Feb 282014
 February 28, 2014  Posted by at 3:00 pm Finance 
Debt Rattle Feb 28 2014: Divide And Rule The Black Sea

FacebookGoogle+TwitterLinkedinemail Dorothea Lange Technocracy, Josephine County, Oregon August 1939 Well, at least these times are not dull. Normally, we would be looking with wary eyes at record unemployment in Italy, deflation in Spain and plummeting French consumer spending. Or at big, smart, institutional money leaving the US housing market. None of these are small matters by themselves, but they are dwarfed by the groups of as yet mysterious militia, mercenaries, whatever they may be, I used the term guerrillas yesterday,

Feb 272014
 February 27, 2014  Posted by at 7:12 pm Finance 
Debt Rattle Feb 27 2014: A Chessboard Filled With Guerrilla Pawns

FacebookGoogle+TwitterLinkedinemail Esther Bubley for OWI “Sign on the bus route through Indiana to Chicago” September 1943 Saxo’s Steen Jakobsen looks at his data and comes up with a number of predictions, in particular about China: “China is not happy these days”. Then again, who is? Russia is not, that’s for sure. Or Ukraine. Or Japan. Neither are America or Europe. They’re all not happy for different reasons, and even inside their borders there are different reasons people are not happy.

Feb 252014
 February 25, 2014  Posted by at 6:56 pm Finance 
Debt Rattle Feb 25 2014: (Bomb)Shell

FacebookGoogle+TwitterLinkedinemail Arnold Genthe “Diamond antique store, Royal Street, New Orleans” 1920 An interesting government commissioned report came out yesterday in Britain, prepared by a commission under oil veteran Sir Ian Wood, and dealing with the prickly issue of what to do with the fast dwindling oil and gas production – and tax revenue – that comes from the British North Sea patch. What probably “worries” the government most of all at this point is that the oil and gas industry

Feb 242014
 February 24, 2014  Posted by at 6:16 pm Finance 
Debt Rattle Feb 24 2014: What Drives The Climate Debate Off Track

FacebookGoogle+TwitterLinkedinemail G. G. Bain “New York: Aviator Clifford B. Harmon seated in aeroplane” July 1910 The climate debate has gone completely off track over the past few years, and at least 50% of the blame for that lies with the well meaning people who want climate change to be our (as in: all 7 billion of us) number one if not only priority. But as well-meaning as they may be, they’ve fallen for one of the oldest tricks in the

Feb 212014
 February 21, 2014  Posted by at 5:32 pm Finance 
Debt Rattle Feb 21 2014: Broke, Bruised And Battered

FacebookGoogle+TwitterLinkedinemail Detroit Publishing Co. “Manhattan from the Brooklyn Bridge” 1907 There’s a lot more to the Ukraine situation than meets the eye. The country was already on the verge of bankruptcy before the protests started three months ago, and seems dead set on default now. Russia seemed willing to help, but the protests against Yanukovych are protests against Putin too. Moreover, Russian banks have substantial holdings of Ukrainian bonds. Then, there’s of course the energy question. Ukraine relies on Russian

Feb 202014
 February 20, 2014  Posted by at 6:25 pm Finance 
Debt Rattle Feb 20 2014: The Opulent Blessing Project

FacebookGoogle+TwitterLinkedinemail Albert Fenn for OWI “New York. Negro taxi driver” 1942 I was going to write a nice piece on how the trusts and trust companies in China’s shadow banking industry are really no different from what we had 7+ years ago for instance in the hedge funds Bear Stearns had set up, and which they initially tried to save with $3.2 billion when they went awry, even though they had first put only $50 million or so in them.

Feb 192014
 February 19, 2014  Posted by at 4:08 pm Finance 
Debt Rattle Feb 19 2014: Bad! Bad Data!

FacebookGoogle+TwitterLinkedinemail Fenno Jacobs for OWI “Southington, Connecticut. Girls at drugstore” May 1942 The story of the day should perhaps really be the 26+ killed and 1000+ wounded in Ukraine, where the violence shows no sign of abating, and another deadly night could be in store. Or, you know, Kazachstan or Thailand or Venezuela. The pattern is familiar: thugs mingle with students grandma’s and peaceful complaints either get entirely discredited or create total confusion. But from as far away as I

Feb 182014
 February 18, 2014  Posted by at 4:09 pm Finance 
Debt Rattle Feb 18 2014: The Best And Brightest Among Us Are Not

FacebookGoogle+TwitterLinkedinemail Fenno Jacobs for OWI “Southington, Conn. Monty’s Diner” May 1942 When I see things like today’s Bloomberg headline “Currency Traders Facing Extinction as Computers Replace Humans”, I can’t help pondering, if even for a fleeting moment, that perhaps it makes no difference, since currency traders don’t produce anything of value, they only shift existing and virtual wealth around. And so will the computers that replace them. In fact, developments like this should free up the humans involved to change

Feb 172014
 February 17, 2014  Posted by at 4:01 pm Finance 
Debt Rattle Feb 17 2014: A Racing Certainty

FacebookGoogle+TwitterLinkedinemail Harris & Ewing “Snow after blizzard, Washington, DC” January 1922 The Chinese government may have wanted to tighten lending and shrink shadow banking, but in January it’s found – as we now do – that it can’t, because its financial system has been entirely built on and with credit, and can now be diagnosed as completely and fatally addicted to it. And so in January Beijing took it up a notch, not down. Here’s where the addiction shows: According

Feb 162014
 February 16, 2014  Posted by at 3:28 pm Finance 
Bubbles and the Titanic Betrayal of Public Trust - Redux

FacebookGoogle+TwitterLinkedinemail M.C. Escher “Hand with Reflecting Sphere” 1935 Since we’re seeing existing bubbles get ever bigger, and new ones pop up in both familiar (US, Europe) and novel places (China!), let’s take another look at the psychology behind the bubble phenomenon, which is a regular occurrence throughout history. To paraphrase Minsky: once a market appears to be stable, it’s already on its way to instability. Caution is thrown out with the bathwater, financial innovation is introduced, and the very laws