Daily Digest

Daily Digest 3/31 - Athens Falls Apart, Who Captured The Fed? The Nature Of Tipping Points

Saturday, March 31, 2012, 9:48 AM
  • Must Read: Jim Grant Crucifies The Fed; Explains Why A Gold Standard Is The Best Option
  • There Is No Student Loan 'Crisis'
  • Who Captured the Fed?
  • Amid Debt Crisis, Athens Falls Apart
  • The Potato Movement: Greeks Helping Each Other in Hard Times
  • Claims for Jobless Benefits Decline to a Four-Year Low
  • Neighbors Said to Be at Violent Odds in Syrian Crackdown
  • The Nature Of Tipping Points
  • YPF's latest oil finds in Argentina 'ridiculous': energy secretary

Our 'What Should I Do?' guide has steps to cook, see & stay warm in times of power outage


Must Read: Jim Grant Crucifies The Fed; Explains Why A Gold Standard Is The Best Option (June C.)

In the not quite 100 years since the founding of your institution, America has exchanged central banking for a kind of central planning and the gold standard for what I will call the Ph.D. standard. I regret the changes and will propose reforms, or, I suppose, re-reforms, as my program is very much in accord with that of the founders of this institution. Have you ever read the Federal Reserve Act? The authorizing legislation projected a body “to provide for the establishment of the Federal Reserve banks, to furnish an elastic currency, to afford means of rediscounting commercial paper and to establish a more effective supervision of banking in the United States, and for other purposes.” By now can we identify the operative phrase? Of course: “for other purposes.”

There Is No Student Loan 'Crisis' (Ben Johnson)

"I don't think it's a bubble," said Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of Finaid.org, a financial aid website. "Most students who graduate college are able to repay their loans." There's no doubt that student loan balances are rising fast, bucking the trend of other consumer debt, which fell during the Great Recession. In 2007, the total level of student loan debt was about $600 billion. But more people are going to college these days, said Sandy Baum, senior fellow at the George Washington University School of Education.

Who Captured the Fed? (June C.)

And in the aftermath of the financial collapse, the first popular reform movement that rose up in anger against the bailouts, The Tea Party, was quickly turned into a corps of willing tools that turned on the weak and the least among us, the very victims of a corrupt system, in their petulant pride and misdirected anger.

Amid Debt Crisis, Athens Falls Apart (June C.)

The area around Patission Street used to be one of the most upscale parts of Athens. Maria Callas lived there, but that was a long time ago. Today there is a shoe store on the street that sells patent leather ballerina shoes from China for €5 ($7) and sneakers for €8. The columned structure of the National Archaeological Museum, which houses the largest collection of art from Greek antiquity, is also on Patission Street. A section of Aristotle Street frequented by prostitutes, who are getting ever-younger, is only 50 meters (165 feet) from the museum.

The Potato Movement: Greeks Helping Each Other in Hard Times (gallantfarms)

To the north in Thessaloniki, Greece’s second-largest city, people have been buying potatoes and other staples directly from farmers. This producer-to-consumer system has become so popular that it has spread across Greece, with farmers selling onions, rice, flour, olives and (so far) more than 4,000 Easter lambs. Indeed, town halls, says the Guardian, announce the sales and farmers, after learning how much people will buy, appear with 25-ton trucks. Christos Kamenides, professor of agricultural marketing at Thessaloniki University, says that such a “unified co-operative” will help to bring bring consumers and producers together and could eventually serve as an ecomomic model.

Claims for Jobless Benefits Decline to a Four-Year Low (jdargis)

“The trend remains unambiguously downwards,” Ian Shepherdson, an economist at High Frequency Economics, said of the change in jobless claims. He noted that the rate of decline was slowing, “but they are still consistent with robust, sustained payroll gains.”

Separately, the economy expanded at a solid pace in the final three months of last year, but growth is expected to slow in the current quarter.

Neighbors Said to Be at Violent Odds in Syrian Crackdown (jdargis)

“The army wants to displace people to get them away from the protests,” said Abu Munzer, 59, a Syrian Army veteran from the village of Mazaria, huddling by a wood stove in a cinder-block farmhouse with about 20 other refugees; like most people interviewed, he was afraid to give his full name. “If they die or they leave, there will be no one there to protest.”

The Nature Of Tipping Points (June C.)

So, what exactly is a tipping point? A tipping point can most easily be defined as a small change that can have a large effect on the end state of a system. For example, we have the well known proverb of the straw that breaks the camels back. In this scenario a linear increase in the weight of straw loaded onto the back of a camel leads beyond a certain point to an abrupt change in the health of said camel.

YPF's latest oil finds in Argentina 'ridiculous': energy secretary (adam)

YPF is seeking to retain some of the blocks through the courts, and is betting on a production recovery by developing large shale resources in Neuquen and now Mendoza. In February, YPF raised its estimate of shale oil resources to 22.8 billion boe in parts of the Vaca Muerta formation, from a previous estimate of 927 million boe last November.

Article suggestions for the Daily Digest can be sent to [email protected]. All suggestions are filtered by the Daily Digest team and preference is given to those that are in alignment with the message of the Crash Course and the "3 Es."


Quercus bicolor's picture
Quercus bicolor
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Mar 19 2008
Posts: 470
Re:Must Read: Jim Grant Crucifies The Fed; Explains Why A Gold S

What an opportunity Mr. Grant had!  He makes some convincing arguments.  However, he fails to mention the other two E's or Energy and Environment.  Things are very different with respect to these two than they were in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  Perhaps his proposal would be the best we could do even in light of the natural limitations imposed on us now by hard realities of energy and environment, perhaps not.  I'm not one to speculate, but I bet some of you out there are and I'd love to read what you have to say.


earthwise's picture
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 10 2009
Posts: 848
Re: Jim Grant--Buy that man a Stogie!!


Oh...My...God...!!! Grant is incredible. I'da liked ta seen those FED Governers wincing and squirming upon hearing this. Makes me hope all the more that Ron Paul can pull a rabbit outta his hat. Jim Grant for FED Chair!

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