Friday, 18 March 2011

FRIDAY MORNING RAMBLE: The Debt Tsunami Edition [updated]

  • Japan is still crying. Meanwhile, the rest of the world is in hysterics. I don’t know about you, but I’m still keeping up to date with the situation in Fukushima via the knowledgeable types at the Nuclear Physics blog of Mass. Institute of Technology.
    They’re whip smart, know what’s going on, and have no axes to grind. Much more rational than getting your news hysterics from John Campbell.
    M.I.T. Nuclear Information Hub - Nuclear Science Engineering Blog
  • Japan endures 10 per cent of world's seismic activity; it is also home to a disproportionate stock of the world's fortitude.
    Why quakes leave the Japanese unshakeable – Ben McIntyre, T H E   A U S T R A L I A N
  • 700 billion dollars. “That's the total amount of money rumoured to be injected by the BOJ in order to keep the Nikkei going for a whopping 4 days, and to send its currency into free fall. [Hat tip Keith W.]
    ¥55,600,000,000,000 – Z E R O   H E D G E
    USDJPY Flash Crashes As All Support Taken Out - Record Collapse – Z E R O  H E D G E
  • In the age of central banking, when confronted with disasters first instinct is to print money. Even when that instinct is idiotic.
    Why Japan Feels the Need to Print Money  – D A I L Y   R E C K O N I N G
    Broken Windows – Peter Schiff et al,  N O T  P C
    Japan: The Tipping Point – D A I L Y   B E L L
  • At The Daily Reckoning they predicted a meltdown in Japan – but not this kind of a meltdown!
    Who Will Buy the Bonds Japan Needs to Sell? -  D A I L Y   R E C K O N I N G
  • Look, it’s a whole meltdown of fearmongers!
    A Meltdown Of Fearmongers  - I N V E S T O R ‘ S   B U S I N E S S   D A I L Y
    • Taken from the iowahawkblog:
      “Japan tsunami damage estimate: $310 B, enough to run the US govt for March. Also less damage than US govt caused in March.”
  • That ‘Great Wave’ above by Hokusai really is the art for the moment. Here’s a beautiful animated adaptation of Hokusai’s work sent in by a reader.
  • Bill English is a man with a Plan B. When things were good, he planned to borrow.  When things turned to pooh, he planned to borrow. In order to get elected, he planned to borrow. To make his pseudo-tax cuts, he planned to borrow.  And now things are turning to disaster, Bill English still plans to borrow. A lot.  An awful lot.
    Bill English has plenty of Plan B. I just wish to Christ he’d find a Plan C.
    Govt will borrow to cover quake bill -
    NZ could face borrowing difficulties after Japan disaster – R A D I O    N Z
  • The toll from the Christchurch earthquake is enormous. And that’s not even including the incompetence of the world’s least lateral Finance Minister.
     Cut spending, don't tax more, to balance books after earthquake – N Z I E R
  • “The last time Sir Geoffrey Palmer went through the US his laptop was confiscated.” (John Burrows, Law Commission, speaking at ‘Smart Govt’ Conference). So maybe there’s an argument for the T.S.A. after all?
  • There are two types of people in Christchurch.
    Those who agree with Vicki Anderson that the last thing we need so soon after the earthquake-enforced closure of schools, shops, and businesses is a provincial holiday forcing already struggling local businesses to close or pay punitive holiday rates.
    And those who want everybody to go and hug each other while listening to Dave Dobbyn in Hagley Park.
    Manichean ponderings 
    – Eric Crampton, O F F S E T T I N G  B E H A V I O U R
  • Don’t worry, Eric. No new buildings in central Christchurch for six months, by order of the PM. No new buildings in central Christchurch for six months – N Z  H E R A L D
  • SCCZEN_170311NZHSRIPROTEST05_460x230Christchurch business owners remind Dictator-Pro-Tem Gerry Brownlee that the city does not belong to him.
    “Where are our property rights"?” they ask.
    Brownlee turns away and eats another pie.
     Perhaps you have to be Prince William? 
    – N O T  P C
    Christchurch earthquake: Business owners seek right to salvage – N Z   H E R A L D

    : The protest yesterday by Kurt Langer and fellow Christchurch businessmen and women, pictured here, has won a victory of sorts. No demolitions for the next three days while “a new plan” is being considered. “The wrecking ball will rest while a new plan to allow business owners into central Christchurch is considered, Civil Defence says.”
    Civil Defence calls rethink as Christchurch building owners protest - S T U F F
  • Geez, these ACT guys sure know how to deregulate...
    Raft of changes to consumer law introduced – N Z   H E R A L D
  • Message to the dumbarse from Epsom: “An Increase is Not a Saving”
     An Increase is Not a Saving – S I R   A R T H U R   S T R E E B – G R E E B L I N G
  • Day One:  Be pointed and controversial. Day Two: Backtrack and crawl. ACT’s Hilary Calvert lacks even the courage over of her unprincipled-ness. (A metaphor for her party, really.)
     Race row over Act comments on Foreshore – N B R
  • But is she right? Isn’t it true that “tikanga” won’t be legally defined until Chris Finlayson’s law is passed. If then.
     Tikanga in Wonderland  -  Mike Butler,  B R E A K I N G  V I E W S
  • Tariana says Hilary Calvert is “racist.” Other folk say the Tea Party is racist. Frankly, when is it appropriate to label someone or some group as racist?
    What is racism and Why the Tea Party is NotJ O H N  D R A K E
  • Q: What’s even worse than being “racist”?
    A: Not knowing your Lewis Carroll.
    There's glory for you! – Andrew Geddis,  P U N D I T
  • What if the U.S. Government issued a public service film on what it means to be a good citizen…

  • As Australia contemplates being hit with a carbon tax on all industry to make politicians feel good about themselves, NZ-Australian Professor Bob Carter offers 10 little facts to contemplate.
     Global warming down under: 10 little facts – W A T T S   U P   W I T H   T H A T
  • Earth Hour: a Dissent. "Earth Hour celebrates ignorance, poverty and backwardness."
    Earth Hour: A Dissent [pdf] - R O S S   M c K I T R I C K
  • Global Temperature Trend Update, February 2011
    Global Temperature Trend Update, February 2011 – R E A S O N   M A G A Z I N E
  • ”Mr. President, don’t send guns to the Libyans. Send them a piece of paper.”
    How to Get Gaddafi - Niall Ferguson, N E W S W E E K
  • I don’t know about you, but what with everything else going on (and being about a million miles away) I’ve had trouble getting my head around the Union Vs Governor dispute going on in Wisconsin. This post  helps: It’s about rights… "collective bargaining rights" … and the question whether or not they’re legitimate. Are they?
      Wisconsin Labor - Right Or Wrong?  - Jeff Montgomery, F U N   W I T H   G R A V I T Y
  • Here’s the beginning of the end: World’s biggest bond-holder drops U.S. Treasury Bonds from its portfolio
    Divesting in America: PIMCO Dumps U.S. Treasury Bonds from Portfolio 
    – Front Page, P J T V
  • Happy 260th birthday, James Madison---try not to be too upset.
    Celebrating James Madison – C A T O   I N S T I T U T E
  • Um, something seems to have gone missing. Perhaps it’s over there, under the latest disaster?
    Where Have the World’s Savings Gone? – Greg Canavan,  D A I L Y   R E C K O N I N G
  • - "I see tremendous confusion concerning inflation and the money supply.” Me too. This might help.
     Making Claims About the Money Supply -  K R A Z Y   E C O N O M Y
  • In Jones on Property I’ll always remember that the common economics of building yields will hold as long as some new revolutionary technology isn’t introduced.  I’d love to see what the technology of structural insulated panels could do for building economics in NZ if were legally allowed to exploit it. Sourced from China they can be as cheap as $60/sqm. And just look how simple they are to erect.
  • The head of the Ayn Rand Institute has had a chance to see the film adaptation of Part I of Ayn Rand’s book Atlas Shrugged. What does he make of it?
  • School vouchers vs. tax credits. Which is the REAL free market in education? Toward a Free Market in Education: School Vouchers or Tax Credits? 
    – Michael LeFerrara, O B J E C T I V E  S T A N D A R D
  • “What is the proper role of government?” Moderated by WNYC's Brian Lehrer, Ayn Rand Institute head Yaron Brook debates Demos President Miles Rapoport in an argument that goes right down to first principles.
     Government: What Is Its Proper Role? [Audio, 109 min.] – F I R S T   P R I N C I P L E S
  • Some thoughts on the above debate.
    A Debate on Government (and the Nature of Man -  G I D E O N   R E I C H
  • Could it be that there’s something to be said for choosing investment banking as a productive career?
    Traders, not Traitors – Jonathan Akin,  U N D E R C U R R E N T  B L O G
  • Martin Jacques is right. We really don’t understand China. And we’ll need to.
    Martin Jacques: Understanding China -  Martin Jacques, T.E.D.
  • “Only a moron would try to wash her daughter in awashing machine; or shake hands with the business end of a chainsaw; or light a match to check the contents of a gas tank. And yet manufacturers continue to go to laughable lengths to protect their customers, bombarding them with ridiculous warning labels or stunningly obvious explanations of how their products work. Here are 15 of the best--er, worst--we found over the last four years"
    15 Stunningly Dumb Warning Labels – F O R B E S
  • There’s only one time in your life your brain is being wired: the first six years. If an adult could absorb at eth same rate your child does, you’d be better than Einstein.
    The Untapped Potential of the Absorbent Mind 
    – Judi Orion, M O N T E S S O R I   A U S T R A L I A
  • You know how it is. One day you relax the food limits on your children, the next thing they’re raiding the freezer for those frozen peas.
    Experimenting. Parenting. Part Three.  -  R A C H E L   M I N E R
  • Tried not yelling at your kids recently? Sounds like a good idea. Shame it seems so difficult.
    Kate Yoak shares some tools that have worked.
    Stop yelling at kids – P A R E N T I N G   I S . . .
  • The root of all philosophy worth the name is the simple observation that Existence Exists.  But that’s not quite as simple as it sounds…
     Existence exists  -  J O H N   J .   M c V E Y
  • Oy, you. Yes, you! Why businessmen need philosophy (NB: low volume, turn your volume up):
  • Berlin Philharmoniker conductor Simon Rattle explains why you should listen to Bruckner.

Picture sources NZ Herald, Reason magazine.


  1. Hi PC,
    I've just been given a book "Historic Hawke's Bay and East Coast". I found this interesting passage regarding the 1931 quake:

    "...grand plans for large-scale unified reconstruction in Napier were abandoned. In the end, property owners reconstructed as and when they had the money. Hastings' reconstruction was even slower, stalled by arguements over street width."

  2. Hi Paul,

    " and when they had the money..."

    Is there any other way?

    There truly is no such thing as a free lunch.

  3. Peter Schiff on Bank of Japan's decision to flood the system with liquidity.

  4. You complain about hysterics, and then quote links to zerohedge, which seems to specialize in that department?


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