it's time to help people onto lifeboats.
Catastrophic Economics: From his tower, econowonk Paul Krugman asks: "Can we mobilize people to make modest sacrifices to protect against low-probability catastrophes in the distant future?" All he has to do is stop by the local coffee shop long enough to observe his fellow customers' constant shouting into cell phones or stand on any street and listen to the booming 'music' drive by. There is no concept of The Commons left on which to base such an effort. We are, deservedly, doomed.
Back of the Envelope: In dealing with peak oil and global warming, Plan A is generally taken to be business as usual, which leads to disaster, and Plan B, which doesn't exist.
Trusty Bonds: Covered bonds are simply as good (or not) as the trustworthiness of the banks issuing them. Raise your hand if you can think of a reason to trust any of the financial folks who will be issuing covered bonds.
Pending Revision: Seems that we've somehow overlooked 50% of the natural gas reserves in the US, or so says a new study funded by the natural gas industry. As usual, grab the salt.
Just The Facts: Despite short term gyrations, over the longer term, oil will rise. To meet the increasing Chinese demand, someone else will have to use less. If China's future consumption were taken solely from the US share of the world's supply, the US would have to swear off oil by 2025. And that's not going to happen.
Cup Runneth Under: Russia has reduced petroleum deliveries to the Czechs by 50% since June. Coupled with previously reported production shortfalls, it is beginning to look a lot like Peak Oil for Ivan. Not good news.
Snakes and Ladders: Merrill Lynch's 78% write-down on $30 billion in CDOs lead to a 90% write-off by National Australia Bank on $20 billion in the same instruments. It'll be interesting to see if this becomes a popular pastime.
Under-Achiever: Nigeria, the world's sixth biggest oil producer, appears to no longer able to meet its OPEC production quota. Production is now under 1 mbd, down from 2.5 mbd before rebel attacks on its oil infrastructure flared up.
Other Feet, Same Shoe: If a foreign power was engaged in covert activities that regularly killed American citizens and destroyed homes and factories on American soil, the American public would get pretty riled up and the government would have to Do Something. Attack, most likely. That's what the US is doing in Iran, regularly. You have to admire Iran's restraint.
Dutch Uncle: Dutch International relations institute Clingendael reports that a sustained period of worldwide oil scarcity will begin by 2010.
Uncommon Sense: Economists and Fed Chairmen are paralyzed with fear over the least hint of a recession. This leads to over-active intervention in the economy, sending 'messages' and addining stimuli at the drop of a Dow. Trouble is that the constant smoothing is not soothing - it simply hides the problem while it grows ever nastier.