Monday, May 21, 2018

CGTN — The most downloaded IOS APP - why the obsession with Tik Tok videos?

...Douyin in China boasts of billions of hits each day. Its international edition has recently topped off Whatsapp, becoming the most downloaded IOS application on the market in the first quarter of 2018.…
Tik Tok videos are typically 15 seconds long, tuned to repurposed, hit music and featured special effects....
Zhi [Ying, senior Director with Tik Tok] said the app's popularity builds on what users, typically under 35, made and submitted themselves, as they've taken the format to be an essential way of expression.
Zhi told CGTN that short-video is the new way of expression and communication now, just as important as texts and photos….
Ecns
The most downloaded IOS APP - why the obsession with Tik Tok videos?
CGTN

Steve Keen — Some Preliminary Questions for MMT

I had an impromptu debate with Warren Mosler, the founder and still one of the leading figures of "Modern Monetary Theory" recently. We disagreed on the role of trade deficits, and this has led another MMT luminary, Bill Mitchell, to write two commentaries critiquing my position (see "Trade and external finance mysteries – Part 1" and "Trade and finance mysteries – Part 2".
This is my partial reply to Mitchell—there are more issues that I want to take up when I have time to do so....
Patreon
Some Preliminary Questions for MMT
Steve Keen | Professor and Head Of School Of Economics, History & Politics, Kingston University, London


Marx links — 21 May 2018

MR Online
Meeting Marx: Chinese youth dig Marxism’s appeal
Editors

Radical Political Economy
Das Kapital after 150 years – a lecture by Riccardo Bellofiore

Immanuel Wallerstein: The Contemporary Relevance of Marx
Posted by David Fields

Links — May 21, 2018

Econospeak
Jobs, Jobs, Jobs: GUARANTEED! -- May 20 update

Is the Job Guarantee a Ponzi Scheme?
Sandwichman

Occasional Links & Commentary
David F. Ruccio | Professor of Economics, University of Notre Dame

Oxfam Blogs — From Poverty to Power
Links I Liked
Duncan Green

WCEG — The Equitablog
Galbraithian economics: Countervailing power edition
Brad DeLong

Zero Hedge
Supreme Court Crushes Unions By Limiting Collective Action Bargaining
Tyler Durden

Caitlin Johnstone — Rogue Journalist
The Skripal Case Is Being Pushed Down The Memory Hole With Libya And Aleppo
Caitlin Johnstone

Zero Hedge
Scientists Revise Understanding Of Novichok After It Fails To Produce Expected Lethal Effects
Tyler Durden

Niskanen Center
Three More Reasons to be Cautious About a National Job Guarantee
Ed Dolan




 


Craig Murray on "Philip Cross" — Parts 1-3


Examination of a fake news disinformation campaign and psyop.

Craig Murray Blog
The Philip Cross Affair

The “Philip Cross” MSM Promotion Operation Part 3
Craig Murray, formerly British ambassador to Uzbekistan and Rector of the University of Dundee

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Zach Carter — Stephanie Kelton Has The Biggest Idea In Washington


Must-read. 

Its' a very positive article, but unfortunately, the job guarantee is not presented in terms of the basic issue — the choice between a buffer stock of employed or buffer stock of unemployed, and how the former is superior using efficiency and effectiveness as criteria.

The other key issue is how the JG is an integral aspect of policy formulation that promises to reconcile the trifecta of growth, employment and price stability, previous thought to be impossible without using one as a tool to target the others.

Adoption of policy based on MMT analysis should keep the economy operating a close to optimal output and employment along with moderate inflation, with the JG playing the dual role of providing a price anchor, on one hand, and on the other, mopping up residual unemployment after the application of function finance to fiscal policy based on stock-flow consistent macro modeling.

Huffington Post
Stephanie Kelton Has The Biggest Idea In Washington
Zach Carter

'Chinese Were Prepared, EU Companies Were Not’ for US' Iran Sanctions - Analyst — Sputnik interviews Tom McGregor

China’s state-owned energy giant CNPC is ready to replace French energy company Total’s stake in the Iranian South Pars gas project. In 2017, Total and CNPC signed a 20-year contract worth 4.8 billion dollars to develop Phase 11 of Iran’s South Pars field. Sputnik spoke with political analyst Tom McGregor about CNPC’s acquisition plan.

Sputnik: How serious is CNPC about acquiring Total’s stake in the South Pars gas project in your opinion? 
McGregor: Definitely if it’s available to them they will certainly look at the deal and the way the Chinese do business is that they don’t make an announcement unless they are going to do something. They are very secretive about this kind of stuff, so unless there is some weird bluff, there’s no reason for them to make an announcement unless they are very serious. Chances are they are already taking action and they have already moved forward on it and they are just waiting to sign the deal to see what Total does. The Total energy giant in France and you do have these sanctions and then Trump has promised on campaign trail that he was going to create problems for Iran, so there should be no surprise. The European companies should have been prepared for this, years ago and I don’t know why they are overreacting. They knew what was going to happen after Trump was elected. So I think what happened was that the Chinese were prepared already and the European companies were not. ...
Sputnik International — Opinion
'Chinese Were Prepared, EU Companies Were Not’ for US' Iran Sanctions - Analyst
Sputnik interviews Tom McGregor, a political analyst and Asia-Pacific commentator for China's national TV broadcaster CNTV

Also from Sputnik

As French Total Warns It Could Leave Iran, British Pergas Enters the Game

EU States, Russia, China to Discuss New Iran Deal, Leaving US Sidelined - Report

Caitlin Johnstone — Wikipedia Is An Establishment Psyop

As we discussed last time, the only real power in this world is the ability to control the dominant narrative about what’s going on. The only reason government works the way it works, money operates the way it operates, and authority rests where it rests is because everyone has agreed to pretend that that’s how things are. In actuality, government, money and authority are all man-made conceptual constructs and the collective can choose to change them whenever it wants. The only reason this hasn’t happened in our deeply dysfunctional society yet is because the plutocrats who rule us have been successful in controlling the narrative.
Whoever controls the narrative controls the world. This has always been the case....
Push is coming to shove.

Caitlin Johnstone — Rogue Journalist
Wikipedia Is An Establishment Psyop
Caitlin Johnstone

Brian Romanchuk — Principles Of Canadian Municipal Finance (And Why A Land Value Tax Is Inferior)


The fundamental question involves addressing economic rent. 

The first step is determine whether and to what degree economic rents are involved in changes in land valuation. 

Secondly, if so, how to deal with this is a manner that is socially, politically, financially, and economically feasible. 

Thirdly, how to optimize this, given the tradeoffs.
The funding of Canadian municipal governments is not normally thought of as interesting topic; even Canadian fixed income investors are not particularly excited about it. However, there are two side issues that are of general interest. The first question is: what happens to Canadian municipalities if the housing bubble pops? (As a spoiler, not very much.) The second question is the feasibility of a Land Value Tax (LVT) which is a concept that gets some people on the internet very excited. I will then outline why a LVT is inferior to the Canadian property tax system (which is not that different than the American system for that discussion)...
Bond Economics
Principles Of Canadian Municipal Finance (And Why A Land Value Tax Is Inferior)
Brian Romanchuk

Jonathon Pie - Wedding of the year

I'm fed up with being politically correct, here Jonathon Pie just comes straight out with it.  KV



Even in Australia, Pie can't avoid the "celebrations"


Saturday, May 19, 2018

Sandwichman — Jobs, Jobs, Jobs -- GUARANTEED!


Some useful history as background, but still no addressing the basic issue directly — buffer stock of employed or buffer stock of unemployed.

Absent a truly socialistic system, this is the key issue to address. The rest is detail.

Based on efficiency and effectiveness, a full employment economy is optimal. Redefinition of "full employment" to include millions of people out of work or not working full time when they desire a full time job is a lame excuse for a buffer stock of unemployed or underemployed.

Once it is admitted that idling works as a tool to target inflation based on NAIRU is bad idea, then the question becomes how to craft a bill to address this successfully

Actually, it was already addressed and passed in Humphrey-Hawkins, but that bill was ineffective.

The US needs an effective law to address chronic unemployment and underemployment.

Econospeak
Jobs, Jobs, Jobs -- GUARANTEED!
Sandwichman

Glenn Greenwald — The FBI Informant Who Monitored the Trump Campaign, Stefan Halper, Oversaw a CIA Spying Operation in the 1980 Presidential Election

An extremely strange episode that has engulfed official Washington over the last two weeks came to a truly bizarre conclusion on Friday night. And it revolves around a long-time, highly sketchy CIA operative, Stefan Halper.
Four decades ago, Halper was responsible for a long-forgotten spying scandal involving the 1980 election, in which the Reagan campaign – using CIA officials managed by Halper, reportedly under the direction of former CIA Director and then-Vice-Presidential candidate George H.W. Bush – got caught running a spying operation from inside the Carter administration. The plot involved CIA operatives passing classified information about Carter’s foreign policy to Reagan campaign officials in order to ensure the Reagan campaign knew of any foreign policy decisions that Carter was considering....
But now, as a result of some very odd choices by the nation’s largest media outlets, everyone knows the name of the FBI’s informant: Stefan Halper. And Halper’s history is quite troubling, particularly his central role in the scandal in the 1980 election. Equally troubling are the DOJ and FBI’s highly inflammatory and, at best, misleading claims that they made to try to prevent Halper’s identity from being reported.
To begin with, it’s obviously notable that the person the FBI used to monitor the Trump campaign is the same person who worked as a CIA operative running that 1980 Presidential election spying campaign.…
In 1980, the Washington Post published an article reporting on the extremely unusual and quite aggressive involvement of the CIA in the 1980 presidential campaign. “Simply put, no presidential campaign in recent memory — perhaps ever — has attracted as much support from the intelligence community as the campaign of former CIA director Bush,” the article said.…
So as it turns out, the informant used by the FBI in 2016 to gather information on the Trump campaign was not some previously unknown, top-secret asset whose exposure as an operative could jeopardize lives. Quite the contrary: his decades of work for the CIA – including his role in an obviously unethical if not criminal spying operation during the 1980 presidential campaign – is quite publicly known.…
Whatever else is true, the CIA operative and FBI informant used to gather information on the Trump campaign in the 2016 campaign has, for weeks, been falsely depicted as a sensitive intelligence asset rather than what he actually is: a long-time CIA operative with extensive links to the Bush family who was responsible for a dirty and likely illegal spying operation in the 1980 presidential election. For that reason, it’s easy to understand why many people in Washington were so desperate to conceal his identity, but that desperation had nothing to do with the lofty and noble concerns for national security they claimed were motivating them. 
Intel has been politicized for a long time. And as Greenwald observes, it is not illegal under US law.

The Intercept
The FBI Informant Who Monitored the Trump Campaign, Stefan Halper, Oversaw a CIA Spying Operation in the 1980 Presidential Election
Glenn Greenwald

Also at The Intercept

The Untold Story of Japan’s Secret Spy Agency
Ray Gallagher

See also

It's even worse than Greenwald reports. This is big, and you can bet that Donald Trump is going to magnify it bigly.

Zero Hedge
FBI Spy-Op Exposed, Trump Campaign Infiltrated By Longtime CIA And MI6 Asset
Tyler Durden

Alex Gorka — Brussels Rises in Revolt Against Washington: a Turning Point in the US-European Relationship


There you have it. But let's wait and see if actions back the words. So I would put a question mark at the end of the post title.

Strategic Culture Foundation
Brussels Rises in Revolt Against Washington: a Turning Point in the US-European Relationship
Alex Gorka

See also
  • The left-wing Five Star Movement and the far-right Lega released their plans for the next executive Friday morning.
  • The plan would potentially end more than two months of political instability in the third largest euro zone economy.
  • The agreement, revealed Friday, also called for an end to EU sanctions on Russia.
CNBC
Italy’s incoming government wants to lift Russia sanctions and rewrite EU rules
Silvia Amaro

Intel Today — CIA Director Mike Pompeo: “War on Terror as a Cosmic Divine Battle”


Another nut case.

The Bible according to Tim LaHaye

Intel Today
CIA Director Mike Pompeo: “War on Terror as a Cosmic Divine Battle”
L

More Marx, socialism, and ecology


MR Online
Marx and Metabolism: lost in translation?
Ian Angus | editor of Climate and Capitalism

MR Online
On the eve of Venezuela’s elections, the U.S. empire isn’t sitting idly by
Editorial

MR Online
Ten Marxist ideas that define the 21st century
Sergio Alejandro Gómez

Econospeak
The So-called Labour Fund
Sandwichman

Radical Political Economy
Capitalism and the Expropriation of Nature: The Strategic Discourse of Ecosocialism
John Bellamy Foster

Naked Capitalism
Frank Block | Research Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Davis

Friday, May 18, 2018

TASS — Russia to notify WTO of plans for retaliation against US for steel, aluminum duties

The United States has refused to hold consultations with Russia on the WTO platform over the introduction of restrictions on steel and aluminum import, saying such measures were not special protectionist ones, the Ministry of Economic Development told TASS on Friday. With this in mind Russia is going to notify the WTO of its intention to take retaliatory measures to limit the import of steel and aluminum.
"In response to Russia’s request for consultations the United States said that it did not regard its restrictions as special protectionist ones and was unprepared for consultations with Russia within the framework of WTO procedures on special protectionist measures. All other WTO members that had requested such consultations received the same reply," the ministry told TASS.
"In this connection we plan to notify the WTO Council on Trade in Goods of our intention to take such steps. Thirty days after such notification Russia will have the right to take retaliatory measures proportionate to the damage from US restrictions on the Russian export of steel and aluminum," the ministry said....
Following the rules.

Caitlin Johnstone — The Friendly Mask Of The Orwellian Oligarchy Is Slipping Off


Another good rant.

Caitlin Johnstone — Rogue Journalist
The Friendly Mask Of The Orwellian Oligarchy Is Slipping Off
Caitlin Johnstone

Bloomberg — Leading Democrats Are Backing One of the Most Radical Economic Plans in Years


About what one would expect from Bloomberg.

Bloomberg
Leading Democrats Are Backing One of the Most Radical Economic Plans in Years 
Katia Dmitrieva with assistance by Sahil Kapur, and Jordan Yadoo

Mike Whitney — Foreign Policy Insiders Try to Scuttle Trump-Kim Nukes Deal


Good points. The best part is in the final several paragraphs.

The Unz Review

Matthew Stewart — The 9.9 Percent Is the New American Aristocracy

The class divide is already toxic, and is fast becoming unbridgeable. You’re [readers of the Atlantic] probably part of the problem.
Well-written article. Long.

The term "aristocracy" implies feudalism, and America is in a neo-feudal era similar to the Gilded Age.

The Atlantic
The 9.9 Percent Is the New American Aristocracy
Matthew Stewart

The Vatican — Considerations for an Ethical Discernment Regarding Some Aspects of the Present Economic-Financial System


The latest in Catholic social teaching. 
Pope Leo XIII's 1891 encyclical letter Rerum novarum*, which advocated economic distributism while criticizing both socialism and capitalism (though not market economics per se). Its roots can be traced to the writings of Catholic thinkers such as Thomas Aquinas and Augustine of Hippo, and is also derived from concepts present in the Bible and the cultures of the ancient Near East.— Wikipedia 
While not well-known in economic circles, Catholic social teaching is a "third way" between capitalism and socialism that attempts to integrate freedom with reason in a way that recognizes the value of the individuals along with their social embeddedness, viewing economic liberalism as exaggerating the former and the socialism as overvaluing the collective.

This is the latest iteration.

The Vatican
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
Dicastery For Promoting Integral Human Development
Oeconomicae et pecuniariae quaestiones

* "Rerum novarum" is Latin, phrase meaning "new things." Idiomatically, it signifies "revolution."

Pepe Escobar — The other art of the deal, Tehran-style

The art of the deal, when practiced for 2,500 years, does lead to the palace of wisdom. I had hardly set foot in Tehran when a diplomat broke the news: “Trump? We’re not worried. He’s a bazaari (merchant trader)” – implying a political compromise will eventually be reached.
Asia Times
The other art of the deal, Tehran-style
Pepe Escobar

Reuters — U.S. targets four individuals, three companies in Venezuela sanctions move — Reuters U.S. targets four individuals, three companies in Venezuela sanctions move


Ratcheting up economic warfare.
The U.S. Treasury imposed sanctions on four Venezuelans and three Florida-based companies under a program meant to pressure Caracas over what the United States sees as its heavy-handed tactics to suppress political opposition....
Reuters
U.S. targets four individuals, three companies in Venezuela sanctions move

also

U.S. sanctions No. 2 official in Venezuela's Socialist party

Nicole Gaudiano — Sen. Bernie Sanders says this one issue keeps progressive policies from advancing

Sen. Bernie Sanders, speaking at a policy forum here Tuesday, identified a singular roadblock to achieving success on a host of progressive policies — and it wasn’t the Trump administration.
It’s American oligarchy.
Bingo!

Jason Smith — A list of macro meta-narratives

In my macro critique, I mentioned "meta-narratives" — what did I mean by that? Noah Smith has a nice concise description of one of them today in Bloomberg that helps illustrate what I mean: the wage-price spiral. The narrative of the 1960s and 70s was that the government fiscal and monetary policy started pushing unemployment below the "Non-Accelerating Inflation Rate of Unemployment" (NAIRU), causing inflation to explode. The meta-narrative is the wage-price spiral: unemployment that is "too low" causes wages to rise (because of scarce labor), which causes prices to rise (because of scarce goods for all the employed people to buy). In a sense, the meta-narrative is the mechanism behind specific stories (narratives). But given that these stories are often just-so stories, the "mechanism" behind them (despite often being mathematically precise) is frequently a one-off model that doesn't really deserve the moniker "mechanism". That's why I called it a "meta-narrative" (it's the generalization of a just-so story for a specific macro event).

Now just because I call them meta-narratives doesn't mean they are wrong. Eventually some meta-narratives become a true models. In a sense, the "non-equilibrium shock causality" (i.e macro seismographs) is a meta-narrative I've developed to capture the narrative of women entering the workforce and 70s inflation simultaneously with the lack of inflation today.

Below, I will give a (non-exhaustive) list of meta-narratives and example narratives that are instances of them. I will also list some problems with each of them. This is not to say these problems can't be overcome in some way (and usually are via additional just-so story elements). None have yielded a theory that describes macro observables with any degree of empirical accuracy, so that's a common problem I'll just state here at the top.
The difference among just-so stories, handwaving, modeling for effect, and data-based modeling....

Worth looking at for the weekend — and thinking about.

Information Transfer Economics
A list of macro meta-narratives
Jason Smith

Craig Murray — The Philip Cross Affair

The ever-vigilant Craig Murray catches out "Philip Cross." And exposes how how fake news is insidiously created on Wikipedia and why you need to be aware when you use it that it is not an objective source by any means.

This doesn't mean that Wikipedia is worthless or a waste of time consulting. Rather, it is subject to manipulation and controversial areas and subjects are likely to be infected.

But you probably knew that already.

Craig Murray Blog
The Philip Cross Affair
Craig Murray, formerly British ambassador to Uzbekistan and Rector of the University of Dundee

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Moon of Alabama — Syria - Inconsistent, Incomplete And Implausible - The OPCW Report On Saraqib Is Another Disgrace


Another false flag? Fits the pattern.

Moon of Alabama
Syria - Inconsistent, Incomplete And Implausible - The OPCW Report On Saraqib Is Another Disgrace

Robert Stevens — British Army against Corbyn! Imperialism needs to Destroy Democracy in the West


Forget the Deep State. There's talk of a military coup in the case of  a leftist leader being elected. No, we are not talking about Venezuela. Rather Britain.

This is not a joke either. It's actually being floated seriously. This is the way that the unthinkable gets normalized. It's a tactic.
Written by Paul Carter for the de facto house organ of the Conservative Party, the article makes clear that discussions on such a course of action in the event of a Labour victory under Corbyn are ongoing.
The article begins by noting, “Only one week after Jeremy Corbyn’s election as Labour leader, a serving general of the Army warned of a direct and public challenge if a future Prime Minister Corbyn jeopardised the country’s security: ‘The army wouldn’t stand for it … people would use whatever means possible, fair or foul, to prevent that.’”…
Carter refers to an article published by the Sunday Times in September 2015, after Corbyn had routed his Blairite leadership opponent with the backing of hundreds of thousands of Labour members and supporters. The newspaper cited an anonymous “senior serving general” that in the event of Corbyn becoming prime minister, there would be “the very real prospect” of “a mutiny.” Elements within the military would be prepared to use “whatever means possible, fair or foul,” the officer declared. He warned,  You would see a major break in convention with senior generals directly and publicly challenging Corbyn over vital important policy decisions such as Trident , pulling out of NATO and any plans to emasculate and shrink the size of the armed forces.”...
At the time, a Ministry of Defence source said that it was unacceptable for a serving officer to make political comments about a potential “future government,” but rejected mounting any investigation, claiming there were too many generals to investigate....
Makes the US look good. There may be a soft coup in the works, but at least no one has floated the ideal of a hard coup — yet anyway.

Robert Stevens shows that this is not a aberration in British history and cites evidence from the 1960-170's labor unrest and rise of Harold Wilson to power.

The Minskys - Austerity in the UK: Senseless and Cruel

Austerity in the UK is being portrayed as a success, but for whom?   KV

As the UK recorded its first current budget surplus in 16 years, the IMF was quick to use this development as sufficient proof to declare the austerity measures, imposed by the UK government in the aftermath of the financial crisis, a success. To the IMF, the UK case of eliminating its budget deficit, while avoiding a prolonged recession, and faring better than other European countries, supports the case for further austerity.
However, this overly simplistic interpretation disregards the long-term structural problems that the UK economy is facing, does not acknowledge the active role played by the Bank of England (BoE) in mitigating the crisis, nor does it attempt to understand what is behind the growing voter discontent that led to the Brexit vote. Furthermore, given that the austerity measures have been linked to 120,000 deaths, it seems rather odd to celebrate this approach.
While at a first glance, one might think the UK economy is in pretty good shape, with low unemployment levels and continuous growth for the last 8 and a half years, a closer look at the data reveals a less optimistic picture. As outlined in this report from the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) that I co-authored with Mark Weisbrot, the UK economy is facing some serious challenges.

The Minskys - Austerity in the UK: Senseless and Cruel

World Economic Forum - Renewable energy is getting cheaper and it's going to change everything

A renewable energy revolution is on the way although they still haven't found a cost effective way to store the captured energy yet. KV

The cost of solar power is decreasing so rapidly, it's now cheaper than coal, based on a new analysis.

A recent report from Lazard shows how the costs of producing electricity from various sources are changing. Energy from utility-scale solar plants — plants that produce electricity that feeds into the grid — has seen the biggest price drop: an 86% decrease since 2009.

The cost of producing one megawatt-hour of electricity — a standard way to measure electricity production — is now around $50 for solar power, according to Lazard's math. The cost of producing one megawatt-hour of electricity from coal, by comparison, is $102 — more than double the cost of solar.

David William Pear - On U.S. Imperialism, Capitalism and Fascism

An excellent report by David Pear which is pretty much the way I see things. A psychopathology unleashed upon the world. 
If you want to know the untold history of the U.S.A., then a good place to start is with the history of US imperialism in Asia from the mid-19th century until today. Not only will that reveal the history of the criminality of US foreign policy, but it will also reveal the true nature of U.S. capitalism, imperialism, fascism and U.S. wars of aggression: past, present and future. 
For centuries the U.S. has preached that it believes in democracy, freedom and self-determination, but its actions towards other countries speak louder than words. Internationally the U.S. is a predator and a bully. It subjugates small countries, corrupts them by backing right-wing dictators, and enables death squads to commit mass murder of all suspected dissidents. During the First Cold War leftists, anti-colonialists, nationalists and intellectuals were called “communists” and imprisoned, tortured and executed. Now they are called “terrorists”.
The foreign policy interests of the U.S. are to promote the neocolonial interests of U.S. corporations, and to project the financial and military power of the U.S. internationally. If the U.S. cannot bully a head of state into collaborating then it backs a military coup d’etat, stirs up internal violence with divide and conquer strategies, and covertly uses mercenaries to start civil wars. If all else fails it will find a pretext or a false flag to invade and overthrow an unfriendly government. 
Off-Guardian

Christine Berry — Yes, neoliberalism is a thing. Don’t let economists tell you otherwise

“The really fascinating battles in intellectual history tend to occur when some group or movement goes on the offensive and asserts that Something Big really doesn’t actually exist.”

So says Philip Morowski in his book ‘Never Let a Serious Crisis Go To Waste: How Neoliberalism Survived the Financial Meltdown’. As Mirowski argues, neoliberalism is a particularly fascinating case in point. Just as Thatcher asserted there was ‘no such thing as society’, it’s common to find economics commentators asserting that there is ‘no such thing as neoliberalism’ – that it’s simply a meaningless insult bandied about by the left, devoid of analytical content.
But on the list of ‘ten tell-tale signs you’re a neoliberal’, insisting that Neoliberalism Is Not A Thing must surely be number one. The latest commentator to add his voice to the chorus is Sky Economics Editor Ed Conway. On the Sky blog, he gives four reasons why Neoliberalism Is Not A Thing. Let’s look at each of them in turn:  
Open Democracy
Yes, neoliberalism is a thing. Don’t let economists tell you otherwise
Christine Berry

Edward Harrison — On Economics, Geopolitics, Interests Rates and the Fed


1. Rising interest rates will put pressure on marginal players, domestic and foreign.

2. The geopolitical situation is volatile and a surprise (shock) could happen at any time.

3. In acting in its own self-interest without taking allies' interests into account, the US under the Trump administrations is straining alliances, especially with Europe, and also aggravating trading partners.

Credit Writedowns
Geopolitical (And Market) Risks Because Of US Policy And The Fed

Edward Harrison

See also

Wall Street On Parade
Michael Cohen Got $3 Million More from Unnamed Sources; Records Vanish
Pam Martens and Russ Martens

Middle East Eye — Turkish Banker Sentenced to 32 months in US Prison for Evading Sanctions

The prosecution of Mehmet Hakan Atilla has further strained relations between US and Turkey.…
A US judge sentenced Mehmet Hakan Atilla, a banker at Turkey's state-controlled Halkbank, to 32 months in prison on Wednesday after he was convicted earlier this year of taking part in a scheme to help Iran evade US sanctions....
The case has further strained diplomatic relations between the United States and Turkey, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has condemned it as a political attack on his government.…
Prosecutors had sought a sentence of about 20 years for Atilla.
However, Judge Berman said before imposing his sentence that the evidence presented at trial showed Atilla was a minor player in the sanctions-dodging scheme, and "at times a reluctant one at that," largely following orders from his supervisor....
The Turkish president has repeatedly condemned Atilla's conviction, most recently on Tuesday in an interview with Bloomberg Television...
"If Hakan Atilla is going to be declared a criminal, that would be almost equivalent to declaring the Turkish Republic a criminal," Erdogan said.
Anyone taking bets on how long Turkey lasts in NATO?

Middle East Eye
Turkish Banker Sentenced to 32 months in US Prison for Evading Sanctions

See also
The major debate taking place is over where one goes from here. There are two distinct schools of thought, one of which basically asks whether continuation of what is essentially a unipolar world, supported by US power, in which the United States continues to be able to assert its vision of world global good order. This has been defined by Washington as a mixture of expansion of liberal democracy plus more-or-less free trade.…
The alternative view is quite different, asserting that Washington’s blow against Iran will ultimately be a Pyrrhic victory for Donald Trump as the blatant interference in what was a universally accepted largely successful treaty in which Iran was fully compliant will produce a global backlash against American interests.
I would say that they are both correct, to a degree. Washington still has enough clout to enforce its will, however, unpopular. But the US leadership is fast burning through its political capital, and American soft power is decreasing quickly, reversing a longstanding rising trend as the US in growingly perceived as the global bully.

Increasingly also, the US is becoming viewed as a rogue state which believes it is so exceptional and powerful that it is above the law and can do as it pleases in the world, recklessly trampling the interests of other states and peoples. That is unsustainable without war.

Strategic Culture Foundation
Will Trump"s Pyrrhic Victory End with America"s Role As Global Bully?
Philip Giraldi, former CIA counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer, now Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest and founding member of the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity

Dean Baker — More Thoughts on a Job Guarantee: What Is At Issue?


Let's be clear. What is really at issue is whether a buffer stock of employed is sociao-economically superior to a buffer stock of unemployed

Efficiency

A buffer stock of employed is far more efficient in that it employs available resources that would otherwise be idle (wasted). In addition, the funds that go toward supporting the out of work ignore the productive capacity of the unemployed. As the right is so find of pointing out, this incentivized unemployment.

Effectiveness

A buffer stock of employed is more effective on many levels:
  • economically by increasing production and therefore increasing resources available for use 
  • socially by recognizing human dignity and the right to a job
  • politically by contributing to public purpose, which includes the common good and general welfare of society as a whole.
Issues versus means

The issue that dominates macroeconomic debate with respect to policy is whether growth, full employment and relative price stability can be achieved simultaneously. 
  • Conventional economics says not with out defining full employment down to include a buffer stock of unemployed. 
  • MMT says it is possible to achieve the "holy grail" of macroeconomics using job guarantee (Hyman Minsky) to create a buffer stock of employed to mop up residual unemployment after applying functional finance (Abba Lerner) based on stock-flow consistent modeling (Wynne Godley) in the context the fiscal space that the present floating rate monetary system provides.
Policy formulation

The "issues" that Baker (and Bernstein) put forward are not issues in the same sense as the core issues above, but rather they are challenges to be met in policy design.

Policy design always involves tradeoffs. What we need are some actual proposals of bills to debate. Otherwise, a lot of what passes for debate is just gassing.

JG vs basic income

It should be obvious from the examination of issues above that adoption of a job guarantee is unrelated to the adoption of some form of basic income or citizens dividend, or other forms of welfare. These do not impact the issue of achieving actual full employment defined as a everyone that is willing and able to work has a satisfactory job offer if willing to accept it. It's a choice.

Some form of basic income or citizens dividend could also be provided, but this is a welfare issue that is irrelevant to addressing the issue of full employment. They should be neither confused nor conflated in the economic and policy debates, as they presently are, muddying the waters.

Beat the Press
More Thoughts on a Job Guarantee: What Is At Issue?
Dean Baker | Co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C

See also

This author is apparently unaware of the literature and the state of the debate. Par for the course on the so-called left. OK, she is a addressing one paper, but from what she writes, it doesn't seem that she is up on the field or the economic and policy debates.

OXFAM Blogs — From Poverty to Power
Which is better: a guaranteed job or a guaranteed income?
Eleanor Chowns | Teaching Fellow, Department of Social & Policy Sciences, Bath University

The Minskeys - Doughnut Economics – Grab a pencil, draw a doughnut!


Many of us know we need to rethink economics, but Kate Raworth actually did it. Envisioning the economy as a doughnut, two boundaries become clear. If we fall into the doughnut’s middle hole, human needs fail to be met. If we drop off of the outer edge, life is unsustainable.

You should be weary of people who seek to get the “first lick” on a young impressionable brain. Paul Samuelson knew that by writing a successful economics textbook, he could influence how students frame the economy, and thus the world. From the 50’s to the 70’s, his textbook was the most widely used in introductory economics courses. Today, that role has been given to Gregory Mankiw’s “Macroeconomics” (see the Open Syllabus Project). Both view the economy in the same narrow way, with the same simple pictures that don’t seem useful today. Raworth’s Doughnut Economics breaches the pattern and envisions a new economics, for a new generation with clearly defined challenges and scant tools to solve them.
For so many years, the principle goal of economics, and thus the economy, has been GDP growth. Growth for whom or through what means wasn’t nearly as important as just ensuring there was in fact growth. Raworth emphasizes the importance of framing, and if you ask an economist what picture they foresee for GDP, they often describe an upward exponential function.
Thankfully, many young students that I’ve met recognize that infinite growth is unsustainable. Hopefully, their generation can popularize a GDP graph in the shape of a sideways S, respecting the upper bound to growth we have to live within. Enter Raworth’s doughnut. In Raworth’s framework, the outside of the doughnut reflects an upper bound we can not pass based on environmental limits of our planet. The inside of the doughnut reflects a social foundation we can not let crack, the necessities for humanity to thrive.

Craig Murray - The Guardian Rejoices in the Silencing of Assange

Craig Murray

The Guardian has today published a whole series of attack piece articles on Julian Assange which plainly exult in the fact he has now been silenced by the cutting of his communication with the outside world. They also include outright lies such as this one by Dan Collyns:

In fact Julian Assange was questioned for two days solid in the Embassy by Swedish procurators and police in November 2016. The statement he gave to them at that time I published in full. Following that questioning it was plain that there was no hope of a successful prosecution, particularly as the only physical evidence Swedish Police had was a condom Anna Ardin claimed he had worn but which had no trace of his DNA – a physical impossibility.
Dan Collyns is a freelance based in Peru, but the Guardian’s editors certainly know it is blatantly untrue that the investigation into Assange was dropped because he could not be questioned. They have knowingly published a lie. “Facts are sacred” there, apparently.
The Guardian article gives another complete lie, this time in the Harding penned section, where it says that “sources” reveal that Assange had hacked into the Embassy’s communications. That is completely untrue as are the “facts” given about Julian’s relationship with the Embassy staff, whom I know well. It is plain that these “sources” are separate from the Ecuadorean security dossier published in Focus Ecuador by the CIA. I would bet any money that these anonymous “sources” are as always Harding’s mates in the UK security services. That the Guardian should allow itself to be used in a security service disinformation campaign designed to provoke distrust between Assange and Embassy staff, is appalling.
I had a front row seat in 2010 when the Guardian suddenly switched from championing Assange to attacking him, in a deeply unedifying row about the rights and money from a projected autobiography. But they have sunk to a new low today in a collaboration between long term MI6 mouthpiece Luke Harding and the CIA financed neo-con propagandists of Focus Ecuador.
The Guardian pieces are full of truly startling revelations. Would you ever have guessed, for example, that Julian Assange was visited by his Wikileaks colleague Sarah Harrison, his friends Vaughn Smith and, err, me, and his lawyer Gareth Peirce?! This great scandal, Harding states in an assertion as evidence-free as his entire “Russia hacked the elections” book, “will interest Mueller”. Despite the fact none of these visits was secret and mine was broadcast live to the world by Wikileaks on Brexit referendum night.
The aim of the “Guardian” piece is of course to help urge Ecuador to expel Julian from the Embassy. There is no doubt that the actions of Lenin Moreno, under extreme pressure from the USA, have been severely disappointing, though I am more inclined to praise Ecuador for its courageous defiance of the US than blame it for eventually caving in to the vast resources the CIA is spending on undermining it. It is also worth noting that, post the Francoist human rights abuses in Catalonia, it was Spain and the EU joining in US pressure which tipped the balance.
Julian’s principled refusal to abandon the Catalan cause, against direct Ecuadorean threats to do precisely what they have now done, has not received the credit it deserves.
The same Blairites who supported the latest Israeli massacre will this morning be revelling in the Guardian’s celebration of the silencing of a key dissident voice. I have no wish to try and understand these people.

KV  - Why I Stopped Buying The Guardian 

Boy, do I hate The Guardian. I bought that paper for years and carried it about as a badge of honour, and maybe it was okay once, but I suspect that to some degree it was always leading me away from the truth to protect the establishment's interests.

When I was a teen I was buying the Daily Mirror every day when I found a discarded Guardian on a train and as it was a big, important looking broadsheet, I assumed it was a Tory rag but when I read it I thought, wow, this is my paper, and from that day on I bought it. Anyway, years later I still supported the Guardian by buying the kindle version because it was cheep, but I still wanted to contribute despite the fact I could read it for free online. But then came the big crunch, in the evenings I started writing on CiF arguing with the right wingers because I couldn't understand why there wasn't more left wing views in CiF; it seems the right was especially prevalent.

George Monbiot said some of these writers were being paid to flood the left wing media with right wing views to make it look that its readers, and the nation, were mainly on the right. It was strange how everyday the first 20 or so posts were from right wingers, and in those days the first to write in would stay up front all day for everyone to see. So, when I was on holiday once I got up at 5am in the morning and these posts by right wingers were already there, so they had to be sitting there waiting all night to get in first, although they were probably American so they could do it through the day.

So I decided to take them on ans set about dismantling their arguments by putting out real facts, quotes, and links to sites and I thought the Guardian would be pleased with me, but guess what, the Guardian moderators started removing my posts.  I felt really guilty at first feeling I had done something wrong. Then one day the Guardian had an article about an advert for some posh apartments in the Canary Wharf which showed the extravagant opulence of the rich which many people found distasteful and there was lots of complaints from the public. But the the right were there again saying that the One Percent were the job creators and through trickle down economics we all got to earn a living. So I found a blog by a London policeman who was an expert on City of London crime and he said the Square Mile was the biggest financial crime centre of the world, so I put out quotes from his blog and links but the Guardian removed them. I now knew why the left was under represented in CiF, the Guardian was simply removing all their posts. I never bought the Guardian again after that.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

China Daily — Xi backs DPRK development


Shot across the bow of US?

Ecns
Xi backs DPRK development
China Daily

Middle East Monitor — Iran Switches from Dollar to Euro

Iran’s feud with the US is set to get worse after Tehran announced yesterday that it will start reporting foreign currency amounts in euros rather than US dollars, as part of the country’s effort to reduce its reliance on the American currency due to political tension with Washington.
Central bank governor Valiollah Seif said last week that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had welcomed his suggestion of replacing the dollar with the euro in foreign trade, as the “dollar has no place in our transactions today”....
Middle East Monitor
Iran Switches from Dollar to Euro

See also

Unconfirmed as yet. May be premature.
An anonymous diplomatic source in Brussels has revealed to RIA Novosti that the European Union intends to discontinue paying for Iranian oil in US dollars. This is a major development which confirms a series of articles in global media which reveal the growing positive developments indicating that Atlanticism is in a serious crisis. It has cracked. Analyses by CSS and FRN’s own experts going back a number of years have forecasted that these events would eventuate...
Fort Russ
Atlanticism Cracks!: Eu To Dump U.S Dollar For Iran Dealings

Matt Bruenig - Hyman Minsky’s Views on the “Welfare Mess”

Hyman Minsky inspired many leftist economists, like Steve Keen and Micheal Hudson, but on the benefit system it seems he was very right wing. Matt Bruenig gives Minsky's views a good hearing, but at the end he says that the benefit system has been a success at ending much of the poverty in the US.

I like the idea of lowering the retirement age to create more jobs and keeping youngsters in school longer to learn more skills. Alas, the trend has been to increase the retirement age. KV


Economist Hyman Minsky is often cited as the forerunner of the job guarantee movement. In order to get a better understanding of its origins, I decided to read a collection of his writings on the subject that was published by the Levy Institute in 2013. The title of the collection is “Ending Poverty: Jobs, Not Welfare” and unfortunately kind of tells you where Minsky is coming from on this stuff.
Minsky’s writing reveals a deep antipathy towards the War on Poverty, transfer payments, and the welfare state more generally. In his 1975 work “The Poverty of Economic Policy,” he writes that “a most striking aspect of the irrelevance and wrongheadedness of policy has been the recourse to the dole, not only in response to the current recession, but over the long run.” To clarify, he explained further that “a dole is the handing out of cash or services where nothing is required in exchange for the handout.”

Minsky goes on to describe welfare state measures as “the anti-employment thrust to policy,” a phrase that he uses to describe both benefit programs for able-bodied adults like AFDC, unemployment insurance, and food stamps and shifts to keep kids in school longer and lower the retirement age.
*******************
It’s clear that Minsky viewed the job guarantee as a welfare state replacement program, at least in significant part. His views on welfare would today be classified as quite right-wing and are also just empirically wrong. The Columbia measure — a poverty metric based on the Supplemental Poverty Measure that includes transfer payments in its income definition — shows that poverty declined from 26 percent in 1967 to 16 percent in 2012, a fall of nearly 40 percent. Over the same period, poverty measured by market income did not fall at all and indeed ticked up slightly, meaning that the welfare state is solely responsible for the significant decline in poverty over the period.

Some geopolitical links

Going back to my title, I quote from the 1997 book of the late Presidential advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and its Geostrategic Imperatives to make the point of what US foreign and defense policy under Trump today is. It is nothing less than application of the Brzezinski geopolitical challenge and the preventive war notion of the Bush-Wolfowitz doctrine in context of today’s emerging resistance to an American sole superpower domination.
Brzezinski, was of course architect of Jimmy Carter’s Afghan war against the Soviet Army using Mujahideen Islamic terrorists trained by the CIA, Saudi Intelligence and Pakistan ISI.
In 1997 he wrote that it was “imperative that no Eurasian challenger emerges, capable of dominating Eurasia and thus of also challenging America.” He further declared, “Potentially the most dangerous scenario would be an ‘anti-hegemonic’ coalition united not by ideology but by complementary grievances…a grand coalition of China, Russia, perhaps Iran…Averting this contingency…will require US geostrategic skill on the western, eastern, and southern perimeters of Eurasia simultaneously.”
When we add to this the recent Pentagon National Defense Strategy document that defines Russia and China as the greatest potential threat to American hegemony, then combine this with the growing ties between Russia, China and Iran since lifting of sanctions in 2015, especially in Syria, it becomes clear what Washington is doing. They are in an all-out effort to break what I call the Eurasian Challenge to the sole hegemon—Russia, China, Iran.
As Brzezinski pointed out, for American purposes of continued domination, it matters not that there are ethnic, religious and other differences between Russia, China and Iran. US foreign policy since September 2001 has increasingly forced those three to cooperate, despite those differences, for what they see as defense of their national sovereignty....
Ironically, the simultaneous opening of a de facto three-front war, even if on the level of economic warfare at present, creates a strategic imperative for the three powers to work even more closely.

https://journal-neo.org/2018/05/14/brzezinski-s-ghost-shapes-washington-eurasia-geopolitics/
Engdahl is a good geopolitical analyst, but unfortunately he doesn't know MMT and stumbles into some economic and financial blunders, although not so much in this piece. But ignoring that, he makes some good points, and he is right that the US is now at war with Russia, China, and Iran. Here we go.

NEO — New Eastern Outlook
Brzezinski’s Ghost Shapes Washington Eurasia Geopolitics
F. William Engdahl

See also
China, led by President Xi, accelerated implementation of the concept of so-called Ecological Civilization, eventually engraving it into the constitution of the country. A man who did tremendous work in China, working tirelessly on the Ecological Civilization concept in both China and in the United States, John Cobb Jr., has been, for years, a friend and close comrade of mine. A 93-year-old Whiteheadian philosopher, one of the most acknowledged Christian progressive theologians, and a self-proclaimed ‘supporter of Revolution’, John Cobb’s is a brave ‘alternative’ and optimistic voice coming from the United States.…
Excellent piece that is surprising in many ways, especially the influence in China of an American Protestant theologian deeply committed to ecology as fundamental to Christian doctrine.

NEO — New Eastern Outlook
China’s determined march towards the ecological civilization
André Vitchek in conversation with John Cobb

Also
As of last week, Washington has assembled a considerable list of dangers and disasters, and they are of a piece. I propose we look at them this way, for it is this larger context we have to think about. The Trump administration now has a clear foreign policy, all fleshed out to see. It may be shaped by the president, or the president may be the ventriloquist’s dummy of his minders. This remains hard to discern. But either way, it comes to this: America grows ever more indifferent to alliances other than those dependent on a common adversary. Friendships with other nations seem no longer to matter, or even whether America is admired or respected. All signs indicate we now enter that late-imperial phase when power alone, raw power, is all we have to show the world....
Haspel’s confirmation as CIA director, now all but assured, completes what is effectively a kind of war cabinet, the chief members of which are John Bolton, the new national security adviser, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Widen the definition of war and you can include Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. It is true that Defense Secretary Jim Mattis looks like reason made flesh in this scrum of provincials and ignoramuses. But this is merely because, as a retired general, Mattis favors wars he is certain of winning, and there are not many of those around just now. If there were he would fight them....
 Salon
After the Iran deal: A foreign policy built on arrogance, ignorance and sheer desperation
Patrick Lawrence, foreign affairs columnist for Salon


Also
With Iran back in the news, I found this old file of mine from 1981. Thanks to The Washington Post, in 1976 I spent eight or nine weeks in Iran gathering notes for six front-page articles. The discoveries I made were eye-opening. I had married an Iranian who was raised in England and had who had never gone back to Iran.…
I kept developing sources on Iran, and in Feb. 1981, I wrote the following story. I am presenting it to you because on a military channel they had a program on the Iranian Hostage Crisis, but didn’t mention the following. With greetings to all.

"U.S. Policy in Iran: “What the Traffic Would Bear”
Iranians Killed by U.S. Marines during the First Embassy Takeover

Sic Semper Tyrannis
"U.S. Marines Shot to Kill"
Richard Sale

Also
Insofar as imperialism is about the struggle over and capture of economic territory (which must be broadly defined to include not just geographical territory such as land and natural resources, but also the creation of new markets, sources of labor, and forms of surplus transfer such as are reflected in intellectual property), these changes have created distant demands upon imperialist structures and processes. In the absence of a world state, and in a much more complex and constantly changing politico-economic environment, how can capital (which is increasingly global in orientation) generate the superstructures through which the transfers of value are ensured and the investment risks are moderated and contained? It will be argued that there has been an endeavor to resolve this by refashioning the global institutional architecture in ways that operate to increase the conditions of “stability” for large capital while increasing its bargaining power vis-à-vis working people and citizens, as well as nation-states and even smaller capitalist enterprises.
Neoliberalism → neo-imperialism → neocolonialism.

Neoliberalism is a political theory based on economic liberalism as dominant over social and political liberalism and in which state power, captured by capital, is used to promote the interests of capital and rent-seeking. Neoliberalism uses financial and economic power backed by military power to dominate weaker states and to create vassals and colonies under the cover of economic theory.

Monthly Review
The Creation of the Next Imperialism — The Institutional Architecture
Jayati Ghosh | Professor of economics at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India and executive secretary of International Development Economics Associates






Andrew Lainton — @Asymptosis [Steve Roth] asks a good question – why isn’t #LVT Everywhere?

I think there are three reasons:
Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

Brian Romanchuk — Canadian Housing And Perpetual Motion


Why the Canadian "housing bubble" hasn't burst.

Quick summary: it's a policy choice, but this comes with some consequences, like pricing some cohorts like unendowed youth out of the market, and also some uncertainty, like what happens if there is a recession and debt cannot be serviced. 

Moreover, Brian explains why this cannot be modeled. While it is foreseeable as a contingency, the timing is not forecastable. Although this is based on a policy choice and determined by Canadian law and institutional arrangement, it is also generally instructive about how socio-economic systems work regarding finance and government backstops.

Moral: A lot of what is interesting in economics and finance is based on contingencies and therefore not amenable to forecastable modeling. This is the case in the Canadian housing market because is based on policy choices that can change, some of which may not be sustainable politically owing to socio-economic effects. 

Significant social cohorts can't be screwed forever. and it is unknowable when and how they will react politically. On the other hand, trends can persist for a longer time than "seems reasonable" for various reasons that are not quantifiable empirically. Steve Keen got caught out in making a bet on the collapse of the Australian "housing bubble" that still hasn't crashed.

So all that can be said is to agree with (Herbert) Stein' s Law:  "If something cannot go on forever, it will stop.

But the timing cannot be pinned down in an empirically based model. Non-empirical model are just guessing, and good guesses are not necessarily repeatable. Thinking they are is an example of recency bias, which is right up there in economics and finance, along with confirmation bias and anchor bias.

So Stein recommended letting a process run its course, since it would be self-correcting by signaling it own ending. But this has socio-economic consequences that depend on who gets hurt, how many, and how much political influence they wield. 

Bond Economics 

Household Debt Service Payments as a Percent of Disposable Personal Income


Mike sent this out in a note the other day.

Household debt service bouncing along the bottom at 40 year low.

You can see how over the last 10 years households have been starved of credit as banks had to divert allocation of their regulatory capital against the additional $trillions of Reserve Assets the Fed created under the various QE policies.

This should begin to bottom as Fed has stated that they intend to reduce their QE policy by $400B this year and over $400B next year; allowing households to start accessing credit again.










Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Jason Ditz — US Imposes New Sanctions on Iran, Labels Central Bank Head a Terrorist


Now that is really upping the ante on economic warfare. Its' not even disguised anymore.

Ironic after Alan Greenspan let the banks "terrorize" not only Americans but the world, and Ben Bernanke did nothing about it either.

Antiwar
US Imposes New Sanctions on Iran, Labels Central Bank Head a Terrorist
Jason Ditz

Jiang Shigong — Jiang Shigong on ‘Philosophy and History: Interpreting the “Xi Jinping Era” through Xi’s Report to the Nineteenth National Congress of the CCP’


With an introduction by David Ownby and Timothy Cheek.

From the intro:
This essay by Jiang Shigong 强世功 (b. 1967), published in the Guangzhou journal Open Times (开放时代) in January 2018, aims to be an authoritative statement of the new political orthodoxy under Xi Jinping 习近平(b. 1953) as Xi begins his second term as China’s supreme leader. It offers a new reading of modern Chinese history in general and the history of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in particular, arguing that Xi Jinping’s ‘thought’ (sixiang 思想) is the culmination of a century’s historical process and philosophical refinement, produced through the ongoing dialectic of theory and practice. This is ‘Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era’ 习近平新时代中国特色社会主义思想, which Jiang defends as the new ideological superstructure to the material base of China’s economy after nearly forty years of ‘socialism with Chinese characteristics’. Although the language bears considerable resemblance to the propagandistic slant of People’s Daily editorials, Jiang’s text is not a specious rant, but an intelligent and penetrating critique of the limits and failures of the liberal democratic system. It also offers a considered case for an alternative way of viewing politics and history that defends the past actions and current legitimacy of the CCP and holds up Xi Jinping as the man of the hour to complete China’s century-long recovery of its dominant place in the world....
Longish but important in the larger scheme of things. This is where China believes it is going and is planning on going, based on the mandate of Heaven passing from the upstart West to back China as the Central Realm. This is interesting in that China is now being upfront about this. This signals that the China leadership is confident in the rising strength of China on the world stage. China is not about to become an vassal in the an American Empire it views as declining morally as well as socially, stubbornly refusing to learn from its mistake, while China is rising, having learned its bitter lesson.

The intro is short and provides a summary of Jiang's article if you choose to skip it or save for the weekend.

The China Story (Australia)
Jiang Shigong on ‘Philosophy and History: Interpreting the “Xi Jinping Era” through Xi’s Report to the Nineteenth National Congress of the CCP’
Jiang Shigong | Professor at Peking University Law School

See also
Xi also said that China firmly supports multilateralism, maintaining the multilateral trading system and building an open world economy.
Ecns
Xi tells Ban Ki-moon: China's door of opening up will open even wider
CGTN | Editor: Gu Liping

China is taking the lead on North Korea.

Ecns
DPRK to learn from China's opening-up
China Daily