Author Archives: MN Gordon

     

 

 

Labors with No Fruits

It’s been a long row to hoe for most workers during the first 17 years of the new millennium.  The soil’s been hard and rocky.  The rewards for one’s toils have been bleak.

 

Ma and Pa farm worker lean against one of their recent productions to mug for the  daguerreotypist. Their happiness at a job well done is marred by misgivings about their remuneration in real terms.

Photo credit: Maple Valley Historical Society

 

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When Mount Vesuvius Blew

 

“Injustice, swift, erect, and unconfin’d,
Sweeps the wide earth, and tramples o’er mankind”

– Homer, The Iliad

 

Everything was just the way it was supposed to be in Pompeii on August 24, 79 A.D.  The gods had bestowed wealth and abundance upon the inhabitants of this Roman trading town.  Things were near perfect.

 

Frescoes in the so-called “Villa of the Mysteries” in Pompeii, presumed to depict scenes from a Bacchus cult (Bacchus is the Roman version of the Greek god Dionysus, essentially a party god, responsible for alcoholic supplies, fertility and the arts). He was thought to bring divine joy and ecstasy, but also blind rage (reflective of the dual nature of what happens when people get high on wine). Bacchus and his followers could not be fettered. The spread of Bacchus worship could be seen as a subtle sign of the increase in hedonism and debauchery that often becomes evident in high civilizations as they reach their zenith of power and prosperity. That was certainly true of Rome at the time these frescoes were created. Although the empire would eventually become even larger in terms of territory, it reached its cultural high point around the time Caesar and Augustus did away with its Republican form of government.

 

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Bernanke Redux

Somehow, former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke found time from his busy hedge fund advisory duties last week to tell his ex-employer how to do its job.  Namely, he recommended to his former cohorts at the Fed how much they should reduce the Fed’s balance sheet by.  In other words, he told them how to go about cleaning up his mess.

 

Praise the Lord! The Hero is back to tell us what to do! Why, oh why have you ever left, oh greatest central planner of all time. We are not worthy.

 

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Licking the Log

American workers, as a whole, are facing a disagreeable disorder.  Their debt burdens are increasing.  Their incomes are stagnating.

 

There are many reasons why.  In truth, it would take several large volumes to chronicle all of them.  But when you get down to the ‘lick log’ of it all, the disorder stems from decades of technocratic intervention that have stripped away any semblance of a free functioning, self-correcting economy.

 

Happy workers from the distant past…

 

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Seeing the Light

It has been said that “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”  No one quite knows who first uttered this remark; it has been attributed to Albert Einstein, Mark Twain, Benjamin Franklin, and has even been said to be an Ancient Chinese Proverb.  What is known is that this cliché has been repeated over and over again so often that its mere mention substantiates its own definition.

 

Several of the ladies and gentlemen above wanted to let us know that they’re merely eccentric,  and if they want to do things all over again and again and again, we should let them…

 

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The Raw Deal

We stepped out on our front stoop Wednesday morning and paused to take it all in.  The sky was at its darkest hour just before dawn.  The air was crisp.  There was a soft coastal fog.  The faint light of several stars that likely burned out millennia ago danced just above the glow of the street lights.

 

And this is what they saw watching the sky from Mt. Wilson that night…

 

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Behind the Curve

Economic nonsense comes a dime a dozen.  For example, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen “think(s) we have a healthy economy now.”  She even told the University of Michigan’s Ford School of Public Policy so earlier this week.  Does she know what she’s talking about?

 

Somehow, this cartoon never gets old…

 

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Approaching a Tipping Point

Taking the path of least resistance doesn’t always lead to places worth going.  In fact, it often leads to places that are better to avoid.  Repeatedly skipping work to sleep in and living off credit cards will eventually lead to the poorhouse.

 

Sometimes the path of least resistance turns out to be problematic

 

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Identified Flying Objects

The future is here and it’s not all it was cracked up to be.  For example, one of the great disappointments of the 21st century, thus far, is the lack of flying cars.  Wasn’t this supposed to be the signature achievement of Tomorrowland?

 

The Terrafugia flying car – this one was actually said to be in development a little while ago with the maiden flight of the prototype scheduled for 2018. Is the Age of the Jetsons finally beginning? One thing is clear: once this car becomes widely available, we can finally go about abolishing the State. The question “Who will build the roads?” will once and for all be laid to rest!

Image credit: Terrafugia

 

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Style Over Substance

“May you live in interesting times,” says the ancient Chinese curse.  No doubt about it, we live in interesting times.  Hardly a day goes by that we’re not aghast and astounded by a series of grotesque caricatures of the world as at devolves towards vulgarity. Just this week, for instance, U.S. Representative Maxine Waters tweeted, “Get ready for impeachment.”

 

Well, Maxine Waters is obviously right – impeaching the president is an urgent task of the utmost importance. As everybody knows, he is best friends with Vladimir Putin, the shirtless barbarian who rules the Evil Russian Empire (they were seen drinking kompromat together in Moscow, a vile Russian liquor that reportedly tastes a bit like urine. Senator McCain has the details on that story). And as Maxine Waters has just disclosed, Putin’s armies are recently advancing into Korea! We cannot let this stand, or he’ll invade Kekistan next (note that he already controls Limpopo and Gabon). Who knows where it will end?

 

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Onward vs. Upward

Something both unwanted and unexpected has tormented western economies in the 21st century.  Gross domestic product (GDP) has moderated onward while government debt has spiked upward.  Orthodox economists continue to be flummoxed by what has transpired.

 

What happened to the miracle? The Keynesian wet dream of an unfettered fiat debt money system has been realized, and debt has been duly expanded at every opportunity.  Although the fat lady has so far only cleared her throat (if quite audibly, in 2008) and hasn’t really sung yet, it is already clear that calling this system careening toward a catastrophic failure.

 

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Greeted by Rooster

There’s an endearing quality to a steadfast rooster call at the crack of dawn when overheard from a warm country farmhouse.  There’s a reassuring charm that comes with the committed gallinaceous greeting of daybreak that’s particularly suited to a rural ambiance.  The allure of a morning cock-a-doodle-doo somehow falls flat in all other settings.

 

Good morning everyone! Before meteorological forecasts were available on TV and smart phones, people had to rely on the wisdom of rugged outdoorsmen to get their weather-related updates. In this context we would like to let you in on this valuable old piece of Mexican country lore: When from the compose pile you hear the rooster declaim, the weather will change – or it will stay the same”. OK, we actually made that up, but you cannot deny its elevated wisdom coefficient [PT].

Illustration via wakeup-world.com

 

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