Tag: economics

Urban Magnets for Disaster

Filed in BP, deflation, economy, Ford, Gold, inflation, o, silver, ubs, US Dollar by on February 18, 2011 0 Comments

When it comes to bad stuff the sky’s the limit. It’s gonna happen, eventually…one way or another. And it could be real bad. And when bad stuff happens, you’re better off being somewhere else. Where? Generally, bad stuff seems to happen most often in cities. Why is that? Cities are where most people live. It is where governments are. And it is where the labor force is most specialized. There are no subsistence farmers living in cities. Nor do urban populations “live off the land.” Instead, they depend on complex networks of commerce. The typical city dweller produces neither food nor energy. He sits all day in an office — completely dependent on others to provide power and food. Then, he goes home — still completely dependent on the division of labor for his most important needs. Progress can be described as the elaboration of the division of labor. In man’s most primitive state, specialization is extremely limited. From what we’ve been told, the early man was the hunter. Early woman gathered…that’s about the extent of it. As the tribe grows larger, specialization increases. One person might tend the fire. Another might be in charge of making clothes or arrows. The advent of sedentary agriculture and towns caused a big leap forward in human progress and, not coincidentally, the division of labor. Some townspeople went out to tend the fields. Others began to focus on woodworking…or iron mongering…or making weapons…or clothes. Some played cards and hung around at bars. There was soon a homebuilding industry…and, not long after, merchants, prostitutes and bankers…and even shyster lawyers and tax collectors. As the division of labor expanded, the average person became richer…and more dependent on others. In order to eat, someone else had to plant…and till…and harvest…and hunt…and gather. And then, when agriculture became mechanized, he depended on faraway people who produced oil and gasoline…and people who built …

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How Savings and Investment Increase an Economy’s Output

Filed in BP, Debt, deflation, economy, interest-rates, Lear, o, silver, Spot Gold, target, US Dollar by on February 14, 2011 0 Comments

Everyone who has held a job and a bank account understands the potential benefit of postponing consumption today in order to enjoy greater consumption in the future. However, many people — if pressed — would explain this increase in saver’s income by an offsetting reduction in the income of a borrower in the economy. This is certainly a possibility. For example, if Bill (the borrower) forgets his lunch money on Monday, he might ask his coworker Sally (the saver), “Can you lend me $10 and I’ll pay you back $11 tomorrow?”  If Sally agrees, then it is clear that her $1 in interest on the personal loan was paid out of Bill’s reduced income for that month. In other words, if Bill’s take-home pay that month were $5,000, then he would actually only have $4,999 to work with, because of his $1 expenditure in “buying a loan” from Sally. At the same time, if Sally’s normal paycheck were also $5,000, then this particular month she would actually have $5,001 to work with, after earning $1 in providing “lending services” to Bill. In the scenario above, what basically happened is that Bill financed his consumption with an “advance” made by Sally. On the Monday morning is question, …

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Why Economists Are Not Popular

Filed in BP, deflation, Ford, o, silver, US Dollar by on February 7, 2011 0 Comments

One of the many reasons why economists are unpopular is that they keep reminding people that things have costs, that there is no free lunch. People already know that — but they like to forget it when there is something they have their hearts set on. Economists don’t have to say anything when people are buying things at a shopping mall or at an automobile dealership. The price tags convey the situation in unmistakable terms. It is when people are voting for nice-sounding things which politicians have dreamed up that economists are likely to point out that the costs ignored by politicians are going to have to be paid, one way or another — and that you have to weigh those costs against whatever benefits you expect. Who wants to put on green eye shades and start adding up the numbers when someone grandly proclaims, “access to health care for all” or “clean air” or “saving the environment”? Economists are strictly party-poopers at times like these. They are often gate crashers too, since usually nobody asked them how much these things would cost or even thought about these issues in such terms. Some of the more persistent or insensitive economists may even raise questions about the goals themselves. How much health care at the taxpayers’ expense? In Britain, a 12-year-old-girl was given breast implants. That much health care? Meanwhile, Britain’s skyrocketing medical costs of taking care of things that people would never have spent their own money to take care of forced cutbacks and delays in more urgently needed medical treatments. One woman’s cancer operation was postponed so many times by the British health service that, by the time the system could take her, the disease was now too far gone for medical help — and she died. Economists could have told anyone in advance that making things “free” causes excessive use by some, leaving less for others with more urgent needs that have to remain unsatisfied. Rent control, for example, has led to more housing being occupied by some, who would not have paid the …

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Why Paul Krugman Is Wrong on the Austrians

The Austrians on Capital In contrast to mainstream macro models, which either do not possess capital at all or at best denote it as a homogenous stock of size “K,” Austrian theory explicitly treats the capital structure of the economy as a complex assortment of different tools, equipment, machinery, inventories, and other goods in process. Much of the Austrian perspective is dependent on this rich view of the economy’s capital structure, and mainstream economists miss out on many of the Austrian insights when they make the “convenient” assumption that the economy has one good. (Krugman will be glad to know that yes, I can spell all this out in a formal model — and one that referee Paul Samuelson grudgingly signed off on.) Krugman and other Keynesians stress the primacy of demand: they keep pointing out that the owner of an electronics store, say, won’t have the incentive to hire more workers, and buy more inventory, if he doesn’t expect consumers will show up with money to spend on new TVs or laptops. But Austrians point out that demand per se is hardly the whole story: Regardless of how many green pieces of paper the customers have, or how much credit the store can get from the bank, it will be physically impossible for the electronics store to fill the shelves with new TVs and laptops unless the manufacturers of those items have already produced them. And in turn, the manufacturers can’t magically create TVs and laptops merely because the demand for their products picks up; they rely on other sectors in the economy having done the prior preparation as well, such as mining the necessary metals, assembling the proper amount of tractor trailers needed to ship the goods from the factory, and so on. These observations may strike some as trivial, not worthy of the consideration of serious economists. But that’s only because normally, a market economy “spontaneously” solves this tremendous coordination problem through prices and the corresponding signals of profit and loss. If someone had to centrally plan an entire economy from scratch, there would be all sorts of bottlenecks and waste — as actual experience has shown. Without the guidance of market prices, we wouldn’t observe a smoothly functioning economy, where natural resources move down the chain of production — from mining to processing to manufacturing to wholesale to retail — as neatly depicted in macro textbooks. Instead, we would see a chaotic muddle where the various interlocking processes didn’t dovetail. There would be too many hammers and not enough nails, too much perishable food and not enough refrigerated railroad cars to deliver it, and so on. The Austrians on Interest When it comes to explaining the coordinating function of market prices, Austrians assign a very important role to interest rates, for they steer …

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Oil shocks and economic recessions

Filed in BP, Gold Investing, Gold Prices, o by on January 15, 2011 0 Comments

I’ve just completed a new research paper that surveys the history of the oil industry with a particular focus on the events associated with significant changes in the price of oil. Here I report the paper’s summary of oil market disruptions and econo…

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Hip Hop Social Media Meets Wall Street: 50 Cent and His $8.7 Million Penny Stock Tweets

Filed in BP, Ford, o, silver by on January 15, 2011 0 Comments

By Dian L. Chu, EconForecast “[H&H Imports] Stock went from 5 cent to 10 in one day. You can double your money right now. Just get what you can afford.” [H & H Imports has]…15 products this year. If you get in technically I work for yo…

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Commodity Roundup – Markets on your Radar

Filed in commodities, copper, currencies, Debt, economy, euro, Gold, o, outperform, silver, ubs by on January 8, 2011 0 Comments
Commodity Roundup – Markets on your Radar

MB Wealth Corp. is not responsible and does not endorse anything outside of the content of this article authored by Matthew Bradbard President of MB Wealth. As most followers recognize, I break the commodity markets into seven sectors: financials which include the indices and debt markets, energies, currencies, livestock, metals, grains and finally the softs. So let’s examine sector by sector what should be on your radar as we conclude one trading year and a fresh year of opportunity is upon us. Financials While the first part of the year brought uncertainty and perhaps too much pessimism after a bottom formed in the summer indices have appreciated lifting the Dow and S&P approximately 25%. From here, we think prices have gotten ahead of themselves and expect a 5% depreciation from their current levels. Aggressive clients have started to purchase March ES bear put spreads . Reflecting back on the year, Treasuries have had an inverse relationship to the indices enjoying trade higher in the first half of the year reaching an interim top in the summer and falling off since. The greatest loss has been in Q4, as yields have increased and 30-yr bonds and 10-yr notes have lost considerably. We expect to see a bounce into the new year and have advised aggressive clients to buy dips in 30-yr bonds, 10-yr notes or to position themselves in NOB spreads with their directional bias in the direction of bonds. Energies There has been a powerful force lifting prices higher in crude oil and the distillates virtually all year and we see no reason for that to change. Continue to use price retracements as buying opportunities as we see $110/115 in Crude by mid 2011. Assuming we are correct with this assumption, both heating oil and RBOB would likely be 20-25% higher as well. Natural gas remains a dog unable to make any significant headway all year. There have been fits and starts but the range bound action for the last six months has been discouraging and lost my clients money on several attempts. From here we may opt to scale into long…

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Forget Buying in the Suburbs and Go Rent in the City

Filed in BP, Debt, deflation, inflation, lead, o, silver, Spot Gold, target by on January 5, 2011 0 Comments

It’s getting more expensive to live in Baltimore….at least if you’re a renter. According to a recent article in the Baltimore Sun rents are up more than 6% over what they were last year in the Baltimore metro area. If you count the drop in various concessions — like waived application fees or initial free rent — then the increase is even more. There is a drag on the rental market, however: the regretful buyers who now need to rent out the homes they can’t sell. Lois Foster, a Baltimore real estate agent who helps people find homes to rent and manages properties for owners-turned-landlords, said she’s seeing rents of $200 to $500 less a month than owners could have gotten two or three years ago. There’s just a lot of competition, she said. The gild is off the buying lily. All the credit that oozed out of the banks found its way into the national psyche. There it gave off a funny smelling gas that puffed up hopes and dizzied senses. Stock prices were the first beneficiaries. Fattening 401(k)s danced 1920’s-style energetic jigs with dreams of early retirement. Even as those 401(k)s and those hopes tired and finally dropped dead on the dance floor, the Fed held down interest rates and more funny air kept the nation high. People pinned new hopes on — and sent reams of borrowed new money into — real estate. That’s come to the sort of end you’d expect. While government cheerleading and easy credit drew in increasing numbers of bigger fools, the rental market found itself a lot emptier. All the people who really couldn’t afford to buy and who should have been renting were too busy buying on greater margins and not renting. Some hotspot cities like New York and Boston saw their rental markets surging along with their real estate markets…but third-stringers like Baltimore… “Cohan, with Southern Management, said some competitors were offering as much as three to four months of free rent to get people in the door in 2008 and 2009. Not anymore.” It’s no wonder that they were having such a …

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Best economics blogs

Filed in BP, Gold Prices, o, silver by on December 31, 2010 1 Comment

The Wall Street Journal has a new list of the best economics blogs, but may have inadvertently omitted the names of some of the best economics bloggers.

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Hazards in Interpreting Seasonals

Filed in BP, Gold Investing, o, silver by on December 30, 2010 0 Comments

Professor Casey Mulligan has an interesting post, in which he observes that while retail sales are about 15-20% higher in December than in the previous three months, retail employment is only about 4% higher in December than October, thus proving that …

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Roubini’s Advice: Lend, Hope, Pray

Filed in BP, euro, Gold, GOld juniors, marc-faber, o, Quantitative Easing, recession, silver, Sprint by on December 15, 2010 0 Comments
Roubini’s Advice: Lend, Hope, Pray

Here’s the latest from Dr. Doom. He thinks the best strategy is to lend, hope and pray… From The Telegraph by Richard Blackden entitled: Nouriel Roubini: ‘The economic policy is still lend, pray and hope’ “ Nouriel Roubini, a New York professor of Iranian origin, expects China, India and Brazil to collectively grow at 6.3pc in 2011, more than triple the 2.1pc he predicts the developed economies will muster. “The good news about advanced economies is that the tail-risk of a double-dip recession has receded,” Mr Roubini said as he presented his outlook for 2011 at the office of Roubini Global Economics in Greenwich Village, New York. The picture echoes the consensus forming in financial capitals that it will again be the emerging economies that are sprinting, while consumers and governments elsewhere repair balance sheets that were stretched to breaking point during the crisis. Among the Western laggards, Roubini expects the US to enjoy the fastest growth – at 2.7pc – as a combination of quantitative easing (QE) and the tax cuts agreed last week in Washington provide some support. Germany follows at 2.2pc, down from 3.5pc in 2010, while the UK will grow 1.7pc, slightly weaker than this year’s 1.8pc. Mr Roubini, who rejects the accusation that he is a natural pessimist, says the greatest risks to this scenario unfolding lie in the next six months and come from the troubled eurozone. “The risk of something disorderly happening is still significant,” he explained. “At the moment, the policy is still lend, pray and hope this is a liquidity problem and not a solvency problem.” Related Articles: Roubini: 40 Percent Chance of a Double Dip Roubini on Greece: The Tip of the Iceberg Marc Faber: “Governments have become like a cancer” To learn more about Wealth Daily click here Advertisement I Just Witnessed the Impossible Not far from the U.S. Capitol, a tiny $0.62 tech firm unlocked the secret to harnessing solar energy — at ANY time, from ANY window! It’s so efficient and affordable that CNBC is calling it energy’s “Silver Bullet.” Before the first big ticket contract comes, through— doubling the share price — click here for your exclusive video footage. Roubini’s Advice: Lend, Hope, Pray originally appeared in Wealth Daily . Wealth Daily is a free daily newsletter featuring contrarian investment insights and commentary.

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New Zealand Markets – Worth a Look?

Filed in BP, currencies, Gold Investing, Gold Prices, o, silver, sov, sovere by on November 26, 2010 0 Comments

Here’s an update on the New Zealand markets. First up is a look at the currency, the NZD (also known as the “Kiwi”) took a bit of a dive in the past week or so on the back of a few things; first there was the Ireland and wider sovereign worries in the …

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