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formatting a comment thread

by someone Fri Jan 5th, 2007 at 05:28:51 PM EST

This is a test of formatting for comment re-presentation. In this case using a table. Go look at this for why.
Update [2007-1-6 9:43:38 by someone]:Now with parent links and a new look. And, thanks for taking an interest in this little formatting game. But, feel free to unrecommend this diary. It doesn't really have any, um, content. I need it to play with the various display possibilities, but let's not pretend that it's adding interesting content to the site.


Re: The Euro and the Dollar
On the way the dollar is getting sold for euros, bonddad has a couple of nice, clear explicative sentences:

Right now foreign central banks are playing a giant international game  of chicken.  No one want to see their official reserves decrease in value.  So, they all want to slowly sell dollars and buy more euros.  However, by selling dollars they may create a selling panic that further decreases their respective currency reserves.

It doesn't all collapse with a bang because that's in no one's interest.

When locusts move on, they leave nothing behind
by afew on Tue Jan 2nd, 2007 at 03:00:49 PM FWT


Re: The Euro and the Dollar
It probably doesn't, but if a tipping point accidentally gets hit, that's another story.

Everyone knew Argentina's position in the '90's was unsustainable. Twin deficits just like America, public and trade. Public deficits in the 2% of GDP range, less than America of course, but then, the Argentine peso is hardly a reserve currency anymore, so there was no effective zero-interest financing available to it either (and, in fact, due to its pegging the the USD, the financing as quite dear after Greenspan started upping interest rates during the Clinton Administration). And the trade deficit was, like America's pretty structural as well, for the most part in the 3-5% of gdp range throughout the 90's and masked, like America, by offsetting capital inflows.

And, just like America, the federal public deficit seen at first glance masked even deeper structural flaws - its states were also running up debt, as is the case in the US (witness California's recent bonding in order pay essentially operating expenses).

It was an accident waiting to happen, and like the situation in the US, there were many, in particular American and Spanish banks, who had an interest in making sure that when the accident came to pass, it happened in an orderly fashion in a manner which protected their assets, all the while reserving for losses on those assets.

America is no Argentina. For one thing, its economy is far bigger and, well at least historically, is far more diversified. For another, America has a lot of interest-free creditors, the inherent advantage of the faith and credit of a government whose central bank issues the world's premier reserve currency.  

But while it's probably likely that America's economic standing will observe a long, gradual, secular decline, and its currency will continue to weaking equally gradually, I don't think we can completely discount an Argentina-like collapse, if but to a less extreme extent, either.

The reason for this is two-fold.

First, US twin deficits are not only unsustainable, they are, in nominal terms, greater than those in Argentina.

Second, we take as a given that lenders to America will continue to throw good money after bad in order to maintain the value of their existing USD-denominated holding and, importantly, be able to continue to export to the US consumer markets. But this is not a given. Other growing markets exist for those products; the pipeline increasingly is becoming diversified for exporters like Japan (which shifts to the high-end PRC market, among other places), the PRC (Russia, the EU, NDCs in East Asia, India) and elsewhere. And it is a truism that creditors tend to keep lending in an effort to keep their existing investments intact; current analysis of the situtation largely ignores the concept of sunk costs, whereby there is indeed a point where throwing good money after bad becomes a losing proposition. Which is why good creditors reserve for losses, and increase those reserves when the losses become more likely. And, once they've achieved adequate coverage, there's no reason to be quite so diligent about how the accident comes to pass. If the accident has already been priced into ones expectations, it has already taken place, after all. And so, the IMF saw fit to pull the plug on  Buenos Aires, and Argentina saw a helluva financial crisis.

When I was a kid, the franc was worth 25 cents US. Right now, its worth more like 20 cents, triangulating via the Euro. I can see it going easily to 25 cents or more. The real pain hits when the same things happen with the renminbi and the yen. And then what? The US produces less and less stuff, so it's not like it can export itself out of this. Again, like Argentina, when the boom falls, it will be painful to average citizens. And I think we all remember what happened in Argentina. Of course, the good news is that only after such a crisis and misery befalling Argentina's middle class was real reform possible, and poverty rates are falling, economic growth in robust, and the neo-liberal orthodoxy has been chucked away like the cheap, ill-fitting suit it always was.

Also, I like the fact you stripped Bonddad's quotation of the pensee unique garbage about how Europe was going to go bankrupt because of the welfare state. Bonddad should've taken that part out. It detracts from his point, and is demonstrably false.


Egaux, pas de devoirs sans droits.
by redstar on Tue Jan 2nd, 2007 at 05:57:50 PM FWT parent


Re: The Euro and the Dollar
Thanks for this excellent extended explanation.

once they've achieved adequate coverage, there's no reason to be quite so diligent about how the accident comes to pass

Which explains the potential tipping point.

You wouldn't like to tie a ribbon round this and make a diary of it, would you?

When locusts move on, they leave nothing behind
by afew on Tue Jan 2nd, 2007 at 07:10:08 PM FWT parent


Re: The Euro and the Dollar
Thank you!

Wouldn't that be more of an "Americas-centric" diary, though? The tie-in to Europe is sorta tenuous, no?

Egaux, pas de devoirs sans droits.
by redstar on Tue Jan 2nd, 2007 at 07:57:35 PM FWT parent


Re: The Euro and the Dollar
Not if we're assuming the euro is central banks' refuge currency...

When locusts move on, they leave nothing behind
by afew on Tue Jan 2nd, 2007 at 09:21:09 PM FWT parent
A logical assumption
and the only reason why talk of a collapse of the dollar is not ignored - because there is a realistic alternative to the dollar today.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris on Tue Jan 2nd, 2007 at 10:29:04 PM FWT parent
Re: A logical assumption
I'll be the one to say it.

The dollar suffers because the US has a chronic trade (and budget) deficit problem, but the Euro as global reserve currency doesn't inspire tremendous amounts of confidence either.  Remember that as recently as last year, the Italians were making noise about withdrawing from the Euro.  

So while the Euro is clearly a more stable currency at this time, does that say more about the strength of the Euro or the weakness of the Dollar?

Thinking about nightmares, what's the impact to the global economy if there is no dominant currency that serves as the preffered method of exchange?  Imagine trying to organize global commodities markets if the dollar collapses, and the Euro and the Yen strain under the burden of scared investors fleeing from the Dollar.

How the hell do you organize international trade if there's no widely accepted currency of exchange?  Fall back on gold?  Barter regimes like the old Comecom required when trading with the West?
by ManfromMiddletown on Wed Jan 3rd, 2007 at 11:08:47 AM FWT parent


Re: A logical assumption
You fall back on Oil...

Or you dust off Keynes' "International Clearing Union".

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru on Wed Jan 3rd, 2007 at 11:19:06 AM FWT parent


Re: A logical assumption
No one can print oil, which would make the dynamics of the market very different. It would effectively be a return to the Gold Standard. Value tied to a physical commodity, as opposed to meta-value defined as an expression of trust and hope in the future, create two completely different systems.

Although I'm not sure how bad it would be to scrap the frantically volatile Forex trading we have now and replace it with Bretton Woods 2.0 - which seemed to work quite well until the US decided it wanted to go its own way.
by ThatBritGuy on Wed Jan 3rd, 2007 at 11:27:51 AM FWT parent


Re: A logical assumption
Is oil a store of value?

I mean this would make it prohibitively expensive to use.
by ManfromMiddletown on Wed Jan 3rd, 2007 at 11:34:41 AM FWT parent


Re: A logical assumption
Our ability to do things is determined largely (but not entirely) by energy. Oil is our primary energy source. Money is the way we measure our ability to get (economic) things to happen. Gold has nothing to do with anything.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru on Wed Jan 3rd, 2007 at 11:39:04 AM FWT parent
Re: A logical assumption
gold is renewable in that it can be reused again and again.  Oil once used is gone foreverm this means that the supply of available capital shrinks every time somone drives to the store.
by ManfromMiddletown on Wed Jan 3rd, 2007 at 11:42:25 AM FWT parent
Re: A logical assumption
It costs energy to recycle gold.
the supply of available capital shrinks every time somone drives to the store
Be careful, if you keep thinking along these lines you might discover a connection between thermodynamics and economics.

The supply of available capital is reduced every time someone digs oil out of the ground, because now there is less oil in the ground (capital) than there used to be.

Environmental economics, anyone?

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru on Wed Jan 3rd, 2007 at 11:50:52 AM FWT parent


Re: A logical assumption
It's not that I disagree about environmental economics, it's that I think that in order to be feasible any replacement to the current financial regime should involve as little death and famine as possible.  

Smooth landings beat the shit out of crashes.

I think that ultimately we need to recognize that trade has to be reciprocal to work.  
by ManfromMiddletown on Wed Jan 3rd, 2007 at 12:24:44 PM FWT parent


Re: A logical assumption
Death and famine resulting from a change in the accounting?

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru on Wed Jan 3rd, 2007 at 12:32:52 PM FWT parent
Re: A logical assumption
Yes,

When the monetary system is based off of oil, what happens to all the people dependent on food and grain trucked in across vast distances?

And it makes economic growth impossible because it's not a fiat currency.
by ManfromMiddletown on Wed Jan 3rd, 2007 at 01:46:28 PM FWT parent


Re: A logical assumption
On Growth and Fiat: are you saying there was no economic growth when the gold standard was in force?

What happens to people is the same thing that happens when the economy is based on oil and the monetary system is based on fiat money. Unless I'm missing something.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru on Wed Jan 3rd, 2007 at 01:57:50 PM FWT parent


Re: A logical assumption
Gold can be reused.

If you have an oil standard, you're basically burning money everytime that you drive.  While this might be desdirable in the long term, what happens when you make that transition?  Unless you have non-oil options available on short notice, my gueses death and famine through economic collapse.  Things have to be able to move around for an economy to exist, and right now there's just not a viable non-oil option to make that happen on a large scale.
by ManfromMiddletown on Wed Jan 3rd, 2007 at 02:14:30 PM FWT parent


Re: A logical assumption
You insist on ignoring that it takes energy to reuse gold.

So you're saying that when we burn oil bought with a fiat currency no wealth goes up in smoke?

If it would be deflationary to burn oil in an oil-standard economy, it has to be deflationary to burn oil in a fiat-currency economy.

What exactly is the magic that fiat currencies perform for us?

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru on Wed Jan 3rd, 2007 at 02:25:16 PM FWT parent


Re: A logical assumption
Mig, when I say gold I mean coins.

If I pay you with a coin, you can turn around and give that coin to someone else, who can give it to someone else ad infinitum.  

In order for that to work with oil you'd have to have oil set aside, unless we're talking about oil futures or something like that.  I just find it very hard to put together a workable system that doesn't involve tying up a consumable resource into something that's exchanged at great cost.  

I think a return to the gold standard.  Or even better something based on national economic output would be better.

As for the magic of fiat currencies.

Voila!

I just print more money.  Which I suppose is possible with oil, just the mechanics of the thing are hard to imagine.
by ManfromMiddletown on Wed Jan 3rd, 2007 at 03:41:30 PM FWT parent


Re: A logical assumption
When the of my comment is = or <= 50 spaces on the screen, it's a sign we've talked this one to death.
by ManfromMiddletown on Wed Jan 3rd, 2007 at 03:43:02 PM FWT parent
Re: A logical assumption
No, we've just been going around in circles. I'm going to have to write a diary about it, but I'm reluctant because I would be exposing to what extent I don't know what I'm talking about.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru on Wed Jan 3rd, 2007 at 03:51:38 PM FWT parent
Re: A logical assumption
I would be exposing to what extent I don't know what I'm talking about.

There's something to be said for the one eyed leading the blind.

by ManfromMiddletown on Wed Jan 3rd, 2007 at 06:14:17 PM FWT parent


Re: A logical assumption
How about paper currency backed by gold? Just like you don't need to carry a pound of gold around, you don't need to carry a gallon of oil around.

"Just printing more money" doesn't change one iota the aggregate wealth of the economy, it simply reduces the value of the currency unit. It also only increases the amount of circulating cash which is only a small fraction of the money supply anyway.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru on Wed Jan 3rd, 2007 at 03:50:22 PM FWT parent


Re: A logical assumption
There are two good reasons to devalue through inflation:

  1.  Those who get to spend it first can grab a larger share of wealth relative to the actual PPP of the currency.

  2.  Debtors get to screw creditors by paying them back with currency having less PPP.

In the first, the major Money Market banks get to skim the cream as they are the first to benefit from additional monies coming into an economy as they are the first to get their grubby little hands on it.

To meet the second item, large US banks don't keep consumer loans on their books.  They foist them off --- er, I mean "disintermediate" --- by rolling them into bonds and selling the bonds on the international market.  The interest and principal is 'backed' by the stream of payments made by consumers.  During the existence of these bonds the banks make money off of the difference between the monthly compounding from the monthly billing cycle (income) versus the quarterly compounding (out go :) of the bond interest payments.  

When you stare long into the Abyss the Abyss also stares into you. Nietzsche >
by ATinNM on Wed Jan 3rd, 2007 at 04:43:17 PM FWT parent


Re: A logical assumption
I read a rather wacky article, self-published on the net, I think, that equated the operation of the money supply to Boyle's pressure law.  As that analogy wasn't enough, he then went on to analogize this to almost every aspect of society.  The first part was kinda interesting, largely becasue I don't understand enough econ or physics to see why his idea is inherently absurd. Then he just got crazy, in a boring sort of way.

Now, I neither have the article, nor remember its name.  Sorry.
by Zwackus on Thu Jan 4th, 2007 at 02:41:01 AM FWT parent


Re: A logical assumption
Maybe you dreamt it?

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru on Thu Jan 4th, 2007 at 02:16:31 PM FWT parent

Display:
I like the way this looks. Thanks for putting this together...

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Fri Jan 5th, 2007 at 05:40:15 PM EST
I love it...

Can you pass me or put here the perl code please? I would love to have it...

Thanks a lot !!!!!

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Fri Jan 5th, 2007 at 07:55:19 PM EST
Let me clean it up some. To make it useful to someone who is not me.
by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Sat Jan 6th, 2007 at 09:45:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
NO problem...I also can clean it.. :)

But thanks in any case!!!

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Sat Jan 6th, 2007 at 03:47:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Gaw, code is annoying to post. I think this should be okay. You can see the extent to which I am not a hardcore perl freak in that the script is longer than 3 lines.
As a bonus, the script to turn a script into postable text is provided.
------------------
$cellspacing = 0;
$cellpadding = 0;

$lw = 35;              # width of the last column in the table in percent.
                       #(Comment furthest to the right will never be more
                       #narrow than this. Indentation will adjust to maximum
                       #comment nesting
$ecc = "#FFFFFF";      #color of empty cells (space to the left of nested commenst)
$ccc = "#FFFFFF";      #color of cells with comments
#$tb = "border=\"1\"";



open OUT, ">$ARGV[1]" or open OUT, ">-" or die;
open IN, "$ARGV[0]" or die "specify input filename or - for stdin\n";

@text = <IN>;
$" = "";
$text = "@text";
#$text =~ s/\n//g;
@comments = split(/<\!--\s*start\s*comment\s*-->/, $text);
$" = "\n";
$i=0;
foreach $comment(@comments){
    $comment =~ /<a id="(.*)"\s*class="commenttitle">/si;
    $num = $1;
    $nums[$i++] = $num;
    if($comment =~ /#([0-9]*)">parent/si){
       $parents[$num] = $1;
   }
    if($parents[$num]){
    $level[$num] = $level[$1]+1;
    }
    else{
    $level[$num] = 0;
    }
    if($maxlevel<$level[$num]){
    $maxlevel = $level[$num]};
    $comment =~ /<div class="commentbody">(.*)<\/div>.*<span class/s;
    $combodies[$num] = $1;
    $comment =~ /class="commenttitle">(<b>[^<]*<\/b>)<\/a>/si;
    $titles[$num] = $1;
   
    $comment =~/<span class.*by<\/i>\s*<a [^>]*href="([^>]*)">([^<]*)</s;
    $authors[$num] =$2;
    $authpage[$num] = $1;
    $comment =~ />([^<]*FWT)/s;
    $ptime[$num] = $1;
   
}

$wpc = (100-$lw)/($maxlevel);
print OUT "<table $tb><tr>\n";
for($k=0;$k<$maxlevel;$k++){
    print OUT "<td width=\"$wpc%\"></td>";
}
print OUT "<td width=\"$lw%\"></td></tr>";
foreach $num(@nums){
    if($combodies[$num]){
    $rs1 = $level[$num];
    $rs2 = $maxlevel-$rs1+1;
   
    $fcw = $rs1*$wpc;
    $scw = 100-$fcw;
    print OUT "<tr>\n";
    if($rs1!=0){
        print OUT "<td colspan=\"$rs1\" style=\"background-color: $ecc\"> </td>"; # width=\"$fcw%\";
        }
    print OUT "<td colspan=\"$rs2\"  style=\"background-color: $ccc\">"; #width=\"$scw%\"
    print OUT "<a id=\"ct$num\">";
    print OUT "$titles[$num]</a><br>$combodies[$num]<br>\n";
    print OUT "by <a href=\"$authpage[$num]\">$authors[$num]</a> on $ptime[$num]";
    if($parents[$num]){
        print OUT "<a href=\"#ct$parents[$num]\"> parent</a>";
    }
    print OUT "<hr width=\"100%\"></td></tr>\n\n";
    }
}

print OUT "</table>\n";

------------------------------------
For posting a perl script as a comment. Also works on html turning < and > into &lt; and &gt; (and & into &amp; which becomes &amp;amp; in the next iteration.)

open OUT, ">$ARGV[1]" or open OUT, ">-" or die;
open IN, "$ARGV[0]" or die "specify input filename or - for stdin\n";
@text = <IN>;
$" = "";
$text = "@text";
$text =~ s/&/&amp;/igs;
$text =~ s/</&lt;/igs;
$text =~ s/>/&gt;/igs;
$text =~ s/\n/<br>/igs;
$text =~ s/\t/    /igs;
$text =~ s/\s\s/&nbsp; /igs;
$text =~ s/\s\s/&nbsp; /igs;
$text =~ s/<br>/<br>\n/igs;

print OUT "<tt>$text</tt>\n";

by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Sat Jan 6th, 2007 at 06:28:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks.. I will play with it!!

And believe me.. it  provides content to this site!!!

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Sun Jan 7th, 2007 at 07:04:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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