toward an American (post-) industrial policy



“The relationship between the labor process-what Marx often referred to as the “hidden abode” of industrial capitalism and the social reproduction of the industrial workforce.’ remains in the current state of a commercial capitalism based on unproductive labor, In the face of environmental apocalypse, a half wild earth cannot be achieved by markets alone and the formation of a national industrial policy is concurrently a national environmental policy. MMT is not necessarily the answer but it can point the way to delimiting the reliance on some market solutions for public goods. Scarcity of gold as natural resource must be seen as no different than scarcity of healthcare. There are no more ‘sputnik’ or moon-shot moments, there’s just saving the planet.

Hundreds of miles south were the gold-bearing reefs of Johannesburg; hundreds of miles north, the rich copper mines. These the two lodestars of the great central plateau, these the magnets which drew men, white and black; drew money from the world’s counting houses; concentrated streets, shops, gardens; attracted rich and misery-particularly misery. Doris Lessing, Eldorado



There are other measures necessary for regulating inflation beyond a price market for pharmaceuticals and enforcing laws on counterfeit drugs and Sackler-like opioid crime. A comprehensive industrial policy only hinted at by the Green New Deal is essential even ignoring the urgency of a climate crisis. It exceeds hidden costs and the mysteries of “surplus value”. In contrast, a coherent ecological critique of capitalism requires an understanding of the dialectical contradiction between the natural form and the value form inherent in the commodity economy. (Value Isn’t Everything. by John Bellamy Foster and Paul Burkett. 2018)

Renewable energy policy can only be driven by a market guided not by some mystical faith in an incentive-driven “free market” but by a comprehensive national policy. There is measurable surplus value on a national scale that needs to be incorporated in a national industrial and post-industrial policy beyond Sabel & Piore towards a second industrial divide or a fourth industrial revolution.

Having such measures facilitates the analyses of a broader range of cost-structures beyond transactions and externalities.

Drugs production, prescription of otherwise, is industrial production, for example, while also being health care and public policy. Ecology is more than Gaia-like totalism discourse, it is also more than a benign scientific anarchism.

Feb 7, 2022 Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) economists believe that the US Fed’s response to raise interest rates to lower demand should not be the one-stop shop solution to keep prices under control, but suggest other measures such as Medicare for all, cutting the Pentagon budget, repealing some tariffs, and unclogging the ports

The central idea of ​​MMT is that governments with a fiat currency system under their control can and should print (or create with a few keystrokes in today’s digital age) as much money as they need to spend because they cannot go broke or be insolvent unless a political decision to do so is taken.

Confusion arises because the federal government is not subject to balancing their budget as everyone else must do — individuals, businesses, state and local governments, etc. MMT is not really a theory, but rather a description of how the money system operates. Here’s a simple chart.

I wrote a longer piece on how MMT is the Key to Funding a New Green Deal and the Progressive Agenda. Here is a short 10 minute explainer video by MMT Economist Fadhel Kaboub that describes the MMT framework that can manage and fund this transition without causing inflation.



The industry opposed releasing the data under the new price-transparency law. In the past, it was nigh impossible for employers to know how much their insurance companies agreed to pay. So in theory, employers can use the new data to get a better deal. But in order to use it, they’ll need to get it. And that’s the problem.

In the newly-released data, each “negotiated rate” (or simply “price”) is associated with a lot of metadata, but it boils down to: who’s paying, who’s getting paid, what they’re getting paid for, plus some extra fluff to keep track of versioning. The hundreds of billions of prices in the dataset (probably over a trillion) result from all the possible combinations of these things. Codes can have different types, or versions. Prices can have service codes. And so on.

And because prices change, the insurers release new versions of these 100TB files monthly.

I naively thought that insurers would be publishing the prices they negotiated with the 6,000 hospitals in the US. I was wrong.

A back-of-the-envelope calculation gets me a rough estimate of over 500B different prices, simply from counting how many prices are in each file, multiplying by the number of files. But this is just from the handful of insurers I scraped (and who were in compliance.) All told, the total number of prices could reach over a trillion.

That’s because the data dumps include the negotiated rates with every entity that the insurance companies have contracts with. It’s impossible to say how many there are without going through the “in network” files directly, but a cursory look suggests that there are millions.

Humana dumped nearly half a million compressed CSV files totaling 50TB compressed (~600TB uncompressed.) At around 70k prices per 9MB file, this translates into about 400 billion individual prices negotiated with different providers.







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