The Fourteenth Banker Blog

July 17, 2010

Elizabeth Warren in Treasury Crosshairs Again (Update/Correction: Treasury Disputes Media Reports) « naked capitalism

Filed under: Running Commentary — thefourteenthbanker @ 2:09 AM

Elizabeth Warren in Treasury Crosshairs Again (Update/Correction: Treasury Disputes Media Reports) « naked capitalism.

This is getting really interesting. Is White House seeing the threat in Simon Johnson’s assessment or is this an effort to insulate Geithner from a decision already made to name a compromise candidate that is more acceptable to the industry?



  1. I sure would like to find more input about this situation. This is the usual Byzantine like political worms writhing in their coffee can.

    Might this really all be about Obama appointing Warren after she gives assurances to Obama about toning down her act? Certainly, if I were Obama, I would reserve an override on certain types of acts as a quid quo pro on her appointment. In short, this is to bring her in line. It goes to Obama’s duties as Head of State and Head of Government.

    Comment by Jerry J — July 17, 2010 @ 11:08 AM | Reply

  2. @JerryJ

    Off topic but an issue you’ve referred elsewhere. Over population. There is a theory that over-population is caused by poverty. Certainly, the evidence suggests this. Poor countries have rising population while North America and Europe have declining population.

    What do you think?

    Comment by tippygolden — July 17, 2010 @ 12:08 PM | Reply

    • The fact of over population has many components. I studied Malthus, a wee bit, even in high school science. The simplistic answer back then ignored ecological aspects to the chagrin of my science teachers. Simply put, the only freely available outlet for the poverty stricken is unbridled ignorant sex. Certainly this must be true among those who are of an age that nature hormonally drives into rampant glorious sex. The flaw in over population analogies is that the same hormonal dominance has existed throughout the history of human existence. Then too, poverty is the natural state for all but a thin slice at the top and in the middle. So sheer numbers of poverty stricken will breed and breed giving the conclusion that poverty breeds overpopulation. Since this breeding is ever present, overbreeding was held in check by massive infant death. Failing that famine and war. A family needed twelve births or such to insure two survivors plus that themselves successfully repeated the process.

      Suddenly, around 1880, inroads in lowering infant death began to be developed. Around the same time, Western Christians and Imperial Governments really turned up the medical missionary movement. This movement in the next 70 years or so radically increased infant survival and interjected SUDDEN masses of virile young breeders. So much so, that the next barrier of food supply would have been brought to bear to limit growth. But, alas, along came the Green Revolution.

      Around the time Gandhi went on the Salt March, the population of India ( The entire Britiah Raj) was said to be 350 million. The population of India in 1850 was considerably less. So, might increased infant survival have doubled India’s population to 350 million in the preceding 80 years or so? Apparently, food sources , by any means, were able to handle the sudden increase up to around 1930. In the next fifteen years , the Green Revolution in agriculture began to take root and along with even greater infant survival allowed India and Pakistan’s population to treble in round numbers in the ensuing 80 years.

      It is indisputable that compassion drove the medical missionary movement including state medical activities.The other ancillary population increaser is increased longevity of those that survive to continue the breeding cycle. Here too, compassion drives the result to the point that the living old could well drown civilization.

      At the end of the day, present human overpopulation is the unintended consequence of compassion as the process is believed in our moral structures wrought our present head long drift into collapse.

      Morals are killing human society. Our morals are not adapted to controlling breeding.

      I saw this quite young. My grandfather owned a large forest tract favored by Ruffed Grouse. Given food supply , the Grouse multiplied until there were a dozen per acre. Some years, food supply was very poor and the Grouse died off almost totally. (90 % or better). In those years, I found dead birds everywhere in the spring. The carcasses fattened the Foxes and Wolves until the carrion gave out as a food . Then these critters hit hard times too.

      We now have moral constructs that are fatal to our world in its present state. After a 90 % die off, these moral constructs might be valid again if we are as dumb then as we have been in the past.

      Comment by Jerry J — July 17, 2010 @ 1:58 PM | Reply

    • Lots of good info out there on this topic. One great source of time series info is It uses bubble graphs in time series and you can see how things are trending over 200 years.

      Here is another source as well. I hope it works this time.

      Comment by thefourteenthbanker — July 17, 2010 @ 2:07 PM | Reply

  3. @14th … the URL for “another perspective” is broken (:

    Comment by tippygolden — July 17, 2010 @ 5:24 PM | Reply

  4. @JerryJ

    Infant mortality falls when there is better health care and nutrition. But the is also the medical advancement known as — birth control. — So there is both low infant mortality and falling birth rates in developed countries.

    Noting here the patriarchal Catholic Church which may still be adjusting to the Reformation prohibits birth control. In feudal times the First and Second estates needed peasants with large families to work the land. That’s how the Church and Aristocracy acquired wealth.

    As for your grandfather’s forest tract with Ruffed Grouse … certainly and illustration of natural law. But humans can be more than just animals.

    As for moral constructs that are fatal to the world … I like the title Divine Comedy. I haven’t read Dante in the original. But somehow understanding the present state of the world as nothing new, but an expression of a Divine Comedy makes things less depressing and may put things in perspective.

    Comment by tippygolden — July 17, 2010 @ 6:11 PM | Reply

    • I was trying to put a simple handle on what has happened. Birth control was and is morally anathema or simply ignored by the bulk of people in high population nations. These people begat for eons ten or whatever children to see three survive to breed the next cycle. Suddenly over less than a century, six or eight out of ten survive to breed the next generation. And begat exponentially upward. The fact is , using India as a example including Pakistan, British Raj population of 350 million or so grew into 1100 million in 80 years. The British Raj and India itself after tossing the Raj placed a high premium on decreasing infant mortality. The hypothetical comparison here would be a calculation of British Raj population today without any medical interdiction in infant mortality.

      Whjat is seemingly not well known is that better health and nutrition was argely brought about from medical missionary efforts starting in the late Victorian Era. A very British and A

      What I am driving at is to be more than what we are, we must understand what was along the path to where we are more. In short, it is obvious that compassion had consequences from being ignorant of the entire problem. When, I was born, the estimated human population was arguably around 2 billion. Closing in on 75 years later that population is closing in on 7 billion.

      The problem of consequences of compassion is probably solvable only on bases that are unspeakable and if they happened would destroy the civilizations attempting them. Increased health care, nutrition and stabilization in places like India were largely brought about by medical missionaries directly or through pressures on the state. Victoria, as Empress of India in her own right was a vast contributor to medical missionaries through her bureaucracy. A very major effort for well over a century by the Vatican and Protestant Churchs.

      We see here that good wrought ” evil”. Or put another way, ignorant good wrought potential civilizational collapse.

      If the human population of Earth were the same today as when I was born, what would be the level of all ecological damages compared to today? Unknown, but vastly less obviously.

      Philosophically, moral good can destroy a civilization if the good morality does not address consequences in the real world. All along they had Malthus, loose as it is, to use as a start to address the problem. Nothing new under the sun.

      We live under such rapid change that humans cannot drop old ideas fast enough to avoid disastrous consequences from retained beliefs. Marx too was on to the problem but could not drop the idea of rationals prevailing…. just as those too behind the perfect market idea could not understand irrationality staring them in the face.

      Comment by Jerry J — July 17, 2010 @ 8:13 PM | Reply

  5. Jerry J,

    The Henry George Institute has a hopeful rebuttal to your view on over-population. You can find it here.

    I only discovered the American economist Henry George a few weeks ago. George was a contemporary of Karl Marx and George correctly predicted that Marxism would lead to dictatorship. /Henry_George#Economic_contributions”>See here and here. George is an outlier, his economic theory is heterodox, the Chicago School being the dominant orthodoxy since the 1970’s. I am still trying to figure out what the Georgians are about.

    Comment by tippygolden — July 18, 2010 @ 9:18 AM | Reply

  6. 14th, thanks for fixing the link above. Hans Rosling is pretty cool.

    Comment by tippygolden — July 22, 2010 @ 6:17 PM | Reply

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