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Topic Summary

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: June 15, 2018, 12:23:16 pm »

Trump🦀 slaps China with $50 billion in trade tariffs on imports

15 Jun, 2018

The White House has announced a 25-percent tariff on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods in what it calls a clampdown on unfair trade practices by Beijing.

The US trade representative’s office said it issued a revised China tariff list covering 1,102 separate product categories. The first package of revised tariffs will apply to $34 billion of Chinese imports, on 818 product lines, and will enter into effect from July 6. The second package will target the remaining $16 billion of Chinese goods, on 284 product lines.

Since his presidential election campaign, US President Donald Trump has pledged to cut the trade deficit between the US and China and to curb Beijing’s allegedly unfair trade practices. Trump has also accused China of stealing US technology and intellectual property.

“In light of China’s theft of intellectual property and technology and its other unfair trade practices, the US will implement a 25 percent tariff on $50 billion of goods from China that contain industrially significant technologies,” according to the White House statement.

“This includes goods related to China’s Made in China 2025 strategic plan to dominate the emerging high-technology industries that will drive future economic growth for China, but hurt economic growth for the United States and many other countries.”

The step is expected to escalate trade tensions between the world’s two biggest economies. Earlier, Chinese officials warned of mirror measures, pledging to introduce import tariffs on US goods such as automobiles, aircraft, and soybeans.

Beijing said it would swiftly impose retaliatory levies on American imports worth $50 billion. Shortly after China's warning, the White House threatened tariffs on a further $100 billion of Chinese exports.

Since becoming president, Trump has unleashed numerous trade battles, including with countries considered traditional US allies. Earlier this month, Washington introduced 25-percent tariffs on steel imports and 10-percent levies on aluminum imports from the EU, Canada, and Mexico.

In March, the Trump administration imposed tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum from Russia, China, and India. The affected nations have appealed to the World Trade Organization (WTO), demanding compensation over what they call a “protectionist measure.”
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: June 15, 2018, 12:18:05 pm »


The G7 summit collapses

June 11, 2018 Posted by Addison dePitt


By Alex Lantier, wsws.org

Don Trumpone causes a big rififi among the leading imperialist mafia. The more chaos in the capitalist bloc, a bunch of plutocratic thugs, the better for the world. Merkel’s glaring at Trump is eloquent. Standing behind Trump is bloodthirsty consigliere Bolton.

In an unprecedented event, the G7 talks at Charlevoix in Quebec broke down Saturday, amid bitter recriminations and threats of trade war measures between countries at the heart of the world economy. Insoluble conflicts erupted over Washington’s threats to impose tariff barriers on billions of dollars of imports from the European Union (EU), Canada and Mexico.

The lead-up to the conference had been marked by acrimony, with French President Emmanuel Macron rhetorically proposing to sign a “6 country agreement,” excluding the United States. Photos emerged from the summit of German Chancellor Angela Merkel leaning over a table, glaring at Trump, who left the summit early, skipping talks on climate change.

The summit issued a final communiqué papering over the conflicts, as is usual in G7 summits, condemning protectionism but making a few criticisms of the World Trade Organization in line with US complaints. The US was expected to sign, but Trump, after listening to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s post summit press conference while en route to Singapore for a summit with North Korean President Kim Jong-un, fired off a volley of tweets that signaled a comprehensive breakdown of the G7 talks.

After Trudeau said that the communiqué criticized protectionism and that Canada would maintain its $16 billion retaliatory tariffs on US goods, the biggest Canadian tariffs since World War II, Trump hurled invective at Trudeau, warning that he “will not allow other countries” to impose tariffs. He accused what are nominally the closest US allies of having targeted the US for “Trade Abuse for many decades—and that is long enough.”

In another tweet, the US president threatened a major escalation of trade war measures with tariffs on auto imports and announced the breakdown of talks: “Based on Justin’s false statements at his news conference and the fact that Canada is charging massive Tariffs to our US farmers, workers and companies, I have instructed our US Reps not to endorse the Communiqué as we look at Tariffs on automobiles flooding the US market!”

This is the first time since G7 summits began in 1975—originally as the G5 with the United States, Japan, Germany, Britain and France—that all the heads of state could not agree on a communiqué.

What is unfolding is a historic collapse of diplomatic and economic relations between the major imperialist powers. For the three quarters of a century since World War II, a broad consensus existed internationally in the ruling class that the trade wars of the 1930s Great Depression played a major role in triggering that war, and that trade wars should be avoided at all costs. This consensus has now broken down.
The contradictions of world capitalism identified as the causes of world war by the great Marxists of the 20th century—between international economy and the nation state system, and between socialized production and private appropriation of profits—are exploding to the fore today.
. Explosive conflict and uncertainty dominate the world economy. The United States, the EU and Canada are preparing tariffs impacting untold billions of dollars in goods and threatening tens of millions of jobs worldwide. As the remarks of Trudeau and Trump show, US tariff threats are setting into motion an escalatory spiral of tariffs and counter-tariffs with potentially devastating consequences.

The collapse of the G7 talks cannot be explained by the personal peculiarities of Donald Trump. Rather, this historical milestone is an expression of US imperialism’s desperate attempts to resolve insoluble contradictions of world capitalism. Not only Trump, but prominent Democrats and large sections of the European media and ruling elite are all recklessly calling for trade war measures against their rivals.

Analyzing US imperialist policy in 1929, the year before the eruption of the Great Depression, Leon Trotsky warned: “In the period of crisis, the hegemony of the United States will operate more completely, more openly, and more ruthlessly than in the period of boom. The United States will seek to overcome and extricate herself from her difficulties and maladies primarily at the expense of Europe, regardless of whether this occurs in Asia, Canada, South America, Australia or Europe itself, whether this takes place peacefully or through war.”

The G7 summits were launched to manage conflicts between the major powers as the industrial and economic dominance established by US imperialism in World War II rapidly eroded, and after Washington ended dollar-gold convertibility in 1971. Still unable to catch up to its European and international competitors, the United States has for decades posted ever-larger trade deficits with rivals in Europe and Asia.

After the Stalinist bureaucracy dissolved the Soviet Union in 1991, lifting the main obstacle to US-led neo-colonial wars, Washington tried to counterbalance its economic weakness by resort to its vast military superiority.

Over decades of bloody neo-colonial wars that killed millions in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and beyond, the United States has sought to establish a powerful military position in the oil-rich Middle East. These wars placed its forces athwart key trade and energy supply routes of its main economic rivals.

Trump’s election and his denunciations of “trade abuse” of the United States by Europe, Japan and Canada marks a new stage in the crisis of world capitalism. Bitter US-EU divisions are growing not only over trade, but over EU opposition to the US policy of threatening Iran with war by ending the Iranian nuclear deal. After decades of economic crisis and neo-colonial war, the danger is rapidly emerging of a 1930s-style disintegration of the world economy into rival trading blocs and, as in that decade, the eruption of military conflict between them.

The contradictions of world capitalism identified as the causes of world war by the great Marxists of the 20th century—between international economy and the nation state system, and between socialized production and private appropriation of profits—are exploding to the fore today.

The European powers have responded to Trump with stepped-up threats of retaliatory measures. Following the summit, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas called on the European powers to respond “together” in order to defend their “interests even more offensively.”

Historically, trade war has been a precursor to military conflict. Prior to the summit, French President Emmanuel Macron responded angrily to Trump’s threatened sanctions, declaring, “This decision is not only unlawful but it is a mistake in many respects. Economic nationalism leads to war. This is exactly what happened in the 1930s.”

Amid growing tensions with the US, all of the European powers are rapidly rearming. Just one week before the G7 summit, German Chancellor Angela Merkel signalled her support for Macron’s proposal to create a joint European defence force, open to British participation and independent of NATO.

The only viable response to the growing threat of trade and military war is the mobilization of the working class internationally in struggle against capitalism and the danger of war. As strikes and class struggle explode around the world—among teachers in the United States, metalworkers in Germany and Turkey, and the broad movement of workers against Macron’s austerity policies in France—the social force that can lead this opposition is coming to the fore. The turn now is to the building of an international, socialist anti-war movement based on the working class.

—Alex Lantier
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: June 13, 2018, 05:25:08 pm »

Defiant Trump 🦀 Ignites Trade War with Canada and G-7 Allies

June 12, 2018

Citing national security issues to get around WTO rules, Trump ordered tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum imports from Canada and EU countries.  William Black and Gerald Epstein discusses the implications of these tariffs on the different economies

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: June 11, 2018, 12:41:11 pm »

Jesus, Take the Wheel
The president alienates our allies and cozies up to autocracies—all in a single weekend.

Yep. :( Great article! 

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: June 10, 2018, 02:47:58 pm »

But seriously, Trump is going to cut off trade with Canada, Italy, Germany, France, Japan, and the United Kingdom. Try to imagine that. Try to wrap your head around the President giving THAT order.

No more trade with our (former) allies. Putin has to be laughing his ass off.

Trump takes hard line with allies at G-7 summit, threatens trade

Yeah, this Trump dude is really going off the deep end!

Something really beneficially "weird" just happened to us. I don't know if this has to do with Trump's trade insanity, but my wife was pleasantly surprised to buy a large piece of Italian Parmesan cheese, that normally costs $14 (for the same weight), for only $8.

Are the Italians dumping Parmesan? I don't know what is going on there but it is nice to pay less for Parmesan.   
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: June 10, 2018, 12:52:18 pm »

Wealth Inequality Just Hit The 1929 Great Depression Levels

Argentina has been bailed out by the IMF with the biggest ever loan in IMF history. UK retailers are in trouble, more stores are closing down and the press is contributing this to online sales. Consumer credit growth has slowed, savings is declining, this is a recipe for a disaster. Corelogic reports that more than half the homes in the US are overvalued, just like in 2008. Household wealth rises to an all time high, but it is all funneled into the 1%, we are now back to the great depression levels. Ben Bernanke believes the economy will not make it until 2020. China’s new Silk Road is the new world trading system.

It is all wacky.  In Seattle we have affluence and homelessness both increasing at the same time.  A two tier economy evolves where a small number of people, lets say 20%, since the number varies from place to place, are making bank and life is good.  For the 80% life is sucking.  Suicide is up and there is food insecurity.  Jobs don't pay enough in this group there is no security their jobs will exist next year if they do have one.  They may be contract and even know they have a shelf life.

Doesn't matter if you think this is right or wrong.  It can't last

Hellfire from above or the economy simply won't abide a social arrangement where the value of money becomes different depending on if you are a 'winner or a looser' in the game. It is not simply about being a lucky dog or not.


Or This:

It is about this:

Bifurcation will lead to collapse and it is well under way.

Bifurcation will lead to collapse and it is well under way.

Perhaps it will lead to revolution but even that is doubtful.

Poor people being forced not to consume scarce resources is not an ingredient for collapse, BAU is.

It seems the "skill" of our propagandist mindforkers is being tested to the limit.

I am in agreement with GO on this issue. :o ;D As GO stated, more or less, the total collapse of civilization is being caused by BAU.

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: June 10, 2018, 11:15:17 am »


If You Inject a Stream of Raw Ignorance Into a Vat of Gaseous Arrogance, What Does It Produce?

June 9, 2018 branford perry


By Jim Hightower

King Donald has the firepower of the federal government at his beck and call, so he is arrogantly using the government power to escalate his personal spat with Bezos. By executive order, he set up a federal task force to conduct a pernicious political inquisition into “our money losing post office,” particularly looking at the “pricing of the package delivery market.”

Answer: Donald Trump’s Executive Order of April 12.

Let’s start with the arrogance. King Donald the First has been in a deep pout over negative articles about him in the Washington Post newspaper, which is owned by Jeff Bezos, King of the Amazon.com empire. Trump has fired off several rounds of angry tweets assailing Bezos, including a potshot claiming that Amazon is ripping off the post office by underpaying for the millions of its packages that the postal services ships.

Well, tweets are one thing, but King Donald has the firepower of the federal government at his beck and call, so he is arrogantly using the government power to escalate his personal spat with Bezos. By executive order, he set up a federal task force to conduct a pernicious political inquisition into “our money losing post office,” particularly looking at the “pricing of the package delivery market.”

This is where Trump’s vast ignorance comes into play. Apparently, he’s blissfully unaware that, far from being a money loser, the U.S. Postal Service has actually been earning about a billion dollars a year in profit. The false claim of “unsustainable” operational losses, repeated in King Donald’s imperious order, stem from a 2006 political ploy by right wingers who want to destroy the public service. They passed a law dictating that USPS pre-fund retiree health benefits 75 years into the future — covering retirement costs for workers who haven’t even been born!

This adds a totally hokey “expense” of up to $5 billion a year to the USPS corporate ledger, creating the fake “loss” Trump is now so bombastically citing as the rational for his destructive inquisition.The humble U.S. postal system has 30,000 outlets serving every part of America, employs 630,000 people in good middle-class jobs and delivers letters and packages clear across the country for a pittance. It is a jewel of public service excellence.

Therefore, it must be destroyed.

Such is the fevered logic of laissez-fairy-headed corporate supremist like the billionaire Koch brothers, along with the right-wing politicians who serve them. This malevolent gang of wrecking-ball privatizers includes such prominent Trumpteers as Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, (a former Wall Street huckster from Goldman Sachs) and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, a former corporate-hugging congress critter from South Carolina. Both were involved in setting up Trump’s shiny new task force to evaluate and restructure the “operations” of our U.S. Postal Service. It’s like trusting two foxes to remodel the hen house.

Indeed, Trump himself merely wanted to take a slap at his political enemy, Amazon King Bezos, by jacking up the prices the postal agency charges to deliver Amazon’s packages. The cabal of far-right corporatizers, however, saw Trump’s temper tantrum as a golden opportunity to go after the postal service itself. So, instead of simply addressing the matter of package pricing, the task force was authorized by a trumped-up executive order with an open-ended mandate to evaluate, dissect and restructure the people’s mail service — including the real one.

Who’d buy the pieces? For-profit shippers like FedEx and UPS, of course, but here’s some serious irony for you: The one outfit with the cash and clout to buy our nation’s whole postal infrastructure and turn it into a monstrous corporate monopoly is none other than… the Amazon Kingdom, of course.

Sometimes public policy inadvertently turns bad, but when it’s based on ignorance and arrogance, policy inevitably goes bad. To help stop the gross greed of these privatizers, become part of the Grand Alliance to Save Our Public Postal Service: www.AGrandAlliance.org.

Jim Hightower is an American populist, spreading his message of democratic hope via national radio commentaries, columns, books, his award-winning monthly newsletter (The Hightower Lowdown) and barnstorming tours all across America.

Exactly right!

Here is a Trump Administration 🦍 MAGA method cartoon metaphor:

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: June 07, 2018, 04:46:35 pm »

June 7, 2018

Authored by Sven Henrich via NorthmanTrader.com,

I’ll leave you with one consideration.

FAAMG stocks (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and Google) now have a combined market capitalization of $3.8 trillion, larger than Germany’s GDP of $3.7 trillion.

Germany is only the 4th largest economy on the planet.

I submit that the concentration of market cap in just a few hands is very much distorting the underlying fundamental reality and exposes markets to event risk should these few stocks roll-over and correct.

The narrowing in leadership is evident in the data. The most recent rally on $NDX has come with 40% of the index components tinkering below their 200MA while many of the big boys are ramping from new high to new high.

This type of divergence has spelled eventual trouble in the past:

Full reality based article with numerous eye opening charts: 😎

Bull Rebuttal
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: June 03, 2018, 05:33:25 pm »

THIS is what the Deep State that put Trump 🦀 into power wants to return to

The work conditions in the slaughterhouses, other factories and various mines are another example. Work assignments in these settings were reduced to simple, repetitive tasks that any unskilled immigrant could learn quickly.  The problem was that a worker typically repeated the same simple task for twelve hours, six days per week.  These long hours doing repetitive work with dangerous machinery contributed to many industrial accidents, rendering individuals unable to hold their jobs.  In 1914 alone, 35,000 workers were killed and 700,000 injured in industrial accidents. (Zinn, 1995) Jane Addams (1961, p. 132) tells of her observations in Chicago:

“During the same winter three boys from a Hull-House club were injured at one machine in a neighboring factory for lack of a guard which would have cost but a few dollars.  When the injury of one of these boys resulted in his death, we felt quite sure that the owners of the factory would share our horror and remorse, and that they would do everything possible to prevent the recurrence of such a tragedy. To our surprise they did nothing whatever, and I made my first acquaintance then with those pathetic documents signed by the parents of working children, that they will make no claim for damages resulting from “carelessness….

In fact, it was a common belief that poverty was handed down from one immoral generation to the next.  A February 17th, 1854 article portrayed people living in poverty and scrounging for basic needs as dishonest and criminal.  “…There are ten thousand children in this City alone, who are either without parents or friends, or are trained systematically by their parents to vagrancy, beggary and crime: not only shut out utterly and hopelessly from all moral influences, but exposed day and night to the contamination of crime…” (New York Times, 1854).

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: June 03, 2018, 04:54:19 pm »

Fairness in our system has always been very elusive. I'll talk about healthcare, because it's something I know a lot about, for obvious reasons. That's only part of the social welfare system, but it's the biggest part, other than SNAP.

Now, with resources dwindling, the tide is going out on social services in general. The preferential treatment has been much reduced.  The states reduce their pay-out by screwing both providers and recipients in a thousand different small ways, while privatization enriches the middle men who line up for the conduit schemes that privatization creates.

It's now completely possible for a doctor to go bankrupt because the state simply does not pay him in a timely manner for services they actually solicited him to perform. And patients who are supposed to get the benefits are sh it-out-of-luck if no more doctors sign up to be providers.  But that's a win for the uber-conservative Koch-bought state legislators.

It's all very complicated, and seriously fu cked-up.

You know, yo could take this and with a minimum of work turn this into a blog post, a first person chronicle of the health-care wars in the US. Like Ambrose Bierce at Shiloh.

Remember what the secret sauce was!  A rising tide lifts all boats.  The idea pushed was that everybody goes up a notch so inequality was fine because technology would make life fair so humans did not have to.  It would be fine to just worry about ourselves and fu ck and eat.  The natural laws of the universe would make life fair.

Everybody does it so I should too.  That was what uncle Miltie was saying.  Everyone was so shocked by the lunacy of saying greed was good that he sold his pet rock to the entire world.  Seriously, I was there too.  Everyone was pondering if greed was good or not and in that confusion the neo-liberal revolution swept the world.  Milton created a vacuum between everyones ears and nature abhors a vacuum.

I remember discussions about 'greed is good' and women in particular, being the caring creatures they can be sometimes; had big problems with the idea.  You can see a couple of them at the beginning of the video.  Notice the blankness of their attention.  Yet sadly while women did have big problems with being self-centered, they did not rebel against their daddies.

The most evil selfish ignorant fu cks of all time got their hooks into the national legislatures and changed the world by proclaiming greed is good so we should all get greedy and change the world.  Get with the program or let it pass you by.  That was the message.  A message that said no not just to succeeding generations but no even to their own children.  All for them and none for you.  That is how selfishness and the sanction of inequality works.  It can go only one way.

I remember a guy, an expert with a leaf blower who mowed lawns.  He imagined he was going to expand with half a dozen Mexicans working for him so he could buy 'property' because that was the big thing to do at the time.  Greed was out there unabashed and unashamed.  It was good don't you know.  Build the housing bubble so it could pop.  Which it has twice since the summer of Uncle Miltie.  Now the leaf blower works for Mexicans.  He has no property.

I wish Milton were still alive so someone could torture him.  Turn him into a project of 'free enterprise' while he screams and begs for it all to end.  But regardless, the pain inflicted on the world could never be balanced even if he were tortured for a thousand years.

Donahue did no good sucking up to this pig.  By sucking up he sanctioned the message of the bully.

"Don't you ever stop and think that maybe........................................

No Phil he did not and you helped him by not calling him out.  I suppose those were the rules, but did you want to call him out? 

I ask the wind.

All this began to happen long before the Milton Friedman greedball (the clever CROOK who got the US Government to withhold income taxes WITHOUT paying us interest for having that money for one year before tax time) rode the crest of the Chicago school of empathy deficit disordered "economics" tsunami.

It actually began with the Calvinist "Christians" after the Civil War. Mass production and industrialization promised to give people more leisure time and a high standard of living due to gigantic leaps in production efficency. So, the elites masterminded a "religion based" propaganda effort to demonize leisure time and snactify the "work ethic". It was pure and unadulterated bullshit. The elites are THE most leisure worshipping, routine "sabatical" excusing, time wasting, long vacation loving, bankers' hours protecting, parasitical lazy bastards in human society. They knew that machines would give the workers more time off. That would allow the workers time to think.

The elites did not like that idea. The workers might figure out how they were being gamed so profits from productivity gains went to a tiny group of oligarchs that were then happily shaping the Gilded Age massive corruption and horrendously high accidental death rate in US industrial production factories.

The promise of a better life for all was there right after the Civil War. The Calvinists went to work in pulpits all over the Country to provide cover for the one way transfer of wealth to the oligarchs due to machine productivity gains.

The EXACT SAME THING happened about a century later, but without the "religion" excuse and more with a con about "greed is good", when automation promised massive productivity gains as Reagan slithered into office.   

The bottom line here is not greed or even the Calvinist "work ethic" (for anybody that ain't rich 😈) sanctimoneous bullshit propaganda. THE BOTTOM LINE IS THAT THE OLIGARCHS ARE BOUND AND DETERMINED TO MAKE SURE WE-THE-PEOPLE DO NOT HAVE TIME TO THINK!

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: May 31, 2018, 05:07:23 pm »

Liquidity Crisis Coming: Here, There, Everywhere 

by Mike Mish Shedlock

May 31, 2018 14 hrs-edited

Jim Puplava thinks a liquidity crisis is on the horizon. I agree, adding that the problem is global.

Please pay attention to Jim Puplava at Financial Sense. He says a Liquidity Crisis Looming.

In total, index funds represent $7 trillion of U.S. stock funds that have no active manager. All buying and selling are done automatically.  :P Active management has gone out of fashion, Puplava noted, and as this sea change occurs, the market's ability to price companies diminishes.

Ownership of stocks in the S&P 500 is concentrated with three companies; Vanguard, BlackRock, and State Street. They represent about 88 percent of the S&P 500  :o , and if we include Schwab and Fidelity, over 90 percent of the S&P 500 is basically now in the hands of five companies.  

“It's really mindless investing,” Puplava said. “The crux of the problem is that mutual funds own more bonds that seldom trade than ever before, but they're still promising to pay out investors within seven days of redemption, a promise they may not be able to fulfill in the next downturn or crisis.”

Global Problem

The problem is global.

Central bank actions explain most of what you need to know. Italian bonds provide a good example.

Despite the recent, massive selloff in Italian bonds, 10-year Italian bonds still trade at roughly the same yield as US 10-year bonds.

Is there no default risk? No eurozone exit risk?

Of course there is. But those bonds trade where they do because the ECB is engaged in QE to a far greater extent than the the Fed ever did. How nuts is that?

88% of the S&P is with Vanguard, BlackRock, and State Street. How nuts is that?

Close to $7 trillion in bonds trade with a negative yield. The figure was close to $10 trillion at one point. How nuts is that?

According to LCD, covenant-lite loan now account for a record 75% of the roughly $970 billion in outstanding U.S leveraged loans.

Covenant-lite agreements vary, but they allow things like paying interest with more debt rather than cash or skipping repayments entirely for periods of time. How nuts is that?

Totally Nuts

This is totally nuts, across the board.

Puplava calls it "mindless". I suspect he would be the first to admit that he seriously understated the concern.

My "totally nuts" position is also too mild, but I also struggle for the precise words.

Crisis Looms

A global liquidity crisis looms. It is entirely central-bank sponsored.

Just don't expect me, Puplava, or anyone else to tell you precisely when the crisis will hit. But it will. And when it does, don't fool yourself into believing that you can necessarily escape in time. 

Mike "Mish" Shedlock


Posted by: AGelbert
« on: May 31, 2018, 11:57:08 am »

US barking up the wrong trade tree

By Stephen S. Roach | China Daily | Updated: 2018-05-31 07:36

The author, a faculty member at Yale University and former chairman of Morgan Stanley Asia, is the author of Unbalanced: The Codependency of America and China.

The good news is that the United States and China appear to have backed away from the precipice of a trade war. While vague in detail, a May 19 agreement has defused tension and created room for further negotiation. The bad news is that the framework of negotiations is flawed: A deal with any one country will do little to resolve the US' fundamental economic imbalances that have arisen in an interconnected world.

There is a longstanding disconnect between bilateral and multilateral approaches to international economic problems. In May 1930, some 1,028 of the US' leading economists wrote an open letter to Herbert Hoover, then US president, urging him to veto the pending Smoot-Hawley tariff bill. Hoover ignored the advice, and the global trade war that followed made a garden-variety depression "great". Incumbent US President Donald Trump has put a comparable spin on what it takes to "make America great again".

Politicians have long favored the bilateral perspective, because it simplifies blame: you "solve" problems by targeting a specific country. By contrast, the multilateral approach appeals to most economists, because it stresses the balance-of-payments distortions that arise from mismatches between savings and investment. This contrast between the simple and the complex is an obvious and important reason why economists often lose public debates. The dismal science has never been known for clarity.

Such is the case with the US-China debate. China is an easy political target. After all, it accounted for 46 percent of the US' colossal $800 billion merchandise trade gap last year. Moreover, China has been accused of egregious violations of international rules, ranging from allegations of currency manipulation and State-subsidized dumping of excess capacity to cyber-hacking and forced technology transfer.

Equally significant, China seems to have lost the battle in the Western arena of public opinion - criticized by Western policymakers, a few high-profile academics, and others for having failed to live up to the grand bargain struck in 2001, when it joined the World Trade Organization. A recent article in Foreign Affairs by two senior officials in the Barack Obama administration says it all: "(T) he liberal international order has failed to lure or bind China as powerfully as expected." As is the case with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Syria and Iran, strategic patience has given way to impatience, with the nationalistic Trump administration leading the charge against China.

The counter-argument from multilateral-focused economists like me rings hollow in this climate. Tracing outsize current-account and trade deficits to an extraordinary shortfall of US domestic savings - just 1.3 percent of national income in the fourth quarter of 2017 - counts for little in the arena of popular opinion. Likewise, it doesn't help when we emphasize that China is merely a large piece of a much bigger multilateral problem: the US had bilateral merchandise trade deficits with 102 countries in 2017. Nor does it matter when we point out that correcting the supply-chain distortions - caused by inputs from other countries that enter into Chinese assembly platforms - would reduce the bilateral US-China trade imbalance by 35-40 percent.

Flawed as it may be, the bilateral political case argument resonates in a US where there is enormous pressure to ease the angst of the country's beleaguered middle class. Trade deficits, goes the argument, lead to job losses and wage compression. And, with the merchandise trade gap hitting 4.2 percent of GDP last year, these pressures have only intensified during the current economic recovery. As a result, targeting China has enormous political appeal.

So, what can be made of the May 19 deal?

Beyond a ceasefire in tit-for-tat tariffs, there are few real benefits. US negotiators are fixated on targeted reductions of about $200 billion in the bilateral trade imbalance over a two-year time frame. Given the extent of the US' multilateral problem, this is largely a meaningless objective, especially in light of the massive and ill-timed tax cuts and federal expenditure increases that the Trump administration has enacted in the last six months.

Indeed, with budget deficits likely to widen, the US' savings shortfall will only deepen in the years ahead. That points to rising balance-of-payments and multilateral trade deficits, which are impossible to resolve through targeted actions against a single country.

Chinese negotiators are more circumspect, resisting numerical deficit targets but committing to the joint objective of "effective measures to substantially reduce" the bilateral imbalance with the US. China's promise to import more US agricultural and energy products borrows a page from the "shopping list" approach of its earlier trade missions to the US. Unfortunately, the big-wallet mindset of China reinforces the US narrative that China is guilty as charged.

Even if the stars were in perfect alignment and the US was not facing a savings constraint, it stretches credibility to seek a formulaic bilateral solution to the US' multilateral problem. Since 2000, the largest annual reduction in the US-China merchandise trade imbalance amounted to $41 billion, and that occurred in 2009, during the depths of the global financial crisis. The goal of achieving back-to-back annual reductions totaling more than double that magnitude is sheer fantasy.

In the end, any effort to impose a bilateral solution on a multilateral problem will backfire, with ominous consequences for US consumers. Without addressing the shortfall in domestic savings, the bilateral fix simply moves the deficit from one economy to others.

And therein lies the cruelest twist of all. China is the US' low-cost provider of imported consumer goods. The Trump 🦀 deal would shift the Chinese piece of the US' multilateral imbalance to higher-cost imports from elsewhere - the functional equivalent of a tax hike on US families. As Hoover's ghost might ask, what's so great about that?

Project Syndicate

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: May 30, 2018, 12:05:38 pm »

War Erupts Between Trump's🦀
Two Top Trade Advisors 😈 👹  Over China

by Tyler Durden

Wed, 05/30/2018 - 10:14

Commenting on the latest, surprise escalation in the US-China trade ceasefire war, in which Trump unexpectedly announced 25% tariffs on up to $50BN in Chinese imports, prompting a fresh round of outrage and confusion in Beijing which was confident it was done with Trump's "flip-flopping", we observed that "the latest move by Trump signals the more hawkish wing of Trump’s trade team is trying to amplify its hard line, after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said this month that any talk of a trade war was suspended for now."

“Mnuchin’s ‘trade war on hold’ comments look to have been repudiated,” said Derek Scissors, a China analyst at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington. “It may be the administration has shifted somewhat to appease the Congress on the lifting of the ZTE sanctions.”

Which, we concluded, begs the question:

is China trade hawk dragon Peter Navarro back in Trump's good graces, and if so, is the countdown to Mnuchin's resignation officially on?

Then just moments later, none other than Peter Navarro himself confirmed that there may be another major battle behind the scenes, when in a rare public rebuke of Steven Mnuchin, Navarro - who the media recently relegated to D-grade advisor status when he was excluded from China talks after reportedly exploding at Mnuchin and Wilbur Ross two weeks ago - called Mnuchin's claim that the trade war with China was "on hold" an "unfortunate sound bite" and admitting that there’s a dispute that needs to be resolved.

“What we’re having with China is a trade dispute, plain and simple,” Navarro said in an interview broadcast Wednesday with National Public Radio. “We lost the trade war long ago" with deals such as Nafta and China’s entry into the World Trade Organization, he said.

"That was an unfortunate sound bite," says WH adviser Peter Navarro of Steven Mnuchin saying a trade war with China is "on hold." It's on hold no longer, though Navarro calls it a "trade dispute." More in this thread.https://t.co/m7oPSJWcTA @MorningEdition @npr

— Steve Inskeep (@NPRinskeep) May 30, 2018
Navarro also said that "we can stop them from putting our high tech companies out of business" and "buying up our crown jewels of technology.... Every time we innovate something new, China comes in and buys it or steals it."

Earlier this month, Mnuchin shocked markets and sent stocks surging after he said in a weekend televised interview that the prospect of a trade war with China was "on hold." It turns out, Mnuchin was merely saying whatever someone had told him to say.

The latest controversial remark from Navarro, who refuses to go gentle into that good night, came just days before U.S.  Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is scheduled to meet with his counterparts in Beijing to discuss ways to reduce the U.S.’s trade deficit with China, and - as noted earlier - follows Trump's surprise announcement that the U.S. is moving ahead with plans to impose tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese imports and curb investment in sensitive technology.

The renewed tariff threats could stop the planned talks and jeopardize a deal, the WSJ reported on Wednesday, citing sources in both countries. A team of U.S. officials was scheduled to arrive in Beijing on Wednesday. Asked about potential Chinese retaliation, especially on American farm goods, Navarro said “we’re ready for anything.”

As for the implications of this growing trade advisor war in Trump's inner circle, two weeks ago Bill Blain wrote that "Mnuchin’s Name Is Now High On The Trump Deadpool List" and come to think of it, it has been a while since Trump fired anyone...

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: May 25, 2018, 02:04:40 pm »

Well YEAH. And they are broke because, instead of the Fed using the printing press to pay off student loans and fund a nationwide infrastructure building program to bring the USA into a clean energy economy with jobs for everyone, they 😈 handed 16 trillion or so to their bankrupt bankster crook PALS!

The USA is STILL in a Depression (going 10 years now). There has never been any "recovery" whatsoever.

BUT, as long as the media just talks about the stock market that a tiny percentage of the American public actually benefits from, the LIES that there is "no inflation" and that there is "low unemployment" FEED the cognitive dissonance mindfork which continues to totally screw the most vulnerable and an entire generation of people who just wanted to live a normal life with a normal job.

You are correct. Which is worth a cookie, or at least a pallet's worth of "thoughts n' prayers" left over from the Texas school shooting.

And don't forget the missing $21 trillion gone missing from the Pentagon. Posted here by me, RE and others. If you mixed it, worth a Google.

The days of "a normal life with a normal job" are gone, to be replaced with round after round of extraction and immiseration until we're broke and gone.

True. Yes, I had read about the 21 trillion (see: Disguised MILITARY dictatorship).  :(
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: May 24, 2018, 09:49:15 pm »

Auto Sales Collapse Ford To Stop All Production of Cars - Economic Collapse News


Silver Report Uncut

Published on Apr 27, 2018

Economic collapse news.  Ford has announced its plan to scale back it's business.  That plan includes ending the production of all cars.  For over a years sales have continued to decline so the Major auto manufacturer is going to focus it's efforts on what works trucks and suvs.  When numbers are massaged to display strong sales this is the end result....pop!
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: May 24, 2018, 09:11:21 pm »

Why is Karl Marx so revered in academia? They think of capitalism as evil.

Justin Schwartz, works at Law Office of Justin Schwartz

Answered May 11, 2018

As somebody who has been fired from two academic jobs, one in philosophy, one in law, at least in part because I’m a Marxist, I think your impression of the reverence for Marx in academia is mistaken. In general, you will not find a lot of Marxists in prestigious or even other departments. After I lost one job and was looking for another, I heard from a reliable source that an academic department looking at my credentials decided not to consider me because “we already have a Marxist.” Needless to say, no one would say that about a liberal or a conservative.

Marx is none the less widely respected as a thinker because he is an important thinker, someone who is acknowledged to have brought the importance of economics to society and of conflict to society and politics to the forefront of social thought.

Your second sentence suggest that hating capitalism or thinking that it is evil is a disqualification for somebody being or deserving reference or even respect. You don’t say why that is, although, since I’ve been around the block, I can fill in the blanks. I would just like to call to your attention the fact that this is an undefended assumption. Evil is not necessarily a word that Marxists would use it, but bad, definitely. It wasn’t always bad, all things considered, given the alternatives, but today, there is no justification for a system where a tiny minority owns almost all the property and everyone else has virtually nothing and must scramble to survive. We can do better.

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: May 24, 2018, 08:48:26 pm »

Eighties Babies Are Officially the Brokest Generation, Federal Reserve Study Concludes


MAY 23, 201810:40 AM

Right after the Great Recession, it was a little hard to tell who had it worse: Millennials or Gen X. On the one hand, those of us in our twenties and early thirties faced the dire prospect of starting our careers amid the worst economy in modern memory. Graduating back then felt a bit like leaping off a high dive only to realize someone had drained the water out of the pool. But at least most of us hadn’t gotten caught up in the housing bubble. Gen Xers, in contrast, had just watched their home equity get demolished and had children to worry about, making the prospect of unemployment all the more terrifying.

A decade later, though, it appears Millennials are in the much deeper financial hole. In a new study this month, economists from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis examined whether Americans are now wealthier or poorer than previous generations were at their age. It turns out that older households (those headed by someone born before 1960) are a bit better off than those their age had been in the past, while younger households (those headed by someone born after 1960) are generally worse off. And 1980s babies are in the most dire shape of all: As of 2016, the median net worth of those born around the Reagan years was 34 percent lower than what past trends would predict for their age group. Those born in the 1970s, the GenXers, were just 18 percent behind.

The brokest generation
Jordan Weissmann/Slate
Why are younger families so far behind the curve? According to the Fed report, the problem is not what they’re earning, nor their savings habits (the researchers find that, contrary to popular belief, Americans born in the ‘80s actually put away money at higher rates than Boomers or Gen Xers did at their age). Instead, the problem boils down to “houses and debt.” Americans born in the 1960s and ‘70s were up to their necks in mortgage debt when the housing bust hit, and their net worths plummeted with housing prices. But now that home values have recovered, their finances are healing. “Families whose heads were born in the 1980s are different,” the report states. Loaded down with student debt, auto loans, and credit card balances, less than half own homes and relatively few hold assets like stocks, meaning they’ve missed out on the runup in asset prices of the last few years, and it’s possible they’ll never be able to build wealth fast enough to match previous generations.

Technically, ‘80s babies don’t have the heaviest debt burden ever; they’re still behind the standard set by those born in the ‘70s. But the difference, again, is that Gen X levered up to buy actual assets. Millennials are paying for their diplomas. The Fed staffers hold out a sliver of hope that, as the most educated generation yet, those born in the ‘80s will earn enough to dig themselves out of the pit they’re currently in. But otherwise, it’s possible they’ll “become members of a lost generation for wealth accumulation.”

Here, I’d just like to end on a personal mea culpa. A few years ago, I co-wrote an article for the Atlantic that asked whether Millennials would ever buy houses or cars quite the way their parents did, and spent a bit too much time focusing on cultural explanations for their changing consumer habits rather than focusing on the obvious financial challenges my cohorts were facing. It was titled “The Cheapest Generation.” In retrospect, a more appropriate title would have obviously been the “The Brokest Generation.”1


Well YEAH. And they are broke because, instead of the Fed using the printing press to pay off student loans and fund a nationwide infrastructure building program to bring the USA into a clean energy economy with jobs for everyone, they 😈 handed 16 trillion 💵or so to their bankrupt bankster crook PALS!

The USA is STILL in a Depression (going 10 years now). There has never been any "recovery" whatsoever.

BUT, as long as the media just talks about the stock market that a tiny percentage of the American public actually benefits from, the LIES that there is "no inflation" and that there is "low unemployment" FEED the cognitive dissonance mindfork which continues to totally screw the most vulnerable and an entire generation of people who just wanted to live a normal life with a normal job.

The FED DID THIS! May they REAP what they have sown!

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: May 22, 2018, 04:51:25 pm »

Trump Shuffle: China Runs Rings Around Trump's Trade Policy by Standing in Place

May 22, 2018

by Mike Mish Shedlock -edited

"Trump can always put tariffs back on," Mnuchin says. Can't China do the same?

The illusion of Trump's alleged trade victories is a sight to behold.

On Sunday, I commented China Trade Deal "Success": Details None.

Nonetheless, the market gapped up on Monday as if there was some sort of deal, even though China said there was none.

On Monday we had this meaningless revelation: Treasury Secretary Says U.S., China Have Suspended Tariffs, coupled with an equally meaningless vague threat by U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin that the "President can always put tariffs back on".

Let's Sum Up the Success  ;)

The US put tariffs on China
China retaliated with tariffs
Trump took US tariffs off
“We’re putting the trade war on hold,” Mr. Mnuchin said on “Fox News Sunday.”
There is no specific timetable for the next steps in the negotiations, Lawrence Kudlow, the director of the National Economic Council, said on Monday.

Loss of Leverage

The New York Times reported U.S. Suspends Tariffs on China, Stoking Fears of a Loss of Leverage.

Excuse me for asking, but precisely what leverage was that?

Will the Truce Will Boost Exports

CNBC makes this claim Trade truce with China could boost US beef, soybeans and other agriculture products.

Yes, it will, compared to the tariff-tariff setup. But to win that deal, both sides had to cancel tariffs.

Tariff cancellation is of course a good thing, but essentially we are back to square one.

"There's a relief for American farmers here because we were headed towards a situation where the Chinese were going to block imports of U.S. goods," said Derek Scissors, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and chief economist at the China Beige Book. However, the latest developments are just "a restoration of the status quo."

Trade Wars are Good and Easy to Win  

Please recall ...

Donald J. Trump 🦍✔@realDonaldTrump
When a country (USA) is losing many billions of dollars on trade with virtually every country it does business with, trade wars are good, and easy to win. Example, when we are down $100 billion with a certain country and they get cute, don’t trade anymore-we win big. It’s easy!
6:50 AM - Mar 2, 2018 99.8K 51.2K people are talking about this

China Calls US Bluff

Let's get to the heart of the matter: China Called the US Bluff.

China’s propaganda machine took a victory lap after the talks, proclaiming that a strong challenge from the United States had been turned aside, at least for now. “Whether in Beijing or Washington, in the face of the unreasonable demands of the United States, the Chinese government has always resolutely fought back, never compromised, and did not accept the restrictions set by the other side,” the official Xinhua news service said in a commentary on Sunday.

China’s success partly comes from its ability to stick to a single strategy in trade. Even as Beijing has shown a willingness to talk and make peace offerings in the form of multibillion-dollar import contracts, it has held fast to its refusal to make any commitment for a fixed reduction in its trade gap with the United States. The trade imbalance between the countries has actually widened since Mr. Trump visited Beijing in November and oversaw the signing of import deals on everything from beef to helicopters.

Beijing also has not bent on its Made in China 2025 initiative, an industrial modernization program that Washington and American business groups complain forces foreign companies to share their best technology while potentially creating state-sponsored rivals.

White House trade officials have more expertise with trade law, but China has a small but cohesive team of negotiators who report directly to Liu He, a vice premier and nearly lifelong friend of Xi Jinping, the country’s top leader. Policy decisions that once took a month can now take as little as a day, said a person with a detailed knowledge of the process who insisted on anonymity because of the political sensitivity of the issue.

By contrast, the United States has shifted its demands and struggled to send out a consistent message.

US Consistent Message Playbook

Compare China's trade negotiation strategy to Trump's.

Sep 27 2017 - CNN: Nationalist trade adviser Peter Navarro sidelined
Feb 25: WSJ - Trump Set to Promote Trade Hawk Peter Navarro
May 16 - LA Times: White House trade advisor Navarro said to be excluded from China talks due to Mnuchin rift
May 16 - Bloomberg Top Trump Adviser Navarro to Take Part in China Talks After All
May 17 - CNN: Peter Navarro and Steven Mnuchin feuded at Beijing trade talks​
This set of events ending in a feud is fitting for a Saturday Night Live skit.

The feud culminated with an agreement to agree at some unknown point in time about matters unknown.

"There is no specific timetable for the next steps," said Kudlow.

Time to Celebrate

So here we are. Both sides canceled tariffs. The US won nothing more than vague commitments.

Yet, compared with a disastrous trade war, this set of events was a huge success. It was the best we could hope for.

Let's celebrate!   

Related Articles (links at article link)

ZTE Back From the Dead After Trump Reverses Sanctions

Dear Europe: Grow a Backbone on Something Important, Defy Trump on Sanctions

What's Trump's Real Trade Target: China or Europe?

Trump Hardball: Europe Pressured to Cancel Russia Pipeline to Avoid Trade War

Trumpian Hardball: Nowhere Close to NAFTA Deal but Progress in China

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: May 21, 2018, 05:54:43 pm »



May 21, 2018

The Coming Collapse

By Chris Hedges —  Every day the foundations of our institutions decay more, but American society is emotionally unable to grasp the mortal danger that approaches.


The system is designed so we can never free ourselves from debt.

However, the next financial crash, as Prins points out in her book “Collusion: How Central Bankers Rigged the World,” won’t be like the last one. This is because, as she says, “there is no Plan B.” Interest rates can’t go any lower. There has been no growth in the real economy. The next time, there will be no way out. Once the economy crashes and the rage across the country explodes into a firestorm, the political freaks will appear, ones that will make Trump look sagacious and benign.

Full article:


Posted by: AGelbert
« on: May 18, 2018, 06:35:19 pm »

Economic Update: Another Gilded Age  💵 🎩 🍌

Friday, May 18, 2018

By Richard D. Wolff, Truthout | Audio Segment 🔊


Posted by: AGelbert
« on: May 12, 2018, 03:35:55 pm »

US-China Secret Trade Negotiations Are Not Going So Well  ;D

May 10, 2018

Chinese President Xi Jinping celebrated Karl Marx’s 200th Birthday, which professor David Kotz attended in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. We spoke to Prof. Kotz about US-China trade negotiations and the ‘Made in China 2025 Plan’

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: May 11, 2018, 05:52:39 pm »

More Vessels Carrying U.S. Sorghum to China Switch Destinations

May 10, 2018 by Reuters

bulk carrier By Lukasz Z / Shutterstock


BEIJING, May 10 (Reuters) – Three ships carrying livestock feed grain, sorghum, from the U.S. to China switched their destinations on Thursday to Japan and South Korea, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon ship tracking data, after Beijing hit imports with hefty anti-dumping deposits.

Full article:

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: May 09, 2018, 05:11:04 pm »

The Rise of Finance and the Fall of American Business – RAI with Rana Foroohar (1/6)

May 9, 2018

On Reality Asserts Itself, Ms. Foroohar says financialization delivers stagnant wages, inequality and economic crisis; the Financial Times columnist and author of “Makers and Takers” says the financial sector 🦀 represents only 7 percent of the U.S. economy, but takes around 25 percent of all corporate profit while creating only 4 percent of all jobs – with host Paul Jay

Video and Transcript:


Posted by: AGelbert
« on: May 08, 2018, 02:28:55 pm »

“Stocks have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau.” Irving Fisher 1929.

An earlier neoclassical economist believed in price discovery, stable equilibriums and the rational decisions of market participants, and what the neoclassical economist believes about the markets means can’t even imagine there could be a bubble.

The two elements of neoclassical economics that come together to cause financial crises.

1. It doesn’t consider debt

2. It holds a set of beliefs about markets where they represent the rational decisions of market participants; they reach stable equilibriums and the valuations represent real wealth.

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: May 02, 2018, 05:51:20 pm »

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: April 26, 2018, 06:10:01 pm »

Written by Michael Lebowitz | Apr, 25, 2018

The following article was originally a PowerPoint presentation that highlights several aspects of recent price movements across assets classes and within equity industry sectors. Many investors are unfamiliar with these relationships and their importance. While the current correction may prove only to be a speed bump on the way to higher prices, close inspection of asset class and security interactions often hold important clues about the future. The information contained in these pages argues for caution.

Nowhere to Hide

The messages from shifting cross asset and S&P 500 sector correlations

Why Correlations Matter

Correlation is a statistical measure that quantifies the relationship between two financial assets or securities. A correlation of +1.0 is perfect, meaning the two securities or assets move one-for-one with each other. A correlation of -1.0 means they move exactly opposite of each other. As correlations move away from +/- 1.0 the relationship weakens. A correlation of zero quantitatively implies no relationship in the movement between the two instruments.

Correlations between and within asset classes plays an integral role in portfolio management. From a big picture perspective, changing correlations can be a signal that broader market trends are changing. Investors may reduce risk during such periods. Also of importance, changing correlations may increase or decrease the value of “hedges” within a portfolio. For instance, investors tend to assume they are taking a more defensive posture moving technology to utility stocks, or from stocks to bonds when they sense a downturn coming. While such trades have been effective in the past, correlations allow us to observe changes and develop opinions about the future.

The following charts and notes provide recent and historical context on how correlations have changed since the equity market turned lower in late January. Whether these changes turn out to be a dependable warning of trend change, or a multi-month anomaly, is unknown. What is known is that the market is not behaving as it has for the last few years and investors should pay close attention to correlations for more market insight.

Under Appreciated Price Action

This graph, courtesy of Goldman Sachs, shows how correlations between S&P 500 stocks have increased at a rate greater than anytime in the last 40 years except 1987.

Cross Asset Correlations

S&P 500/UST Correlation

Given the popularity of formal and informal risk parity strategies, this graph showing the well below average correlation of the S&P 500 versus 10 year UST yields should be of vital concern if this equity sell-off continues and the correlation remains low.

S&P 500 Sector Correlations

To further highlight the uniqueness of current sector correlations versus the S&P 500, this graph compares the current period (green dots) versus the prior year (orange squares) and the prior 15 years (gray triangles).

Something is different this time

This graph serves as a reminder that passive investing has grown significantly over the past 10 years. In our opinion this popularity will play a role in making it more likely that correlations between asset classes and sectors will behave differently in the next downturn than they have in the past. As such alternative hedging strategies should be considered now.


• Passive funds and strategies have increased the likelihood that future correlations between asset classes and the S&P 500 and its constituents are higher

• Equity and fixed income correlations have increased recently, rendering fixed income hedges for equities not as dependable

• Gold and commodities as measured by the CRB index have also not been as good an equity hedge as in the past

• Long equity volatility (VIX) has thus far proven a good ballast for stock and fixed income hedging

• Traditional safety, low beta, equity sectors have been well correlated to other sectors and the equity market as a whole

• Higher beta equity indexes (Russel 2k and the NASDAQ) have moved nearly perfectly in line with the S&P 500

• It is too early to tell if the market is topping or just taking a breather, but the signals discussed in this article and others we did not highlight, should be taken seriously

Michael Lebowitz, CFA


Posted by: AGelbert
« on: April 25, 2018, 05:46:11 pm »

OOCL and Microsoft to Develop Artificial Intelligence 🤖 Applications for the Shipping Industry

April 24, 2018 by gCaptain

An OOCL containership calls at Eurogate Container Terminal in Wilhelmshaven, Germany. Photo: EUROGATE

Hong Kong-based shipping company Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL) has teamed up with Microsoft’s research arm in Asia to advance the application of Artificial Intelligence research in the shipping industry.

The collaboration will look for ways to use AI to improve shipping network operations and achieve efficiencies within OOCL’s business. The project is expected to nurture over 200 AI developers over the next 12 months.

OOCL sees AI as key to the it’s digital transformation. The company already uses machine learning in some its operations and has as a talent base of over 1,000 developers located in San Jose, Hong Kong, Zhuhai, Shanghai and Manila. Each month, the company’s systems process and analyze over 30 million vessel data points. “By leveraging AI technology and machine learning, the company develops predictive analytics on vessel schedules and berth activities,” it says.

“With MSRA’s efforts and expertise, we expect to save around USD10 million in operation costs annually by applying the AI research and techniques for optimizing shipping network operations from our most recent 15-week engagement,” said Steve Siu, Chief Information Officer of OOCL. “Moving forward, we will embark on an 18-month joint-partnership in research and development to apply deep learning and reinforcement learning in shipping network operations.”

Microsoft Research Asia s Microsoft’s fundamental and applied research arm in the Asia Pacific region.

“Microsoft has been committed in providing cutting-edge AI solutions for companies across different industries to help drive digital transformation,” commented Cally Chan, General Manager of Microsoft Hong Kong. “With our Intelligent Cloud and Intelligent Edge vision, we are partnering with selected top customers worldwide to accelerate the adoption of AI innovations into products and solutions that can be applied in real business contexts. The partnership between MSRA and OOCL demonstrates our strong progress in revolutionizing the shipping industry.”


Posted by: AGelbert
« on: April 25, 2018, 05:28:05 pm »

Agelbert NOTE: I have read around five different news items on these giant cranes being delivered recently to major ports all over the world. This is evidence of a boom phase in the global economy (which means AN INCREASING ANNUAL AMOUNT of Greenhouse Gases, instead of the required reduction of these pollutants  >:(),  with nothing even remotely resembling an imminent collapse envisioned by the powerful oligarchs that run this profit over people and planet madhouse.

Catastrophic climate change will change all that, of course, but it may take a decade or so for the oligarchs to smell the climate change profit destroying coffee.   

For now, the fossil fuel worshipping suckers are enjoying the boom.

Tomorrow is Yesterday...

Giant Ship-to-Shore Cranes Parked Off New York

April 24, 2018 by gCaptain

Photo: Patrick Hamilton via Instagram

A heavy lift ship carrying four giant ship-to-shore cranes is at anchor off Brooklyn, New York awaiting the green light to pass below the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and into the Port of New York and New Jersey.

The cranes are destined for APM Terminals’ facility in Port Elizabeth where they will eventually handle ultra-large containerships arriving from Europe and Asia via the Expanded Panama Canal.

The cranes are arriving aboard the heavy lift ship Zhen Hua 20 from Shanghai, China, where they departed a little over two months ago.

Once offloaded, the cranes will be the largest ever installed at the Port of New York and New Jersey and perhaps even the largest on U.S. East Coast.

Before their arrival at Port Elizabeth, the crane booms will need to be lowered over the course of a few days so the vessel can fit below the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge followed by the recently-raised Bayonne Bridge. The vessel will also have to wait for low water, which combined will provide just enough clearance for the cranes to pass safely below the bridges. 

The Port of New York and New Jersey is the busiest port on the US East Coast and third busiest in the United States behind the Los Angeles and Long Beach Ports.

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: April 20, 2018, 05:56:30 pm »

America’s “Actual” GDP: The Shocking Truth


APRIL 19, 2018


Economists Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff have shown that annual economic growth falls 2% per year when the debt-to-GDP reaches 60%.

When it hits 90%… they conclude one dollar of debt yields less than one dollar of output.

Debt no longer lifts… but drags.

What is America’s current debt-to-GDP ratio?

Roughly 105%.  :P

When did the U.S. debt-to-GDP ratio cross the 90% red line?

This is, when did the wine start turning to vinegar?

In 2010, it appears… shortly after the great turning point.

After 2008, argues financial advisory firm Baker & Co., “something in our economy broke.”

Before 2008, what they term “actual” GDP had always risen alongside the rising debt — whether because of it — or in spite of it.

But no longer.

Full article:


Posted by: AGelbert
« on: April 20, 2018, 04:58:28 pm »

Agelbert NOTE: If you wish to know, without any doubt whatsoever, who are the oligarchs totally, not partially, responsible for the horrendously polluted, massively unjust, deliberately cruel and generally miserable condition of human civilization, the graphic below is sine qua non. It is not difficult to determine where the most numerous, and consequently most damaging, group of profit over people and planet parasites, euphemistically called the "ultra rich", reside. 

Where the World’s Ultra Rich
Population Lives


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