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Spot The Looming Crisis

Tyler Durden's picture


Yes, we all know that Europe is in deep, deep, trouble, and we all know that Europe has a major fiscal deficit issue which is why well over half of the Eurozone is effectively locked out of the capital markets, and only has funding courtesy of various back door Ponzi schemes funded by the ECB, and we also all know that on a consolidated basis Europe's debt/GDP is very high. But the truth is that at least Europe is taking small steps to rectify its historic profligacy and is at least pretending to be implementing austerity (in some cases actually truly doing so). How about the US. Well, the chart below should answer that particular question. Because while the consolidated GDP of the US and Europe are nearly identical, they differ very materially in terms of both fiscal deficit, and total Debt/GDP. The chart below shows precisely where the differences lie between the United States of Europe and the United States of America.

Hint: higher and right-er are bad-er.



Ironically while the financial sectors of both the US and the Euro Area are nearly identical in their liability composition, where they differ is in the amount of deposit buffers backing the financial system: in Europe deposits are nearly three times greater than the US! Of course, this is a double edged sword: on one hand it means banks have a greater cash-based capital buffer - US banks would die to have the nominal amount of European deposits - but it also means that European banks have a far greater propensity to bank runs (as we have witnessed) since in Europe the shadow banking system is far less developed, and by implication it also means that Inflation in Europe is a far, far greater risk. Perhaps the Bundesbank, for all the criticism it gets day in and day out, is spot on in its unwilliningess to cede to the ECB's endless money printing demands. Actually scratch the "perhaps."

Source: Citi


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Wed, 08/15/2012 - 17:33 | 2708333 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

The looming crisis is the population bubble. Starvation and poverty is a hard way to deflate that bubble but that seems to be the plan.

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 17:35 | 2708342 fireangelmaverick
fireangelmaverick's picture

Is the Japan bubble among the advertisments on the side of the page?

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 17:39 | 2708356 camaro68ss
camaro68ss's picture

guess the looming crisis....hummm, let me guess there in red....

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 18:23 | 2708490 Manthong
Manthong's picture

Japan should be right around 1 o'clock on the US bubble.

Thu, 08/16/2012 - 00:49 | 2709326 Popo
Popo's picture

While the above is true from an economic perspective,  I'm struggling to think of a historic example where the side with 100x the military might of everyone else ended up losing.    

(ps: I'm no warmonger.  No moral justifications intended by the above.  Just pointing out that it's historically unwise to bet against the side that's armed to the teeth.  And I think we all know what historically follows financial collapses...)



Wed, 08/15/2012 - 18:33 | 2708515 Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture

BE = Belgium! WE WIN AGAIN!

Thu, 08/16/2012 - 06:29 | 2709505 Mountainview
Mountainview's picture

There is someone else in a worse position than ours !!! Hurrah!!!

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 17:37 | 2708348 Ironmaan
Ironmaan's picture

There is no population bubble. Everyone on the planet can fit in Texas at the same pop density as NYC. Check the math here.

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 17:43 | 2708365 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

I was referring to population in regards to the resources available. But I guess if you are in the monsanto camp where we all eat mass produced garbage and take a bunch of pills to try to control obesity etc. we can all prob fit. Actually I still don't think so.

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 17:56 | 2708414 Ironmaan
Ironmaan's picture

You're one of those folks that has the midset that we are always "lacking". Have faith in mans ingenuity and ability to solve problems. The problem is not the population, the problem is government and the restaints it places on man.

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 17:59 | 2708429 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

see my post below regarding East NY. I agree with you somewhat. You make a valid point.

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 18:08 | 2708459 Ironmaan
Ironmaan's picture

Broads b poppin out 12 kids coz gubbament encourages it. Gov fucks everything up. They encourage shit they shouldn't and restrict where they shouldn't.

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 18:17 | 2708479 potlatch
potlatch's picture

a modest proposal....

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 22:59 | 2709138 MayIMommaDogFac...
MayIMommaDogFace2theBananaPatch's picture


aka: A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of Poor People From Being a Burden on Their Parents or Country, and for Making Them Beneficial to the Publick 


Sun, 08/19/2012 - 22:09 | 2719487 Theosebes Goodfellow
Theosebes Goodfellow's picture

Two cannibals are having dinner, and one gazes around and casually mentions,

"I don't like your mother-in-law."

Without looking up the other cannibal replies,

"That's okay, just eat the noodles."


Wed, 08/15/2012 - 18:37 | 2708528 centerline
centerline's picture

+1 for this statement ironmaan - now ask why.  Or how we wound up in this place and who benefits.  And don't give any of us the usual Dem, Rep, Left, Right, this, that bullshit.


Wed, 08/15/2012 - 19:01 | 2708592 NotApplicable
NotApplicable's picture

A.k.a. "Government creates its own demand."

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 21:32 | 2708947 WillyGroper
WillyGroper's picture

They don't be doin it alone.

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 18:20 | 2708482 Citxmech
Citxmech's picture

Then there's those pesky problems with the laws of thermodynamics and inefficiencies related to ballooning complexity and decreasing returns, etc.  Sorry, no Jetson's/Star Trek future for you.

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 19:04 | 2708601 NotApplicable
NotApplicable's picture

And if you study history long enough, you might observe how populations both rise AND fall in response to the sustainability of any particular environment.

Thu, 08/16/2012 - 01:01 | 2709343 Skateboarder
Skateboarder's picture

I'd be happy with a Flintstones future, so as long as we're all free...

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 18:30 | 2708508 centerline
centerline's picture

You got it backwards.  It is about more than just pop density.  Ever consider social complexity?  or resource allocation?  supply lines?

Population is a real problem - but compounded by human nature (selfishness, greed, etc.).  It is this human nature that was so easy to leverage in creating the world you see now which is predicated on perpetual... say it with me... "growth."  Once "growth" becomes unsustainable (as is happening now), the system becomes unstable.  Japan was just early to the party.  This time around it is more global in nature.



Wed, 08/15/2012 - 19:12 | 2708618 NotApplicable
NotApplicable's picture

I find it odd that "human nature" is always cited as a pejorative, never as a positive.

Also, the idea of "perpetual growth" seems to always ignore the passage of time, and the consumption that takes place during it, instead implying an attempt to reach infinity. Honestly, "growth" at any particular point in time is merely producing more than is consumed. We aren't ever going to stop consuming, so the real question is our consumption sustainable, or are we "eating the seed corn." (or worse yet, pissing on it in apathy)

Now, I'm not stating that today's malinvestment isn't unsustainable (WooHoo, triple-negative!), but that you are expressing the argument in a simplistic, and flawed fashion.

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 19:35 | 2708680 centerline
centerline's picture

Just trying to stick the red hot poker into the heart of the matter... which is human nature itself.  Predators, which are also part of our make-up, exploit human nature for gain.  This is really the underlying principle of how we got to where we are today.  Intellect would suggest we would recognize this and deal with it intelligently - but that really does not happen more often than not.  I/E (intellect over emotion) doesn't really work as well as we have been lead to believe.  Predators know this.

Regarding growth, it simply cannot continue forever given finite resources (boundary constraints).  Any other math is just flawed.  The "flow" is merely a measure of the velocity towards the constraints.  Sustainability is about getting that flow to be nuetral over a period of time.  If we don't pay attention to this, mother nature will do it anyhow.  George Carlin pointed out that we are here to make plastic and when there is enough, Mother Nature will get rid of us.  Carlin understood human nature... this was his forte... we should pay attention.

My argument is simpistic though.  I agree.  Mainly because we are opening pandora's box.


Wed, 08/15/2012 - 20:06 | 2708716 centerline
centerline's picture

Just adding that IF there are predators powerful enough to really affect global change, they will not tolerate passing the point of no return where sustainability is not recoverable.  They will intervene and affect change.  Herein, the nuclear option is off the table.  Period.  But, a controlled change is necessary.  Well... at least controlled from the perspective they see it... not you and I.  The best option herein I think would be to disguise the change... or hasten the change via mother nature without losing control.

If there are no predators powerful enough to affect global change, mother nature will be the deciding factor.

I think we live in a world somewhere between.  The financial world we watch is just the facade for all for of this.  Art imitating life if you will... a battlefield without bullets... a reflection of ourselves.

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 22:23 | 2709063 tulip_permabull
tulip_permabull's picture

Right Not Applicable. But self-interest isn't a negative anyway. The negative in human nature is Envy (as Mises so well points out in "Anti-capitalism and the Intellectuals").

Thu, 08/16/2012 - 07:41 | 2709567 merizobeach
merizobeach's picture

"I find it odd that "human nature" is always cited as a pejorative, never as a positive."

I don't.  People are a fucking cancer.  Even if humanity is the seat of consciousness of "Gaia Earth", it still only means that the planet has brain cancer.

Who actually knows what makes a cell cancerous?  A friend who was doing cancer research explained to me how simple it is: cancer cells have damage to the part of their DNA that regulates their reproduction, and thus they reproduce without ceasing.  Sounds an awful goddam lot like humanity, in my opinion.  Take a low-flying domestic flight over some shithole like the Philippines; look out the window and marvel at the crusty skin cancer on the surface of the Earth.

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 19:04 | 2708598 Spastica Rex
Spastica Rex's picture

To infinity, and BEYOND!

I'm looking forawrd to purchasing an 800 HP 2 ton pickup truck, as soon as the government gets off my back.

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 21:15 | 2708903 Landrew
Landrew's picture

You are a moron, you are wrong there is gravity and the earth is not flat.

Thu, 08/16/2012 - 00:14 | 2709273 Antifaschistische
Antifaschistische's picture

I'm late to my ZH reading tonight so pardon my delinquency, but Ironmaan...I do completely agree with government CONstraints.   But, perhaps you haven't been to Liberia, or Nigeria, etc.   It's very difficult to walk away from these places in the world without saying...there's just too many people in a given space.   Yes, India has greater population density hot spots without identical problems but Indians are fighting to get OUT of their country...not back to it.  At least, not at this point.   Population density is a factor around the globe as resources become more and more constrained.

Thu, 08/16/2012 - 02:32 | 2709411 Joe A
Joe A's picture

Are you of the mindset that the world has unlimited resources? Because it has not. It is not about being an optimist or a pessimist but about being realistic. People don't like to think of problems, it is a self preserving prevention of depression. And people like freedom but they don't like the responsibility that comes with it. I agree that man's ingenuity can solve a lot of problems but man's ingenuity also created a lot of problems regarding exploitation of resources and the degradation of the environment. Solutions though, are around the corner but it is government AND big business that keep us from having access to them. Hundreds miles (kilometers) to the gallon (litre) are possbile. Cars on hydrogen are possible. Restoration of ecosystems can solve a lot of pollution problems.

Thu, 08/16/2012 - 04:15 | 2709460 Heyoka Bianco
Heyoka Bianco's picture

Just as every government has a spending problem rather than a revenue problem, in food and clean water, it's not a production issue, it's a distribution issue. There are many places in great want, but tons of food gets thrown out every day in the developed countries (have you ever seen a supermarket with rows of empty shelves? Or even an understocked produce section? (Panic buying excluded of course)). Even with relatively cheap energy, the problem is getting worse.

Please to be naming a "problem" solved by humans that didn't create unforseen future problems. There isn't one. Humans are good at designing for their own increased convienence, but solutions? Not so much.

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 17:56 | 2708416 Freedom In Your...
Freedom In Your Lifetime's picture

Depends on what type of resources you are talking about. There are ways to produce food that is healthy in enough quantity to feed many more people than we have today. There wouldn't be enough resources for everyone to have 3 60" televisions and 2 cars though. And Monsanto and the garbage produced by the big monoculture farms wouldn't be a part of the solution either, smaller with more diversity is the only way we can maintain a world population like we currently have in any healhy way. Bigger, more complex, and less diverse doesn't work.

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 18:05 | 2708448 granolageek
granolageek's picture

Population density of the Netherlands, maybe. Population density of NYC, uh, nope.

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 18:10 | 2708463 Freedom In Your...
Freedom In Your Lifetime's picture

That is a good point. There is probably no way to feed places with a very high population density healhy food which is produced a sustainable way.

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 23:06 | 2709152 MayIMommaDogFac...
MayIMommaDogFace2theBananaPatch's picture

Now you know why they invented Soylent Green.

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 18:36 | 2708526 Seer
Seer's picture

"There are ways to produce food that is healthy in enough quantity to feed many more people than we have today."

I'd be interested in hearing what your views are for accomplishing this: keep in mind that we've got continual growth in population sizes. (note: I'm a start-up, SMALL farmer, so I'm not challenging the point about there being a need; it's just that I see and feel the difficulties and I tend to think that things aren't quite as easy as some might believe)

"Bigger, more complex, and less diverse doesn't work."

Like I've been saying for a LONG time now- BIG = FAIL!

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 18:53 | 2708569 Freedom In Your...
Freedom In Your Lifetime's picture

I didn't mean to imply that anything would be easy. As far as what I was referencing, check out the way Masanobu Fukuoka farms as well as Joel Salatin and Sepp Holtzer to name a few. The key factor with the gentlemen I named is that they all practice polycuture to reduce any unnatural inputs. Don't take me as an expert, I don't farm (although it is one of my goals in the near future), I just happen to have a reading and thinking addiction. Drives my girlfriend crazy.

I would also say that eventually the population would have to stop increasing. Otherwise, no matter how efficient people got, we would eventually reach the point where there were too many people to keep happy (or alive). Good luck with your farm.

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 19:34 | 2708693 Red Heeler
Red Heeler's picture

"I don't farm (although it is one of my goals in the near future), "

I hope you get the chance. It will be quite an eye-opener.

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 19:36 | 2708702 Freedom In Your...
Freedom In Your Lifetime's picture

Thanks. I was raised on one and have worked on farms off and on for years growing up so I know what I'm getting into.

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 19:50 | 2708730 Red Heeler
Red Heeler's picture

I was raised on one too. But it was oriented heavily towards row crop farming. I have since learned that's not farming, that's industry.

I recommend anything and everything written by Gene Logsdon. The world needs more farmers - I hope you become one.

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 19:58 | 2708744 Freedom In Your...
Freedom In Your Lifetime's picture

Thank you for the recommendation, I've got All flesh is Grass on the way.

Thu, 08/16/2012 - 10:14 | 2710163 andyupnorth
andyupnorth's picture

"I just happen to have a reading and thinking addiction. Drives my girlfriend crazy."


Wed, 08/15/2012 - 18:43 | 2708544 centerline
centerline's picture

The whole Monsanto thing IMO is about keeping the party going.  If it were not for some serious control and engineering put into modern farming, the ponzi we have become as a society would have collapsed long ago.  So much irony in all of this it hurts.

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 22:05 | 2709017 WillyGroper
WillyGroper's picture

with pig genes spliced into corn? you have to be kidding.

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 18:52 | 2708566 snblitz
snblitz's picture

Seen Soylent Green?  I bought a can of Soylent Red the other day.

One tires of the "we are running out of this or that" crowd.

When considering "peak anything" please refer yourself to this video:

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 19:41 | 2708710 extendedorder
extendedorder's picture

a free market can produce enough food to support 10 tims the current population

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 21:19 | 2708915 msmith9962
msmith9962's picture

(Cheap energy) x (cheap $/credit/borrowing from the future) x (technological advances) x (Political power which learn to use the first two to keep their jobs/consolodate power (see The Law- Bastiat)) = Exponential population growth that doesnt know how to exist without any of the above.


Pop, pop, pop

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 22:27 | 2709081 NeedtoSecede
NeedtoSecede's picture

I think most of the people posting here about population "explosions" and "exponential" population growth need to check some current demographic trends.  Whole swaths of the world are actually already in population decline, and it will take many generations of historically high growth rates to turn these trends around.  Most of Europe is below replacement birthrates and within a few generations entire ethnic groups may be extinct.  Some well-respected demographers expect the global population will actually be stabilizing very soon, and may actually begin to drop within a couple generations.  I am not an expert, but I would suggest a good read that spells out these global trends is a book called "How Civilizations Die" by David P. Goldman.  The global demographic trends he outlines are already in motion and appear be too strong to be reversed any time soon.  So ZHers, while I admit to being a financial newby, I do have a little bit of expertise in other areas, and I suggest some more research on the real demographic trends shaping the future.

Now with that said, I totally agree that there are natural resource issues, there are political issues, and there are global finance issues, but before all the comments go hyperbolic (exponential bitchez), everyone needs to do a little more due diligence.

And no, I am not the author of the above mentioned book, nor do I have a blog about population that I am trying to pimp.  I am just sayin': Read and Research Bitchez!

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 17:44 | 2708366 PiratePawpaw
PiratePawpaw's picture

Maybe so; but Texas is about the most heavily armed place on the planet, and we like our current population density just fine thank you. Try a blue state that didnt fight for its own independance and join the US by treaty as an independant nation.

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 17:45 | 2708376 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

Go check out East NY sometime where these broads pop out ten to twelve kids so they get a check from the gubbamint. The population needs to be checked if only to mitigate stupidity.

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 22:11 | 2709041 WillyGroper
WillyGroper's picture

Geez, you state it as tho they did it by themselves. Don't get me wrong, I don't want to pay for them either. Thats where this whole abortion debate gets ludicrus. I know a girl that gave birth in San Fran in the 70's. In the same room with one of these rabbits on her 5th. All different fathers. The Dr. did sterilize her w/o her knowledge. Said he was tired of her getting a free ride (so to speak). 

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 17:58 | 2708423 granolageek
granolageek's picture

I think you just claimed that the 13 original states, plus Vermont (#14, by treaty), did not fight for their own independance. Hello?

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 17:58 | 2708425 Ironmaan
Ironmaan's picture

Message received. I will with pleasure, continue (every night) to increase the population of Pennsylvania.

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 18:24 | 2708493 CIABS
CIABS's picture

Please don't.

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 18:39 | 2708517 centerline
centerline's picture

Mo' gov money for each kid.  Right?  Pretty soon you can step up from the MD 20/20 to real classy shit.  You da man!


edit:  Post above noted about folks popping out kids.  Leaving this post here though for the fun of it though.  Not possible to retract a MD 20/20 reference, lol.

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 18:43 | 2708543 dwayne elizando
dwayne elizando's picture

Classy shit? You mean Wild Irish Rose?

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 18:45 | 2708549 centerline
centerline's picture

Maybe some Boone's Farm.  (dont ask me about how I know these things - you might trigger further memories that could result in a need for therapy or something).

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 17:47 | 2708387 Freedom In Your...
Freedom In Your Lifetime's picture

I was just going to say the same thing. The crisis isn't in the population, there is more than enough land area to sustainably provide for more people than are currently alive. The crisis is in the centrally planned economies and greedy bastards in charge of those economies that are preventing truly sustainable practices from becoming mainstream.

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 18:06 | 2708453 toady
toady's picture

Sustainable! One of my favorite words!

If we are going to survive wall street must replace the word 'growth' with 'sustainable'.

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 18:14 | 2708471 Freedom In Your...
Freedom In Your Lifetime's picture

Just like 'green', I am increasingly getting tired of the word sustainable. The ways it's used today generally means exactly the opposite of it actual definition. You are correct though, the current growth dependant system can't last forever.

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 18:47 | 2708553 Seer
Seer's picture

No single word is sufficient to qualify a complex state.

I believe that "sustainable" has merit if one is sure to identify the words that (most likely) lie on either side: "deficient" and "excess" are what come to mind.

"The ways it's used today generally means exactly the opposite of it actual definition."

I don't agree that it's used in the reverse.  If anything, it's used only lightly, superficially: in some cases the thing that's being described IS perhaps more conservative in consumption, though such things tend to be promoted to the point that the resultant volume cancels out any gains (toward sustainability: Jevons Paradox comes to mind.

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 19:03 | 2708599 Freedom In Your...
Freedom In Your Lifetime's picture

It is quite possible that I am just way to grumpy sometimes. I see the word sustainable used in reference to exponential growth in the world wide economy and cringe. When that happens you get he hockey stick charts that ZH posts all the time and everything else that comes with those charts (wars, debt, civil unrest, etc.). I was aiming my comment towards things like that which was probably not entirely fair.

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 19:57 | 2708742 centerline
centerline's picture

+1.  Trying to deepen the argument to more complex analysis is just missing the point.  Is the trap you are supposed to fall into.

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 23:04 | 2709147 dr kill
dr kill's picture

Ahem- Perhaps you have not yet encountered the word 'biodynamic'. It's the new 'sustainable'. Extra points for Rudolph Steiner and Waldorf School references, Hitler's go-to educator.

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 20:45 | 2708843 Overfed
Overfed's picture

Sustainable? As in U.N. Agenda 21?

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 21:38 | 2708955 Son of Loki
Son of Loki's picture

I'm glad everything is 'fine' across the border:


Be very afraid of the Canadian housing bubble(CBC News)


I want people who are considering buying a house in Canada to be the most frightened. People who just bought a house also have every right to be nervous. But even if you don't have a stake in the property market, I would like you, too, to be fearful of a bubble in Canadian property.

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 21:59 | 2709002 James_Cole
James_Cole's picture

It's unfortunate because it was a play by the the Conservative party to move toxic mortgage debt (and other debt) off the banks' balance sheets and into the CMHC (sort of our AIG - entirely backed by taxpayers, now to the tune of around 1T). Masked the financial crisis here and gave the comical illusion that our banks aren't garbage (they are) and most crucially won the Conservative party a majority government. 

That said, Canada is a tiny population and a huge land of resources so the outlook isn't so bad.

The biggest miconception about Canada is the idea that it is less corrupt and backward than USA. Our banks / press / gov are all extremely corrupt and backward. And American Capital markets are a beacon of integrity compared to our TSX. 

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 17:59 | 2708427 Papasmurf
Papasmurf's picture

And NYC's arable land is sufficient to feed them all.

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 20:03 | 2708752 centerline
centerline's picture

lol.  All too simple to run "math for idiots" and calculate density ratios based on current (unsustainable) trends with fragile and artificially supported supply chains (until yield runs dry).

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 18:01 | 2708433 granolageek
granolageek's picture

Of course there is no way NYC could possibly feed itself, but why let facts get in the way.

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 18:48 | 2708556 Seer
Seer's picture

That's the case with all cities.

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 18:04 | 2708441 Matt
Matt's picture

New York City produces all of its own food, water, electricity, and resources. True fact.

The problem is the amount of resources needed to: a) sustain human life b) at an acceptable  quality of life

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 18:54 | 2708572 Seer
Seer's picture

"New York City produces all of its own food, water, electricity, and resources. True fact."


In many cases, the area within a radius of 100 to 250 miles is too restrictive to supply a population with the needed quantity and variety of food (recall New York City, an extreme example of this problem). Compared to a strictly local food system, regional food systems generally represent a broader area that encompasses many scales of distribution, including local. A region can be defined by geographic, cultural or political boundaries—for example, the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, New England and the Northeast26—rather than size. In places like the deserts of Arizona where enough food cannot be sustainably grown, or New York City with its enormous food needs, there is good reason to supply food from a large radius. But in places where a variety of food can be grown in abundance, the boundaries of a regional food system might not need to stretch as far.

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 19:40 | 2708708 Mr. Lucky
Mr. Lucky's picture

Yes, if it is Soylent Green.

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 18:04 | 2708442 Piranhanoia
Piranhanoia's picture

sarc,  right?  

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 18:12 | 2708469 Fedophile
Fedophile's picture

While that may be, the real issue is how much land per person is needed to support one. There are roughly 2.1 hectars of land per living person and for a western lifestyle about 5ha (EU) to 9ha(US) are needed per person and while most people don't live at this level of consumption the world average is currently 2.7ha/person which last I checked is > 2.1. So we've already overshot global population capacity; and while we can consume more resources than the Earth can support for a while due to efficient extraction of stored resources built up over eons there will come a point where that no longer works and enough people will die (and this overshoots too) to create a balance. The only thing we can do now is to stabilize global population, reduce resource consumption through efficiency, conservation and lower consumption and if we're lucky and focused enough we just might be able to avert a catastrophe

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 18:59 | 2708587 Seer
Seer's picture

It's about arable land, and as each day passes there's less and less topsoil: we live on a mere 6" average of topsoil.  The water cycle is responsible for most of the topsoil loss: rain washes topsoil away, this take a long time; humans' affect this rate as well.  Regardless, the pressures are mounting and will continue to do so: until the next glacial period comes along and does the big TILL operation.

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 19:10 | 2708476 Citxmech
Citxmech's picture

Oh Christ - not the "everybody can fit in X" line of reasoning again.

The "square footage" argument survives only until you try to figure out how you're going to provide food, water, waste removal and treatment, supplies for housing and clothing, etc. etc. etc., and that's not even considering how you're going to organize a workable economy.

We're deep into population overshoot right now at current consumption rates.  If you want to add even more people, you're going to need to seriously reduce consumption.

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 19:35 | 2708695 Whoahthere
Whoahthere's picture

Easy:  you shit, you eat.

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 18:20 | 2708485 Ironmaan
Ironmaan's picture

I guess the dopes junking me don't believe in math.

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 18:35 | 2708520 Neethgie
Neethgie's picture

population density of 70k per square mile, is not my idea of comfortable.

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 19:18 | 2708626 TWSceptic
TWSceptic's picture

You should do some research on the exponential function. In a few decades your math has a tiny little problem...

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 22:29 | 2709084 Bogdog
Bogdog's picture

Yes, but what would you do with all the poop?

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 17:53 | 2708404 Gringo Viejo
Gringo Viejo's picture

Could be wrong, but I think I've found Waldo.

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 18:53 | 2708570 vast-dom
vast-dom's picture

Not Looming crisis but rather CRISES DEFERRED AND PAPERED OVER, literally!

Thu, 08/16/2012 - 07:23 | 2709554 SWRichmond
SWRichmond's picture

Starvation and poverty is a hard way to deflate that bubble but that seems to be the plan.

From the chart posted: how the fuck can capital be 100% of GDP?  Doesn't anyone eat?  Let's not forget we're borrowing 10% of GDP for each of the past 3 years.

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 17:34 | 2708334 malikai
malikai's picture

But it's not complete without Japan!

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 17:34 | 2708337 Anglo Hondo
Anglo Hondo's picture

"The United States of Europe"?   Over my dead body.


Ahhh, SHIT!!


Wed, 08/15/2012 - 17:36 | 2708346 Neethgie
Neethgie's picture

America is not ireland..

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 18:26 | 2708440 THE DORK OF CORK
THE DORK OF CORK's picture

Ireland is not America..........

Austerity does not save real merely transfers the burning of those resourses elsewhere.

From Ireland to sov countries such as the UK and especially financial centres with these slave states which are the teachers pets of the banks - see China.

You really need to spend sov fiat money so as to reduce the waste of bank credit over the long term via the creation of real capital assets which respond to logical demand signals -  unless you are in the camp of wanting to kill people en mass so as to get a return.

Investments need to be almost the anti - credit or the antidote of what the international free banks like to do ... who burn resourses as quickly as possible so that others cannot access them....they can therefore project their wealth over others.


Ireland does not have a national economy(it never did although it was given some token symbols of this before EU admission in 1973 as it was essentially part of the UK economy (Sterling zone) until 1979 ) - its austerity bails out external hyperinflated credit might get a few scraps of meat to keep the farming a sustainable operation but it has no borders so therefore is a non place.

On the most simple level - Somebody else owns the Irish Fishing resourses for example, which is on a Icelandic scale - they therefore loan our resourses to us and expect and return....but that was so 1970s.

Everything is far more complicated now - with almost infinate cross border claims - its a mess because it was designed that way.

Ireland and others is missing the most basic legal defence against this modern market state control via the mechanism of confusion - Jurisdiction.

The banks have major investments in the BRIC slave states - austerity withen Europe which is the base of their operations makes this sick global slave arbitrage system somewhat sustainable over the medium term as the present money claims withen each Euro country has no political geographical logic.

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 19:02 | 2708597 Seer
Seer's picture

Excellent comment!

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 17:37 | 2708350 AGuy
AGuy's picture

Lets see US GDP contains 40% of gov't spending (Fed + state + local). Take it way since it does not contribute to the economy, and you have a GDP of 8.4 Trillion. Lets see, 16 Trillion in Debt (on balance) $75 Trillion (off balance) and $8.4 Trillion in GDP. That sounds a lot higher than 110% Debt to GDP!

Must be that new math the Gov't is pushing. Its easy to understand why the gov't is promoting new math!




Wed, 08/15/2012 - 17:41 | 2708363 camaro68ss
camaro68ss's picture

huh, what did you say? I was watching Dancing with the stars....

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 17:52 | 2708398 donsluck
donsluck's picture

I don't understand why you would subtract the entire government expenditure from GDP. It may not be effective use of funds, but that doesn't mean you would discount the entire amount.

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 22:46 | 2709117 AGuy
AGuy's picture

"I don't understand why you would subtract the entire government expenditure from GDP."

Simple! The gov't does not create revenue, it absorbs it. The Debt will not be repaid by the public sector. It can only be repaid from the private sector where revenue originates from.

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 19:07 | 2708612 Seer
Seer's picture

And how much of GDP is based on stuff that "fixes" what other "contributors" create?  GDP "positive" shitty food system requires a GDP "positive" shitty medical industry.  And then there's iCrap, which is really good at WASTING energy...

Keep in mind that once upon a time Chia-Pets added to the GDP...

My POINT is is that there's lots of glass houses out there, and tossing rocks at govt windows as though only govt is fucked up is, well, a bit silly...

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 17:39 | 2708357 Dareconomics
Dareconomics's picture

Remember Mark Grant's post from yesterday? He believes that European countries are carrying unreported debts on their books, which make the figures worse. I agree and would shift each country and the entire Eurozone up and to the right.

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 17:43 | 2708372 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

Grant also thinks the US is not doing the same thing. He is an imbecile at best.

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 17:49 | 2708391 Tyler Durden
Tyler Durden's picture

He is absolutely right. But what he ignores is that the US also has the "benefit" of $15 trillion in shadow liabilities aka "credit money", discussed extensively on ZH before, which happen to have zero deposits backing them, are collateralized literally by thin air, or "faith", and are the reason why the Fed has to step in and guarantee everything every time there is a downtick in the S&P as shadow banks exist solely as long as there is faith and credibility in the US financial system (think one bank's asset is another bank's liability in an infinite circle jerk).

More on shadow banks here.

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 17:57 | 2708406 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

Thats quite a thing to ignore. One could cause a lot of trouble ignoring something like that.

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 18:19 | 2708481 Rainman
Rainman's picture

money market funds...oh, the humanity !

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 18:30 | 2708506 Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill's picture

We saw back in 2008 what happens when that faith gets shaken.

I believe we are about to find out what happens when it get stirred instead.

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 17:42 | 2708370 Josh Randall
Josh Randall's picture

Ummm..All of them?

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 17:52 | 2708399 icanhasbailout
icanhasbailout's picture

Finland, Finland, Finland

The country where I'd like to be

Your mountains so lofty

Your treetops so tall

Finland, Finland, Finland

Finland has it all

You're so near to Russia

So far from Japan

Quite a long way from China

Lots of miles from Vietnam

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 19:05 | 2708604 OpenThePodBayDoorHAL
OpenThePodBayDoorHAL's picture

the mountains aren't really that lofty

plenty of trees though

and beautiful tall blonde women who think having sex is just another bodily function, like washing your hands or taking a pee

O Finlaaaaaand! timberrrrrr

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 21:16 | 2708907 OpenThePodBayDoorHAL
OpenThePodBayDoorHAL's picture

yah I wasn't trying to diss them, they're cool. They spend huge sums on education, what a concept

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 19:14 | 2708624 Seer
Seer's picture

I found the Finnish to be very impressive folks.

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 17:53 | 2708402 Papasmurf
Papasmurf's picture

A bubble diagram!

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 17:54 | 2708408 JustPrintMoreDuh
JustPrintMoreDuh's picture

So big red lofty right shifted bubble = bad ... check. 

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 17:57 | 2708420 Haager
Haager's picture

Didn't we all agree that both (and additionally Japan, China) economies are in deep red crisis mode with the remaining question actually who will hit the wall first? I personally bet 5 inch of worthless paper gold on the US economy to be the first hitter after the elections and before christmas eve.

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 19:18 | 2708639 Seer
Seer's picture

"US economy to be the first hitter"

Two reasons why I don't:

1) It prints the world's reserve currency;

2) It has the BIGGEST military.

Please note that I don't condone either of these elements (but, facts are facts).

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 18:02 | 2708435 GoldbugVariation
GoldbugVariation's picture

Where does Uganda fit on that chart?

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 18:08 | 2708460 giovanni_f
giovanni_f's picture

below finland, left of germany

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 18:07 | 2708438 giovanni_f
giovanni_f's picture

us gdp is the most fudged and meaningless number in the universe and distorted by a completely unproductive "financial industry" contribution. but so be it. count in entitlements and it looks even worse for gods own country. Relative numbers can be deceptive thats why fed propagandists and bls officials love them. The absolute size of the us debt is mind boggling, one literally needs a planet to absorb it. and it would have been instructive to see where the real underdog, banking-debt leader uk fits on the charts.

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 18:10 | 2708465 redd_green
redd_green's picture

Yeah, I was thinking the same thing.  The GDP number in the USA has been so badly distorted over the past 40 years it is now meaningless.  No one, Harvard PhD and 20 years of post doc work, could write a convincing argument that the USA had more than a couple of truly positive GDP years since 1995, while 55,000 factories were closed, tens of millions of manufacturing, engineereing and research and development and service jobs scattered around the globe, and whatever exports and consumption we had replaced with imports from contract manufacturers in China that operate on slave labor.   The GDP numbers in the USA now include (gasp) the rent you would have paid yourself if you rented the house you are purchasing (i.e. have a mortgage on).    The argument for doing that is completely ridiculous, but its in there nonetheless.

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 18:45 | 2708487 Rainman
Rainman's picture

If you like GDP, you must really love P/E

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 18:33 | 2708516 Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill's picture

Think its about time for a new term;

Maybe light years of debt at $ 186000 per second.

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 18:06 | 2708450 oogs66
oogs66's picture

But Mark Grant said US is honest and okay just this morning

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 18:15 | 2708474 redd_green
redd_green's picture

debt as a percentage of tax revenue, that is a meaningful number.    factor in percentage of tax revenue spent on interest on federal debt, and you fill out the picture.

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 18:29 | 2708503 falak pema
falak pema's picture

off balance sheet private OTC debt casino is NOT on this banking chart in USA.

Shadow banking in USA/City dwarfs euro zone. So not only is govt debt to gdp worse in USA but private sector banking debt as well, inspite of the official figures shown here. As the derivative unwind cannot be indefinitely delayed. It'll hit the asymptote of diminishing returns as soon as interest rates rise when the fiat pump dries up. 

Only strategic advantage of USA has nothing to do with its financial health; its ALL political, aka WMD arsenal + reserve currency status.

Bottom line : US holds the oil (therefore USD reserve)  + MIC  guns to the world. 

So behind all the number crunching is the hubris of naked, proclaimed and demonstrated power. And that is now eating into the financial mattress of middle class savings, as the ponzi profits of oligarchs keep piling up. 

How simple bare facts are...inspite of the fiat magicians and there infernal HFT machines. 

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 18:54 | 2708573 jomama
jomama's picture

It'll hit the asymptote of diminishing returns as soon as interest rates rise when the fiat pump dries up.

where exactly is the inflection point of this fabled 'peak fiat'?

Thu, 08/16/2012 - 04:11 | 2709458 falak pema
falak pema's picture

to know the answer to that you have to sup with the devil, like Faust.

So I suggest you ask for a dinner engagement with Ben and Timmy and Draghi, the evil triumvirate!

You'll have to pay for the champagne and caviar! 

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 23:47 | 2709231 Bear
Bear's picture

Off balance sheet can't be represented by a circle ... it's an infinite loop

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 18:29 | 2708505 Hype Alert
Hype Alert's picture

If anyone is interested, Neil Barofsky on Capital Account last night talking up his book.  Probably 20 good minutes of what he saw and of course Lauren Lyster is always a bonus.

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 19:26 | 2708659 Seer
Seer's picture

Anyone know of some good comparable stats on Canada?  My wife is from there and she's saying that she doesn't hear of any issues there (like in the US): I tell her that she's not really looking behind the scenes; that and the fact that Canadians are so hell-bent on proving that they're as "good" as the "US" that they'll lie to themselves before admitting that they're not also fucked.  Since everyone is in the pool and there's a lot of peeing going on I find it impossible for anyone to not be exposed...

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 19:42 | 2708715 Gypsyducks
Gypsyducks's picture

Fracking Bitchez!

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 21:31 | 2708945 Son of Loki
Son of Loki's picture

I'll call your crisis and raise you one:

Which cruise line will go bankrupt first? Ships have such a  high vacancy rate now since few people want to visit the Med ports of call where they will be greeted by a boisterous group either from MENA refugees or local rioting hoi poloi --  or BOTH!

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 22:34 | 2709095 Seer
Seer's picture

How about the FACT that people are in major debt, huh?  No, it's those pesky peons again, isn't it? they're the ones that are to blame!

Just wait until your ass lands down on the ground...

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 21:59 | 2709004 Son of Loki
Son of Loki's picture

Oh yeah, and don't forget the other little criss about to hit the fan:


Chicago Dream Relief in Demand As many as 50,000 undocumented immigrants lined up for the program, according to estimates Source:
Wed, 08/15/2012 - 22:30 | 2709085 Seer
Seer's picture

Oh how typical it is to point at the "illegals"... and the irony, Chicago, home of Obama and his bankster buddies, who are the BIG culprits (yet where is this plastered in all the print?).  But we can't step on those above us in order to climb above the muck now can we?

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 22:01 | 2709009 Dr. Gonzo
Dr. Gonzo's picture

Circles within circles on a linear graph chart that are colored differently with lots of abbreviations. Hummmm. Can I have a pie chart before I give you an answer?

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 22:31 | 2709086 Seer
Seer's picture

Pie charts... that's the only way that things can be fixed, by making the "pie higher!"

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 22:45 | 2709113 AGuy
AGuy's picture

Simple! The gov't does not create revenue, it absorbs it. The Debt will not be replaced by the public sector. It can only be repaid from the private sector where revenue originates from.


Wed, 08/15/2012 - 23:14 | 2709163 Seer
Seer's picture

"The gov't does not create revenue, it absorbs it"

As much as I don't favor govts I have to state that this statement isn't totally true.  LOTS of revenue gets "created" via govt arm-twisting.  This kind of shit goes on BIG-TIME for defense contractors and civilian aerospace: I'm sure other big corporations as well.  I'll wager that if govt didn't pry open those channels that these companies wouldn't see the sales that they do (hell, I'd wager that there's a good bet that they might end up ceasing to exist).

Again, I realize that the intent is that govt doesn't manufacture anything, but that's also the case with the banking/financial industry, and they/it is "private" (and they/it have a LOT of say-so in what happens in the business world).

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 23:32 | 2709198 Heroic Couplet
Heroic Couplet's picture

Using circles is absolutely useless. Check Tufte's book, The Visual Display of Qualitative Information.

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 23:44 | 2709221 Bear
Bear's picture


The Future ... Obama/Dems eviscerate military, reduce nukes, brings troops home,  with no umbrella Saudi Arabia converts to Petro-Euros, Black Swan attacks and tanks US economy, 2/3 of all dollars (Petro-Dollars) come home to roost, US economy is burned in toaster, hyperinflation rages ... debt evaporates. Along the way China takes Hawaii to pay for losses on Treasuries, Russia and Japan team up to take Alaska for same reason ... we try to negotiate (with no military) and trade California for Hawaii and Alaska ... China/Russia/Japan say hell no.


Thu, 08/16/2012 - 00:14 | 2709274 Seer
Seer's picture

Aw, look, another Party Pussy...

Haven't you people figured out that you're nothing but pawns?

Or, are you a "defense" contractor?

Doesn't matter, ALL of YOU can fuck off.  I don't want your govt, your military, thank you very much: I'll defend myself rather than paying into some extortion racket.

BTW = BIG = FAIL! (no matter who, China, Russia etc, thinks they can expand, they will only fail, just as the US will - that's what happens to empires, just open up a history book)

Thu, 08/16/2012 - 01:18 | 2709365 bulldung
bulldung's picture

Thanks for the hint, I was educated in US public schools.(partial sarc).

Thu, 08/16/2012 - 05:28 | 2709486 Oakley_ten
Oakley_ten's picture

All these charts and clever anlysis amounts to sweet FA when you consider the size of the US military - and who actually controls it. Until someone counters or trumps it, its business as usual....

Thu, 08/16/2012 - 06:33 | 2709509 Sandmann
Sandmann's picture

US Military ? Don't seem to have been a roaring success with backward nations like Afghanistan and Iraq and have never really faced off major population blocs like Iran, India, China, Russia so who knows how the 500,000 soldiers in the Us Army would cope. When the Us attacks Iran we can see how good those Russian air-defence systems are which is really the object of the exercise - to see if the Us needs to spend EVEN MORE on Defence to stay in the game

Thu, 08/16/2012 - 06:02 | 2709499 Ghordius
Ghordius's picture

Another great article. Too bad we don't see the UK on the graph.

- "But the truth is that at least Europe is taking small steps to rectify its historic profligacy and is at least pretending to be implementing austerity (in some cases actually truly doing so)." See the European Fiscal Pact.

- "in Europe deposits are nearly three times greater than the US! ... it also means that European banks have a far greater propensity to bank runs (as we have witnessed) since in Europe the shadow banking system is far less developed, and by implication it also means that Inflation in Europe is a far, far greater risk." Excellent encapsulation of the status. One cynical comment: inflation eases the financial pain. Chairman Bernanke would also die for this easier "manipulation capacity". IMO the psychology of the bank runs needs more detail and context, though. Historically, the EZ countries had less bank runs, and a different composition/source of "cash in the bank".

- the second graph perfectly encapsulates why the MegaBanks are still screaming for EuroBonds, since they spent so much time selling the small bubbles as if they were the big one.

Thu, 08/16/2012 - 06:30 | 2709507 Sandmann
Sandmann's picture

Yet I thought Deposits in EuroZone Banks were 142% GDP so that suggests there some interesting Stocks and Flows to consider

Thu, 08/16/2012 - 06:34 | 2709511 Ghordius
Ghordius's picture

+1 for the understatement of the year

Thu, 08/16/2012 - 08:02 | 2709596 WhiteNight123129
WhiteNight123129's picture

Very good article Tyler, the Euro crisis is a way to change the focus after teh debt ceiling debacle. For that Europe should be thankfull, because a crisis and the market putting the gun on the head of politicians is the only way to make the vampire governments shrinkg. As a European I would like to thank Germany to force Holland and his vampire politicians to shrink (Sarkozy is the same), those psychopathic people only understand one thing, the gun on the head. Unlike the XXth century Germany is a positive force for the XXth century, shrinking governments is actually a way give more freedom to the people. The politicians do not like that of course. As government shrinks, the psychopatic people will be less inclined to go for politics, because it is a lot less fun if you can spend other people's money.


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