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HUMANITY DOOMSDAY CLOCK - Moves forward to 2125 due to election of US President trump.

Estimate of the time that Humanity will go extinct or civilization will collapse. The HUMANITY DOOMSDAY CLOCK moves forward to 2125 due to US President trump's abandonment of climate change goals. Apologies to Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists for using the name.

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Saturday, August 19, 2017

Free Hugs in San Francisco

The NAZI, alt-right is planning a big march in San Francisco for August 26.

Many marchers will be frightened young men worried about their future.

Here's a good idea:

Let's create stations, many stations with signs, that offer FREE HUGS, with no obligations, to marchers worried about their future, especially alt-right and NAZI marchers.

The only requirement is that anyone wanting a hug must show they carry no weapons. Bouncers will stand by to ensure safety.

Hugging volunteers can, and should be all kinds, men, women, gay, straight, etc., etc.

That's it.

Love will triumph..

Restoring the US Middle Class - 3



In the interest of restoring a viable middle class to the United States of America, I will reproduce sequentially chapters of my book in this space. The title is 'Occupy Wall Street Plan 12: A Proposal for Twelve Specific Governmental Actions to Correct Some Economic Imbalances in the United States of America Kindle Edition'

The book is available as a Kindle book here : https://www.amazon.com/Occupy-Wall-Street-Plan-Governmental-ebook/dp/B00UK97C84/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

My hope is that a more viable middle class will reduce class tensions.

Occupy Wall Street Plan 12

3.Destroy Monopolies


Monopolies Take From the Poor and Give to the Rich

Monopolies are bad for the country, per se. Such firms have economic incentives to charge higher prices and sell fewer products than firms in competition. Their actions create a deadweight loss from economic activity not undertaken and further transfer some consumer surplus to monopoly profit. This results in less economic welfare for the country and thereby damages our National Security.

The United States should strengthen existing anti-monopoly laws, increase enforcement activity and write additional anti-monopoly laws.

The concept that monopoly is a reward for efficient firms is a false concept which serves to undermine National Security.

Monopolies and Oligopolies Make Extra Profits

These firms face a downward sloping demand curve for their products as opposed to a horizontal demand curve faced by a firm in competition.

This gives monopolies and oligopolistic firms the ability to change the price of the products. And, because all firms normally want to maximize profits, these firms will charge higher prices and sell a lower quantity than would all the firms in a competitive market.

Economists call the economic activity lost from this decision a 'Deadweight Loss' ; in other words it is economic activity lost forever from the economy.

Even worse is the ability and the practice of these firms to increase their profits at the expense of consumers.

In the graph below which shows the cost and revenue curves and decisions faced by a monopoly, the 'Deadweight Loss' is the white area to the left of the intersection of the MC, ATC and Demand or Average Revenue curves intersect. The point where those three curves intersect represents the point where there would be a competitive equilibrium or efficient price and production quantity.

Since the actual monopoly point of price is where the line labeled 10 or monopoly selling price intersects the Demand or AR line and the monopoly quantity is at 20 where the monopoly quantity line intersects the Demand or AR line, the loss of production and higher price represents the 'deadweight Loss.'





Thus, monopolies and oligopolies which act as monopolies increase their profits at the expense of the economy as a whole; they are inefficient.

Would that it were just a graph, but these actions take large amounts of income from consumers and transfer it to these companies.

Monopolies Today

Here is a list of industries in which companies earn these abnormal profits [the numbers after the name of the industry refer to the percentage share of total revenues for the industry earned by the four {4} largest firms] in 2002 :


Cigarettes 97.8
Guided Missiles 94.8
Aircraft 81.3
Breakfast cereal 80.4
Electric Lamps, Light Bulbs 75.4
Tires 77.6
Automobiles 67.6
Cookies, Crackers 69.3
Tortillas 57.4
Men's and Boy's Shirts 56.4
Dolls, Stuffed Toys 56.9
Fluid Milk 46.0
Ships, Boat Building 44.0

As a comparison, here are the industries and concentration ratios in 1997 :

Cigarettes 99
Cane Sugar Refining 99
Primary Copper 95
Glass Containers 91
Beer 90
Small-arms Ammunition 90
Electric Light Bulbs 89
Aircraft 85
Breakfast Cereals 83
Motor Vehicles 82
Household Refrigerators 82
Photo Equipment and Supplies 81
Turbines and Generators 78
Flat Glass 77
Fiber-Optic Cable 71
Men's Slacks 69
Tires 69
Motorcycles and Bicycles 68
Gypsum Products 68
Soap and Detergents 66
Lawn, Garden Equipment 64

Any economic recovery will be made more difficult until the concentration of monopoly profits is reduced or eliminated.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Restoring the US Middle Class - 2



In the interest of restoring a viable middle class to the United States of America, I will reproduce sequentially chapters of my book in this space. The title is 'Occupy Wall Street Plan 12: A Proposal for Twelve Specific Governmental Actions to Correct Some Economic Imbalances in the United States of America Kindle Edition'

The book is available as a Kindle book here : https://www.amazon.com/Occupy-Wall-Street-Plan-Governmental-ebook/dp/B00UK97C84/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

My hope is that a more viable middle class will reduce class tensions.

Occupy Wall Street Plan 12

2.Stop Union Busting

Unions Cost Money

Some business owners think they have an economic incentive to interfere with union actions; they will have to pay higher wages if unions are successful. In our history, blood has been shed in labor disputes.

Henry Ford knew that true national prosperity lies with workers receiving wages high enough to buy the cars he made, but many business owners are not so enlightened.

Labor Law Enforcement Needed

When there is little labor law enforcement or penalties for labor law violations, then labor law has little effect.

The United States should enforce labor laws vigorously.

Although tarnished as a canard, it is true nonetheless that laws which remain unenforced do not change behavior.

If unions which organize workers and then press for higher wages are critical to our Economic National Security, then it follows that the laws which permit organizing should be enforced.

Those laws are not enforced.

We will fail to create an economic recovery until we enforce those laws.

Here are some facts from a recent survey: 'In 91% of the union recognition petitions filed with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in the survey, a majority of workers indicated they wanted a union before the process began. In several cases, workers demonstrated more than 80% support. However, unions were victorious in only 31% of the campaign in which they filed a petition.'

The full report is here: http://www.jwj.org/the-facts-on-the-new-nlrb-union-election-rule

This situation is both unacceptable and easily fixable.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Restoring the US Middle Class - 1

In the interest of restoring a viable middle class to the United States of America, I will reproduce sequentially chapters of my book in this space. The title is 'Occupy Wall Street Plan 12: A Proposal for Twelve Specific Governmental Actions to Correct Some Economic Imbalances in the United States of America Kindle Edition'

The book is available as a Kindle book here : https://www.amazon.com/Occupy-Wall-Street-Plan-Governmental-ebook/dp/B00UK97C84/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

My hope is that a more viable middle class will reduce class tensions.


Occupy Wall Street Plan 12

1.Strengthen Labor Unions

Unions are Created by Law and Organizing

Union organizing and negotiating rights are created by Federal labor laws. When unions can organize and press for higher wages, the country benefits from higher incomes going to the middle class. It is true that unions can be messy organizations, but overall they succeed in raising middle class incomes when they can function freely. This will increase middle class purchasing power and help restore Aggregate Demand.

An inevitable result of raising wages through union activity will be that businesses have to raise prices to survive - that will require some adjustments to our trade policies as discussed below.

As an economist I am aware that statements about policy don't carry weight unless they are supported by statistics.

Unions’ Effects on Wages and GDP

Below I provide some statistics courtesy of infoplease.com and data360.org about the impact of declining wages on our GDP with a consequent need for increased union activity to raise wages, but first we look briefly at two competing economic philosophies.

By themselves, numbers don't carry any weight. The interpretation of the statistics provides the weight. But, numbers can be interpreted differently by folks with different viewpoints.

Classical Economic Theory

One likely interpretation of any statistic is the Classical Economic philosophy which encompasses Free Market doctrine. An interpretation from an observer with this focus will suggest that any statistic which implies any interference in free markets is bad for the economy.

To such Classical Economists, the very idea of unions is an anathema because unions try to organize workers so they can bargain collectively.

Keynesian Economic Theory

A Keynesian focus is another possible interpretation; this focus will suggest that Free Markets are useful but occasionally create such huge social misery that the government must intervene in order to secure the best result for society.

Wages and Unions

The hypothesis is that wages and consumer incomes have declined proportionally and as a share of GDP coincidentally with a decline in union membership in the United States since the 1950's. We might expect this decline to show up as a reduction in the share of GDP accounted for by personal consumption expenditures; we assume that most of any change in personal consumption expenditures is due to changes in disposable incomes, except for occasional borrowing binges such as occurred in 2005 to 2007.

Comparing the percentage share of GDP accounted for by personal consumption expenditures and also by Gross private domestic investment does indeed show that significant changes have occurred.

For example, in 1960 and 1970, consumption accounted for 63.0% and 62.4% of GDP respectively while investment accounted for 15.0% and 14.7% respectively.

We can take those as a desirable base relationship since the United States enjoyed good economic times in those years.

Looking forward to the current situation, we find that consumption expenditures have INCREASED their share of GDP to 70% or more consistently from 2002 to today.

BUT, we see that investment has DECLINED from a range of 15.0% of GDP to a low of 11.7% in the 2009, Q3.

Although this is the opposite of what the hypothesis above suggests, the relationship of consumption and investment does in fact support the concept that wages should be increased in order to support economic growth and increasing Aggregate Demand.

Here's why: Keynesian theory predicts that businesses increase investment when they expect a rising GDP in the future and decrease investment when they expect the opposite.

Business investment of 15% to 18% of GDP - which was the case between 1960 and 1980 - coincided with good economic times in our recent past.

Business investment of less than 12% of GDP coincided with a severe recession, regardless of the share of GDP accounted for by consumption.

Good economic times are accompanied by high business investment and bad economic times are accompanied by low investment.

Keynes theory suggests that businesses increase investments when they predict good economic times ahead. With high union wages - such as we had in the 1960's and 1970's - businesses are optimistic about the future and make investments.

Classical theory, on the other hand predicts that businesses will increase investment when interest rates are low. This theory is clearly inadequate to explain why business investment was at historically low levels of GDP in 2009 even though interest rates were at zero. One of the last times that business investment was that low was in 1930 when it was at 11.8%.

The policy implication of this is also clear: good economic times require that businesses expect high consumer demand in the future before they commit to investing in new plants and equipment.

Stronger unions will raise wages, create optimism about future demand and will result in increased business investment and Aggregate Demand.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

American NAZIs: Why Now?

Why are we seeing NAZIs now?

One might ask that question.

The answer is that they have always been here but have stayed in the shadows, especially when the economy is doing well.

trump has appealed directly to them and they now feel emboldened to press their agenda.

But, and this is no surprise, some of their concerns are fueled by the economic policies in the United States.

We have a very high income and wealth gap between the few and the many. Folks at the bottom feel left out.

Ironically, their supposed champion, trump, is installing policies and people who are making the income and wealth gaps more severe. This is despite the campaign promises he made to reduce those gaps.

There are economic solutions to this question and I have outlined them in my Kindle book 'Occupy Wall Street Plan 12: A Proposal for Twelve Specific Governmental Actions to Correct Some Economic Imbalances in the United States of America'.

It is available here:

https://www.amazon.com/Occupy-Wall-Street-Plan-Governmental-ebook/dp/B00UK97C84/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8