World Bank

California: A Microcosm For Impending Global Water Crisis

The move by California to require mandatory cuts in water use for the first time in its history has highlighted the world’s looming water crisis and increased the focus on the links between sustainable water and sustainable energy. “We need a new paradigm,” says Steven Solomon, author of Water: The Epic Struggle for Wealth, Power and Civilization. “The days when we could just go further into the mountains and find new sources of water are past. We need to make better use of the water we have.”

Finally The "Very Serious People" Get It: QE Will "Permanently Impair Living Standards For Generations To Come"

"In the long run classical economics would tell us that the pricing distortions created by the current global regimes of QE will lead to a suboptimal allocation of capital and investment, which will result in lower output and lower standards of living over time. In fact, although U.S. equity prices are setting record highs, real median household incomes are 9 percent lower than 1999 highs. The report from Bank of America Merrill Lynch plainly supports the conclusion that QE and the associated currency depreciation is not leading to higher global output. The cost of QE is greater than the income lost to savers and investors. The long-term consequence of the new monetary orthodoxy is likely to permanently impair living standards for generations to come while creating a false illusion of reviving prosperity."

De-Dollarization Continues As Russia Seeks AIIB Membership

As Moscow and Seoul throw their support behind China's Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the question is no longer about the end of dollar hegemony but rather about the extent to which the new venture will be used to institute a global shift towards the yuan. 

US Hegemony, Dollar Dominance Are Officially Dead As China Scores Overwhelming Victory In Bank Battle

The China-led development bank essentially marks an epochal shift away from traditionally US-dominated multinational institutions like the IMF and the ADB. Meanwhile, it also represents an implicit attempt by the Chinese to usher in a kind of sino-Monroe Doctrine. The more isolated the US becomes as it relates to the new venture, the more transparent its motives seem. This was never about “standards” (the original excuse for Washington’s opposition to the bank), but rather about stifling Chinese ambition. "America seems to be confirming China’s darkest fears: it has adopted a policy of containment that is wrong in principle and has failed in practice," notes The Economist.

Frontrunning: March 25

  • ECB Tells Greek Banks Not to Boost Exposure to Athens Government’s Debt (WSJ)
  • Search teams probe wreckage of jet in French Alps (Reuters)
  • Flight Recorders Offer Best Hope of Explaining Jet’s Fatal Drop (BBG)
  • Yemen Houthi militia sweeps toward Aden in threat to president (Reuters)
  • In Nigeria, Oil Price’s Slide Deters Theft (WSJ)
  • Saudi Arabia building up military near Yemen border (Reuters)
  • Quant Who Shook the Financial World Tries More Humble Approach (BBG)
  • Executive Pensions Are Swelling at Top Companies (WSJ)

Did De-Dollarization Just Reach Escape Velocity? China's New Silk Road & Putin's Eurasian Trade Network

The New Silk Road, actually roads - boosted by a special, multi-billion-dollar Silk Road Fund and the new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), which, not by accident, has attracted the attention of European investors - symbolizes China’s pivot to an old heartland: Eurasia. Beijing has been quick to dismiss any notions of hegemony. It maintains this is no Marshall Plan. China, on the other hand,  is focused on integrating “emerging economies” into a vast, pan-Eurasian trade/commerce network. And that, crucially, would have to include Russia, which is a vital part of the New Silk Road through an upcoming, Russia-China financed $280 billion high-speed rail upgrade of the Trans-Siberian railway. This is where the New Silk Road project and President Putin’s initial idea of a huge trade emporium from Lisbon to Vladivostok actually merge.

Washington Blinks: Will Seek Partnership With China-Led Development Bank

"The Obama administration, facing defiance by allies that have signed up to support a new Chinese-led infrastructure fund, is proposing the bank work in a partnership with Washington-backed development institutions such as the World Bank." And with that, one giant shift towards de-dollarization is now in the books.

The New Order Emerges

China and Russia have taken the lead in establishing the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, seen as a rival organization to the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, which are dominated by the United States with Europe and Japan. These banks do business at the behest of the old Bretton Woods order. The AIIB will dance to China and Russia's tune instead.