Conflicts of Interest

Two examples today of the strange way things work here in the Netherlands regarding conflicts of interest. Of course we know that things are getting increasingly blurry whereever you are between government, regulators and corporations. I'll be interested to hear what you think about the whole issue.

The first example is for a business that tests LED lamps and publishes the results on the internet. The people that run the tests both work full time at Philips. Maybe not on the lamps themselves.

So there's a politician from Groenlinks who had a few good one liners for PM Mark Rutte on the radio here Saturday in rain drenched Netherlands. He said Rutte insulted his own "Ministercrew" by offering big bucks to Gerard van Olphen to run now state owned SNS Reaal. Rutte says the market must continue to determine salaries(?). Rutte is from VVD which is not an STD but a political party standing slightly to the right of the jellyfish known as Dutch politics.




The problem with my massive borrowing operation is that it relies on whatever I can find wherever I can get it. The best insider stuff I can get comes from ZH and nakedcapitalism, which both don't have a lot I can use in the Dutch context [hint :)]. And if I borrow heavily from them in my economic analysis I hope everyone understands.


The implications of the rudderless ship that is the Netherlands are becoming clear as mud. Lex Hoogduin says we shouldn't be overly preoccuppied with our credibility. I am interested in this question and therefore throw the question back to the best performing investors we have on the site, if they have the time, how would you be investing at the moment? Have bonds lost all their appeal? Stocks?

These are interesting times in the Netherlands. I'm glad things are shaking up personally. Things have been going nowhere fast, with no indications from the elites of any real solutions to the euro crisis. Dutch politicians generally say they'd still like to send a budget to Brussels by the end of the month, and hold elections.

Target2 Taboo

Today I'd like to talk a bit about the virtual radio silence in the Netherlands on its growing Target2 balances. While a healthy but acrimonious debate has raged on this topic in Germany, there is almost nothing to be heard about it in the Dutch media. I did three google news searches using:


Target2 + Dutch


Target2 + Nederland

In an admittedly quick look, I came up with a grand total of one article of three sentences:

Just a little snippet. Geert Wilders has walked away from the negotiations this afternoon. It may be about a purchasing power reduction for the lowest income class of one percent. This is what the rich fumblers at the CPB have calculated and is considered quite reasonable by some. Of course, the CPB has been wrong on occasion. The SP would like to see elections as quickly as possible, while the PvdA would like to have a debate in the house. Updates posted here as I have the time to add them.

The Pressure is On

Sometimes I ask myself why I chose to do this. I'm sitting here thinking about all the things I have to do and if I start writing, will I actually write anything that's going to make an inkling of difference. Let the politicians, Central Bank Governors and rating agencies fall on their own swords. The world will sort itself out without any feeble attempt you come up with under the circumstances to change it, undertheradar. You're getting yourself worked up for nothing, and that's going to cost you mistakes in the rest of your messed up life.

I thought I'd post an entirely useless article for all you busy folk. Yes, it's about that country about half the size of an Istanbul or New York. Or whatever the exact proportion is. So sorry to bother those who expect more insight from the articles on this site.

I've been busy getting my garden allotment up and running, so that's part of my answer to what's going on ALL around us. I don't give a flying about making the best timed trade in gold and think there are other productive things to do with my life. Sorry to be the contrarian on a contrarian site and being so trite.


I've been reading up on pensions in the Netherlands, which have been hitting the headlines here over the past year and sparking a lot of controversy. There's a lot going on. It is impossible to analyze all aspects here. I'd like to present and back up my observations in my own way. For someone outside the industry, still involves a bit of synthesizing information from various places. I hope this post will be interesting for zerohedge readers and encourages debate. I may have to come back at some point and expand the analysis as a result.


Consumer spending in the Netherlands has been weaker than other countries in the eurozone for the past ten year and is currently also lower than during the severe economic crisis of the early 80s according the Dutch Central Bank (DNB). They continue that the low spending is an important factor in the recession the Netherlands is now in. Dutch spending patterns have deviated from other European countries which is noteworthy since the Netherlands had one of the highest rates of eurozone countries between 1992 and 2001.

De Telegraph reported on Thursday that Van Lanschot bank had tapped the LTRO for 750 million euros. Quoting Floris Deckers, Chairman of the Board of Managing Directors, "What would you do if you saw a 50 euro note lying on the sidewalk. We're earning a nice margin on it. We don't need it for financing or liquidity."

More on this story at Reuters here: