Mish on Tech Ticker

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Mike (“Mish”) Shedlock’s site MISH’S Global Eco­nomic Trend Analy­sis pro­vides reg­u­lar, inci­sive and down to earth com­men­tary on the US and global economies, and his site is one of my first ports of call when I want do take a more crit­i­cal look at any US data that appears to be more dis­sem­bling than inform­ing.

Mish has made a rare appear­ance on Yahoo’s Tech Ticker–another reg­u­lar favourite of mine–to pull apart the most recent appar­ently pos­i­tive devel­op­ments in the US uem­ploy­ment rate.

If you haven’t yet acquainted your­self with Mish, then I sug­gest you watch this video (also embed­ded below) with Aaron Task from Tech Ticker, and then check out Mish’s blog.

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  • ak

    Do you think this the char­ac­ter­i­sa­tion of the for­mer Soviet sys­tem as in essence a mas­sive bureau­cracy is cor­rect?”

    Yes but it was an ide­o­log­i­cally dri­ven bureau­cracy (1956–1991, before 1956 it was a ter­ror state).

    Do you think there­fore, that our sys­tem could be essen­tially sim­i­lar to that sys­tem in its increas­ingly bureau­cratic nature? (cur­rent attempts to impose inter­net fil­ter­ing to pro­tect the bureau­cracy maybe?)”

    To some extent but the bureau­cratic sys­tem in Aus­tralia is still not very inva­sive com­pared with Cen­tral Europe. Inter­net fil­ter­ing is a “cool” idea to get votes of the Chris­t­ian fun­da­men­tal­ists. They (ALP) know that so-called left­ists may vote for other par­ties but these votes will be redis­trib­uted back to ALP regard­less how much ALP is hated. So the ALP guys can treat their elec­torate with con­tempt. But Tony Abbott may not block the fil­ter any­way. So we will have to start using prox­ies. I don’t think they’ll intro­duce fil­ter­ing in the US any time soon.

    But I wouldn’t link this kind of stuff to food safety con­trol. I don’t want to die if I eat bad pork because trichinella hasn’t been checked for (not a prob­lem in Aus­tralia but in Europe and Asia a lot of wild pigs have it). I don’t want to buy milk with mela­tonin or get BSE after eat­ing beef. 

    Do you think free access to infor­ma­tion does threaten such sys­tems?”

    Yes but in West­ern coun­tries peo­ple peo­ple don’t care because there is too much noise. This actu­ally lim­its the access to infor­ma­tion, not the cen­sor­ship. But we have to fight for the free­dom of infor­ma­tion any­way.

    One other inter­est­ing idea (I thought) was he refers to Marx as hav­ing imag­ined a “with­er­ing away” of cen­tral con­trol – seems quite incon­gru­ous with Lenin­ist Style social­ism – if so was the Soviet union really social­ist in the Marx­ist sense and is there any value to be retrieved from Marx’s ideas in light of the USSR expe­ri­ence?”

    Nobody could imple­ment any ideas lim­it­ing per­sonal free­dom and some quite obvi­ous prop­erty rights (I’m not talk­ing about absolute prop­erty rights) with­out a state appa­ra­tus. Because of that I am con­vinced that anar­chists and right-wing lib­er­tar­i­ans given a chance would imple­ment the same kind of author­i­tar­ian regime to coerce peo­ple. Oth­er­wise noth­ing would change. Every rev­o­lu­tion leads to set­ting up a sys­tem which offers less free­dom than peo­ple used to have before.

    In my opin­ion Marx was an inter­est­ing thinker but some of his ideas belonged to the 19th cen­tury. In some cases he was plainly wrong.

  • pb

    A well writ­ten arti­cle about cit­i­zen servi­tude


  • MMitchell

    Thanks Ak,

    A cou­ple of thoughts back. I agree food needs to be safe. The prob­lem here is it is dif­fi­cult to deter­mine between laws for safety, laws as a bar­rier to entry and laws to reduce costs. For exam­ple, you can­not buy unpastuerised milk in OZ, as a retailer to even sug­gest peo­ple could drink unpas­teurised milk leaves you sub­ject to a $50,000 fine. Peo­ple were drink­ing milk well before Loius Pas­teur and with mod­ern vet sci­ence we should not require pas­teuri­sa­tion. As a kid I used to walk to the farmer next door every morn­ing and get a cou­ple of litres of warm, yel­low milk straight from the cow. Our fam­ily, and many oth­ers drank this milk for years with no ill effects. I have never recall see­ing a report on some­one who died from tainted milk. Our cur­rent law pro­hibits this, the farmer would be fined. So while small pro­duc­ers are held out of the mar­ket, big play­ers push for laws that allow them to engage in dodgy cost-sav­ing prac­tices such as feed­ing cows meat based prod­ucts which leads to BSE, not to men­tion prat­ices that are detri­men­tal to ani­mals and require adun­dant anti-biotics, putting every­ones health at risk. Again a sim­ple law that makes one liable for effects on oth­ers may be suf­fi­cient here with­out out­right bans on var­i­ous behav­iours, such laws are open to manip­u­la­tion. Bet­ter aware­ness of prac­tices and their effects would allow con­sumers to choose to avoid prod­ucts pro­duced with anti-biotics — this links back to my ear­lier posts. 

    I agree that rev­o­lu­tions are to be avoided at any cost. In the past they have proven to be noth­ing but more destruc­tive than what they were intended to replace. How­ever, I think their must be some processes for renewal and mas­sive change in soci­ety, I guess we have seen this over the past 100 years, but with some seri­ous neg­a­tive effects (envi­ron­men­tal dam­age is just one). It would be nice to iden­tify ways of mov­ing change for­ward with­out so many neg­a­tive effects. While things like inter­net fil­ter­ing laws may be intro­duced to gain votes, they may be used for other pur­poses once there, and get­ting rid of them, and num­ber of other dubi­ous laws and prac­tices (increas­ing use of com­mer­cial-in-con­fi­dence etc), may prove very dif­fi­cult.

  • MMitchell


    A very inter­est­ing post, I had not thought through people’s behav­iour from the per­spec­tive that they may be demor­alised.

  • al49er

    Up And Away”
    I think the Vic Teach­ers Credit Union is great, which is why I bank with them.
    And they have a thing called “real ser­vice” as opposed to ‘tel­stra type’ ser­vice.