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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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Moral Economics [http://www.mkeever.com/moral.html]

Balanced Trade [http://www.mkeever.com/essay.html]

There Are Alternatives to Free Market Capitalism [http://www.mkeever.com/taa.html]

Specific Country Economic Policy Analyses - More Than 50 Countries from Argentina to Yemen [http://www.mkeever.com]




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Saturday, November 17, 2018

Right Wing Populism - Long Post



Far right populist movements are becoming popular in many countries. Trumpism is the most visible of these as it has had some governing opportunities in the United States of America.

'In Europe, right-wing populism is an expression used to describe groups, politicians and political parties generally known for their opposition to immigration,[1] mostly from the Islamic world[2] and in most cases Euroscepticism.[3] Right-wing populism in the Western world is generally—though not exclusively—associated with ideologies such as neo-nationalism,[4][5] anti-globalization,[6] nativism,[7][8] protectionism[9] and opposition to immigration.[10] Anti-Muslim ideas and sentiments serve as the "great unifiers" among right-wing political formations throughout Western Europe.[11] Traditional right-wing views such as opposition to an increasing support for the welfare state and a "more lavish, but also more restrictive, domestic social spending" scheme is also described under right-wing populism and is sometimes called "welfare chauvinism".[12][13][14]' [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right-wing_populism]

Since the likely impact on host countries of an active right wing populist movement is an increase in hatred, violence and mistrust of 'others' in general, the result may well be a weakening of national purpose and cooperation with other countries against a common threat. As such, this will further the interests of Putin's Russia by sowing discord in NATO and fragmenting any military response.

The genesis of these movements is a complicated mish-mash of fear of immigration, lower economic opportunities for less educated workers and the general economic change we are living through. The economic change has been manifested through lower living standards in working class communities. Their frustrations have fueled the movement.

Putin has seized on these frustrations and has actively funded the numerous alt-right movements. His goal is simply to sow division and hatred.

Concurrently, upper classes have used the confusion to increase their power over government actions with the usual result of deepening class divisions.

The Trump model follows the simple idea of promoting fear through existing alt right groups, denigrating other races and countries, following an 'America First' diplomacy, attacking the credibility of the press and using the resulting confusion to install laws which benefit upper classes at the expense of the working and middle classes. Also, rampant corruption exists with little public notice. All of these actions weaken our unity when facing an enemy like Russia.

Many of these European movements have support from Steve Bannon, who was working in the Trump Administration.

The following country by country discussion is from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right-wing_populism

Austria

The Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ) established in 1955 by a former Nazi functionary claims to represent a "Third Camp" (Drittes Lager), beside the Socialist Party and the social Catholic Austrian People's Party. It succeeded the Federation of Independents founded after World War II, adopting the pre-war heritage of German nationalism. Though it did not gain much popularity for decades, it exercised considerable balance of power by supporting several federal governments, be it right-wing or left-wing, e.g. the Socialist Kreisky cabinet of 1970 (see Kreisky–Peter–Wiesenthal affair).
Heinz-Christian Strache, leader of the Freedom Party of Austria and Vice-Chancellor of Austria

From 1980, the Freedom Party adopted a more liberal stance. Upon the 1983 federal election, it entered a coalition government with the Socialist Party, whereby party Chairman Norbert Steger served as Vice-Chancellor. The liberal interlude however ended, when Jörg Haider was elected chairman in 1986. By his down-to-earth manners and patriotic attitude, Haider re-integrated the party's nationalist base voters. Nevertheless, he was also able to obtain votes from large sections of population disenchanted with politics by publicly denouncing corruption and nepotism of the Austrian Proporz system. The electoral success was boosted by Austria's accession to the European Union in 1995.

Belgium

Vlaams Blok, established in 1978, operated on a platform of law and order, anti-immigration (with particular focus on Islamic immigration) and secession of the Flanders region of the country. The secession was originally planned to end in the annexation of Flanders by the culturally and linguistically similar Netherlands until the plan was abandoned due to the multiculturalism in that country. In the elections to the Flemish Parliament in June 2004, the party received 24.2% of the vote, within less than 2% of being the largest party. [55] However, in November of the same year, the party was ruled illegal under anti-racism law for, among other things, advocating schools segregated between citizens and immigrants.[56] Mischaël Modrikamen, an associate of Steve Bannon, is chairman of the Parti Populaire (PP).[43]

In less than a week, the party was re-established under the name Vlaams Belang, with a near-identical ideology. It advocates for immigrants wishing to stay to adopt the Flemish culture and language.[57] Despite some accusations of antisemitism from Belgium's Jewish population, the party has demonstrated a staunch pro-Israel stance as part of its opposition to Islam.[58] With 18 of 124 seats, Vlaams Belang lead the opposition in the Flemish Parliament[59] and also have 11 of the 150 seats in the Belgian House of Representatives.[60]

Cyprus

The ELAM (National People's Front) (Εθνικό Λαϊκό Μέτωπο) was formed in 2008 on the platform of maintaining Cypriot identity, opposition to further European integration, immigration and the status quo that remains due to Turkey's invasion of a third of the island (and the international community's lack of intention to solve the issue).

Czech Republic

PRAGUE — After an election campaign centered on questions of civility in politics and the Czech Republic’s place in Europe, voters decided on Saturday to stick with President Milos Zeman and his often-caustic brand of populism that has stoked resentment toward Muslim immigrants and ruptured the country’s relationship with its allies to the west. By Marc Santora, NYTimes, Jan. 27, 2018

Denmark

In the early 1970s, the home of the strongest right-wing-populist party in Europe was in Denmark, the Progress Party.[61] In the 1973 election, it received almost 16% of the vote.[62] In the following years, its support dwindled away, but was replaced by the Danish People's Party in the 1990s, which has gone on to be an important support party for the governing Liberal-Conservative coalition in the 2000s (decade).[63] The Danish People's Party is the largest and most influential right-wing populist party in Denmark today. It won 37 seats in the Danish general election, 2015[64] and became the second largest party in Denmark. The Danish People's Party advocates immigration reductions, particularly from non-Western countries, favor cultural assimilation of first generation migrants into Danish society and are opposed to Denmark becoming a multicultural society.

Additionally, the Danish People's Party's stated goals are to enforce a strict rule of law, to maintain a strong welfare system for those in need, to promote economic growth by strengthening education and encouraging people to work and in favor of protecting the environment.[65] In 2015, The New Right was founded,[66] but they have not yet participated in an election.

Finland

In Finland, the Finns Party is the main right-wing populist party and the second largest party in Finland. In 2017, 19 of the 37 MPs from the party split and founded Blue Reform.

France

In France, the main right-wing populist party is the National Front. Since Marine Le Pen's election at the head of the party in 2011, the National Front has established itself as one of the main political parties in France and also as the strongest and most successful populist party of Europe as of 2015.[67]

Le Pen finished second in the 2017 election and lost in the second round of voting versus Emmanuel Macron which was held on 7 May 2017.

Germany

The Alternative for Germany is a political party that was founded in 2013 and is now led by Jörg Meuthen and Alexander Gauland, being Germany's leading right-wing populist party

Since 2013, the most popular right-wing populist party in Germany has been Alternative for Germany which managed to finish third in the 2017 German federal election, making it the first right-wing populist party to enter the Bundestag, Germany's national parliament. Before, right-wing populist parties had gained seats in German State Parliaments only. Left-wing populism is represented in the Bundestag by The Left party.

Hungary

Viktor Orbán (Fidesz-KDNP), the incumbent Prime Minister of Hungary

The Hungarian parliamentary election, 2018 result was a victory for the Fidesz–KDNP alliance, preserving its two-thirds majority, with Viktor Orbán remaining Prime Minister. Orbán and Fidesz campaigned primarily on the issues of immigration and foreign meddling, and the election was seen as a victory for right-wing populism in Europe.[citation needed]

Greece

The most prominent right-wing populist party in Greece is the Independent Greeks (ANEL).[69][70] Despite being smaller than the more extreme Golden Dawn party, after the January 2015 legislative elections ANEL formed a governing coalition with the left-wing Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA), thus making the party a governing party and giving it a place in the Cabinet of Alexis Tsipras.[71]

The Golden Dawn has grown significantly in Greece during the country's economic downturn, gaining 7% of the vote and 18 out of 300 seats in the Hellenic Parliament. The party's ideology includes annexation of territory in Albania and Turkey, including the Turkish cities of Istanbul and Izmir.[72] Controversial measures by the party included a poor people's kitchen in Athens which only supplied to Greek citizens and was shut down by the police.[73]

Italy

In Italy, the most prominent right-wing populist party is Lega Nord (LN),[76] whose leaders reject the right-wing label,[77][78][79] though not the "populist" one.[80] LN is a federalist, regionalist and sometimes secessionist party, founded in 1991 as a federation of several regional parties of Northern and Central Italy, most of which had arisen and expanded during the 1980s. LN's program advocates the transformation of Italy into a federal state, fiscal federalism and greater regional autonomy, especially for the Northern regions. At times, the party has advocated for the secession of the North, which it calls Padania. The party generally takes an anti-Southern Italian stance as members are known for opposing Southern Italian emigration to Northern Italian cities, stereotyping Southern Italians as welfare abusers and detrimental to Italian society and attributing Italy's economic troubles and the disparity of the North-South divide in the Italian economy to supposed inherent negative characteristics of the Southern Italians, such as laziness, lack of education or criminality.[81][82][83][84] Certain LN members have been known to publicly deploy the offensive slur "terrone", a common pejorative term for Southern Italians that is evocative of negative Southern Italian stereotypes.[81][82][85] As a federalist, regionalist, populist party of the North, LN is also highly critical of the centralized power and political importance of Rome, sometimes adopting to a lesser extent an anti-Roman stance in addition to an anti-Southern stance.

With the rise of immigration into Italy since the late 1990s, LN has increasingly turned its attention to criticizing mass immigration to Italy. The LN, which also opposes illegal immigration, is critical of Islam and proposes Italy's exit from the Eurozone, is considered a Eurosceptic movement and as such it joined the Europe of Freedom and Democracy (EFD) group in the European Parliament after the 2009 European Parliament election. LN was or is part of the national government in 1994, 2001–2006, 2008–2011 and 2018-present. Most recently, the party, which notably includes among its members the Presidents of Lombardy and Veneto, won 17.4% of the vote in the 2018 general election, becoming the third-largest party in Italy (largest within the centre-right coalition). In the 2014 European election, under the leadership of Matteo Salvini it took 6.2% of votes. Under Salvini, the party has to some extent embraced Italian nationalism and emphasised Euroscepticism, opposition to immigration and other "populist" policies, while forming an alliance with right-wing populist parties in Europe.[86][87][88]

Netherlands

In the Netherlands, right-wing populism was represented in the 150-seat House of Representatives in 1982, when the Centre Party won a single seat. During the 1990s, a splinter party, the Centre Democrats, was slightly more successful, although its significance was still marginal. Not before 2002 did a right-wing populist party break through in the Netherlands, when the Pim Fortuyn List won 26 seats and subsequently formed a coalition with the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) and People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD). Fortuyn, who had strong views against immigration, particularly by Muslims, was assassinated in May 2002, two weeks before the election.[91] The coalition had broken up by 2003, and the party went into steep decline until it was dissolved.

Since 2006, the Party for Freedom (PVV) has been represented in the House of Representatives. Following the 2010 general election, it has been in a pact with the right-wing minority government of CDA and VVD after it won 24 seats in the House of Representatives. The party is Eurosceptic and plays a leading role in the changing stance of the Dutch government towards European integration as they came second in the 2009 European Parliament election, winning 4 out of 25 seats. The party's main programme revolves around strong criticism of Islam, restrictions on migration from new European Union countries and Islamic countries, pushing for cultural assimilation of migrants into Dutch society, opposing the accession of Turkey to the European Union, advocating for the Netherlands to withdraw from the European Union and advocating for a return to the guilder through ending Dutch usage of the euro.[92]


Poland

The largest right-wing populist party in Poland is Law and Justice, which currently holds both the presidency and a governing majority in the Sejm. It combines social conservatism and criticism of immigration with strong support for NATO and an interventionist economic policy.[96]

Polish Congress of the New Right, headed by Michał Marusik, aggressively promotes fiscally conservative concepts like radical tax reductions preceded by abolishment of social security, universal public healthcare, state-sponsored education and abolishment of Communist Polish 1944 agricultural reform as a way to dynamical economic and welfare growth.[97][98] Due to lack of empirical and economic evidences presented by party leaders and members, the party is considered populist both by right-wing and left-wing publicists[99][100]

Sweden

Sweden Democrats or Swedish Democrats (Swedish: Sverigedemokraterna, SD) is a social conservative and right-wing populist[2][13] political party in Sweden, founded in 1988.[2][14] The party describes itself as social conservative with a nationalist foundation.[3][5] The party has been described by others as far-right,[9][15] national-conservative,[2][6] and anti-immigration.[2][7][16] Jimmie Åkesson has been party leader since 2005.

Since 2014 the SD has substantially increased its support among both foreign-born and foreign-background voters, becoming the third largest party in Sweden also among this demographic by 2017 (SCB).[17]

The Sweden Democrats crossed the 4% threshold necessary for parliamentary representation for the first time in the 2010 general election, polling 5.7% and gaining 20 seats in the Riksdag.[18][19] This increase in popularity has been compared by international media to other similar anti-immigration movements in Europe.[20] The party received increased support in the 2014 Swedish general election, when it polled 12.9% and secured 49 seats in parliament, becoming the third largest party in Sweden.[21][22] The Sweden Democrats have remained isolated in the Riksdag because the other parties staunchly maintain a policy of refusing cooperation with them.[23][24] The Sweden Democrats are a member of European Conservatives and Reformists group in the European Parliament.

Switzerland

In Switzerland, the right-wing populist Swiss People's Party (SVP) reached an all-time high in the 2015 elections. The party is mainly considered to be national conservative,[101][102] but it has also variously been identified as "extreme right"[103] and "radical right-wing populist",[104] reflecting a spectrum of ideologies present among its members. In its far-right wing, it includes members such as Ulrich Schlüer, Pascal Junod, who heads a New Right study group. |archive-url=https://web.archive.org/web/20020421064426/http://www.tau.ac.il/Anti-Semitism/asw2000-1/switzerland.htm |archive-date=21 April 2002 |dead-url=yes |title=Antisemitism And Racism in Switzerland 2000-1 |accessdate=3 January 2015 }}[105]

In Switzerland, radical right populist parties held close to 10% of the popular vote in 1971, were reduced to below 2% by 1979 and again grew to more than 10% in 1991. Since 1991, these parties (the Swiss Democrats and the Swiss Freedom Party) have been absorbed by the SVP. During the 1990s, the SVP grew from being the fourth largest party to being the largest and gained a second seat the Swiss Federal Council in 2003, with prominent politician and businessman Christoph Blocher. In 2015, the SVP received 29.4% of the vote, the highest vote ever recorded for a single party throughout Swiss parliamentary history.[106][107][108][109]

United Kingdom

Media outlets such as The New York Times have called the UK Independence Party (UKIP), led by Nigel Farage, the largest right-wing populist party in the United Kingdom.[110] UKIP campaigned for an exit from the European Union prior to the 2016 European membership referendum[111] and a points-based immigration system similar to that used in Australia.[112][113][114]
Nigel Farage, British MEP and former leader of the UK Independence Party

The United Kingdom's governing Conservative Party has seen defections to UKIP over the European Union and immigration debates as well as LGBT rights.[115]

In the Conservative Party, former Mayor of London and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has been described as expressing right-wing populist views during the successful Vote Leave campaign.[116] Jacob Rees-Mogg, another potential party leadership contender, has been described as a right-wing populist.[117]

In Northern Ireland, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) is the main right-wing populist force.[118]



Monday, November 12, 2018

The Profit Motive - Is it time to retire the ROI?


I. Profit Motive

A. Definition

Economic theory is supported by the idea of the profit motive. Profit refers to the money left to the business after all expenses and taxes have been paid.

Narrowly defined, the profit motive states that: 'Entrepreneurs are willing to risk capital in the hopes of a monetary profit reward if the venture succeeds. Indeed, success is defined as making a profit.'

A widely used measurement of success is the Return on Investment percentage [ROI], or the annual profit received divided by the capital invested. Investment opportunities are frequently ranked by that measurement with the higher percentage ROI projects or investments deemed more desirable than lower percentage ROI projects.

When competitive markets exist, capital is drawn toward higher ROI's and away from lower ROI's. Theory suggests that a society is 'efficient' when all invested capital is making the highest ROI possible.

B. Flaws inherent to the profit motive when extended beyond the firm

Numerous factors create costs and difficulties for the greater society when businesses are motivated to achieve 'efficiency' as measured by a high ROI.

1. External costs

Unfortunately, the idea of 'efficiency' does not include benefits to any people or organizations outside of the narrowly defined business. It is possible for a business to have a high ROI while making the overall society poorer. For example, making and selling cars can be a profitable business when only the direct costs paid by the company are considered. But, cars require roads and the car companies do not pay for the roads. This is called an 'external' cost, or a cost created by the company that the company does not pay. Instead, consumers pay the cost through taxes or tolls, which then benefit the company by enabling it to pass onto the public costs created by their product.

2. Adversarial relationships

Another thorn in the side of the profit motive is that business owners are motivated to reduce costs wherever possible in order to get a higher ROI. Specifically, any business is motivated to lower any and all costs like wages and salaries and to charge the highest price possible. That's how ROI is raised.

Businesses then are placed in an adversarial position with employees, suppliers and customers. Lower costs mean higher profits.

It does happen that some entrepreneurs occasionally attempt to harm competitors in order to benefit their own venture.

3. Income Inequalities and Monopolies

A regular feature of for profit economies is the concentration of income and wealth into fewer and fewer hands. As the rich become influential they will regularly block redistribution efforts from the central government in the belief that they will lose income and power.


II. Alternative organizational models

Economies where the profit motive is the dominant model frequently fail to provide adequate real benefits to the general population; some benefits do not lend themselves to the profit motive. Firms have no incentive to provide for any good or service from which they do not make a profit. Public goods like national defense and public parks don't have the possibility of generating enough revenue to create profits with a sufficient ROI to attract private capital. Instead there is a drive toward higher and higher ROI at the expense of the greater population.

Defenders of the profit motive argue that any such public good must be provided by the public sector and paid for though tax revenue to the government. However, some entrepreneurs lobby for and argue that taxes should be lowered to allow them to raise their ROI.

But, when a society fails to provide funding for public services through tax revenue, the central government frequently chooses to borrow money to fund the deficit. Seemingly several governments have reached the limit of funding public deficits through borrowing in the private capital markets. The lender of last resort, the International Monetary Fund [IMF], does require that governments wishing to finance their deficit raise taxes and lower expenditures to balance their budget. To date, the United States of America has avoided that exercise since private lenders seem happy to lend the US sufficient funds at low interest rates to fund our deficit. This may end at some future date; then the US would likely face the same IMF mandates we have avoided so far.

Here are some ways to organize enterprises which offer a better method of balancing private, for-profit interests and public interests.

A. Public Utility Model - For profit with regulation oversight

This is the Public Utility Model where a for profit company provides an essential product or service which requires a significant investment to deliver efficiently. The company is granted a monopoly but must submit to a publicly elected board with power to set its prices and operational methods. In California, the PUC regulates electricity and natural gas distribution.

The Board tries to set rates so that the company can attract private capital to its shares and bonds. Sometimes the Board fails to grasp the intricacies of the system and can sometimes be bought.

B. State Enterprise -

Many countries use the State model where a government organization provides a good or service. Sometimes this model creates problems when the company fails to make enough revenue and the government covers its losses. A case can be made that the subsidies are in fact an investment into a social goal that the organization provides for the country.

C. Non-Profit Organizations

Many successful organizations operate on a non-profit model, where the goal is to combine maximization of one or more social goals with enough revenue to cover costs. There are, for example, many non-profit credit unions which provide the same services as for profit banks but without the excessive concentration of money and power which commercial banks accumulate. [See my kindle book on BANK SLUSH FUNDS here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07B6RYQ7C/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i6]