Apr 212012
 April 21, 2012  Posted by at 6:58 pm Shelter Comments Off on Retrospective #1: As published in the Wanganui Chronicle, 21-04-12
Retrospective #1: As published in the Wanganui Chronicle, 21-04-12

This is Part #1 in an ongoing series about Eco-Thrifty Renovation, by Estwing of the ETR Blog. This series recalls the design principles and decision making process of an eco-thrifty renovation. We believe the key components of a sustainable home include low energy use, redundant energy and water systems, abundant food production and avoidance of debt to the greatest extent possible. For under NZ$100,000 (US$80,000) and a year of hard work, we have developed one of the most sustainable and

Apr 202012
 April 20, 2012  Posted by at 3:53 pm Finance Comments Off on Doing Less With More
Doing Less With More

Here’s a phrase we are all going to hear a lot more of in the near future – “do more with less”. It most definitely will be heard by the average Europeans and Americans with salaries, benefits, pensions, tuitions, bills, etc. This is the ultimate cop out phrase for politcians and pundits who want to hide the fact that there would be plenty of available capital if it wasn’t all being mopped up by the institutions and people who need

Apr 182012
 April 18, 2012  Posted by at 7:51 pm Finance Comments Off on The Grinding Halt: Reality Falls to Bits and Pieces
The Grinding Halt: Reality Falls to Bits and Pieces

When the Treasury defense of TARP came out a few days ago, I happened to stumble upon a one paragraph summary of it from Dutch public broadcaster NOS. Undoubtedly inadvertently, it described the reality behind the report just brilliantly. In a quick translation, this is about what it came down to: The US will turn a small profit on the financial support banks, mortgage lenders and car manufacturers received during the financial crisis. So reports the US Treasury. Especially the

Apr 182012
 April 18, 2012  Posted by at 6:32 pm Finance Comments Off on Spain, Land of Magical Financial Realism
Spain, Land of Magical Financial Realism

Pablo Picasso – Don Quixote These days when I read about Spain I'm wondering more and more how and why it is that the country has any access at all left to international finance markets. The bond auction this week was even sort of bearable, even as yields rose. I'm guessing that either investors have a hard time reading the news or they're going double or nothing in a risk-on bet that Germany and the IMF (China?!) will come to

Apr 132012
 April 13, 2012  Posted by at 8:00 pm Community Comments Off on Meet Thanatos: Real Life Superhero
Meet Thanatos: Real Life Superhero

New Orleans circa 1937. “Courtyard at 1133-1135 Chartres Street.” Young and old, hangin’ with the laundry. The head count here is three, the foot count nine. 8×10 acetate negative by Frances Benjamin Johnston. Thanatos was the personification of Death in Greek mythology, and is perhaps now better known as the name ascribed to Sigmund Freud’s “death drive”. Freud understood thanatos as a psychological drive that causes human beings to act in self-destructive ways, or to “lead organic life back into

Apr 122012
 April 12, 2012  Posted by at 5:53 pm Energy Comments Off on Downstream Demand Destruction for Oil
Downstream Demand Destruction for Oil

One of the most pronounced trends in the Western world since the onset of the global financial crisis has been the plummeting demand for petroleum and the subsequent losses for the refinery industry, which has been squeezed by a combination of declining credit availability, higher prices for input crude and lower demand/prices for refined products (over-capacity). This ever-deepening trend was discussed on TAE earlier in Petroplus – The Tip of an Iceberg. What we are witnessing within the refinery industry

Apr 112012
 April 11, 2012  Posted by at 5:11 pm Finance Comments Off on Spain WILL Need a Bailout Soon
Spain WILL Need a Bailout Soon

If the recent history of the unfolding Eurozone crisis is instructive, Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy’s unconditional statement today that his country will not need an EU bailout signifies that a bailout is exactly what it will need before the year is up. This fact is obvious to anyone who has the slightest idea of how bad Spain’s economy is right now, with an extremely weak housing/banking sector and unemployment that is upwards of 23% and rising. It is, of course,

Apr 092012
 April 9, 2012  Posted by at 9:55 pm Finance Comments Off on Money in Politics
Money in Politics

Russell Lee Vagabonds June 1939 “Veteran migrant worker and his wife camped in Wagoner County, Oklahoma. He has followed the road for about 30 years. When asked where his home was he said, ‘It’s all over.’” As the U.S. election season kicks into high gear, we are going to hear a lot of people talk about “money in politics”. They are usually referring to the fact that corporations, industries and their professional lobbying hacks use campaign donations, expenditures and various

Apr 092012
 April 9, 2012  Posted by at 3:20 pm Finance Comments Off on The Central Banks are Irrelevant
The Central Banks are Irrelevant

The MSM is finally picking up on something that TAE and other insightful analysts have been harping on for years now – the central banks of the world, mired in the debt rattles of a deflationary environment, are rapidly becoming irrelevant. They are constrained in both how much easing they can engage in and how effective any of that easing will be. What we see from them now are simply attempts to maintain the illusion that they are still relevant

Apr 082012
 April 8, 2012  Posted by at 7:44 pm Finance Comments Off on Austerity is Alive and Well in America
Austerity is Alive and Well in America

A common criticism of the so-called “libertarian conservative” strains of European and U.S. economic analysis is that the populations of these regions are not undergoing enough austerity. Their public sectors are bloated and inefficient, with public employees receiving way too much in the way of salaries, benefits and pensions. That has certainly been true in the recent past, and still persists to some extent, but these analysts fail to notice the clear trends that have developed over the last few