From Mark Grant, author of Out of the Box
Living Under The Skies Of Assgard
It is cold this morning, maybe 40 degrees, the air is as pristine as you might imagine just south of the Arctic Circle and free of all pollutants. The gentle sounds of the sea lapping against the rocky outbreaks is all that can be heard and the wonder of my vision across this broad seascape is a treasure that will be forever captured in my mind to remember with great fondness in the days ahead. There is a sense of calm out here, a peacefulness given as a gift by the old gods one might suspect and an interesting Icelandic perch from which to ponder the tremors that shake Europe. Sitting out here one is prone to take the long view and find some amusement with the follies of man. The machinations of Greece and Spain, from this Nordic perspective, seems like some ant farm with the species running this way and that, time for no one, reasons for the scurrying varying but incomprehensible and the purpose of it all just one more tunnel into the dirt which provides neither respite or salvation. Not that either really existed for any period of time I suppose but it is easy to see from here why those resident upon Mt. Olympus or Asgard must have been amused with the antics of those that lived down below.
Perhaps it is the cry of the Valkyries that can now be heard and the judgment under Yggdrasil is that Ragnarok has begun; the twilight of the gods. The question then is not if the markets are oversold, the merriment of the moment in the Press this morning, but if Bifröst will break and if Heimdall will blow his mighty horn, Gjöll, and if the Æsir and Einherjar will ride out to battle. The pronouncements have been rendered this morning from the demi-gods as the Spanish banks were downgraded three notches by Moodys and Greece cut to a level just above default by Fitch. It is the bastion of history you know, the normalcy of disbelief that the Empire will never end its existence or perhaps the hope and prayers of so many in Brussels and Berlin that would lose their jobs and their wages so that the Empire must be protected at all costs so as to protect themselves. The “at all costs” is the turn of the screw however as there is not enough free capital in Europe to prevent some sort of collapse. This is different, you may note, from “absolute capital” which is available should Germany, France and the Netherlands decide to allow their bond yields to match those of Portugal or Spain and allow their standard of living to match that in Athens and Madrid. If it is to be “one for all and all for one” then I believe Europe can get on with it but if it is to be each country for themselves and punishment for those that do not conform to the Germanic mandates then the rent sown by self-preservation will assuredly also pull the European Union past the strength of the Federalist glue and the destruction of the construct will begin; perhaps has begun.
As the airwaves are chock full of Facebook and anything/everything to discuss some other subject besides Greece and Spain the focus of the moment changes nothing nor does the timeline that has been stretched for these two countries to end up in demise reverse the final outcome. The only way that Greece could pay its bill would be to become a ward of Germany and effectually absorbed much like East Germany in times past. It may be “Auchtung” at the Parthenon or some forgiveness of debt on a massive scale that I do not think would be allowed by the politics in Berlin but short of that; what is impossible remains impossible regardless of the rants of those seeking divine intervention. In Spain, there is not enough money, no fancy words or phrases are needed, because the liabilities of the Regions and of the Spanish banks will require more capital than is resident in Spain. Markets may bounce, talk of some additional LTRO is being bandied about but the cost to Europe, if something more is done, will only diminish what is in the counting house which is scant with much beyond promises and guarantees and little in the way of actual money on the barrelhead. Contingent assets and contingent liabilities are lovely when not counted but real money when needed is an Asgardian of a different color.
We may already be in Fimbulvetr, the winter of winters, and it is a cold wind that whips across the European plains blown in from the Southern climes high up into the Alps and then down into the cities of man. In Norse mythology this was a three year event and the creaking of the ice can be distinctly heard if only you listen. Many will not listen, this one can predict, and the clothes that will be worn will not protect the unhearing from the freeze which will surely come. But you and me, we have gazed long for the riders of the North and seeing them; we are prepared.
My commentary today is dedicated to John Brynjolfsson and Soren Elbech. While separated by a Continent they remain guardians of the Nordic Tradition, wise counselors of Odin and keepers of the Scandinavian Flame.