Monday, February 3, 2014

SAR #14034

Does anything in capitalism's rules actually require that capital be held by individuals?

Bottom Line: The State Department has pointed out what we all knew all along – except for a large handful of the environmentally blind. Approving or not approving the Keystone XL will have no effect on the eventual conversion of Canadian oil sands to global warming. If they do not ship it to market by pipeline, it'll go by train; but it will go to market. Sure, there's a chance of environmental damage from pipeline leaks and such, but train wrecks haven't been exactly rare of late.

Timing Is Everything: In Europe, inflation is falling (we're not allowed to use the 'd' word) because the economy is weak because inflation is falling and so on. Eventually, and not all that far off, it'll be time to bring out the 'd' word. Act surprised.

Just Add Water: California's drought has gotten severe enough that the state has announced that local water agencies will not be receiving any water – none, nada, zip – from the state's vast (but more than half empty) reservoir system. This puts the water supply for 25 million people and over a million acres of farmland in serious doubt as the state's snow-pack is now just 12% of normal for this date. 2013 was the driest year on record (since 1894) for the state, and 2014 has not broken the trend.

Just So: ‘New information is not always–and perhaps not even usually–the most important information for understanding a topic,” writes Ezra Kline, pointing out that we are inundated 24/7 with information, information, information – but are not given sufficient context to understand what all these bits and pieces really mean in our lives. The more we learn, the less we know.

Camel/Needle: Spain, flat broke and in the midst of slowly grinding its citizenry into the ground before th altar of austerity, now says it will begin lowering taxes. As though less money is going to mysteriously fill the states coffers. 
Late/Never: Texas, of all places, is now going to let historians and scientists have the major input into textbook selection for their areas of expertise, while the dreaded civilian advisory boards will have their fangs trimmed. At the same time, South Dakota joined Virginia, Missouri and Oklahoma in pretending that creationism is science and right-wing Christian mumble jumble is a valid historical perspective.

Reality Bites: In case you were wondering, yes, there is evidence to support your nasty suspicion that things have been getting worse for some time. While GDP has grown, real GDP per capita has been on a downward trend for decades. Let's go to the chart.

Asked & Answered: Do "we now have a world economy destined to seesaw between bubbles and depression"? Now?

Maulled: The health of a shopping mall depends on the health of the mall's anchors – stores like Sears and JCPenny. But Sears is among the walking dead, JCPenny has at least one foor stuck firmly in the grave, and Macy's has begun closing stores. That's why retail analysts expect 15% of US malls to fail in the next decade. And in 15–20 years it is expected that fully half of all US malls will fail, with only the upscale malls – those anchored by stores like Saks and Neiman Marcus – will survive. The others will be “repurposed” as community colleges, entertainment complexes, old folks' housing, slums...

The Parting Shot:
 Foureyed Butterfish, Chaetodon capistratus.


HS said...

Maulled: Isn't it funny how Nordstrom hasn't suffered the same fate?

Drew Dowdell said...

But don't worry... we'll build new malls.

I live near the site of one of the earliest indoor malls built in the U.S. It's been razed, but 4 years ago it was still standing. Once the JC Penney, the Hills, and the Grocery store closed due to a Walmart opening less than 1/4 mile away... it turned into a ghost town with only a bank, a Driver's Testing Center, and a "Day-Old Bread" outlet remaining...they turned it into a flee market for a few year before the building started to succumb to deferred maintenance. Today, the entire property is just a fenced off gravel wasteland with "For Lease" out front.

10 years ago a new mall was built about 3 miles away.... Today that mall has lost their Holister, the Abercrombie, the Gap, the Saks Outlet, and at least 4 chain restaurants. The B&N and Macy's are rumored to be next. For about the past year or so, there has been a substantial robbery or shooting there every month or so.

Rinse, Repeat.

Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III said...

Drew - The best conversion of an old mall I know of is one that now hoses the complete city/county government complex, from driver's licenses to library and everything in between including records, health department etc.

I do not agree that "don't worry, we'll build more". I think the days of the indoor closed mall are at their end, to be replaced with destination stores and small strip/clusters, where the quick turnover and downward spiral will be easier to ignore.