Aug 302012
 August 30, 2012  Posted by at 10:02 pm Finance Comments Off on A Big Bad Brick Wall
A Big Bad Brick Wall

Jack Delano Model airplanes decorate the ceiling of the train concourses at Union Station in Chicago, Illinois 1943 As America settles in for a three month long across-all-media screening of Dumb and Dumber, Europeans are setting up for a valiant effort to put up an even more mind-boggling spectacle. Competition is healthy, right? The world of finance hangs on ex-Goldman Sachs vice chairman and managing director Mario Draghi's lips almost as much as it sucks up to Ben Bernanke's Jackson

Aug 272012
 August 27, 2012  Posted by at 3:19 pm Finance Comments Off on The Global Demise of Pension Plans
The Global Demise of Pension Plans

We have been saying for a long time that anyone in the western world who's 10-15 years away from collecting their first pension payments, shouldn't expect to get much, if anything, when the time comes. This is because, obviously, the economy has deteriorated as much as it has. It's also because, in essence, pensions plans are the ultimate Ponzi schemes. What doesn't help are the central bank and government policies that are in fashion today that are based on pushing

Aug 252012
 August 25, 2012  Posted by at 1:25 pm Finance Comments Off on Dear Angela, It’s Time To Do The Right Thing
Dear Angela, It's Time To Do The Right Thing

Image: Ilargi, The Automatic Earth Dear Angela, You know, it's sort of funny that just as I started to write this letter, I read about a plan (yours?) for a possible temporary Greece exit from the eurozone. Germany May Ask Greece To Exit The Euro 'Temporarily' Market News International is reporting that the German Finance Ministry may ask Greece to exit the euro "temporarily" while it straightens out its finances. From MNI, citing unnamed "senior eurozone officials" as sources: The

Aug 222012
 August 22, 2012  Posted by at 12:13 pm Finance Comments Off on What Happened To The Debt?
What Happened To The Debt?

Alright, OK, so we have new sorts of relative highs in European and US stock markets, even as we keep a w(e)ary eye on Shanghai's new lows. The western highs seem to have a lot to do with all kinds of expectations of ECB sovereign bond purchases and/or cooling German resistance against them. All this is accompanied by a rising Euro, and that little detail is far more puzzling than is generally acknowledged. Because there is only one reason for

Aug 202012
 August 20, 2012  Posted by at 5:37 pm Finance Comments Off on The Chinese Data Speaks For Itself
The Chinese Data Speaks For Itself

The China bulls of the last few years are finding it more and more difficult to explain away the evidence for a “hard landing” in the near future. Their only remaining argument is that the country will avoid this dismal fate if a dozen different things go right in the global economy – i.e., the Eurozone crisis doesn’t get worse, financial markets don’t become any less stable, the Chinese real estate bubble doesn’t implode, direct foreign investment doesn’t contract any

Aug 192012
 August 19, 2012  Posted by at 1:12 pm Energy Comments Off on India Power Outage: The Shape of Things to Come?
India Power Outage: The Shape of Things to Come?

July 31: Indian national television reports on power outage (to a limited audience?!) "So far as I am able to judge, nothing has been left undone, either by man or nature, to make India the most extraordinary country that the sun visits on his rounds. Nothing seems to have been forgotten, nothing overlooked." Mark Twain, Following the Equator. The enormous power cut recently seen in India, which affected perhaps 700 million people, serves to highlight the degree of the structural

Aug 152012
 August 15, 2012  Posted by at 9:32 pm Finance Comments Off on 350 Greek Tragedies in Athens in June Alone
350 Greek Tragedies in Athens in June Alone

You know, we can write and read and research all we want, and till we're deep dark blue in the face, about Angela Merkel and Tim Geithner and Mario Draghi or Monti and Greek heroes Samaras and Venizelos, about what they say and do from day to day, driven by political pressure and mundane issues such as bond yields. And we will continue to write, read and research these things; that's not going to stop. But as soon as any

Aug 142012
 August 14, 2012  Posted by at 12:38 am Finance Comments Off on Kangaroos, Bananas and the Rule of Law
Kangaroos, Bananas and the Rule of Law

Kangaroo Court : An unfair, biased, or hasty judicial proceeding that ends in a harsh punishment; an unauthorized trial conducted by individuals who have taken the law into their own hands, such as those put on by vigilantes or prison inmates; a proceeding and its leaders who are considered sham, corrupt, and without regard for the law. The concept of kangaroo court dates to the early nineteenth century. Scholars trace its origin to the historical practice of itinerant judges on

Aug 102012
 August 10, 2012  Posted by at 5:29 pm Finance Comments Off on The Seductive Promises of Counterfeit CULTures
The Seductive Promises of Counterfeit CULTures

1909. "Mme. Diss-DeBarr," a.k.a. "the noted and notorious Ann O'Delia Dis Debar, of many aliases, a number of husbands and several prison terms," according to a 1909 article in the New York Times. The headline calls her an "ex-priestess of fake spiritualism." 8×10 glass negative, George Grantham Bain. The word "counterfeit" is defined as "an imitation intended to be passed off fraudulently or deceptively as genuine". Some counterfeits are bad and easily detectable, while others are very convincing. I would

Aug 102012
 August 10, 2012  Posted by at 1:53 pm Finance Comments Off on Eurodystopia: A Future Divided
Eurodystopia: A Future Divided

Just about everyone will recognize the family name. Fewer will be familiar with the man behind it. But Alfred (Freddy) Heineken was an interesting man regardless. Starting in 1941, he took over the family firm founded by his grandfather, bought back shares and never looked back. Freddy built the Heineken brand into one of the best marketed ones in the world for any product, and today, 10 years after his death, it is still in the very top of world