Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

Sunday Open Thread

by Jerome a Paris Sun Apr 11th, 2010 at 11:08:33 AM EST

It's Sunday afternoon


Display:
Not sure if you have seen this already, but just in case:

In Love with Trains | Tony Judt - The New York Review of Books (Volume 57, Number 4 · March 11, 2010)

According to the literary theorist René Girard, we come to yearn for and eventually love those who are loved by others. I cannot confirm this from personal experience--I have a history of frustrated longings for objects and women who were palpably unavailable to me but of no particular interest to anyone else. But there is one sphere of my life in which, implausibly, Girard's theory of mimetic desire could be perfectly adapted to my experience: if by 'mimetic' we mean mutuality and symmetry, rather than mimicry and contestation, I can vouch for the credibility of his proposition. I love trains, and they have always loved me back.

Just ran across it in an old copy of the NY Book Review.  Unfortunately, only the preview is available on the website (unless you pay for the rest).  Let me know if you are interested, and I can scan and send you the rest of the article.

The point is not to be right, but to get to right.

by marco on Sun Apr 11th, 2010 at 11:26:41 AM EST
right up until the late 90s, if anybody had said they were fond of trains they'd have been written off as a sad and probably mentally feeble weirdo.

now lots of people openly admit to feeling nostalgic about steam trains and some aspects of modern trains (particularly high speed) will get admiration.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Apr 11th, 2010 at 02:15:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In this 'case' he analyzes his-self to a t, so I hope he knows a lot about trains:  

"...I have a history of frustrated longings for objects and women..."

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.

by metavision on Sun Apr 11th, 2010 at 04:47:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / Global Economy - Soros warns Europe on brink of disintegration
... "It is 50-50 whether the eurozone breaks up. The damage that break up would cause is so great, that I think that as people realise it, they will pull back from the brink," Soros told the Financial Times in an interview. "But we are at the brink now...a solution has to be found in a matter of days."

<...>

"Greece is willing to take the steps and has taken steps which are necessary to get through this crisis. Now Europe has to do its part to help Greece through," he said.

"Unfortunately there are problems with Germany because it does not want to be the deep pockets helping out the profligate southerners which got into trouble. [But] if that is the case, the euro is in danger and the European union is in danger. I just hope that Germany will be helpful."

Soros, who famously made around a $1bn profits almost two decades ago by betting on sterling's exit from the Exchange Rate Mechanism, argued that "having a common currency was very sensible for a common market." However, he stressed that Europe now faced a test. "Is there the political will to keep Europe together? If there is not I think that there will be a process of disintegration."

<...>

"Currency traders find it very difficult right now to speculate because public opinion is very much aroused. If I were running a hedge fund now I would be wary of making money because the political consequences would be too severe," he said. "I don't think that hedge funds are playing much of a role [in the current crisis] - it is not fertile ground. There is a kind of witch-hunt looking for someone who is profiting."



The point is not to be right, but to get to right.
by marco on Sun Apr 11th, 2010 at 11:34:29 AM EST
Greece Wins EU45 Billion Aid Pledge to Blunt Crisis (Update2) - Bloomberg.com
European governments offered debt- burdened Greece a rescue package worth as much as 45 billion euros ($61 billion) at below-market interest rates as they try to end its fiscal crisis and restore confidence in the euro.

Forced into action by a surge in Greek borrowing costs to an 11-year high, euro-region finance ministers said they would offer as much as 30 billion euros in three-year loans in 2010 at around 5 percent. That's less than the current three-year Greek bond yield of 6.98 percent. Another 15 billion euros would come from the International Monetary Fund.
...
With the euro facing the sternest test since its debut in 1999, the 16-nation bloc maneuvered around rules barring the bailout of debt-stricken countries, aiming to prevent Greece's financial plight from spreading and to mute concerns about the currency's viability. Germany also abandoned an earlier demand that Greece pay market rates.



"Ce qui vient au monde pour ne rien troubler ne mérite ni égards ni patience." René Char
by Melanchthon on Sun Apr 11th, 2010 at 01:30:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If this is confirmed, it's a considerable change for the better.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Apr 11th, 2010 at 03:14:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / Europe - Eurozone makes €30bn Greek promise
Eurozone members have made a commitment to providing up to €30bn in loans to Greece over the next year to help stave off a debt crisis that has roiled financial markets and posed the most serious challenge to the euro in its history.

Those funds were agreed during an extraordinary teleconference of eurozone finance ministers on Sunday and would be supplemented by contributions from the International Monetary Fund that could yield an additional €15bn (£13.2bn, $20.2bn) according to European officials.

The rates charged to Athens would be around 5 per cent for a three-year fixed loan - above the IMF's standard lending rate but below those currently demanded by jittery investors. Two-year Greek bonds were last week trading at 7.45 per cent.



"Ce qui vient au monde pour ne rien troubler ne mérite ni égards ni patience." René Char
by Melanchthon on Sun Apr 11th, 2010 at 03:34:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I would point out that what bonds are trading at in the aftermarket is a bit different than the price that Greece sold bonds at.

Two weeks ago Greece sold 5 billion euros worth of 7 year bonds at 5.9%.

https://news.fidelity.com/news/news.jhtml?articleid=201003291146RTRSNEWSCOMBINED_ATH005323_1&IMG =N&ccsource=rss-investing-stocks

So, the difference we see here is 5% for 3-year bond from Europe versus a 5.9% 7-year bond from the market. Longer-term bonds have higher rates so, it would seem to me, that Greece is not even getting a percentage point less than the market rate.

Of course, one could also argue that Greece's deal for bonds at that 5.9% rate is purely a result of implicit EU guarantees to its stability.

by Upstate NY on Sun Apr 11th, 2010 at 04:28:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I haven't looked at the details - and I'm absolutely open to the idea that the EU is screwing Greece over - it seems to me that the 5% is a meaningful guarantee, because most of the descriptions of "Doomsday in Greece" have all been about the escalation of borrowing costs - which are now (for a while at least) pinned around 5%...
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Sun Apr 11th, 2010 at 04:31:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
5% is a very good rate for Greece in this atmosphere.

Whether it will enable them to cut into their deficit is another story. That all depends on what they do in the market with this 5% peg. 40 billion from the EU and IMF at, say, 4.6% (3/4 EU loan at 5% and 1/4 IMF loan at 3.25%) may be offset by much higher loans at either 6 or 7% in the market. If Greece can sell at 6%, then the mix with the 4.6% will help them to slog through. But if they are selling at 7%, then the 4.6% may not be enough.

Other factors come into play, such as Greece's forecast uses 4.5% as the number to predict next year's deficit. Also, older Greek bonds from the pre-eurozone days are maturing. Wolfgang Munchau has stated that Greece's bond structure shows a healthy mix with a long average maturity at low rates and the bonds expiring shortly are at high rates.

We shall see.

by Upstate NY on Sun Apr 11th, 2010 at 04:39:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
One weird thing that I can't get my head around, a country is allowed to borrow 10x what it gives to the IMF.

If true, Greece should have given the IMF $10 billion about a decade ago.

I have no idea how that formula works but surely the amount given to the IMF should be a percentage of GDP and not an arbitrary "donation."

by Upstate NY on Sun Apr 11th, 2010 at 04:42:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is Munchau on the deal:

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/762c8ebc-4596-11df-9e46-00144feab49a.html

I wonder what he would say knowing the amount is for half of what he thought.

by Upstate NY on Sun Apr 11th, 2010 at 05:00:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Just as an FYI, all the Greek gov'ts official estimates for the next two years assume an average bond yield rate of 4.5% and 2% contraction. The contraction at this point may be greater, and the bond yields at 5% and recent deals at 5.9% may drive up their portfolio above that 4.5% peg, which would make Greek estimates shy of the reality.

So, it's hard to say whether this is a good thing.

On the positive side, the long-term bonds that are maturing were sold BEFORE Greece entered the eurozone in 2002, and those bonds had a hefty yield in the 7% range.

by Upstate NY on Sun Apr 11th, 2010 at 04:32:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
2 to 1 odds on the eurozone surviving? I'll bet on such odds.

Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Apr 11th, 2010 at 02:56:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
OK, all the maths specialists:

50-50 is 2/1?

Or is it evens ?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Apr 11th, 2010 at 03:16:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Imminent strike at UPR = Imminent vacation for yours truly.
:-)

"Beware of the man who does not talk, and the dog that does not bark." Cheyenne
by maracatu on Sun Apr 11th, 2010 at 12:30:06 PM EST
Tax prep. GRRR.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Apr 11th, 2010 at 12:56:22 PM EST
Ahhh, luckely I already handed that all over to my tax accountant.
by Fran on Sun Apr 11th, 2010 at 01:14:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And to make things worse, it is an achingly beautiful day with temperatures in the mid 70s, (~25C) clear skies, redbuds, dogwoods and tulips in bloom, trees budding and an absolutely perfect opportunity to get needed work done in the yard. Even though my business grossed very little last year I still have to go through the whole process.

Taxes may be the price we pay for living in a civilized society, but the manner in which taxes in the USA are levied and collected is oppressive and extremely unfair to all but the top 1%. Jimmy Carter was right--"a disgrace to humanity."

The RW loves flat taxes. How about a flat tax of 1-2% on the unimproved value of land and a higher tax, say 3-5% on gross revenues of corporations for the privilege of limited liability, immortality, etc. While we are at it, throw in a similar tax on all revenue derived from patents and copyrights and on legal, accounting, architectural and engineering professional services. Might as well dream big.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Apr 11th, 2010 at 01:17:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The weather is again quite cool, which I did not mind that much as I have been working this weekend. :-)
by Fran on Sun Apr 11th, 2010 at 01:15:35 PM EST
here too, the solar water heater has been making the water hot for the last 5 days, but today it's back to lighting the fire, and more rain.

applewood burning smells so nice...

my helpxer left yesterday, she was going to stay 2 weeks, but stayed 33 days instead.

one of the nicest people i ever met, and a great worker too.

and about 20 more on the way...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Apr 11th, 2010 at 01:43:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What do you mean by helper and do I understand correctly there are 20 more helpers on the way?

And the applewood fire sounds good. :-)

by Fran on Sun Apr 11th, 2010 at 02:15:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
there are two agencies i found really good, one called help-x and the other, workaway.

basically they hook up people who want workers with people who want to travel, and pay their room and board with some agreed number of hours a day.

there are some really great young people wandering around being helpful.

a fun way to encourage cultural interchange, meet new folks and make progress with projects.

a bit like WOOFing but less exclusively agricultural.

there are about 20 more people coming between now and october. we get to grow a huge garden, and eat the produce together!

i tried it last year and was dead impressed with the quality of people, and how much i learned from them about their different countries.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Apr 11th, 2010 at 07:53:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What a great idea! I haven't heard about this before. A fully win-win situation. :-)
by Fran on Mon Apr 12th, 2010 at 01:36:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
if you go to those websites, and read the testimonials, you'll see how many people this idea is making happy.

it is brilliant.
 ;)

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Apr 12th, 2010 at 04:24:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
applewood is a very good smoking wood. Dried veggies and cheese hung in the chimney will reap good reward. Also, smoke a bowl of water and then boil rice or grain in it for a nice smoky flavour

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Apr 11th, 2010 at 02:19:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I am supposed to be revising for my exam tomorrow, but it's quite strange cos I'm finding it hard to get going.

It's a subject with which I am perhaps over-familiar so I feel blase about it. I read my short notes and nothing comes up that I don't mostly know and the few tables I actually think might be worth sitting down and learning are pretty tedious and pointless. So I'm disinclined, so I'll be popping in and out as I chunter through it slowly but I'm not in my usual mad panic revision frenzy and I'm not used to that.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Apr 11th, 2010 at 02:23:08 PM EST
Got any practice tests? I find that when I'm revising they are the best way to work out if I'm being overconfident or not...
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Sun Apr 11th, 2010 at 03:48:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The online ones are notoriously inaccurate. however, the ones we were given during the course I scored well in.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Apr 11th, 2010 at 04:00:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
good luck helen!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Apr 11th, 2010 at 07:57:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]

It is fifth year since I left my hometown Yakutsk, a capital of Sakha republic in Far Eastern Russia, and astonishingly I never felt need to learn local news, except few things I have known from calls to relatives and friends. Not so much you can talk about in telephone conversations.

Many things changed, many people I knew very well or was acquainted shortly had some success, they are still in the media spotlight, others disappeared or just maintain low profile. Today I was catching up browsing media there.

Overall development in such remote corner of the world would surprise many. Former president of the republic Mr Nikolayev (who was responsible for the surge in development of the region and construction boom in 1990s) is the first deputy Chairman of Russian senate in Moscow and just concluded official visit to Washington where he had participated in Arctic nations conference and had talks with officials of Obama adminisrtation and US Senate (like Mr R. Lugar). He also met expats-Sakha living in US.

Mr Nikolayev and expats in DC.

But enough of politics. What bother local media there? Everything you can find in your local newspapers, weather, criminal chronicle, politics, finance and scandals. The cinema theater in just few minutes from my home organized movie festival and there were dignitaries like Ms Alferova (she is well known in Russia for portraying Constance de Boinassier from popular movie Three Musketeers) and Yakutsk's Orthodox archbishop Zosima. At openeing ceremony there was big scandal with one young journalist Mr Gorodetsky (I knew him well) asking from dignitaries outrageous questions. He was thrown out from FM radio station Victoria (where he was my colleague, I had a program there), right now he is editor-in-chief of tabloid "Yellow Yakutsk". So he questioned movie star over her newly found attachment to Orthodox church and charitable activities. Ms Alferova was outraged and press conference abruptly ended with her screams how she hates the yellow press journalist.

And finally I was reading interview with Masha Dubrovskaya, free lance photographer from Yakusk, she had lived also in India for many years but I never met her personally. The photo of Himalayan mountains above is hers, it's amazing. She likes Asia and currently shuttles between Bali and Thailand with her Indian boyfriend Ajay. It's wonderful to know that I am not alone.

Ajay and Masha

by FarEasterner on Sun Apr 11th, 2010 at 02:25:20 PM EST
Masha's mountain photo is terrific.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Apr 11th, 2010 at 03:19:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, it's very dynamic.

Here is another one which I liked. Feets apparently are Masha's and Ajay's.

by FarEasterner on Sun Apr 11th, 2010 at 03:31:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd love to know more about your thoughts on Yakutsk. I'm sure for many of us brought up in the West I find it hard to imagine what it must bel ike to be brought up in such a remote area. I appreciate it becomes your normal, but how do you view the almost impossibly distant outside world ?

and when you left, did you deliberately turn your back or was it simply fascination with the next corner ?

I apologise if I'm asking personal stuff you may not wish to share, but this is an aspect of the world I have no concept of and I'm curious.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Apr 12th, 2010 at 09:42:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You would be surprised if you know why I posted this letter. Because you say you have no idea of this corner of the world.

When Soviet regime was crumbling it was fashionable in Russia (and in Sakha republic) to think that we have everything worst in the world. We simply did not know the world, we never traveled abroad (astonishingly even to China or Mongolia, our neighbours).

I am glad to say that since the fall of the Iron curtain many my compatriots left homes for wider world. What they discovered surprised them, it dawned on them we did not possess the world's worst (government, civil services, facilities, homes, utilities etc).

However not many returned. Why? Exactly because the world does not know us, beginning with the weather in our part of the world which is never reported. So some feel desperate and suffocated in small society where almost everyone knows each other, and want to find their own path in the world. There is no chance to find recognition in the world if you're stuck there.

Here is quote from 2007 editions of LP guide: "the Russian Far east is actually further from Moscow, remote and colder. It's also pretty big. Larger than Europe, it is comprised of taiga forest, snow-splattered or forested mountains and northward rivers, Few foreigners make it here... Up north, beyond train tracks or reasonable roads, surprising Yakutsk is the heart of the Russia's largest political division: Sakha Republic, home to many Yakut people (and a lot of horse meat on menus)."

And it continues - "For somewhere that's over 1000 km from anywhere much, Yakutsk comes as a pleasant, and sometimes surreal, surprise. Over half of its inhabitants are Yakut - and a good portion of the remainder are Chinese immigrants - so it feels (despite the Lenin statue) less Russian than many places across the Far East. Most of its buildings stand on stilts above a cruel permafrost that never thaws. It's most isolated when the weather's misbehaving - as winter frozen-river highways thaw, and earth turns into an unnavigable slop.

People are particularLy friendly in Yakutsk. Visitors often find themselves quickly connected with the local scene.
History

One of the oldest cities in the Far East, Yikutsk was founded in 1632 as a Cossack fort, and later served as a base for expeditions to the Pacific coast....

Today money is more noticeably being spent on striking modern architecture around the city, the legacy of former re-public president Mikail Nikolayev. A good example is the angular Sakha Theatre on pl Ordzhonikidze."

So not all is lost there, we have reasonably good homes with all facilities (I woould say better than Canadians or others in such extreme conditions, tempreature routinely drop to -50 Celcius in winter). Connection - when I was working at FM station I mentioned (at the same time I was student in Yakust university) I was pressing management for internet access. It was middle of 1990's. I've got it as well as subscription for special weekly CDs from American company which allowed us to have all popular singles many weeks in advance of their release to include them in musical programming. Sometimes friends from Alaska did bring to me new releases.

Then I finished study and began my work in university's social science laboratory. The building and office was ultramodern, the job was exciting - to prepare sociological studies and publush brochures afterwards about quality of higher education and social and political problems. I started this job as foot soldier, covering many square km of the city and neighbourhoods, interviewing thousands people about their problems and worries. I wondered about philosophical foundations of sociology, they did not seem to me quite solid, it's just statistical tricks, which can never explain human behaviour and human society.

Once I was making research on religion and students and while preparing questionnaire I was reading a lot of books. I was struck by similarities between philosophical views of my favourite science fiction writer Frank Herbert (of the Dune or Dosadi Experiment fame) and Buddha, who said these things 2500 years ago. So I searched internet to find where I can find more about Buddhist philosophy and the first choice was Buddhist institute in Delhi. The rest is the separate story.

Returning to Yakutsk I would say now I became more tolerant to it, its parochial culture, its callous and incompetent bureaucracy (no wonder after Indian experience).

I am glad that now I can access almost any prominent people's dossiers on their pages in internet (on Russian equivalents of Facebook) starting from president to show business starlets and journalists. Almost everybody curiously say that his (her) political views are liberal. Everybody knows here on ET that mine views are not liberal at all.

Local political life in Sakha republic is much more democratic than anything I have seen in Asia. Probably it's similar to Alaska or Canada. The press is vibrant and quite vicious and operates without restrictions. It is divided in Sakha and Russian-language media. Incidentally many local Jews own these media, like FM stations, newspapers, TV channels. However because of the small market I doubt it's profitable business. Don't forget that territory of the republic is of size of India, more than 3 mln sq km, yet it's population is less than 1 mln people.

About interracial relations - ethnic Russians and other Europeans are divided on "locals" and "newly arrived". The latter are despised because of the insatiable greed and damage they bring to fragile Arctic ecology. Many local Russian learn Sakha language, like Mr Gorodetsky (mentioned in previous post) who even sing songs in our language despite problems with accent. By the way it was his lucky chance, because of this song he was invited to Moscow to be filmed in new music video of Philip Kirkorov, one of the largest Russian pop stars.  

However with many goodies of civilisation Sakha society became much more insincere and hypocrite.
[The one thing I cannot forgive is rudeness of some people there (like certain ministers which I quarreled with), however it is reserved only for locals not visitors]. That's why I befriended so many people in much less "civilised" corners of Asia, where people cannot hide their emotions (anger or joy, greed or generosity) and that's why I am still here, not there at home.

by FarEasterner on Mon Apr 12th, 2010 at 05:33:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So, an ET meet in Yakutsk is not likely then ;-))

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Apr 13th, 2010 at 01:14:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thank you. That was very illuminating.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Apr 13th, 2010 at 01:14:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]

If All Chinese Had Wheels

by Dennis Pirages and Paul Ehrlich
New York Times (March 16 1972)

Now that the People's Republic of China has been admitted to the United Nations and American leaders are jetting to Peking, it is inevitable that we will be hearing more proposals for trade and aid to help the Chinese bring themselves up to "our standard of living". The idea of helping less developed nations "industrialize" or "catch up" seems as American as baseball. Few people question the common wisdom behind these programs, the idea that the developing areas of the world can somehow catch up with contemporary consumptive standards of living in industrial societies.

The emergence of China as a needy superpower must surely generate a re-evaluation of these beliefs. First, it is doubtful that the Chinese will ever reach our current standard of living; indeed it is not certain that this is even possible. But, more important, it is questionable whether such an achievement would be desirable, from any point of view. If the level of industrialization in China could be increased to the point that each Chinese family possessed an automobile and other amenities of industrial society, the effect on China and the entire world would be catastrophic. This observation immediately raises the point, of course, that the US should be considered overdeveloped by virtue of having attained a level of per capita consumption far in excess of that to which the bulk of humanity can realistically aspire.

Some very basic figures shed light on the development dilemma. There are currently at least 750 million people in mainland China. By contrast, the population of the United States is slightly over 200 million. Since there are more than 3.5 Chinese for every American, it would require some 3.5 times the present United States resource consumption to sustain China at current American levels. Such affluence in China would necessitate a tremendous shift in world consumption of raw materials.



Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Apr 11th, 2010 at 02:55:10 PM EST

Oil, Not China, Is The Real Destroyer Of America's Trade Balance

UBS's head of Asia-Pacific economics argues that the real global trade imbalance isn't U.S.-China, it is U.S.-oil. As shown below, current account surpluses from fuel exporting-nations have been a far larger driver of total global trade imbalances coming from emerging markets.

(...)

Thus the U.S. could use a little less finger-pointing at China... and a lot less foreign oil usage... if it really wants to correct its global trade imbalance.
This is a huge argument against U.S. trade protectionism since protectionism would miss the largest cause of America's trade deficit while only hurting U.S. export prospects by pissing off trade partners.



Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Apr 11th, 2010 at 02:58:23 PM EST
partly true

I always appreciate when people make this comparison, the relative weight of Chinese and oil imports in the US trade balance, that there's hardly a word about how one of the things driving up the cost of US energy imports is new demand from China.

Production in China is much more energy intensive than in the United States, and that's before you look at the cost of shipping products 10,000 miles to market.......

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Sun Apr 11th, 2010 at 03:08:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Production in China is much more energy intensive than in the United States, and that's before you look at the cost of shipping products 10,000 miles to market.......

Citation needed.

by Trond Ove on Mon Apr 12th, 2010 at 02:31:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
just look at GDP/toe numbers.

Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Apr 12th, 2010 at 02:49:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry, not an economist. I thought he was claiming that if two identical products were produced in China and the US, the US one would be produced with less energy.
by Trond Ove on Mon Apr 12th, 2010 at 03:17:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
TOE stands for "tonne of oil equivalent".

See for example Wikipedia's List of countries by Energy Intensity

for the year 2003. It is given in units of tonnes of oil equivalent per million constant year 2000 international dollars.
The US beat China, but not by much (just 5%). Both were slightly above the world average.

The brainless should not be in banking -- Willem Buiter
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Apr 12th, 2010 at 04:41:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And now we only have to postulate that they have exactly the same energy consumption patterns to be able to use that measure to compare the energy efficiency of industry products.
by Trond Ove on Mon Apr 12th, 2010 at 10:55:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hmf... I am slow today... I just reread ManfromMiddletons comment, and he doesnt actually seem to be directly comparing industry products but to be talking about the Chinese need for oil. I will stop attacking strawmen now. :)
by Trond Ove on Mon Apr 12th, 2010 at 10:57:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We had a very English breakfast of crumpets and fresh roasted coffee. Well, ok, maybe the coffee isn't English...  However, my crumpets need help.  They were good, but I've had better. And it seems as if the commercial ones that I've eaten have some grain, like corn, in them, to give them more texture and flavor.  Anyone have a recipe?  I used the one from the King Arthur Flour webpage.  

And it's still corn beef time!  I cooked the corn beef that I brined myself and plan to make hash with the last of the beef.  It was wonderful and himself says that 'it was tolerable'.  Time to get another one in the crock  :-)  

80's and sunny here!  Should have planned a picnic.  
   Elaine

by ElaineinNM on Sun Apr 11th, 2010 at 03:37:03 PM EST
Your corned beef is not our corned beef. I think corned beef hash UK style would surprise (and disappoint) you.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Apr 11th, 2010 at 03:42:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
disgust might also be added to the list

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sun Apr 11th, 2010 at 03:52:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Aaah the old Fray Bentos tins - but given a choice between bully beef and spam, I'd probably have to go with the gelatinized beef.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sun Apr 11th, 2010 at 03:56:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ah, no. I'm a spam girl

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Apr 11th, 2010 at 03:59:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You should take a holiday in Austin, Minnesota ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sun Apr 11th, 2010 at 04:13:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Huh ?

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Apr 11th, 2010 at 04:14:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's where they manufacture the spam.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Sun Apr 11th, 2010 at 04:16:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Afraid it's worse than merely making the stuff.

SPAM Museum

Hormel, which makes SPAM (and 3,000 other food-like products) is headquartered in Austin. In 1991 it opened a small storefront company museum in a local mall. But its visitors mostly cared about SPAM. The company quickly rechristened it the SPAM Museum, but the public wanted more. So in 2002 Hormel opened an expansive new SPAM-centric museum in its own custom building, right across the street from the meat plant. If you want to fully savor American cuisine, you should visit the New World of Coca-Cola, the McDonald's Museum, and here.

I rise to present a strong objection to their statement "to fully savor American cuisine, you should visit the New World of Coca-Cola, the McDonald's Museum, and here."  That list is to American cuisine as a block of marble is to a Rodin sculpture.

 

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sun Apr 11th, 2010 at 04:26:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Somebody had to



keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Apr 11th, 2010 at 04:29:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
scary.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Sun Apr 11th, 2010 at 04:31:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But, but... A block of marble could conceivably have been turned into a Rodin sculpture, had Rodin so wished.
Could Coke, McDonald's and Spam????

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Apr 11th, 2010 at 05:03:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sounds like a test, make a cultural artefact from the following ingredients ...

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Apr 11th, 2010 at 05:19:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I confess that question never crossed my mind.

:-)


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sun Apr 11th, 2010 at 05:26:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ATinNM:
as a block of marble

more like a lump of greasy ferrocement...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Apr 11th, 2010 at 08:10:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If I weren't vegetarian I might consider something more exotic.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun Apr 11th, 2010 at 05:56:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Who eats this glittery shit?
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Mon Apr 12th, 2010 at 03:54:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And while you're there, be sure to check out St. Paul, Texas. ;-)
by sgr2 on Sun Apr 11th, 2010 at 04:53:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I find cooked corned beef to be too salty. I don't know why the salt is suppressed when cold, but once it's hot I can't eat it.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Apr 11th, 2010 at 03:59:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Are you talking about this horrid thing that they serve in school cafeterias, dorms and camps called 'Train Wreck'?  Served on toast, salty, thin slices of beef that comes out of a jar, maybe a gelatinous gravy on top?   We had name for it in college that I probably should even mention here....

Our corn beef is wonderful!  But you have to soak it in water for a couple of hours before cooking to get out the excess salt.  

Himself is being treated to corn beef hash for supper.  He's ecstatic  :)

by ElaineinNM on Sun Apr 11th, 2010 at 07:31:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
something on a shingle?

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Apr 11th, 2010 at 08:11:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The KA recipe looks pretty similar to the one in the book at home, which is in turn similar to this one I found online:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/database/homemadecrumpets_70053.shtml

Looking at the KA page, it seems to me he's turning them too early... the trick with crumpets is the rubberisation of the dough - perhaps In Wales knows of the chemical processes at work... hmm... I should ask my friend who runs the "bread as biomaterials" course at Cambridge...

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Sun Apr 11th, 2010 at 03:55:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hmm.  I didn't stir it down, and possibly cooked them too hot. They should have risen more in the molds, I think.  Ingredients look the same.  
by ElaineinNM on Sun Apr 11th, 2010 at 07:34:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well if your crumpets need help read here, with instructions and photos

The English can cook: Crumpets

22g strong plain flour
1 teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon of dried yeast
1 teaspoon of caster sugar
1/2 pint milk.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Apr 12th, 2010 at 09:47:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What does it say about Soros that one of his top guys was at that Manhattan dinner with Goldman Sachs and Paulson and a few others where there was a lot of talk about Greece. We know that shortly after that dinner, the CDS market for Greece blew up. We know the cost of Greek debt skyrocketed after that as well (before any Greek restatements of yearly deficit which occurred in November). We know that people at that table had intimate knowledge of Greek debt. We know what the people at that table at for dinner.

As well, the Greek restatement of finances was only for this year (2010) and not prior years. The debt to GDP was at 100% every year since 2004, and this year's restatement from 6.7% to 12.7% is a matter of 15 billion euros, which surely could not have been the cause of all the panic.

by Upstate NY on Sun Apr 11th, 2010 at 04:46:41 PM EST

Mr Soros said that he was no longer engaged in making active currency bets himself, since he retired from direct involvement in the Soros fund earlier this year and is now focusing on initiatives such as the launch of the Institute for New Economic Thinking, a think-tank which was launched in Cambridge this weekend.

However, he said that even if he was still trading in the markets, he would be extremely wary of placing big bets now, since the potential for a political backlash against "speculators" is ever higher now than it was in the aftermath of "Black Monday", when sterling crumbled.

Hmmm....


Top Hedge Fund Managers Do Well in a Down Year

As major markets and economies careened downward last year, 25 top managers reaped a total of $11.6 billion in pay by trading above the pain in the markets, according to an annual ranking of top hedge fund earners by Institutional Investor's Alpha magazine, which comes out Wednesday.

James H. Simons, a former math professor who has made billions year after year for the hedge fund Renaissance Technologies, earned $2.5 billion running computer-driven trading strategies. John A. Paulson, who rode to riches by betting against the housing market, came in second with reported gains of $2 billion. And George Soros, also a perennial name on the rich list of secretive moneymakers, pulled in $1.1 billion.



Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Apr 12th, 2010 at 03:16:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And, in America, these are considered capital gains taxed at 15%.

Whereas, a person making $50k is taxed at 30% income, 10% payroll tax (i.e. social security) and an additional 10% in property tax.

$1 billion earned at 15%
$50k taxed at 50%

This is not considered tax evasion.

by Upstate NY on Mon Apr 12th, 2010 at 10:31:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The first article seems current (walled off) and the second is from March 2009, talking about profits from 2008, so Soros wasn't 'retired' yet.  

Like Templeton/Mobius, Lynch, Buffet and many others, they seem to retire at regular intervals, but still a legal business even if meets no social purpose, or responsibility except maybe gaming.  


Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.

by metavision on Mon Apr 12th, 2010 at 03:54:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The top 25 hedge funds guys for 2009 was published a few days ago. Soros made $3.3 billion last year:


Hedge fund managers set new payout records in 2009

(Reuters) - Seven of the world's top hedge fund managers earned 10-figure paychecks and one set a record for the highest-ever payout last year due to a stock market rally that pushed returns to their highest levels in a decade.

Together, the industry's 25 best-paid managers collected a record $25.33 billion, more than double the amount they took home in 2008 when the financial crisis left many prominent funds nursing heavy losses.

(...)

David Tepper's Appaloosa Management gained more than 130 percent on his bet that certain bank shares would recover. Tepper earned a $4 billion payout that toppled John Paulson as the industry's record payout holder. Paulson's bet that housing prices would fall earned him $3.7 billion in 2007.

Paulson, however, still made the list of top earners, ranking in fourth position with a $2.3 billion paycheck.

He followed philanthropist George Soros whose $3.3 billion put him into the No. 2 spot and James Simons who earned $2.5 billion to rank as No. 3. Simons, a former mathematics professor announced his retirement from Renaissance Technologies last year.



Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Apr 12th, 2010 at 05:15:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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