Saturday, January 19, 2013

SAR #13019

Finance runs on psychology, not facts.

The Word: "I will tell you unequivocally, we're not going to default," Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, the Republican whip, said Thursday, "We will raise the debt ceiling .”  Promises, promises.

Cartographers: A group of "leading CEOs", whose work day consists of chairing meetings and talking on the phone while going here and there in the corporate jet, think the rest of us - farmers, miners, bus drivers, machinists, school teachers, cashiers - should be happy to work until we're 70. Aren't you glad they've got it all mapped out? Me neither. I would, if I could get paid like a CEO for sitting around talking politicians into bailing me out, but until then, keep your creepy hands off Social Security and Medicare.

Miracle Cure: Why is Mario Draghi being canonized for hiding the disaster that is the euro-zone instead of solving at leas some of its problems? That Greece hasn't officially been called comatose and Spain is still among the more-or-less breathing is no reason to celebrate, nor should we wander off absent-mindedly thinking the euro's problems have been solved. They have not. They haven't even been addressed. The region's GDP is still falling, unemployment is still rising, necessary losses have not been taken, and social restiveness still smolders. The show is not over; it's just an intermission, the finale is still to come.

Non-enigma: Why are manufacturing jobs no longer the best paying jobs for American workers? One thing stands out: Factories are no longer unionized.

Reality Check: Global economic development is a bad idea. Bringing the entire world to 21st Century European and North American standards is a really bad idea. If everyone in the world used energy at developed world levels, holding global climate warming to just 4ºC or even 6ºC would be impossible. Before we bring the poor into the future, we ought to check and see what that future will actually look like. Then we might consider an advance to the rear.

Quietly: In yet another demonstration of the democracy America is spreading at the end of a gun (and the cameras of a drone), a series of car bombs exploded across Iraq on Thursday, killing 19 and wounding over 100.

Follies: The IEA's elementary school teacher turned executive director says that high petroleum prices have “nothing to do with supply and demand” (sic) but "might have to do with expectations." (Goldman Sachs is expecting $150 a barrel this summer.) Might have to do with the cost of bringing new oil onto the market, too. Either way, "the market looks tighter than we thought." Demand in India and China's resumption of strong economic growth might, just maybe, have something to do with increasing prices, too - although the IEA seemed immune to such factors.

Labor Slaving Devices: Once upon a time, people's ability to learn and to work - to earn money - served to keep inequality within bounds. No longer. Once, technological change augmented the abilities of human beings, and the workers got a share of the increased productivity. But no longer. Now technology is replacing human beings, and the unemployed (and most of the still-employed) are not sharing in the increased profits. But when robots have replaced workers, who will buy the products? Where will the capitalists' profits come from?

Adventures In Medical Research: "A new study found that fecal transplants can be a dramatically more effective course of treatment than antibiotics in the case of at least one kind of bacterial infection." Think of 'fecal transplants' as being given an enema with healthy, bacterial flora from the feces of healthy individuals. The idea has been around for 50 years (and goes back to 4th Century China), but for some reason hasn't caught on.

Porn O'Graph: In summary.

The Parting Shot:



Anonymous said...

No comments yesterday. Too few each week. Your blog carries a lot of valuable information, is pleasant to read, and visually rich. Thank you.

Am I wrong to think the AARP has been totally co-opted by the insurance companies? That there is no longer any advocate for seniors in Washington? If I were 90 years old, perhaps I wouldn't worry that the dollar loses 10% of value each year while SSA cola rises 1%. But I'm barely 72, and I see numbers that are going to fall right out from beneath me.

Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III said...

Re Comments: I just set out the water, if the horse wants to drink...

I appreciate those who take the time to comment & am often corrected and/or informed by commeters.

As for AARP. No it has not been "totaly co-opted" by the insurance companies; it has become an insurance company, hasn't it?

Gegner said...

Correct again (as usual!)

tulsatime said...

AARP was created by United Healthcare, so it has never been anything but the insurance industry.

The debt ceiling may or may not be raised. But since it's only congress telling itself it can't spend more than X, that will not matter. Not even congress can tell congress not to spend more.

A fresh war in NW africa and fresh cash on the ground South of The Border are wonderful signs for the near term. Better get the minute men busy on that fence again, and the oil price game is ON again, pending the next industrial collapse.