Thursday, 20 March 2014

Image of a crisis

Interest rates this low for this long means we have a long way to go.

Where next?  Nowhere is where next.

Screen Shot 2014-03-18 at 5.04.49 PM

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Money is an IOU - next step revolution?

Good article looking at the role of money creation in the modern society.  The truth is out there.

The truth is out: money is just an IOU, and the banks are rolling in it [Guardian]

"Back in the 1930s, Henry Ford is supposed to have remarked that it was a good thing that most Americans didn't know how banking really works, because if they did, "there'd be a revolution before tomorrow morning".

Last week, something remarkable happened. The Bank of England let the cat out of the bag. In a paper called "Money Creation in the Modern Economy", co-authored by three economists from the Bank's Monetary Analysis Directorate, they stated outright that most common assumptions of how banking works are simply wrong, and that the kind of populist, heterodox positions more ordinarily associated with groups such as Occupy Wall Street are correct. In doing so, they have effectively thrown the entire theoretical basis for austerity out of the window.

To get a sense of how radical the Bank's new position is, consider the conventional view, which continues to be the basis of all respectable debate on public policy. People put their money in banks. Banks then lend that money out at interest – either to consumers, or to entrepreneurs willing to invest it in some profitable enterprise. True, the fractional reserve system does allow banks to lend out considerably more than they hold in reserve, and true, if savings don't suffice, private banks can seek to borrow more from the central bank.

The central bank can print as much money as it wishes. But it is also careful not to print too much. In fact, we are often told this is why independent central banks exist in the first place. If governments could print money themselves, they would surely put out too much of it, and the resulting inflation would throw the economy into chaos. Institutions such as the Bank of England or US Federal Reserve were created to carefully regulate the money supply to prevent inflation. This is why they are forbidden to directly fund the government, say, by buying treasury bonds, but instead fund private economic activity that the government merely taxes."

So is the next logical step once the "people" work out how it really works is "revolution" in a Henry Ford sense?  We might find out sooner rather than later.

Worth reading this academic article.

Monday, 10 March 2014


"If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their Fathers conquered...I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies... The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs."

Thomas Jefferson

Saturday, 8 March 2014


"There are two ways to conquer and enslave a nation. One is by the sword. The other is by debt." John Adams.

Friday, 7 March 2014

Bitcoin has theory and history on its side

A bit of Austrian economics for a Friday afternoon. Can anything stop bitcoin? Who is wearing no clothes? The central bankers or the bitcoin miners and buyers of very expensive code that disappears from hotwallets at a ferocious speed.

A good read in full.

 Bitcoin has theory and history on its side [Cobden]

The Bitcoin phenomenon has now reached the mainstream media where it met with a reception that ranged from sceptical to outright hostile. The recent volatility in the price of bitcoins and the issues surrounding Bitcoin-exchange Mt. Gox have led to additional negative publicity. In my view, Bitcoin as a monetary concept is potentially a work of genius, and even if Bitcoin were to fail in its present incarnation – a scenario that I cannot exclude but that I consider exceedingly unlikely – the concept itself is too powerful to be ignored or even suppressed in the long run. While scepticism towards anything so fundamentally new is maybe understandable, most of the tirades against Bitcoin as a form of money are ill-conceived, terribly confused, and frequently factually wrong. Central bankers of the world, be afraid, be very afraid!

Amusing "rubbish bitcoin users say" video

Over at conspiracy economics we have heard them ALL. Bargain prices or just weeks away from collapse?

Thursday, 6 March 2014

The face behind BitCoin

Newsweek article.

The Face Behind Bitcoin [Newsweek]

Satoshi Nakamoto stands at the end of his sunbaked driveway looking timorous. And annoyed.

He's wearing a rumpled T-shirt, old blue jeans and white gym socks, without shoes, like he has left the house in a hurry. His hair is unkempt, and he has the thousand-mile stare of someone who has gone weeks without sleep.

He stands not with defiance, but with the slackness of a person who has waged battle for a long time and now faces a grave loss.

Two police officers from the Temple City, Calif., sheriff's department flank him, looking puzzled. "So, what is it you want to ask this man about?" one of them asks me. "He thinks if he talks to you he's going to get into trouble."

"I don't think he's in any trouble," I say. "I would like to ask him about Bitcoin. This man is Satoshi Nakamoto."

"What?" The police officer balks. "This is the guy who created Bitcoin? It looks like he's living a pretty humble life."

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Flexcoin - another Bitcoin theft

After the Mt.GOx fiasco comes the Flexcoin news that it is shutting its doors.

It is becoming impossible to trust any Bitcoin exchange and this will undermine the share price.

Bitcoin mining is environmentally insane when you think about it - huge amounts of electricity spent do generate a number that happens to be worth something........ madness.

Bitcoin Site Shuts Down After Being Robbed Of Every Single Coin It Held Online [Business Insider]

This time Flexcoin — which called itself a Bitcoin bank — has announced that it's going out of business after a huge theft that has wiped it clean.

This is the announcement. There's no sugarcoating it. Somehow all the Bitcoins were just taken.

Monday, 3 March 2014

Post crash economics reading list

Plenty of reading for the apocalyptic economist in you.

Post-crash economics: a reading list

Neoliberal economics isn't working and students are demanding more from their course reading than the 8th edition of Macroeconomics can provide. Following the news that Economics students in Manchester have formed the Post-Crash Economics Society and Aditya Chakrabortty's excoriating and controversial commentary on the state of contemporary economics, published in the Guardian this week, Verso presents a reading list of economics titles which challenge the mainstream neoliberal consensus and offer powerful alternative models in contemporary economics.

First on our list, and referenced by Chakrabortty, Never Let a Serious Crisis Go to Waste: How Neoliberalism Survived the Financial Meltdown by Philip Mirowski
Following the financial crisis, how have banks and the financial services industry manage to stay on top in the political stakes; indeed, how has their recovering led to an upturn in their fortunes? Philip Mirowski explores how financial capitalism has turned the crisis to their advantage, leveraging state power to prop up free market capitalism.

Another new release from Verso is Costas Lapavitsas' book on financialisation, Profiting Without Producing: How Finance Exploits Us All. Described as "a masterpiece on the financialized capitalism of our age", the book looks at the rise of financial profit as a key aspect of the economy, and the role of financialized capitalism in the current economic crisis.

Crisis in the Eurozone by Costas LapavitsasFollowing the banking crisis and the credit crunch, Lapavitsas charts the roots of the European crisis and offers a daring and controversial call to break up the Eurozone.

Meltdown: An End to the Age of Greed by Paul Mason
The current crisis is explored in gripping journalistic detail by Paul Mason in his first hand account of the collapse of the banks and the financial chaos that ensued.

The Making of Global Capitalism: The Political Economy of the American Empire by Leo Panitch and Sam Gindin
The construction of that system is the focus on Panitch and Gindin's groundbreaking comprehensive study of the link between the spread of capitalism and the growth of the United States' empire in the twentieth century.

The New Way of the World: On Neoliberal Society by Pierre Dardot and Christian Laval
What is new about neoliberalism?  Cutting through contemporary misunderstandings about its genesis and prevalence, Dardot and Laval distill neoliberalism to its core meaning and examine how it might be challenged on new political and intellectual terms.

Utopia or Bust: A Guide to the Present Crisis by Benjamin Kunkel
After the financial crash and the Great Recession, the media rediscovered Karl Marx, socialist theory, and the very idea that capitalism can be questioned.

Utopia or Bust offers an introduction to heterodox economics and contemporary Leftist thinkers, ranging from the revolutionary philosophy of Slavoj Žižek through to the economic analyses of David Graeber and David Harvey. Discussing the ongoing crisis of capitalism in light of ideas of full employment, debt forgiveness, and “fictitious capital,” Utopia or Bust is a tour through the world of economics Marxist thought.

Why It's Still Kicking Off Everywhere: The New Global Revolutions by Paul Mason"History is over," we were reliably informed after the fall of the USSR, "and capitalism has won". Talk of the end of ideologies was perhaps premature, as Paul Mason discusses in his examination of how networks, technological developments and economic crash combined to kick start a wave of global rebellions, from the Arab Spring to Occupy. 

A Companion to Marx's Capital and A Companion to Marx's Capital, Volume 2 by David Harvey
David Harvey has spent 40 years lecturing on Karl Marx's masterwork of political economy, Capital. In this series he presents a thorough and accessible companion to the great work, offering analysis and insight in his clear and engaigng style.

The Complete Works of Rosa Luxemburg, Volume 1: Economic Writings I
The first volume of Luxemburg's Complete Works, a major series from Verso, dedicated to her economic writings, examining the functionings of the capitalist system.

A History of Gold and Money: 1450-1920 by Pierre Vilar
Vilar's classic text, re-presented as part of Verso's World History Series, looks at the long game: the development of money and the growth of the economic system of capitalism, with relation to the exploration of the New World, colonialization, the collapse of feudalism and the birth of capitalism.

The Economics of Global Turbulence: The Advanced Capitalist Economies from Long Boom to Long Downturn, 1945-2005 by Robert BrennerA long view of capitalism's booms and bust in the second half of the twentieth century, The Economics of Global Turbulence received critical acclaim for its careful analysis of post-war development.

The Long Twentieth Century: Money, Power and the Origins of Our Times by Giovanni Arrighi
A masterpiece of modern sociology which offers an overview of the development of capitalism and how it has unfolded over a series of "long centuries", producing new global political powers in the process.
Adam Smith in Beijing: Lineages of the 21st Century by Giovanni ArrighiIn a radical rereading of the work of 18th century market theorist Adam Smith, Arrighi looks at how China has constructed an economic counterpower to challenge the dominance of the West.
Historical Capitalism with Capitalist Civilization by Immanuel WallersteinA short and highly-readable anatomy of the capitalist system by the renowned theorist of "world systems", which looks at how development in the West has required the emiseration and subjegation of the developing world.
The Origin of Capitalism: A Longer View by Ellen Meiksins Wood
Exploding the truism the capitalism is just a result of human nature, The Origin of Capitalism places the economic system within context, analysing its emergence as the result of very specific and localised historical conditions.

Land Grabbing: Journeys in the New Colonialism by Stefano LibertiHow is agrarian capitalism affecting the developing world? In his rigorous study Liberti examines the growth of a new colonialism through exploitative new property regimes.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Total Economic Crash Video - conspiracies everywhere

A youtube video that covers facial recognition, 1914 - 1929 graph and more.

This is classic conspiracy stuff.  The 1929 crash stuff has all been done before.  Use two different scales and this type of graphs pops out more often than you would think.

I like the first comment "hey what's the name of the bakcground music?"

Monday, 10 February 2014

The Maxcoin conspiracy

So Max Keiser launches MaxCoin.   Max is ahead of his time and presents the best economics related show on TV.  I first discovered him sitting in a hotel room in Kazakhstan many moons ago.  As the only English speaking show on TV I watched and was hooked. 

Max has how moved to London and continues to entertain and inform.  He is also gold dust for any good conspiracy economics website (where gold as an investment features regularly)

So back to Maxcoin.  Max may say that he is launching Maxcoin to provide an alternative to fiat currencies and to expose the corrupt bankers and the insanity of printing money to save the planet.

But think again.  Launching Maxcoin and then Stacycoin (his excellent wife and sidekick) is really a clever way of fundamentally undermining credibility in Bitcoin.

The launch of Maxcoin may well spell the END of Bitcoin as the credibility of cryptocurrencies has been fundamentally undermined.

Note the fall in Botcoin since the launch pf Maxcoin?  Are cryptocoins now a laughing stock?

There is an underbelly that needs to be this space.

UK floods "Did The Environment Agency Deliberately Increase Flooding?"

Mail on Sunday reports in the usual way...  Parsnips and voles get priority over people.  If it were not for the popularity of this paper it would be less of a problem.

The conspiracy angle is interesting though.  The environmental agency have a limited budget to spend which is allocated by government.  The recent floods might result in an increased budget in the future which means jobs are safer in the EA and the empire grows.

Agency for flooding that puts greater water parsnips and voles before local people

"The Environment Agency put water voles, greater water parsnips, silver diving beetles and large marsh grasshoppers ahead of people in the flood-ravaged Somerset Levels, The Mail on Sunday can reveal. 

A 250-page agency document issued in 2008 shows that years of neglecting vital dredging which used to let water drain away much faster is part of a deliberate policy to increase flooding in the areas now worst affected.

The policy was revealed as agency director of operations David Jordan angered residents yesterday by calling the flood defences a ‘success story’."

Friday, 7 February 2014

Mt. Gox shocks - no more withdrawals

Mt. Gox halts withdrawals. Wall Street Journal.  Conspiracy economics has a Mt Gox account although it is currently Bitcoin less so no damage done.  Close escape - thousands of dollars on the line.

Worrying but I suspect a merely ttemporary problem.  What is more worrying is the proliferation of crypto-currencies.  Surely there will not be that many people willing to sell real goods for bytes.

BitBeat: Mt. Gox Halts Withdrawals, Bitcoin Price Drops [Wall Street Journal]

"Oh, Mt. Gox.

When one of the larger crypto-currency exchanges has a problem, the entire bitcoin trading universe has a problem. So it was with BTC China back in December, and so it was with Japan-based Mt. Gox today.

The embattled Mt. Gox was already having problems, following a host of disruptions to its service and months-long shutdowns of dollar withdrawals due to problems setting up a U.S. banking relationship. But on Friday the exchange went to the next extreme, halting all customer withdrawals, including those in yen, which had provided a backdoor exit, albeit a convoluted one, for its frustrated U.S. customers."

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Economist tries to start a bank run

Could withdrawing $1 million from a bank start a run on that bank and many others?  One "Terry Burnham, former Harvard economics professor" thinks so. 

Clearly academic economists at Harvard and paid a lot more than most academics to have accumulated such a tidy sum to start this bank run.

A number of events can trigger bank runs - could this be it?  Any academic who can write a book called "Mean Markets and Lizard Brains" has to be someone to listen to surely.

Is your money safe at the bank? An economist says ‘no’ and withdraws his [PBS]

"Terry Burnham, former Harvard economics professor, author of “Mean Genes” and “Mean Markets and Lizard Brains,” provocative poster on this page and long-time critic of the Federal Reserve, argues that the Fed’s efforts to strengthen America’s banks have perversely weakened them. (See our 2005 segment with Burnham below about how “lizard brains” influence our economic decisions.)

Last week I had over $1,000,000 in a checking account at Bank of America. Next week, I will have $10,000.

Why am I getting in line to take my money out of Bank of America? Because of Ben Bernanke and Janet Yellen, who officially begins her term as chairwoman on Feb. 1.

Before I explain, let me disclose that I have been a stopped clock of criticism of the Federal Reserve for half a decade. That’s because I believe that when the Fed intervenes in markets, it has two effects — both negative. First, it decreases overall wealth by distorting markets and causing bad investment decisions. Second, the members of the Fed become reverse Robin Hoods as they take from the poor (and unsophisticated) investors and give to the rich (and politically connected). These effects have been noticed; a Gallup poll taken in the last few days reports that only the richest Americans support the Fed. (See the table.)"

New "financial crash date" March 4th 2014

This blog likes to document doomsday dates.  The end of January passed off without anything untoward (see a previous post on conspiracy economics).  This time it is the end of March so enough time to make plans.

As usual those pesky elites are up to no good probably front running gold and short selling everything else.

Elite Insider Predicted Massive Crash in 2012: “Very Large Probability… Around March 4, 2014″ [Shiftplan]

We understand that Doomsday predictions are aplenty these days, but given what’s going on around the world right now it may be time to revisit the eerily prescient forecast of an elite insider.

Grady Means is a former advisor to Vice President Nelson Rockefeller, a former economist at the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare, and has managed multi-billion dollar firms over his career. Back in October of 2012 Means penned a commentary and analysis for the Washington Times in which he noted that “America’s fall will take global economies with it.”

But he didn’t stop there. Means gave us a target date.

So this is what he said:

 There is a very large probability that the real end of the world will occur around March 4, 2014.
 The doomsday clock will ring then because the U.S. economy may fully crash around that date, which will, in turn, bring down all world economies and all hope of any recovery for the foreseeable future — certainly over the course of most of our lifetimes. Interest rates will skyrocket, businesses will fail, unemployment will go to record levels, material and food shortages will be rampant, and there could be major social unrest.
Any wishful thinking that America is in a “recovery” and that “things are getting better” is an illusion.
 The central issue is confidence in America, and the world is losing confidence quickly. At a certain point, soon, the United States will reach a level of deficit spending and debt at which the countries of the world will lose faith in America and begin to withdraw their investments. Many leading economists and bankers think another trillion dollars or so may do it. A run on the bank will start suddenly, build quickly and snowball.
 At that point, we will need to finance our own deficit, and we will not be able to do so. We will raise bond rates to re-attract foreign investment, interest rates will go up, and businesses will fail. Unemployment will skyrocket.
 The rest of the world will fully crash along with us.

 So now we are predicting a bank run - see next story for the latest "bank run news".

Sunday, 2 February 2014

"Engineering financial choas"

Standard conspiracy.  Emerging market problems a deliberate US strategy.  Kingsworld news reports.

There is no doubt that the massive increase in money had to flow somewhere.  A lot went to emerging markets.  The threat of an interest rate rise in the US (as recovery seemingly continues) means hot money is coming back to the US and causing major problems for those countries that have serious misallocation  of capital issues to consider.

Deliberate US policy?  That is a different question but a flight to the dollar would not be a bad thing.  However, US companies still need to sell to someone.

Former US Treasury Official - US Engineering Financial Choas

Today a former US Treasury official told King World News that the United States government is purposefully creating financial chaos all over the world in order to destabilize enemy countries and create a flight into the US dollar.  This is an incredibly important interview, where the former US Treasury official lays out exactly what Washington and the US Fed are intentionally doing to the world in this powerful interview.

 Eric King:  “This emerging markets mess, your thoughts here because there is (so much) turmoil around the world at this point.”

Dr. Roberts:  “Eric, there are different ways you can look at the emerging markets mess.  One is that all the liquidity that the Fed created, some of it flowed into emerging markets, and now that the Fed is indicating an end to quantitative easing the money is flowing out.  As it does it causes the sale of those currencies in those countries and they plummet, and this causes all kinds of financial chaos.  That’s one way to look at it (the way the mainstream media propaganda is leading people to believe)....

After this the article gets even more conspiratorial.

Friday, 31 January 2014

Deflationary shock

The Telegraph have a nice piece that is suitably catastrophic. Reading between the lines is right up the conspiracy economist's street.

Contagion is kicking in.  Argentina, Turkey, South Africa.  Currencies are being defending, reserves are falling, interest rates are rising to defend a currency in a war that will be hard to win. Increased interest rates choke of any recovery which could set back the global recovery.

Things are looking bleak but gold and productive land might appear to be safe havens but that is for another day.  Deflation is not a gold bug positive. #

Next stage - currency wars (that have already been running pretty hot for the last couple of years).  Once China pile in they things will really heat up.

World risks deflationary shock as BRICS puncture credit bubbles [Telegraph]

Half the world economy is one accident away from a deflation trap. The International Monetary Fund says the probability may now be as high as 20pc.

It is a remarkable state of affairs that the G2 monetary superpowers - the US and China - should both be tightening into such a 20pc risk, though no doubt they have concluded that asset bubbles are becoming an even bigger danger.


Moreover, China is struggling to keep its industries humming at the current exchange rate. Patrick Artus, from Natixis, says surging wages - and falling productivity - mean that it now costs 10pc more to produce the Airbus A320 in Tianjing than it does in Toulouse.

The implications are obvious. China may at some stage try to steer down the yuan to hold on to market share, whatever they say in the US Congress, partly to stop Japan stealing a march with its 30pc devaluation under Abenomics. Albert Edwards from Societe Generale say this may prove the ultimate deflationary shock, dwarfing the 1998 Asia crisis.


Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Quote of the day "Have an exit plan"

Drudge report.

Put your shorts on and get the bug out bag ready

From Russia without love for Bitcoins

Breaking news:  Bitcoin use discouraged by the Russian central bank.  Of course they would say that as Russians salt away millions in bitcoin related investments.

Central Bank of the Russian Federation Discourages Use of Bitcoin [crytocoins news]

The Central Bank of Russia has released their view on cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. We have earlier argued that Russia may outlaw the use of Bitcoin due to its strict monetary policy. It seems our presumption was correct as the press release from the Central Bank of Russia is hostile against the use of Bitcoin and other digital currencies.

A Russian source has told us that the Central Bank’s new stance on virtual currencies means that they have banned the use of it, affecting both their partners and customers. This will make it hard to operate both Bitcoin-exchanges and Bitcoin-businesses in Russia.
A link to the full press release in Russian is provided in the link.

Book of the day: "HAYEK: Road to Surfdom"

The Road of Surfdom. [PDF]

Happy reading.

Friedrich A. Hayek 

Friedrich A. Hayek (1899–1992) was born in Vienna and obtained two doctorates from the University of Vienna, in law and political economy. He worked under Ludwig von Mises at the Austrian Institute for Business Cycle Research, and from 1929 to 1931 was a lecturer in economics at the University of Vienna. His first book, Monetary Theory and the Trade Cycle, was published in 1929. In 1931 Hayek was made Tooke Professor of Economic Science and Statistics at the London School of Economics, and in 1950 he was appointed Professor of Social and Moral Sciences at the University of Chicago. In 1962 he was appointed Professor of Political Economy at the University of Freiburg where he became Professor Emeritus in 1967. Hayek was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 1944, and in 1947 he organised the conference in Switzerland which resulted in the creation of the Mont Pélerin Society. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1974 and was created a Companion of Honour in 1984. In 1991 George Bush awarded Hayek the Presidential Medal of Freedom. His books include The Pure Theory of Capital, 1941, The Road to Serfdom,1944,The Counter-Revolution of Science, 1952, The Constitution of Liberty, 1960, Law, Legislation and Liberty, 1973–9, and The Fatal Conceit, 1988.

Government going bankrupt? No bailout but citizen bail in (Reuters)

The Bundesbank calls on countries to "bail in" from citizens before calling on Germany to help.  No reader of this blog should be surprised at this recommendation. 

Although difficult to implement it would certainly raise the required funds.  This might explain why the wealthy of those countries in risk and buying bitcoins and property in London.  The wealthy will have their escape routes planned already.

Bundesbank calls for capital levy to avert government bankruptcies [Reuters]

"(Reuters) - Germany's Bundesbank said on Monday that countries about to go bankrupt should draw on the private wealth of their citizens through a one-off capital levy before asking other states for help.

The Bundesbank's tough stance comes after years of euro zone crisis that saw five government bailouts. There have also bond market interventions by the European Central Bank in, for example, Italy where households' average net wealth is higher than in Germany.

"(A capital levy) corresponds to the principle of national responsibility, according to which tax payers are responsible for their government's obligations before solidarity of other states is required," the Bundesbank said in its monthly report.

It warned that such a levy carried significant risks and its implementation would not be easy, adding it should only be considered in absolute exceptional cases, for example to avert a looming sovereign insolvency."

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Mauldineconomics does "the history of gold manipulation"

A fairly long but amusing and well written acticle.  The Brown sell-off in the 1990s explained.  Great read and of course this is "gold bug" conspiracy related there is enough to get your teeth into.  

Nice quote:

"It was probably a mistake to allow gold to rise so high."

That Was The Weak That Worked: Part 3

The concluison of the article - classic gold bug but they might just be right.

"Gold is a manipulated market. Period.

2013 was the year that manipulation finally began to unravel.

2014? Well now, THIS could be the year that true price discovery begins in the gold market. If that turns out to be the case, it will be driven by a scramble to perfect ownership of physical gold; and to do that you will be forced to pay a lot more than $1247/oz.

Count on it."

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Conspiracy blog of the day: "The economic Collapse"

The Economic Collapse.

A cheery title for a blog with the byline "Are you prepared for the Coming Economic Collapse and the Next Great Depression".

The website is selling books, military surplus, emergency food, survival supplies and of course gold and silver coins.  The staples for the budding prepper.

I think we know where this is going.

The articles are much as you would expect.  Inequality,  financial crisis predictions, Goldman and Sachs and economic freedom.

Worth keeping an eye on.

Friday, 17 January 2014

Academic Paper: Is Bitcoin a Real Currency?

Now an acacdemic view on the bitcoin debate.    Is Bitcoin a real (whatever that means) currency?  Quick answer - no.  It behaves like a speculative investment.  I say, "give it time".  It will settle down, stablise and does work.

Is Bitcoin a Real Currency?" 

NBER Working Paper No. w19747
DAVID YERMACK, NYU Stern School of Business

Motivated by Bitcoin’s rapid appreciation in recent weeks, I examine its historical trading behavior to see whether it behaves like a traditional sovereign currency. Bitcoin has exchange rate volatility an order of magnitude higher than the volatilities of widely used currencies, undermining Bitcoin’s usefulness as a unit of account or a store of value. Bitcoin’s daily exchange rates exhibit virtually zero correlation with bona fide currencies, making Bitcoin useless for risk management purposes and exceedingly difficult for its owners to hedge. Bitcoin also lacks access to a banking system with deposit insurance, and it is not used to denominate consumer credit or loan contracts. Bitcoin appears to behave more like a speculative investment than like a currency.

Why stopping the next financial crash is an impossible dream

Good "The Week" reading.  Why stopping the next financial crash is an impossible dream.

This is basic economics written from a populist stance but interesting nonetheless.  It is an impossible dream of course otherwise people would make millions from knowing when a crash was coming and then we get into the murky areas of self full fulling prophesies.

America’s Secret War in 134 Countries

Interesting  article from

America’s Secret War in 134 Countries
"In 2013, elite U.S. forces were deployed in 134 countries around the globe, according to Major Matthew Robert Bockholt of SOCOM Public Affairs.  This 123% increase during the Obama years demonstrates how, in addition to conventional wars and a CIA drone campaign, public diplomacy and extensive electronic spying, the U.S. has engaged in still another significant and growing form of overseas power projection.  Conducted largely in the shadows by America’s most elite troops, the vast majority of these missions take place far from prying eyes, media scrutiny, or any type of outside oversight, increasing the chances of unforeseen blowback and catastrophic consequences."  

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Japan's radioactive cars not allowed into Russia

Radiation Fears Prompt Russia To Bar More Than 100 Used Cars From Japan [International Business Times]

Russia has barred some 132 used Japanese cars from entering the country due to radioactive pollution concerns.
Rospotrebnadzor, the country's consumer watchdog agency, said it is very much concerned about the unsettled contaminated water leaks that continue to spring out from Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant.

The 132 used cars were part of 165 batches of contaminated goods that were denied to enter Russia. Aside from the cars, there were also vehicle spare parts.