Elliott’s Singer On America’s “Insidious And Life-Draining” Dependency Culture

Given our previous discussion of the “born-again” jobs scam, the growing use of robots, and shift in technology, and the increasing disincentivization (via benefits) of the US labor force, Paul Singer’s detailed discussion below of the”serious dysfunction” in the US employment markets is crucial to comprehending why the Fed is just making things worse.

 

Via Elliott Management’s Paul Singer,

The employment situation in America is in a state of serious dysfunction. The problems existed before the 2008 crisis, to be sure, but they are getting worse, and the current Administration’s job-related policies are seriously deficient. Most parts of the developed world are facing similar challenges, but our focus in this section will be on the U.S., where the labor participation rate has reached a 40-year low. This is a nasty statistic, one that reveals the published unemployment figures to be a deception. In reality, five years after the crash, unemployment remains at recession levels. The fall in the labor participation rate reflects the perils of long-term unemployment, which turns millions of workers into unemployables as their skill sets rust with disuse and their attractiveness to employers diminishes.

One element in the long-term jobs picture is the march of technology. The technologies that are chewing up jobs are actually accelerating in their efficiency and their ability to perform tasks previously done by people. The fear that technology will make workers obsolete predates the industrial revolution, but the future will likely prove that this is only partially true. Technological advances may not be the death of employment, but they will require seriously creative policies to counteract their negative effects on jobs without impeding overall growth. We believe that this can and must be achieved.

These advances, of course, include the Internet, robotics, 3D printing, GPS, cheap shipping and nanotechnology, among others. Entire industries are being revolutionized and their profitability models altered or destroyed. There is no “solution” to this problem from the standpoint of workers who are displaced or displaceable. There is only adaption, education, retraining and moving workers in both developed and developing countries to jobs that are created by such technological advances. Where some manufacturing and service jobs are destroyed by technology, others are created. The job of government leaders (which is currently being done incredibly poorly) is to make sure their educational systems are as high-quality as possible, including a good amount of vocational training, and that their employment policies are as flexible as possible in order to avoid employer flight. Sovereigns must become platforms for, and remove impediments to, entrepreneurship, innovation and start-ups. It is not a solution to the employment challenge for policymakers to behave like Luddites or protectionists.

A related problem in America is benefits policies that encourage dependency. This is insidious and life-draining, because a balance must be struck between helping those truly in need and providing harmful incentives for able-bodied people not to work. If the government makes it less economically attractive to work than to receive a check, the predictable result will be an increase in handouts and a drain on the productive sectors of the economy. This is a self-reinforcing trend if it is practiced by politicians buying votes by promising benefits. Benefits can come only from other citizens, and this form of corruption is terrible policy with dreadful results: a cycle of dependency, class warfare, declining productivity, slower growth, fewer opportunities and unmet hopes and dreams.

A third employment-related problem in America and other countries in the developed world is competition from emerging markets, where goods and services are increasingly being produced with comparable or better efficiency, quality, range and sophistication. It is a great and wonderful human development that the opportunity for prosperity is spreading throughout the world. We should all be in favor of policies aimed at helping people and countries all over the world develop tools and methods for educating their people and providing new foundations for entrepreneurship, higher education, creativity, innovation and work at the highest possible level.

The difficulty that developed countries face from this surge in developing-world capability stems from the developed countries’ tendency to coast on past glories and to have uncompetitive wage and cost structures, in addition to an aversion to working harder/smarter/better to stay in the game. The best and only sustainable growth is that which emanates from the human mind – from smarter and more creative efforts and better organizations. “Growth” from policies that depend on beggaring thy neighbor by depreciating one’s currency, erecting trade barriers or cutting wage rates is often chimerical, and such policies are ultimately likely to backfire.

None of the aforementioned headwinds to full employment is disputable. One could assert that the developed countries are doing all they can with the best possible policies, or that nothing can be done about education, labor policy, training, free trade and other important levers for generating good jobs in a tough environment because of internal or external politics. These assertions would be false. While admittedly the cures may be politically difficult, they are there for the taking for leaders and people of courage and vision. Increasing the rigidity of labor policies, combined with protectionism, is not the answer.

In the absence of serious reforms and more effective leadership in the developed countries, their workforces and their economies are probably headed for a spiral of dependency, strife, poverty, inflation and political unrest. Although the long-term budget curves provide some clues about the outer boundaries of timing, the exact moment when we will reach a tipping point is uncertain. However, if that point is reached, which could happen sooner rather than later, it won’t be pretty.

Of course, for any given set of technological changes, policies and conditions related to jobs and the labor force, a stronger rate of economic growth makes things easier and better. Unfortunately, current government policies in the developed countries are no more conducive to providing the conditions for and removing the impediments to stronger economic growth than they are at intelligently helping the work forces in these countries manage the challenges of technological change.


    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/19KtdqCWzJU/story01.htm Tyler Durden

Elliott's Singer On America's "Insidious And Life-Draining" Dependency Culture

Given our previous discussion of the “born-again” jobs scam, the growing use of robots, and shift in technology, and the increasing disincentivization (via benefits) of the US labor force, Paul Singer’s detailed discussion below of the”serious dysfunction” in the US employment markets is crucial to comprehending why the Fed is just making things worse.

 

Via Elliott Management’s Paul Singer,

The employment situation in America is in a state of serious dysfunction. The problems existed before the 2008 crisis, to be sure, but they are getting worse, and the current Administration’s job-related policies are seriously deficient. Most parts of the developed world are facing similar challenges, but our focus in this section will be on the U.S., where the labor participation rate has reached a 40-year low. This is a nasty statistic, one that reveals the published unemployment figures to be a deception. In reality, five years after the crash, unemployment remains at recession levels. The fall in the labor participation rate reflects the perils of long-term unemployment, which turns millions of workers into unemployables as their skill sets rust with disuse and their attractiveness to employers diminishes.

One element in the long-term jobs picture is the march of technology. The technologies that are chewing up jobs are actually accelerating in their efficiency and their ability to perform tasks previously done by people. The fear that technology will make workers obsolete predates the industrial revolution, but the future will likely prove that this is only partially true. Technological advances may not be the death of employment, but they will require seriously creative policies to counteract their negative effects on jobs without impeding overall growth. We believe that this can and must be achieved.

These advances, of course, include the Internet, robotics, 3D printing, GPS, cheap shipping and nanotechnology, among others. Entire industries are being revolutionized and their profitability models altered or destroyed. There is no “solution” to this problem from the standpoint of workers who are displaced or displaceable. There is only adaption, education, retraining and moving workers in both developed and developing countries to jobs that are created by such technological advances. Where some manufacturing and service jobs are destroyed by technology, others are created. The job of government leaders (which is currently being done incredibly poorly) is to make sure their educational systems are as high-quality as possible, including a good amount of vocational training, and that their employment policies are as flexible as possible in order to avoid employer flight. Sovereigns must become platforms for, and remove impediments to, entrepreneurship, innovation and start-ups. It is not a solution to the employment challenge for policymakers to behave like Luddites or protectionists.

A related problem in America is benefits policies that encourage dependency. This is insidious and life-draining, because a balance must be struck between helping those truly in need and providing harmful incentives for able-bodied people not to work. If the government makes it less economically attractive to work than to receive a check, the predictable result will be an increase in handouts and a drain on the productive sectors of the economy. This is a self-reinforcing trend if it is practiced by politicians buying votes by promising benefits. Benefits can come only from other citizens, and this form of corruption is terrible policy with dreadful results: a cycle of dependency, class warfare, declining productivity, slower growth, fewer opportunities and unmet hopes and dreams.

A third employment-related problem in America and other countries in the developed world is competition from emerging markets, where goods and services are increasingly being produced with comparable or better efficiency, quality, range and sophistication. It is a great and wonderful human development that the opportunity for prosperity is spreading throughout the world. We should all be in favor of policies aimed at helping people and countries all over the world develop tools and methods for educating their people and providing new foundations for entrepreneurship, higher education, creativity, innovation and work at the highest possible level.

The difficulty that developed countries face from this surge in developing-world capability stems from the developed countries’ tendency to coast on past glories and to have uncompetitive wage and cost structures, in addition to an aversion to working harder/smarter/better to stay in the game. The best and only sustainable growth is that which emanates from the human mind – from smarter and more creative efforts and better organizations. “Growth” from policies that depend on beggaring thy neighbor by depreciating one’s currency, erecting trade barriers or cutting wage rates is often chimerical, and such policies are ultimately likely to backfire.

None of the aforementioned headwinds to full employment is disputable. One could assert that the developed countries are doing all they can with the best possible policies, or that nothing can be done about education, labor policy, training, free trade and other important levers for generating good jobs in a tough environment because of internal or external politics. These assertions would be false. While admittedly the cures may be politically difficult, they are there for the taking for leaders and people of courage and vision. Increasing the rigidity of labor policies, combined with protectionism, is not the answer.

In the absence of serious reforms and more effective leadership in the developed countries, their workforces and their economies are probably headed for a spiral of dependency, strife, poverty, inflation and political unrest. Although the long-term budget curves provide some clues about the outer boundaries of timing, the exact moment when we will reach a tipping point is uncertain. However, if that point is reached, which could happen sooner rather than later, it won’t be pretty.

Of course, for any given set of technological changes, policies and conditions related to jobs and the labor force, a stronger rate of economic growth makes things easier and better. Unfortunately, current government policies in the developed countries are no more conducive to providing the conditions for and removing the impediments to stronger economic growth than they are at intelligently helping the work forces in these countries manage the challenges of technological change.


    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/19KtdqCWzJU/story01.htm Tyler Durden

Gold Rush or Just a Streak?

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Gold had a good run for twelve years but has fallen by as much as 20% this year alone. Is that set to continue? It looks as if gold will increase marginally again this week and may even continue reaching a peak next month due to the weak dollar and the fact that the world’s highest consumer of gold (India) will be entering a festive season typically associated with marriages and gold-buying time. But, will investors soon be losing interest in gold? Prices are predicted to increase by at least 3.8% on average (as in previous years) in November. It may even be beyond that percentage increase due to the weakened dollar.

  • 68% of those people polled by CNBC believed that gold would increase again this week after last week topped the highest price in gold for the past four weeks.
  • Now, there is some belief that there will be a high that goes beyond August’s $1, 400.
  • Only 18% of people believe that gold will drop this week while the rest see prices remaining stable.

     Gold Rush or Gold Streak?


    Gold Rush or Gold Streak?

Bullion increased last week by 1.7% and that was mainly due to the lower-than-expected US non-farm-payrolls data that was finally released by the administration for the first time since the government shutdown. The Bureau of Labor Statistics was inevitably one of the non-essential federal government departments that were asked not to come into work. Why on earth do we have non-essential government departments anyhow and why did they come back to work? It was probably only so the administration could inform us that despite the shutdown there was a 0.1% drop in unemployment from 7.3% to 7.2%.

My, the economy is really taking off! You’ll have to hold on to your hat President Obama as the wind that gets whipped up might just knock it off your head as the people stampede to the factories to get to work. Of course, the real unemployment figure is still roughly nearly 15% and that looks like it is set to increase even more as people become more and more discouraged about looking for work. Dropping out of the work market means dropping out of the figures.

But, the current situation means that the Federal Reserve will definitely not be able to withdraw its stimulus plan and Quantitative Easing will end up becoming a lengthy drawn-out process that could be equated with doing nothing more than lining the pockets of the banks so that they can create the next bubble on the stock market. The dollar will be weakened even further by the mere fact that tapering has yet again been postponed. It’s also lower still as a result of the shutdown and worry over the ability to pay back debt for the US.

This week it is expected that the two-day policy meeting for the Federal Reserve will end in an announcement that the easy money will continue well into 2014 and even beyond. Normally it’s loose lips that sink ships. But, this ship will be well and truly sunk by the loose money of Ben Bernanke and President Obama’s monetary policy that is far from conventional.

There are some analysts that believe that the strife for the dollar will bring about a rally in gold that will amount to+$200 in the next few weeks. There are even some that expect gold to go beyond $1, 500 by the end of December 2013. That would mean getting back to levels that have not been seen since April 2013. Gold came down pretty quickly after QE tapering was being bandied about and it could go up just as quickly now that tapering is being postponed. The dire situation of the US will certainly give gold a push and that could be good business to invest in. US debt is not going to go away and the country will end up spending more and more. People will inevitably go back into gold to secure their money. The price of gold can only go up and now is the time to cash in on that.

If the US is going to be in a position to deal with its national debt, paying it down, then it will have to let a little bit of inflation creep in there. That in itself will be more fuel to the fire and will drive up the price of gold again.

So is it a gold rush or a gold streak? Most people will be betting on the fact that this is not just a short burst and that it will last a lot longer than a wet firework that fizzles out.

Originally posted: Gold Rush or Just a Streak?

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Technical Analysis: Bear Expanding Triangle | Bull Expanding Triangle | Bull Falling Wedge Bear Rising Wedge High & Tight Flag

 

 


    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/FDXG9Ij_4YQ/story01.htm Pivotfarm

UBS On The Importance Of 3D Printing

Over a year ago we discussed the “next Industrial Revolution” and where it might appear from. 3D printers were envisioned among Goldman’s top disruptive themes earlier this year and as UBS notes, 3D printing – or additive manufacturing – has been catching investors’ imaginations in recent months. Some commentators have suggested the technology has the potential to literally transform the world economy and dismantle global supply chains; while UBS points out that, others have suggested the technology is hyped and has little promise beyond a few niche product areas in manufacturing. The truth, Andrew Cates believes, probably lies somewhere in between but he is nevertheless more sympathetic to those who champion the technology’s disruptive – even revolutionary – qualities.

 

Via UBS’ Andrew Cates,

For those readers who are not yet aficionados on this technology we start with a brief explanation. Additive manufacturing (AM) techniques (a.k.a. 3D printing) create 3D objects directly from a computer model by depositing material where required and by building products up layer by layer using a range of different materials (e.g. polymers, ceramics, glass and even metals).

This stands in contrast to conventional subtractive manufacturing techniques which involve taking blocks of material, cutting them down into the right shape, and assembling them into more complex products. The technology is admittedly still in its infancy and it suffers from a range of limitations at present. However, we think the optimists who argue that this technology will be revolutionary have a strong case. As one author has quipped:

“This is not the third (industrial revolution), nor the second, but rather the first real revolution in how we make things since a pre-historic man picked up two rocks and started banging them against one another, trying to shape them into something useful” (Dr Alexander Elder)

The technology has not yet generated a major impact on the world economy. A recent report from UBS analysts, for example, noted that the AM market (USD 2.2 billion) amounted to just 0.02% of the global manufacturing sector. Still, as the analysts equally noted, the technology is starting to spread more broadly both at a sector-specific and at a country-specific level. A recent report from Wohlers Associates, for example, reveals that AM is now used in a number of different economic sectors with consumer products/electronics the leading industrial area. The motor vehicle and aerospace sectors are also keen users while the medical/dental profession has additionally established itself as a strong sector for AM over the last few years (see chart 1 below).

The technology is – at present – particularly advantageous in low-to-moderate volume markets (e.g. aerospace) that regularly operate without economies of scale.

At a country-specific level the data from that same report from Wohlers reveals that the US is the lead user by a large margin. Japan, Germany and China have the second, third and fourth largest installed bases, respectively, of systems worldwide (see chart 2 below).

There are a number of reasons why the technology has not yet had a bigger impact. Challenges include production speed, materials availability, precision and control. Issues concerning legal responsibility are also problematic. Still, as we explore below, incentives to overcome these challenges clearly exist because of the potential advantages that the technology affords. And matters at present may already be moving more rapidly than many of the pessimists might contend. The use of nanotechnology, for instance, could mean that plastics in 3D printing soon rival the strength of metals in more conventional manufacturing.

Meanwhile the printing of human kidneys, of houses, of hamburgers (and other food products) and even – in the distant future – of an aeroplane are being actively researched and in some of those cases (e.g. houses and hamburgers) even printed.

The reasons why the technology has so much potential are as follows:

It lowers energy intensity by saving energy, by eliminating production steps, by enabling the reuse of by-products by producing lighter products and by cutting the need for transportation. It is in these respects obviously environmentally-friendly as well.

 

AM techniques yield less waste. The US Department of Energy estimates that by building objects layer by layer instead of traditional machining processes that cut away material AM processes could reduce material needs and costs by up to 90%.

 

It heightens incentives to innovate by eliminating traditional design restrictions. It makes it possible, for example, to create items previously considered too intricate and accelerates final product design. The ability to improve performance and functionality – literally customizing products to meet individual customer needs – should open new markets and improve profitability.

 

It yields greater flexibility in the production process by enabling rapid response to markets and new production options outside of the manufacturing factory. Spare parts can be produced on demand, for example, reducing the need for inventory and complex supply chains.

In short the technology enriches the capital base and enhances the scope for an economy to achieve faster capital- and total factor productivity growth. Its disruptive qualities emerge from the ongoing fall in its relative costs and the increasingly broad reach of its potential. Arguably of most significance from the vantage point of potential global economic benefits the technology lowers the barriers to entry in manufacturing and allows almost anyone to become an entrepreneur.

As we have explored in more detailed research in recent weeks there are a large number of technologies that are rising to the surface of the world economy at present which offer a great deal of promise. AM in isolation would arguably not be so potent were it not for these other innovations that are acting alongside it. The marriage of nanotechnology and AM techniques is perhaps the bestillustration of this. But the increasingly connected world economy via the increasing use of mobile and cloud technology and the ease with which digital designs can now be transported around the planet are notably also helping to foster the take-up and deployment of AM techniques.

We have tentatively estimated that the efficient deployment of new technologies in the information and communications sector, in manufacturing (including AM) and in energy could lift the potential growth rate of the world economy by as much as 0.5 percentage points in the coming years. The winners from this potential transformation
, however, are more likely to be those economies, sectors, companies and consumers that are active users of these new technologies and not necessarily its active producers.


    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/Bn9QzOb278M/story01.htm Tyler Durden

David Einhorn’s Three Questions For Ben Bernanke

From David Einhorn of Greenlight

The amount of media and market attention focused on whether the Federal Reserve will taper its quantitative easing (QE) would border on comical if it weren’t so serious. In August, the San Francisco Fed published an economic research paper that estimated that the $600 billion spent on QE2 added a meager 0.13% to real GDP growth in late 2010 (about $20 billion) and that the benefit fades after two years. Given that, what practical difference does it make whether the Fed buys a monthly $85 billion or $75 billion or no additional securities at all for that matter?

We maintain that excessively easy monetary policy is actually thwarting the recovery. But even if there is some trivial short-term benefit to QE, policy makers should be focusing on the longerterm perils of QE that are likely far more important. Here are some questions that come to mind:

  • How much does QE contribute to the growing inequality of wealth in this country and what are the risks this creates?
  • How much systemic risk does the Fed create by becoming what Warren Buffett termed “the greatest hedge fund in history”?
  • How might the Fed’s expanded balance sheet and its failure to even begin to “normalize” monetary policy four years into the recovery limit its flexibility to deal with the next recession or crisis?

No one is sure what the Fed is focused on. After spending several months bracing the market for fewer QE donuts, the Fed decided that it was premature to taper. Even a token reduction (from a baker’s dozen to a dozen?) was ruled out despite the fact that the economic trajectory has not materially changed. We responded the next morning with our own stimulus by ordering jelly donuts for the entire office.


    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/YRagU0U6d9c/story01.htm Tyler Durden

David Einhorn's Three Questions For Ben Bernanke

From David Einhorn of Greenlight

The amount of media and market attention focused on whether the Federal Reserve will taper its quantitative easing (QE) would border on comical if it weren’t so serious. In August, the San Francisco Fed published an economic research paper that estimated that the $600 billion spent on QE2 added a meager 0.13% to real GDP growth in late 2010 (about $20 billion) and that the benefit fades after two years. Given that, what practical difference does it make whether the Fed buys a monthly $85 billion or $75 billion or no additional securities at all for that matter?

We maintain that excessively easy monetary policy is actually thwarting the recovery. But even if there is some trivial short-term benefit to QE, policy makers should be focusing on the longerterm perils of QE that are likely far more important. Here are some questions that come to mind:

  • How much does QE contribute to the growing inequality of wealth in this country and what are the risks this creates?
  • How much systemic risk does the Fed create by becoming what Warren Buffett termed “the greatest hedge fund in history”?
  • How might the Fed’s expanded balance sheet and its failure to even begin to “normalize” monetary policy four years into the recovery limit its flexibility to deal with the next recession or crisis?

No one is sure what the Fed is focused on. After spending several months bracing the market for fewer QE donuts, the Fed decided that it was premature to taper. Even a token reduction (from a baker’s dozen to a dozen?) was ruled out despite the fact that the economic trajectory has not materially changed. We responded the next morning with our own stimulus by ordering jelly donuts for the entire office.


    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/YRagU0U6d9c/story01.htm Tyler Durden

Guest Post: 5 Ways To Create A Monopoly

Submitted by Brian LaSorsa via The Ludwig von Mises Institute,

It’s hard to maintain monopoly status in a free market when you have to deal with all that competition and whatnot.

Between other companies’ low prices and new, updated products entering the market each day, it’s almost like Rich Uncle Pennybags is a thing of the past. But fret not!

The politicians of the world would like to offer anyone dead set on controlling an entire industry the chance to shine. So come one, come all — government agencies, cronies, and all their friends — as we present the five best ways to create a monopoly and to ensure you never have to compete again.

1. Regulations. When the cost of doing business is high, make it higher. Small firms can’t survive government imposed regulations while bigger firms can certainly bear the burden, at least temporarily. Taxes, mandates, and especially “safety regulations” (e.g., clinical trials at the Food and Drug Administration) will wipe out your competition before they even have time to ask what the new rules mean. Then hire a lobbyist in Washington. I’m sure he or she will come up with a good reason that the industry should adhere to stricter and more expensive guidelines.

2. Subsidies. There’s no such thing as a free lunch. But, when the government is paying for it, the lunch sure does taste free. Subsidies offer an alternative, consumer-driven focus to acquiring monopoly status. Arbitrary revenue-boosts from the government will allow you to reduce prices to essentially nothing, all while maintaining profitability. You can give away (what used to be) a $10.00 item for free and, with the help of $1 million in subsidies from our nation’s capital, you can stay afloat. Your competitors, however, will have to make do with reality. Even if they somehow manage to slash prices to $1.00 per unit, what kind of customer will pass up free? The subsidy doesn’t have to last permanently, either. It will only take a few weeks before your competitors begin to default on paychecks and other loans without transaction revenue.

You can also take this route without the government revenue injections if you have a contingency plan in the form of a bailout. Both you and your competitors will go bankrupt, but only one (fingers crossed it’s you) will receive CPR.

3. Nationalization. Shout out to government officials! This one’s for you. The easiest and most straightforward way to create a monopoly is to simply write the monopoly into law. Federal control over an entire industry — much like we’ve done with the United States Postal Service — is effectively the prohibition of competition from the private sector. But don’t ever reference the USPS. It’s a terrible (albeit realistic) example of a government monopoly, what with its inefficiency, perpetual deficits, and general lack of regard for any sense of advancement in mail delivery. Rather, tell everyone you want to monopolize “for the good of the people” and then talk about the Department of Education or some other public sector operation people don’t like to criticize in front of company.

4. Tariffs. Neighbors can be annoying. Some are loud and others are strange, but the absolute worst neighbors are the ones who compete with you in the marketplace (and then win). In the beautiful Southwest, this neighbor is Mexico. Companies south of the border produce certain commodities much more cheaply than American companies do, and they have the nerve to think that they can export their inexpensive products to the United States on a whim. We don’t think so. If Mexican companies sell sugar for $2.00 per pound and you charge $3.00, don’t let them satisfy customers like they own the place. Make sure they pay an import fee of $1.01 and it’s guaranteed you’ll win new business one cent at a time. Better yet, propose a complete ban on the sale of foreign goods in your state, city, and town until you’re so isolated from the rest of the world that no one has a choice to buy from anyone except you.

5. Intellectual property. If you have a good idea, why let anyone else have the same one? Take that idea, write it down in the broadest words possible, and send it straight to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, where public officials will (hopefully) grant you the exclusive right to use it. And don’t worry, if someone else thinks of the idea one day later … too bad. You filed first. Even if someone halfway across the globe comes up with the same idea independently … too bad. You filed first. Milk your monopoly for all it’s worth. Put a huge price tag on that beast and feel free to ignore quality. What are consumers going to do: purchase your exclusive product elsewhere?

We wish you the best of luck in your venture. You deserve it.


    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/u5Pue4gXoIk/story01.htm Tyler Durden

Halloween Humor: How To Slay Zombies With Economics

Presumably you’ve already made plans for surviving a zombie apocalypse. You have detailed escape routes, stockpiled weapons made for killing zombies, stores of food… or at least plans for these things. But have you thought through the important economic factors that might make the difference between surviving and losing your brain to one of the walking dead? If uncertainty about how market prices and currency changes might affect your odds in a zombie-dominated society has been keeping you up at night, fear not. In this video, Prof. Anthony Davies provides a crash course in how a zombie apocalypse is likely to affect the economy. Hint: sell your designer shoes now while you can. And buy bullets.

 


    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/4mujdZLrIiw/story01.htm Tyler Durden

Germany Advises Journalists To Stop Using Google Over US Spying Concerns, May Ask Snowden To Tesity Against NSA

The spat between the US and Germany is getting worse by the minute. Following yesterday’s meaningless escalation by the Treasury accusing, via official pathways, Germany of being the main culprit for Europe’s lack of recovery (and Germany’s subsequent retaliation), it is Germany’s turn now to refocus public attention on Big Brother’s spying pathology when a union representing Germany’s journalists advised its members earlier today to stop using Google and Yahoo because of the latest report implicating the NSA in eavesdropping on Google and Yahoo.

From Reuters:

“The German Federation of Journalists recommends journalists to avoid until further notice the use of search engines and e-mail services from Google and Yahoo for their research and digital communication,” the union said in a statement.

 

It cited “scandalous” reports of interception of both companies’ web traffic by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) and Britain’s GCHQ.

 

“The searches made by journalists are just as confidential as the contact details of their sources and the contents of their communication with them,” said Michael Konken, head of the union which represents about 38,000 journalists. He said there were safe alternatives for both searches and email.

And while in the US having one’s dirty laundry is almost perceived as a status symbol by a culture that encourages online exhibitionism via Facebook and other social media (so what if some bureaucrat in Virginia knows more than what is public), in Germany privacy is actually taken seriouysly.

The German government said last week it had evidence that Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone had been monitored by U.S. intelligence.

 

Government snooping is especially sensitive in Germany, which has among the strictest privacy laws in the world, since it dredges up memories of eavesdropping by the Stasi secret police in former communist East Germany.

 

Earlier this month, Deutsche Telekom said it wanted German companies to cooperate to shield local internet traffic from foreign intelligence services, although experts believe this could be an uphill battle.

 

In August, Deutsche Telekom and its partner United Internet launched an initiative dubbed “E-mail made in Germany” to protect clients’ email traffic.

And in other news, it is increasingly looking likely that none other than Ed Snowden will be called to testify against the NSA in a German court of law. Germany’s ARD reported that Snowden is willing in principal to help shed light on U.S. spying but outlined his complicated legal situation. As we noted earlier, German Greek politician Stroebele proposed possible safe conduct to Berlin, and granting Snowden a residence permit that would prevent extradition. Snowden attorney Anatoly Kutscherena earlier said he wouldn’t comment on alleged NSA spying on Angela Merkel.

Ironically, this follow news that Snowden would take a position with Russian Internet company Vkontakte, a local analogue to Facebook, to develop major website, according to his lawyer.

So if Obama was hoping that all the late summer scandals that have taken his reptuation to an all time low would at least push the NSA spying scandal away from the front page, he may need some additional fabricated and YouTube-validated false flag wars very soon.


    



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Guest Post: Are Constitutional Conservatives Really The Boogeyman?

Submitted by Brandon Smith of Alt-Market blog,

Power, or perceived power, is a viciously addictive narcotic. It doesn't matter what political or philosophical background a person hails from, very few have the self discipline or the self awareness necessary to relinquish the trappings of power once they have tasted it. This truth applies to conservatives as much as it applies to liberals.

I began my early political life as a Democrat, and until I came to understand the nature of the false left right paradigm in 2004, my view of the negative within government was slanted entirely against the GOP. When a finally grasped the fantasy of the two party process, I did not let go of my criticisms of the Republican hierarchy as much as accept the fact that the same criticisms applied to the Democrats as well. They are, ultimately, the same entity with the same exact ideological goals hidden by cosmetic differences in shallow rhetoric. I have no interest whatsoever in perpetuating the false left/right paradigm, or giving undue credit to the GOP.

However, as stated earlier, power is a drug, one which the so-called “left” has been hooked on since the Obama Administration took its seat in the White House. While the Republicans have much to answer for (the Bush years are a nightmarish example), it is the Democratic Party, and those who blindly identify with it, that must be addressed today. It is they who are now directly feeding the elitist machine, giving it momentum, and aiding in the destruction of the American economy and culture. It is their madness and thirst for control that is being exploited by the establishment to demonize legitimate activists who seek Constitutional transparency (the only people in this country today who understand the bigger picture and who the real enemies are) thus undermining any chance our society has for a free and prosperous future.

A new propaganda theater has exploded in mainstream media outlets and the liberal side of the blogosphere spectrum. This initiative centers on a not so subtle attempt to connect “Tea Party Conservatives” (basically lumping all people who espouse limited government ideals and constitutional principles under one easy to marginalize label) to any and all of our nation's fiscal and political problems. The debt ceiling debate has added a new dimension to this defamation program, sending leftist talking heads into a bloodthirsty frenzy akin to a Bolshevik street mob. Constitutional conservatives have been compared to “extremists”, “separatists”, “new southern confederates”, “traitors”, “saboteurs”, and “domestic enemies of the United States”. Here is just a sample of the MSM hate parade:

http://www.alternet.org/tea-party-and-right/robert-reich-tea-party-americans-dont-traitors-our-system-government

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/republican-extremism-and-the-lessons-of-history-20131010

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/david-ignatius-how-republicans-can-sideline-the-tea-party/2013/10/18/01c24536-377c-11e3-80c6-7e6dd8d22d8f_story.html

http://www.salon.com/2013/10/07/tea_party_extremism_has_me_worried_tammy_baldwin_talks_to_salon/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gb6LMB2FX3w

There is a particular brand of rabid shameless zealotry to this rhetoric that I have not seen since the days of the Neo-Con drive to invade Iraq. It's worse in many ways, in fact, because it attempts to link political dissent with “treason” in a very dangerous manner, and sets the stage for an “acceptable level” of totalitarianism. These are the same people who fought tooth and nail against identical tactics only a decade ago, and now, they have happily (and hypocritically) adopted the nefarious methods as their own.

We have gone beyond mere talk into a realm where political witch-hunts may become an Orwellian reality, and it is the “Tea Party” that the establishment wants to burn at the stake. Even now, federal agents are training active duty military personnel to view Constitutional conservatives as “terrorists” bent on annihilating America:

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2013/10/23/does-army-consider-christians-tea-party-terror-threat/

Because of this danger, I am forced to dismantle the ludicrous arguments of my former party, and expose the vile and dishonest nature of their motivations. Here is why the loyal left has become a far greater threat to the safety of our country than they could ever hope to paint conservative activists. Here are the reasons why they hate us…

Why Neo-Liberals Distrust Limited Government Champions

In my time as a Democrat I did not always agree with the party line. I believed that if a massive government system was an inevitability, then it SHOULD at the very least exist to help, not harm or control, the American public. I never attached myself to the notion that government was the answer to every crisis. Many liberals, however, do assume that government can be tamed, and if they gain total control of the system through political maneuvering it will somehow naturally gravitate towards humanitarian concerns. Government, in their minds, is a tool they can exploit, when in reality government is a self contained entity that exploits them as tools.

The great downfall of orthodox Republican culture is the blind faith it commonly places in the corporate world and the vestiges of big-business. They believe free markets actually exist in America today (they don't), and that the captains of industry are what drive our country forward. Liberals, on the other hand, also believe that free markets exist in America today (they don't), and that these “uncontrolled” financial organizations are the cause of all our social grief. Liberals are correct to be suspicious of the corporate oligarchy; the professed goal of many banking elites of dominant globalization is certainly a threat to us all.

The problem is, liberals don't really take issue with the concept of globalization, per se. In fact, many of them love the philosophy. They just don't like the idea of “conservatives” being at the helm of such vast change. Liberals attach themselves to government and rabidly defend it because they falsely imagine that government can be used to stifle or destroy what they assume to be a conservative dominated corporate machine. They want the destruction of American sovereignty. They want a system that dictates and micro-manages the citizenry. But, they want that system to operate on their terms and enforce their particular world views, which they believe not only politically correct, but sacrosanct.

In the minds of many average liberals, government is the only recourse to affect their battle against corporate dominance. When faced with a person or group of people espousing the principles of limited government, reduced spending, reduced taxes, and cuts to bureaucracy, liberals immediately presume that those people are seeking to support the corporate oligarchy by de-fanging government and removing their greatest weapon. Tea Party and Lib
erty Movement conservatives do indeed seek to de-fang government, but we have also broken from the Republican orthodoxy and recognized that government actually colludes with corporate elites on the most vital issues. We understand that they are part of the same monstrosity, and so, we are just as uncompromising in our fight against big government as we are against unaccountable business. This confuses liberals who are so acclimated to the traditional boundaries of debate between Left and Right.

They don't know how to classify or pigeonhole us, and they certainly don't have the capacity to argue with us on a rational level because half the story has gone over their heads. And so, they follow the natural human inclination, which is to hate and despise what one does not understand and what one cannot quantify. In the eyes of bewildered Democrats (and some elitist Republicans) we are extremists, because they have never been confronted before with people who are so fully committed and immovable in their principles. Uncompromising opponents, unshakeable opponents, are the most terrifying opponents.

The Left's Inclination Towards Collectivism

The liberal subculture is permeated with frightened people. They are frightened of authority yet infatuated by authority. They are frightened of independence yet feign independence. They are frightened of the blunt truth in serious matters, yet fascinated by the blunt truth as a form of comedic anesthesia. They like to imagine themselves as socially heroic but they have never had the concrete courage required to achieve a truly heroic deed, which is why they constantly argue that state designated officials are the only people qualified to manage or defend the public interest. It is much easier to hand responsibility over to a man in a uniform who may or may not do anything proactive than it is to take responsibility by one's self.

One of the most off-putting character traits inherent among the many Democrats I've met along the way is a complete incapacity to stand alone against a dilemma. The average liberal is, I'm sorry to say, invariably weak and always searching for someone else to handle their messes for them. Their love of government stems in large part from their desperate need to find a parental figure to cradle them, or a group structure that will reinforce their beliefs without question.

I have rarely if ever seen any substantial measure of individual action or resolve amongst liberals. The activism of the left almost always gravitates towards asking government for permission with as many pleading hands as possible, or asking government to repair a malfunction it created, or begging the system to PLEASE respect their rights. To suggest to them that perhaps they should compete with the system, build their own more honest social paradigms as individuals, defy criminal authority even at the risk of their own lives, or actually physically fight back, is a waste of time.

The liberal activist's dream scenario? A safe majority of the population suddenly and magically standing up together with one mind to achieve a singular goal while facing no meaningful pain, struggle, or risk. They sit around waiting for that day, when we all dawn our V For Vendetta masks and march on Washington D.C. together while the Plutocrats stand down in silent defeat. It is a pointless fantasy with little to no historical precedent.

This is why they treat Constitutional conservatives with disdain. They are incredulous when we state that we will fight even if we are the so-called “fringe”. They are shocked and unsettled when we state that the mainstream view is irrelevant. They laugh at the concept of independent action against the system regardless of the risks simply because they know personally, deep down, that they don't have the balls to make the same stand, and so snide ridicule is their only safety mechanism.

This cancerous attachment to the collective is what makes the “left” so easily manipulated by political elites, who play on that which they fear most to lose – their socialist safety net. The existence of an ideological movement like Constitutional conservatism which openly and defiantly pursues an end to government sponsored collectivism and the crutch of economic socialization is the ultimate boogeyman for the liberal front.

The Liberal Land Of Infinite Comfort

The recent debt ceiling debate was incredibly effective in driving home the insurmountable differences between hardcore Neo-Liberals and proponents of limited government. This conflict is only going to become more pronounced as the next debt debate approaches in the Spring of 2014. The roughly 25% to 30% of the U.S. population that still worships the Obama Administration despite all logic is more than enough cannon fodder for the establishment to throw at us.

They believe we are out to destroy the nation because we “aren't getting our way” on Obamacare. They believe we have placed our political desires ahead of the good of the collective. They believe we are self absorbed extremists; mad bombers strapped with TNT and ready to take everyone to hell with us. They believe our entire movement is a hologram created by the mysterious Koch Brothers – Libertarians with money now lampooned by liberals as secret corporate Decepticons responsible for grassroots activist initiatives that started long before the Koch Brothers ever put money into them. The fairytale is flourishing in their minds, and we are the villains.

More than anything, Liberals want a future of unlimited ease. Some are motivated by a desire to help others, but many are motivated by a desire to help themselves. In either case, they must understand that infinite government growth and infinite government spending will NEVER get them what they want. No matter how hard they wish for it, socialist utopianism will always fail. Why? All government is inherently flawed, because all government is administrated by inherently flawed people.

Constitutional conservatives don't hate Obamacare because we don't want people to have healthcare. We hate Obamacare because it is a horrible solution to a problem that needs a working solution. We hate Obamacare because it makes the existing problem worse, not better (as the past couple weeks of bureaucratic failure have shown).

We haven't abandoned the general good of this country, but we do demand that the founding principles of freedom, independence, and limited government that built this country be considered a priority. There is no “general good” without foundations of honor, reason, and transparency. If liberals are suggesting that the greater good requires us to ignore conscience, reality, and basic mathematics, then I will have to disagree, and I am willing to put everything on the line to defend that position. Are they willing to do the same?

As far as the Koch Bros. are concerned, I don't take orders from them, and I don't know anyone in the movement who does. I've also seen no indication that the Koch Bros have any desire to give orders to anyone in the movement. We do what we do because we BELIEVE in what we do, not because we get paid for what we do. If the Koch Bros didn't exist, the limited government movement would continue on without missing a beat. Let's direct our energies into the legitimate conspiracy of globalization and stop wasting our time with made-up conspiracies perpetuated by the mainstream media, shall we?

Constitutional conservatives have been the only people attempting to inform the American public of the facts surrounding our current fiscal crisis. Some have been doing it for decades. Many of us have been doing it since before the average liberal was even aware that a crisis existed. We are trying to help them, even though we disagree with them on numerous fundamentals.

The bottom line is, whether Obamacare is successfully implemented or not, whe
ther the debt ceiling is raised again or not, whether the Left passes every agenda on its list or not, our system is broken and it is going to collapse. There is no way around it. More debt and more fiat printing means stagflationary collapse. Default and austerity means stagflationary collapse. If liberals want to place blame for this conundrum, then they should focus on the people who actually set the original fire – international and central bankers.

To my former political ideologues, I do not expect most of you to shift to a Liberty Movement perspective. I know all too well that you already think you have the whole of the world figured out and the rest of us are simply to ignorant to grasp your liberal insights. But I do ask that you remember what you read here today. File it away under “Tea Party Propaganda” if you want, but never forget. Your ambitions for a big government you can control will end in disaster. Your willingness to scapegoat Constitutionalists will backfire. The system you deify will turn on you. And, the fake power you think you have gained in the past five years will disappear just as quickly as it materialized.

If you want to avoid being caught in the tides of history with your proverbial pants down, or being used by elitists like pawns in a brutal game of global chess, consider quitting the system entirely and adopting a more independent position. That is what I did, and I can't imagine ever going back. Often it is the philosophies most despised by the mainstream that end up being the most right. The boogeymen of the present sometimes become the heroes of the future.


    



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