Category Archives: Economic fundamentals

US Corporate Executives to Workers: Drop Dead

The Washington Post has a story that blandly supports the continued strip mining of the American economy. Of course, in Versailles that the nation’s capitol has become, this lobbyist-and-big-ticket-political-donor supporting point of view no doubt seems entirely logical. The guts of the article: Three years ago, Harvard Business School asked thousands of its graduates, many […]

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Oil – The Next Commodity Domino?

Yves here. As we’ve written, austerity in Europe and Chinese efforts to rein in construction-related lending have delivered enough of a hit to global growth so as to start denting oil prices, which were holding up in large measure due to tensions in the Middle East. This post suggests that more oil price weakness is in the offing. This is a big negative for the fracking boom, needless to say, and may give environmentalists more time to stymie further development.

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Steve Keen: The ECB’s Eurozone Medicine is Nonsense

Yves here. While the impetus for Steve Keen’s post is the ECB’s latest pretense that it can and is doing something to combat deflation, he provides an excellent and short debunking of two widespread misconceptions about money and banking. The first myth is the money multiplier and the second is that reserves are the basis for bank lending.

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Are Advanced Economies Mature Enough to Handle No Growth?

Economists occasionally point out that societies generally move to the right during periods of sustained low growth and economic stress. Yet left-leaning advocates of low or even no growth policies rarely acknowledge the conflict between their antipathy towards growth and the sort of social values they like to see prevail. While some “the end of growth is nigh” types are simply expressing doubt that 20th century rates of increase can be attained in an era of resource scarcity, others see a low-growth future as attractive, even virtuous, with smaller, more autonomous, more cohesive communities.

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Wolf Richter: ‘Wealth Effect’ Kicks in – Luxury Homes Are Hot, Rest of Housing Market Gets Hosed

Home sales have been declining since last fall and in some cases steeply, with memories of bidding wars early last year triggering wistful sighs. The sales decline continued into the summer, and indications are that they’re dragging into September as well. But the median sale price continued to rise, if at a slower rate, and in many areas has moved out of reach for the median-income household.

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Ilargi: The Black Swan Of Scotland

Yves here. The way that England’s leaders, as well as pundits and investors generally, failed to recognize that Scotland really could vote for secession, is even more significant than it seems, and as Ilargi tells us below, it’s plenty significant. As NC readers have noted, the fact that Scots have swung in favor of secession is certain to embolden other separatists. But at least as important is why events have reached this juncture.

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The ECB as Enabler: Doubles Down on Failed Monetary Policies

The ECB took a few surprise measures on Thursday mainly as a signal that central banks are willing to Do Something, even when sort of somethings they can do are at best unproductive. But the weak tea of lowering the benchmark rate by 10 basis points to 0.05% and announced it would be implementing a watered-down version of QE, in which it will start buying asset backed securities and covered bonds nevertheless pleased investors initially. bu the enthusiasm proved to be short lived; in the US, the modest stock market lift in the morning had gone into reverse by the close of trading. The announcement did produce one tangible positive outcome for the flagging European economy, which was to lower the value of the euro.

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Wolf Richter: Startup CEO (Unwittingly) Explains Biggest Problem in America’s Unemployment Crisis

The somewhat peculiar results of the Challenger Labor Shortage Survey showed that 77% of the approximately 100 human resources executives polled said their companies were having difficulty filling open positions due to a shortage of available talent… But today, I ran into something that put that report in a different light, via Rebekah Campbell’s article in the New York Times, which describes her experiences in trying to rope in potential investors for her company, Posse.

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Oil Is Back! A Global Warming President Presides Over a Drill-Baby-Drill America

Yves here. It should come as no surprise that Obama’s rhetoric on climate change is sorely out of whack with his policies. Indeed, as Michael Klare reports, there’s been enough of a economic rebound in the US to lead to more driving, and hence more oil usage. And rather than regard that as a problem, the Administration has shifted from talking up clean energy to pushing more domestic oil production.

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Mathew D. Rose: Merkel’s Götterdämmerung, Victory in Ukraine and Draghi’s Old Trick

Yves here. Mathew’s post describes the political and ideological dynamics that continue to drive failed austerity policies in Europe. But even more important, it also explains why Europe, and German leaders in particular, have fallen in line with the US and are escalating the conflict with Russia over Ukraine. As we’ve discussed, they’ve convinced themselves that Russia will suffer from the economic sanctions imposed by the US and EU before Russia can play its energy card. And some analysts further believe that Russia would not dare restrict gas supplies to Europe, that it cannot afford to lose the income.

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