Chaos Theory?

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Here is a definition of the branch of mathematics known as chaos theory:


Chaos: When the present determines the future, but the approximate present does not approximately determine the future.

Having survived the events of the past 13 months, I offer the following alternative definition of the field for your edification:


Chaos Theory – A study of the effects of the Trump administration, with special emphasis on the unintended consequences of the election of a particularly unqualified and immoral individual as President.


The theory posits this proposition: When a craven and narcissistic individual manages to exploit the weaknesses of his opponent, assisted by overt propaganda campaigns (some of which were Russian in origin), and this individual wins election, then this same individual will create a state of chaos in the government and in international relations due to the individual’s insistence that everything revolves around him. Ancillary effects include failure to perform constitutional duties involving protection of this nation from foreign adversaries. Other effects include performing carnival con games aimed at distracting members of the class that elected this individual by continually braying how good his accomplishments are, while delivering the largess of the Federal government to the corporate and plutocrat donor class.


The longer term effects of this experiment being conducted upon the American public are uncertain. If the experiment is to continue for a full term of four years, the potential impacts may be stated as follows:

  • Continued expansion of Chinese influence throughout Asia, Africa, and South America due to the abandonment of all US influence other than military power.
  • Ongoing degradation of existing infrastructure within the US due to the adherence of this administration to the principle that the only valid method of infrastructure restoration involves assigning private interests an ownership position in the restoration efforts.
  • Fomenting racial and cultural division by continually repeating lies and quarter-truths in order to justify policies of exclusion.
  • Developing a subgroup of the US population that steadfastly refuses to accept facts that contradict the brazen lies of both the leader of this administration, and all who shill for this individual.
  • Accelerates the decline of the US as a world leader due to the continual failure to recognize that the world has become interdependent. This failure to recognize the need for international cooperation will result in the abandonment of the US by other nations when US interests are threatened globally.
  • Eliminates all semblance of belief in scientific validity, thus enshrining policies that violate physical laws, and eliminating funding for scientific research. This also accelerates the decline of the US by allowing other nations to glom onto the growth engines of the global economy for decades to come.
  • Removes the economic growth that has always come from open policies for working within this country. By placing increasingly stiffer barriers against foreign students studying and then working in this nation, the US misses out on entrepreneurial energies of potential immigrants.


The list above includes only some of the potential effects of continuing this experiment within the body politic of the US. Part of the uncertainty involved with chaos is that there will be further unanticipated effects that will occur as a result of the seeds being sown by this administration. Given the direction and the effectiveness of this administration, it is apparent that the downside potential for the effects is much more likely than any upside potential.


One of the most disturbing effects of this experiment is that it is essentially an experiment conducted within another experiment. That larger experiment is the US republic, an experiment that has run for over 240 years. Some of the techniques being used by the current administration are testing the bounds of the Federal system enshrined by the constitution. In particular, the independence of the different branches of the government has ensured that no one branch gains ascendency over the others. This independence is being threatened by the trends developing within the Republican party of providing unswerving support of the executive branch, regardless of the harmful effects of the actions of the executive. By use of the feared twitter attack, this President has caused a phenomena within the Republican congress known as “toadying”. Once the poison toad has been licked, the tongues of those affected are capable only of providing statements of affirmation towards the administration, and declaiming those of any who speak ill of the President.


The current experiment may not reach a natural conclusion. During 2018 will come a checkpoint in the experiment, where those who pay the bill for the experimenters will indicate either their approval for completing the experiment, or will choose to apply constraints upon the unfettered excesses shown to date. It is even possible that the 2018 checkpoint will cause the experiment to be canceled due to changes that may come in the legislative chambers. Those who believe in the original US experiment are desiring that the legislative change happens, and serves as a stinging reproach towards the party that allowed itself to be hijacked by incompetence and immorality.


Posted originally on my blog


Tubularsock Added Feb 20, 2018 - 5:12pm
Tubularsock can’t wait to see if the great American experiment will materialize a Congressional adjustment that even if it happens will change anything at all, except gridlock by a different monied class.
The foreign policy will remain the same and all this Russian influence bullshit will be run ad nauseum.
There would have to be a huge upheaval for anything to change the U.S. out of the race toward fascism. With the military industrial complex and government working hand in glove.
Leroy Added Feb 20, 2018 - 7:41pm
I thought they called it TDS.
Doug Plumb Added Feb 20, 2018 - 8:44pm
Trump doesn't have a say in the policy of this financial empire. He is like a hood ornament on a tank. He does something they don't like and they do something to interest rates that Trump doesn't like. "Republican" and "democrat" just manage the expectations of a public and Trump is there to take the blame.
  Both sides are working to liquidate the USA because they financial empires have had enough of freedom and reason.
Doug Plumb Added Feb 20, 2018 - 9:02pm
BTW this has nothing to do with chaos theory. I don't know why you called it that. Chaos starts with a bunch of non linear DE's in a system with singular points. The singular points can move and become unpredictable. You argue that what Trump is doing is predictable.
Even A Broken Clock Added Feb 21, 2018 - 9:49am
Tube, unfortunately you may be correct. This is a good time for the winter Olympics, since it appears that we are downhill racers heading for a huge pileup along the snow fence.
Even A Broken Clock Added Feb 21, 2018 - 9:50am
Leroy, don't know what to say. Those who have been deceived by this charlatan will not ever see the truth. The vulgarians have won.
Even A Broken Clock Added Feb 21, 2018 - 9:55am
Doug, trust me when I say I am aware of what true chaos theory is. I once had a chemical plant manager who was big into chaos theory and authored papers relating chaos theory to management practices. I also have a neat desk accessory with two spinning triangular posts with magnets. This forms a chaotic system as you look at the interactions and truly, the starting conditions can be just slightly off and the interactions are totally different. I thought the title was just catchy enough to capture the essence of this administration.
Even A Broken Clock Added Feb 21, 2018 - 10:00am
Joanne, never overlook the power of toadying to be addictive. In another of my political posts I compared the takeover of the Republicans to the Stockholm Syndrome. I am completely baffled by the lack of a coherent response by Republicans to the hostile takeover of what was a viable and thoughtful political party. Now, the naked greed of the legislators is overwhelming any tendency towards decency and good governance.
I much prefer doing science posts or posts about the nature around my house. After all, I have crocuses blooming all through the lawn right now. But I am driven to make my observations about the horrible nature of this President.
Dave Volek Added Feb 21, 2018 - 11:35am
I would add that political parties are very loyal to those who have proven they can win elections. This loyalty is more important than loyalty to the society. Even though the victory was marginal, Mr. Trump won the election. And despite whatever flaws are within his administration, it seems 30% of Americans are still in favor of his actions--and they will likely be making the trip to the voting booth the next time. The R's have no choice but to fall in line.
I like the experiment within the experiment concept laid out here. I believe America needed to go through a Trump-like presidency sooner or later. And maybe it is better to go through this experiment with Mr. Trump than with someone who has a good grasp of psychology and sociology. 
And, of course, we will need to see if the larger experiment pans out. America seems to have survived the Andrew Jackson presidency.
Leroy Added Feb 21, 2018 - 11:44am
"I like the experiment within the experiment concept laid out here. I believe America needed to go through a Trump-like presidency sooner or later."
That's pretty much what I said about O.  We needed to go through eight years to progressive liberalism to get it out of our system.  It damn near destroyed the nation.  It gave rise to Trump.  Whatever one says about Trump, one cannot argue that he hasn't been successful.  His approval rating among likely voters was 48% the last time I heard, four percentage points over O at the same point.  His tax cut approval has gone from 37% to 51% and still has momentum as the liberal lies are exposed.  One can argue against his policies but not his success.  One can say, But, but, but...what about the future?"  Since when have progressive liberals ever thought about the future.  By their nature, they are short-term thinkers.
Dave Volek Added Feb 21, 2018 - 12:04pm
It took one year for the tax cut bill to happen. This was a no-brainer given the campaign promises and the R-controlled Congress. If this guy was on the political ball, it could have been passed in a couple of months after inauguration. From my perspective in Canada, it was the only noteworthy legislation passed in Congress in the first year.
The debacle over the immigration bills (which don't seem to be passing) is another sign of a president who doesn't know how to make things work. This is a stalled presidency.
Leroy Added Feb 21, 2018 - 12:31pm
Dave, it seems to me to show that the president is getting his way without too many idiotic compromises.  The budget is an exception.  He was rated by one group as accomplishing more than the iconic Reagan in his first year.  His failure is more a triump of hope over reality.
Even A Broken Clock Added Feb 21, 2018 - 12:46pm
Dave, you are exactly correct on the 30% that will support Trump despite all evidence to the contrary. I may disagree with one of your comments - I think that he has an instinctive grasp of psychology, and how to use it to manipulate people. What he does not have is any experience in how to use it in an organization that is not all about him. His efforts to make everything all about him is the prime reason for his failures.
Dave Volek Added Feb 21, 2018 - 12:48pm
"Rated by one group" was probably his fan club.
One significant bill passed in one year is not getting his way.
Reagan knew how to work deals in Congress. Trump does not.
It is a stalled presidency. When the 2018 elections happen, it will be more stalled.
Even A Broken Clock Added Feb 21, 2018 - 12:53pm
Leroy, I like that you are sincere in your thoughts and posts. On the other hand, I cannot disagree with you more. Where you are seeing successes in this administration's legislative efforts, most objective observers are seeing abject failure. Where he is having success is in his "ghosting" of Federal agencies. By not staffing agencies, he is hamstringing them from functioning. That is having dire consequences in areas like the State Department, where the security of the nation depends upon having representatives of the US advocate for US interests around the world. But hey, if you see that we don't need no damn diplomats, then be my guest. I just wish you weren't inflicting that view (through this administration) on the 2/3 of this nation who oppose his efforts.
Trump's poll numbers? I believe it is only the Rasmussen poll that shows the numbers you indicate, and they have been a statistical outlier for years. They consistently show about 2 standard deviations more support for Trump than any other polling service. Of course, they are the only one that Dear Leader supports.
Bill Kamps Added Feb 21, 2018 - 12:56pm
I would suggest that ALL of the author's points were going on for some time BEFORE Trump was elected, and that they would continue regardless of whether Trump or HRC were elected President. 
We can debate whether Trump accelerated them more than they would have been otherwise, but that is difficult to prove either way.
Most of these have to do with the ineptitude of the US government, which  has been inept for a long time across both parties.
Dave Volek Added Feb 21, 2018 - 2:14pm
I would say an instinctual grasp of psychological--to be a bully. After that, there doesn't seem to be much there in terms of psychological skills. 
Trump without his money is just another school yard bully. He sort of reminds me of a few drilling rig supervisors I worked with. These guys started with nothing in their pocket and worked their way up to a certain level of management based on their blue-collar smarts, hard work, and kick ass attitude. But they won't be going much higher.
But I have to wonder whether any American president in the future can accomplish great feats with Congress.
Leroy Added Feb 21, 2018 - 2:51pm
No doubt that the Democrats better understand how to use power.  The Republicans, unsure of Trump, we're hesitant to support him.  Most perferred Clinton.  Many believed the Russian collusion narrative.  Now that they have had a taste of victory and the collusion story is evaporating, the RINOs seem to have more confidence.  They now seek his support.  Mueller will no doubt indict Trump but it won't be collusion with Putin.
It's funny.  The heroes of the left are now finding out that they were the ones being manipulated by the Ruskies.  The darling of the left, Joy Baer (?), was a Russian stooge.  Moore was another.  Many here are as well.
Dave Volek Added Feb 21, 2018 - 3:05pm
I don't think there are many die-hard D supporters on this site. Most anti-Trump people here held their nose if they voted for Ms. Clinton.
Even A Broken Clock Added Feb 22, 2018 - 10:18am
Bill, for the most part, I agree with you - the problems listed did begin well before the current administration took office. Actions taken during this administration have sped up the slide to the downside, though. Think about how withdrawing from the TPP enables China to increase its influence without the economic power of an alliance including the economy of the US. Ah, but I forgot - this is one of those indicators of interdependence that is incompatible with America First. Well, fie on thee, Donald. Your philosophy is as phony as the currency at the top of this post.
Even A Broken Clock Added Feb 22, 2018 - 10:19am
Leroy, who are you referring to? I'm not familiar with Joy Baer and Moore.
Leroy Added Feb 22, 2018 - 11:25am
Joy Behar.  I got the spelling wrong.
Leroy Added Feb 22, 2018 - 11:27am
"I don't think there are many die-hard D supporters on this site. Most anti-Trump people here held their nose if they voted for Ms. Clinton."
Not so sure, Dave. 
“There is a special place in hell for women who don't help other women."
Doug Plumb Added Feb 22, 2018 - 11:44am
I think Trump is really draining the swamp. I was on the fence for a long time. The little factoid about the school shooting tells me there is a real war between those that live in the swamp and those that do not. I'm not completely convinced. The capital of Isreal going to Jerusalem tells me it all may be a scam. Jerusalem is going to be the Sanhedrin home for the NWO.
 target="_blank">Marjory_Stoneman_Douglas school was named after a woman who objected to draining the Everglades. (re draining the swamp).
Bill Kamps Added Feb 22, 2018 - 12:00pm
Clock I would tend to agree that some of this was accelerated by Trump.  China will continue to gain influence, it is only natural, it has a quarter of the world's people and so eventually will have the largest economy in the world by far, that is normal.  Both countries have their advantages, and they are very different advantages, so it will be interesting to see how they play out.
US trade and foreign policy needs to be rethought.   Even HRC could not make up her mind on TPP, so while its idea is a good one, I fear the devil in the  details made it less obviously a win for the US. 
While Trump's statements are too simplistic and clumsy, we still carry many of the trade policies of the 1960s, when we were trying to help other countries industrialize.   That was good then, since it made the international trade pie larger.  Now many of those countries are competitors, and we have not modernized our trade and tax incentives to recognize this.  The Trump change to how profits are repatriated back to the US is a long overdue change, and a good one.  Other changes also need to be done. 
Trump at least has shifted the dialog a bit to examining old practices to see if they can be adjusted to the new more competitive reality. 
Even A Broken Clock Added Feb 23, 2018 - 10:31am
While there undoubtedly are things that could be revisited in international trade negotiations, a blanket policy of throwing out the baby with the bathwater does no one any good. What I think many folks, especially in Trump's base, disagree with is the abandonment of national sovereignty in trade disputes to unaccountable mediation efforts, which seem to be biased in favor of multi-national corporations. That sticks in the craw of many folks, and not just in the US. Having worked for a multi-national company for my entire working career, I saw both the good and the bad about having a company that has a global presence.
The folly though, of abandoning the TPP process and leaving the trade field in the Pacific open to Chinese exploitation, will come to bite the US in the future.
Global interdependency is here. How best to deal with it is the key question that will determine national success in this century. Surely it will not be an effective policy to hunker down under our turtle shell and pretend that we can go our own way. But that is the way that has been chosen for this term in office. I just hope that we will be able to ameliorate the ill effects that are growing day by day under the current administration.
Thomas Sutrina Added Feb 23, 2018 - 12:20pm
Broken Clock, Chaos Theory? You have no idea what it really means. There are two types of chaos Anarchy is a nation without laws or rather different laws for different classes. and the chaos of a free market. Let me suggest that you look at South Africa in the time of apartheid, from 1948 to 1991.  It was a nation of two classes, two sets of rules.
The white part of South Africa was booming and operated under one of the freest economies in the world. A free market is a type of chaos that has spontaneous order, controlled, and controllable by no one. In economics and the social sciences, spontaneous order is defined as "the result of human actions, not of human design". ref Wikipedia   "Adam Smith's words, "the uniform, constant, and uninterrupted effort of every man to better his conditions, the principle from which public and national, as well as private opulence is originally derived," has been, "powerful enough to maintain the natural progress of things towards improvement, in spite both of the extravagance of governments and of the greatest errors of administration. Like the unknown principle of animal life, it frequently restores health and vigour to the constitution, in spite, no only of the disease, but of the absurd prescription of the doctor."" The chaos of the market is constructed of many individual events. "Adam Smith put it, an individual who "intends only his own gain" is led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention. Nor is it always the worse for the society that it was no part of it. By pursuing his own interest he frequently promotes that of the society more effectually than when he really intends to promote it. I have never known much good done by those who affected to trade for the public good." ... "an individual who intends only to serve the public interest by fostering government intervention is "led by an invisible hand to promote" private interest, "which was no part of his intention."" I suggest you go to the web and look at the economy and cities that South Africa had and has as a result of a capitalism within a free market.
The second black part of South Africa was a socialist state with government controlled economy and poverty. The chaos of the free market was prevented by about 100 laws that created a dependent black economy. For example people had towns of huts like overseas shipping containers turned into homes with dirt streets and not running water and septic systems. Just go on the web and you will find pictures of the situation. The black population were prevented from accumulating wealth, capital that they could use to build their economy. We had a lack of the chaos of the free market. "Milton Friedman points out that "Economic freedom is an essential prerequisite for political freedom. ... The combination of economic and political power in the same hands is a sure recipe for tyranny."" All of the above is from "Free to Choose" Milton & Rose Friedman 1979 and with this book from Wealth of Nations Vol 1, page 325 book II chapter III 1776 edition edited by Edwin Cannan 5th edition London Methuen & Co Ltd 1930
The civil unrest and brutal tactics of the white government was the tyranny of an ordered economy and society imposed from above.
So let us compare the administration of Donald John. Trump and 
Barack Hussein Obama.  The economy for the 8 years of Obama was a malasie.  He put in place many regulations that limited the chaos or spontaneous order of the market a free hand.   Trump removed many of those constraints and even before the tax cut the economy was growing, free market chaos or spontaneous order was happening and the result was that people were acting in their own self interest.   All boat rise in a rising economy.  So the actions of rising your own boat rose everyone's.   I do not have a comparison of Obama to Trump but the last president to follow similar approach was Reagan.   The comparison can be found  and
Both Obama and Reagan were re-elected.  A hint on what the above article will tell you.  Obama was re-elected with less electoral college votes while Reagan was re-elected with more electoral college votes.
Thomas Sutrina Added Feb 23, 2018 - 12:29pm
Chaotic behavior exists in many natural systems, such as weather and climate.  It also occurs spontaneously in some systems with artificial components, such as road traffic.  This behavior can be studied through analysis of a chaotic mathematical model, or through analytical techniques such as recurrence plots and Poincaré maps. Chaos theory has applications in several disciplines, including   meteorology, anthropology, sociologyphysicsenvironmental sciencecomputer scienceengineeringeconomicsbiologyecology, and philosophy
Dino Manalis Added Feb 23, 2018 - 12:34pm
The chaos started with September 11, while Trump seeks to mimic Reagan.  The Trumpster has certainly improved, he needs to be careful and diplomatic, not rushing to conclusions.  He has to be bipartisan on all issues and triangulate legislators with centrist proposals to force them to compromise on his agenda.
mark henry smith Added Feb 23, 2018 - 1:50pm
Thomas Sutrina, very well said.
In reading the words of Adam Smith I see where he went wrong. The chaotic inefficiency of the free market can only be sustained if there is enough wiggle room to absorb the inefficiencies until they get corrected.
The idea that all people are working towards improvement needs to be better defined. Smith was obviously talking about economic improvement, but it appears some people just want better drugs, since economic improvement is really just a form of psychological improvement.
The guiding hand seems to imply that we should not fear communism, or any kind of governmental control, since this free market phenomenon is a guiding principle nobody could improve upon. And history has proven this, that the desire for people to have the right to guide how they use their labor and how they invest their capital will overwhelm any system imposed to tell them. It is why we should make drugs, guns, whatever open to market forces with a minimum of restrictions.
I would argue that perhaps chaos theory is appropriate in describing human systems, the ones you cited, driving, econ., etc... where the destination is defined. I would argue that there is really no chaos in nature, but is a ethnocentric imposition of human value on a system that has no goals or destinations. Nature is chaos. It works by random selection, but unlike human endeavors, has no desired outcome that we can fathom.
I believe there is a God and God loves his/her creation, but not for the reason we assume, us. God loves the creation because it brings surprise to God's eyes and God loves those of us who do the same. Thank you, Thomas and Clock. Trump is perfect for the times we live in. He's an out-of-control leader for an out-of-control country. 
Thomas Sutrina Added Feb 23, 2018 - 3:41pm
Mark HS your assuming with this that the socialist state will get it right ever.  In reading the words of Adam Smith I see where he went wrong. The chaotic inefficiency of the free market can only be sustained if there is enough wiggle room to absorb the inefficiencies until they get corrected.  Aid to Dependent Children that FDR started in the early 40's is still causing the break up of families with results in male children not having a father figure and this helps create gangs that are now causing death and destruction in our cities, causing low graduation rates, and high unemployment.  
Thomas Sutrina Added Feb 23, 2018 - 3:49pm
Mark H. S.  please present on socialist state that has come close to the performance of a nation that practices free market capitalism.  I can not thing of one.  Venezuela is and the USSR are examples when excessive state control results in the collapse of the economy.  China hides the problems it is having as does the socialist European countries.  But we do see cracks in that screen.  They from time to time have done well but it is sustained for much shorter periods of time. 
The big lie is the major power that they have.  They present a very strong message of them as the savior.  The master minds that can solve the problems of the nation.  But they never get it right and continuously say with more control I will get it right.  However, they never succeed.  And to top it off they purchase votes with welfare of it more tyrannical just kill the opposition. 
Even A Broken Clock Added Feb 23, 2018 - 4:56pm
Thomas, thank you for your thoughtful critique. Let me say at the start that I do have significant knowledge of the mathematical field of chaos theory. Though it has been since college that I've used differential and partial differential equations to any extent, I understand the math backing where chaos theory is a valid descriptor.
One of the things that is extremely important in chaos theory is starting conditions. Small variations in starting conditions can have a huge difference in the outcome with a chaotic system. So lets for a minute consider the starting conditions for Reagan and for Obama as regards the economy. Reagan inherited an economy that showed excessive overheating. Due to the inflation brought about by the dual energy shocks of the 1970's, inflation was up to double-digit levels. Through the efforts of the Federal reserve, interest rates were brought up also to double-digit rates. This cratered the economy, and it was within this environment that Reagan instituted his tax cut. Tax cuts are always more effective when the economy needs more cash to circulate. Results were positive, after 1982, and it is important to note that since 1982, stock markets have generally been in a bull market, while bonds were also in a bull market as interest rates slowly fell.
Obama also inherited an economy in crisis. But this was a crisis of liquidity, not of inflation. During the election season of 2008, the liquidity of commerce almost froze up. Thus it became necessary to apply the extremely unpopular bank bailouts and support financial institution mergers. Though there was almost zero criminal prosecution for the financial industry miscreants, it was found prudent to develop legislation that would address the worst  of the financial excesses. Thus the imposition of the regulations that you are saying were the constraints on the chaotic nature of the free market. Just as Glass-Steagall was a rational response to the financial excesses of the 20's that led to the Great Depression, the Dodd-Frank bill was a rational response to the excesses of the finance industry that led to the Great Recession. Sure, it may need to be modified, especially as regards community bank, but as has been shown by Wells Fargo, unfettered capitalism will result in excesses unless they are governed by regulation and regulators. It is the nature of the industry.
The jury is still out as to whether the tax cut will generate more economic activity than the borrowing used to fund the tax cut. On regulations, I think it is a Faustian bargain in that environmental regulations are being cut, with a future cost of human lives lost due to increased pollution. But we will see. It is another experiment that is running.
Even A Broken Clock Added Feb 23, 2018 - 4:58pm
Dino, my question to you is which Trump is doing  these things? The one on Wednesday, who tried to relate to students, but needed a cheat sheet to remember to let the students know that he heard them, or the one today talking to CPAC who asked the cheering crowd, do you want the 2nd amendment, or the tax cuts. How is that being a consistent person who is capable of triangulating?
George N Romey Added Feb 23, 2018 - 6:56pm
Politicians are doing what the Deep State demands. What we witness is theater and not very good at that. US military hegemony is paramount. Exploiting the human race is essential. Around 1980 the Deep State decided Americans were no longer exempt. They’d too would live a life of financial insecurity so that the top can have even more. Hello South America!
The last President to stand up was JFK. Didn’t work out very well. Eisenhower warned us but we took the bait anyway. 
Thomas Sutrina Added Feb 24, 2018 - 8:47am
Broken Clock,  the details do effect chaos, however; the chaos generally follow the same path when the overall constants are similar.   Coolidge, Kennedy, Reagan, and now Trump choose a path that lead to strong growth.  Roosevelt, Johnson, Carter, and Obama choose a path that lead to malaise. 
Not that starting conditions for all of them were different, but the general response of economy chaos is not totally random, has ordering principle resulted in similar outcomes.  That is what Adam Smith understood and those that coined spontaneous order understood and is an acceptable in the scientific and economic community. 
Those in the Keynesian camp believe that man can improve the response time to get to the most efficient results by their actions.  However, the actual result has been dismal in comparison.  Man is not capable in making broad decision that are any more accurate then those made by individual for themselves.  Yes there are lots of people that make bad decisions but since they make decision that have different effects that may counter act each other.  Where the bad decision of government for the whole economy are not counter acted.   
The 2008 build up of the bubble and its collapse was a situation where they did not cancel each other but government had a hand in making the conditions that created the bubble they skewed the market of bank loans by demanding people not qualified get loans.  The spontaneous order within the market found a way to lessen the losses or spread them out and even lie to remove them from the banks that were forced to give out loans. 
The Great Depression was the caused by the Federal Reserve and quasi government agency with broad powers not doing it promised job of being the bank of last resort, they let banks run out of money due to runs on the bank.
Even A Broken Clock Added Feb 24, 2018 - 11:45am
Thomas, you are correct that one of the factors leading to the Great Depression in the US is that there was no lender of last resort established. That function became added to the Fed roles as part of the changes brought about by FDR (like FDIC insurance was).
Are you referring to the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 as the vehicle that caused banks to lend to unqualified individuals? I would maintain that it was more of a culture of greed that developed among the financial community, where it became possible to earn substantive returns through the new-found practice of bundling mortgages into securities. By slicing and dicing the credit-worthiness of the mortgages that were bundled, financial institutions could off-load the credit risk and book profits on the original securitization. This practice became prevalent everywhere, and some institutions took it to extremes with their liar mortgages, where there was very little background validation on incomes, and the collusion of the bond ratings agencies, which were more than happy to assign investment grade ratings to junk bonds in exchange for commissions.
The poor people of the world rob banks because that is where the cash is. The rich people of the world use banks to rob the people because that's where the real money is. And you would seriously argue that regulation of the financial industry is unnecessary because it damages the ability of the financial world to provide creative solutions to meet the needs of the economy? History is against you, in my opinion.
BTW, I'm enjoying the discussion.  
George N Romey Added Feb 24, 2018 - 11:54am
EBAC only a small percentage of those mortgages made were considered to be under CRA. Moreover CRA legislation never required Wall Street to partake in all the side betting, the real genesis of the financial crisis. Thomas just repeats untrue dogma to excuse immoral behavior.
Our financial system is still undertaking such risky business for short term profits and ultimately there will be another 1929/2008 or worse style meltdown.
mark henry smith Added Feb 24, 2018 - 12:36pm
Love this discussion.
Thomas, I was not advocating socialism, exactly the opposite, I was affirming what Adam Smith said was the basis of human economic activity, the drive to own one's own labor and the fruits thereof to be invested to return profit. Social security did an enviable job of managing assets simply and efficiently, returning solid numbers, but not making anybody rich, but not letting anybody starve, mostly.
What the wealthy saw was that eventually all income would be taxed to fund social security, no limit, and this scared them, because it would be a system that could actually fund all of the social programs liberals wanted and be justified as fair. Why is only this much money taxed? The point was never you get in what you get out, the point was that you are funding the future with the present. I know there will be disagreements on this, as I have had to defend myself before, but the privatization was never to improve conditions for poor contributors, but was to stop the push for a general tax, and allow the finance industry to get their hands on some of that massive pool of funds.
The finance and privatization industry regularly trots out another death spiral of a government program, that it won't be able to pay for itself as a rationale for privatization, and then pays for private wars with debt. The madness is maddening, but it works to convince a political class to go along, since they can point at the flawed rationale as the reason for their decision and people accept that.
Public private partnerships like Fanny Mae and Freddy Mac get used to absorb risk as private entities absorb profits and then public money is brought in. The chaos theory model comes into play in all of this at the point when the public money stops propping up private risk. If you had a crystal ball, or a computer program that could make that prediction accurately, you could end up being the wealthiest person in the world. Just as some individuals who actively participated in the credit-default-swap, mortgage bundling debacle, bet that they could bring the system down, and got paid for doing it.
Chaos theory only works in controlled systems where all externalities are accounted for. It will become better as more data is examined and more variables considered. Not only starting point is important, but end point.   
George N Romey Added Feb 24, 2018 - 12:48pm
Let’s not forget one of the biggest behind the scenes operatives in the 90s for deregulation was Bernie Madoff. He’s was filmed claiming the markets had been too sophisticated for massive fraud to go undetected.
Even A Broken Clock Added Feb 26, 2018 - 10:27am
George, we are in violent agreement that if left to its own devices, the finance industry will always push the bounds and end up with an unsustainable situation leading to an abrupt correction (otherwise known as a crash). There's enough profits out there through legalized usury when it is done fairly, but enough is never enough, especially when the siren call of Wall Street is for exponentially increasing profits.
That's why we've seen time after time that financial regulation is good for the country, even if it depresses short term financial industry profitability.
Even A Broken Clock Added Feb 26, 2018 - 10:40am
Mark, good thoughts. I also am enjoying how this discussion is going. Let me say that I believe that one of the fixes for the social security system is to have all wage related income taxed for social security purposes (remove the wage cap). The proviso would be that additional benefits from the additional income would not be given at as high a rate as the current benefits formula would provide. I would not include non-wage income as part of FICA taxable income.
Having said that, I do think that a partial privatization of SS funds would be a good idea. Why is that? At present, a small minority of folks hold a disproportionate amount of stocks. Most folks have no stake in the game of the capitalist economy. If we started now, and said that of the 12.4% of wages and employer match now dedicated to social security, that 1% of that would go into a fund that basically buys weighted shares of the top 2000 publicly held corporations, and that 1% would form a private account for an individual, I think it would be a good thing. At the time that a person files for social security, the capital portion of the SS balance could be converted into additional SS annuity payments, or it could be detached and be converted by each individual into an IRA. I think this would be a way for all to benefit from the trend for capital to increase over time at a rate greater than bonds would generate.
I know that this approach would be viewed as giving Wall Street a hand on poor folks retirement, but if you implement this over time, I believe the benefits would become obvious, and then everyone would have skin in the capitalist game.
Thomas Sutrina Added Feb 26, 2018 - 2:03pm
Broken Clock Need to check your facts before saying thing like this, "there was no lender of last resort established."  The Federal Reserve Act (ch. 6, 38 Stat. rel="nofollow">251enacted December 23, 1913, rel="nofollow">12 U.S.C. §§ 221 to 522) is an Act of Congress that created and established the Federal Reserve System ... The Act was signed into law by President Woodrow Wilson.  "One reason that Congress created the Federal Reserve, of course, was to act as a lender of last resort. Why did the Federal Reserve fail in this fundamental task?"  I well  let you go it to the details.
mark henry smith Added Feb 26, 2018 - 2:06pm
Clock, I agree with your assessment. To allow some part to be invested, a part above what is determined needed to maintain a reasonable existence, which would be much less if healthcare were a public good and not a private burden, then let the people gamble in the markets.
I heard the statistic that ten percent of the wealthiest Americans own eighty-five percent of the stocks and that this percentage has changed little with the so-called democratization of the markets through the use of mutual funds. As computers take over more and more of the trading decisions for the big players, allowing milli-second trades that net millions, some small players might make it big, but the reality will most likely be that most will be slowly whittled down to peanuts, but still, it is a public good to have people able to make those choices of how their money gets invested in that it gives them the motivation to dream about the benefits of enterprise. A better dream than winning the lottery, I would suggest.
Even A Broken Clock Added Feb 26, 2018 - 3:40pm
Thomas, I will admit that I don't provide annotated research notes. I appreciate the degree of documentation that you provide, but will admit that I may not pursue all of the provided links. Whether the Federal Reserve was tasked with the backstopping of all banks prior to the depression was one thing. What is obvious is that they did not take the action. In 2008, the Federal Reserve did ensure that the insolvent lenders were backstopped, often with mergers. Therefore, the reaction of the regulators was different than in the 1930-1932 period. Was it more effective in 2008-2009? Even though we had a slow recovery, it was not a continued decline. From early 2009 on, economic activity and conditions improved. For me, that is better than having 25% true unemployment for years on end.
Even A Broken Clock Added Feb 26, 2018 - 3:47pm
Mark, I have been very fortunate to have worked in industry for my entire career, and even to have retired with a pension. I acknowledge that I am one of the winners in the economic lottery, perhaps due to my ability to be good with both numbers and words. Since retiring, I've learned that it is very easy to make money if you have it to begin with.
But this society is weighted against those who don't have money to begin with. And that's why I'm a firm supporter of the CFPB, which is one of the few governmental organizations that is supporting the folks who do not have much money. Which, of course, is why this agency has developed so many firm enemies, who swear that the CFPB is crippling the ability of the financial industry to fashion products meant to serve the "unbanked". And the Trump administration is following this up by reducing the CFPB's powers to regulate the payday loan industry, one of the worst offenders at ripping off economically disadvantaged "customers".
mark henry smith Added Feb 27, 2018 - 3:08pm
Very well spoken, Clock. The CFPB has been very effective in getting payouts for consumers. It appears that part of the Trump agenda is to defund or mismanage any agency that is an effective buffer from corporate rapacity. The backlash will be severe and may actually initiate real change in this country.
Hey, remember last month? We had an opioid crisis, now it's gone in the flash of a muzzle.  
Mustafa Kemal Added Feb 27, 2018 - 10:26pm
Doug, re
" target="_blank">target="_blank">Marjory_Stoneman_Douglas school was named after a woman who objected to draining the Everglades. (re draining the swamp)."
You are clearly good at reading their communications, Did you observe the clear imagery of blood sacrifice in front of the altar of the Luxor pyramid with Freemason all seeing eye?
You almost have to admire them.
Mustafa Kemal Added Feb 27, 2018 - 10:32pm
I was pretty dissappointed in the quick pivot from Chaos to Trumpaos
On the other hand, the author does have a point. Trumps shock and awe technique, so popular with many dictatorial types is creating so many crises so quickly that it is hard for any one of them to generate an organized opposition. I dont know if its his genius or his masters but it is working. The US is being dismantled and owned at an extremely fast rate, and the world is heading headlong into a massive conflagration at a fast rate. And the Dems are piddling with DACA
Even A Broken Clock Added Feb 28, 2018 - 11:27am
Mustafa, I think that the style of Trump is not genius. I believe it is serious adult ADHD that is being manipulated by some folks behind the scenes (like Stephen Miller) who are true ideologues. It is difficult to sustain outrage at so many things at once, when there are more outrages being committed daily.  There are both advantages and disadvantages at being a commentator with a target rich environment.

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