Daily Digest 1/1 - In With The New: Looking Back, Looking Forward. As Economic Growth Fails, How Will We Live?
- In With The New: Part III of As Economic Growth Fails, How Do We Live?
- Interview with Attorney James Koutoulas on the Legal Battle with MF Global and JP Morgan
- Sinking Into The 'Great Stagnation'
- Presenting The Exchange Stabilization Fund In 5 Parts: Is This The Real "Plunge Protection Team"?
- Your Money: Financial Tips For The Year Ahead
- The Year Governments Lost Their Credibility
- The high price of oil has blocked the West's economic escape route
- Organic Agriculture May Be Outgrowing Its Ideals
Part II of this series, "Out With The Old", discussed the end of seven "Dead End" unsustainable practices that will falter and decline. We won't pay our unpayable debts or keep impossible promises. We can't keep importing more than we export and borrowing the difference. Our Empire will shrink back. Our use of fossil fuels will decline as we experience Peak Oil and Peak Coal . We must cure Sick Care. We will repeal laws that mandate opulence and forbid prosperity. Finally, we will "drop the shopping" for worthless junk and refocus on the best of what it means to be human.
MF Global has now become the 8th largest bankruptcy in history; resulting in the loss of over one billion customer funds. Jim discusses the broad importance of this case with the attorney representing 8000 affected clients regarding his legal battle with MF Global and JP Morgan.
Sinking Into The 'Great Stagnation' (SolidSwede)
“America is in disarray,” states Prof Cowen, “and our economy is failing us.” He points to the slow growth of median wages since the 1970s, the illusions of the 2000s and the absence of “new net job creation in this last decade”. Moreover, “we face a long-run fiscal crisis, driven by the increasing cost of entitlements, our reliance on debt, and our willingness to let matters slide rather than face up to paying the bills”.
When it comes to the fabled President's Working Group on Capital Markets, also known as the Plunge Protection Team, the myths about the subject are certainly far greater than any underlying reality. To be sure, vast amounts of popular folkflore has been expounded into the public arena, with most of it being shot down simply due to it assuming conspiracy theories of such vast scale that the human mind is unable to grasp the complexity, and ultimately the inverse Gordian Knot makes an appearance with the claim that vast conspiracies are largely untenable simply because it is impossible to keep a secret from so many people for so long. Yet what if the secret is not a secret at all but is fully out in the open, and is only a matter of interpretation, and contextualizing?
Rather than blindly following his high school classmates heading immediately to college, he spent much of 2011 focusing on two areas of career interest. He works for his local fire department and recently completed his probationary period. And he coached a local soccer team. In the spring, he hopes to take an emergency medical technician course at the local community college, which would cost him nothing; he qualifies for free tuition.
Oddly, the downgrade of the United States seemed to help its financial markets. Whatever a rating agency might think, the United States seemed to be a bastion of safety and relative certainty. Treasury bond prices rose and yields fell. And the American stock market, while it became extremely volatile, more than held its own. Depending on what index is used, American stocks rose a little or fell a little during the year, although they ended lower than they had been when the European leaders announced their Brussels agreement. The MSCI index for the United States ended with a 2 percent rise.
During previous slowdowns, lower fuel costs have boosted the profitability of Western firms. Reduced inflationary pressures have provided our central banks with the room to cut interest rates. So cheaper oil has helped the West climb out of periodic economic slumps. Yet this vital mechanism is now broken.
"People are now buying from a global commodity market, and they have to be skeptical even when the label says ‘organic’ — that doesn’t tell people all they need to know,” said Frederick L. Kirschenmann, a distinguished fellow at the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University. He said some large farms that have qualified as organic employed environmentally damaging practices, like planting only one crop, which is bad for soil health, or overtaxing local freshwater supplies.
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