There are longer term trends emerging in the biosphere and we'll just have to wait on mother nature to reveal those to us when she is ready. She's not going to be rushed or held back by us. But closer to home I am watching the frantic economic hokum try to play out. Of interest was last week's run on Northern Rock, one of Britain's largest banks. That run caused a 31% drop in value and today it dropped another 30% as Britons withdrew billions of pounds from the troubled financial institution. This comes on top of a run on Countrywide bank in the United States last month by Hollywood's own stars and moguls, some of whom withdrew millions. One starts to wonder if bank runs will begin to spread and what the official reaction will be if they do spread. Have YOU got enough cash on hand if there is a bank holiday declared? No? Well tough cookies if your bank closes due to a "bank holiday" and you cannot cash a check or even do check based or electronic transactions!
Meanwhile today the Federal Reserve has (so far) injected $16.75 billion into the markets. Not too long ago we used to see one or two Fed actions per week, totaling $2 to $5 billion for the week. Now we see actions like that every day with at least once per week going into double digits, and sometimes even more often. If you check the Temporary Open Market Actions record for the Fed, and view the historical data, you can see a steady increase in Fed intervention over the last 18 months to where we are today, with near daily injections of credit. You'll also note that the market tends to be soft all week until Thursday when, on most weeks, the Fed does a double digit injection. Since they just did a double digit injection today, will they do another Thursday? And has anyone accounted for all these digi-dollars and what they are going to do to inflation globally?
So all this comes down to watching the next 90 days with some interest, because, if humans are capable of anything, it is upstaging mother nature. And we may be about to enter a period where we try to do just that, at least for a little while. The Taiwan situation is heating up a little bit. George Bush began beating the drums of war against Iran right on predicted schedule after Labor Day. Even France is now warning of war with Iran while the Bush administration continues to leak larger and larger target lists inside Iran. The current count is up to 2000 targets, and remember that Bush wants to use B61 "bunker buster" nuclear warheads which have dialable yields from 0.5 KT to 170 KT of TNT equivalent explosives. For reference, the Hiroshima and Nagasaki weapons were in the 15-20KT range so these are "city destroyers" if dialed high enough.
NATO and Russia continue to not see eye-to-eye over deployment of nuclear weapons with Russia recently threatening to deploy nuclear weapons in a very dangerous location - Kalingrad. And, of course, the economic house of cards is trying to fall apart. And oh! Did you see Alan Greenspan taking Bush to task by publicly stating that Iraq was always mainly about oil?
Meanwhile, back in the real world, Rembrandt Koppelear's Monthly Oil Watch Report for September is out and documents the continuing decline of global oil production. That's right, people. Despite record high prices, oil production is continuing to decline. This is the exact opposite of what economic "theory" tells you should happen, unless the resource is, indeed, finite and constrained and past its peak of production. Daily production was 84.60 million b/d in August 2007 compared to 85.454 million b/d in August 2006. And worse, we are down 1.53 million b/d from the July 2006 all-liquids peak of 86.13 million b/d. Note also that plain old Crude and Condensate (which excludes natural gas liquids, biofuels, and other non-petroleum liquids), peaked in May 2005 and has been lower than that in every month since and showing a generally declining trend.
And oh yeah! The arctic ice sheet is still out there, isn't it? Well thank goodness that it appears to have stopped melting, right? I mean, after all, establishing a new record low of 2.92 million square kilometers of ice, more than 1 million square kilometers lower than the previous record, is just an anomaly, right? Nothing to worry your little head about here. Move along! Move along! But do you want to get really weird? See the September 12th comments at Cryosphere Today - ice mass in the Antarctic is setting record highs!
I think we are starting to see the beginnings of extremely harsh and violent climate shifts beginning, while at the same time the current mythology of homo sapiens (growth economics) is about to blow up in our collective faces, and further, we have a madman in the White House who is prepared to risk starting World War III.
"May you live in interesting times," goes the old Chinese curse. I think we're there, don't you? If we get through the next 90 days without some major problems, I will probably breathe a great big sigh of relief, at least for the short term. Oh... and let's hope we get lucky and have another warm winter in the US and Europe this year. Might as well hope for all the fairy tales to come true at once, right?
Bill Black: Free Markets Mean Zero Economic Profit – or a 99% Profit Markup - How "free market" ideology produces companies like Valeant, which Warren Buffett's partner Charlie Munger called a "sewer," "corrupt," and "criminal."
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