Skip to main content

Aggregatore di feed

How Do You Know When Your Society Is In The Midst Of Collapse?

Deep Politics Monitor - Gio, 28/01/2016 - 12:13
 From ZeroHedge: by Brandon Smith via Alt-Market.com, As economic turmoil worldwide becomes increasingly apparent, I have been receiving messages from readers expressing some concerns on the public “perception” of collapse. That is to say, there are questions on the average person’s concept of collapse versus the reality of collapse. This is a vital issue that I have discussed briefly in the

Tre e basta

Freedonia - Gio, 28/01/2016 - 11:15
Ricordo a tutti i lettori interessati che è in vendita la mia traduzione dell'ultimo libro di Gary North, L'economia cristiana in una lezione, acquistabile a questo indirizzo: http://bit.ly/1JUqFIt. Con questo manoscritto North, attraverso uno sforzo letterario pregevole, unisce ciò che è stato diviso per anni da un mondo accademico cieco e sordo alla centralità dell'individuo nell'analisi economica: etica ed economia. L'escamotage della chiave di lettura teologica è utilizzata per chiarire al lettore come una visione epistemologica chiara sia fondamentale per uscire dall'attuale pantano intellettuale in cui è finita la teoria economica moderna.
__________________________________________


di James Rickards


Nell'interminabile periodo che ha preceduto l'inizio del primo ciclo di restringimento della FED in undici anni, molti analisti hanno usato la formula "uno e basta" per descrivere la politica che Janet Yellen avrebbe seguito.

L'idea alla base di questa previsione era che dopo il primo rialzo dei tassi, la FED si sarebbe fermata prima di rialzarli di nuovo. Più precisamente, la FED voleva solo effettuare il primo rialzo dei tassi e poi muoversi lentamente e con cautela.

Non è esattamente quello che è successo. La FED ha rialzato i tassi a dicembre e potrebbe prendersi una pausa al prossimo meeting del Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) il 28 gennaio. Ciononostante la prospettiva è molto più complessa rispetto alla formula "uno e basta".

Mentre Janet Yellen è stata attenta a dire che le politiche future della FED dipenderanno dai dati e non da un programma già predefinito, in realtà è trapelato proprio un programma predefinito: si basa sulla sua previsione della crescita economica e dell'inflazione. Il ciclo di restringimento implica un target del tasso dei fondi federali: 100 punti base l'anno per tre anni (fino alla fine del 2018).

In linea con il desiderio della FED di non perturbare i mercati, è anche probabile che ogni aumento dei tassi sarà di 25 punti base, la stessa misura che usò Greenspan nel suo ciclo di restringimento tardivo dal 2004 al 2006, anche se con una lentezza maggiore.

Ci sono otto riunioni del FOMC in un anno. Quattro di queste includono conferenze stampa che sono utili per spiegare le azioni della FED. La Yellen, e prima di lei Bernanke, pone grande enfasi sulla comunicazione e la trasparenza.

Aumentare i tassi di 100 punti base l'anno con incrementi di 25 punti base dopo ognuno di questi meeting, significa quattro rialzi dei tassi l'anno.

Prendendo in considerazione questi parametri, la strategia prevista per il 2016 sarebbe un incremento di 25 punti base il 16 marzo, il 15 giugno, il 21 settembre e il 14 dicembre. Secondo la FED, questo modello potrebbe essere prolungato anche nel 2017 e nel 2018, fino a quando il tasso dei Fed Funds non raggiungerà il 3.25% a dicembre 2018.

Di conseguenza il progetto della FED è quello d'andare ben oltre un solo rialzo, sfoggiando aggressività in un contesto in cui la crescita globale sta rallentando e la deflazione sta imperversando in quattro delle più grandi economie del mondo — Stati Uniti, zona Euro, Cina e Giappone.

L'unica cosa di cui possiamo essere ragionevolmente certi è che questo non accadrà. Il percorso previsto dalla FED si basa su modelli d'interazione tra i mercati del lavoro, la crescita e l'inflazione. Questi modelli sono gravemente viziati e obsoleti.

Chi volesse le prove non deve far altro che guardare le previsioni di crescita annuali della FED: per nove anni consecutivi hanno sempre mancato il bersaglio. Credere che le previsioni della FED per il 2016 possano essere accurate, rappresenta una pia illusione.

Uno dei motivi per cui le previsioni della FED sono sballate, è la sua continua ed inutile dipendenza dalla curva di Phillips (dimostrare una relazione inversa tra disoccupazione e inflazione) e dal NAIRU (tasso naturale d'inflazione della disoccupazione).

La curva di Phillips è una candidata perfetta per un ruolo da protagonista in un film di zombie. Non importa quante volte gli accademici la uccidano, continua a tornare in vita per spaventare i decisori della politica. Ad esempio, prendete in considerazione la fine degli anni '70 e l'inizio degli '80 quando gli Stati Uniti stavano sperimentando recessioni, aumenti della disoccupazione e inflazione alle stelle; un tasso d'inflazione cumulato ben oltre il 50% dal 1977 al 1981.

Il NAIRU assomiglia ad un unicorno, cioè, una creatura che può essere descritta e visualizzata, ma che non esiste in natura. Ad esempio, prendete in considerazione quante volte negli ultimi anni la FED ha spostato i suoi punti di riferimento riguardanti la disoccupazione — dal 6.5% al 5.5%, poi al 5% e ora sta prendendo in considerazione il 4.8%. Come l'unicorno, il NAIRU è sempre dietro l'angolo.

Dati gli errori di previsione della FED e la sua dipendenza da modelli sballati, dovremmo aspettarci che qualcosa andrà sicuramente storto con i suoi piani. Se si utilizza il modello sbagliato, ogni volta si otterrà il risultato sbagliato.

La FED probabilmente alzerà i tassi a marzo e a giugno 2016. La Yellen ha aspettato troppo a lungo per lanciare un ciclo di restringimento per poi chiuderlo su due piedi. In ogni caso, è raro che la FED inverta la rotta tanto facilmente e di solito favorisce lunghi periodi d'inattività tra i cambiamenti di rotta.

Entro fine estate o inizio autunno di quest'anno, la debolezza globale e, eventualmente, una recessione negli Stati Uniti saranno le storie sulla bocca di tutti. Questa recessione è già evidente a molti osservatori, ma ci vorrà più tempo affinché tale realtà venga accettata anche dalla FED.

A quel punto il corso normale della linea di politica sarebbe quello di tagliare i tassi per mitigare l'impatto del rallentamento economico. Ma un taglio dei tassi a settembre 2016 sarà politicamente impossibile, a soli 48 giorni dalle elezioni presidenziali negli Stati Uniti.

La Yellen è una liberal democratica. Ogni suo sforzo per rilanciare l'economia poco prima delle elezioni, inviterà un contraccolpo politico da parte del candidato repubblicano. La Yellen è già parte di un'indagine penale per insider trading alla FED e non ha alcun interesse ad attirare ulteriori attenzioni.

Questo significa che il primo taglio dei tassi potrebbe arrivare il 14 dicembre 2016, la prima riunione post-elettorale del FOMC.

Il massimo che la Yellen può fare a settembre per garantire un ambiente accomodante è quello d'usare la forward guidance, promettendo di non aumentare i tassi per un periodo di tempo prolungato e di rimanere "paziente" nel considerare ulteriori rialzi.

Ci sono due rischi con questa previsione. Il primo è che la recessione consegni dati talmente tetri da impedire alla FED un rialzo dei tassi a giugno. Il secondo è che la FED attui un nuovo rialzo a settembre, perché non farlo potrebbe essere visto come un segnale accomodante con ripercussioni politiche negative per la FED stessa.

Monitoreremo da vicino gli sviluppi per tenervi aggiornati. Per ora sembra che la strategia sia tre e basta.

Vi auguro il meglio,


[*] traduzione di Francesco Simoncelli: http://francescosimoncelli.blogspot.it/


Are You Intelligent With Good Thinking Skills?

Lew Rockwell Institute - Gio, 28/01/2016 - 07:01

Clever people are more likely to be healthier than those with a lower IQ due to a genetic link between how our bodies manage diseases and intelligence.

Researchers from Scotland analysed data from around 100,000 people held in the UK Biobank.

They compared each person’s mental test data with their genome and found that traits linked to disease and thinking skills shared the same genetic influences.

In particular, the international team of scientists led by the University of Edinburgh found ‘significant negative genetic correlations’ between a person’s education and verbal-numerical reasoning skills and Alzheimer’s disease, coronary artery disease and strokes. 

The post Are You Intelligent With Good Thinking Skills? appeared first on LewRockwell.

Don’t Emulate This Guy

Lew Rockwell Institute - Gio, 28/01/2016 - 07:01

Slate, a once-semi-readable website, published a 2,925-word tome on Tuesday by a guy who is really sad because he managed rack up $200,000 in student loan debt by getting a useless degree at a fancypants private college and then, by borrowing more cash to be a graduate student.

The bitter, billowing borrower is Samuel Garner — currently a bioethicist at a Washington, D.C. nonprofit.

Garner’s tale of woe and world-historical budgetary stupidity begins — as he tells it, in excruciating detail — when he was a high school senior. He was a “consumer” of the “vacuous platitudes” on college brochures, and so he excitedly applied to Connecticut College — a school which currently charges a comprehensive fee of $62,965 per year.

“My siblings and I had the privilege of expecting we would attend private colleges,” Garner explains, even though his family had become “financially stressed” when he was in high school.

This financial stress notwithstanding, in 2003 Garner went off the Connecticut College — which was then charging comprehensive fees in the $40,000-ish range — and carelessly signed “for these federal loans each semester” without once, he admits, bothering to look at the papers he was signing to find out how much he was borrowing.

“Like so many students, I thought signing loan documents was just a routine,” the graduate of an allegedly elite college — who was a full-fledged adult at the time — now writes. “Having no appreciation of financial adulthood, I didn’t really understand what these loans were or what repaying them would actually entail.”

He blames college officials for making “no serious effort to explain” the paperwork he himself signed on multiple occasions. He says his “middle-class” parents both didn’t understand the “student loan terrain” and, somehow, at the same time, “minimized” his “understanding of what it would take to pay for school.”

Garner chose to ditch a planned major in biology for a major in music performance. He also minored in philosophy.

Eventually, he decided to pursue an academic career in bioethics. That’s a swanky word for a sub-sub-branch of philosophy.

“Academia was the setting I knew, so that became my plan,” he writes.

Read the Whole Article

The post Don’t Emulate This Guy appeared first on LewRockwell.

$1.1 Trillion To Blow Up the World

Lew Rockwell Institute - Gio, 28/01/2016 - 07:01

At a time when America’s public sector is apparently too strapped financially even to provide safe drinking water for some of its residents, the Obama administration plans to commit the nation to spending at least $1 trillion over the next three decades to improve our ability to fight a nuclear war. That’s right — an almost unthinkable war that would end up destroying much of the habitable portion of the globe.

That wasn’t the message President Obama conveyed in April, 2009 when he declared in Prague, “The existence of thousands of nuclear weapons is the most dangerous legacy of the Cold War. … Generations lived with the knowledge that their world could be erased in a single flash of light. … Just as we stood for freedom in the Twentieth Century, we must stand together for the right of people everywhere to live free from fear in the Twenty-first Century.

“And as . . . the only nuclear power to have used a nuclear weapon, the United States has a moral responsibility to act. … So today, I state clearly and with conviction America’s commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.”

How times change. Today, warns former U.S. Defense Secretary William Perry, “we are now on the verge of a new nuclear arms race” based on a return to Cold War thinking. “Moreover, I believe that the risk of a nuclear catastrophe today is greater than it was during the Cold War — and yet our public is blissfully unaware of the new nuclear dangers they face.”

Russia shares some of the blame, with its ostentatious talk of developing new weapons like a giant nuclear-tipped torpedo designed to “cause guaranteed devastating damage to the country’s territory by creating wide areas of radioactive contamination.”

But a far greater risk to global security is the Obama administration’s so-called nuclear “modernization” program, which the Pentagon is promoting at the same time U.S. policymakers are incessantly demonizing Russia as the chief threat to the United States and its allies.

In theory, the administration aims merely to ensure that America’s nuclear deterrent remains “robust” — that is, credible enough to dissuade any other nuclear power from contemplating an attack on U.S. forces, or installations, or cities.

But U.S. nuclear forces are currently sized with only one potential enemy in mind: Russia. The United States has an estimated 1,900 nuclear weapons deployed, versus 1,780 for Russia. The next largest nuclear power is France, with just 290 deployed weapons. The total U.S. nuclear stockpile of 7,200 warheads is 28 times bigger than China’s.

Apparently all that isn’t enough to let top Pentagon officials sleep at night. President Obama’s new Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Joseph Dunford, told the Senate Armed Services Committee last year that he believes Russia poses the greatest threat to U.S. national security — “an existential threat” no less. “If you look at their behavior, it’s nothing short of alarming,” he declared.

Read the Whole Article

The post $1.1 Trillion To Blow Up the World appeared first on LewRockwell.

Inflation and Banknotes

Lew Rockwell Institute - Gio, 28/01/2016 - 07:01

Inflation-racked Argentina is preparing to issue larger-denomination banknotes to alleviate critical shortages of cash in the country. What a difference between the Argentine government and most other Western governments, which seek to crack down on the use of cash.

Argentina’s 100 peso note is equivalent to a little over $7, and with inflation in Argentina having run in double digits for years, the 100 peso note is becoming too small a denomination to facilitate cash transactions. Therefore the Argentine central bank will be issuing 200 and 500 peso notes this year, and a 1,000 peso note next year. While the devaluation of the peso and the issuance of larger denomination banknotes conjures up images of Weimar hyperinflation, it is refreshing that the Argentine authorities are at least trying to facilitate cash transactions rather than crack down on them.

Image: Wikipedia

Compare this to the United States, where the Secretary of the Treasury is required, under Section 16 of the Federal Reserve Act, to print Federal Reserve Notes in denominations of up to $10,000:

In order to furnish suitable notes for circulation as Federal reserve notes, the Secretary of the Treasury shall cause plates and dies to be engraved in the best manner to guard against counterfeits and fraudulent alterations, and shall have printed therefrom and numbered such quantities of such notes of the denominations of $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50, $100, $500, $1,000 $5,000, $10,000 as may be required to supply the

The post Inflation and Banknotes appeared first on LewRockwell.

Another Way Cancer Can Kill You

Lew Rockwell Institute - Gio, 28/01/2016 - 07:01

The financial burden and rising costs of cancer treatment put many patients in debt or filing for bankruptcy, and this added financial stress is shortening their lives, according to latest research. The researchers found that colon, breast and thyroid patients who went into debt had an 80 percent higher risk of early death, compared to those with the same cancer but financially stable.

Lead researcher Dr. Scott Ramsey said, “Bankruptcy, for reasons that we don’t know, is a serious threat to survival for cancer patients.”

Medical expenses are one of the most common reasons why people file for bankruptcy, as Dr. Ramsey added, “We think that what happens is that when people are diagnosed, they had to leave their job, use up all their savings, go into debt and at some point the debt was overwhelming.”

The post Another Way Cancer Can Kill You appeared first on LewRockwell.

20 Dead, 200 Sick

Lew Rockwell Institute - Gio, 28/01/2016 - 07:01

Amid the so-called “ceasefire” in Ukraine, yet ongoing shelling in many regions, the Donbass news agency reports that more than 20 Ukrainian solders have died and over 200 soldiers are hospitalized after an apparent leak of a deadly virus called “California Flu” from a US lab near the city of Kharkov.

As Donbass News International reports,

More than 20 Ukrainian soldiers have died and over 200 soldiers are hospitalized in a short period of time because of new and deadly virus, which is immune to all medicines. Donetsk People’s Republic intelligence has reported that Californian Flu is leaked from the same place where research of this virus has been carried out.

The laboratory is located near the city of Kharkov and its base for US military experts.

Information from threatening epidemic is announced by Vice-Commander of Donetsk Army, Eduard Basurin.

Reprinted with permission from Zero Hedge.

The post 20 Dead, 200 Sick appeared first on LewRockwell.

Hillary’s Nightmare

Lew Rockwell Institute - Gio, 28/01/2016 - 07:01

Hillary Clinton’s nightmare is not the sudden resurgence of Bernie Sanders. It is the fidelity to the rule of law of the FBI.

The recent revelations of the receipt by Clinton of a Special Access Program email, as well as cut and pasted summaries of state secrets on her server and on her BlackBerry nearly guarantee that the FBI will recommend that the Department of Justice convene a grand jury and seek her indictment for espionage. Here is the backstory.

It seems that every week, more information comes to light about Clinton’s grave legal woes. Her worries are in two broad categories: One is her well-documented failure to safeguard state secrets and the other is her probable use of her position as secretary of state to advance financially her husband’s charitable foundation. The FBI is currently and aggressively investigating both. What I will describe below is in the state secrets category. It is apparently not new to the FBI, but it is new to the public.clearances needed to view the SAP found among her emails. Most FBI agents have never seen a SAP.

Shortly after the presence of the SAP-denominated email was made known, the State Department released another email Clinton failed to erase wherein she instructed her subordinates to take state secrets from a secure venue, to cut and paste and summarize them, and send them to her on her nonsecure venue. Such an endeavor, if carried out, is a felony — masking and then not safeguarding state secrets. Such a command to subordinates can only come from a criminal mind.

Equally as telling is a little-known 2013 speech that recently surfaced given by one of Clinton’s former subordinates. The aide revealed that Clinton and her staff regularly engaged in digital conversations about state secrets on their BlackBerries. This is not criminal if the BlackBerries were government-issued and secured. Clinton’s was neither. It was purchased at her instructions off the shelf by one of her staff.

Can anyone doubt that Clinton has failed to safeguard state secrets? If her name were Hillary Rodham instead of Hillary Rodham Clinton, she’d have been indicted months ago.

What remains of the rule of law in America? The FBI will soon tell us.

Reprinted with the author’s permission.

 

The post Hillary’s Nightmare appeared first on LewRockwell.

Preying on People Over 50

Lew Rockwell Institute - Gio, 28/01/2016 - 07:01

If the risk-on euphoria of punters borrowing billions of dollars in margin debt doesn’t materialize, stocks could languish for years after falling 50%.

The financial service industry’s Prime Directive is to exploit humanity’s core drives of Greed and Fear. Financial service companies promise high returns (fulfilling our greed) that are low-risk, i.e. “safe” (placating our fear of losing our nest-egg).

But the safety of many supposedly low-risk investments is illusory. The risk is not actually near-zero; rather, the risk has been buried, masked or obscured, for the obvious purpose of persuading the marks (i.e. the investing public, non-financial institutions, etc.) that the promised gains are essentially risk-free.

One example of selling the illusion of safety is the financial service industry’s promotion of index funds–funds that mirror the return of the entire S&P 500 index (or other diverse index of stocks) as reliably low-risk investments.

In a narrow sense, an index fund that in effect owns 500 stocks is lower risk than a mutual fund that owns 15 stocks, as one stock blowing up in a portfolio of 500 stocks is going to do less damage than a stock blowing up in a portfolio of 15 stocks.

Index funds have very low administrative fees, reducing the drag on total returns created by high management fees, and this feature is also touted as lowering the risk to investors.

What is left unsaid is that if the broad market declines 50%, index funds also plummet 50%. The supposedly low-risk nature of index funds is completely illusory once the entire market tanks.

What’s also left unsaid is the possibility that the market might not just drop 50%, but that it might not bounce back. Here is a chart (courtesy of mdbriefing.com) of the S&P 500 (SPX) and margin debt. Notice the tight correlation between margin debt (money borrowed against a portfolio of stocks to buy more stocks) and the S&P 500: once the risk-on euphoria of borrowing money to buy more stocks rolls over, stocks follow margin debt down.

The two are self-reinforcing: once stocks crater, those who have borrowed to the hilt on margin get the dreaded margin call–a demand to either add cash to the account or reduce the margin debt by selling stocks.

Read the Whole Article

The post Preying on People Over 50 appeared first on LewRockwell.

The New Silk Road

Lew Rockwell Institute - Gio, 28/01/2016 - 07:01

Tye Arab world today is dominated by the United States, who are intent on exploiting it and hindering its development. However, numerous revolts, in Palestine, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Bahreïn, attest to a will to resistance which is in contrast to the voluntary servitude of the Europeans.

This game, entirely controlled by Washington since Henry Kissinger’s diplomatic successes, has been upset, on the one hand, by the Russian military intervention in Syria and, on the other hand, by the return of Chinese commerce, which dominated the Mediterranean in late Antiquity and the Middle Ages. It is in this context that President Xi Jinping has undertaken journeys to Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the Islamic Republic of Iran, with the aim of opening up sections of a new communications route which will be, according to the slogan of the Chinese leader since 2013 – « a beltway, a road ». This indicates both an earth-bound route, like the old « Silk Road » and a maritime route like the one imagined during the Ming dynasty by Admiral Zheng He. In order to succeed in this project, which is of capital importance, and which has been in preparation for the last ten years, the People’s Republic of China last year created the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), of which the three states that Xi is visiting are members – even though Iran has not yet ratified the treaty.

Although the Chinese President avoids mentioning politics and directly opposing Western interests, his economic project, if it were to come about, would lead to Sino-Russian leadership of the world, and would mark the end of the thalassocrats empire of the United Kingdom and the United States.

It would be wrong to believe that Beijing is uninterested in politics and is absent from the region on the political level. China supported the combat of the Palestinian Resistance, which opened a representative office in Beijing many years ago. In 2006, Chinese air-sea missiles enabled Hezbollah to prevent Israël from bombing the Lebanese coast. And according to a number of experts, these missiles were not piloted by Arabs, but by Chinese advisors. Today, China has invited itself to the negotiations concerning Syria, and over the last few months, has received representatives from all factions. However, Xi has limited his political interventions during his journey.

Cairo, which was in Nasser’s day the main Arab power, has progressively withdrawn from the international stage. The victory of President al-Sissi over the Muslim Brotherhood, coupled with the relative stabilisation of the country, now enable him to consider the possibility of Egypt once again assuming that place. The discovery by Italians of considerable reserves of oil promise the rapid resolution of his economic problems, and already allow him to borrow money on the international market.

The Chinese delegation, remembering the relations between the two states in the time of Nasser and Zhou Enlai, met with the President of the Chamber of Deputies, Ali Abdel-Aal, and installed an institutional co-operation with the People’s Assembly.

President Xi and his Egyptian opposite number publicly declared their support for the political process in Syria and challenged any attempt to overthrow the régime by force. However, they did not specify the content of their exchanges on this subject.

Finally, President Xi addressed the Arab League. He underlined the enormous commercial potential of the region and the necessity for peaceful collaboration between nations in order to accelerate economic development.

The Islamic Republic of Iran

As I write these lines, President Xi has just arrived in Iran. The two nations have a long common history since Antiquity, as demonstrated by certain statues in Persepolis, and the Chinese influence on Iranian painting. In the Middle Ages, the « Silk Road » bypassed India, and traversed Central Asia to cross Iran, then Iraq and Syria. Since President Ahmadinejad, Iranian universities have reduced their teaching of English and increased the practise of Chinese.

For Beijing, Iran is not simply a historical stage on the « Silk Road », but a neighbouring culture from which it has long been separated, a natural partner which, because of its Muslim identity, allows it to enter more easily into an Arab world which it perceives overall as backward and violent.

The People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation have announced their intention to make the Islamic Republic of Iran a full member of the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation. This decision, which had been postponed during the period of Western sanctions, will make Teheran a major actor in international relations.

Keep in mind:

 China intends to continue the construction of the new Silk Road through the Arab world. It has already obtained the extension of the Suez Canal. It is acting prudently with Saudi Arabia and seems more comfortable with Egypt and Iran.

 Beijing is interested in commercial exchanges with the Near East, but even more so with Europe by way of the Near East.

 Although it abstains from demonstrating on the political level, China is discretely present with the Arab Resistance movements against Western imperialism. Iran will shortly become a full member of the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation.

The post The New Silk Road appeared first on LewRockwell.

Alice in Blunderland

Lew Rockwell Institute - Gio, 28/01/2016 - 07:01

Ask someone what his or her favorite parody movie is and you’ll hear Blazing SaddlesAirplane!, or some other classic of the genre. But ask what their favorite parody novel is and you’ll likely get a blank stare. To help you answer this difficult, life-defining question the next time you’re asked, here are the stories of a few novels that get the last laugh.

1. BORED OF THE RINGS

J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings has sold more than 150 million copies and been translated into over 35 languages since it was first published in 1955. While it has never reached the original’s level of success, the parody novel Bored of the Rings has become something of an institution in its own right. Written by Henry Beard and Douglas Kenney, the duo who would later found National Lampoon, the book has been reprinted and updated since it was first published in 1969, including a new version printed just this year.values, leading to a spiritual reawakening and, through that, a happy ending.

Fed up with all the doom, gloom, and religion, Gibbons wrote her own version of a “loam and lovechild” by borrowing many of the common traits of the genre and turning them on their ear. Her young, female protagonist, Flora, is a Londoner that moves to the country home of relatives after the death of her parents. There she meets a myriad of eccentric characters, including her Aunt Ada Doom, the coddled matriarch of the farm, who stays secluded in the attic because of “something nasty in the woodshed” that she saw years ago. Flora begins helping her new friends and family find their own version of fulfillment, not by using traditional country values and religion, but by consulting The Higher Common Sense, a handbook of modern age concepts and sound advice.

Although it’s based on books written over 100 years ago, it’s not a requirement that a person read these sources to appreciate the comedy in Cold Comfort Farm In fact, Cold Comfort Farm has been adapted into stage plays, radio serials, and made-for-TV films more often than most other “loam and lovechild” books. In fact, the most famous film version was produced as recently as 1995, starring well-known actors like Kate Beckinsale (Underworld), Rufus Sewell (Dark City), Joanna Lumley (Absolutely Fabulous), Ian McKellan (Lord of the Rings), and Stephen Fry (Jeeves and Wooster).

Dis-Honorable Mention

This is, of course, only a small sampling of the novels out there that are poking fun at best-sellers. Here are a few more that might pique your interest:

Read the Whole Article

The post Alice in Blunderland appeared first on LewRockwell.

Live! From Washington!

Lew Rockwell Institute - Gio, 28/01/2016 - 07:01

Is it just me, or has anyone noticed that much of America today is one endless chain of asinine fads perpetuated by the television and social media? Further along, has anyone noticed that this endless chain of serial fads carries over into our politics? It’s almost as if our political system is just an aspect of Facebook with people posting photos of their pet political candidates doing dumb tricks and wearing ridiculous hats. Followed by the ubiquitous comments: “OMG! He so cuuute, lol!” and “ROTFLMAO!! Where did U find such cute candidate? 2 cool!” Am I alone in my nausea over this ridiculous processed cheese food of a culture?

Look, I’m not overly cynical, well, okay, so maybe I am. But these people are truly easy to manipulate and control by the political system. Now, we can say what we want about the Middle East. But the Arabs saw the value of Facebook and Twitter as an engine of mobilization and the entire Arab Spring protest movement was set into motion using it. A person might think, gee, why can’t the American people use that to collectively fire both political parties and create an American Spring? But a person would be wrong to think that. Because instead of that, people post the equivalent of potted meat product on social media. Truthfully, how many more dumb dog videos do we need as the American nation swirls down the toilet bowl? It’s gotten to the point where you could station troops, demand ID, and frisk everyone going into the mall and Americans would submit to it like the sheep that sheep boss around. But tell them they can’t take their flippin’ dogs into the mall, that is where they get up the social media campaign to stop “tyranny”. I saw a guy have a meltdown because he couldn’t take his dadgum dog into the supermarket. While he was arguing with the clerk, the dog took a massive dump on the floor. He needed an emotional support dog for his emotional support dog, I guess. But go watch TSA jackboots treating everyone at the airport like they’re being processed into a concentration camp and you can hear an invisible pin drop.

I’m not saying the American people are collectively clueless, well, okay, so maybe I am. The Vietnam War inspired several anti-war songs that still get airplay today and Americans don’t even know anymore what those songs were talking about. I don’t think there’s been any genuine anti-war songs to hit the radio and we’ve been at war for fifteen years now. Of course, I could be wrong because I don’t listen to the endless parade of moans, groans, electronic voicebox chatter, and nasal whining they call “popular music” today. Even country music is rapping now and using these electronic voicebox gimmicks. If there was an anti-war song made today, one would be hard pressed to know if it was about war or about sex in the shower since every song sounds like that’s what was going on during recording. I’m not disillusioned about American society or anything, but if anyone needed a reason to refrain from enlisting in the military, turn on the radio and realize this: That is what you’re being asked to die a horrifying death to defend. Then we wonder why much of the Middle East keeps American “culture” out of their society as best they can. It’s not because they “hate freedom”, it’s because they hate bad music.

Once in a while, there comes a time when the obvious absolutely must be said. And the obvious thing is this: This government is just a mirror image of the crap we see on TV. In fact, they should just use that famous advertising phrase when describing the American political system: “AS SEEN ON TV!!” Because that’s all it is, another scam like those onion slicers and dicers that promise tear-free diced onions but by the end of using this gimmick, it’s like you watched “Sophie’s Choice” and “Threads” back to back. I’ve done that, but I didn’t slice any onions while doing so. Be that as it may, our political system is just “Dancing With The Tyrants”, the ultimate reality show where the government can vote you off their island courtesy of a drone. The American people sit there and say, “Well, what can I do?” As if these clowns don’t have the SAME social media the Middle East used to create the Arab Spring protests. I’m not saying to start a revolution here that involves violence. That’s exactly what the government wants so they have a reason to pull the trigger on the Patriot Act. I’m saying that, hey, look what Gandhi accomplished and that dude didn’t even have email!

Look how many liberals that usually whine about the government (and police brutality, by the way) were writing editorials in the newspapers pretty much calling for the government to go into Oregon and wipe out those guys who were sitting on federal property their tax dollars paid for. They wanted the government to re-enact the helicopter assault scene from Apocalypse Now, but instead of “Ride of the Valkyries” we’ve just had “Ride of the Bureaucrats” and the government voted the Oregon guys off the island. “The hills are aliiive, with the sound of federal gunfire!” Give me a break. Didn’t you guys have editorials to write about the next fad vegetable that will cure everything from Restless Leg Syndrome to Frequent Urination Syndrome or whatever new disease has been invented by the oh-so-superior Western medical regime? When will the pill come out for Stupid Political System Syndrome? That one actually does kill people. I’m still waiting for the great “health benefits” of Buffalo Gourd to come out and watch everyone running out to the area outside Winona, Arizona, to harvest them. Yes, don’t forget Winona. And don’t forget the government you egged on now will be the one at your doorstep tomorrow, you chuckle-burglars.

So, no, the American people are not wholly innocent here. The government didn’t just manifest as it is today sometime back in the 1980s. Causes and conditions led up to this. People just bought into the whole election creed of: “Well, I have to pick the lesser of two evils…” Excuse me, but that is still choosing evil and, therefore, nothing but evil can come as a result. Why then is anyone at all surprised when evil manifests from the selection of it? Oh, right, it didn’t turn out that way on TV where the politicians make the right decisions in the end. The government is the worst television show running and it’s been on the air for years. This has gone far beyond “I Love Lucy” reruns where we detect the plot two minutes into watching it and just return to our bowl of Spaghetti-O’s before they get cold. I’m sorry but, wait, I’m not sorry. We’ve been the extras walking in the background of this show for decades now and who, in truth, has ever made the “break” into an actual role in this show? Nobody has. We remain the extras walking around and the people that get selected for the roles in the show get picked because they have enough money to buy the part. Then they read the script the producers of it hand them and act like they believe it. Even more laughable, they expect the rest of us to believe it, too. Fight and die for it even in the other TV shows they call “wars”. Comically, many do believe it. They probably went to Milwaukee looking for Laverne and Shirley, too. Schlemiels, schlemozzles…

At the end of the day, the question everyone wants to know is what the season finale will be. Everyone rushes home to watch it like it was the season ender for “Friends” or something that swept the streets clear of people that dare call themselves intelligent. “I can’t do anything about the government that will send my children and grandchildren off to die in futile wars! I just want to watch the government on TV! It’s easier.” Look, folks, until the show goes off the air, it’s just another cliffhanger. Like the 2016 elections. Really, who cares about that political meatloaf? Or tofu-loaf for the vegans. The show will be on until the sponsors can’t afford it anymore. But wait! There’s more! If you act now, you’ll get the Democrats Versus Republicans Chess Set ab-so-lute-ly free! Call Now! Election officials are standing by!

The post Live! From Washington! appeared first on LewRockwell.

A Natural Hormone Shot To End Cravings?

Lew Rockwell Institute - Gio, 28/01/2016 - 07:01

If only there was a way to magically “shut off” our cravings for all of our vices. Some kind of pill or shot that just took it all away…

It sounds very sci-fi, but it’s close to becoming a reality.

U.K. researchers are preparing to investigate whether hormones found in the gut could help people beat their addictions, and stop people who have given up smoking, drinking, and even overeating from relapsing into their bad habits.

The post A Natural Hormone Shot To End Cravings? appeared first on LewRockwell.

Perché quest'affare sta colando a picco... ancora una volta!

Freedonia - Mer, 27/01/2016 - 11:12
Ricordo a tutti i lettori interessati che è in vendita la mia traduzione dell'ultimo libro di Gary North, L'economia cristiana in una lezione, acquistabile a questo indirizzo: http://bit.ly/1JUqFIt. Con questo manoscritto North, attraverso uno sforzo letterario pregevole, unisce ciò che è stato diviso per anni da un mondo accademico cieco e sordo alla centralità dell'individuo nell'analisi economica: etica ed economia. L'escamotage della chiave di lettura teologica è utilizzata per chiarire al lettore come una visione epistemologica chiara sia fondamentale per uscire dall'attuale pantano intellettuale in cui è finita la teoria economica moderna.
__________________________________________


di David Stockman


George Bush, a seguito della bancarotta della Lehman, disse ad un gruppo di leader congressuali che se non avessero immediatamente approvato un piano di salvataggio per Wall Street, "quest'affare sarebbe colato a picco".

L'approvarono ciecamente. Eppure per un po' sembrò inutile.

Con la crisi che raggiunse il fondo nel primo trimestre del 2009, il patrimonio netto delle famiglie era calato da $68,000 miliardi a $55,000 miliardi, o di quasi il 20%. Un crollo del 60% nelle medie azionarie e un crollo del 35% dei prezzi delle abitazioni.

Per un attimo sembrò che i nodi della verità economica stessero venendo al pettine. Vale a dire, la speculazione rampante e la finanziarizzazione alimentata del debito che avevano generato il boom fasullo dell'era Greenspan, non potevano garantire la permanenza di quel tipo di miglioramenti negli standard di vita.

Ma questo non ha impedito l'incidente più grande e più sfortunato della storia finanziaria moderna. I consulenti alla Casa Bianca, che nel settembre 2008 consigliarono George Bush di violare il libero mercato al fine di salvarlo, hanno dimostrato molto tempo fa la loro stupidità in materia economica. Dapprima lo spronarono a fare entrare Ben Bernanke nella FED nel 2002, poi a promuoverlo presidente del Council of Economic Advisors nel 2005 e, infine, a farlo diventare capo della FED nel gennaio 2006.

Ma ecco il punto. Bernanke è un ibrido accademico delle due peggiori scuole economiche del XX secolo — lo statalismo diretto di John Maynard Keynes e lo statalismo indiretto del monetarismo di Milton Friedman.

Entrambi questi grandi teorici capirono alla rovescia le cause della Grande Depressione, e Bernanke ha raddoppiato gli errori. È possibile condensare tutta la sua esperienza circa gli anni '30 in una sola proposizione.

Vale a dire, la FED all'epoca avrebbe dovuto acquistare i $17 miliardi di titoli di stato in circolazione per fornire liquidità al sistema bancario e quindi arrestare il tonfo della produzione economica.

Ho confutato queste sciocchezze in dettaglio nel mio libro, The Great Deformation. La versione corta è che il sistema bancario crollò perché era insolvente dopo 15 anni di boom alimentato dal debito, non perché era a corto di liquidità o perché la FED era troppo avara nel fornire riserve.

Infatti i tassi d'interesse del mercato monetario a malapena superarono l'1% nel periodo 1930-1932, lasso di tempo in cui Friedman e Bernanke sostengono che la FED sia stata troppo conservatrice; e le riserve in eccesso (cioè, inattive) nel sistema bancario salirono del 15X.

Non esiste alcuna prova che a qualsiasi banca solvente, membro del Federal Reserve System, fossero stati negati prestiti a sconto o che le attività imprenditoriali di Main Street solventi che volessero più credito non potessero ottenerlo.

Invece quello che successe fu che l'espansione del credito bancario durante gli anni precedenti al crollo del 1929, venne liquidata perché non poteva essere rimborsata.

Il totale dei crediti esistenti era cresciuto da $15 miliardi a $40 miliardi durante i 15 anni precedenti, ma gran parte erano finiti in margin loan a Wall Street, speculazione immobiliare e in enormi investimenti nell'esportazione e nei beni strumentali che crollarono quando, dopo il crash, si prosciugò il finanziamento di Wall Street ai clienti esteri.

Così l'offerta di moneta M1 si ridusse di circa il 30% nel corso dei tre anni successivi al crash, perché i crediti inesigibili vennero liquidati e i depositi bancari estinti. Non era scomparsa quella cosa eterea che i keynesiani chiamano "domanda aggregata". Piuttosto fu la ricchezza fasulla del boom del credito precedente che evaporò inesorabilmente.

Inutile dire che gli eventi del 2008 non avevano nulla a che fare con ciò che accadde dopo il crollo del 1929. Allora gli Stati Uniti erano gli esportatori e i creditori del mondo, ma come in Cina oggi l'apparente prosperità di quei tempi dipendeva dal fornitore dei finanziamenti a basso costo.

Vale a dire, con l'aiuto della Federal Reserve, il sistema bancario e il mercato obbligazionario statunitense avevano fornito l'equivalente di $2,000 miliardi di oggi ai clienti esteri degli agricoltori e dei produttori americani.

Quando la bolla del mercato azionario scoppiò nell'ottobre 1929, il mercato di Wall Street del debito estero venne pietrificato, innescando una cascata di default in tutto il mondo. All'inizio del 1933 il mercato del debito estero, in forte espansione negli anni '20, era diventato il mercato dei mutui subprime di quei tempi — con i prezzi del debito in calo a meno di dieci centesimi a dollaro.

In breve tempo si avverò la famosa metafora di Warren Buffett sui bagnanti nudi che vedono esposte le loro pudenda quando la marea si ritira; emerse che i clienti dell'export statunitense avevano acceso nuovi prestiti per pagare gli interessi sui loro vecchi debiti, ma senza l'accesso al nuovo credito non avevano altra scelta che ridurre drasticamente i nuovi ordini.

Di conseguenza le esportazioni statunitensi crollarono dell'ottanta percento nel corso dei tre anni successivi al picco del 1929, lasciando bloccata l'industria statunitense con un eccesso di capacità, materie prime, beni intermedi e prodotti finiti.

Questi ultimi, per esempio, scesero da $40 miliardi a $18 miliardi e le spese in conto capitale scesero del 75% dal 1930 al 1933. Allo stesso modo, con il crollo del mercato azionario e del boom del credito facile, le vendite dei beni durevoli come le automobili, le lavatrici e le radio diminuirono del 70%.

In breve, la Grande Depressione non fu un errore evitabile come Bernanke ha dichiarato falsamente quando ha ripetuto la storia erronea di Milton Friedman; fu la conseguenza economica della bolla del credito insostenibile del 1916-1929, la quale venne gonfiata dalla FED.

Quindi Bernanke ha capito alla rovescia i fatti storici. Cioè, mentre nell'autunno del 2008 correva a Washington e gridava che la Gran Depressione 2.0 era ad un tiro di schioppo, in realtà stava diffondendo un'isteria infondata.

Il fatto è che all'epoca del bust immobiliare nel 2008, l'economia statunitense non assomigliava affatto a quella del 1929; e non c'era nemmeno un rischio remoto di quel tipo di depressione industriale avvenuta nei primi anni '30.

Questo perché dopo 20 anni di stampa di denaro targata Greenspan/Bernanke, e la sua replica da parte della Cina e del resto delle banche centrali mercantiliste nei mercati emergenti, l'economia americana è stata essenzialmente de-industrializzata. Non c'era alcun rischio che il tipo di riduzione delle spese in conto capitale e di liquidazione degli inventari avvenuti nei primi anni '30, potessero essere replicati.

Infatti, per un breve periodo di tempo, il peso dell'aggiustamento nella produzione industriale è ricaduto sulla Cina e sui mercati emergenti. Infatti la Cina e la sua catena d'approvvigionamento sono diventati gli esportatori/creditori dell'epoca attuale.

Così il post-crash ha riguardato in gran parte la Cina, poiché 100 milioni di lavoratori si sono ritrovati improvvisamente senza lavoro quando il commercio mondiale è crollato nell'autunno/inverno del 2008-2009.

Allo stesso modo, la spesa delle famiglie americane dopo la crisi del 2008 è stata sostenuta da un aumento dei trasferimenti sociali (come le indennità di disoccupazione, i buoni pasto, Medicaid/Medicare e altri programmi del welfare state) e dall'occupazione nel vasto settore dei servizi, il quale non si ferma per liquidare le scorte poiché non ne ha.

Nel corso di una recessione, la spesa delle imprese nel settore dei servizi si restringe in modo incrementale, ma non radicalmente. Gli istruttori di pilates vengono prenotati per meno ore, ma i loro studi non scompaiono come le fabbriche sature.

Inutile dire che gli Stati Uniti, diventati  dopo il settembre 2008 debitori globali, grandi importatori, terra di welfare state e zona de-industrializata, sono l'esatto opposto della loro economia negli anni '30. Ed è per questo motivo che una depressione industriale non è mai stata una possibilità.

Tanto per fare un esempio, la liquidazione degli inventari durante la Grande Depressione era stata pari ad una contrazione del PIL del 20%, ma durante la Grande Recessione è stata pari al 2%.

In realtà, come ho dimostrato anche nel mio libro The Great Deformation, la liquidazione moderata degli inventari e dei libri paga avvenuta dopo la crescita insostenibile alimentata della FED, era già finita a metà del 2009. Infatti la recessione era finita ben prima che il programma di stimolo di Obama, o il QE della FED, avessero un impatto misurabile sull'economia degli Stati Uniti.

Quindi la folle stampa di denaro di Bernanke, che ha portato il bilancio della FED dai $900 miliardi alla vigilia della crisi ai $4,500 miliardi odierni, non ha affatto sventato una presunta Grande Depressione 2.0.

Quello che ha fatto, invece, è stato gonfiare la madre di tutte le bolle finanziarie. Non solo la falsa ricchezza delle famiglie, distrutta durante l'ultima crisi, era stata già recuperata, ma è aumentata di altri $18,000 miliardi.




Inutile dire che il grafico qui sopra è il prodotto di una massiccia inflazione dei prezzi degli asset, non di aumenti negli ingredienti della ricchezza reale della società. Cioè, aumenti delle ore di lavoro degli occupati, aumenti di produttività ed energie imprenditoriali libere di scatenarsi.

Nel caso della crescita delle ore di lavoro, per esempio, non ce n'è stata alcuna.

Proprio così!

Tra il picco pre-crisi nel terzo trimestre 2007 e il trimestre più recente, la ricchezza delle famiglie misurata dalla FED è salita di $18,000 miliardi, o del 24%, ma le ore di lavoro sono aumentate meno della metà dell'uno percento.




Allo stesso modo, la produttività del lavoro è bloccata. Sin dal picco pre-crisi, la produttività aziendale non agricola è cresciuta solo del 1.1% su base annua, o semplicemente della metà rispetto al suo tasso storico del 2.3%. Inoltre negli ultimi cinque anni la produttività è cresciuta ad appena lo 0.4% annuo.

Ovviamente non c'è modo di quantificare l'attività imprenditoriale di per sé. Infatti le sue varie sfaccettature — distruzione creativa, innovazione imprenditoriale e dirompente cambiamento tecnologico — sono fondamentali per la prosperità capitalistica, proprio perché non possono essere quantificate nelle statistiche dei mulini sforna-dati dello stato.

Tuttavia Gallup è da tempo che monitora la nascita, la morte e la variazione netta delle imprese statunitensi, e questa tendenza è inequivocabile. Per molti anni i dati sono stati negativi, precipitando radicalmente dopo la crisi finanziaria; e da allora non si sono più ripresi.




Inoltre è normale che, senza aumenti negli investimenti netti reali, non ci possa essere alcun aumento della ricchezza reale. Al giorno d'oggi gli investimenti netti reali negli Stati Uniti sono diminuiti dell'otto percento rispetto al picco del 2007 e del 17% rispetto ai livelli d'inizio secolo.




Quindi come fa a crescere la ricchezza delle famiglie di $18,000 miliardi a fronte di queste tristi tendenze del mondo reale?

In una parola, con la stampante monetaria. Ma quello che è successo oggi è che Draghi ha dimostrato d'essere a corto di trucchi e la Yellen ha confessato d'essere a corto di scuse.

Sì, quest'affare sta colando a picco. E questa volta tutti i professori d'economia diventati banchieri centrali saranno incapaci d'invertire il grande tonfo.

Saluti,


[*] traduzione di Francesco Simoncelli: http://francescosimoncelli.blogspot.it/


Lo scarica-barile della Fed: incolpare la Cina e il petrolio

Von Mises Italia - Mer, 27/01/2016 - 09:03

La recente azione del mercato ha fatto emergere alcune ipotesi che sono o del tutto sbagliate o altamente fuorvianti. Ad esempio, per quanto riguarda la recente catastrofe nei mercati dei capitali, s’è fatta strada una dicotomia particolarmente insistente che vuole spiegarne la causa.

Ci sono alcuni che, facendo eco ai titoli dei giornali, sono pronti a puntare il dito contro il petrolio e la Cina. Ciononostante ci sono altri che puntano il dito contro la Fed per aver “rialzato i tassi troppo presto.” Secondo questi ultimi essendo “l’inflazione totalmente sotto controllo”, era ridicolo che la Fed sentisse il bisogno di “rialzare i tassi d’interesse . Entrambe queste posizioni tendono ad esprimere angoscia per il “dollaro forte”.

Entrambe queste posizioni non comprendono la causa del problema. Tanto per cominciare, è ridicolo accusare il petrolio per il calo dei mercati quando c’è bisogno in prima istanza di spiegare perché il petrolio stesso stia calando. E’ del tutto insoddisfacente spiegare qualcosa descrivendolo. Funziona bene per i titoli dei giornali e per scaricare le colpe reali, ma bisogna imparare a guardare più in profondità. Non ci si può aspettare d’impressionare nessuno spiegando che l’aereo sta precipitando perché non sta più volando. Qual è la causa del calo del prezzo del petrolio? Questa è la vera domanda.

Inoltre, nemmeno la “tesi Cina” non spiega nulla. Ci si limita ad osservare una correlazione nei mercati e quindi è molto conveniente dare la colpa “agli altri”. L’economia della Cina e degli Stati Uniti s’influenzano a vicenda, soprattutto nella nostra epoca di valute fiat fluttuanti. Ma alla fine sia la Cina sia gli Stati Uniti — anzi il mondo intero — vengono trascinati giù da azioni passate compiute dalle rispettive banche centrali, più nello specifico dall’illusione di prosperità attraverso l’espansione monetaria e del credito.

Questo ci porta al secondo tema: biasimare la Fed per aver operato un “rialzo dei tassi” troppo presto. Cioè, ci sono un buon numero di persone che sostengono che se la Fed non avesse mai annunciato la volontà d’effettuare aumenti minuscoli del tasso dei fondi federali, non avremmo assistito ai recenti tonfi dei mercati. Dicono cose come “l’inflazione non è mai stata una minaccia, per cui la Fed è stata irresponsabile ad alzare i tassi.”

 

Inflazione dell’Offerta Monetaria & “Inflazione” dei Prezzi

Intorno a questo argomento c’è molta confusione. In primo luogo, bisogna sottolineare costantemente che il significato d’inflazione, contrariamente a quanto sostiene il pensiero popolare, è aumento dell’offerta di moneta, non “aumento dei prezzi.” Il motivo per cui la Fed e i suoi sostenitori preferiscono la voce “aumento dei prezzi”, è perché in questo modo possono oscurare la causa principale della nostra attuale condizione economica. Si allontana la colpa dalla Fed e la si dà ad altre “forze di mercato”, invitando la banca centrale ad andare in soccorso piuttosto che ad essere oggetto di gravi sospetti. Infatti, come scrisse Mises (pagina 420 dell’Azione Umana):

Ciò che molte persone oggi chiamano inflazione o deflazione non rappresenta più il grande aumento o diminuzione dell’offerta di moneta, ma le sue conseguenze inesorabili: la tendenza generale verso un aumento o un calo dei prezzi delle materie prime e dei saggi salariali. Questa innovazione non è affatto innocua. Svolge un ruolo importante nel fomentare le tendenze popolari verso l’inflazionismo.

Prima di tutto non esiste più alcun termine per indicare ciò che soleva indicare l’inflazione. E’ impossibile combattere una politica a cui non è possibile assegnare un nome. […]

Il secondo male è che coloro che s’impegnano nel tentativo inutile e senza speranza di combattere le conseguenze inevitabili dell’inflazione — l’aumento dei prezzi — mascherano i loro sforzi sotto le false vesti di una lotta contro l’inflazione stessa. Invece ne combattono solo i sintomi, fingendo di combattere alla radice le cause del male. Dato che non comprendono la relazione causale tra l’aumento della quantità di moneta da un lato e l’aumento dei prezzi dall’altro, non fanno altro che peggiorare le cose.

L’aumento dei prezzi può essere il risultato dell’inflazione, ma non è di per sé l’inflazione. In realtà negli ultimi dieci anni l’inflazione è stata molto alta a causa del QE della Fed e di altri programmi di politica monetaria. In secondo luogo, non dovrebbe mai essere ignorato che “l’aumento dei prezzi” può essere facilmente ritrovato anche nei mercati dei capitali. Non ci vuole un guru degli investimenti per osservare i livelli impressionanti a cui sono arrivati i vari indici di mercato. Se grattiamo di più la superficie, potremmo notare i prezzi assurdi delle azioni più alte in valore: Facebook, Amazon, Apple, e così via.

 

Dove Sono Finiti Tutti Quei Soldi

Ancora più importante, però, è il fatto che gran parte del denaro di nuova creazione non è nemmeno andato ad alimentare una “inflazione [dei prezzi al consumo] diffusa” a causa della struttura bancaria post-crisi. Infatti Jeffrey Snider, tra gli altri, ha sostenuto che è letteralmente impossibile ottenere “inflazione dei prezzi” come risultato diretto del QE a causa del modo in cui il denaro entra attualmente nel sistema. “L’inflazione dei prezzi” dovrebbe fuoriuscire dalle azioni delle singole banche, le quali sono caute circa le loro pratiche di prestito al consumo. Pertanto la Fed non sta creando “inflazione dei prezzi”, ma qualcosa di molto peggio: cattiva allocazione del capitale.

Coloro che vogliono che i tassi d’interesse vengano continuamente soppressi in modo da incoraggiare l’attività economica, non si rendono nemmeno conto che è proprio questa la causa delle bolle, e non di un’attività economica produttiva.

In base al modello pre-crisi incentrato sulla riserva frazionaria, ci sarebbero stati un sacco d’investimenti improduttivi a causa delle banche che creavano nuovi prestiti. Ma ora il denaro non viene creato dalle banche commerciali, ma soprattutto dalla Fed stessa. Il che significa che, usando le parole di David Stockman, il nuovo denaro viene semplicemente rovesciato nei canyon di Wall Street e spinge in alto i prezzi delle azioni e delle obbligazioni piuttosto che raggiungere “l’economia reale”.

 

La Bolla Prolunga Solamente il Problema

Contrariamente a quelli che incolpano la Fed per aver fatto crashare il mercato azionario a causa del suo “rialzo dei tassi” (argomento affrontato da Joe Salerno qui), vogliamo sottolineare che questa azione non farà altro che evidenziare errori commessi in precedenza. In altre parole, non c’è nulla di lodevole in un mercato azionario sostenuto artificialmente. Non abbiamo alcun interesse a prolungare la bolla, perché essa è il nemico di un’economia sana. Il crollo dei mercati azionari rivela dove si sono formate le bolle e come sia illusorio il nostro presunto benessere. E questo è esattamente ciò che l’ex-presidente della Fed di Dallas, Richard Fisher, ha dichiarato in un’intervista alla CNBC, quando ha confessato: “Abbiamo spronato un enorme rally nel mercato per creare un effetto ricchezza”.

E così, l’espansione monetaria deve inevitabilmente terminare. Fisher stesso ha ammesso: “[…] ed ora è probabile un periodo di disagio per metabolizzare gli eccessi.” Ciò che è stato gonfiato deve infine sgonfiarsi. Questo è l’unico modo affinché un’economia possa riprendersi: il credito artificiale dev’essere liquidato. Purtroppo è un processo doloroso.

Questa è la vera causa della recente calamità. Il dollaro si sta “rafforzando” in virtù dello sfilacciamento del nostro sistema di creditizio. In altre parole, il cosiddetto “dollaro forte” è soltanto un lato della medaglia di un sistema bancario al collasso. Non si deve presumere che il dollaro stia diventando più solido; non è così. Ma se un giorno volessimo tornare ad una moenta sonante, dovremmo affrotnare la realtà dei fatti.

E lo stesso discorso vale anche per il petrolio: dopo essere stato elevato fin verso il cielo dagli imbrogli monetari della Fed, sta vivendo il suo bust inevitabile. L’illusione svanisce.

Purtroppo la Fed è una mina vagante, quindi vedremo se intenderà lasciare recuperare i mercati, o se continuerà il ciclo perpetuo di creazione di moneta. Il mio consiglio per la Fed non è né di “rialzare i tassi”, né di abbassarli. Ma piuttosto di lasciarli andare e lasciare che il mercato si corregga. Di correzioni ce ne sono un sacco davanti a noi.

 

Articolo di C. Jay Engel, tradotto da Francesco Simoncelli.

 

The post Lo scarica-barile della Fed: incolpare la Cina e il petrolio appeared first on Ludwig von Mises Italia.

The Idiotic Search for Villains

Lew Rockwell Institute - Mer, 27/01/2016 - 07:01

The latest tempest in a teapot controversy is over a lack of black nominees for this year’s Academy Awards in Hollywood.

The assumption seems to be that different groups would be proportionally represented if somebody were not doing somebody else wrong. That assumption carries great weight in far more important things than Academy Awards and in places more important than Hollywood, including the Supreme Court of the United States.

In an earlier era, the groupthink assumption was that groups that did not succeed as often, or as well, were genetically inferior. But is our current groupthink assumption based on any more hard evidence?

Having spent decades researching racial and ethnic groups around the world, I have never yet found a country in which all groups — or even most groups — are even roughly equally represented in most endeavors.

With all the heated and bitter debates between those who believe in heredity and those who believe in environment as explanations of group differences in outcomes, both seem to ignore the possibility that some groups just do not want to do the same things as other groups.

I doubt whether any of the guys who grew up in my old neighborhood in Harlem ever went on to become ballet dancers.

Nor is it likely that this had anything to do with either genetics or racism. The very thought of becoming a ballet dancer never crossed my mind and it probably never occurred to the other guys either.

If people don’t want to do something, chances are they are not going to do it, even if they have all the innate potential in the world, and even if all the doors of opportunity are wide open.

People come from different cultures. They know different things and want different things.

When I arrived in Harlem from the South as a kid, I had no idea what a public library was. An older boy who tried to explain it to me barely succeeded in getting me to get a library card and borrow a couple of books. But it changed the course of my life. Not every kid from a similar background had someone to change the course of his life.

When Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe arrived in New York in the 19th century, they were even poorer than blacks from the South who arrived in Harlem in the 20th century. But the Jews crowded into public libraries because books had been part of their culture for centuries. New York’s elite public high schools and outstanding free colleges were practically tailor-made for them.

Groups differ from other groups all over the world, for all sorts of reasons, ranging from geography to demography, history and culture. There is not much we can do about geography and nothing we can do about the past. But we can stop looking for villains every time we see differences.

That is not likely to happen, however, when grievances can be cashed in for goodies — and polarize a whole society in the process.

The post The Idiotic Search for Villains appeared first on LewRockwell.

The International Power Posse

Lew Rockwell Institute - Mer, 27/01/2016 - 07:01

Making their annual pilgrimage to the exclusive Swiss ski sanctuary of Davos last week, the world’s political and financial elite once again gathered without having had the slightest idea of what was going on in the outside world. It  appears that few of the attendees, if any, had any advance warning that 2016 would dawn with a global financial meltdown. The Dow Jones Industrials posted the worst 10-day start to a calendar year ever, and as of the market close of January 25, the Index is down almost 9% year-to-date, putting it squarely on track for the worst January ever. But now that the trouble that few of the international power posse had foreseen has descended, the ideas on how to deal with the crisis were harder to find in Davos than an $8.99 all-you-can-eat lunch buffet.

The dominant theme at last year’s Davos conference, in fact the widely held belief up to just a few weeks ago, was that thanks to the strength of the American economy the world would finally shed the lingering effects of the 2008 financial crisis. Instead, it looks like we are heading straight back into a recession. While most economists have been fixated on the supposed strength of the U.S. labor market (evidenced by the low headline unemployment rate), the real symptoms of gathering recession are easy to see: plunging stock prices and decreased corporate revenues, bond defaults in the energy sector  and widening spreads across the credit spectrum, rising business inventories, steep falls in industrial production, tepid consumer spending, a deep freeze of business investments and, of course, panic in China. The bigger question is why this is all happening now and what should be done to stop it.I was able to see through to this scenario not because I have access to some data that others don’t, but because I understood that stimulus in the form of zero percent interest rates and quantitative easing is not a means to jump start an economy and restore health, but a one-way cul-de-sac of addiction and dependency that pushes up asset prices and creates a zombie economy that can’t survive without a continued stimulus. In the end, stimulus does not create actual growth, but merely the illusion of it.

This is consistent with what is happening in the global economy. China is in crisis because commodities and oil, which are priced in dollars, have sold off in anticipation of a surging dollar that would result from higher rates. The financial engineering that has been made possible by zero percent interest rates is no longer available to paper over weak corporate results in the U.S. Our economy is addicted to QE and zero rates, and without those supports, I feel strongly we will spiral back into recession. This is the reality that the mainstream tried mightily to ignore the past several years. But the chickens are coming home to roost, and they have a great many eggs to lay.

Investors should take heed. The bust in commodities should only last as long as the Fed pretends that it is on course to continue raising rates. When it finally admits the truth, after its hand is forced by continued market and economic turmoil, look for the dollar to sell off steeply and commodities and foreign currencies to finally move back up after years of declines. The reality is fairly easy to see, and you don’t need an invitation to Davos to figure it out.

The post The International Power Posse appeared first on LewRockwell.

The Decline of the Driver’s License?

Lew Rockwell Institute - Mer, 27/01/2016 - 07:01

If your teenage years are long gone and you still haven’t bothered to get a driver’s license, you’re not alone. According to a recent study, the percentage of people with a driver’s license decreased across all age groups between 2011 and 2014. And, while the decrease began for those over 44 around 2008 and for those over 69 around 2011, there has been a continuous decrease for those 16 to 44 years old since 1983.

According to The Atlantic, researchers are unsure why fewer people are driving. Some of the reasons suggested by an earlier study of unlicensed young adults include cost, access to public transportation, the ability to obtain transportation from others, and lack of time. Thirty-seven percent of those surveyed claimed they were too busy or didn’t have enough time to get their licenses.

That study also found that the majority of people polled intended to get a license eventually, even if they never did. A full 69 percent of respondents said that they planned to get a license in the next five years, while 22 percent said they never planned to at all. The findings implied that, rather than eschew cars entirely, driving has become less of a priority than it was in the past.

Read the Whole Article

The post The Decline of the Driver’s License? appeared first on LewRockwell.

Are You Fit Enough To Save Yourself?

Lew Rockwell Institute - Mer, 27/01/2016 - 07:01

A few years back when my kids were still pretty young, one of my girls and I and the family dog took a short walk in National Forest not too far from where we live. I had let the dog off the leash to stretch its legs while my young daughter and I enjoyed a leisurely stroll down a familiar trail. Free from the leash, the dog shot off down the trail only to come to an abrupt stop several hundred yards away, her hackles up, and staring intensely into the thick manzanita that lined each side of the trail. It was a bear with cubs.

I yelled, “run!” and my daughter took off like a rocket back the way we had come. Within seconds, I followed hoping the dog would distract the bear long enough for us to make it safely back to the vehicle. Time loses all meaning in moments like that and what could have been minutes felt like seconds. I quickly realized that the shock of accidentally crossing paths with a bear sow with cubs and the sudden burst of speed had stressed my heart. I was nowhere near close enough to the car and it already felt like my heart was going to burst and the muscles in my legs were on fire.

At the same time, the old saying, “I don’t have to outrun the bear, I just have to outrun you” flashed through my head. I was very glad to see my daughter running down the path and over fallen trees with the speed and agility of a deer. And I took comfort that, although I loved my dog very much, she would probably give her life to protect me from the bear…until she shot past me like a bullet.

I’m glad to say that we made it all out safely, including that damn dog that I wasn’t loving so much at the moment, but it was a sobering lesson. I was not in as good a shape as I thought I was. Also, thinking that my body would just know what to do in an emergency or that adrenaline would allow me to rise to the occasion like a lot of people think just wasn’t the case. When the SHTF, sometimes it’s a bear and sometimes it’s not. I wasn’t ready for any of it.

How Fit Are You?

It is a fact that past generations were more in shape compared to modern times. A healthy body that’s ready to take on whatever is demanded of it to the best of their ability should be the top priority of any prepper, not just for their own security, but also the security of loved ones that depend on them. I know that I could count on any one of my immediate family members if I ever needed help, but I also know that I have a personal responsibility not to overburden them in a crisis, and the best way I can do that is to make sure I am as healthy as possible before the SHTF. I would never want to put any of them in a potentially life threatening position to save me because I hadn’t bothered to take the time to get fit enough to save myself.

As well, many of us have physical limitations that can stop us from being as fit as we should. In an article on the subject, Tess Pennington writes, “As we get older, many of us are plagued with some type of physical limitation. Recognizing our physical weaknesses and figuring out how to make things work despite those weakness will be vital to our survival.”

Your Health Depends on These Five Components

Health, in this context, isn’t necessarily about weight, pants size, or any of the other standards of beauty frequently seen in fashion magazines. In this case, I’m talking about the ability to get the job done or get the hell out and that could mean different things depending on your own SHTF scenario.

Physical fitness can be measured by assessing five components of health: cardiovascular and respiratory, muscular strength, muscular endurance, body composition, and flexibility. If you’re neglecting any of these areas, you won’t be ready to respond.

Read the Whole Article

The post Are You Fit Enough To Save Yourself? appeared first on LewRockwell.

Condividi contenuti