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November 14, 2011

DOOM: Trouble, I've had it all my days


Things are going to suck for a while. Plan accordingly. And view any politician who promises quick fixes or easy solutions as you would a used-car salesman trying to get you into that sweet low-mileage AMC Pacer on the lot.

Will discipline and hard work come back into vogue? depends on the value our culture places on those traits. Ultimately, our economy is the slave of the culture: an economy is simply people doing what people do. So the ethics and motivations of those people cannot help but impact the economy. (I disagree with many of the points expressed in the linked article, by the way; I dislike most technocratic solutions to economic problems, mainly because they have such a lousy track-record in human history. Yet economists, as ever, hew to theory even in the face of inconvenient fact.)

It's only "insider trading" when the peasants do it. When a politician does it, why, that's just a perk of the office. (Saying It's not illegal doesn't make it right, chum.) More from The Daily Beast: Congress is getting rich off Wall Street.

The Federal government has been squandering taxpayer money on energy boondoggles for a long, long time.

A tour d'horizon of the Euro crisis. The question is always being posed, "Can the Europeans save the Euro?" The answer is, probably not -- the project was probably doomed right from the start because it had fundamental design flaws (not coupling fiscal policy to monetary policy being the most profound). But the wind-down of the Euro could have been done with much less pain and expense than now seems likely, and that mistake can be laid directly at the feet of the incompetent European political class.

Walter Russell Mead: "Listen up, Boomers: the backlash has begun."

What begins in arrogance often ends in shame; there are some ominous signs that the Boomers are headed down that path. Sooner or later, the kids were going to note what a mess we have made of so many things, and now, it seems, the backlash has begun.

They were a founding member of the LOTB, remember: California was boned long before the recession of 2008 hit.

The European Financial Stability Facility issues debt to raise money for European bailouts...and then buys its own debt? Look, I don't have a Nobel Prize in Economics like Teh Krugman or anything, but this seems fishy to me.

Does Europe need more "creative desctruction"? Probably...but it needs a whole host of other things too, starting with more children. If demographic trends continue as they are, Europe is bound for collapse no matter what economics policies are in place or fiscal/monetary measures they try. The future of Europe is an expensive old folks' home being supported by a few young people and imported (and badly-paid) foreign workers.

As the Monty Python troupe might put it: "This is a dead parrot."

The world economy is on the brink of recession because those countries which have a natural tendency to spend don't have the money, while those who do have the money don't want to spend it.

The young 'uns have a fondness for the barbaric metal that their elders lack. Good on them, I say -- there's nothing more comforting than a dragon-hoard of gold on your premises.

From the WSJ: "The Government and the Guitar Man".

Why are Russian and Chinese entrepreneurs fleeing their respective countries? Businesses can only really thrive where rule of law holds sway. Where rule of law is subordinated to government fiat (or simple ruling-class caprice), or to entrenched corruption, or to pervasive criminal infiltration, businessmen know that their businesses are built on quicksand. A smart builder always chooses the best ground on which to build, and stability is one of the prime qualities; the same is true of business. Corruption, lawlessness, caprice, chaos, uncertainty: all are poison to good long-term business prospects.

A personal account of the MF Global fallout.

S&P's recent "mistake" with France's bond-rating was probably closer to the truth than the French want to admit.

UPDATE 1: This is certainly DOOM-y: 10% of the world's adult population is diabetic. I suspect that this is a bad side-effect of good news -- now that people have so much to eat, and in such variety, they overindulge in the stuff that tastes good. Treatment for chronic diabetes is a gigantic health-care expense that spikes as a person gets older, so this has some dire implications for future global health-care costs unless a cure is found. (Though I should add that it may simply be that improved access to healthcare in the poorer parts of the world means that adult-onset diabetes is simply diagnosed more often than it used to be.)

Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind;
and therefore is wing'd Cupid painted blind.
-- William Shakespeare

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posted by Monty at 08:43 AM

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