[Marxism] Some useful statistics .... Re: The withering economy

Steve Palmer spalmer999 at yahoo.com
Wed Jun 4 12:11:38 MDT 2008


For anyone interested in tracking the actual underlying trends, here are some
interesting statistics or sources of statistics:

Shadow Government Stats
-----------------------
http://www.shadowstats.com/
Recalculates official statistics on a consistent basis to get at the 'real'
numbers for unemployment, inflation, GDP growth (or lack of it), money supply
etc.

Noteworthy are a series for M3 (the money supply, broadly interpreted) which
has diverged significantly from M2 over the past couple of years. The Bushies
stopped publishing M3 because it was 'too expensive' to calculate. As Marxists,
we know that money supply increases are a result, not a cause of price
increases/GDP increases. The gap between M3 and M2 gives some indication of the
degree of price increases due to speculation.

The Wilshire 5000
-----------------
No, not some brand of cheese: it 'represents the broadest index for the U.S.
equity market, measuring the performance of all U.S. equity securities'.
http://www.wilshire.com/Indexes/Broad/Wilshire5000/

The panel on the right shows that since its peak on Oct 9th 2007, the
capitalized value of US companies has fallen about 11%. This can only increase
the rate of profit by a trivial %age. If it was 10%, it would rise to about
11%. Way to go ...

Profits
-------
A quarterly press release from the BEA, easily found from the home page - look
for Corporate Profits.
http://www.bea.gov/newsreleases/national/gdp/2008/pdf/gdp108p.pdf

Check out Table 12. Domestic profits peaked in Q2 of 2007. In Q1 2008 were at
$1,172.4bn. 'Receipts from rest of the world' - ie profits on US overseas
investments for Q1 2008 were $533.1bn - 45% of the domestic number. In 2005,
this was 31%. So US capitalism is becoming increasingly dependent on overseas
investment.

(A parenthetical FYI for those who think 'Foreign Direct Investment' means 100%
subsidiaries: by BEA definitions 'a U.S. direct investor owns or controls 10
percent or more of the voting securities of its incorporated foreign affiliate
(or has an equivalent interest in its unincorporated foreign affiliate)' - a
pretty low threshold.)

Exports of capital
------------------
Another BEA quarterly release. Go to Balance of Payments, International
Transactions.
http://www.bea.gov/newsreleases/international/transactions/2008/pdf/trans407.pdf

Increases in the export of capital are a classic indicator of overaccumulation.
Table 1, p10 shows these up from $1,062bn in 2006 to $1,183bn in 2007 - about
94% of the level domestic profits. This is up from a low of $291.3bn in 2002 -
about 40% of the level domestic profits. As a percentage of non-residential
fixed investment (loosely, 'productive investment'), overseas investment has
risen from 27% to 80%. 

Steve

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