Psychology is very often how societies avoid looking in the mirror. A major structural reason for the surging interest in happiness is somewhat more disturbing, and concerns technology. Until relatively recently, most scientific attempts to manipulate how someone else was feeling occurred within formally identifiable institutions, such as psychology laboratories, hospitals, workplaces, focus groups, or some such. This is no longer the case. In July 2014, Facebook published an academic paper containing details of how it had successfully altered hundreds of thousands of its users’ moods, by manipulating their news feeds. There was an outcry that this had been done in a clandestine fashion. But as the dust settled, the anger turned to anxiety: would Facebook bother to publish such a paper in future, or just get on with the experiment anyway and keep the results to themselves?
"Zero Hedge long ago gave up discussing corporate fundamentals due to our long-held tenet that currently the only relevant pieces of financial information are contained in the Fed's H.4.1, H.3 statements... it is flow not stock that matters" - Zero Hedge, January 2010
"If there were any lingering doubt, this week’s gyrations demonstrate neatly that it is central bank liquidity, not fundamentals, driving markets. It is the flow, not the anticipated stock, of QE which counts." - Citigroup, May 2015
Having previously shown that money can buy happiness, it appears, as Bloomberg reports, that the cost of buying that happiness is soaring. With well-managed government-provided statistics on inflation, why would one look elsewhere for clues as to the declining standards of living across much of America... but look we did and with wages stagnant, the 2900% surge in prices to Disneyland since 1971 makes 'the happeist place on earth' a place only the wealthy can afford to visit.
Ridding the world of Monsanto via a state buy-out would be a boon to humanity, and doing so for a mere $57 billion would be a bargain - especially when you consider the $3 trillion the state has squandered on endless wars of choice and the trillions of dollars the Federal Reserve and the government have squandered propping up the self-serving, parasitic cartel of too big to jail banks.
Israel is refusing to comply with an order by a Swiss court that it pay $1.1 billion that it has owed to Tehran since before Iran’s 1979 Islamic revolution for its share of a jointly owned oil pipeline. “Without referring to the matter at hand, we’ll note that according to the Trading with the Enemy Act it is forbidden to transfer money to the enemy, including the Iranian national oil company,” the Israeli Finance Ministry said in a statement.
“The Iraqi forces just showed no will to fight. They were not outnumbered. In fact they vastly outnumbered the opposing force and yet they failed to fight and withdrew from the site...We can give them training, we can give them equipment. We obviously can’t give them the will to fight.”
"These are the only choices for the masses: whether to be a “doomer” or a “wisher.” Both positions are cartoon world-views that don’t provide much guidance for continuing the project of civilization, in case anyone is actually interested in that. It’s either rampaging id or the illusion of supernatural control, take your pick. I find both stances revolting."
"If, as the ECB's Coeuré said, you are concerned about the rapidity of the market moves, it seems odd, in our view, to give everyone an incentive to get longer today only to sell again tomorrow."
There has to be a very clear line between central banks and governments. The latter should never be able to influence the former, because it would risk making economic policy serve only short term interests (until the next election). Likewise the former should stay out of the latter’s decisions, because that would tend to make political processes skewed disproportionally towards finance and the economy, at the potential cost of other interests in a society. This may sound idealistic and out of sync with the present day reality, but if it does, that does not bode well. It’s dangerous to play fast and loose with the founding principles of individual countries, and perhaps even more with those of unions of sovereign nations.
Between escalating Grexit concerns and Podemos 'victory' in Spain, European bond and stock markets shuddered somewhat today. EURUSD continues to close lower - back below 1.1000. All major bourses across Europe are in the red with Greece and Spain worst (ASE -3%) but the most notable shift is a collapse in Poruguese bonds. Illiquidity has always been an issue for PORTUG bonds but today's near 4 point collapse in 10Y bond prices (and 48bps spike in spreads) is dramatic to say the least. Bond yields and spreads are now higher than before Draghi announced Q€ in January and dramatically higher since bond-buying began. If EU leaders proclaim they can see no contagion from Greece, show them these charts. Finally, despite cash markets being closed, US equity futures also suffered (despite an exuberant BTFD rip higher in China overnight).