Daily Digest 9/28 – The ‘Disruption’ Con, The Road To Nowhere


Stephen Roach says that negative net domestic saving in the US and a soaring current-account deficit will weaken the greenback fast (Downunder Bound)

The net national saving rate, which measures the combined depreciation-adjusted saving of businesses, households, and the government sector, plunged into negative territory at -1% in the second quarter of 2020. That had not happened since the global financial crisis of 2008-09, when net national saving fell into negative territory for nine consecutive quarters, averaging -1.7% from the second quarter of 2008 to the second quarter of 2010.

Cruise Critic: ‘Urgent Need for Ships to Start Sailing’ from Florida, Federal Maritime Commission Says (Roger B.)

In its latest Fact Finding 30 report, FMC Commissioner Sola indicates that Florida has lost $3.2 billion in economic activity and 49,500 local jobs paying approximately $2.3 billion in wages as a result of the suspension of cruising following the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s No-Sail Order, in effect through September 30.

The report notes that Florida is home to the top-three multiday cruise ports in the world, with 59 percent of all embarkations in the United States taking place there in 2018. Including the corporate and administrative staff of the cruise lines headquartered in Florida, the cruise industry was responsible for over 149,000 jobs in the state totalling $7.69 billion in wages.

Why Silicon Valley CEOs are such raging psychopaths (Adam)

According to the Hare Psychopathy Checklist — the universally accepted diagnostic tool used to assess this disorder — a psychopathic personality includes traits such as a grandiose sense of self-worth, a lack of remorse or guilt, poor behavioral controls, pathological lying and a lack of empathy.

These attributes aren’t just present “but celebrated in Silicon Valley,” says Gavet, who once held the position of executive vice-president of global operations for Priceline Group, among other roles.

The disruption con: why big tech’s favourite buzzword is nonsense (tmn)

More specifically, though, disruption resonates with our experience of capitalism. Think of all the companies and products that you remember treating as seemingly permanent, inextricable fixtures of your everyday life, that nevertheless slid right out and disappeared with time. Recall, if you’re of the right age, the act of respooling a cassette tape with your pinkie finger, or the phrase “Be kind, please rewind”. Or, for a slightly younger generation, the whistles of a dial-up modem or the mastication of a floppy disk drive. Disruption tells a story that explains how things that seem as if they will last forever nevertheless come to be short-lived.

Inside eBay’s Cockroach Cult: The Ghastly Story of a Stalking Scandal (Andy B.)

In January 2019, the temperature in Global Security and Resiliency went up even further. Elliott Management, a hedge fund considered merciless even by Wall Street standards, bought a chunk of eBay and asked for changes. Nobody was safe — especially the chief executive, Devin Wenig. The co-founder of another company that had earlier drawn the attention of Elliott said the experience of looking up the fund online was like “Googling this thing on your arm and it says, ‘You’re going to die.’”

As Mr. Wenig and other eBay executives tried to make nice with the hedge fund, they did not want to hear criticism of the company. That could cause trouble. And if some critic persisted? They needed to shut up. If necessary, they needed to be scared speechless.

Charles Hugh Smith: The Road To Nowhere – Whatever Can’t Be Politicized Ceases To Exist (CleanEnergyFan)

To remain confidential, everyday life must be treated as wartime. Your hand-written journal is safe, as long as you don’t share it digitally. But since we’ve morphed into an engagement-based social order, your selfhood now depends on engaging others digitally via “likes,” shares, etc. and sharing your most “engaging” images and experiences.

A non-shared, non-digital private life is now a form of non-existence that most people find painful and isolating. Hence the obsessive addiction to social media and “sharing” one’s (carefully edited) life online.

Highly-Educated Americans Are By Far The Most Closed-Minded; Gallup (CleanEnergyFan)

What all of the billionaires want is what the American public get as their Government. It’s bipartisanship amongst its billionaires. That’s what produces this Government’s policies. It’s what determines the Government that Americans get. However, what is basic in making it a dictatorship of the aristocracy-type (such as this America is) is that the population is very prejudiced, not open-minded — not each individual constantly seeking solid evidence to change one’s mind about how society works (what the reality in the nation actually is), so as for one’s view to become increasingly accurate over time. Instead, one’s myths are constantly being fed. Such a public, as this, are not individuals, in a democracy, but more like mobs, very manipulable.

USA Watchdog: Evil Covid Lies & People Died – Chris Martenson (pinecarr)

Martenson says severe economic damage has been done to the economy. Wall Street wins while Main Street loses. Martenson contends, “The economy is very bad at this point in time, and it’s being covered up by a very, very complicit Federal Reserve that is just propping markets up. Citadel, the hedge fund where Former Fed Chief Ben Bernanke works, is just crushing it this year. The first half of the year they made more money than any other year. His company does nothing but just front run the Fed and scoop billions of dollars. The Fed is just rewarding skimmers and grifters. Meanwhile, Yelp just reported that nearly 100,000 U.S. businesses have permanently closed. There are coffee shops, restaurants, little inns, hotels and all kinds of things, and they are just crushed in this story. The Fed has been shoveling money to the super elites while everybody else has been suffering. The stimulus that has gone out has mainly gone to the well-connected, the megacorporations and the big banks. It’s really just cut the legs out from the upper middle class on down.”

Twenty-one states are reporting increased Covid-19 cases as experts warn of a fall surge (tmn)

The US could see an explosion of Covid-19 cases in the fall and winter as people exercise less caution and spend more time indoors, where there is a greater likelihood of transmission, according to Dr. Chris Murray, director of the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME).

Murray says the IHME model shows a “huge surge” expected to take off in October “and accelerate in November and December.” The IHME model indicates that the country is currently seeing about 765 daily deaths from Covid-19, but that number could jump to 3,000 daily deaths by late December.

Forecasting Intelligence: Herd Immunity And The Politics Of Recovery (James W.)

I have quoted at the top of this blog post an extract from a recent article written by Sir Vince Cable. Many of you will be wondering who he is. Sir Vince is a left-leaning Liberal Democrat (in American terms within the liberal tradition of the Democratic Party) and he is certainly no fan of Donald Trump.

And that is why his comments are so interesting. I agree with him that President Trump chose to prioritise the economy in his wider approach to the virus. It is a perfectly rational decision, taking into consideration the human and economic costs of an extended period of lockdown that are devastating for the wider private sector economy.

Nuclear plants in Arabian Sea face tsunami risk (000)

“Siting nuclear reactors in areas prone to natural disasters is not very wise,” says M.V. Ramana, Simons Chair in Disarmament, Global and Human Security and Director, Liu Institute for Global Issues, University of British Columbia, tells SciDev.Net. “In principle, one could add safety systems to lower the risk of accidents — a very high sea wall, for instance. Such safety systems, however, add to the cost of nuclear plants and make them even more uncompetitive when compared with other ways of generating electricity.”

Mexican farmers revolt over sending water to US during drought (Eddie Jay)

Mexican farmers in the drought-stricken state of Chihuahua are pitted against riot squads from the national guard in an increasingly violent standoff over their government’s decision to ship scarce water supplies to the United States.

Trump Administration Moves To Expand Development In Alaska’s Tongass National Forest (edelinski)

The forest plays a major role in the battle against climate change: The Tongass is an enormous natural carbon sink, holding an estimated 8% of all carbon stored in U.S. national forests.

But the rule change might not be permanent: If elected, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden could reverse the decision.

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