An excellent 5 minute video explaining* the players in the Syrian war (Plus what’s really going on there.)

Image: Mint Press News

War is fundamentally crony. There is death and destruction and despair for most, but for some people, companies, and governments there is money to be made too. Sometimes very big money indeed. The conflict in Syria is an example. It’s not really about religion and terrorism. (Though these are hugely important factors.)

Read More

China welcomes IMF backing to make yuan world reserve currency

We have said in the past that the real economic “run for the hills” moment is the moment the dollar loses world reserve currency status. If that were to ever happen all sorts of things would cascade. Interest rates would shoot up. Our debt would become unmanageable. All sorts of dollar denominated assets would decrease in relative value. It would be a colossal mess.

This is unlikely to happen anytime soon. Though “dollar hegemony” has eroded somewhat since the 2008 Crash,

Read More

Wall Street starts talking openly about a Fed driven bubble in stocks

Robert Shiller, not always our favorite economist here, is warning that the stock market is looking particularly bubbly. This isn’t a huge story except that talk of a bubble is now coming from one of the accepted shamans of Keynesianism. Shiller also called the tech bubble and housing bubbles accurately. His book Irrational Exuberance is a classic.

Read More

The Great Malinvestment in China (and America), and the pleasure and pain of monetary tequila

Cheap money feels good initially. Nearly everyone is happy when central banks open the floodgates (or helicopter doors) and cash spills into the economy. Hooray! Money! Why is it here now instead of yesterday? Who knows? Get while the getting’s good. Look, the stock market’s rising – whoopee! Monetary tequila. Bottoms up!

But the morning, the aching, head thumping morning always comes after such a binge.

“All I know is Ben Bernanke was tending bar. Goldman Sachs was buying me drinks.

Read More

How is the USA like Greece? Both are crony states

Government is inherently crony. That is its nature. It has an inherent tendency toward corruption. Crony entropy. Like water flowing downhill.

In Greece we see a relatively poor crony state languishing on the rocks while the Germans pick at its liver. And we pity the place. Yes, they’ve gotten themselves into this mess, but Brussels (and Berlin) are being stupid about things.

Not because they won’t give Greece another bailout. They are dying to give Greece more money truth be told.

Read More

It’s time to start fighting the most insidious form of corruption — the kind that’s legal.

There was a time when people in the West looked at the developing world and dismissed the corruption exhibited there as a disease of lesser economies. Nigeria, Belarus, Egypt, Brazil, all were (and are) chock full of insider dealing and bribery. In the West however we held ourselves to a higher standard. We had “clean” economies.

Read More

Google’s Larry Page: “I Think the Government’s Likely to Collapse Under Its Own Weight.”* (Video)

We agree that this is very possible. Government is so large, so out of control, so unaccountable, and so expensive it is indeed likely to collapse one day. Less in a dramatic heap of rubble and more of a slow rusting rot. But perhaps a dramatic heap.

Read More

Pfizer to leave the US because of high tax rates, Makes a huge part of its money from tax funded government programs

Soon to be London?

The big pharmaceutical companies have done very well in the crony department over the last decade. Medicare Part D was a giant gift to pharma, then the “donut hole” fill of Part D in 2010 meant even more money for the drug companies. Big Pharma in many respects is a government contractor. A quarter of its revenue comes from Medicare, Medicaid, and various other government programs. But now one of the giants is leaving for England lured by lower tax rates.

Read More

(Get Ready) IMF paper warns of ‘savings tax’ and mass write-offs as West’s debt hits 200-year high

To paraphrase David Stockman – The world’s central banks have not suspended the market mechanism. They can kick the can, they can lie, they can move assets around on balance sheets, they can even call debts assets. But in the end there is no free lunch.

Read More

Fukushima responders starting to get sick (But US and Japanese governments said not to be concerned) Video

Nuclear power is highly subsidized.

To paraphrase the anchor, – If a nuclear reactor melts down in your neighborhood and the government says “don’t worry about it” get the heck out of there as fast as you can.

Read More