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Saturday, November 10, 2012

Imaginary problems need imaginary solutions

Not imaginative solutions; imaginary ones.

Baudrillard talked about the coming need for pataphysics or the science of imaginary solutions.

If one considers today's problems they all have an unreal, imaginary quality to them: fiscal cliff, sovereign debt in EU, currency, or Iran's nuclear potential.

Now contrast these problems with a few of days gone-by such as the Dust Bowl, war on poverty or especially the Cuban Missile crisis.

See the difference?

Europe is doing pataphysics well. They make dramatic gestures and timely statements to challenge crises (e.g. 'pivotal' summits). The US will hopefully follow. 

To the chagrin of ratings agencies like Fitch with their repeated, imaginary threats that it is all going to fall apart somehow. And to the chagrin of free marketeers who dream that the market is or ever was purely free without any manipulation of politics or the powerful. Markets are made (e.g. by Goldman-Sachs). Witness the Facebook IPO: one minute there is no Facebook market, then poof, the next minute there is, and then the next minute it is a 'down market.' And don't forget the Facebook market was never equal or free; insiders alone bought in low (and hoped to sell high).

So to all the imaginary problems let there be imaginary solutions. Threats of war not real war, threats of collapse not real collapse. And to these threats, threats of solutions such as diplomacy or deficit reduction.

Whatever you do though, avoid the reality trap. That has been the Greek approach and look where it is getting them. They have tried to solve what could be deemed an imaginary problem with real solutions. And they are no further along than they ever were.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Bargainer Barack

The education of  a President. With the debate over the so-called fiscal cliff looming it would do Obama much good to visit Turkey right now. Why? To get practice in haggling. A few hours in the bazaar over there will hone his skills. Obama has historically proven to be a terrible bargainer and negotiator. It is not advisable to take him to a garage sale with you or you are sure to wind up a chump. Lowball first, always. Then work your way back to 'the center.' Thus far Obama has done it the other way around and it is embarrassing for a politician at his level.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

what's next?

More of the same...more debt drama (and not just in Europe and Japan!). Debt is one of those imaginary problems that politicians today love to solve. Because you can do so much with the 'problem.' Kick it down the road, austerity, or something in-between.

Now let's see Obama's true colors

Second term. No reason not to be authentic.
The education of a president. Today,Obama won. But did his supporters? Classic political maxim is to help friends and hurt enemies. But will we continue to see the middle of the road O and O the terrible bargainer? O's acceptance speech was not a good sign...sounded like talking points from the other side.

Also who will O hire? That's another signal. Since O has no friends of his own to hire (evidence? look who he hired last time), he will pick based upon his priorities.