Links 7/31/10

Major jet lag attack….a face plant is in order.

Chernobyl zone shows decline in biodiversity BBC

Reality TV, cosmetic surgery linked, researcher says PhysOrg

The We-Could-Go-Either-Way-On-Defamation League Weighs In FireDogLake

BP Defines Deviancy Down Columbia Journalism Review

Anatomy of Lehman’s Failure, and the Importance of Liquidity Requirements Economics of Contempt (hat tip Richard Smith and Don B)

Lunch with the FT: Alan Greenspan Alan Beattie. The former Maestro’s defense is that he was only 30% wrong and that the crisis was a very rare event.

Sites Feed Personal Details To New Tracking Industry Wall Street Journal

Trucking Industry Says Economy Is Slowing Clusterstock

FDIC gets into the securitization business MarketWatch. Note the anodyne announcement omits the nasty features highlighted by Richard Smith last week.

American Economy So Awful Parents Now Buying Franchises to Keep Adult Children Employed Helaine Olen

The Aftermath of the Global Housing Bubble Chokes the World Banking System. Only a Coordinated Loan Massacre Could Defeat a Japanese-Style Dead-and-Dying-of-Debt Kamikaze. Hell Approaches Us All, But Only For An Extended Period. Michael David White (hat tip Frank A). Despite unwieldy title, this is an instructive piece.

Antidote du jour:

Picture 3

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. Ina Deaver

    Welcome back, Yves. Enjoy the plant.

    RE: internet tracking.

    There are plenty of places in this country that get no TV reception, and where landlines for phones are limited to party lines – no one seemed overly concerned about those people desperately needing service. Oh, but NOW we have a technology that tracks everything you do while you watch reruns of Jeopardy. THAT needs to reach everyone, everywhere. As a government infrastructure priority. . . .

    1. Rex

      I saw this site about trips around Chernobyl several years ago. Very interesting. Thanks for reminding me.

  2. DownSouth

    Re: “Trucking Industry Says Economy Is Slowing”

    The American Trucking Associations’ advance seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index decreased 1.4 percent in June, although May’s reduction was revised from 0.6 percent to just 0.1 percent. May and June marked the first back-to-back contractions since March and April 2009.

    Does anybody remember what March and April of 2009 were like? Maybe this will help spur the memory.

  3. Ronald

    Michael David White:
    Modern economics depends on robust credit expansion for growth both Japan and the U.S. banking system created outsized RE asset values to prime the credit pump. The ponzi RE illusion created by the banking system is beginning to unravel as owners equity disappears but the debt doesn’t a painful reminder that there is no free lunch.

  4. kevinearick

    No nation/state measures productivity/performance, and what they do measure is completely contrived.

    At-Will Recap

    California has one of the worst performing education systems on the planet, but K-14 gets 40%, because a black box economy may only perpetuate itself in an ignorant environment. Black box technology is like putting a loaded gun in the hands of an ignorant person with no other means of making a living.

    As is so often the case, Whitman and Brown are two sides of the same coin. In Brown’s case, he was indirectly indispensible in the development of the Internet, by ensuring freedom of speech within the CA university system at the time, but both are intimately familiar with the corruption responsible for economic outcomes, and both must play to that corruption.

    Make no mistake, the trapdoor has been sprung, and the noose around the empire’s neck grows tighter every time it moves. The economy is only recycling debt, at exponentially increasing cost to capital. Will the legacy interests choose to get on with the business at hand, or hang itself to death? Pick your poison. (Like the Fed said, you need a PhD in economics to appreciate pro-cyclic leverage into demographic deceleration)

    The nexus participants are increasingly throwing each other off the bridge now, to maintain their position, and the flood is coming down the channel. In the dc world, the empire demands 75% of our income to subsidize the multinationals; wants to tell us what, when, where, and how to do our jobs; and confiscates our children at will. In the ac world, we watch while the empire struggles with that noose around its neck, ready to deliver two orders of magnitude more voltage from the planet to the empire, or replace the dc bus all together…

    Think about it in terms of marginal utility. Could you increase your productivity beyond the increase in pay required (quality of life), if you were given the freedom to define your job? Of course you could, substantially, X 7 billion. What we have here is a dc bus control issue: economic slavery doesn’t work, which becomes more transparent everyday, and its history has run out of room for replication. MU machine maxes out straight downhill, but steering on a slope and starting up a slope from a dead stop are different matters.

    The contract allows legacy interests to build a lottery/ponzi commerce system, to induce slave participation in the dc bus, paying top dollar to CEO slaves to algebraically reduce/liquidate those that choose the CAO slave offer of dependence, which continues until the pyramid begins to contract; however, it does not give any contrived majority of slaves, led by slaves, the right to vote others into slavery, although the dc bus attempts to do so every time it faces contraction, repeating its history.

    Socrates / Pressfield–

    “I was observing the young soldiers of the camp. Conformity to the norm is their overmastering impetus, is it not? Each unprompted wears his curls like every other, drapes his hem to the same length, and strides about and even postures in the identical attitude. Inclusion in the hierarchy is all; exclusion the paramount fear.

    In fact they are slaves, are they not? They act not by the dictates of their own hearts, but to please others. There are two words for this. Demagoguery. And fashion.

    Does there exist beneath heaven a spectacle more debased than that of a demagogue orating before the masses? Each syllable screeches of shamelessness, and why? Because we discern, hearing this vile wretch pimp himself to the multitude, that his speech springs not from the true conviction of his soul, but is crafted cunningly to truckle to the whim of the mob. He seeks his own advancement by their favor and will say anything, however wicked or infamous, to promote his stature in their eyes. In other words, the politician is the supreme slave.”

    Others may choose slavery, but they may not choose slavery for the rest of us.

  5. Seal

    RE Greenspan: A British Foreign Service worker, on the job from 1909 or so until 1947, was once quoted as saying he was only wrong twice predicting that war would not occur.

    AG has belonged in assisted care since the beginning of the first bubble – 1996. He now belongs in Federal prison. His “wealth creation” has a shadow side – BIGTIME

  6. dearieme

    Children running franchise businesses rather than studying to be parasites at Law or Business school is surely a Good Thing?

  7. Sundog

    In the spirit of the summer re-runs (terrific idea, should be a weekly feature here), here’s Martin Mayer from August, 1999. Emphasis is mine.

    Once you start to get into this sort of nonsense, serious problems can occur for everybody, because you are dealing in a world of thoroughly artificial instruments that have nothing to do with real production, real consumption, real trade or real anything. They are simply counters in a game. But when the players have to pay off, they have to pay off in real resources, and that sort of thing is extremely dangerous over time.
    I would require an open registry of instruments and I would require transactions to go through clearinghouses. I think we are moving toward a world of renewed correspondent banking, and we’re going to have more payments done on a correspondent-banking chassis. An OTC derivatives contract is a correspondent-banking instrument and it’s going to get in trouble the way other correspondent-banking instruments do, because no correspondent bank knows what its respondent bank is doing outside the individual private relationship.
    When they were working properly, banks had deep silos of information about their borrowers, and the markets tapped into that to the extent that they could. The markets, on the other hand, work on shallow information that is available to everybody.

    We’re moving from a world that was dominated by specific information in banks to a world dominated by much less profound but much more widespread information in markets. The clash between these two systems of valuing instruments is what makes for the instability that we can see all around us and that will increase. Banks are now making a lot of money, but there are certain assumptions in their bookkeeping that may prove not to be true.

    Martin Mayer, 1999 [my emphasis]

  8. Sundog

    For those with a strong stomach, here’s a panel discussion with Paul Ryan on creatively destroying America by promising five to six percent of GDP deficits through mid-century (but it will get better after that, trust us — we’re Republicans!).

    Even if the news out of Mexico weren’t so bleak, I probably would still have a hard time getting around to Newt at AEI. It’s a must.

  9. RueTheDay

    From the link on the FDIC getting into the securitization business:

    “Roughly $400 million of senior certificates were sold. These are guaranteed by the agency and will pay a fixed interest rate of 2.184% for about 3.66 years.”

    By way of comparison, 3 year Treasuries are yielding 0.82%. The FDIC, unlike the GSEs, is backed by the full faith and credit of the US government. Who priced this thing?

Comments are closed.