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Daily Digest 10/15 - The Self-Destruction Of The 1%, CA's Central Valley Land Of A Billion Vegetables

Monday, October 15, 2012, 11:49 AM

Economy

Tocqueville: Outlook For Gold Price & Gold Shares (Taki T.)

Gold and precious metals stocks rallied sharply in the third quarter. The rally suggests that the lengthy correction which began in August of 2011 has been completed, setting the stage for a powerful new leg in the bull market for precious metals and related mining shares. During the quarter, the metal rose 10.9% to $1,772/oz. while the XAU index rose 21.7% to 191. Since mid-May, precious metals shares as measured by the XAU have outperformed gold bullion, with the XAU index rising 35.9% against a 14.8% advance for the metal. Outperformance by the shares over the metal has historically coincided with the strongest advances in both absolute and relative terms for the precious metals complex.

Boss Rail (jdargis)

Until now, China’s trains had always been a symbol of backwardness. More than a century ago, when the Empress Dowager was given a miniature engine to bear her about the Imperial City, she found the “fire cart” so insulting to the natural order that she banished it and insisted that her carriage continue to be dragged by eunuchs. Chairman Mao crisscrossed the countryside with tracks, partly for military use, but travel for ordinary people remained a misery of delayed, overcrowded trains nicknamed for the soot-stained color of the carriages: “green skins” were the slowest, “red skins” scarcely better. Even after Japan pioneered high-speed trains, in the nineteen-fifties, and Europe followed suit, China lagged behind, with what the state press bemoaned as two inches of track per person—“less than the length of a cigarette.”

Austerity Protests Are Rude Awakening in Portugal (jdargis)

The turning point came in September when Mr. Passos Coelho offered a plan to redistribute social security funds by cutting employers’ social security taxes while significantly raising those of employees. Although the measure was meant to lower labor costs, the outcry from workers was so ferocious that he was soon forced to withdraw it.

A Risky Lifeline for the Elderly Is Costing Some Their Homes (jdargis)

Now, as the vast baby boomer generation heads for retirement and more seniors grapple with dwindling savings, the newly minted Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is working on new rules that could mean better disclosure for consumers and stricter supervision of lenders. More than 775,000 of such loans are outstanding, according to the federal government.

The Self-Destruction Of The 1 Percent (jdargis)

The history of the United States can be read as one such virtuous circle. But as the story of Venice shows, virtuous circles can be broken. Elites that have prospered from inclusive systems can be tempted to pull up the ladder they climbed to the top. Eventually, their societies become extractive and their economies languish.

Duel In The East China Sea (James S.)

Historically, these uninhabited islands are rich fishing grounds with military strategic importance. It was also discovered in 1968 that there could be oil and gas reserves under the sea near the islands. It is estimated that the East China Sea region may hold as much as 160 billion barrels of oil. Today, these islands have different names depending on whom you talk to - Diaoyu in China, Diaoyutai in Taiwan, and Senkaku in Japan.

Factors that Could Threaten the Oil & Gas Industry in the Future (James S.)

The industry as a whole still feels the pains from BP's Deepwater Horizon oil spill two years ago, combating public concern both on land and in the ocean. But, as Dewhurst explains, many oil and gas companies have learned from incident and have worked through new regulations successfully.

Everyone Eats There (westcoastjan)

The valley became widely known in the 1920s and 1930s, when farmers arrived from Virginia or Armenia or Italy or (like Tom Joad) Oklahoma and wrote home about the clean air, plentiful water and cheap land. Now the valley yields a third of all the produce grown in the United States. Unlike the Midwest, which concentrates (devastatingly) on corn and soybeans, more than 230 crops are grown in the valley, including those indigenous to South Asia, Southeast Asia and Mexico, some of which have no names in English. At another large farm, I saw melons, lettuce, asparagus, cabbage, broccoli, chard, collards, prickly pears, almonds, pistachios, grapes and more tomatoes than anyone could conceive of in one place. (The valley is the largest supplier of canned tomatoes in the world too.) Whether you’re in Modesto or Montpelier, there’s a good chance that the produce you’re eating came from the valley.

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3 Comments

saxplayer00o1's picture
saxplayer00o1
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Jul 30 2009
Posts: 4149
Wendy S. Delmater's picture
Wendy S. Delmater
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 13 2009
Posts: 1988
in portugal

I have a writer friend doing a research visit to Portugal at the moment. She'd witnessing these protests first-hand. Anything interesting devrelops, I will report it here.

After all, Portugal is the place that put the "P" in PIIGS

Woodman's picture
Woodman
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 26 2008
Posts: 1028
carrots

The carrot production in CA's valley is impressive, but not the quality.  Those nice long supermakret carrots only seem to last a week or two in the refrigerator, while my odd shaped carrots from my garden will last months before they get soft.

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