Antarctic Ice Reveals Earth’s Accelerating Plant Growth

For decades, scientists have been trying to figure out what all the carbon dioxide we’ve been putting into the atmosphere has been doing to plants. It turns out that the best place to find an answer is where no plants can survive: the icy wastes of Antarctica.
As ice forms in Antarctica, it traps air bubbles. For thousands of years, they have preserved samples of the atmosphere. The levels of one chemical in that mix reveal the global growth of plants at any point in that history.
‘It’s the whole Earth – it’s every plant,’ said J. Elliott Campbell of the University of California, Merced.
Analyzing the ice, Dr. Campbell and his colleagues have discovered that in the past century, plants have been growing at a rate far faster than at any other time in the past 54,000 years. Writing in the journal Nature, they report that plants are converting 31 percent more carbon dioxide into organic matter than they were before the Industrial Revolution.

This post was published at NY Times

Did The EPA Just Go Rogue Again

This morning @EPA sent out a press release highlighting reaction to Trump's climate Executive Order…this first quote seems off message:
— Patrick Ambrosio (@Pat_Ambrosio) March 30, 2017

In late January, days after Donald Trump became president, various government workers employed by the EPA “defied” the president with what at the time appeared to be rogue twitter accounts emerging from the environemntal agency, most notably the Badlands National Park which slammed Trump’s climate change proposal.
‘Today, the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is higher than at any time in the last 650,000 years. #climate’ ‘Flipside of the atmosphere; ocean acidity has increased 30% since the Industrial Revolution. ‘Ocean Acidification” #climate #carboncycle” “Burning one gallon of gasoline puts nearly 20lbs of carbon dioxide into our atmosphere. #climate” It now appears that a new “rogue” employee may have emerged at the EPA’s pres office.
This morning, in a press release summarizing “What They Are Saying About President Trump’s Executive Order On Energy Independence”, as the first quote picked by an unknown staffer at the agency, the EPA decided to showcase the thoughts of Dem. Senator Shelly Moore Capito whose quote was not exactly on message, as Bloomberg’s Patrick Ambrosio pointed out.
This is what she said:

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Mar 30, 2017.

How Many Jobs Do Robots Destroy? Answers Emerge

But this isn’t the industrial revolution. How many jobs do robots – whether mechanical robots or software – destroy? Do these destroyed jobs get replaced by the Great American Economy with better jobs? That’s the big discussion these days.
The answers have been soothing. Economists cite the industrial revolution. At the time, most humans replaced by machines found better paid, more productive, less back-breaking jobs. Productivity soared, and society overall, after some big dislocations, came out ahead. The same principle applies today, the soothsayers coo.
But this isn’t the industrial revolution. These days, robots and algorithms are everywhere, replacing not just manufacturing jobs but all kinds jobs in air-conditioned offices that paid big salaries and fat bonuses.

This post was published at Wolf Street on Mar 29, 2017.

Tax Reform: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly – Part One

Vizzini: He didn’t fall?! Inconceivable!
Inigo Montoya: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
– From The Princess Bride
‘A tariff is a scale of taxes on imports, designed to protect the domestic producer against the greed of his consumer.’
– Ambrose Bierce
‘Vast possibilities matured into realities before their very eyes. Nevertheless, they saw nothing but cramped economies struggling with ever-decreasing success for their daily bread.’
– Joseph Schumpeter on the Industrial Revolution
The usual thrust of this letter is economics, finance, and investing. Lately, however, the political process has been invading my normal domain – sometimes to the dismay of some of my readers. I get that politics comes with the territory; and I think everyone, no matter their political persuasion, will agree that taxes, which are political in nature, have a major impact on economics, finance, and investment. And thus commenting on taxes is fair game.
My original intention for this letter was to do an analysis of the Republican tax reform proposals. My associate Patrick Watson and I spent two weeks doing a really deep dive into the proposed reforms. I had the privilege of talking taxes with the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, fellow Texan Kevin Brady, as well as his staff. The chairman was kind enough to allow his remarks to be on the record – but his staff made it clear that they were to be on background. We have also talked with numerous think tanks and other experts across the political spectrum. We’ve actually been able to get information on some of the proposed reforms that, as far as we can tell, isn’t available in anything that’s already out there on the Internet.
A few observations from 30,000 feet –
1. This is a far more sweeping proposed tax reform than Reagan’s. Not even in the same league. When I tell you that it touches everything, I mean that it touches EVERYTHING. And not just in the US. When you begin to think it through, the global implications are truly staggering. If you think you can be in Europe, Asia, or Africa and just be an unaffected observer of these changes, you are not paying attention. They will have profound implications for currency valuations and global trade.
Thus what I have for you today is not a one-and-done letter on the proposed tax reform. This is the first part of a series (my guess is that it will run to at least three parts) on the implications of the proposed reform. I keep using the word proposed, as there is a great deal of contention around this legislation. What actually comes out of the sausage-making machine otherwise known as Congress is still hard to predict. But we’re going to explore the key proposals coming out of the Ways and Means Committee, which are what will be debated on the floor.

This post was published at Mauldin Economics on FEBRUARY 7, 2017.

Historical Official Records Reveal Gold’s Value Should Be 20 Times Higher

According to historical official records, the price of gold should be 20 times higher than the current market price. While many precious metals investors have heard about the revaluation of gold to back the outstanding fiat currency, my analysis focuses on monetary gold stocks versus global GDP (Gross Domestic Product).
To understand how the global GDP versus monetary gold stocks has changed, we need to look at information and data published in the U. S. Bureau Of Mines 1932-33 Gold-Silver Mineral Yearbook:
As we can see from the text above, Britain abandoned the gold standard in 1931. However, the most interesting part of the text above was, ‘It is surprising to learn that within a year 42 countries have abandoned the gold standard or are maintaining it artificially.’
Thus, in all actuality, the world abandoned the gold standard in the early 1930’s, even though the United States Gold-backed Dollar became the world’s reserve currency via the Bretton Woods Agreement in 1944.
Now, the Central Banks and Financial elite had a very good reason to drop the gold standard. The financial and banking elite would profit immensely by printing money and charging interest, but only if money wasn’t gold or backed by gold. Because, the increase in above ground gold stocks was limited to its annual gold production. In addition, the industrial revolution had a profound impact on global economic growth.
In the past, international trade was mainly settled in gold or bills of exchange. However, global economic growth was surging as the industrial revolution was now being powered by coal and oil. These two energy sources enabled the world to increase economic growth at a massive scale and pace versus human and animal labor… which was the foundation of economic markets for thousands of years.

This post was published at SRSrocco Report on January 24, 2017.

Central Bankers Are Losing Faith in Their Own Alchemy

Mervyn King is the British Ben Bernanke. An eminent academic economist, who now teaches both at New York University and the London School of Economics, King was from 2003 to 2013 Governor of the Bank of England. In short, he is a very big deal. Remarkably, in The End of Alchemy he frequently sounds like Murray Rothbard.
King identifies a basic problem in the banking system that has again and again led to financial crisis. ‘The idea that paper money could replace intrinsically valuable gold and precious metals, and that banks could take secure short-term deposits and transform them into long-term risky investments came into its own with the Industrial Revolution in the eighteenth century. It was both revolutionary and immensely seductive. It was in fact financial alchemy – the creation of extraordinary financial powers that defy reality and common sense. Pursuit of this monetary elixir has brought a series of economic disasters – from hyperinflation to banking collapses.’
How exactly is this alchemy supposed to work? ‘People believed in alchemy because, so it was argued, depositors would never all choose to withdraw their money at the same time. If depositors’ requirements to make payments or obtain liquidity were, when averaged over a large number of depositors, a predictable flow, then deposits could provide a reliable source of long-term funding. But if a sizable group of depositors were to withdraw funds at the same time, the bank would be forced either to demand immediate repayment of the loans it had made, … or to default on the claims of depositors.’ Readers of Rothbard’s What Has Government Done to Our Money? will recognize a familiar theme.

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on December 29, 2016.

Reflections On Trumplandia: America “Embodies Elements Of A Societal Disintegration”

Via Edelweiss Journal,
Reflections on Trump’s America
That which has been is that which will be, And that which has been done is that which will be done. So there is nothing new under the sun. Perhaps it was inevitable that a man like Mr Trump would some day end up in the White House. Immodesty notwithstanding, he is intelligent, patriotic, and richly endowed with that American can do disposition. His election, at least within the context of financial markets both in America and elsewhere, has been greeted thus far with the exuberance and fervour reserved for the second coming of an industrial revolution. Yet, even as one ought to welcome Mr Trump’s businesslike ideas for a country that has veered further and further into an economic unknown, there is scant reason for the boundless euphoria of anticipated greatness – the subject of this brief essay.
To some folks, Mr Trump’s words and promise to ‘make America great again’ resonated with those of the late President Reagan. On one hand, it seems that he understands what’s what. In a September interview with Reuters, he accused the Fed of having created a ‘false economy’ (true) and ‘keeping the rates down so that everything else doesn’t go down’ (also true). Responding to claims of alleged economic robustness, he said: ‘The only thing that is strong is the artificial stock market.’ On the other hand, the grandiose economic policies and promises he has outlined demand a cheap dollar and even greater deficits and debt creation. His administration faces a federal debt of $20 trillion, unfunded liabilities of more than $100 trillion and 50% of a population dependent on (most, in fact, feel entitled to) some kind of government spending, which translates to the fact that much more credit/debt is a necessity and not an option. When Mr Reagan took office, circumstances were a lot different. Thus, the euphoria among financial and political pundits is unlikely to last long. The exuberance of the moment, no matter the soundness of expectations, may, for a while, give rise to higher share and dollar prices, but its consequences are trivial.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 17, 2016.

Four States Vote to Punish Low-Skilled Workers With Minimum Wage Hikes

Last week, a majority of voters in four states approved new mandated increases to the statewide minimum wage.
For those workers whose productivity remains above the newly mandated wages, they will likely keep their jobs and see no change. However, for teenagers, the poorly educated, and others with few skills, the new higher wage will price them out of a job.
In the short term, even some workers with productivity levels below the mandated wage may keep their jobs. For a time. In the medium to long term, however, those workers will either be replaced by automation, or employers will simply cease to hire low-productivity workers.
How to Really Increase Wages As we’ve covered here and here at, the only way to sustainably increase the wages of workers is to increase their productivity. If a worker’s wages are to go up, there must either be an increase in the demand for that worker’s services, or the worker must be able to produce more in less time.
This is why the industrial revolution brought with it enormous increases in workers wages and standards of living. A single workers could produce far more in the 19th century than he could produce in the 16th century. All that productivity brought with it higher real wages.

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on Nov 18, 2016.

What Triggers Collapse?

Though no one can foretell the future, it is self-evident that the status quo – dependent as it is on cheap oil and fast-expanding debt – is unsustainable. So what will trigger the collapse of the status quo, and what lies beyond when the current arrangements break down? Can we predict how-when-where with any accuracy?
All prediction is based on extrapolating current trends. If we expect ‘more of the same’, it’s not too difficult to make predictions about the near future. But history is not always simply more of the same.
Suppose we are in the midst of an era that is as monumental as the first Industrial Revolution or the fall of Rome. Suppose we’re in an era that will compress a century of transformation into the ten years from 2017 to 2026. In this scenario, those who get it right will be riding the disruptive wave that is crushing everyone who blithely expected ‘more of the same’.
It is especially challenging to forecast the outcome of crises that break the status quo and establish a new social/economic order.
We are carried along by the broad sweep of history with a piecemeal understanding of the larger dynamics that are reshaping our world. We discern these forces in fragments of data, but cannot predict how they will unfold, for we are constantly extrapolating trends that are rapidly evolving. As a result, our predictions fail to capture the way these dynamics will transform our world.
As Marx famously noted, ‘everything that is solid melts into air’ as capitalism dismantles old systems and spawns new ones. These forces don’t just shift the economic landscape; they also disrupt the social order, the political system, finance, family relations and our relationship with Nature – in other words, our entire mode of production.

This post was published at PeakProsperity on Friday, October 14, 2016.

Follow the Money

A Small and Lonely Group
PARIS – It’s back to Europe. Back to school. Back to work. Let’s begin by bringing new readers into the discussion… and by reminding old readers (and ourselves) where we stand.
US economic growth: average annual GDP growth over time spans ranging from 120 to 10 years (left hand side) and the 20 year moving average of annual GDP growth since 1967. Note that the bump in the 70 year average is actually distorted by the output growth boost recorded during WW2 (the charts were made in 2009) – which is actually a prime example of how useless GDP can be as a measure of prosperity. Nevertheless, it is serviceable for the illustration of long term economic growth trends. Exponential credit expansion since the adoption of the pure fiat money system, the associated relentless growth of the welfare/warfare state and persistent declines in average economic growth rates have been going hand in hand, which is no coincidence – click to enlarge.
As a Diary reader, you join a small and lonely group. But we know something others don’t. We understand the real cause of our economic malaise. What malaise, you ask?
Well – how could the richest, most technologically advanced, and most scientifically sophisticated economy stop dead in its tracks? The rate of economic growth has gone steadily downhill for the last 30 years. By some measures, after accounting for the effects of inflation, we’re back to levels not seen since before the Industrial Revolution.
And how could such a modern, 21st-century economy make the average person poorer? As we saw recently, when you measure actual inflation, rather than the government’s crooked numbers, the median U. S. household income is 20% lower today than when the century began.
And why would our modern economy concentrate wealth in the hands of so few, so that only the richest 1% make any real progress
You may also ask a question with an obvious answer: Why are the richest and most powerful people in the country overwhelmingly supporting Ms. Clinton in the presidential race?
You find the answer to all these questions the same way: Follow the money.

This post was published at Acting-Man on September 12, 2016.

The impoverishment of the masses

Feudal and mercantilist economic systems were characterised by the lower orders of ordinary people being enslaved by, or subjected to, the commands of an elite.
Beyond basic subsistence, serfs and slaves were not enabled to consume other goods, nor were they given the means to do so. Communism was hawked as handing power to the serfs, or workers, united in and by the state. But again, it meant that workers remained serfs, employed and commanded by a state set up in their name. Freedom from the bourgeoisie became subjugation by the state. Only capitalism, founded on free markets and freedom of choice for all, held the promise of freeing the masses from a life of drudgery and servitude.
This was what the industrial revolution in Britain was about, particularly after the Corn Laws were repealed, and also the basis for the opportunities offered in America for refugees from European feudalism and mercantilism. And as the benefits of this freedom became enjoyed by those that were freed, so the abolition of slavery followed. A minimalist enlightened government based on democracy guaranteed property ownership and ensured that individuals’ rights were enforceable. These were the simple conditions of free markets, the conditions where the lowest consumer is the master of the mightiest producer, who endeavours to serve him. These are the conditions that led to a dramatic improvement in living standards for everyone in only a few decades, an improvement that had proved impossible in all the history of feudalism, mercantilism, and communism. It was the unique achievement of Anglo-Saxon laissez-faire.
But empires strike back. Just as communism enslaved the workers in their own name, so democratic states in the name of capitalism find ways to bind their own electors. Freedoms taken for granted by the British and Americans were never fully adopted by more socialistic states, and even the Anglo-Saxons have been slowly compromised to the point where their democratic systems are now breaking down.
Central to the loss of freedom, the road to serfdom as Hayek put it, is the creation of myths. The myth that the state acts on behalf its people, when it always acts to protect itself. The myth that the state knows better what its electors want than the electors themselves. The myth that only the state has the impartiality to right all wrongs. The reality is the exact opposite. The state intervenes to prevent people from deciding the matters that directly concern them. The middle classes have been taxed in the name of redistribution to the poor, and the poor themselves in turn have been relieved of the value of their earnings and savings by monetary debasement, always in the interest of the common good.

This post was published at GoldMoney on SEPTEMBER 08, 2016.

Zimbabwe: The Industrial Revolution in Reverse — Nick Giambruno

Cecil Rhodes once fantasized about the ‘ultimate recovery of the United States of America’ by the British Empire.
Rhodes – an influential British businessman and South African politician – was a staunch supporter of British imperialism. The famous Rhodes scholarship is named after him.
He helped colonize southern Africa on behalf of the U.K. in the late 1800s.
The country of Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) was named after him.
During his childhood, Rhodes was plagued with various illnesses. Hoping a different climate might improve his health, his family sent him to South Africa with his brother at the age of 17 to work on a cotton farm.
Almost immediately, the brothers caught ‘diamond fever,’ which had been sweeping the region. They found the diamond business much more lucrative than cotton.

This post was published at International Man

The Propaganda War Against Capitalism

The progressive intellectual looks upon capitalism as the most ghastly of all evils. Mankind, he contends, lived rather happily in the good old days. But then, as a British historian said, the Industrial Revolution ‘fell like a war or a plague’ on the peoples. The ‘bourgeoisie’ converted plenty into scarcity. A few tycoons enjoy all luxuries. But, as Marx himself observed, the worker ‘sinks deeper and deeper’ because the bourgeoisie ‘is incompetent to assure an existence to its slave within his slavery.’
Still worse are the intellectual and moral effects of the capitalist mode of production. There is but one means, the progressive believes, to free mankind from the misery and degradation produced by laissez-faire and rugged individualism, viz., to adopt central planning, the system with which the Russians are successfully experimenting. It is true that the results obtained by the Soviets are not yet fully satisfactory. But these shortcomings were caused only by the peculiar conditions of Russia. The West will avoid the pitfalls of the Russians and will realize the Welfare State without the merely accidental features that disfigured it in Russia and in Hitler Germany.
Such is the philosophy taught at most present-day schools and propagated by novels and plays. It is this doctrine that guides the actions of almost all contemporary governments. The American ‘progressive’ feels ashamed of what he calls the social backwardness of his country. He considers it a duty of the United States to subsidize foreign socialist governments lavishly in order to enable them to go on with their ruinous socialist ventures. In his eyes the real enemy of the American people is Big Business, that is, the enterprises which provide the American common man with the highest standard of living ever reached in history. He hails every step forward on the road toward all-round control of business as progress. He smears all those who hint at the pernicious effects of waste, deficit spending and capital decumulation as reactionaries, economic royalists and Fascists. He never mentions the new or improved products which business almost every year makes accessible to the masses. But he goes into raptures about the rather questionable achievements of the Tennessee Valley Authority, the deficit of which is made good out of taxes collected from Big Business.

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on May 11, 2016.


Machines have been taking over our jobs for a long time. Ever since the industrial revolution began in the early 19th century, the human race has been racing ahead on a non stop train to automation town. While the first factories obliterated countless jobs, for most of the past 200 years, the rate at which our jobs have been automated has been fairly steady and predictable.
However, a new surge in automation is upon us, the likes of which we probably haven’t seen since the 1800’s. With the rapid advancement of computer technology, coupled with slow economic growth and widespread calls for a higher minimum wage, never have companies had more motivation to automate, as well as the means to do so on a wide scale.

This post was published at The Daily Sheeple on MARCH 22, 2016.

The Age Of Stagnation (Or Something Much Worse)

Excerpted from Satyajit Das’ new book “The Age Of Stagnation”,
If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth, only . . . wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair. C. S. Lewis The world is entering a period of stagnation, the new mediocre. The end of growth and fragile, volatile economic conditions are now the sometimes silent background to all social and political debates. For individuals, this is about the destruction of human hopes and dreams.
One Offs
For most of human history, as Thomas Hobbes recognised, life has been ‘solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short’. The fortunate coincidence of factors that drove the unprecedented improvement in living standards following the Industrial Revolution, and especially in the period after World War II, may have been unique, an historical aberration. Now, different influences threaten to halt further increases, and even reverse the gains.
Since the early 1980s, economic activity and growth have been increasingly driven by financialisation – the replacement of industrial activity with financial trading and increased levels of borrowing to finance consumption and investment. By 2007, US$5 of new debt was necessary to create an additional US$1 of American economic activity, a fivefold increase from the 1950s. Debt levels had risen beyond the repayment capacity of borrowers, triggering the 2008 crisis and the Great Recession that followed. But the world shows little sign of shaking off its addiction to borrowing. Ever-increasing amounts of debt now act as a brake on growth.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 02/14/2016 –.

Fourth Industrial Revolution: Robots, Artificial Intelligence Will Destroy 5.1 Million Jobs by 2020

Fourth Industrial Revolution Coming
A new study on the “Future of Jobs” by the World Economic Forum at Davos claims a Fourth Industrial Revolution is Coming.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution includes developments artificial intelligence, robotics, nanotechnology, 3-D printing, genetics, and biotechnology.
Although no industrial revolution has ever destroyed jobs, the study concludes a net 5.1 million jobs will vanish in the world’s 15 leading countries. Those countries account for roughly two-thirds of the global workforce.
The report is a 167 page PDF slog. Here are a couple of tables I created from the report data.

This post was published at Global Economic Analysis on January 22, 2016.

Technology and Government Shouldn’t Mix

We live in a time like never before in human history. Our scientific knowledge and technological capabilities are rapidly advancing, affecting nearly every aspect of human life. Examples are rife, from smart phones and robotics, to thought-controlled prosthetics, wireless power, even force fields. Countless others that sounded like science fiction a few years ago don’t even deserve mention today as they have become so commonplace.
In the nineteenth century, the Industrial Revolution marked the beginning of the process we see at work, when (mostly) free market capitalism unshackled society’s productive imagination. The key was that it allowed individuals to reap the fruits of their labor, providing incentives for workers and entrepreneurs by allowing them to accumulate capital. Capital accumulation is the prerequisite for a prosperous society, without it there can be no sustainable investment or economic growth.
Privately-Owned Technology Is Not a Problem Yet many are beginning to worry that our technology could soon turn on us and actually bring about our demise. The renowned physicist Stephen Hawking speculated earlier this year that robots will eventually take over the world, but has since revised his stance, now suggesting that capitalist-technology is a greater threat and will bring about unsustainable inequality and poverty as automated production techniques displace human labor. Such fears display an ignorance of history and economic science.

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on DECEMBER 17, 2015.

Silk Roads, Night Trains and the Third Industrial Revolution in China — Pepe Escobar

The U.S. is transfixed by its multibillion-dollar electoral circus. The European Union is paralyzed by austerity, fear of refugees, and now all-out jihad in the streets of Paris. So the West might be excused if it’s barely caught the echoes of a Chinese version of Roy Orbison’s ‘All I Have to Do Is Dream.’ And that new Chinese dream even comes with a road map.
The crooner is President Xi Jinping and that road map is the ambitious, recently unveiled 13th Five-Year-Plan, or in the pop-video version, the Shisanwu. After years of explosive economic expansion, it sanctifies the country’s lower ‘new normal’ gross domestic product growth rate of 6.5% a year through at least 2020.
It also sanctifies an updated economic formula for the country: out with a model based on low-wage manufacturing of export goods and in with the shock of the new, namely, a Chinese version of the third industrial revolution. And while China’s leadership is focused on creating a middle-class future powered by a consumer economy, its president is telling whoever is willing to listen that, despite the fears of the Obama administration and of some of the country’s neighbors, there’s no reason for war ever to be on the agenda for the U.S. and China.
Given the alarm in Washington about what is touted as a Beijing quietly pursuing expansionism in the South China Sea, Xi has been remarkably blunt on the subject of late. Neither Beijing nor Washington, he insists, should be caught in the Thucydides trap, the belief that a rising power and the ruling imperial power of the planet are condemned to go to war with each other sooner or later.

This post was published at The Saker