Jan 312013
 January 31, 2013  Posted by at 12:26 am Finance Comments Off on France Is Dead Broke, But At Least Its GDP Came In Positive
France Is Dead Broke, But At Least Its GDP Came In Positive

US GDP came out today and it was a stinker: -0.1%. Enter a choir of 10,000 pundits who all figured out that all that bad smell was the result of one thing only: cuts in military spending. That's the sort of thing that tells me – or more correctly: confirms – that the optimism bias has become so strong and infectious it's no longer worth even discussing. And that's before I notice – caveat: I haven't read all the eerily

Jan 282013
 January 28, 2013  Posted by at 10:10 pm Finance Comments Off on How To Spot A Zombie
How To Spot A Zombie

Artwork: Ilargi for The Automatic Earth That thing in Davos is on again, the World Economic Forum, sort of like the Academy Awards without awards but with the same peacock factor. And snow. Full of business leaders and government leaders and media leaders, the vast majority of whom are the same folks who attended before this crisis broke you but not them into pieces, and easily enough to make you realize with a shudder what an unmitigated disaster it is

Jan 222013
 January 22, 2013  Posted by at 11:00 pm Finance Comments Off on The Last Remaining Store Of Real Wealth – 1
The Last Remaining Store Of Real Wealth - 1

Yeah, The Last Remaining Store Of Real Wealth is somewhat tongue in cheek. I'm talking about pensions here, and despite the fact that hundreds of millions of people, especially in the west world, count on the pensions they pay into year after year for decades, to be there for them when they reach a certain age – which gets pushed forward all the time, talk about Receding Horizons! -, I've long since said that for most that is not going

Jan 162013
 January 16, 2013  Posted by at 10:32 pm Finance Comments Off on Tim Geithner, the King of Cloud Cuckoo Land
Tim Geithner, the King of Cloud Cuckoo Land

Russell Lee Family Car 1939 "White migrant and wife repairing clutch in their car near Harlingen, Texas" On January 25, Timothy Geithner will step down as US Treasury Secretary. A lot of people will say and write a lot of things about him at that point, and it sounds like a good idea to be ahead of the game and provide some perspective. There are voices claiming (there will be many more, promise) that Geithner pulled us out of the

Jan 112013
 January 11, 2013  Posted by at 4:10 pm Finance Comments Off on Scale Matters
Scale Matters

Scale matters. When it changes, other things change as a function of it, often in unpredictable ways. Emergent properties are system characteristics that come into existence as a result of small and simple units of organization being combined to form large and complex multi-unit organizational structures. One can know everything there is to know about the original simple units and yet be unable to predict the characteristics of the larger system that emerges as many units come together to interact

Jan 082013
 January 8, 2013  Posted by at 8:42 pm Finance Comments Off on One Inch Below The Surface (America, You're Being Punked)
One Inch Below The Surface (America, You're Being Punked)

Artwork: Ilargi for The Automatic Earth We've sort of run out of ways to describe the skewed perceptions and/or skewed realities of the politico-financial world we inhabit. Metaphors like Bizarro World, Kabuki theater and Theater of the Absurd have come and long gone and are now used only by those who missed out first time around. But that doesn't mean it's all become less weird; if anything, one gets the feeling the media in general are becoming more complacent if

Jan 012013
 January 1, 2013  Posted by at 11:00 pm Earth Comments Off on Quote Of The Year. And The Next.
Quote Of The Year. And The Next.

I came upon this quote a few weeks ago in an interview that Der Spiegel had with Dennis Meadows, co-author of the Limits to Growth report published by the Club of Rome 40 years ago. Yes, the report that has been much maligned and later largely rehabilitated. But that's not my topic here, and neither is Meadows himself. It's the quote, and it pretty much hasn’t left me alone since I read it. Here's the short version: [..] … we