Princes of the Yen

In this outstanding documentary, loosely based on Professor Richard Werner‘s book with the same title, we can not only better understand the post WWII japanese economic history, but also comprehend how “independent” central banks were introduced in Asia, first in Japan with the legal modifications induced by the 1989-1990 japanese stock market crash and, later, with the 1997 Asian Crisis, also in the “tiger” economies of South East Asia.

The documentary convincingly argues and documents, that modern central banking serves purposes and objectives that often have very little to do with the welfare of their own nations and a lot to do with projects of economic and social engineering and financial colonization by western financial institutions, most of them based in America. The often perverse role played by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is compellingly explained.

One of the strengths of the documentary is to explain with precision how the transformation of the social and economic structures of whole countries, and of successful ones by the way, are planned years, in the case of Japan, decades, in advance, how are economic crisis artificially created and how, when crisis finally break out, “independent central banking” and fire sale of domestic assets to foreign investors are systematically imposed on nations that lose their economic independence…forever.

The documentary ends with a warning to Europeans about the true nature of Europe’s own “independent” central bank: the European Central Bank (ECB).

0,1% > 90%

The increase in inequality in the western world is a theme that is increasingly discussed. Occasionally you come into a statistic that in a very simple way explains the degree of inequality that has been “achieved”. The Economist publishes this chart where it is easily visible that the top 0.1% of the USA population in terms of wealth owns as many assets as the bottom 90%. As the chart ends in in 2013, you can safely assume that the situation is now worse (or “better”)?

“The authors examine the share of total wealth held by the bottom 90% of families relative to those at the very top. In the late 1920s the bottom 90% held just 16% of America’s wealth—considerably less than that held by the top 0.1%, which controlled a quarter of total wealth just before the crash of 1929. From the beginning of the Depression until well after the end of the second world war, the middle class’s share of total wealth rose steadily, thanks to collapsing wealth among richer households, broader equity ownership, middle-class income growth and rising rates of home-ownership. From the early 1980s, however, these trends have reversed. The top 0.1% (consisting of 160,000 families worth $73m on average) hold 22% of America’s wealth, just shy of the 1929 peak—and almost the same share as the bottom 90% of the population.

Fracking Fraud

In Shale Fraud Created by Wall Street, The Burning Platform (TBP) analyzes and exposes some key facts about the “fracking revolution” that are usually hidden from the public due to, according to TBP, the hype fostered by Wall Street. As Shale Bubble reports, “the Reality is that the so-called shale revolution is nothing more than a bubble, driven by record levels of drilling, speculative lease & flip practices on the part of shale energy companies, fee-driven promotion by the same investment banks that fomented the housing bubble, and by unsustainably low natural gas prices. Geological and economic constraints – not to mention the very serious environmental and health impacts of drilling – mean that shale gas and shale oil (tight oil) are far from the solution to our energy woes”. USA energy independence will certainly not come from fracking.

Excerpts:

KEY FINDINGS, SHALE GAS

      • High productivity shale gas plays are not ubiquitous: Just six plays account for 88% of total production.
      • Individual well decline rates range from 80-95% after 36 months in the top five U.S. plays.
      • Overall field declines require from 30-50% of production to be replaced annually with more drilling – roughly 7,200 new wells a year simply to maintain production.
      • Dry shale gas plays require $42 billion/year in capital investment to offset declines. This investment is not covered by sales: in 2012, U.S. shale gas generated just $33 billion, although some of the wells also produced liquids, which improved economics.

KEY FINDINGS, TIGHT OIL (SHALE OIL)

      • More than 80 percent of tight oil production is from two unique plays: the Bakken and the Eagle Ford.
      • Well decline rates are steep – between 81 and 90 percent in the first 24 months.
      • Overall field decline rates are such that 40 percent of production must be replaced annually to maintain production.
      • Together the Bakken and Eagle Ford plays may yield a little over 5 billion barrels – less than 10 months of U.S. consumption.

KEY FINDINGS, THE FINANCIAL PICTURE

    • Wall Street promoted the shale gas drilling frenzy which resulted in prices lower than the cost of production and thereby profited [enormously] from mergers & acquisitions and other transactional fees.
    • Industry is demonstrating reticence to engage in further shale investment, abandoning pipeline projects, IPOs and joint venture projects.
    • Shale gas has become one of the largest profit centers in some investment banks, in direct parallel with the decline of natural gas prices.
    • Due to extreme levels of debt, stated proved undeveloped reserves (PUDs) may have been out of compliance with SEC rules at some shale companies because of the threat of collateral default for some operators.

Typewriter Salvation

Typrewriter

Armstrong Economics and The Guardian both report of the latest breakthrough in anti-eavesdropping, anti-NSA technology: the typewriter. Depending on how old you are, you might not even have seen, much less used, one. Well, it is a device that allows you to type letters, documents, in a non-electronic environment, the way it was done well into the 1960s, a device that, until the NSA finds an AI-based way to detect subtle changes in air pressure caused by fingers typing a continent away might be the best solution for those that need to share sensitive written information and who, at the same time value privacy, an endangered species, unfortunately.

The Bundestag is leading the way:

“The head of the Bundestag’s parliamentary inquiry into NSA activity in Germany said in an interview with the Morgenmagazin TV programme that he and his colleagues were seriously thinking of ditching email completely.”

“Asked “Are you considering typewriters” by the interviewer on Monday night, the Christian Democrat politician Patrick Sensburg said: “As a matter of fact, we have – and not electronic models either”. “Really?” the surprised interviewer checked. “Yes, no joke,” Sensburg responded.”

Typewriters in,  America’s prestige out.

 

 

Smedley Butler revisited

 

 

According to Wikipedia “Smedley Darlington Butler (July 30, 1881 – June 21, 1940) was a United States Marine Corps major general, the highest rank authorized at that time, and at the time of his death the most decorated Marine in U.S. history. During his 34-year career as a Marine, he participated in military actions in the Philippines, China, in Central America and the Caribbean during the Banana Wars, and France in World War I. Butler is well known for having later become an outspoken critic of U.S. wars and their consequences, as well as exposing the Business Plot, a purported plan to overthrow the U.S. government.” In 1935 he published a book that with the title “War is a racket” defended the thesis that the USA waged wars with the main purpose of protecting Wall Street and corporate America.

SmartKnowledgeU has produced a modern version of the same thesis expressed in a simple map that requires little comment.

 

Dark Belgian Chocolate

In his  article, Who Is The New Secret Buyer Of U.S. Debt?, Brandon Smith tries to solve one of the mysteries of recent events in financial markets: the enormous increase in US Treasury Bonds reserves held by Belgium. As you can appreciate in the chart above, Belgium has, in a few months, increased its reserves of US Treasury Bonds by more than 70%. This, for a country like Belgium, does not make any sense and it is suspected that those bonds belong to somebody else. Mr. Smith floats the theory that the real buyers of US Bonds would be the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), as part of a long term plan to displace the US Dollar and introduce the IMFs Special Drawing Rights (SDR) as the New World Order’s new global currency. Of course, he cannot prove his case, but the article is interesting nevertheless.

Breakfast inflation

One of the least discussed and at the same time most important aspects of this economic crisis is the discrepancy between official inflation measures used by the FED, the Consumer Price Index( CPI) and, specially, Personal Consumer Expenditures (PCE), and the real inflation experienced by real people. One example of this last real inflation is the cost of a breakfast as measured by the Breakfast Beverage Index, that is at its highest level in 2 years. If you want to learn more about how inflation is mismeasured and misrepresented in the USA, visit Shadowstats.

Source: Bloomberg