Blog Archives

Why Capital Is Fleeing China: The Crushing Costs of Systemic Corruption

Corruption isn’t just bribes and influence-peddling: it’s protecting the privileges of the few at the expense of the many. Rampant pollution is corruption writ large: the profits of the polluters are being protected at the expense of the millions being poisoned.

This is why capital and talent are fleeing China: systemic corruption has poisoned the nation and raised the cost of doing business. External costs such as environmental damage must be paid eventually, one way or the other.

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Tax Donkeys: Rich Enough to Pay Most of the Taxes, Not Rich Enough to Buy Politicians

Real political representation must be bought, just like everything else in a market economy.

Mike Swanson (Wall Street Window) and I were discussing the difference between the 1% who earn $360,000 annually and up and those in the Oligarchy class–the .01% (our podcast: America’s Nine Socio-Eco-Political Classes).

The difference is the 1% remain Tax Donkeys: they pay most of the Federal and state income taxes, but are not wealthy enough to buy political influence.

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DEA Agents Caught Having Drug Cartel Funded Prostitute Sex Parties Received Slap on the Wrist; None Fired

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Last month, I highlighted the “truth is stranger than fiction” story about how Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) agents were caught having sex parties with prostitutes hired by drug cartels. I ended that post with:

While these agents will almost undoubtedly receive no real punishment, perhaps some good will come from this: End the idiotic war on drugs.

Well we now have access to an internal DEA report on the incident, and find out that, unsurprisingly, the agents involved received barely a slap on the wrist. Moreover, it appears some of the women hired for these parties may have been teenagers.

Read the rest here.

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Greece: Are You Finally Ready to Do the Right Thing and Leave the Euro?

The era of living off borrowed money is over in Greece, and the Greek people now have a choice.

Almost four years ago I wrote Greece, Please Do The Right Thing: Default Now (June 1, 2011). Default remains the only real way forward for Greece and Europe.Consider the destructive “gains” reaped by four years of lies, predation, debt-serfdom and austerity in service to kleptocrats: tremendous suffering by many Greek citizens, all for nothing but propping up the evil of debt-serfdom to the Greek kleptocracy and the financial royalty of Europe.

The truth is Greece squandered four years propping up a patently false illusion that using the euro as a currency was worth everything, when it was always worth nothing.

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Another Settlement – JP Morgan Receives Slap on the Wrist Despite Years of Fraudulent CFTC Data

The Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has been long viewed as one of the most corrupt of American institutions – and that’s saying a lot. Putting aside all the accusations with regard to silver manipulation in recent years, the most stunning controversy occurred back in 2010 when a retiring judge accused the other remaining judge of being a total bought and paid for Wall Street crony.

Read more here.

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The Rot Within, Part III: Our Political Order Is Defined by Favoritism and Extortion

What’s the difference between the U.S. Congress and corrupt petty officials taking bribes at a Third-World border crossing? Only one of scale.

Corruption ceases to be corruption when it becomes the Status Quo; what was once recognized as corruption is seen as just another cost of doing business. Our political order is structurally corrupt: the key dynamic in every level of governance is favoritism and extortion.

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What’s the Difference Between Fascism, Communism and Crony-Capitalism? Nothing

The essence of crony-capitalism is the merger of state and corporate power–the definition of fascism.

When it comes to the real world, the difference between fascism, communism and crony-capitalism is semantic. Let’s start with everyone’s favorite hot-word, fascism, which Italian dictator Benito Mussolini defined as “the merger of state and corporate power.” In other words, the state and corporate cartels are one system.

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Our Middleman-Skimming Economy

The Internet is enabling sellers and buyers to bypass the predatory State and the parasitic middlemen the State enforces.

Why do we read commentaries and analyses? To understand why the Status Quo is dying and to have a hand in shaping the new way of living that will replace it.Longtime correspondent Zeus Y. recently encapsulated the core dynamic of our era:

“Here’s the deal between the two worlds right now: the Status Quo is dying but trying to take everything with it and the other is trying to hold the old world up enough to avoid complete collapse, buy time, and construct the airplane of the new world, all while flying.”

Humans avoid changing current arrangements until there is no choice left but to change them–usually when the arrangement collapses in a heap. Greece is an interesting example of just this dynamic: the political parties left, right and center are desperate to keep the corrupt Status Quo intact, while those whose slice of the swag has vanished have already moved on to new arrangements that no longer depend on Central State swag or the many layers of middlemen that skimmed off most of the wealth for various monopolies, cartels and Elites:
After Crisis, Greeks Work to Promote ‘Social’ Economy.

Here’s the Status Quo arrangement: the Elites trying to take everything they can before their vast skimming arrangement finally collapses:

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Two Powder Kegs Ready to Blow: China & India

China and India are both powder kegs awaiting a spark for the same reason: systemic corruption.


The conventional view of China and India sports not one but two pair of rose-colored glasses:Chindia (even the portmanteau word is chirpy) is the world’s engine of growth, and this rapid economic growth is chipping away at structural political and social problems.

Nice, especially from a distance. But on the ground, China and India (not Chindia–there is no such entity) are both powder kegs awaiting a spark for the same reason: systemic corruption in every nook and cranny of both nations. The conventional rose-colored view is that corruption will inevitably decline with modernization and economic growth.

This is simply wrong on multiple levels: as the opportunities for crony/neofeudal skimming increase, so does corruption. As the scale of the economy increases, so does the scale of corruption.

China’s “princelings” (offspring and family of the inner political circle and top apparatchiks of the Communist Party) are billionaires, not mere millionaires. A recent expose of offshore accounts held by various Chinese billionaires estimated the wealth skimmed and transferred our of China at between $1 trillion and $4 trillion: China’s Epic Offshore Wealth Revealed: How Chinese Oligarchs Quietly Parked Up To $4 Trillion In The Caribbean.

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Revolving Door 2014: Former Head of the Federal Communications Commission Joins Carlyle

Submitted by Michael Krieger of Liberty Blitzkrieg.

What better way to kick off 2014 than with the first (and most certainly not last) egregious example of USA banana republic revolving door crony capitalism. In this case, the crony in question is former head of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Julius Genachowski, who was earlier today named Managing Director and partner in the U.S. Buyout team for private equity giant Carlyle Group. Carlyle is so giddy about its latest example of regulatory capture, they issued a glowing press release on the matter. Here are some excerpts…

Read the rest here.

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