The video is of economist Steve Keen, on the BBC's HARDTalk, laying out his plan to escape what he considers a second Great Depression. It's out there. Way out there. But he also presents a very clear analysis of what went so horribly wrong with the global financial system in the lead-up to the financial crisis. Stick around for the part at about 22:30 when Keen talks about being the "non-orthodox" economist with the "biggest mouth."
The upshot is that Keen wants to use the government's ability to "create" money to relieve private debt. Basically, the bank loaned out money it shouldn't have, so the debtors shouldn't be blamed. But you don't make the debt vanish, you empower the debtor — in fact require him or her — to pay it off. You pointedly don't give the money to the bank on the assumption that it will loan it back out.
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Occupy LA protesters demonstrate on the front lawn of Los Angeles City Hall after the midnight deadline set by city officials to shut down the encampment expired on November 28, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on Friday gave the protesters outside City Hall until 12:01 am Monday to dismantle their campsite and leave. This morning, although some arrests were made, police have not yet cleared the camp.
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LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 28: Los Angeles Police Officers in riot gear deploy around the Los Angeles City Hall after the deadline to dismantle the occupy campsite expired on November 28, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa last week gave the protesters outside City Hall until 12:01 am today to dismantle their protest campsite and leave. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
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LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 27: Occupy LA protesters block the streets around Los Angeles City Hall before the midnight deadline by Los Angeles city officials to shut down the encampment on November 27, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on last week gave the protesters outside City Hall until 12:01 am today to dismantle their protest campsite and leave. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
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LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 28: Members of the Los Angeles Police Department wearing riot gear ride on the sides of trucks after the midnight deadline set by city officials to shut down the encampment expired in front of City Hall in downtown on November 28, 2011 in Los Angeles. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa last week gave the protesters outside City Hall until 12:01 am today to dismantle their campsite and leave. This morning, although some arrests were made, police have not yet cleared the camp. (Photo by Michal Czerwonka/Getty Images)
Of all major U.S. cities with Occupy movements, LA has been by far the most calm — and the city government has been the most accommodating. The City Council voted early on to support the movement, while Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has affirmed the protesters right to assemble, as well as nodded favorably toward their cause. The city also gave the movement a lot of time to prepare for what was supposed to be a departure today from its encampment at City Hall.
But they're still there. And filing a lawsuit to stick around.
To borrow a line from "Gladiator," some people should know when they're conquered. Or, more accurately, when they're been treated with kid gloves for an exceptionally long period of time. To its credit, LA is taking the sluggishness of the Occupy departure/non-departure in stride. That's consistent with how the city has dealt with Occupy so far.
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U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.
As the sovereign debt crisis continues to roil Europe, the eurozone is currently in the process of trying to save the euro single currency by deposing elected political leaders — Papandreou in Greece, Berlusconi in Italy, the socialists in Spain — and replacing them with "technocrats," or economic experts who, in theory, will be able to make the dispassionate, non-political, utterly essential decisions that need to be made.
Can't happen here, right? Well, maybe it's happened already. Take as Exhibit A one Tim Geithner, U.S. Treasury secretary and according to the Atlantic's Dan Indiviglio, a man disliked by all but his boss, one Barack Obama.
Geithner is probably the closest creature to a technocrat we have in American government. And he runs practically the entire economy (the Federal Reserve runs the rest, and its part is extremely not insignificant). So who needs to hire technocrats when we already have one in the top job?
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Black Friday at Macy's in Manhattan: Shoppers lined up.
Welcome back! I hope everyone had a happy Thanksgiving. In fact, it appears as though many of you did enjoy the holiday — enough to hit the malls in force on Black Friday. According to the LA Times, retail activity was up 16 percent over last year. And the markets are responding: all the major stock indexes have climbed this morning.
Meanwhile, the neverending eurozone crisis appears to have entered a new phase. We keep waiting for an endgame here, with the likely demise of the euro single currency. But then Germany and France get together to pull the eurozone back from the brink. This dynamic has caused predictable volatility in world markets for months now. But in the U.S., there's at least some improving news, giving markets the chance to rally on their own and somewhat ignore Europe.
Should have gotten to this yesterday, but better late than never. And just in time for Black Friday, the traditional kickoff for the holiday shopping season!
The Bureau of Economic Analysis revised down its data for U.S. GDP growth in the third quarter. What was 2.5 percent, which was pleasantly surprising when it was announced, became 2 percent. So the economy grew in the third quarter, just not as much as was originally thought.
This isn't really a good thing — that 2.5 percent figure caught observers off guard and gave economists firm reason to believe that the economy isn't going to fall into another recession. But under the circumstances, 2 percent isn't terrible. And losing half a percentage point of GDP doesn't mean that we have to gird ourselves for a double-dip. In fact, it means that the economy continues to grow, a sign that if nothing else, unemployment won't climb higher than 9 percent.