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Comment count is 10
afp3683 - 2009-03-04

The whole lecture is great, but this chapter was the point were the picture of today's economy really started to make sense in regards to what has been happening under the surface the past couple of decades.

Manipulating statistics for political gain, yay.

baleen - 2009-03-04

I don't know... I'm always exceptionally suspicious of Malthusian economists. I have never heard of this guy, though his credentials are superficially "decent." He has an MBA from Duke and a PhD... In Toxicology, which makes him a "doctor," though not in economics (a little equivocal prefixing never hurt anybody, did it?).

Also, many of the Malthusian problems he addresses are actually being addressed, right now, by the current administration, such as peak oil, the decline of fish stocks, carbon levels in the atmosphere, etc. Many of the environmental issues, on a daily basis, are being solved, though not nearly fast enough, the RATE at which these catastrophes are occurring IS ACTUALLY slowing over time.

Also, how many people looking at this are going to dissect every thing he's saying? The Boskin Commission Report did as much to save us money as it did to forgive our budget deficits, yet his scant covering of such a complex change is sort of irritating.

In short, a lot of the stuff he's talking about is in the process of changing, it's being addressed, as we speak.

" * From 1996 to 2006, the share of GDP accounted for by the imputation for owner-occupied housing increased from 6.0 percent to 6.2 percent.
* From 1996 to 2006, the share of employer contributions for private health and life insurance grew from 3.2 percent of GDP to 4.2 percent of GDP.
* From 1996 to 2006, the share of all imputations in GDP grew from 13.8 percent to 14.8 percent.
* In 2006, imputed financial services represented 1.7 percent of GDP, the same as in 1996.

Without imputations, the GDP story is incomplete and can be misleading. For example, from 1998 to 2006, personal consumption expenditures for medical-care services, which are largely funded by government or employer-provided health insurance, grew from 10.5 percent to 12.0 percent of GDP, while the share of people engaged in production in the private health care and social assistance industry (that is, full-time equivalent employment plus the number of self-employed) grew from 9.4 percent to 10.8 percent of total employment. If there had been no imputations or redirections showing the growth coming from government and employment-provided health insurance, the growth in GDP for health services would not have been correctly aligned with the growth in employment."

I would not take this guy as gospel, but it's interesting to explore the thing he's talking about, and I'm sure he appreciates it.

baleen - 2009-03-04

Actually, with some more examination, my attitude is now "fuck this guy."

allcaps - 2009-03-04

All the stars for baleen!

RockBolt - 2009-03-04

Yeah. So I think 2:30 in the afternoon is as good of time as any to go get trashed...

futurebot - 2009-03-04

It's too bad this guy always has to hitch legitimate points about American consumption with ridiculous complaining about the gold standard and peak oil.

godot - 2009-03-04

Actually, the whole series is remarkably light on any prescriptive measures. It simply describes the why marginal reserve banking requires exponential growth, how money's made, and what's up with energy production. So far, conventional oil production peaked in April of 2005. Liquid growth above that was natural gas condensate, so we're likely already on the downslope of Hubbert.

futurebot - 2009-03-05

He "simply describes" inflation when he shows us graphs; he "simply describes" our monetary system when he reports the date that we left the gold standard; but when he tries to relate these two events he is no longer simply reporting facts but proposing a controversial hypothesis.

godot - 2009-03-07

I'm sure we travel different net 'verses.

I'm a green who was persuaded by Campbell & Laherrère in 1998 that petroleum was a great investment; and circulate in numerous oil, gold and economics message boards. It is a commonplace that Nixon's action in August 1971 (cancelling international settlement in gold) was the moment at which unlimited deficit spending became possible, and commodity prices became unhinged. I've looked at the period, and the reasoning is sound.

As to this series, I think its great. I thought I was one of the few who saw a housing price/credit crisis, almost simultaneous with peak oil, happening around the end of this decade. I'm just glad someone else took 4 years to put a succinct lecture series about it together.

To futurebot: we're past peak oil. The peak of conventional oil production occurred in April 2005, and in the interim only natural gas condensates and incremental oil sands have saved our collective asses. As to the gold standard, people who have gold as insurance (I'm one of them) need only look at the history of price inflation from 3000 BC to 1971, and compare it to what followed, to confirm their beliefs. I don't know if it would scale in the modern era for national economies, but I also know there is a reason why the World Bank forbids it to member nations.

The Townleybomb - 2009-03-04


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