the visible hand

it is the theory which decides what can be observed – einstein

Archive for November, 2008

Free Lakota Bank: gold and silver currencies only

Posted by ecoshift on November 26, 2008

An interesting response to our current crisis…

People of Lakota Launch Private Bank for Only Silver and Gold Currencies

Hill City, Lakota – November 24, 2008 – In a stunning development, the
Free & Independent People of Lakota announced today the introduction
of the world’s first non-reserve, non-fractional bank that accepts
only silver and gold currencies for deposit.

“Today is a great day for us, a day that we begin to exercise our
rights as a sovereign people with strength and pride,” comments Canupa
Gluha Mani, Tetuwan Council Judicial Member of the Cante Tenza “Strong
Heart” Warrior Society. Mani’s 2500 member warrior society has
contracted to provide private security services for the Free Lakota
Bank.

“We invite people of any creed, faith or heritage to unite in an
effort to reclaim control of wealth. It is our hope that other tribal
nations and American citizens recognize the importance of silver and
gold as currency and decide to mirror our system of honest trade.”
Mani, also known as Duane Martin Sr, is a member of the delegation
that declared Lakota independence on December 17th, 2007.

The launch of the Free Lakota Bank is also an incredible victory for
StrikeForce Technologies, the access control experts providing
depositor Out-of-Band Authentication. As the Free Lakota Bank does
not require a name, photo identification or social security number to
transact, StrikeForce’s technology met the challenge of limiting fraud
without requiring controversial biometric technology.

The People of Lakota invite depositors to establish accounts and
invest in the Free Lakota Bank’s General Investment Fund, the fund it
uses to develop profitable free-market enterprise inside Lakota
territory. Mani comments that the nation despises donations and
charity, and instead insists instead on “earning our wealth by
creating value for those that place their faith and trust in our
system.”

The Free Lakota Bank issues an American Open Currency Standard
Approved currency, making it readily accepted for trade by over 10,000
merchants and businesses across the continent.

For more information, visit the Free Lakota Bank website at
http://press.freelakotabank.com

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no more false choices

Posted by ecoshift on November 3, 2008

Here’s another interesting read from the NYT. Robert Rubin and Jared Bernstein look at ways that false dichotomies have hobbled our ability to act pragmatically to maintain a healthy economy. I know there is an election going on, but if you listen carefully you can hear a new rationale emerging to guide our economic policy making. Our slavish devotion to market fundamentalism as a rationale for public policy is moderating.  Functioning markets have always included elements of regulation and, of course, free market principals have been somewhat selectively applied to the real economy (agricultural subsidies come to mind).  Yet the recent crisis makes it clear: unfettered deregulated markets do not auto-magically create growth and well-being for the economy, it’s consumers or — most importantly — for it’s citizens.

In the wake of the recent and ongoing debacle in financial markets — and in response to the growing awareness that the impact on the real economy is just beginning — the effort to articulate a moderated rationale for economic policy is underway. The next 90 days is an important time to contribute to that conversation. Be prepared to justify your recommendations with pragmatism rather than ideology.  This is a test.


Op-Ed Contributors – No More Economic False Choices – NYTimes.com
No More Economic False Choices

By ROBERT E. RUBIN and JARED BERNSTEIN
Published: November 3, 2008

AS economists and policy advisers try to sort out where we are, how we got here and where we must go for both the short term and the longer term, we are surrounded by polarizing dichotomies: Fiscal recklessness versus fiscal rectitude; capital versus labor; free trade versus protectionism.

The next president, the prevailing wisdom goes, will have to choose between these polarities. But how real are these differences? Our view — and we come from pretty different analytical perspectives — is that in many important ways, they are false, and serve as more of a distraction than a map…

Fiscal rectitude versus stimulus and public investment…

Capital versus labor…

Free markets versus regulation and protection…

The objective ought to be to optimize the balance between increasing consumer protection and reducing systemic risk on the one hand, and preserving the benefits of a market-based system on the other….

False choices, grounded in ideology, have kept us from effectively addressing all these issues. The next president must do his utmost to avoid being drawn into these Potemkin battles. At this critical juncture, we face both the most significant economic upheaval since the Depression and the long-term challenge of successfully competing in the global economy. We have no choice but to move beyond such false dichotomies and toward a balanced pragmatism whose goal is broadly shared prosperity and increased economic security.

Robert E. Rubin, Treasury secretary from 1995 to 1999, is a director of Citigroup. Jared Bernstein is a senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute…

Read the full article – now is the time

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irrational self-interest…

Posted by ecoshift on November 2, 2008

Interesting article from Robert Shiller, the Yale economist responsible for the widely followed Case-Shiller housing price index, in today’s NYT. He brings up how psychological factors — desire to be perceived as part of a given consensus and concern for one’ s professional reputation — can lead experts to soft pedal their concerns about policy decisions. On the one hand, this is rational self-interest in action. On the other hand rational professional observations and conclusions were swept aside to allow irrational behavior in the market place to significantly impact market efficiency. After all, who wants to be known as Dr. Doom?

But there is a more fundamental question here. Economic theory is dependent on the assumption that people act rationally. That individuals allocate their economic resources according to an informed and rational assessment of how it effects their own interest. Yet, few of us will have to look outside our own extended families to find examples of economic resource allocation guided by a range of values that extend well beyond, or are irrelevant to, rational informed assessment of the potential for personal gain.

The current crisis offers an important opportunity to reassess the fundamentals of economic theory to account for the range of values that guide individual choices. Thanks to Mr Shiller for articulating his doubts even as he does so in a relatively “formal way that conforms with apparent assumptions held by the group.”


Economic View – Challenging the Crowd in Whispers, Not Shouts – NYTimes.com
Challenging the Crowd in Whispers, Not Shouts
By ROBERT J. SHILLER
Published: November 1, 2008

ALAN GREENSPAN, the former Federal Reserve chairman, acknowledged in a Congressional hearing last month that he had made an “error” in assuming that the markets would properly regulate themselves, and added that he had no idea a financial disaster was in the making. What’s more, he said the Fed’s own computer models and economic experts simply “did not forecast” the current financial crisis.

Mr. Greenspan’s comments may have left the impression that no one in the world could have predicted the crisis. Yet it is clear that well before home prices started falling in 2006, lots of people were worried about the housing boom and its potential for creating economic disaster. It’s just that the Fed did not take them very seriously.

For example, I clearly remember a taxi driver in Miami explaining to me years ago that the housing bubble there was getting crazy. With all the construction under way, which he pointed out as we drove along, he said that there would surely be a glut in the market and, eventually, a disaster.

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