RANK BAD SCIENCE: Uncontrollable Shanghai panics, wealth that won’t trickle down & consumers who can’t consume.

richcartoon

“At first I wasn’t gonna join, but how could anyone resist that name?”

From San Diego to Shanghai, measurable human behaviour is teaching anyone who’ll listen that you can’t base an economic system on skitty narcissists

The collapse of the Shanghai index in China was artificially halted this morning as Beijing’s automatic closedown system came into effect to stop a 7% slump. Commentators are fingering poor economic data for the near-tank, but I don’t buy that. I think three other factors are at work.

The first is that traders have been trade-starved and had time to absorb just how bad things are economically and geopolitically; the second is the Saudi Arabia vs Iran relations meltdown which, if it gets any hotter, does threaten to affect energy supplies. And yes, I know that in a global slump when nobody wants oil anyway that doesn’t make sense, but my view for decades has been that bourses very rarely make sense. Exchanges don’t like instability, and the Middle East now is starting to look like underwater rugby without the ball. The Eurostoxx, Dax and FTSE are all well off, and I’d say its that situation among Muslim sects and energy gangsters that lies behind it.

But looking only at China, I’d say that the third (for me, anthropological) factor is that this new circuit breaker – including a trading suspension clause – only came in this morning: I suspect a lot of traders decided to get out of positions before it was too late. In other words – like most State interventions – it was self-defeating…designed to patch a crack in the dam, it evoked a major attack from 617 Squadron.

°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°

The Chinese are still novices at this game, but I’ve been saying for years now that neoliberalism in general and an overdependence on bourse-raised funds for business are about the best way dreamed up thus far to destroy genuinely entrepreneurial capitalism forever. Having said that, a new study has just emerged adding grist to the commonsense arguments against neolib growth mania and its privileged megamillionaires.

Far from being put out by some obscure Hard Left University in Venezuela, the study is a major feature in the current issue of Time Magazine. Written up with engaging prose by Maia Szalavitz  (a neuroscience journalist), it adds greatly to the arsenal trying in vain to bomb the nonsense put out by the Greedies.

When Scott Fitzgerald told Hemingway and others that “the rich are different”, Irish author Mary Colum responded by saying “Yes they are, they’ve got more money”. But in the ninety years since then, lots of us have wondered whether they got rich because they’re different….or they got rich and then became different”.

Ms Szalavitz tackles the question head on in the best way – by bringing to light cleverly designed fieldwork to monitor the attitudes and behavioural patterns of the rich. This work and that of others is particularly germain to the myth of ‘trickle-down wealth’, in that recent studies suggest wealthier people are more likely to cut people up in traffic, and behave unethically in simulated business and charity scenarios.

Further, last year, statistics on charitable giving revealed that the poor donate a far higher percentage of their meagre incomes to charity than the rich do. Far from giving them a sense of duty to give back and help, the new study suggests, the rich feel they deserve the level of privilege they enjoy. In fact, five separate experiments led researchers to record much higher levels of both narcissism and entitlement among those of a higher income and social class.

I turns out not to be clinical narcissism disorder (from which I’m sure Julian Assange suffers) because this gets in the way of success, given such people positively repel cooperation rather than attracting it. But it does suggest a kind of overweening confidence which becomes more insufferable still once they’re rich….and once their offspring have in turn chosen to decide they must be special too. It is pretty clear I think that Cameron, Osborne, Hunt, Hannan and Fallon all display this outcome to a tee. And so too, of course, do Tony Blair and Harriet Harman.

Ultimately, it all comes back to my Page One pet-hate: privilege. The attitude and behaviour it engenders I would describe as “Well, I’m here so I must be good….and people treat me as somehow special, so obviously I am”. This can apply equally to the Lord Snooties of this world as it does to the Dianne Abbotts. Wealth, rank, special treatment, private education and the ability to jump every queue while evading any law merely solidify the delusion. See also Rupert Murdoch, Rebekah Brooks, Piers Morgan, and Boris Johnson.

The good news is that, when forced by the piercing of their bubble to listen to those with other lives, developing narcissists do very rapidly begin to behave rather more sensibly: Szalavitz concludes:

‘Psychologists emphasize, however, that being able to see the world from other people’s perspectives — empathy — is critical to fighting narcissism…..The wealthier certain segments of society become, then the more vulnerable communities may be to selfish tendencies — and the less charity the least among us can expect’.

In other words, Friedmanism, Reaganism, Thatcherism and Camerlot’s Big Society are complete and utter bunk. But – and it’s a very big but indeed, not say a pain in the butt – this change in their behaviour from uncaring materialist self-styled Superman isn’t going to “just happen”. Only the likes of Peter Jukes hammering away at Newscorp, Jan Cunliffe fighting to bury the law of Joint Enterprise, Nicholas Wilson refusing to drown the HSBC’s bottomless ocean of lies, and WASPI’s refusal to accept that they should pay for the elite’s broken promises will make a difference.

Doing nothing will still be the default position for most citizens. If that continues, it will be too late to do something….because by then, the trail of violence will be globally viral: and the real extremists will take charge.

There is no such thing as NVE – non-violent extremism. But there desperately needs to be a lot more NVRR – non-violent radical realism.

Joint digital action and the abandonment of ideological tribalism is absolutely central to achieving this: Socialists and crypto-Marxists still stuck in ‘One More Heave’ mode need to get real, do their psephological sums, and join others of decently socialised bent.

Only then can we make life peacefully impossible for those who act as paymasters to the Greedies….and bring down a Government still supported by only a quarter of those entitled to vote.

The Consumers who can’t consume: How neoliberalism destroys its own food supply

 

32 thoughts on “RANK BAD SCIENCE: Uncontrollable Shanghai panics, wealth that won’t trickle down & consumers who can’t consume.

  1. I think that there’s a lot more to the Middle East thing, the Saudi’s don’t want the price of oil to rocket, that would put the US shale industry back on the map. All their hard work undone. No, there’s clearly an ulterior motive we are not yet privy to.
    I have to say I am surprised that they (all the Middle East) haven’t woken up to the fact that they all only have one common enemy, the US. Gaddafi tried hard to tell them, in fact when he did in a speech to the Arab League of Nations some while back, Assad could be clearly seen laughing at him. Bet he’s not laughing now.

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  2. Oil and gas exporting countries, have one common enemy in the US petrodollar. If you do not play by Washingtons rulebook, regime change and bombing to oblivion is on the menu, as in Iraq and Libya.
    Russia, China and Iran have opted out of this extortion Mafia-like racket and are in the cross-hairs for their impertinence.
    The oversupply of oil from Saudi is supposed to be a tactic to degrade the US shale oil industry. Some speculate that this is a strategy also to undermine the Russian economy, as was used and successful against the Soviet Union in the late ’80’s.
    The present price of a barrel of oil is circa $38. Shale oil break-even is about $70. Saudi desert oil well-head costs are less than $2/barrel. so their is a long way down.
    The only restraint on Saudi pricing is the demands of their budget ,which is under strain at present,
    Murphys Law of unforeseen consequences is also in play. With a low oil price there is less Petrodollars to prop up the US deficit, which will accelerate the demise of the US dollar as Reserve currency and create funding problems for their Military machine. A snowball of unforeseen reactions is in play.

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  3. John Re the rich and charity: Are there any figures around to show, that these tax deductable wheezes’ are in fact paid by the peasants down the line : Why should I not declair myself totaly tax deuctable and pass it onto whom-so ever I choose, as salary?

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  4. Talking of charity…It’s an utter disgrace that people like Jasmine Whitbread take £4,500.00 a week in wages from generous donations meant for the needy.
    She’s the CEO of ‘Save The Children’…..
    Obviously doesn’t keep her awake at night worrying about the children eh?

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  5. We could have the meltdown on one or both of Turkey and Saudi this year. Of course, there will be massive consequences mostly bad, but at least some people will get a deserved comeuppance.

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  6. @ kfc – Nor the CEOs of various NHS bodies, whose annual salary increases amount to a nurse’s entire annual salary, which simultaneously results in a worse service to the ‘consumer’ and more disgruntlement in the service itself.

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  7. The over production of oil is all about expected serious disruption to production in the near future,the Iranian deal was just buying time! if the middle east goes to war the billions of barrels of stock oil drums values will shoot up! & to have Saudi importing oil because it can’t produce it’s own would mean economic bankruptcy,also much of this oil is apparently being stored outside the region for protection from attack & contamination ,War is coming!

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  8. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/oilprices/12081550/Saudi-showdown-with-Iran-nears-danger-point-for-world-oil-markets.html
    Like him or not this article gives some important and valuable background to a rivalry that reeks of unfinished business and may easily end in a fight to the death. Above this level, there is yet another struggle going on with brains and egos far bigger than you or I may dare to speculate on in public. We do appear to be inching forward to the end game.

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  9. AEP applies an attractive varnish to recent history and provides some relatively obvious analysis in his article. Being a varnish of the gloss variety, the gleam can be quite distracting, and the underlying political message easily overlooked.

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  10. Hows the Teef going?

    Hows the computas going?

    Hows your mobiles going?

    Hows your plumbing going?

    Hows your heating going?

    Hows your Carbon Monoxide going?

    In fact, just how is your life in general going, you absolute Knob End of a totally incapable person, who is quite unable to chew gum and fart at the same time?

    And *THEN* you try to tell us that ‘important peoples’ send to you, ‘THE SLOG’, important information so that, ‘THE SLOG’, may relay it to the rest of the world.

    FFS! And also Bwahahahahaha! Who on Earth would send you a single solitary thing, except maybe just a piece of tinfoil! You are a conspiracy l00natic, Herr Ward, and your very silly followers prove it.

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  11. Hows the Teef going?

    Hows the computas going?

    Hows your mobiles going?

    Hows your plumbing going?

    Hows your heating going?

    Hows your Carbon Monoxide going?

    In fact, just how is your life in general going, you absolute Knob End of a totally incapable person, who is quite unable to chew gum and fart at the same time?

    And *THEN* you try to tell us that ‘important peoples’ send to you, ‘THE SLOG’, important information so that, ‘THE SLOG’, may relay it to the rest of the world.

    FFS! And also Bwahahahahaha! Who on Earth would send you a single solitary thing, except maybe just a piece of tinfoil! You are a conspiracy l00natic, Herr Ward, and your very silly followers prove it.

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  12. Interesting there is such a diverse mix of ideas ,people with apposite and opposite views , extremists and then of course nut jobs

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  13. holhy, Is that in reference & a reply to:-

    “Joint digital action and the abandonment of ideological tribalism is absolutely central to achieving this:…”?

    The bile might be better saved for those who are shafting “ALL” of us, rather than for views from a slightly different perspective when they both point in the same direction.

    My none partisan, honest & personal observation.

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  14. Disrespect is more evident with wealthier people and no doubt getting and keeping the apparent wealth has something to do with it…

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  15. This is timely as today the british government (tory boys inc) set about murdering somemore of the ordinary/ poor/ council house residents/disabled people of our (?) nation. Debate in parliament (sic) about selling off more council properties and placing time limits on occupancy amidst a housing crisis across the country – nobody cares though and people will die – what a crappy nation the uk is.

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  16. @Holhy

    Why is knob end capitilized? I’m intrigued…

    From my own experience, and anecdotally from friends, the absurdly wealthy are different, especially if they have been raised with money. In general, such individuals have a sort of malevalent Aspergers in that they view other human beings as objects put on Earth for their amusement. When everything in your life is run for your benefit, you end up concluding that this is the natural order and that you must be different from the lesser beings that serve you. Chris Hedges has stated similar views with far more eloquence.

    https://www.truthdig.com/avbooth/item/chris_hedges_on_the_pathology_of_the_rich_20131206?ln

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  17. holhy, you’re too daft to understand that’s what makes a good blog. A bit of light relief in between the serious posts. I’m here for the “At the End of the Day” updates as much as the economics.

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  18. Funny how trolls are anonymous, have multiple IP addresses, break all the rules….and are so easy to remove. :-))

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  19. JW I’m a little bemused by the two vitriolic posts, and find them rather juvenile, and somehow faintly amusing.

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  20. Canexpat, thanks for the link. Concurs with my tentative observations too. There is humanity their, but very well covered. Once worked for a Lord, on one occasion he got all unreserved unaloof & very personnel, threatened to punch my lights out. The next day the Express published a story about his Lady & Patrick Lichfield.

    Defiantly enough time for (inter) breeding to add to nurture if you consider what nature produced for the base of the family tree too. IMHO.

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  21. You completely fail to understand the nature of how people operate.

    The truth is this: first they crush all rivals, then they tell them all that they are going to ‘do charade’.

    So the test for being allowed to ‘do charidee’ is being a brutal, avaricious thug.

    Those without get the charity alright. But they get it from people whose primary driver is destroying other people.

    So they have to create an aura of decency to cover up what they did to people who were actually more than capable of being independent but simply weren’t brutal, unempathic narcissists.

    People like you may be susceptible to this sort of thing. I worked with working-class made good Directors. They were all unbelievably self-serving, narcissists. But at the same time they claimed how good they were as people. Despite telling you that your life, your career, was in their hands and they would destroy you unless you did exactly what they told you to do. Planned your career for you. I don’t have to tell you that I didn’t do a degree at Cambridge, a PhD and an MBA (paid for out of money I earned over years of hard graft) to have a narcissistic queen-bee working class only child with an attitude problem towards men due to her father having been an alcoholic.

    The problem the ambitious working class have is that they measure their value by money. They don’t measure it by skills. They measure it by how much they can steal from other people and present it as their own.

    The whole unbelievable lie of ‘working class ambitious people’ are good people is the sickest farce I have ever come across in my life. I’ve not met one like that. Not one.

    But because you weren’t born rich you assume the children of the middle class have the attitudes of the super rich, just because they were sent to a third-rate private school.

    They don’t. They have a much greater compassion than any working class person made good. What they don’t have is dog-eat-dog ‘I’ll brazen it out no matter what as long as I end up with piles and piles of money’. Why? Because their parents were too infantilising to let them work aged 16, work aged 17. So they went on the milk round aged 20 or 21 completely ignorant of what the adult world was about. They had no sense of entitlement, only a desire to control their own destiny.

    You Mr Ward want to ask yourself what’s so amazingly value add about advertising. It’s deception pure and simple. Just like the economics you decry. The aim is to get people to buy things they don’t really need, more of things that they do need than they actually need.

    You have an attitude problem about Manchester Utd. Munich was no worse than Heysel, it was just the players not the fans that died. It was no worse than the Bradford Fire. It was no worse than the Ibrox disaster in 1971. But you and your kind think that 1958 means Man Utd have a God-given right to deference. Well: you don’t. And thankfully those on the other side of Manchester are so, so rich that they will never have that attitude, ever. No-one’s ever deferred to Bradford as a result of the fire. No-one deferred to Juventus after Heysel. Celtic kept on winning championships until 1976 after Ibrox. But all this cult about Munich is emotional blackmail demanding that Man Utd be treated as some kind of Deity. Anyone who comes from any other part of the country simply won’t accept that.

    You have an attitude problem about anyone from a more promising start in life being as good, if not better than you. You have a need to denigrate anyone who started richer than you and ended up poorer. That’s a true character flaw. Something you’re too afraid to examine. Ask yourself if their parents were as supportive – lots aren’t. Ask if you could have succeeded with a vain narcissistic father who thought the whole family was about him. Ask what’s so moral about a grammar school but immoral about a Direct Grant school: your grammar school was subsidised by the rich but if they pay for their own kids that’s evil. Do you realise how unbelievably insane that sounds?? Grammar Schools are people like you benefitting from the largesse of others’ taxation. How you can have the crass arrogance to tell the people who paid those taxes what they can and cannot do is beyond belief.

    Let me tell you this. It doesn’t matter how good you are in the classroom (and I was damn good) if lower middle class boys and working class boys see you as the son of the Head of Girls at the school and want to take that out on you. If you weren’t born a prop forward you can do nothing about it. Nothing. You wouldn’t ever have had to deal with that, would you Ward? Because you were a working class oik…..

    It doesn’t matter how many times you tell your parents, your teachers etc that you really aren’t very good at something. They’ve got a fantasy and their status in the community depends on that fantasy, so your life is expendable to save their reputations. I bet you didn’t have that as a working class oik either, did you?

    It doesn’t matter if you could pass O Levels in Maths and languages at 13, if for four years from 13 – 16 you are small, scrawny and a soprano and boys a year older than you are hairy, bass, smoking and sexually active. They’ll make your life a misery because they can. I bet you didn’t have to suffer that either, did you, oik??

    Don’t you dare say that none of that matters. What that gives you is a daily diet of a father telling you that only the best is acceptable, a school and a father telling you that if their fantasies are stupid it’s your fault because you didn’t fit their fantasies and a bunch of class mates bullying you and taunting you on a daily basis.

    You think 10 O Levels, 4 A Levels, 2 S Levels, 140 at grade 8 violin and entrance to Cambridge at 17yrs 0 months is going to give you self-esteem in the presence of women after all that went on??

    If you do, then you shouldn’t have got into grammar school, because you are as thick as a post.

    Life is a lot more complicated than you being working class and going to grammar school, Mr Ward.

    It’s just that you are too puffed up full of ‘didn’t I make so much of my life’ to realise that……

    If you were as bright as you tell everyone you are, you’d know that already…….

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  22. Gosh someone needs to up their Prozac, I wonder….could it be me?
    No, it can’t be, because I’m totally normal and not at all strange as my last thread proves and anyway recently I have been learning to fly and trust me, some dentists are really very nice ahahahaahhahahahahahahahahaaaa

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  23. It does make one wonder, does it not, what goes on in the mind of someone who takes the time to write this frothing bile. Someone who’s been reading The
    Slog as if it might be the Karan for years, but hates it and me so venomously.
    These people are out there folks, and they have the vote. Be very afraid.

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  24. “You completely fail to understand the nature of how people operate.”

    I’m afraid you think the rest of us operate just like you.

    I don’t, & apparently I’m not the only one. Time for a rethink maybe?

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  26. Pingback: Brexit means Brexit? Not if the Eunatoed States of America has anything to do with it. | Doomstead Diner

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