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 J'ai beaucoup aimé cet article sur la rémunération des grand patrons.

 

Bof. Analyse simpliste (passe complètement à côté du phénomène de concentration des grands groupes, des évolutions majeures dans leur structure capitalistique) et solution simpliste qui ne répond même pas à la totalité de l'analyse.

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Si les rémunérations sont secrètes, c'est plus compliqué pour les actionnaires de contrôler.

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Salut.

 

http://www.internationalman.com/articles/comparing-the-1930s-and-today

 

"Comparing 1930s and today"

 

 

You've heard the axiom "History repeats itself." It does, but never in exactly the same way. To apply the lessons of the past, we must understand the differences of the present.

During the American Revolution, the British came prepared to fight a successful war—but against a European army. Their formations, which gave them devastating firepower, and their red coats, which emphasized their numbers, proved the exact opposite of the tactics needed to fight a guerrilla war.

 

Before World War I, generals still saw the cavalry as the flower of their armies. Of course, the horse soldiers proved worse than useless in the trenches.

 

Before World War II, in anticipation of a German attack, the French built the "impenetrable" Maginot Line. History repeated itself and the attack came, but not in the way they expected. Their preparations were useless because the Germans didn't attempt to penetrate it; they simply went around it, and France was defeated.

 

The generals don't prepare for the last war out of perversity or stupidity, but rather because past experience is all they have to go by. Most of them simply don't know how to interpret that experience. They are correct in preparing for another war but wrong in relying upon what worked in the last one.

 

Investors, unfortunately, seem to make the same mistakes in marshaling their resources as do the generals. If the last 30 years have been prosperous, they base their actions on more prosperity. Talk of a depression isn't real to them because things are, in fact, so different from the 1930s. To most people, a depression means '30s-style conditions, and since they don't see that, they can't imagine a depression. That's because they know what the last depression was like, but they don't know what one is. It's hard to visualize something you don't understand.

 

Some of them who are a bit more clever might see an end to prosperity and the start of a depression but—al­though they're going to be a lot better off than most—they're probably looking for this depression to be like the last one.

Although nobody can predict with absolute certainty what this depression will be like, you can be fairly well-assured it won't be an instant replay of the last one. But just because things will be different doesn't mean you have to be taken by surprise.

To define the likely differences between this depres­sion and the last one, it's helpful to compare the situa­tion today to that in the early 1930s. The results aren't very reassuring.

 

CORPORATE BANKRUPTCY

1930s

Banks, insurance companies, and big corporations went under on a major scale. Institutions suffered the consequences of past mistakes, and there was no financial safety net to catch them as they fell. Mistakes were liquidated and only the prepared and efficient survived.

Today

The world’s financial institutions are in even worse shape than the last time, but now business ethics have changed and everyone expects the government to "step in." Laws are already in place that not only allow but require government inter­vention in many instances. This time, mistakes will be compounded, and the strong, productive, and ef­ficient will be forced to subsidize the weak, unproductive, and inefficient. It's ironic that businesses were bankrupted in the last depression because the prices of their products fell too low; this time, it'll be because they went too high.

 

UNEMPLOYMENT

1930s

If a man lost his job, he had to find another one as quickly as possible simply to keep from going hungry. A lot of other men in the same position competed desperately for what work was available, and an employer could hire those same men for much lower wages and expect them to work harder than what was the case before the depression. As a result, the men could get jobs and the employer could stay in business.

Today

The average man first has months of unemployment insurance; after that, he can go on welfare if he can't find "suitable work." Instead of taking whatever work is available, especially if it means that a white collar worker has to get his hands dirty, many will go on welfare. This will decrease the production of new wealth and delay the recovery. The worker no longer has to worry about some entrepreneur exploiting (i.e., employing) him at what he considers an unfair wage because the minimum wage laws, among others, precludes that possibility today. As a result, men stay unemployed and employers will go out of business.

 

WELFARE

1930s

If hard times really put a man down and out, he had little recourse but to rely on his family, friends, or local social and church group. There was quite a bit of opprobrium attached to that, and it was only a last resort. The breadlines set up by various government bodies were largely cosmetic measures to soothe the more terror-prone among the voting populace. People made do because they had to, and that meant radically reducing their standards of living and taking any job available at any wage. There were very, very few people on welfare during the last depression.

Today

It's hard to say how those who are still working are going to support those who aren't in this depression. Even in the U.S., 50% of the country is already on some form of welfare. But food stamps, aid to fami­lies with dependent children, Social Security, and local programs are already collapsing in prosperous times. And when the tidal wave hits, they'll be totally overwhelmed. There aren't going to be any breadlines because people who would be standing in them are going to be shopping in local supermarkets just like people who earned their money. Perhaps the most dangerous aspect of it is that people in general have come to think that these programs can just magically make wealth appear, and they expect them to be there, while a whole class of people have grown up never learning to survive without them. It's ironic, yet predictable, that the programs that were supposed to help those who "need" them will serve to devastate those very people.

 

REGULATIONS

 

1930s

Most economies have been fairly heavily regulated since the early 1900s, and those regulations caused distortions that added to the severity of the last depression. Rather than allow the economy to liquidate, in the case of the U.S., the Roosevelt regime added many, many more regulations—fixing prices, wages, and the manner of doing business in a static form. It was largely because of these regulations that the depression lingered on until the end of World War II, which "saved" the economy only through its massive reinflation of the currency. Had the government abolished most controls then in existence, instead of creating new ones, the depression would have been less severe and much shorter.

Today

The scores of new agencies set up since the last depression have created far more severe distortions in the ways people relate than those of 80 years ago; the potential adjustment needed is proportionately greater. Unless government restrictions and controls on wages, working conditions, energy consumption, safety, and such are removed, a dramatic economic turnaround during the Greater Depression will be impossible.

 

TAXES

1930s

The income tax was new to the U.S. in 1913, and by 1929, although it took a maximum 23.1% bite, that was only at the $1 million level. The average family’s income then was $2,335, and that put average families in the 1/10th of 1 percent bracket. And there was still no Social Security tax, no state income tax, no sales tax, and no estate tax. Furthermore, most people in the country didn't even pay the income tax because they earned less than the legal minimum or they didn't bother filing. The government, therefore, had immense untapped sources of revenue to draw upon to fund its schemes to "cure" the depression. Roosevelt was able to raise the average income tax from 1.35% to 16.56% during his tenure—an increase of 1,100%.

Today

Everyone now pays an income tax in addition to all the other taxes. In most Western countries, the total of direct and indirect taxes is over 50%. For that reason, it seems unlikely that direct taxes will go much higher. But inflation is constantly driving everyone into higher brackets and will have the same effect. A person has had to increase his or her income faster than inflation to compensate for taxes. Whatever taxes a man does pay will reduce his standard of living by just that much, and it's reasonable to expect tax evasion and the underground economy to boom in response. That will cushion the severity of the depression somewhat while it serves to help change the philosophical orientation of society.

 

PRICES

 

1930s

Prices dropped radically because billions of dollars of inflationary currency were wiped out through the stock market crash, bond defaults, and bank failures. The government, however, somehow equated the high prices of the inflationary '20s with prosperity and attempted to prevent a fall in prices by such things as slaughtering livestock, dumping milk in the gutter, and enacting price supports. Since the collapse wiped out money faster than it could be created, the government felt the destruction of real wealth was a more effective way to raise prices. In other words, if you can't increase the supply of money, decrease the supply of goods.

Nonetheless, the 1930s depression was a deflationary collapse, a time when currency became worth more and prices dropped. This is probably the most confusing thing to most Americans since they assume—as a result of that experience—that "depression" means "deflation." It's also perhaps the biggest single difference between this depression and the last one.

Today

Prices could drop, as they did the last time, but the amount of power the government now has over the economy is far greater than what was the case 80 years ago. Instead of letting the economy cleanse itself by allowing the financial markets to collapse, governments will probably bail out insolvent banks, create mortgages wholesale to prop up real estate, and central banks will buy bonds to keep their prices from plummeting. All of these actions mean that the total money supply will grow enormously. Trillions will be created to avoid deflation. If you find men selling apples on street corners, it won't be for 5 cents apiece, but $5 apiece. But there won't be a lot of apple sellers because of welfare, nor will there be a lot of apples because of price controls.

Consumer prices will probably skyrocket as a result, and the country will have an inflationary depression. Unlike the 1930s, when people who held dollars were king, by the end of the Greater Depression, people with dollars will be wiped out.

 

THE SOCIETY

1930s

The world was largely rural or small-town. Communications were slow, but people tended to trust the media. The government exercised considerable moral suasion, and people tended to support it. The business of the country was business, as Calvin Coolidge said, and men who created wealth were esteemed. All told, if you were going to have a depression, it was a rather stable environment for it; despite that, however, there were still plenty of riots, marches, and general disorder.

Today

The country is now urban and suburban, and although communications are rapid, there's little interpersonal contact. The media are suspect. The government is seen more as an adversary or an imperial ruler than an arbitrator accepted by a consensus of concerned citizens. Businessmen are viewed as unscrupulous predators who take advantage of anyone weak enough to be exploited.

A major financial smashup in today's atmosphere could do a lot more than wipe out a few naives in the stock market and unemploy some workers, as occurred in the '30s; some sectors of society are now time bombs. It's hard to say, for instance, what third- and fourth-generation welfare recipients are going to do when the going gets really tough.

 

THE WAY PEOPLE WORK

1930s

Relatively slow transportation and communication localized economic conditions. The U.S. itself was somewhat insulated from the rest of the world, and parts of the U.S. were fairly self-contained. Workers were mostly involved in basic agriculture and industry, creating widgets and other tangible items. There wasn't a great deal of specialization, and that made it easier for someone to move laterally from one occupation into the next, without extensive retraining, since people were more able to produce the basics of life on their own. Most women never joined the workforce, and the wife in a marriage acted as a "backup" system should the husband lose his job.

Today

The whole world is interdependent, and a war in the Middle East or a revolution in Africa can have a direct and immediate effect on a barber in Chicago or Krakow. Since the whole economy is centrally controlled from Washington, a mistake there can be a national disaster. People generally aren’t in a position to roll with the punches as more than half the people in the country belong to what is known as the "service economy." That means, in most cases, they're better equipped to shuffle papers than make widgets. Even "necessary" services are often terminated when times get hard. Specialization is part of what an advanced industrial economy is all about, but if the economic order changes radically, it can prove a liability.

 

THE FINANCIAL MARKETS

1930s

The last depression is identified with the collapse of the stock market, which lost over 90% of its value from 1929 to 1933. A secure bond was the best possible investment as interest rates dropped radically. Commodities plummeted, reducing millions of farmers to near subsistence levels. Since most real estate was owned outright and taxes were low, a drop in price didn't make a lot of difference unless you had to sell. Land prices plummeted, but since people bought it to use, not unload to a greater fool, they didn't usually have to sell.

Today

This time, stocks—and especially commodities—are likely to explode on the upside as people panic into them to get out of depreciating dollars in general and bonds in particular. Real estate will be—next to bonds—the most devastated single area of the economy because no one will lend money long term. And real estate is built on the mortgage market, which will vanish.

Everybody who invests in this depression thinking that it will turn out like the last one will be very unhappy with the results. Being aware of the differences between the last depression and this one makes it a lot easier to position yourself to minimize losses and maximize profits.

 

So much for the differences. The crucial, obvious, and most important similarity, however, is that most people's standard of living will fall dramatically.

The Greater Depression has started. Most people don't know it because they can neither confront the thought nor understand the differences between this one and the last.

As a climax approaches, many of the things that you've built your life around in the past are going to change and change radically. The ability to adjust to new conditions is the sign of a psychologically healthy person.

 

Look for the opportunity side of the crisis. The Chinese symbol for "crisis" is a combination of two other symbols—one for danger and one for opportunity.

 

The dangers that society will face in the years ahead are regrettable, but there's no point in allowing anxiety, frustration, or apathy to overcome you. Face the future with courage, curiosity, and optimism rather than fear. You can be a winner, and if you plan carefully, you will be. The great period of change will give you a chance to regain control of your destiny. And that in itself is the single most important thing in life. This depression can give you that opportunity; it's one of the many ways the Greater Depression can be a very good thing for both you as an individual and society as a whole.

 

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Mutual suspicion frays historic US-Saudi ties par David Gardner

 

 

Even when the Iran deal was only at an interim and fragile stage in 2013, the Saudis were so affronted they rejected a seat for which they had vigorously lobbied on the UN Security Council. But differences between Washington and Riyadh had been steadily accumulating — starting with the fact that it was mainly Saudi terrorists, on orders of the Saudi Osama bin Laden, who struck America on 9/11.

The Saudis could never reconcile themselves to the US-led invasion of Iraq, not because it toppled Saddam Hussein but because it led to Shia majority rule in an Arab country. When Hosni Mubarak was toppled by Egypt’s popular revolt in 2011, Riyadh accused Mr Obama of betraying a US ally. Saudi perceptions of US complacency in the face of Iran’s advances in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen are a grievance far outweighing western perceptions of Isis jihadism as the main threat in and from the Middle East. After the Iraqi city of Mosul fell to a lightning Isis offensive in 2014, even the late Prince Saud al-Faisal, the respected Saudi foreign minister, remonstrated with John Kerry, US secretary of state, that “Daesh [isis] is our [sunni] response to your support for the Da’wa” — the Tehran-aligned Shia Islamist ruling party of Iraq.

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Salut.

 

https://mises.org/blog/tale-about-taxes

 

Henry Hazlitt - "A tale about taxes" (écrit 30/03/1953)

 

 

The other day I met a friend who is a large stockholder in General Motors, and he told me a story. A few weeks before, his son had used somewhat excessive strength on the mixing valve in his bathroom and broke the handle off. The local plumber couldn’t repair it, so he ordered and installed a new valve. The valve turned out to cost $22.50. The installation, at $4 an hour, brought the total up to $100.

That sounded steep enough; but it was not until my friend had made some mental calculations that he realized how steep it really was. His income falls into the 90 percent tax bracket. So he figured that in order to acquire the $100 with which to pay this plumber’s bill, he had to receive $1,000 in dividends from General Motors. (For the benefit of the non-mathematical, $1,000 in dividends minus $900 in taxes on them leaves $100 to pay a plumber’s bill.)

 

But this is only the beginning. In order to pay $1,000 in dividends, General Motors has to earn more than $4,000 before taxes. (General Motors earned $1,502,000,000 before payment of taxes in 1952. It had to pay $943,000,000 in taxes, leaving it $559,000,000 in net income, out of which it paid $362,000,000 in dividends. So for every $1,000 it paid out in dividends, it had to earn $4,149 before taxes.)

But in order to earn $4,149 before taxes, General Motors had to sell $21,570 worth of cars—say eighteen Chevrolets—to its dealers. (GM total sales and income in 1952 amounted to $7,645,000,000.) To sum up, because of cost and tax erosion, in order for my stock-holding friend to replace a bathroom valve, General Motors had to make and sell eighteen Chevrolets.

 

“So what?” some reader may ask. “If this fellow pays a 90 percent income tax, he must be rolling in it. Don’t expect me to weep.”

 

The point of the story is not that anyone should stop to weep, but that a few of us should stop to think. The question is not what our incredible burden of taxation is doing to this rich individual or that, but what effect is going to have in the long run on our whole economy—on productivity, wages, and employment.

 

Obviously a continuation of this rate and kind of taxation must undermine incentives, discourage new business ventures, and even prevent the formation of new capital for such ventures. For every dollar that General Motors paid to stockholders last year, it had to pay $3 to the government (not counting what it collected and paid in excise and sales taxes). The case of General Motors, in this respect, is not exceptional. The Department of Commerce estimates that corporate profits before taxes in 1952 were $39,700,000,000; that out of this the corporations had to pay $22,600,000,000 in taxes, and that they paid out $9,100,000,000 in dividends. In other words, the government took an average of 57 percent of all the earnings of the corporations. And for every dollar that the corporate stockholders got in dividends, the government got $2.48.

 

Even this does not tell us what the stockholders were able to keep in dividends after paying personal income taxes. A stockholder whose income gets into the top tax bracket of 92 percent can keep only 8 cents out of each dollar of dividends. The government gets the other 92 cents. Adding this to the $2.48 that it has already taken from the corporation gives the government $3.40. In other words, the government gets 42 times as much out of the average corporation as the investor in the top income-tax bracket is allowed to get and keep.

 

This may seem like a wonderful racket for the government while it lasts. But Congress should not be entirely astonished if it wakes up one day to discover—we hope not too late—that this division of the profits does not furnish the highest incentives for private investment in new enterprises; and that new venture capital has been drying up, with unpleasant effects on wages, employment, and production, and even on government revenues themselves. If we do not want to repeat the present predicament of England, we should not imitate the policies that brought her to it.

 

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Pas mal en effet. Assez d'accord avec sa façon de calculer la vraie représentativité d'un élu.

Mais. L'auteur estime que la France est une "Ploutocratie libérale dans un système de type Monarchie élective." Glaglougligloglu.

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Mais. L'auteur estime que la France est une "Ploutocratie libérale dans un système de type Monarchie élective." Glaglougligloglu.

C'est un spécialiste de ce genre d'"analyse".

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Salut.

 

Nick Giambruno: http://www.internationalman.com/articles/theyre-bringing-back-feudalism-and-nobody-seems-to-notice

 

"They’re Bringing Back Feudalism… and Nobody Seems to Notice"

 

You’ve likely heard that unknown hackers recently attacked Mossack Fonseca, a law firm in Panama that helps people set up offshore companies and bank accounts. They later leaked 11.5 million documents.

Almost immediately, central economic planners at the G20 and OECD—international organizations of the world’s largest economies—took advantage of the “Panama Papers” incident to shove GATCA down the world’s throat.

 

GATCA is a new “global standard” for the automatic exchange of financial information between governments. It’s modeled on an overreaching U.S. law, FATCA, which forces every financial institution on earth to give the IRS information.

Think of GATCA as FATCA on steroids. If countries widely adopt it, GATCA will deliver the final deathblow to financial privacy.

 

The G20 and OECD are even threatening to blacklist and sanction countries that don’t sign up for their privacy-killing scheme. Most have already caved. Notable holdouts include Panama, Lebanon and Bahrain.

Ramon Fonseca, a founder of the hacked Panama law firm, has said, “We believe there’s an international campaign against privacy. Privacy is a sacred human right (but) there are people in the world who do not understand that.”

 

I think Fonseca is absolutely correct.

 

When Privacy Dies

George Orwell once wrote, “If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—forever.”

Not exactly a cheery thought, I know. But this dark future is, unfortunately, where we may be headed…and soon.

It’s a world where privacy is dead, where the government knows everything about you.

And we’re already almost there.

 

Today, the government knows what you watch on TV, what you read on the Internet, whom you call, and everything you do on your smart phone and computer. It has a record of every penny you’ve ever earned, saved, borrowed or spent. It knows where you’ve been, where you are and where you’re going.

All this government tracking is possible thanks to the mountain of laws and regulations that sprouted from the war on (some) drugs, the war on terror and so forth. Over the years, these schemes have incrementally destroyed privacy. Now, they’re going in for the kill.

 

There’s not much about your life the government doesn’t know already. The last vestiges of privacy may vanish very soon. Once that happens, governments will have almost unbreakable control over the individual.

This is exactly the opposite of how a free society works.

 

This meddling is not about protecting you from drug dealers or terrorists, it’s about the government seizing more power. This is why proponents of big government invariably support measures that kill privacy.

There’s also a psychological aspect to this relentless anti-privacy campaign. The government and its media allies have convinced the average person that “privacy” is a dirty word.

 

They’ve duped people into believing that only criminals and wrongdoers want privacy. “If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to worry about,” as the popular, but wrongheaded, adage goes.

Many have forgotten that privacy is fundamental to preserving human dignity and protecting individuals from government overreach.

 

Financial Privacy and the New Feudalism

Financial privacy is by far the most demonized aspect of privacy. This is a huge clue. Governments wouldn’t hate financial privacy so much if it weren’t so important to individual liberty.

Politicians around the world see citizens as milk cows…they merely exist to be squeezed to the last drop. That’s why politicians are so eager to kill financial privacy. They’re building a giant tax farm and erecting electric fences to keep the cows and their milk from escaping.

 

Overzealous governments have been attacking financial privacy for decades. Now, they’re within striking distance of killing it once and for all.

I think they’ll use the suspicious Panama Papers incident as the pretext for their final push.

The death of privacy in general, and financial privacy in particular, will have far-reaching sociopolitical consequences. It will irrevocably skew the balance of power in favor of the government and against the individual.

 

I call it “the new feudalism.”

A world without privacy is a giant step backward for human freedom. It’s the new Dark Ages that George Orwell grimly predicted.

 

It’s Not Over Yet

While the forces pushing to centralize power have won battle after battle, their victory isn’t yet complete.

Technologies that empower the individual and push toward decentralization—including the Internet, encryption, 3D printing and cryptocurrencies—offer a powerful ray of hope. There are reasons to be optimistic about the future.

 

So, the tug of war continues…

 

Politicians around the world are working hard to make the new feudalism a reality. But it’s still possible to escape.

 

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Salut.

 

http://www.caseyresearch.com/articles/weekend-edition-the-tipping-point-is-quickly-approaching

 

"the tipping point is quickly approaching"

 

 

“Making the chicken run” is what Rhodesians used to say about neighbors who packed up and got out during the ’60s and ’70s, before the place became Zimbabwe. It was considered “unpatriotic” to leave Rhodesia. But it was genuinely idiotic not to.I’ve written many times about the importance of internationalizing your assets, your mode of living, and your way of thinking. I suspect most readers have treated those articles as they might a travelogue to some distant and exotic land: interesting fodder for cocktail party chatter, but basically academic and of little immediate personal relevance.

I’m directing these comments toward the U.S. mainly because that’s where the problem is most acute, but they’re applicable to most countries.

 

Now, in 2016, the U.S. is in real trouble. Not as bad as Rhodesia 40 years ago—and definitely a different kind of trouble—but plenty serious. For many years, it’s been obvious that the country was eventually going to hit the wall, and now the inevitable is rapidly becoming imminent.What do I mean by that? There’s plenty of reason to be concerned about things financial and economic. But I personally believe we haven't been bearish enough on the eventual social and political fallout from the Greater Depression. Nothing is certain, but the odds are high that the U.S. is going into a time of troubles at least as bad as any experienced in any advanced country in the last century.

 

I hate saying things like that, if only because it sounds outrageous and inflammatory and can create a credibility gap. It invites arguments with people, and although I enjoy discussion, I dislike arguing.

It strikes most people as outrageous because the long-running post-WWII boom has been punctuated only by brief recessions. After 70 years, why should it ever end? The thought of a nasty end certainly runs counter to the experience of almost everyone now alive—including myself—and our personal experience is what we tend to trust most. But it seems to me we're very close to a tipping point. Ice stays ice even while it’s being warmed—until the temperature goes over 32° F, where it changes very quickly into something very different.

 

That point—economic bankruptcy accompanied by financial chaos—is quickly approaching for the U.S. government. With deficits over a trillion dollars per year for as far as the eye can see, the U.S. Treasury will very soon be unable to roll over its maturing debt at anything near current interest rates. The only reliable buyer will be the Federal Reserve, which can buy only by creating new dollars.

Within the next 24 months, the dollar is likely to start losing value rapidly and noticeably. Foreigners, who own over 7.3 trillion of them (including T-bills and other IOUs), will start panicking to dump them. So will Americans. The dollar bond market, today worth $40 trillion, will be devastated by much higher interest rates, a rapidly depreciating dollar, and an epidemic of defaults.

 

And that will be just the start of the trouble. Since the U.S. property market floats on a sea of debt (and is easy to tax), it’s also going to be hit very hard, again, this time by stifling mortgage rates. The next step is up for interest rates. Forget about property owners paying their existing mortgages; many won’t be able to pay their taxes and utilities, and maintenance will be out of the question.

 

The pain will spread. Insurance companies are invested mostly in bonds and real estate; many will go bankrupt. The same is true of most pension funds. If the stock market doesn’t collapse, it will only be because money is looking for a place to hide from inflation. The payout for Social Security will drop significantly in real terms, if not in dollars. The standard of living of most Americans will fall.

This rough sequence of events has happened in many countries in recent decades, and they’ve survived the tough times. But it has the potential, at least in relative terms, to be more serious in the U.S. than it was in Argentina, Brazil, Serbia, Russia, Mozambique, or Zimbabwe for two main reasons.

 

First, many people in those countries knew they couldn’t trust their government and acted accordingly, even in contravention of the law, by accumulating assets elsewhere. So, there was a significant pool of capital available for rebuilding. Americans, on the other hand, tend to be much more insular, law-abiding, and trusting in their government. When they lose their U.S. assets, they'll have lost everything.

Second, those societies were significantly more rural than the U.S. is today. As in the America of 100 years ago, much of the population lived quite close to the land and had practical skills and habits that helped them get through the tough times. For 21st-century Americans, it's a different story. Shortages and disorder are going to hit commuters who live in suburbs, and urban dwellers who think milk appears in cartons magically, like a ton of bricks.

 

One thing you can absolutely count on is that everyone will look to the government to “do something.” Americans really do think governments control the way the world works. Another certainty is that the U.S. government will “step in” massively, because everyone will want them to, and the politicians themselves believe they should. This will greatly aggravate the crisis and make it last much longer than necessary.

 

 

 

 

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Salut.

 

Thomas DiLorenzo - "Socialism's one percenters"

 

https://mises.org/blog/socialism%E2%80%99s-one-percenters

 

 

A defining characteristic of socialism in all its forms in all places and at all times is a relatively small political elite (and its “private sector” cronies) that lives lavishly by plundering its population, destroying its economy, imposing a regime of equality of poverty and misery; and turning almost everyone into a dependent on the state for survival. Joseph Stalin was the wealthiest man in the world during his time, not the Rockefellers, Morgans, or anyone else, as the de facto “owner” of the entire Soviet Union. African and Latin American socialist political thugs in the “post-colonial era” have long been notorious for becoming millionaires or billionaires, with Swiss bank accounts galore, while their people starved and begged them for subsistence. Socialism’s one percenters make today’s Wall Street plutocrats seem impoverished by comparison.

 

The latest glaring example of the disgusting and immoral corruption of socialism’s one percenters is Venezuela, a country that has “long been the darling of the [socialist] Left,” according to a June 16 article in the Daily Mail. The article, authored by Jake Wallis Simons, has the headline: “Super-rich socialists quaff champagne in Venezuelan country clubs while middle-class mothers scavenge for food in the gutter ... even the dogs are starving.”

 

Venezuelan socialism, known as “Chavismo,” after the wealthy socialist one percenter Hugo Chavez, has indeed destroyed the country’s economy. Thanks to government-imposed price controls that hold prices below costs, supermarkets are empty, everything is in short supply or simply unavailable, and middle-class people are literally “rummaging in stinking piles of rubbish for cabbage leaves ... and fetid meat,” according to the Daily Mail article, which includes dozens of pictures of these pathetic scenes. Among the most disturbing pictures are those of starving dogs and other animals in this socialist “paradise.”

 

Nationalization, price controls, and suffocating government regulations have so destroyed the remnants of capitalism that hospitals can’t afford toilet paper, let alone medicine; people wait in queues for ten our twelve hours a day, just like in the old Soviet Union, in hopes of buying something — anything — that might come up for sale in hopes of trading it for things they actually need; there is raging hyperinflation as the government tries to print money like mad to continue paying for its socialist fantasies; and crime is the worst of anywhere on earth. One middle-class woman is quoted in the article as saying “Chavez’s legacy is people like me looking for food in the garbage.”

 

Black markets are pervasive, also just like the old Soviet Union, but the wealthy make out the best from this situation because only they can afford to pay the astronomically higher black-market prices or to pay the bribes demanded by black marketeers. The politically-connected socialist elite lives high on the hog, entertaining themselves quite lavishly at such places as the Caracas Country Club, where the membership fee alone is almost 500 times the average annual salary of a middle-class Venezuelan worker. The Daily Mail article is adorned with pictures of “lavish parties and tables groaning with gourmet food.” It quotes one wealthy Chavez crony as saying, “Should we stop enjoying ourselves just because the country is burning?” Well, of course not. (This reminded me of the scene in “History of the World, Part II” where Mel Brooks, portraying the revolutionary-era King of France, is approached by an alarmed aid who says: “Sire, the peasants are revolting!” To which the “king” answers: “They certainly are.”)

“Those rich people are thieves,” says the woman quoted by the Daily Mail. “They are government cronies and they stole the country’s money. ... We had a socialist revolution and these are the results.” “I feel cheated. Our socialist dream is falling apart,” said another pathetically-duped victim of Bernie Sanders/Hugo Chavez-style socialism.

 

Meanwhile, according to a recent poll, 46 percent of American “millennials” say they could vote for a socialist for president, who they believe would end political cronyism, “get money out of politics,” and redistribute the wealth of the politically-connected one percenters to them. This, of course, is complete nonsense and an expression of extreme ignorance. As F.A. Hayek explained in his classic, The Road to Serfdom, the reality is that under socialism, “the only power worth having is political power.” It is capitalism, private property, and markets that provide the most potential for economic opportunity, economic advance based on merit, hard work, savings, entrepreneurship, and individual initiative. Who says the government schools are not teaching the kids much these days?

 

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Salut.

 

Thomas DiLorenzo - "Socialism's one percenters"

 

https://mises.org/blog/socialism%E2%80%99s-one-percenters

 

Très bien, merci.

Exactement les arguments à balancer dans la figure des socialauds qui critiquent les inégalités de l'ultralibéralisme.

 

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L'article de Sloonz dans CP sur le voteur rationnel est très intéressant.

 

J'ai l'impression de ne pas être d'accord au sens où je ne pense pas qu'on puisse a priori classer les préférences en "idéologiques" et "matérielles" et considérer que tout arbitrage entre les deux est une question de "préférence pour la croyance". A priori il me semble qu'il faut considérer la préférence pour le vote protectionniste comme la préférence pour les conséquences du vote protectionniste et l'arbitrage entre libre échange et protectionnisme comme l'arbitrage entre conséquences économiques imaginées du protectionnisme et conséquences sociales ou culturelles imaginées du protectionnisme. Autrement dit je ne vois pas pourquoi on évacuerai dans la théorie a priori de la rationalité la possibilité que des personnes veuillent vraiment vivre dans un monde protectionniste, et pas seulement se passer du baume au coeur en votant. La notion de préférence pour la croyance, qui serait irrationnelle, me semble donc ne pas avoir sa place dans la théorie de la rationalité.

 

Après, il y aurait une thèse psychologique qui serait qu'en fait les gens ne votent protectionnistes que s'ils perçoivent la victoire du vote protectionniste comme faible, et donc que a posteriori, psychologiquement, tout le monde attache une valeur aux gains monétaires (ou matériels) à côté de laquelle les considérations idéologiques sont négligeables. Mais ça ça se teste, ça ne peut pas être déclaré a priori en distinguant ontologiquement deux types de préférences, dont l'une serait rationnelle (matérielle) et l'autre irrationnelle (immatérielle), car a priori, la rationalité est simplement l'adéquation de l'action aux objectifs et aux conditions d'atteinte de ces objectifs. Fussent-ils protectionnistes. Donc quels que soient les issues économiques, il peut y avoir un protectionnisme rationnel.

 

Bref j'écris ça un peu à chaud et je n'ai pas le temps de développer, mais je viens de me procurer le bouquin de Caplan, je vais tâcher de le lire pour voir si mon impression est bonne, car je vois une mine de discussions très intéressantes sur la théorie de la préférence.

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je poste ici cette question : les enquêtes du contribuable, c'est en panne ou quoi ? le dernier numéro date de décembre et logiquement c'est tous les deux mois

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La notion de préférence pour la croyance, qui serait irrationnelle, me semble donc ne pas avoir sa place dans la théorie de la rationalité.

N’a aucune place ou n’est pas la seule explication possible ?

Le but du bouquin c’est justement de montrer que le concept de préférence pour la croyance a une place. Je suis tout à fait d’accord que ce n’est pas la seule explication, par contre.

L’exemple du vote pour moi est excellent pour expliquer le concept (parce qu’il est facile de montrer que impact objectif du vote = 0, et que donc pour homo œconomicus le choix du bulletin se fera uniquement sur des critères autres que l’impact objectif de chaque alternative proposée — vulgairement parlé, pour des raisons irrationnelles). Par contre, le concept me semble bien plus intéressant appliqué en amont du vote. Autrement dit, comment se forme cette image qu’un monde protectionniste est plus ou moins désirable ? Et surtout, quand est-elle remise en question ? Par exemple : si tous mes amis sont protectionnistes, et que mon image de moi est celle d’un philanthrope qui se soucie des pauvres ouvriers menacés par la mondialisation, quel est le coût de prendre au sérieux les arguments de cet hurluberlu de Bastiat ? Me froisser avec mes amis, perdre de l’amour propre (j’ai été un monstre pendant la majeure partie de ma vie ! et comment j’ai été naïf, stupide !). Quel bénéfice ? À moins d’être quelqu’un d’influent, ce n’est clairement pas mon opinion qui va changer quoi que ce soit. Et donc, que me donne une analyse rationnelle bénéfices/coûts, vis-à-vis de l’idée de prendre au sérieux Bastiat ? (bien entendu, il n’y a pas une seule réponse possible. Peut-être que mon image de moi est de quelqu’un d’ouvert, capable de changer d’avis si nécessaire. Mes avis sont peut-être indifférents sur la question… et si en plus j’ai une certaine influence sur eux… prendre au sérieux les arguments de Bastiat pourrait être une bonne idée)

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je poste ici cette question : les enquêtes du contribuable, c'est en panne ou quoi ? le dernier numéro date de décembre et logiquement c'est tous les deux mois

Oui, c'est en panne. Trop coûteux.

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Ah merde, et c'est une grosse panne sèche, genre à la casse, ou bien c'est temporaire ? J'aimais bien, pour le côté déprimant et énervant de certains chiffres et dénonciations des pratiques honteuses des administrations publiques. Pas beaucoup de magazines papier qui existent dans ce style. Bon, il y a un aspect un peu raide relatif à l'immigration, on peut pas dire que ça prône la libre circulation ; en même temps, c'est pas trop le but, puisqu'il est plutôt de pointer les dépenses publiques excessives

Ils ont pas de ressources pub, et pas de subventions of course ?

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