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Saturday, November 21, 2015

Mama Merkel fights War with pure Peace

Cynics, say what you will about Angela Merkel's welcome to the refugees (e.g. undercuts local wages; revives German moral standing). She is waging a one woman peace struggle against the forces of and for war. What a wonderful deployment of political power! Her sort of Image of welcome is the key to victory.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Greece and ambiguity

Europe's fight to make Greece. pay in full seems stupid to me. I have heard the political complexities involved in a 30-50% haircut in their debt. But the risks to the European project (which is also mysterious to me) seem greater.

The EU is at the same place now as the old Articles of Confederation but without a James Madison to light the way forward.

The best solution for stability is a grand compromise, which is what the Obama wants.

But in a world increasingly without trends, it seems likely that Grec-ambiguity will continue and worsen.

If there is no grand compromise, then I expect the Greeks to begin printing and digitizing their own euros and nationalizing their banks to keep them from being under the thumb of the ECB.  

Or there could also instead be a little compromise that gives all parties to this squabble more breathing room.

Monday, June 8, 2015

What the Federal Reserve really wants (besides helping big banks)

It is a brave new world, of many worlds that have come before and which can irrupt again. Point? There are no sustained trends. Last quarter the Main Street economy neared recession. Now jobs and growth are supposedly bouncing back. Next quarter, who knows? For almost any object of analysis today there are innumerable possibilities, all of which fizzle out.

The Federal Reserve knows this or sees it.

What they want to do however is bring back what postmodern theory long ago said would be ended: mastery over the Object World, of finances, money, economics, even politics (Remember the don't fight the Fed saying?). The subject does to the object world, or so it was said in the old, Modern era.  
But without clear trends to guide or to ride, the Fed is out of a job.

So it is now trying to simulate mastery over events by talking about rate hikes. Yellen wants to do so and probably will. But she will not be able to gain the mastery over events that the Fed. would like. The bond market is already way ahead of the Fed.

The mastery game is over.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Dear Oil Market: Welcome to Uncertainty, Regards, OPEC

In a recent article, commodities monitor Saefong on Marketwatch writes that a long term oil glut, over a span of years, is likely if OPEC continues its present course. Interestingly she does claim that the price of petroleum will decline as a result, which the so-called 'laws' of supply and demand would suggest. Wisely, she knows that the price is no longer guided by such laws but by an inscrutable mix of fear, externalities, politics, wars, potential wars, and so forth. OPEC has introduced the oil markets to greater uncertainty. The price could go up or go down, and back again. It is not necessarily under the control of OPEC.

This will still hurt the shale drillers in the US (unless the government supports the industry) because the uncertainty will wary investors will stay away.

The idea that this is about maintaining market share is unclear. The greater uncertainty may make some buyers turn away from unstable suppliers or potentially unstable ones like Saudi, which could surprise them. It could even make some buyers turn to the US or Canada or Venezuela for their supply. Yes, only Saudi can supply oil and still make a profit at low prices. But the new uncertainty does not guarantee that win.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Our Ant-Trends world: the case of oil prices

It all looked so good...price of oil was falling in large part thanks to Saudi Arabia pumping furiously. Their goals: hurt Russia and Iran who back Assad in Syria (also but maybe not primarily, to slow shale oil in the U.S.). With Iraq, Libya, etc. also online, prices seemed destined to fall dramatically.,

But then came Yemen, Saudi bombs, and the laughable Iranian navy. Or not. By merely stationing Iranian vessels nearby, the potential for a wider clash seems greater.

Point: the reality of more oil is almost less important than gestures or statements made which threaten the supply. Fostering trends today and later takes huge effort but can be easily upset. Expect vacillation between the impacts of reality (e.g. so-called laws of supply and demand) and virtual reality.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

What is ISIS or Daesh? And what should be done?

Would you believe me if I claimed that Daesh were not real in the main. They are not Islamic because they put their own desires first.  They are mostly internet warriors. If the US (and recently Jordan) rains down fire and horror through bombs from the sky, ISIL does so through astounding staging of online events. Around them is nothing but destruction so they aim to win through more destruction...of viewers' sensibilities. They win the war (which has no expected aim) because Coalition bombs destroy and burn but without witnesses. (Has anyone seen their Syrian capital today on TV?) Their staged events also make everyone wonder what to do against them. The real destruction of the Coalition will not work (although whether killing the leaders might work is a solid question). They also cannot be matched in online warfare (should Jordan draw and quarter a captive online?).

Suggestion: Kill them with kindness. They expect bombs, lies, and misrepresentations. Pure kindness (real and virtual) is not expected. Use the same amount of funding now deployed to destroy their region to instead 'kind their region.' It is the only way to win.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Terrorisms: On the Other Terrorists of France

The victims of the much discussed attacks in Paris are those French people who lost their lives. But there are two perpetrators according to Baudrillard. On the one hand there are the 3 or 4 gunmen involved. On the other hand is the French government. You see they sacrifice their population to their power games in which Western elites connect with each other in profitable attacks on the Arab world. This is the other terrorism, the one not talked about by the talking heads. France on Libya (what did Libya ever do to them?), Spain on Iraq, Kenya in Somalia, and so on. These governments know that they are putting their populace at risk. It all seems so far away, so harmless. What matters an air raid here, a special forces attack there? And so when the blow comes, like in Paris, it seems to arise out of the blue, which is precisely the definition of terror. Witness the recent raid by US forces in Yemen. A private ransom deal was about to be worked out the next day. Instead, in a cynical move, the US tries to free the hostages by force and they die instead. Sacrifices all; often for causes that are not even in the national interest. This is the other terrorism citizens face.