Finally, a breakthrough alternative to growth economics – the doughnut | George Monbiot

Instead of growth at all costs, a new economic model allows us to thrive while saving the planet

So what are we going to do about it? This is the only question worth asking. But the answers appear elusive. Faced with a multifaceted crisis – the capture of governments by billionaires and their lobbyists, extreme inequality, the rise of demagogues, above all the collapse of the living world – those to whom we look for leadership appear stunned, voiceless, clueless. Even if they had the courage to act, they have no idea what to do.

The most they tend to offer is more economic growth: the fairy dust supposed to make all the bad stuff disappear. Never mind that it drives ecological destruction; that it has failed to relieve structural unemployment or soaring inequality; that, in some recent years, almost all the increment in incomes has been harvested by the top 1%. As values, principles and moral purpose are lost, the promise of growth is all that’s left.

Related: Eight men own more than 3.6 billion people do: our economics is broken | Mark Goldring

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Greece Gives the World Something to Cheer: Turn Up the Decibels! – Michael Carino, Greenwich Endeavors

Let’s get PrOGRessive SPIRIT! (Finally a positive acronym.)  We are either destined for destruction
preferring to wallow in negativity or instead can soar with optimism.  The only difference between the two is
perspective.  Time to focus on the
positives in the world. I choose optimism.

Portugal, Greece, Spain, Ireland and Italy had financial
difficulties spending more than could be supported by tax revenues.  This was blatantly obvious during the global
recession of 2008 and the painful but necessary fiscal adjustment that
followed.

Nine Years later, this period of adjustment that left
confidence and economic growth levels low concluded last Friday.  Greece agreed to a political solution to
conclude their third memorandum or bailout. 
All that is left is for the technical issues to be concluded.  This is a historic moment that closes a dark
chapter and ushers in a new age of disciplined prosperity.

Today, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said there
will be no fourth memorandum and the aim of the current program is to allow
Greece to once again tap the markets for financing needs.  Now work begins to foster even stronger
growth levels than expected by reducing the government’s debt burden in the
medium term.

The consequences of pessimism and negative news headlines
over almost a decade has left the PrOGRessive SPIRIT countries’ equity markets
at deep discounts and presents some seldom seen opportunities.  Companies are trading at fractions of book
value as if a massive currency devaluation or a new great recession is
imminent.  Neither are on the
horizon.  And now that Greece’s heavy
government debt load is being addressed, capital controls soon lifted and Greek
bonds inclusion into the ECB’s QE program soon to be concluded, the upswing
should be long lasting.

European markets should be flying and celebrating but
victory horns haven’t been heard. 
Unemployment is trending down as GDP is going up.  Bank balance sheets are being restored and
confidence is returning to both public and private sectors.  Interest rates have never been lower fanning
the flames of a strong recovery.  There
is so much positive news and reasons for optimism.  But the public, which has been so conditioned
to tune out the good and focus on the bad, appears to be tone deaf. 

Greece’s current government is partly culpable for
conditioning the public to focus on the negatives.  Greece’s Prime Minister Alex Tsipras has
pursued policies of a hopeless romantic over the last 2 years.  His heart appears to be in the right place trying
to help those less fortunate and most in need. 
However, by pursuing policies that had no chances of being accepted, he
delayed the much needed economic rebound. Instead, Greece was left with additional
billions lost in financial markets and much lower GDP growth.  Finally accepting the bitter pill that needs
to be swallowed, he has turned the corner and agreed to policies that will
foster solid economic growth far into the future.

Yes, with Tspiras agreeing to bailout conditions last
Friday, he set the stage for a dramatic shift in sentiment and growth
trajectory for Greece and the rest of the EU. 
The long protracted sovereign crisis is over.  These European markets have been overlooked
and avoided for such a long time, they now represent some of the most
compelling stories.  Let’s roll up our
sleeves, accept the progress and do the homework necessary to capitalize on
these recent events.  It’s time to shed
the cloak of pessimism we’ve been programmed to wear and put on our capes of
optimism.

by Michael Carino, 4/12/17

 

Michael Carino is the CEO of Greenwich Endeavors, a
financial service firm, and has been a fund manager and owner for more than 20
years.  He is optimistically invested in
Greek equities.

Beware The Dogs Of War: Is The American Empire On The Verge Of Collapse?

Authored by John Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute,

“No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.” — James Madison

Waging endless wars abroad (in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and now Syria) isn’t making America—or the rest of the world—any safer, it’s certainly not making America great again, and it’s undeniably digging the U.S. deeper into debt.

In fact, it’s a wonder the economy hasn’t collapsed yet.

Indeed, even if we were to put an end to all of the government’s military meddling and bring all of the troops home today, it would take decades to pay down the price of these wars and get the government’s creditors off our backs. Even then, government spending would have to be slashed dramatically and taxes raised.

You do the math.

  • Taxpayers are being forced to pay $1.4 million per hour to provide U.S. weapons to countries that can’t afford them.

Clearly, war has become a huge money-making venture, and the U.S. government, with its vast military empire, is one of its best buyers and sellers.

Yet what most Americans—brainwashed into believing that patriotism means supporting the war machine—fail to recognize is that these ongoing wars have little to do with keeping the country safe and everything to do with enriching the military industrial complex at taxpayer expense.

The rationale may keep changing for why American military forces are in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and now Syria. However, the one that remains constant is that those who run the government—including the current president—are feeding the appetite of the military industrial complex and fattening the bank accounts of its investors.

Case in point: President Trump plans to “beef up” military spending while slashing funding for the environment, civil rights protections, the arts, minority-owned businesses, public broadcasting, Amtrak, rural airports and interstates.

In other words, in order to fund this burgeoning military empire that polices the globe, the U.S. government is prepared to bankrupt the nation, jeopardize our servicemen and women, increase the chances of terrorism and blowback domestically, and push the nation that much closer to eventual collapse.

Obviously, our national priorities are in desperate need of an overhauling.

Surely there are much better uses for your taxpayer funds than trillions of dollars being wasted on war? The following are just a few ways those hard-earned dollars could be used:

  • $251 million for safety improvements and construction for Amtrak.
  • $690 million to care for America’s 70,000 aging veterans.
  • $11 billion per year to provide the world—including our own failing cities—with clean drinking water.

As long as “we the people” continue to allow the government to wage its costly, meaningless, endless wars abroad, the American homeland will continue to suffer: our roads will crumble, our bridges will fail, our schools will fall into disrepair, our drinking water will become undrinkable, our communities will destabilize, and crime will rise.

Here’s the kicker, though: if the American economy collapses—and with it the last vestiges of our constitutional republic—it will be the government and its trillion-dollar war budgets that are to blame.

Eventually, as I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, all military empires fail.

At the height of its power, even the mighty Roman Empire could not stare down a collapsing economy and a burgeoning military. Prolonged periods of war and false economic prosperity largely led to its demise. As historian Chalmers Johnson warns, “Rome attempted to keep its empire and lost its democracy.

More than 50 years ago, President Dwight Eisenhower warned us not to let the military industrial complex endanger our liberties or democratic processes.

We failed to heed his warning.

The consequences, as Eisenhower recognized, of allowing the military-industrial complex to wage endless wars, exhaust our resources and dictate our national priorities are beyond grave:

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children… This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.

Wake up, America. There’s not much time left before we reach the zero hour.

Michael Savage Laments Over Trump’s Recent Decisions, Calls Yours Truly ‘Vermin of the Left’ in the Process

I’ve been called many things in my life, but ‘vermin of the left’ isn’t one of them. On the Alex Jones show today, conservative talk show host Michael Savage exploded with rage after Alex began to read him my article, published on Zerohedge, which was titled “Michael Savage Turns on Trump, Says Syrian Gas Attack Was False Flag Operation.”

Obviously, if Michael read the article, he’d know that I wasn’t ‘vermin sludge’, but instead a disaffected Trump supporter, like him, who was pissed off by the war drums beating out of the White House.

Humorously, a few month’s ago Savage praised yours truly for an article that I had written, giving it rave reviews: ‘it’s a huge story’…’a major league piece’…’first rate piece of reportage’…’it would be great on any conservative website.’

Here is Savage praising my previous work (tips hat).

And here is the full Jones-Savage interview, which is essentially a cry for help — with Savage lamenting over Trump’s hawkish demeanor, blaming his ‘change’ on the people around him, namely Tillerson. Savage would like Tillerson aka ‘the cromagnon’ to go back to pumping gas.

Interestingly, this isn’t the first time Savage called me out on his show. Many years ago, when I was a younger man in my 20s, I had written an article that was critical of him, which resulted in him spending his entire 10-minute monolog in an uncontained rage, reading my article, challenging me to call his show to debate him, saying things like ‘you moron blogger you.’ I remember the day well, parked outside of a shopping mall, waiting for the Mrs. and then BAM — Savage is on the air calling me an ‘idiot, moron, blogger.’ Good times.

Having the benefit of hindsight, I can now say Dr. Savage was right and I was wrong and for my ‘moronic article on some unknown website.’

Thanks for the laughs, Dr. Savage.
Content originally published at iBankCoin.com