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Index September 2010

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2010-09-01: The relation between oil prices and economic activity;
2010-09-02: Monetary Shock and Awe – Bernanke’s Nuclear Option;
2010-09-03: GMO Crop Catastrophe in USA a lesson for EU;
2010-09-04: Death By Globalism: Economists haven’t a Clue;
2010-09-05: Quantitative Easing QE2, debt created out of thin air;
2010-09-06: How Ruthless Banks Gutted the Black Middle Class and Got Away With It;
2010-09-07: Fueling the Tax Revolt: What’s Wrong with the NDP’s Anti-HST Campaign;
2010-09-08: Global cereal supply and demand update;
2010-09-09: Alien Forest, Alien Ocean, Alien Sky;
2010-09-10: The Imperial Anatomy of Al-Qaeda – The CIA’s Drug-Running Terrorists and the Arc of Crisis;
2010-09-11: The Spectre of Barbarism and its Alternative … eight theses;
2010-09-12: Obama says Republicans holding recovery hostage;
2010-09-13: WANTED – the truth behind climate funds;
2010-09-14: From margins to mainstream: the rise of Rush, Sarah and gang;
2010-09-15: Evidence Based Politics and Institutions for Equality;
2010-09-16: Follow the Dirty Money;
2010-09-17: Tea Party, Not Progressives Make a Statement;
2010-09-18: Brazil’s Debt Crisis;
2010-09-19: Tee real pirates in Somalia are in Washington, Paris and Oslo;
2010-09-20: The Failure of American Capitalism: Forty-four million Living in Poverty in the US;
2010-09-21: The progressive dilemma;
2019-09-22: Trillions of Toxic Waste in the Global Banking System;
2010-09-23: Growing Poverty in America;
2010-09-24: New Health Insurance Changes Take Effect;
2010-09-25: Millions protest at retirement age rise;
2019-09-25: Food Commodities Speculation and Food Price Crises;
2019-09-26: New Economy Movement;
2010-09-27: Economics vs. fakeonomics;
2010-09-28: The economic crisis: time for a new social deal;
2010-09-29: The Credit Meltdown and Wall Street’s Shadow Banking System;
2010-09-30: World Bank land grab report: Beyond smoke and mirrors.

World Bank land grab report: Beyond smoke and mirrors

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Published on Pambazuka, by GRAIN, Sept. 23, 2010. – Linked with Food Crisis and the Global Land Grab (farmlandgrab.org).

The World Bank’s long-awaited report on the global farmland grab is ‘both a disappointment and a failure’, writes GRAIN. The bank provides little ‘new and solid on-the-ground data’ and is silent about its own ‘neck-deep involvement’ in ‘large scale land acquisitions’. Looking ‘beyond the smoke and mirrors effect’, the report is ‘more significant for what it doesn’t say than what it does’, says GRAIN.

On 7 September 2010, the World Bank finally decided to publish its much-anticipated report on the global farmland grab. After years of work, several months of political negotiation and who knows how much money spent, the report was casually released on the bank’s website – in English only.[1]  Continue Reading…

The Credit Meltdown and Wall Street’s Shadow Banking System

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What Basel III Missed – Published on Global Research.ca, by Ellen Brown, Sept. 25, 2010.

… Toward a Better Solution:

Only a complete overhaul of the banking system can eliminate these systemic flaws, flaws that ultimately stem from a misconception about what money is.  We think of it as a “thing,” something that must be dug out of the ground or borrowed from someone who already has it.  Since banks don’t have enough of this thing to cover their loans and investments, they engage in a shell game in which they advance credit and scramble to cover it with short-term loans, exposing them to the systemic risk of sudden and unpredictable withdrawals. Continue Reading…

The economic crisis: time for a new social deal

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Published on Social Watch, by Edward Oyugi of Social Development Network, Nairobi, Kenya.

More and more people are realizing that the global financial crisis is merely a symptom of a more systemic problem – a crisis of the “real economy” – that those responsible refuse to acknowledge. The capitalist system cannot be reformed or tinkered with through inadequate social security measures that leave the core of its societal logic intact. Only a complete transformation of society organized around a new logic can lead to a world in which meeting human needs, not corporate profits, is the priority.  Continue Reading…

Economics vs. fakeonomics

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Published on Online Journal, by Ian Fletcher, Sept. 24, 2010.

We skeptics of free trade are used to being told, “You don’t understand economics.” In fact, one major reason I wrote the book Free Trade Doesn’t Work was simply to expose, once and for all, that there do exist extremely serious and intellectually reputable arguments, within the confines of accepted mainstream economics, which question free trade. And indeed they exist.  Continue Reading…

New Economy Movement

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Linked with Emergence Collective, with CSR in a season of economic downturn, with Assata Shakur and the Forums, with New Economics Foundation NEF, and with What Story would you tell?

First an Press Release: The Capital Institute Forms to Bridge the Gap Between the New Economy Movement and Mainstream Finance, published on CSRwire, Sept. 21, 2010:

New think tank rooted in mainstream finance will address current state of global unsustainability by raising public consciousness and harnessing the power of capital and markets to drive systemic change … //

… “We face an urgent need for economic transformation of historic proportions at a time when political leadership is weak and Wall Street is understandably distrusted,” says John Fullerton, President of the Capital Institute. “Leadership from enlightened capital has begun, manifesting itself in multiple forms and ideas. Economic transition to a new economy will occur only through the transformation of finance, beginning with clarity on the purpose of the financial system. Capitalists, and society at large, must ask, what is the purpose of capital?” … (full text).  Continue Reading…

Food Commodities Speculation and Food Price Crises

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Published on Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food.org, by Olivier De Schutter, September 23, 2010.

On the eve of an emergency FAO-meeting devoted to instability in agricultural markets, the UN Special Rapporteur publishes a study analyzing the impact of speculation on food price volatility.

In this briefing note, the UN Special Rapporteur examines the impact of speculation on the volatility of the prices of basic food commodities, and the possible solutions forward.  Continue Reading…

Millions protest at retirement age rise

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Published on Morning Star online.co.uk, by Bill Benfield, Sept. 23, 2010.

… President Sarkozy has indicated he is willing to make marginal concessions but remains intransigent on increasing the retirement age from 60 to 62 and pushing back the age from 65 to 67 for full retirement benefits.

As baby boomers reach retirement age and life expectancy increases in France, the conservative government insists it must raise the retirement age so the pension system can break even by 2018.  Continue Reading…

New Health Insurance Changes Take Effect

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Published on Talk Left, by Jeralyn, September 23, 2010.

The first wave of health insurance changes take effect today. Which ones?

  • No denial of children based on pre-existing conditions
  • No more lifetime benefit limits
  • No canceling policies of very sick and benefit-needy peoplefor technical errors on their application
  • Coverage of kids up to age 26 on their parent policies
  • No co-pays on some preventive procedures, including colonoscopies, mammograms and immunizations
  • Allowing those on new plans to keep their own doctors and to appeal reimbursement decisions to a third party.

One area of immediate concern: In many states, insurance companies will stop offering child-only policies immeidately … (full text).

Growing Poverty in America

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Published on Dissident Voice, by Stephen Lendman, Sept. 21, 2010.

… In January 2010, Feeding America (FA, formerly America’s Second Harvest) confirmed the growing problem in its report titled, “Hunger in America 2010,” a topic an earlier article addressed.

Since 2005, it cited a 27% increase, saying one in eight Americans are food insecure, meaning they don’t get enough to eat. Included are 14 million children and three million seniors, and these numbers keep rising as the economy weakens.  Continue Reading…

Trillions of Toxic Waste in the Global Banking System

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Basel III: the Global Banks at the Edge of the Precipice.

Linked on our blogs with Matthias Chang – Malaysia. – Published on Global Research.ca, by Matthias Chang, Sept. 20, 2010.

… THE BASEL III SOLUTION:

  • At its 12 September 2010 meeting, the Group of Governors and Heads of Supervision, the oversight body of the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, announced a substantial strengthening of existing capital requirements and fully endorsed the agreements it reached on 26 July 2010.
  • These capital reforms, together with the introduction of a global liquidity standard, deliver on the core of the global financial reform agenda and will be presented to the Seoul G20 Leaders summit in November.
  • The Committee’s package of reforms will increase the minimum common equity requirement from 2% to 4.5%.
  • In addition, banks will be required to hold a capital conservation buffer of 2.5% to withstand future periods of stress bringing the total common equity requirements to 7%.
  • This reinforces the stronger definition of capital agreed by Governors and Heads of Supervision in July and the higher capital requirements for trading, derivative and securitisation activities to be introduced at the end of 2011. Continue Reading…

The progressive dilemma

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Published on Online Journal, by Nick Egnatz, Sept. 20, 2010.

A self-described representative democracy in which the only two political parties are both funded and controlled by elite corporate interests is a contradiction in terms. Control of the population through government propaganda and a monopoly corporate media have made the domination of the American working class and poor by the wealthy corporate elite consensual. The enormity of the crime against true democratic values is so complete that substantive reform of the present system is an impossibility.

A dilemma is a situation in which one is forced to choose between equally distasteful options. That has always been our consignment as Americans when we venture to the polls (either vote for a wishy-washy Democrat or let the even worse Republican win). Continue Reading…

The Failure of American Capitalism: Forty-four million Living in Poverty in the US

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Published on Global Research.ca, by Patrick Martin, September 18, 2010.

Firsts my comment:

  • in any way it’s never an only President who can change any situation, it’s the million of this people having still not learned to join unite and change a system. This system can do nothing against millions of people, so why this million is waiting for one man’s Presidential acts?
  • Joining Uniting to decide together and act directly on the system means begin to move yourselves? You still not get that Obama needs YOU to change this system? You are still waiting for Daddy Obama instead of moving youself your a… NOW.
  • Do not just wait for the next election, as then you will loose all?

The number of people living in poverty in America rose to 43.6 million in 2009, the US Census Bureau reported Thursday. This is the largest number since the agency began making such estimates 50 years ago and represents an increase of 3.8 million compared to 2008 … //  Continue Reading…

The real pirates in Somalia are in Washington, Paris and Oslo

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Published on Pambauka News, by Abdulkadir Salad Elmi, Sept. 16, 2010.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon proposed a new international anti-piracy plan in August, but with rich countries after the oil and fish reserves of Somalia’s internationally recognised waters, Abdulkadir Salad Elmi wants to know who the real pirates are.

Many people seem not to understand, or refuse to understand, that more than half of Somalia consists of the seas around the country. This makes the oceans vital to the survival of the Somali people … //

… SOMALI SOVEREIGNTY, MARINE AND MARITIME RIGHTS:  Continue Reading…

Brazil’s Debt Crisis

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How Brazil Can Defend Against Financialization and Keep Its Economic Surplus for Itself – Published on Global Research.ca, by Prof. Michael Hudson, Sept. 16, 2010.

… I would like to place this seminar’s topic, “Global Governance,” in the context of global control, which is what “governance” is mainly about. The word (from Greek kyber) means “steering.” The question is, toward what goal is the world economy steering?

That obviously depends on who is doing the steering. It almost always has been the most powerful nations that organize the world in ways that transfer income and property to themselves. From the Roman Empire through modern Europe such transfers took mainly the form of military seizure and tribute. The Norman conquerors endowed themselves as a landed aristocracy extracting rent from the populace, as did the Nordic conquerors of France and other countries. Europe later took resources by colonial conquest, increasingly via local client oligarchies.

The natural history of debt and financialization: … //  Continue Reading…

Tea Party, Not Progressives Make a Statement

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Watch this video: Norman Solomon on why Progressive Democrats were not more successful in Democratic Primary, 10.57 min, published on The Real News Network, by Paul Jay, Sept. 15, 2010.

Links:

Tea Party movement on wikipedia;

Right-Wing Republicans vs. Corporate Democrats vs. Progressive Populists, on truthout, by Norman Solomon, 12 September 2010;

Progressivism (seen as a broad political movement) on wikipedia, Progressivism disambiguation on wikipedia;

A Biography of America /Homepage; /Sitemap: listing by program, listing by feature; as the companion web site to the video series and telecourse of Anneberg Media Learner.org.

Follow the Dirty Money

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Published on Global Research.ca, by Robert Mazur, Sept. 15, 2010.

… Revenues from global drug trafficking — estimated to add up to more than $400 billion a year — are just one small component of the money, known as flight capital, that criminals try to hide from governments. This capital also includes proceeds from things like tax evasion, trade with countries under sanctions and arms dealing. It’s big business. The desire to have a share in this business has led the private client divisions of many international banks to develop sophisticated skills to avoid scrutiny from regulators.

Tracking and confiscating the fortunes of terrorist organizations, drug cartels and organized criminals is important for national security, and yet no single federal law enforcement agency systematically investigates the international bankers and businessmen who launder this money. Continue Reading…

Evidence Based Politics and Institutions for Equality

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Published on ZNet, by Mark Evans, September 13, 2010.

How Capitalist Economics Institutionalises Inequality: Capitalist economics institutionalises a class system, and with it vast inequalities in economic power, in four key ways:

  • 1.         Private ownership
  • 2.         Hierarchical division of labour
  • 3.         Remuneration for ownership and power
  • 4.         Competitive markets

The first feature creates a class distinction between economic actors – there are those who own the workplace and those who rent themselves out for a wage.  This is the capitalist / working class distinction.  Continue Reading…

From margins to mainstream: the rise of Rush, Sarah and gang

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Published on People’s World, by Sam Webb, Sept. 10, 2010.

Let me begin with an obvious point: Right wing extremism is gathering strength and becoming more extreme.

Someone recently said with no hint of exaggeration that Rush Limbaugh and other like-minded, turbo-charged extremists are no longer on the fringe of the Republican Party, but comfortably nestle in its mainstream and shape its policies.

Both Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush possessed a conservative cast of mind to be sure, but this new right-wing gang is more reactionary and authoritarian, if you can believe it, than the two former presidents.

The political DNA of this grouping isn’t fascistic for now, but one can’t rule out such an evolution, given ongoing crisis conditions and intensifying struggles.  Continue Reading…

WANTED – the truth behind climate funds

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Published on Eurodad, Sept. 3, 2010.

The Netherlands government launched a web site at the informal Geneva Dialogue on climate finance held over two days in Geneva 2-3 September 2010. The website aims to provide transparency over sources and allocation of climate finance commitments. So far six European countries, Denmark, France, Germany, Netherlands, Norway and UK, and have detailed some fast-track climate related information on the new website. Eurodad and Publish What You Fund responded to the Netherlands initiative with the following press release.  Continue Reading…

Obama says Republicans holding recovery hostage

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Published on Monney Control news center, Source: Reuters, Sep 11, 2010.

US President Barack Obama (see on in.com) accused Republicans on Friday of holding the middleclass hostage as he defended his efforts to stimulate the sluggish economy and try to reverse Democrats’ grim election prospects.

With opinion polls showing more Americans questioning his economic leadership, Obama used a rare news conference at the White House to hammer home a campaign-style message painting Republicans as obstructionist and the party for the rich … //

… OBAMA HITS REPUBLICANS OVER TAXES:   Continue Reading…

The Spectre of Barbarism and its Alternative … eight theses

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Published on The Bullet / socialist project, by Michael A. Lebowitz, September 10, 2010.

Thesis One: The capitalist economic crisis is not over/Make socialism fly:

Although the immediate financial crisis appears to have been resolved, all of the underlying factors (which are the result of the overaccumulation to which capitalism is prone and which made fictitious capital so vulnerable) are still present. The incredible trade imbalance of the U.S. economy has not been addressed; the unprecedented deficit of the U.S. federal budget is rising; the over-extension of consumer credit hangs over the economy; unemployment is rising and thus consumer confidence and spending is not likely to return to previous heights; and, the general picture is one in which the U.S. economy, the dominant economy in the world, will continue to lose hegemony.  Continue Reading…

The Imperial Anatomy of Al-Qaeda – The CIA’s Drug-Running Terrorists and the Arc of Crisis

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Published on Global Research.ca, by Andrew Gavin Marshall, Sept. 5, 2010.

Introduction: As the 9th anniversary of 9/11 nears, and the war on terror continues to be waged and grows in ferocity and geography, it seems all the more imperative to return to the events of that fateful September morning and re-examine the reasons for war and the nature of the stated culprit, Al-Qaeda. The events of 9/11 pervade the American and indeed the world imagination as an historical myth. The events of that day and those leading up to it remain largely unknown and little understood by the general public, apart from the disturbing images repeated ad nauseam in the media. The facts and troubled truths of that day are lost in the folklore of the 9/11 myth: that the largest attack carried out on American ground was orchestrated by 19 Muslims armed with box cutters and urged on by religious fundamentalism, all under the direction of Osama bin Laden, the leader of a global terrorist network called al-Qaeda, based out of a cave in Afghanistan … //   Continue Reading…

Alien Forest, Alien Ocean, Alien Sky

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Published on The People’s Voice, by Rady Ananda, Sept. 7, 2010.

Imagine our declining pollinators – bees, moths, butterflies and bats – coming upon thousands of acres of toxic trees, genetically engineered so that every cell in the tree exudes pesticide, from crown to root. Imagine a world without pollinators. Without seed dispersers. Without soil microbes …

… Altering the chemistry of the hydrosphere:  Continue Reading…

Global cereal supply and demand update

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Linked on our blogs with the websites Right to Food and Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights ADH, with Training on ESC Rights, and with Jean Ziegler – Switzerland.

Published on ReliefWeb, Source: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations FAO, Sept. 1, 2010.

World cereal production lower than anticipated earlier but still the third highest on record: The forecast for world cereal production in 2010 has been lowered to 2 238 million tonnes (including rice in milled terms) from 2 280 million tonnes reported by FAO in June. However, even at this lower level, world cereal output in 2010 would be the third highest on record and above the five-year average. Among the major cereals, wheat accounts for most of the cut in this latest forecast, reflecting mainly smaller crops in the leading producers in the CIS due to adverse weather … (full text). Download the full report, 3 pdf-pages. Continue Reading…

Fueling the Tax Revolt: What’s Wrong with the NDP’s Anti-HST Campaign

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Linked with Quantitative Easing QE2, debt created out of thin air. – Published on The Bullet’s E-Bulletin No. 410, by Matt Fodor, September 3, 2010.

The Canadian New Democratic Party (NDP) has devoted much of its energy in recent months to opposing the implementation of the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) in Ontario and British Columbia. The new taxes came into effect on July 1, 2010. The HST merges the Goods and Services Tax (GST) with the Provincial Sales Tax (PST) in both provinces. Items covered by the GST that were previously exempt from the PST are included under the new HST.

Much of the Canadian Left has been supportive of the anti-HST campaign on the grounds that consumption taxes are regressive (i.e. people pay the same rate of tax regardless of income). In contrast, it will be argued here that while Left critics of the HST raise a valid point about neoliberal tax policies shifting the tax burden away from business, the campaign against the HST is misguided, for two main reasons.  Continue Reading…

How Ruthless Banks Gutted the Black Middle Class and Got Away With It

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Linked with the Loop21.com. – Published on AlterNet, by Devona Walker, Sept. 4, 2010.

The real estate and foreclosure crisis has stripped African-American families of more wealth than any single event in history. The American middle class has been hammered over the last several decades. The black middle class has suffered to an even greater degree. But the single most crippling blow has been the real estate and foreclosure crisis. It has stripped black families of more wealth than any single event in U.S. history. Due entirely to subprime loans, black borrowers are expected to lose between $71 billion and $92 billion.  Continue Reading…

Quantitative Easing QE2, debt created out of thin air

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… the crisis in banking has worsened … – Published on Global Researach.ca, by Bob Chapman, September 4, 2010 (see QE also on en.wikipedia).

In a futile attempt to keep the economic and financial system afloat, QE2 is underway. It began in early June as banks changed the rules for awarding loans. Their efforts over the past few months have only met with moderate success. Banks had cut back lending by some 25% over the past 16 months mainly to small and medium-sized companies. In the process the economy slowed down markedly and unemployment shot up to levels not seen since the 1930s. These first attempts to restart a sliding economy have so far not met with success. It was not long after that the real decision makers at the Fed that QE2 was going to be needed. We saw the marshalling of financial and economic forces and the tell tale sign of a stock market moving upward for unexplained reasons. That tipped us to QE2.  Continue Reading…

Death By Globalism: Economists haven’t a Clue

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Linked on our blogs with Paul Craig Roberts – USA. – Published on Global Research.ca, by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, August 31, 2010.

Have economists made themselves irrelevant?  If you have any doubts, have a look at the current issue of the magazine, International Economy, a slick endorsed by former Federal Reserve chairmen Paul Volcker and Alan Greenspan, by Jean-Claude Trichet, president of the European Central Bank, by former Secretary of State George Shultz, and by the New York Times and Washington Post, both of which declare the magazine to be “ahead of the curve” … //  Continue Reading…

GMO Crop Catastrophe in USA a lesson for EU

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Linked with Frederick William Engdahl – Germany and USA. – Published on Voltairenet.org, by F. William Engdahl, August 22, 2010.

As the European Union moves closer to approving the cultivation of GMOs despite stiff widespread opposition, it ought to be paying urgent attention to the agricultural arms race unfolding in the United States. The gospel of high-tech genetically modified (GM) crops is no longer sounding quite so sweet.

Roundup-resistant “superweeds” are plaguing Monsanto crops across southern US states, driving farmers to use more herbicides, abandon their farms or … return to conventional crops  … //  Continue Reading…

Monetary Shock and Awe – Bernanke’s Nuclear Option

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The Fed Prepared to Launch Most Radical Intervention in History

Published on Global Research.ca, by Mike Whitney,August 28, 2010.

The equities markets are in disarray while the bond markets continue to surge. The avalanche of bad news has started to take its toll on investor sentiment. Barry Ritholtz’s “The Big Picture” reports that the bears have taken the high-ground and bullishness has dropped to its lowest level since March ‘09 when the market did a quick about-face and began a year-long rally. Could it happen again? No one knows, but the mood has definitely darkened along with the data. There’s no talk of green shoots any more, and even the deficit hawks have gone into hibernation. It feels like the calm before the storm, which is why all eyes were on Jackson Hole this morning where Fed chairman Ben Bernanke delivered his verdict on the state of the economy on Friday.  Continue Reading…

The relation between oil prices and economic activity

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Published on Real-World Economics Review Blog, by Lewis L. Smith, August 27, 2010.

… The relationship between oil and economics is a paradoxical one.

On one hand, the production functions used by most economic theories are net of purchased inputs, so energy in any of its many and varied forms is nowhere to be found. Moreover, until 1973, coal, natural gas and oil were so cheap and the long-run supplies believed to be so abundant that their future hardly seemed worth worrying about. In fact, both Saudi Arabia and the oil industry continued to propagate the myth of this country as a cornucopia of crude oil right through 2004.  Continue Reading…