisis (MAP1MAP2).

But we would like here to challenge these U.N. projections. The authors speak about Medium (Median (50%) prediction interval), High (Higher 95% prediction interval) and Low (Lower 95% prediction interval) fertility scenarii but do not propose, define or estimate accuracy for each of them. We have first think to compare current data with past projections. We can observe in the figure that the different scenarii produce significant separate results 20 to 30 years in the future. What about comparing currently measured population sizes with U.N. projections made in the 70's ?

Well, this job has already been done, with much greater details I would have hope. In 2000, the Panel on Population Projections published "Beyond Six Billion: Forecasting the World's Population", a detailed scientific study to examine official population projections: to assess their assumptions, estimate their accuracy and uncertainty (past U.N. projections did not precise the prediction interval), and evaluate the implications of current demographic research for projection procedures. This study is freely available.
The results are in short: 

Using the ex post approach and an appropriate statistical model developed after analysis of errors in international forecasts, we estimated prediction intervals for the current U.N. forecast. These intervals are constructed on the assumption that errors in current projections resemble those in past projections made after 1970. Our results suggest that the uncertainty in country projections is quite variable and is dramatically greater than suggested by U.N. high-low scenarios, with a typical 95-percent range more than twice as wide as the U.N. high-low intervals.
Regional 95-percent intervals are similarly variable but generally much narrower than country intervals. For developing regions, however, they are still consistently wider than U.N. high-low intervals. Across regions, the median 95-percent interval in 50-year projections was 40 per-cent wider than the U.N.’s high-low interval. However, prediction intervals are proportionally narrower for industrial regions and for the world as a whole. In these cases, our estimated prediction intervals are narrower than the intervals defined by the U.N. high-low scenarios. The world prediction interval also suggests a greater possibility of a downside than an upside error, making sustained population decline appear quite unlikely during the next 50 years.


The Imperium Curse

This text is strongly based on "The Finance Curse" article, published by Tax Justice Network. The original article shows that countries hosting oversized financial services can suffer big damages on their economic growth and development like oil-rich nations (the well-known resource curse), and often for similar reasons.
Our goal here is to illustrate another similar fate for countries relying upon imperialist ideology.

The most relevant part is the way citizens in UK have organized themselves into lobbying groups for better understanding the underlying problems around tax evasion, oversized financial services in their own country, and have sustained since years the debate on deep political reforms (in UK and elsewhere), with more and more success. 
It is my hope that U.S. citizens will continue to organize themselves into lobbying groups for understanding the underlying problem around the real current state of civil liberties, oversized military and intelligence services in their own country, and will be able to grow successfully the debate on deep political reforms. 

This counter-revolution in ideas will not save everybody but it could save the most, and that's why the quicker is the better.

The Imperium Curse

A "resource curse" affects certain mineral- and oil-rich nations damaging their economic growth and development. Many countries receiving large windfalls from their mineral resources fail to harness them for national development - and it can be even worse than that: many countries seem to be 'cursed' by their minerals in the form of higher poverty, more conflict, greater corruption, steeper inequality, greater authoritarianism and slower economic growth than their resource-poor peers.
The Finance Curse, a May 2013 e-book by Nicholas Shaxson, author of Treasure Islands, and John Christensen, Director of the Tax Justice Network, shows that countries hosting oversized financial services can suffer similar fates, and often for similar reasons. 
We have discussed in this text that an "Imperium Curse" is also existing for the U.S., and shown that a country hosting oversized military and intelligence services is suffering similar fates, and for similar reasons. 
Our work, complementing a number of other studies, argues that oversized military and intelligence sectors harm their host countries by, among other things:
  • weakening long term growth and social development;
  • acting like cuckoos crowding out productive, sustainable industrial sectors;
  • exaggerating and routinely overstating their social contribution to gain distorting government subsidies (a.k.a. military Keynesianism), lax democratic regulation and influence crucial political decisions;
  • playing a key role in creating a “spider's web” of (para-)military groups and secret prisons;
  • capturing whole political systems, leading to authoritarianism; and
  • generating and extracting unproductive and harmful economic ‘rents’ (the business sector collusion with powers known as a typical figure of fascism).
Every economy needs its defense forces, and for decades (neo-)conservative ideology generally held that bigger is better. But since the recent global war to terror emerged new research from Pr. Chalmers Johnson, Pr. Peter Scott Dale, Dr. Paul Craig Roberts or leaks from Bradley Manning, Edward Snowden and many others, has shown that defense sector development is healthy only up to a point, after which it starts to turn bad and harm growth and democracy.
The Imperium Curse is summarised in the term "Country Capture" which involves both the political capture of military-dependent economies by military and intelligence services interests, plus the economic capture of whole economies as the defense sector crowds out other sectors. The studies shows not only that the gross 'contribution' of military and intelligence services that is widely reported in media articles (i.e. the 'national security' argument) is usually much smaller than advertised: but once the range of harms flowing from having oversized military and intelligence sectors is taken into account, the net 'contribution' is strongly negative.