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Daily Digest 6/28 - LA Has a Pension Contribution Crisis, Bubble Forming On Wall Street

Chris Martenson - 6 hours 48 min ago
  • State pension means testing will be necessary, says report
  • LA Has a Pension Contribution Crisis, Continued ‘Managerial Ignorance’ Won’t Fix It
  • Talks over boosting Illinois Medicaid payments fail
  • $70,000 a day in interest — the cost of another short-term CPS budget solution
  • California lawmakers advance pension borrowing plan
  • China’s Pension Gap Is Growing as Aging Becomes Economic Risk
  • BOJ Keeps Snapping Up Bonds as Foreigners Grab T-Bills
  • Europe's Banking Union Fails Its Latest Test
  • Sure looks like a bubble forming on Wall Street

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Categories: Economics

Building the Networked City From the Ground Up With Citizens

Shareable Magazine - June 27, 2017 - 17:18

How can technology lead to more participation in democratic processes? Who should own and control city data? Can cities embrace a model that socializes data and encourages new forms of cooperativism and democratic innovation? In the run-up to the OuiShare Fest Paris, Albert Cañigueral interviewed Francesca Bria, the chief innovation officer of Barcelona.

Categories: Economics

Pre-ALERT: Trump Risks War With Russia

Chris Martenson - June 27, 2017 - 15:44

Trump has now backed his administration into a corner.  If there’s another suspected poison gas attack in Syria, he’s promised to escalate the situation by beginning bombings.

It appears that what I feared might happen under a Clinton presidency (and I still think probably would have, anyways) is now happening under the Trump administration.

Let me be perfectly clear: bombing Syria risks a direct confrontation with Russia.  If that happens, all bets are off. Anything could happen next, up to and including a nuclear exchange. 

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Categories: Economics

8 Lessons from the Second Annual International Lending Library Symposium

Shareable Magazine - June 27, 2017 - 13:17

Imagine a world where you have low-cost access to common, infrequently used products needed for business or pleasure — tools, toys, musical instruments, camping gear… the list is infinite. Imagine an economy that prioritizes sharing high-quality durable goods, wasting less, and encouraging cooperation. Imagine a close-knit community co-creating a sustainable future. That's the world that the pioneers at the Second Annual International Lending Library Symposium are creating.

Categories: Economics

Daily Digest 6/27 - CA To List Herbicide As Cancer-Causing; Enter Google, Exit Bitcoin?

Chris Martenson - June 27, 2017 - 07:13
  • Blockchain Analysis: Enter Google, Exit Bitcoin?
  • New Cyberattack Spreads Across Europe, Hits Rosneft, Maersk
  • 'I don’t understand why people have to struggle': views on healthcare in Trump country
  • Economic Scene: When Cutting Access to Health Care, There’s a Price to Pay
  • Pizza Or Privacy?
  • Want a $1 Million Paycheck? Skip College and Go Work in a Lumberyard
  • Middle East At Point Of No Return As Saudi-Qatar Rift Deepens
  • California to list herbicide as cancer-causing; Monsanto vows fight

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Categories: Economics

Your Feedback Needed!

Chris Martenson - June 26, 2017 - 16:55

After the successful debut of our new webinar platform earlier this month with our The End Of Money webinar, we are busily planning our future production schedule.

But we very much want the topic selection for future webinars to be custom-tailored to the interests of the audience. 

Please take a moment to share your feedback in this short survey. It will literally take you 1 minute or less to fill out.

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Categories: Economics

Podcast: How Loomio Fosters Collaboration and Participatory Practices

Shareable Magazine - June 26, 2017 - 14:04

Playing for Team Human today, master of human connection and consensus, Loomio co-founder Richard Bartlett.

Categories: Economics

Meet Chris Rankin, Shareable's New Development Manager

Shareable Magazine - June 26, 2017 - 13:37

We're delighted to announce that Chris Rankin has joined Shareable as a development manager. Rankin will be focusing on the financial growth of the organization, in collaboration with our staff and stakeholders. We're grateful to have him on the team. Please read the note below written by Rankin, to learn about his past work and path to Shareable:

Categories: Economics

Daily Digest 6/26 - What Went Wrong In UK Election, Is An Oil Comeback On The Cards?

Chris Martenson - June 26, 2017 - 04:40
  • British General Election: What Went Wrong?
  • Does US have right to data on overseas servers? We’re about to find out
  • Trump wants 'heart' as Republicans seek to deliver Senate healthcare bill
  • Arab Neighbors Demand Qatar Shutter Al-Jazeera and Cut Ties With Iran to End Diplomatic Row 
  • Regulators move to pull the plug on Mississippi coal plant
  • Expert Commentary: Is An Oil Comeback On The Cards?
  • Europe Doesn’t Need American Climate Scientists. It Needs American Climate Data

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Categories: Economics

Joseph Tainter: The Collapse Of Complex Societies

Chris Martenson - June 25, 2017 - 20:20

By popular demand, we welcome Joseph Tainter, USU professor and author of The Collapse Of Complex Societies (free book download here).

Dr. Tainter sees many of the same unsustainable risks the audience focuses on -- an overleveraged economy, declining net energy per capita, and depleting key resources. 

He argues that the sustainability or collapse of a society follows from the success or failure of its problem-solving institutions. His work shows that societies collapse when their investments in social complexity and their energy subsidies reach a point of diminishing marginal returns. That is what we are going to be talking about today, especially in regards to where our culture is today, the risks it faces, and whether or not we might already be past the tipping point towards collapse but just don’t know it yet.

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Categories: Economics

Daily Digest 6/24 - The Coming Bloodbath In Retail, Why Grenfell Tower Burned

Chris Martenson - June 24, 2017 - 07:04
  • GOP Push for 20-Year Tax Cut Grows as Ryan Seeks Permanent Fix
  • Analyzing Ether: A Bitcoin Investor's Skeptical Take
  • All Roads Lead to the Bubble-City Danger Zone
  • A Street Fight Among Grocers to Deliver Your Milk, Eggs, Bananas
  • We're Going To See A Bloodbath In Retail
  • Why Grenfell Tower Burned: Regulators Put Cost Before Safety
  • Driverless cars: Kangaroos throwing off animal detection software
  • What’s Causing The Massive Increase In Earthquakes In Middle America? It’s Not Fracking

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Categories: Economics

The war against cash continues apace

Beyond Money - June 24, 2017 - 04:36

Thanks to Michael Nevradakis for his excellent article, How Greece Became A Guinea Pig For A Cashless And Controlled Society, that recently appeared in Mint Press News.

The world has long been heading toward a neo-feudal world order headed by a global elite that uses its control of money, banking and finance to fleece and disempower the masses. Georgetown Professor and Bill Clinton’s mentor Carroll Quigley, told us 50 years ago that:
“The powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent private meetings and conferences. The apex of the system was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world’s central banks which were themselves private corporations. Each central bank . . . sought to dominate its government by its ability to control Treasury loans, to manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the country, and to influence cooperative politicians by subsequent economic rewards in the business world.”
––Prof. Carroll Quigley, Georgetown historian, mentor of former President Clinton, and author of Tragedy & Hope: A History of the World in Our Time, 1966, p. 324.

To anyone who cares to look, it is clear to see how that precise agenda has been playing out over the past several decades, and what the end state will be. The war against cash is a logical next step in achieving the plan that Quigley outlined. I strongly urge the reader to study Nevradakis’ entire article here.

Categories: Blogs

The Value Drivers Of Cryptocurrency

Chris Martenson - June 23, 2017 - 18:27
Executive Summary
  • The critical value of scarcity
  • Understanding the utility of the blockchain
  • Will (can?) governments ban cryptocurrencies?
  • A coming geometric explosion in the price of cryptocurrency?

If you have not yet read Part 1: Understanding The Cryptocurrency Boom available free to all readers, please click here to read it first.

In Part 1, we surveyed the exciting but confusing speculative boom phase of cryptocurrencies. Here in Part 2, we will contextualize this mad swirl by running it through two filters: scarcity and utility.

What’s Scarce? Scarcity Creates Value

Regardless of one’s economic ideology or system, scarcity creates value and abundance destroys value.  When we say supply and demand, we’re really talking about scarcity and abundance and the rise or fall of demand for the commodity, good or service.

In classical economic theory, scarcity is met with substitution: ground beef too expensive due to relative scarcity? Buy ground turkey instead.

But this model has weaknesses.  There aren’t always substitutes, or the substitutes are more expensive or problematic than what is now scarce. 

As a general rule, profits flow to any scarcity of goods and services with high utility value.  We value what’s scarce and useful, and place little value on what’s abundant and of limited utility.

Currency has three basic functions: a store of value (it will retain its purchasing power over time), means of exchange (we can use it to trade goods and services, pay debts, etc.) and as an accounting mechanism to track assets, debts, income, expenses and exchanges/trades.

We assume all currency has this function, but only currency that is easily divisible and easily tradable enables easy accounting.  If a notched stick is a unit of currency, and one stick buys a pig, what do I use for purchases smaller than a pig?

In today’s world, a currency must be....

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Categories: Economics

Understanding The Cryptocurrency Boom

Chris Martenson - June 23, 2017 - 18:26

Today, there are hundreds of cryptocurrencies, and a speculative boom has pushed bitcoin from around $600 a year ago to $2600 and Ethereum, another leading cryptocurrency, from around $10 last year to $370.

Where are cryptocurrencies in the evolution from new technology to speculative boom to maturation? Judging by valuation leaps from $10 to $370, the technology is clearly in the speculative boom phase.

In trying to predict which forms of cryptocurrencies will dominate the mature marketplace of the future, we know that markets will sort the wheat from the chaff by a winnowing the entries down to those that solve real business problems (i.e. address scarcities) in ways that are cheap and robust and that cannot be solved by other technologies.

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Categories: Economics

Daily Digest 6/23 - Good News Friday: Tiny Kindnesses, How VT Cleaned Up Its Waters

Chris Martenson - June 23, 2017 - 08:13
  • Food, Energy, And The Evolution Of The Human Species
  • Bikers escort bullied 10-year-old boy to school
  • Mayor Kasim Reed Raises Minimum Wage to $15 per Hour for City Workers (Atlanta)
  • Out of High School, Into Real Life
  • Researchers optimize a powered exoskeleton to cut energy used in walking
  • Everything Changes: Tiny Kindnesses
  • Australian farmer's weed-destroying invention draws world interest
  • How Vermont tackled farm pollution and cleaned up its waters
  • Go Fly A Kite

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Categories: Economics

Democratizing capitalism

Beyond Money - June 23, 2017 - 02:16

Cutting Edge Capital’s Vice-President Brian Beckon provides a crash course on investing and community development, and describes how ordinary people can invest some of their savings in local profit-making ventures that conform to their values. The strategies being worked out by his firm are aimed at creating healthier, more resilient and self-reliant communities while enabling small investors to earn a share of the profits generated by businesses that they believe in and wish to support. Approaches like these are essential to building a more democratic and equitable economy. Listen here.

Categories: Blogs

Uber's Missteps Should be a Cautionary Tale to the Tech Industry

Shareable Magazine - June 22, 2017 - 15:20

Op-Ed: This week, news broke that Uber's investors demanded and got CEO Travis Kalanick's resignation. The company has been embroiled in controversy from the get-go, and Kalanick should have been let go much sooner.

Categories: Economics

Daily Digest 6/22 - Senate Unveils ACA Repeal Bill, Our Fear Of Nukes

Chris Martenson - June 22, 2017 - 08:22
  • Senate Leaders Unveil Bill to Repeal the Affordable Care Act
  • I moved my kids out of America. It was the best parenting decision I've ever made.
  • Fewer People Think Continued GDP Growth Necessary or Possible -- Survey Results Released
  • Amazon Just ‘Jumped the Shark’
  • Two-And-a-Half Minutes to Midnight: Our Fear of Nukes and How We Got Here
  • Tesla Deals A Blow To Competitors As Its Stock Price Soars
  • In Flint Water Crisis, Could Involuntary Manslaughter Charges Actually Lead to Prison Time?
  • Heat can kill and we’re turning up the thermostat

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Categories: Economics

Podcast: How Placemaker Helps Communities Support Local Businesses

Shareable Magazine - June 22, 2017 - 05:15

This week in Building Local Power, we're discussing independent businesses and the communities that support them. Host Christopher Mitchell and ILSR co-director and Community-Scaled Economies initiative director Stacy Mitchell interview Katrina Scotto di Carlo from Portland, Oregon.

Categories: Economics