"The situation has become so bad... that a middle-aged investor, fearing that a local developer wouldn’t be able to make his promised interest payments, threatened to commit suicide in dramatic fashion last summer. After hearing similar stories of desperation, city officials reminded residents that it is illegal to jump off the tops of buildings."
Because nothing says "living The American Dream" like looting an abandoned Doritos truck in the middle of a Buffalo, NY snow storm...
"There is the risk that our exponential money system will cease to operate in a world of declining energy surplus. It is designed for a world without limits – a world of endless growth. And there is the risk that our society will be forced to become less complex - a loaded statement if ever there was one."
If anyone needed proof that golf and economics don't mix, it is the following two back-to-back tweets, one just sent out by Obama (or rather his teleprompter) attempting to do economics in under 140 characters, and the other describing what Obama is doing this very moment during his Las Vegas weekend trip.
The news this week of China's largest corporate bankruptcy - Haixin Iron & Steel Group - amid crashing iron ore and steel prices was followed by analysts noting it "will be followed by others," as the major flaw of producers of iron ore, the most traded commodity after oil, is they tend to be "over-bullish." Distressed debt funds are starting to circle in preparation for what they expect to be a bloodbath as Bloomberg reports, bad debts in China are well underestimated because authorities persist in propping up weak companies and bailing out local investors, according to DAC Management, "we've yet to see it because if you look at corporate defaults, they keep getting covered by the government. At some point, they can’t cover every single one." Most worryingly though, as KPMG points out, "when you see restructuring advisers getting hired by SOEs... you know it's coming."
The global financial system has come unglued. Everywhere the real world evidence points to cooling growth, faltering investment, slowing trade, vast excess industrial capacity, peak private debt, public fiscal exhaustion, currency wars, intensified politico-military conflict and an unprecedented disconnect between debt-saturated real economies and irrationally exuberant financial markets.
It is unclear whether the person in charge of the Lois Lerner "disappeared IRS emails" strategy was also Dr. Gruber, but whoever conceived of the idiotic idea that the fatal failure of a local hard disk means that emails which are stored on at least one server miles away, and subsequently downloaded via POP3, IMAP or some other protocol, have vaporized, clearly also relied on the stupidity (and laziness) of the American people. And like in the case of Obamacare, the lies worked, if only for a short period of time. And because when it comes to lies coming from the very top, there is never just one cockroach, and they always inevitably scatter, the latest headache for a scandal-ridden president is that Lois Lerner's email, supposedly gone in perpetuity, have mysteriously reappeared, and as the Washington Examiner reports, "up to 30,000 missing emails sent by former Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner have been recovered by the IRS inspector general, five months after they were deemed lost forever."
Some of the major problems that humanity faces today transcend borders, and as such international cooperation is of vital importance. But recent events make such cooperation increasingly more challenging. Without going into the wisdom of the decision, sanctions imposed on Russia over its foreign policy in Ukraine have a wide range of implications that go much beyond the economic sphere. For one, international dialogue is breaking down fast; just this week Russian President Vladimir Putin unceremoniously left the G20 meeting early. Inevitably, this will have repercussions on major international cooperation initiatives, perhaps irreversibly in some cases. Here are a few notable examples...
It isn’t just our economy that is crumbling. Something is happening to America that no amount of money will be able to fix. Everywhere around us we can see evidence of the social decay that is systematically eating away at the foundations of our society. It can be found on the streets of our inner cities, in dark basements in extremely rural communities, in the most prestigious boardrooms on Wall Street, and definitely in the halls of power in Washington. Bringing in an entirely different crop of politicians or printing gigantic mountains of money is not going to solve this problem, because it exists in the hearts of millions of ordinary men and women. The truth is that we really need to take a good, long look at ourselves in the mirror...
"I had a few meetings yesterday and one of the biggest surprises I had was that for the first time in a long time people were talking about helicopter money and debt cancellation being the end game. This was a major theme of our 2013 long-term study but one that we've struggled to get much traction with over the last year. Perhaps there's an increasing weariness that more QE globally whilst inevitable, is a blunt growth tool and that stopping it will be extremely difficult (let alone reversing it) without a positive growth shock.... Anyway, this is not something for today or tomorrow but the fact that different clients brought it up independently of each other makes me think that's its starting to get into people's thoughts." - Deutsche Bank
It will come as no surprise to regular readers that gold (and silver) have suffered from 'odd' violent down-slams in the last few months but, as Bloomberg reports, those 'sneak-attacks' have become increasingly more prevalent during the thin illiquid hours of the Asia trading session. "It is unusual for Asia to be seeing these busy trading sessions," notes on trader, adding that "consensus seems to be that there is a big increase in algorithmic and high-frequency trading in this time zone." The trend began on Oct. 31, with gold futures falling $11 in a minute on nearly 9,000 lots (20x the norm) - all happening when the Chinese market is at lunch. As one Hong Kong precious metals trader remarked, "someone is utilising these thin trading volumes to get a turbo steroid move."
There are two words that should strike fear in the hearts of any rational-thinking citizen of the world - Paul Krugman. Wondering why? As Alhambra's Jeff Snider notes, we already know of at least one respect where Krugman (as a stand-in at least for the Keynesian perspective that is somehow still widely shared, especially in the orthodox economist class) has impacted 'stimulus' activity, Sweden. And now his appearance in Japan enabled what Japanese economists call a "historic meeting," as Bloomberg reports that Abe met with the Nobel-prize winner for 40 minutes who "helped the prime minister make up his mind," that delaying the fiscally-responsible tax-hikes was the right thing to do (and increasing QQE) or Japan "wouldn’t escape deflation." Mission Accomplished... and if it fails, moar will be needed and 'capitalism' will be blamed.
I believe aggressive empires with bloated bureaucracies, unsustainable debt loads, and chronic military overreach cannot compete against the now capitalist, relatively free-market Asia. The truth is Asia is rising and the debt-ridden Western democracies are failing. The world is an interesting place, and the American Dream still lives - just not so much in the United States any longer. But countries can change for the better; tyrannies are overthrown, and the Internet reformation is a big advantage for people desiring freedom and honest information around the world.
Don’t fence yourself in.