Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Saturday, December 24, 2011
From the Wall Street Journal
Friday, December 23, 2011
Friday, December 02, 2011
Monday, November 28, 2011
I highly recommend this five part lecture series, produced at Central European University, to anyone who is serious about understanding the world we live in. If you are interested in politics, the economy, philosophy, or the best investment for your money, there is something to learn from George Soros. He will no doubt one day be held in the same regard as Andrew Carnegie or the Rockefellers, as one of the most influential people in the fields of economics, philanthropy, and public education.
Watch the Soros Lecture Series:
The Open Society Foundations work to build vibrant and tolerant democracies whose governments are accountable to their citizens. To achieve this mission, the Foundations seek to shape public policies that assure greater fairness in political, legal, and economic systems and safeguard fundamental rights. On a local level, the Open Society Foundations implement a range of initiatives to advance justice, education, public health, and independent media. At the same time, we build alliances across borders and continents on issues such as corruption and freedom of information. The Foundations place a high priority on protecting and improving the lives of people in marginalized communities.
Also see Sacred Economics
Saturday, October 22, 2011
Saturday, October 01, 2011
How Short Sellers Fleece Investors
A bear raid is the practice of targeting a stock or other asset for take-down, either for quick profits or for corporate takeover. Today, the target is commodities, but tomorrow it could be something else. When Lehman Brothers went bankrupt in September 2008, some analysts thought the investment firm's condition was no worse than its competitors'. What brought it down was not undercapitalization, but a massive bear raid on 9/11 of that year, when its stock price dropped by 41 percent in a single day.
This work by Truthout is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.
Thursday, September 29, 2011
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Sunday, August 28, 2011
Bloomberg keeps filing F.O.I.A. requests to find out what the Federal Reserve wants kept secret. Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke’s unprecedented effort to keep the economy from plunging into depression included lending banks and other companies as much as $1.2 trillion of public money, about the same amount U.S. homeowners currently owe on 6.5 million delinquent and foreclosed mortgages.
SECRET Foreign Borrowers
It wasn’t just American finance. Almost half of the Fed’s top 30 borrowers, measured by peak balances, were European firms. They included Edinburgh-based Royal Bank of Scotland Plc, which took $84.5 billion, the most of any non-U.S. lender, and Zurich-based UBS, which got $77.2 billion. Germany’s Hypo Real Estate Holding AG borrowed $28.7 billion, an average of $21 million for each of its 1,366 employees.
Timeline of Bloomberg's lawsuit against the Fed
- May 21, 2008: Bloomberg files a Freedom of Information Act request. The Fed denies this request
- Nov. 7, 2008: Bloomberg files suit to require disclosure [Bloomberg LP v. Federal Reserve, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan)].
- Aug. 24, 2009: Judge Loretta Preska rules that the Fed must disclose this information
- Sept. 30, 2009: Fed appeals decision
- Jan. 12, 2010: U.S. Court of Appeals hears oral arguments
- March 19, 2010: Appeals court upholds Preska decision
- May 4, 2010: Fed and Clearing House ask full U.S. Court of Appeals to overturn Preska ruling
- Aug. 23, 2010: Full appeals panel refuses to overturn Preska ruling
- Aug. 27, 2010: Court of Appeals gives Federal Reserve 60 days to decide on taking the case to the Supreme Court
- Oct. 26, 2010: Federal Reserve decides not to join the Clearing House Association in asking the Supreme Court to consider an appeal.
- Feb. 19, 2011: U.S. Solicitor General recommends the Supreme Court reject the Clearing House's appeal.
- March 21, 2011: Supreme Court rejects appeal and orders release of bank loan data
The interactive graphics are wonderful. Check out the story in the Atlantic, too.
From an accounting perspective, the loan programs shrank, excess reserves were retired, and the Fed simultaneously reprinted money to purchase the MBS and Treasury securities. It did not borrow money from commercial banks. Put another way, the money printed to fund the emergency loan programs, and more, was morphed into MBS and Treasury securities and this is clearly shown in a chart of the Fed’s assets: http://www.cumber.com/content/misc/fed.pdf
Think about it. Where would the excess reserves come from that banks held with the Federal Reserve, if the Fed hadn’t originally made the emergency loans or subsequently purchased assets? If Mr. Melloan’s analysis were correct, the excess reserves, which are assets to the private banking system, would have had to come from shrinkage of their assets and deposits, thereby turning required reserves into excess reserves, or by keeping their balance sheets the same size and shifting the composition of their assets by reducing loans and securities and increasing their reserves at the Federal Reserve.
Just before the crisis in August 2007, banks held only $45 billion in total reserves, and $40 billion of that was in the form of required reserves. Clearly, shrinkage of deposits could not have funded the huge increase in excess reserves in the banking system that came with the Fed’s emergency lending programs. What about a shift in the composition of bank assets from loans and securities to deposits at
the Fed? Data show that while bank loans have declined by about $600 billion, securities holdings have increased by about $600 billion. Therefore, the so-called borrowing from commercial banks could not have come from declines in their securities and loans.
So, George Melloan has totally mis-characterized the source of funding for the Federal Reserve’s QE1 and QE2 asset purchases. The Fed first printed high powered money through its emergency lending programs and as those programs were phased out the Fed again purchased agency mortgage-backed securities and Treasuries from the public by printing money, and the proceeds of those purchases show up as customer
deposits in banks, with the offsetting asset being not new loans but excess reserves held at the Fed.
In conclusion, the whole crisis has simply redivided the pie, and shifted debt from private banks to the US public by 'printing' money and thus reducing the value of US currency. This shifts value out of tangible goods while keeping the ratios of wealth steady. As real value bounces back, only those with capital will be in position to buy up resources. As the commoners have no capital, and the governments are in deep debt, the only people with capital will be private banks, owned by the wealthy.
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Tuesday, August 09, 2011
Now, my little principle might cause those with hand-made suits and beancounterly tendencies to leap out of their chairs and hit me with the tarantallegra jinx. But even the cynics might be willing to admit: given a mysteriously non-recovering "recovery" for a global economy perpetually poised on the brink of perma-crisis, the status quo's out of ideas, out of options, and running out of time.
In an economy dedicated to the pursuit of more, bigger, faster, cheaper, nastier, the greatest hidden cost and unintended consequence is that something vital, enduring, resonant, and animating has gone missing from our lives — and it might just be the biggest thing: meaning in what we do, and why we're here. -
A Roadmap to a Life that Matters - Umair Haque - Harvard Business Review
Monday, July 25, 2011
Nathan Myhrvold destroys technological innovation and scientific creativity. His corporation, Intellectual Ventures (e.g. Computing Platforce, LLC., or Quan Holdings, Enhanced Software, LLC) buys up thousands of patents, shuffles them through a series of shell-corporations, and uses them to hide what they are doing. Nathan claims he is defending inventors ... so why hide?
In the interview, the Chief Council of I.V. couldn't even tell the producers when they bought a particular patent from Chris Crofford the patent inventor. Thom Ewing said they might likely be independently owned interested parties, i.e. they get a cut of the back-end arrangement for a percentage, e.g. a cut of the lawsuits.
They buy up thousands of patents and sue giant companies like Apple and Google to "monetize" and "Realize the Value" of the intellectual property. In other words they EXTORT MONEY from those who can afford, and give nothing to the inventors.
This American Life and Planet Money uncover the broken nature of our US Patent System, that issues duplicate patents for things like "Thermally Refreshing Bread" (i.e. Toast, 2000).
The patent process actually stifles innovation because they are so broad that everyone must break patents to do everything they want to do on the internet. The lawyers destroy our world.
A mysterious corporation: Oasis Research, 104 East Houston Street, suite 190, Marshal, TX, which has no employees, is a shell that owns many other mysterious corporations such as Bulletproof and Jellyfish, that create legal firewalls between the 'owners' of the patents and the potential legal accountability that is somewhere in the future. Just another beautiful scheme from Texas.
"Litigation is just licensing by other means." - If companies pay, then more patents are filed. Thus all big corporations have amassed large libraries of patents, to defend themselves against lawsuits, via mutually assured destruction. Thus, if you sue us, then we sue you. But only the largest players can amass such arsenals. So "Intellectual Ventures" shake-down most companies saying, 'It sure would be unfortunate if someone sued you. Why not hire IV to protect you from such suits.'Civil Lawsuits, thousands of lawsuits, by fake corporations owned by lawyers. Makes me want to shower just thinking about it. But in collecting $2-Billion in 'royalties', is the "Troll On Steroids" - Oasis Research (i.e. Intellectual Ventures) helping inventors collect on patents or just extorting protection money? But unless they achieve $35-Billion over he next 10 years, the venture capitalists behind Intellectual Ventures, will not be happy. That's an unnecessary expense, that will be passed on to the customer, destroying every innovative new competitor in the process.
Thursday, July 21, 2011
ALL multi-level-marketing schemes are unethical by their very nature. They concentrate wealth in the hands of a few, without fairly sharing the effort to generate that wealth. The pyramid model is very popular, but it charges customers a non-competitive premium in order to fund all the middle men up the chain. It is a scheme to motivate network marketing for inferior products at high cost.
Among dubious Multilevel Marketing corporations like AMWAY and ACN, Avon or Marry Kay, are a few good people trying to figure out how to make money. These entrepreneurs are taught how to sell other people's products and services, because they don't have anything else. But beware, the scheme teaches unethical practices, because you treat people as a means to an end, instead of an end in themselves. Any company that asks you to invest YOUR money up front to gain a 'business opportunity' where you will earn 'residual income' without producing a product or service, is a BAD CORPORATION.
I've written this because of a threat to my own industry (Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy). American Communications Network, Inc., a phone service company, has begun selling people renewable energy appliances. Beware of ACN collecting homeowner's personal financial information to sell them unnecessary products without properly assessing their building safety or energy needs. All ethical photovoltaic businesses do full home energy audits and building safety inspections, then recommend and encourage energy efficiency remodeling on existing real-estate before installing any renewable energy appliances, like solar panels.
As customers should know ACN, Inc. is not a publicly traded corporation, it is a privately held corporation, so it is beyond SEC control. American Communication Network, Inc. doesn't trade on any SEC regulated stock exchange (note the ACN stock symbol is for a different company, Accenture ).
Saturday, April 30, 2011
John Stewart interviews William Cohan author of "Money and Power: How Goldman Sachs came to rule the world" on the Daily Show.
Monday, April 11, 2011
Holding Inflation below five-percent (5%) actually decreases capital available necessary for a healthy economy, i.e. 100% employment. So, why do central banks all over the world (i.e. The Federal Reserve) have policies that try to hold inflation as close to zero as possible? Because those with capital investments gain from predictable markets (i.e. no innovations) and inflation competes with their return on investment. Ideal inflation should stay in flux between 5%-10% to create markets that have maximum employment and productivity. (Caveat- if your markets are hot and maximized the competition tends to create its own problems, like environmental degradation and corrupt business practices that require government regulation because their solutions are not profitable) If you want to make money - you need to create things, real-property that can be traded for currency. The danger is that only those with capital have the industrial foundation to make stuff efficiently enough to be competitive. The only things that you can create without physical capital, are ideas, and those require sharing to become useful.
From THE REAL NEWS NETWORK interview with Ha-Joon Chang author of "23 Things they don't tell you about Capitalism"
Wednesday, April 06, 2011