Daily Digest 12/20 - Honey Changes Everything, Austerity At What Cost?
The issue isn't the fiscal cliff. The issue is the fiscal crisis that the United States has been looking at for the past several years.
The lump-sum retirement payments, seldom granted in private industry, mirror a broader trend in which California’s public employees receive far more than comparable workers elsewhere in almost all job and wage categories, from public safety to health care, base salary to overtime. California, the world’s ninth- biggest economy, has set a pattern for lax management, inefficient operations and out-of-control costs, the Bloomberg data show.
In the past, central banks walked a tightrope between higher and lower interest rates. Raise rates too high and economies would slow and/or contract. Keep rates are too low and inflation would result.
Today, the central bankers’ monetary tightrope has become a gangplank.
The Nexen Deal Is Only the Beginning (westcoastjan)
The Chinese, Russians and others have, and will, continue to game our system. I would argue that CNOOC's bid itself was outrageous: an aggressive, uninvited entry into the Canadian economic space before the issues had been properly debated in the aftermath of the Potash Corporation and TMX Group takeovers were rebuffed and rejected.
Austerity - At Whose Cost? (westcoastjan)
The political consequences are indeed quite worrisome to some of the biggest capitalist producers, who are realizing that they no longer have a tenable political position, and therefore they face the inevitable shutdown of their ability to command resources and wealth. The current demand for austerity is a sort of last-ditch effort to hold back the tide of the structural crisis of the world-system.
The employee led efforts to influence Japanese Yen Libor submissions by paying brokers as much as 15,000 pounds (US$24,400) a quarter and offering a payment to another for helping him keep that day’s rate low. The banker, identified by regulators as Trader A, worked at UBS in Tokyo from 2006 to 2009 and directly contacted employees at other banks to influence their submissions at least 80 times.
“There’s always grumbling on Wall Street, which is pathetic given how overpaid we all are, but there is a level of angst this year that is just unprecedented,” Gordon Dean, who left a 26-year career at Morgan Stanley to co-found a San Francisco boutique advisory firm this year, said in a telephone interview. “It’s just a profound sadness and dissatisfaction.”
I was just speaking to a Chinese diplomat and I said to their diplomat, ‘Your two most important commodities are water and gold.’ And this diplomat said to me, ‘Yes, we need gold to back up the yuan.’ Well this diplomat realized very quickly they had made a terrible mistake in admitting that and began to back off and stated, ‘No, it’s not to back the yuan. It’s because of jewelry.’ But it was too late, the horse had left the barn so-to-speak.
Now, between the 1960s and the 1980s, the world saw roughly a 6% per year growth in oil output. From 1980 to 2000, roughly 1.5%. And since then, almost flat, maybe a .1% growth in oil output.
So shale oil discoveries may be massive in terms of the total number of barrels of oil--but what they lack are high and sustained flow rates. And there's a lot of confusion out there in the press right now, with several analysts that should know better, waving their hands at increasing reserves and then making the utterly wrong conclusion that peak oil is a defunct theory.
Governments right now are providing more than half a trillion dollars in subsidies for oil and gas, so they're already in the business of shaping the alternative market, mainly by making their competitor's products much cheaper. So is there a role for government to play in helping to boost alternatives at this point? The answer has to be yes, because there really isn't a lot of time left on the clock. Left to its own devices, the market would deliver us an alternative energy future, but history suggests that energy transitions take a minimum of 40 years, sometimes 60 years, and we don't have that kind of time.
Insiders Sound an Alarm Amid a Natural Gas Rush (Ben Johnson)
"Natural gas companies have been placing enormous bets on the wells they are drilling, saying they will deliver big profits and provide a vast new source of energy for the United States.
But the gas may not be as easy and cheap to extract from shale formations deep underground as the companies are saying, according to hundreds of industry e-mails and internal documents and an analysis of data from thousands of wells."
"The US experience suggests that a more efficient gas market, marked by flexible pricing and fuelled by indigenous unconventional resources that are produced sustainably can reduce coal use, CO2 emissions and consumers' electricity bills without harming energy security" says Ms. Van der Hoeven.
Honey Changes Everything (westcoastjan)
Bees. Specifically African bees are probably not the first, or even fifth idea, that comes to mind when you think of alleviating poverty. Yet these little insects are causing a buzz by helping thousands of rural farmers in East Africa.
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