The Economist

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214 Years Of Sovereign Defaults In One Chart





From 1800 to 1950, Argentina had been a relatively low frequency 'defaulter', but as the following chart from The Economist shows, since then (as we noted here) they have made up for it.

 
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Bonds & Peso Slide As Fernandez Slams Holdouts For "True Aggression Against Argentina"





With hours to go until Argentina's grace period runs out and default occurs, investors are less than frantically selling Argentine bonds and pesos. They are lower but do not appear in full panic mode as we presume investors cling to hope that Argentina folds and pays off the holdouts (though there has been no sign of that so far). ARG 2033 bonds are down 3 points to 81 and the black-market peso is modestly weaker at 13.0 (near its record lows). Argentine CDS tightened modestly (as BofA warns the facts surrounding Argentina’s bond payments continue to be unique and deciding if CDS are triggered could take longer than expected) but 1Y CDS are holding at 4600bps (equivalent) - a 52% probability of default. Paul singer continues to defend himself (and the holdouts) from claims they are "dangerous fundamentalists" hell-bent on making it impossible for foreign sovereigns to restructure their debts.

 
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The Economist Touts "Cyberdream" Of Global 'National ID System'





Would you like to have a digital identity card that is automatically issued to you at birth?  In one European nation, residents use such a card when they go to the hospital, when they do their banking, when they go shopping and even when they vote.  This card has become so popular that this particular European country actually plans to start issuing them to millions of non-citizens all over the planet who request them.  Never heard about this?  Neither had I before this week.  The Economist is calling for the entire planet to adopt this “national identification system” that the little nation of Estonia has adopted.  The Economist is touting all of the “benefits” of a “national identification card”, but are there dangers as well?  Could adopting such a system potentially open the door for greater government tyranny than we have ever known before?

 
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Never Mind Their Distrust Of Data And Forecasts; Austrians Can Help You Predict The Economy





"Of all the economic bubbles that have been pricked, few have burst more spectacularly than the reputation of economics itself." – From The Economist, July 16, 2009.

Mainstream economists continue to dominate their profession and wield huge influence on public policies. They merely needed to close ranks after the financial crisis and wait for people to forget that their key theories and models were wholly discredited. Meanwhile, heterodox economists who stress credit market risks and financial fragilities – the Austrians, the Minskyites – remain stuck on the fringes of the field. It doesn’t much matter that the crisis validated their thinking. Nonetheless, we’ll continue to explain why we think a shake-up is overdue...“Mythbusting” the theories of mainstream economists.

 
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Bubbles Everywhere: Krugman Wrong Again; Austrians And The BIS Are Correct





Paul Krugman is at it again – distorting or misinterpreting work by other economists to attack critics of today’s central bank driven low interest rate environment and to defend policy status quo or to push for even more stimulus.

 
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Krugman’s Bathtub Economics





It is fortunate that Paul Krugman writes a column for New York Times readers who want the party line sans all the economist jargon and regression equations. So here is the plain English gospel straight from the Keynesian oracle: The US economy is actually a giant bathtub which is constantly springing leaks. Accordingly, the route to prosperity everywhere and always is for agencies of the state - especially its central banking branch - to pump “demand” back into the bathtub until its full to the brim. Simple.

 
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Guest Post: Proof That Government Economic Numbers Are Being Manipulated





How in the world does the government expect us to trust the economic numbers that they give us anymore? For a long time, many have suspected that they were being manipulated, and as you will see below it appears we now have proof that this is indeed the case.

 
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After Shakedown, Overnight Markets Regain Their Calm





The S&P500 has now gone 47 days without a gain or loss of more than 1% - a feat unmatched since 1995, according to AP.  Overnight markets are having a weaker session across the board (except the US of course). Even the Nikkei is trading with a weak tone (-0.7%) seemingly unimpressed by the Third Arrow reform announcements from Prime Minister Abe yesterday (and considering in Japan the market is entirely dictated by the BOJ, perhaps they could have at least coordinated a "happy" reception of the revised Abe plan). Either that or they have largely been priced in following the sizable rally in Japanese stocks over the past month or so. Abe outlined about a dozen reforms yesterday including changes to the GPIF investment allocations and a reduction in the corporate tax rate to below 30% from the current level of 35%+. Separately, the Hang Seng Index (-0.06%) and the Shanghai Composite (-0.41%) 98closed lower as traders cited dilutive IPOs as a concern for future equity gains.

 
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What Piketty Didn't Say - 13 Facts They Don't Tell You About Economics





Yesterday, Ha-Joon Chang exposed the shortest economics textbook ever. Today the Cambridge University Economics professor uncovers everything you didn't know about economics (in 13 simple points)...

 
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Jim Grant: What Henry Hazlitt Can Teach Us About Inflation In 2014





“Excessively low interest rates are inflationary because they mean that bonds, stocks, real estate and unincorporated businesses are capitalized at excessively high rates, and will fall in value even though the annual income they pay remains the same, if interest rates rise.” If interest rates were artificially low, it would follow that prevailing investment values are artificially high. I contend that they are, and you may or may not agree. Natural interest rates — free-range, organic, sustainable — are what we need. Hot-house interest rates — the government’s puny, genetically modified kind — are the ones we have.

 
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The "Hidden Cost" Of Distraction





The ever-rising ranks of youth unemployment coupled with the increasingly cheap and easy access to "distractions" from the dismal realities of life (if one is not a wealthy leveraged shareholder) mean a lot of potentially productive time is totally and utterly wasted in this world... how much time? As The Economist joking notes, the loony music video “Gangnam Style” surpassed two billion views on YouTube this week, making it the most watched clip of all time. At 4:12 minutes, that equates to more than 140m hours, or more than 16,000 years (the equivalent manpower it would take to build 4 Great Pyramids of Giza or 20 Empire State Buildings). The opportunity cost of watching PSY’s frivolity is huge, but humanity has at least been entertained.

 
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Clothing Naked Experts





You know what the difference is between an Economist/Analyst, and a Business owner? When a Business owner makes a prediction on his or her business and is wrong – the business could wind up in bankruptcy. When the Economist/Analyst makes a wrong prediction about business – they just make another prediction.”

 
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Paul Volcker Proposes A New Bretton Woods System To Prevent "Frequent, Destructive" Financial Crises





We found it surprising that it was none other than Paul Volcker himself who, on May 21 at the annual meeting of the Bretton Woods Committee, said that "by now I think we can agree that the absence of an official, rules-based cooperatively managed, monetary system has not been a great success. In fact, international financial crises seem at least as frequent and more destructive in impeding economic stability and growth." We can, indeed, agree. However, we certainly disagree with Volcker's proposal for a solution to this far more brittle monetary system: a new Bretton Woods.

 
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Market Tranquility Is Sowing The Seeds Of Its Own Demise





The mainstream media is latching on to the idea that all is not well in the world of 'markets'. The FT's Gillian Tett notes that, as we have vociferously explained, almost every measure of volatility has tumbled to unusual low levels, "this is bizarre," she notes, "financial history suggests that at this point in an economic cycle, volatility normally jumps." But investors are acting as if they were living in a calm and predictable universe, "[Investors in] the options markets are not pricing in any big macro risks. This is very unusual." In reality, as Hyman Minsky notes, market tranquility tends to sow the seeds of its own demise and the longer the period of calm, the worse the eventual whiplash. Tett concludes, that pattern played out back in 2007... and there are good reasons to suspect it will recur.

 
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