Summarizing 2011 In Nine Easy Charts

Tyler Durden's picture


If one had to summarize 2011 in one sentence, it probably would be: "a year in which the market ended unchanged, in which the world got within seconds of global coordinated bankruptcy, and in which central planning finally took over everything." Simple. On the other hand, conveying a comparably concise message full of hope and despair at the same time, using charts would actually be slightly more problematic. But not for the Economist, which has managed to do just that, however not in one but nine discrete charts. Here is what they did.

From the Economist:

IN 2008 banks were saved by governments. The question that dominated 2011 was how to save governments. The euro-area sovereign-debt crisis metastasised from a problem affecting small, peripheral states to one that threatens the single currency itself. The rise in Italian bond yields in particular marked a dangerous new stage in the saga (chart 1). European banks, stuffed full of government bonds, have suffered a severe funding squeeze since the summer (chart 2). The euro was oddly resilient against the dollar, but Switzerland and Japan intervened to hold down their currencies as investors sought shelter (chart 3).


Faced with skittish creditors, countries in Europe tried to instil confidence by cutting spending (chart 4). Austerity and growth do not mix, however. Euro-area GDP remains below its pre-crisis level. American output did at least regain that mark in 2011 (chart 5) but US unemployment remained very high.


The emerging economies again outshone their rich-world counterparts in terms of growth and jobs. But fears about inflation (chart 6) slowly gave way to fears about growth as the year went on and Europe’s problems worsened. Emerging-market stocks dropped sharply in the summer as investors put their money into less risky assets (chart 7). Gold also benefited from another year of fear. The metal was set to post its 11th consecutive annual gain in 2011 (chart 8). Google searches for “gold price” rose whenever measures of market uncertainty did (chart 9). If governments aren’t safe, after all, what is?

Chart 1

Chart 2

Chart 3

Chart 4

Chart 5

Chart 6

Chart 7

Chart 8

Chart 9

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slewie the pi-rat's picture

charts, BiCheZ!

9 = Groundhog Day


nope-1004's picture

Centrally planned economy, based on Management of Perceptions (MOP).

It's all fake and it's all being kept alive with increasingly feable intervention attempts.  How long the criminals and liars can keep the MOP facade going is the key.  Reality has to re-emerge at some point.


I think I need to buy a gun's picture

i thought it was pretty cool leno let ron paul on last night for an extended period and let him talk we must be near the end,,,,,


on the other hand world news tonight the other night called him a racist for things he didn't write himself and called his following "THE FRINGE and RADICAL" element of society,,,,thats you people on here the fringe and radical thats who diane sawyer is talking about

Gene Parmesan's picture

Newt said I wasn't a decent American. :(

Badabing's picture

Its a lot worse than you think because those chart numbers have been fudged by the squid.

Shocker's picture

2011 can be summarized in a few words WTF happened. This has to be the chippiest recovery I have seen my years.


Oh regional Indian's picture

Want to see the EU time-bomb?

Look at chart 5. Spain, GDP and UN-employment. That is a powder keg. And Japan. 

These are the visible tender spots, while the US continues to apply lipstic on ze Piggy.

Good luck everyone, 20i2 is going to be a zinger. A hummmmmmdinger.




1835jackson's picture

Newt is a fat prick do not listen to that corrupt arse head.

Reform1776's picture


Have you checked out Buddy Roemer? THE Anti-corruption candidate, and not taking any PAC money!!!

SMG's picture

I love Ron Paul, and I hope he wins.  But if not Roemer is a possible alternative. here's a pretty good interview with him I saw the other day, and if Ron Paul doesn't make I would seriously consider him.

Monedas's picture

Good interview !      I'll bet we have a million Americans who could make a better President than Obama !  Roemer would have to be with those at the top of the list !      First job have to be an American and not a CIA protege puppet....and you have to have a healthy love for your country !

zorba THE GREEK's picture

Someone just told me he believes TPTB are going to back Ron Paul for president

because he is the only candidate with a chance to save the U.S. from total collapse,

and he would put us on a gold standard to protect the value of the dollar. Most of

TPTB own many dollars and much gold. Hmmmm.... It makes sense to me.

Time will tell.

SilverRhino's picture

If they are doing that they intend to cannibalize the lowest ranks of TPTB and throw out a lot of scapegoats.

The second benefit is that they keep the current power structure intact and profit from it.

pavman's picture

The big problem w/ RP and the gold standard is it would guarantee hyper inflation when they had to re-peg the dollar to gold.  If it happens, it won't be pretty as the US gold reserves are pretty dam low, imho... to cover all that cash they've pumped into the system over the last 10 years.

I think I need to buy a gun's picture

that wouldn't cause hyperinflation, the hyperinflation already happened in real assets a gmc yukon cost 60,000 dollars 60k,,,,,,that same car in with steel aluminum and rubber cost 4800.00 in a cost comparison from 1940-1970 i don't think you will have a 55k will kill the value of pensions, 401ks's and ira's and imported goods may cost some more, but we won't have hyperinflation if gold is at 5k, 50k or 500k an ounce,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

nope-1004's picture

He was referring to the amount of gold in existence to be able to back the dollars needed if M3 were to stay where it is.  The value of homes and cars have inflated substantially due to availability of credit, which is exactly why a return to a gold standard would be hyperinflationary - the amount of gold in existence pales in comparison to dollars in existence and it would show dollars to be worthless on a relative basis almost immediately.


SRSrocco's picture


The big problem facing modern economies like the United States is the Falling Energy Returned on Invested (EROI).  We could survive a hyperinflation event after several years, but the Falling EROI is forever.  People tell me that there is all this ZERO POINT ENERGY and FREE ENERGY TECHNOLOGY to save us.... and in theory they might be right.

But... on the other hand, ROME was sitting on a great deal of resources like oil, metals, minerals and etc and could not take advantage of it.  It's one thing to have the theory of FREE ENERGY or whatever, and another to have an economic system already able to utilize it.  We only have the former.

In reality, hyperinflation or deflation will not be the KILLER of the US EMPIRE.  It will be the Falling EROI.  As I have stated before, the huge increase in Derivatives and Monetary Printing has been to COMPENSATE for the Peaking of Global Oil and the Falling EROI.

For the Fiat Currency Ponzi scheme based on fractional reserve and compound interest to continue, the ENERGY SUPPLY must grow with it.  Global Oil supply has plateaued since 2005.  Thus, without energy growth the Fiat Monetary System cannot grow.  So instead the Brain Surgeons running the Central Banks have decided to PRINT and PRINT to give the ILLUSION of growth.

This will have a very BAD ENDING indeed.  Time to be in GOLD and SILVER unless you want to get the PAPER ENEMA of a lifetime.

Fedaykinx's picture

Even accepting that oil has plateaued, it is not the end-all be-all of energy.  It is entirely possible that we could reserve much more oil for uses such as plastics and fertilizer while ramping up consumption of coal and gas, of which we have plenty.  We can do this today, it is not contingent upon new technology being developed.  It does seem to me that economic growth is to be sacrificed on the altar of declining energy availability, in the name of the environment and "saving the planet" from the evil humans.

Errol's picture

Fedaykinx, I'm not sure you understand the concept of EROEI.  The only reason there currently appears to be "plenty" of nat gas is fracking.  It turns out that a fracked nat gas well produces orders of magnitude less gas over its lifetime than a conventional nat gas well, but costs more to complete.  This is a perfect example of declining EROEI... 

trav7777's picture

once NG and coal peak (and they HAVE in various countries, wells/mines, and fields), we'll just ramp up production of unicorn farts.

And as if we can burn increasing amounts of coal with no environmental

Element's picture

Don't forget those growing populations of whales ... blubber to oil ... that should save us

constantine's picture

Yes, basically we've compensated for insufficient increases in productivity with debt issuance.  Sad thing about this is that we did it to ourselves; or rather allowed those that control the supply of fossile fuels to enculture this into our society.  The internal combustion is like apple pie and Thanksgiving here in the USA and it's all due to marketing - During the 70s, the diamond industry, through constant saturation of advertisements in magazines and other mediums, within a decade, made the wedding ring an integral part of Japanese culture; a country that previously barely had a concept of courting and/or amorous love.  Well the oil industry did the same to us. 

EROI, I read recently that around the start of the industrial revolution, for every unit of energy it took too drill oil, 100 units were returned in production.  Now, due to dwindling supplies and greater difficulty in extracting remaining supplies from more complex locations, this return has reduced to 3.

trav7777's picture

dude, the oil industry didn't ADDICT people to eating as many calories now on average as Roman Emperors.

People CHOSE oil because it is a superior project...liquid energy.  Oil IS the "free energy" that everyone thinks is out there waiting to be exploited.  It's precisely how we were able to work magic over the past 150 years.

Our population went vertical and we can actually fucking FLY now.  Think about this on a deeper level, the advent of the machine age.  Life is more different now from 200 years ago BY FAR than things were in the previous 1, 2, 3, 5 thousand years.

Max Fischer's picture



As usual, you're oversimplifying it and I think it's because of your melanin.  For you, oil is the beginning of civilization and the end.  I think most everyone else recognizes that it's far more complex than that.  Not everything is as black and white, as you'd like.    

Consider the following quote: 

A critical fact in the world of 1801 was that nothing moved faster than the speed of a horse.  No human being, no manufactured item, no bushel of wheat, no side of beef, no letter, no information, no idea, order or instruction of any kind moved faster.  Nothing had moved any faster, and as far as Jefferson's contemporaries were able to tell, nothing ever would.  - Stephen Ambrose

Sure, oil was absolutely fundamental to the Industrial Revolution and for propelling human prosperity into the stratosphere, but you must ask yourself why did it take so long?  The oil has always been there.  What happened in the early 1800's that enabled humans to suddenly break out of our Malthusian Trap and to experience a sudden, massive boom of prosperity that continues to this day?  For thousands of years, we lived poor, nasty, brutish and short* lives.  Then, seemingly out of nowhere, human civilization took off.  

There were four factors that came together at relatively the same time, and oil was not one of them.  Again, the oil had always been there.  If you're wondering around Barnes and Noble, check out The Birth of Plenty, by William Bernstein. It's written by a Jew, so I know trav7777 won't bother, but for everyone else, it's really fascinating. 

Max Fischer, Civis Mundi

*Thomas Hobbes

SRSrocco's picture

Max... sometimes it is THAT SIMPLE.  No words are going to move you from your beliefs and opinions on this matter.  And in reality....that is just fine with me. 

On the other hand, I gather you think we have done something great with all this wonderful technology and etc.  You ever been to a BLACK FRIDAY SALE? Ever watch Fox Business or the Kardashians?  How about all those high IQ's at a Monday Night Professional Football game?

Hey, I am not bashing JOE BAG OF DONUTS, but your so called idea of modern "CIVILIZATION" is not that impressive if you just sit down at WAL MART and look around for a few hours.

With a FALLING EROI comes the inevitable collapse of the JUST IN TIME SUPPLY CHAIN.  The illusion of CIVILIZATION will disappear faster than you can say "A DOUBLE DECAF LATTE".

Sorry..... I wish I had better news, but thats the facts.

Seer's picture

"What happened in the early 1800's that enabled humans to suddenly break out of our Malthusian Trap and to experience a sudden, massive boom of prosperity that continues to this day?"

Malthusian Theory is about the consequences of perpetual growth.  The "boom and prosperity" that you talk about resulted in MORE growth, which is EXACTLY what Malthus was warning about.  That is, you've got the logic completely BACKWARDS!

Have you NOT watched Dr. Albert Bartlett's presentation Arithmetic, Population and Energy?  I highly recommend it.  Key is that ALL measures MUST include rates of growth else they are meaningless: your statement about there being enough gas and coal is devoid of any meaningful measure because it doesn't state expected growth rates (increase in rates of consumption).  It's pretty simple: if you have a glass of water and I tell you have a LOT of water, enough for 30 minutes given the rate that you're currently drinking it and you then SHARE it with others, then that glass of water (given your previous rate of consumption) will NOT last you 30 minutes!  You cannot consume something at a faster rate and expect it to last the same as if consumed at a lesser rate!  Yet, this is exactly the failure in logic (or omission by way of ignorance) that you and others who speak in terms of "plenty" exhibit.

Hugh_Jorgan's picture

What happened 200 years ago? Are you all still asleep this morning?

What happened leading up to 200 years ago was that in the quaint Puritan Towns in the 18th Century Americas the world had the first spiritual Great Awakening of the modern age. They also taught their children how to think. These children became active in their government and learned all about governments from the past by reading lots of old books. Then a band of radicals amongst these civic leaders emerged and felt obliged to tell the King where he could put his Centrally Planned taxation and brutality. But not before they constructed a new form of governance that was unlike ANYTHING the world has seen before. A vast open playing field that would allow ANY honest, hard-working, God-fearing man to not only succeed but thrive.

That new government was a rousing success, it is called the US Constitution. One man called it "the 5000 Year Leap" and wrote a book on it by that name. You should read it sometime.

constantine's picture

Did you even think about the post before you read it?  The point that I was making was not to summarily criticize the advent of the use of fossil fuels and, in particular oil, but rather to make the point that the returns are dramatically contracting with the passage of time.  We have not replaced this reduction in its productive return with enough new technologies.  In the process of acquiring wealth by selling oil and other fossil fuels, the producers of these commodities were able to yield undue influence, whether it be through politics or economic means, that has warped public and private policy against the development of new technologies that may have put them out of business or reduced their power.  Do you think it was just a coincidence that two of the last four presidents were directly tied to the oil industry?

Obviously, oil and the internal combustion engine produced great utility to the world economy and this was a good thing.  Oil may have been the 'free energy' for the last 150 years but that doesn't matter when we run out of it or if more energy is required to extract it than is produced by burning it.

With that said, you are right I am completely against flight and all machines - I just use them all of the time.


Caviar Emptor's picture

Yes. Return on crude oil has declined so badly that corn-based ethanol is now competitive on its own. So competitive in fact that Congress just voted to sunset the corn-based ethanol subsidy which was ongoing since 1979. The industry is no longer considered startup and no longer needs a subsidy to remain competitive. 10% ethanol gasoline is here to stay. There's a push to up that to 15%

Pbn2Au's picture

EROI (or EROEI) is the most important topic of our day.  It transcends, but is linked to, general geopolitics and economics.

One truth table, regarding EROI, might be: Agree/Disagree & Action/Inaction.

Agree+Action=Informed (many on ZH); Disagree+Action=Impossible (incongruent) ; Agree+Inaction=Wastrel (1+ STDV) and Disagree+Inaction=Hopeless (another 1+ STDV).

If you disagree, on any level, calculate how much energy you consume each day and compare that to how much energy you can produce (or hire) in a day.  Armed with your energy consumption data, compare it to historical levels (by class, if you prefer) and then to your desired standard of living.

There is no rational argument, short of a global epidemic, that can forestall the rapidly approaching net energy shortfall.  Efficiencies, replacements, alternatives and so forth (even at optimum projections) do not close the gap.

I'm an optimist.  We will advance.  Efficiencies, replacements, alternatives and more will come.  However, they will be late.  There will be an adjustment.  The prudent will prepare.

Caviar Emptor's picture

It's simplistic to assume that there will be a seamless adjustment to any new type of energy source. Think about it. It took 100 years to build out the current distribution system. 

Seer's picture

And this System, which is MAGNITUDES greater than any before, was built on high density, plentiful energy.

Not only will we NOT be able to make any change seamlessly, we WON'T be able to replicate the current System, there's just NOT enough energy to support continued GROWTH.

PMakoi's picture

"pretty darn low" is too high of an estimate for U.S. gold reserves!

ESF, SDR, physical gold rehypothecated...  possession will be 9/10ths of the law in time, and there won't be enough lawyers on the planet to handle the paper arguments MFer's go Global, who's got the real gold???  Oh geez, it's the Federal Reserve and they're going to save us.  Hahahahahahaha!  Grunch time!

Quinvarius's picture

I think you need to rethink that.

SwingForce's picture

If you haven't read "The Creature from Jekyll Island (5th edition)", by G. Edward Griffin yet, please do so. You will have a clear understanding of who the players are and what they ultimately want. A MUST READ.

falun bong's picture

I heard about this book for years, this year I finally read it. Every ten years or so a book comes along that completely changes how I view the world. Must read!

Dantzler's picture


I was actually thinking it would be fun to buy 100 copies in bulk and hand them out @ OWS events to folks that could pass a simple "I know how to think and am open to new ideas" test.

Seer's picture

Yeah, I know what you mean.  I see this same thing with many (even here) who don't get it that ANY system that's predicated on perpetual growth on a finite planet is going to FAIL.

disabledvet's picture

A gold standard cannot nor ever will protect the value of your dollar. For that you still need the best of the best for public sector budgeting, borrowing and spending. A gold standard DOES protect the value of your gold however. As we now know it does so in at least two ways: by locking in a (high) price for said metal and by quite simply not allowing it to be stolen by a Bankrupt Judge. How still unclear how Congressman Paul'smviews on a gold standard jibe with his views on Banking. The two seem to totally at odds at some massive "star collision" is going on inside his head or something...anywho...

Prometheus418's picture

He has very clear lines of logic in his published books.

While Dr. Paul does suggest that Gold and Silver are viable currencies, his main point is that anything can be used as currency, provided that no one entity can control the supply and flow of capital.  

A comment earlier in the thread rings true- there's a better than even chance that TPTB will back Dr. Paul this time.  Two possiblities for that play exist- the first is that they want to discredit his theories by allowing him to take the helm of a sinking ship, and the second is that they do not want a collapse, and honestly back him.  

The second, despite the bad press, is entirely possible.  No matter how I look at it, there is no way that chaos and anarchy that is not severely controlled in both time and location can be good for anyone, no matter where they are on the ladder of society.  Sure, temporary chaos is an essential component of scientific human control if you want to change the rules of the game, but  TPTB gain far more from contented and productive workers in all levels of society than they do from ragged revolutionaries that are trying to kill them.


wisefool's picture

+1. I think there will be a chain reaction without Paul v. Obama. Win or lose at that level and it will send a strong signal to the establishment and their MSM presstitutes that they need to change. This foriegn policy stuff is absolutely going to backfire on the MSM for the left and the right. The more they both hatch schemes and false flags like the saudi ambassidor assasination plot in D.C., the fast and furious stuff, the Iraq contention, "ron paul doesn't love isreal". etc ... the deeper a hole they dig. well read types can see right through it. And those types of people are observed by others. I watched a vid clip of MSNBC Racheal Maddow with a guest host trying to triangulate. "Ron Paul and the republicans are extreme opposites of each other, why isn't there someone in the middle"  ... wink wink ... obama ... TPTB..

And I also agree that Paul will implement sound money. There will be no return to gold as an "official" basis for the currency. He will cut 90% of the tax code out and audit the fed, which will take 90% of the tricks they use away, while retaining the minimal artifacts that people think are "just supposed to be there." even though they have no idea why.

If it is a Romney v. Obama contest they will have a war primed up or already going before the general, and then yes, you are going to have a breakdown in the USA that TPTB do not want.

Seer's picture

"This foriegn policy stuff is absolutely going to backfire on the MSM"

TPTB use the MSM (they OWN it!) to float balloons.  At the same time TPTB are programming the common citizen via the MSM.

The MSM is just TPTB's programming channel.  The MSM doesn't care about ANY policy that it's controllers pursue just as long as they (MSM) can continue to do TPTB's bidding.

slewie the pi-rat's picture



  1. true see nope on MOPE
  2. be careful what you wish for  L0L!!!
Atomizer's picture

Hand me the MOP, we have a spill in aisle seven.

rehypothecator's picture

Management of perceptions?  The question isn't what the inflation expectation number is going to be, it's what is the consensus of what people think the inflation expectation number is going to be.  In order to count as a modern economy, we have to be at least 2 meta levels removed from anything meaningful.  The Powers That Be exert their power by controlling what people think the inflation expectation number is going to be.  

slewie the pi-rat's picture

then, they program their trading bots with stochastic perception and infrared laser-tag technologies, but with different scales, ratios, denominators, time frameworks and moving averages to simulate "markets"...

...then, they have breakfast...

TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

...then, they have someone else's breakfast.

Happy new year, slewie!


Jlmadyson's picture

The headline for 2011; All the printing did jack S period.

I mean you think about it. Add it all up, the QEs, the operation twists, the secret bank bailouts, Greece haircuts, EU treaty after treaty, ECB cuts, ECB $600 billion bank drop.......add it all up and put that beside th S&P for the year. It 's done jack and they have saved nothing.....except for another day.

Oh must not forget my favorite Ben Bernake RED ALERT we have a Lehman moment swap lines.

Man they printed like there was no tomorrow this year. Someone do the math please.

kito's picture

Correct Jim....all this printing did nothing to offset deflation. And gold and silver prove it. Silver below January prices, gold still a bit up....but if there has been ongoing relentless printing, why aren't we seeing inflationary prices in commodities?........