Archive for the ‘Stock Market’ Category
This is not some intellectual exercise; far from it!
As often happens, a number of seemingly disconnected articles and reports seem to have provided a common theme. A theme that has previously been aired on Learning from Dogs yet a theme that always needs to be in the front of our faces: integrity.
Here are some of those articles.
Firstly, I presented recently in this place an essay from George Monbiot that proposed (my italics):
The revelation that humanity’s dominant characteristic is, er, humanity will come as no surprise to those who have followed recent developments in behavioural and social sciences. People, these findings suggest, are basically and inherently nice.
Patrice Ayme, however, pointed out in a reply:
Saying that “people are good, while tolerating bad things” is an ineffective morality. The crux, indeed, is the moral nature of institutions, controlled by a few, not whether humans are kind or not.
That struck me as central to the theme: it is the terrible lack of integrity that we see in those who hold positions of power that totally overrides the premise that people are fundamentally good.
The next article read was an essay by Professor Michael Perelman published on Naked Capitalism. Perelman is a professor of economics at California State University. He also writes at Unsettling Economics. Here is a little from that essay:
The architecture of inequality must be carefully constructed. As the founding fathers of the United States clearly understood, democracy must be kept in check. For this purpose, they invented the Electoral College to prevent the president from being elected by popular vote.
To ensure an effective electoral system, an obsequious media must be skilled in drowning the public with a flood of misinformation to maintain a constant level of fear to make them more likely to side with the CS (corporate system).
If there is ever one example of how that lack of integrity manifests itself in our world it is through inequality. Professor Perelman’s essay is clearly written “tongue-in-cheek” but that doesn’t lessen the impact of his essay. Try his closing paragraphs: (CES = a subset of CS; WEM = The Wondrous Efficiency of Markets)
Regulators are not the only ones to see the benefits of working with the CES. Politicians who resign or are defeated are almost inevitably destined to enjoy the benefits of their dedication to the WEM with the returns from taking a rewarding position with a major corporation, lobbying, or even a lucrative contract to write a book that virtually no one would want to read.
When done correctly, this system works magnificently, although it periodically it seems to fall apart until the detested government apparatus rescues it. In the meantime, huge amounts of wealth and income fall into the hands of the top 1%, the people of greatest importance, while the rest of the public can enjoy watching the spectacular performance of the CES, a reward worthy of their place in society especially because envy of the wealthy brethren will obviously make them work harder to succeed, adding to WEM.
All power to WEM!
Does this have anything to do with dogs?
Let me steal a little from Chapter 16: Community from my forthcoming book:
When dogs lived in the wild, their natural pack size was about fifty animals and there were just three dogs that had pack status: the mentor, minder and nanny dogs, as described in Chapter 5. [Pharaoh: the Teaching Dog] As was explained in that chapter, all three dogs of status are born into their respective roles and their duties in their pack are instinctive. There was no such thing as competition for that role as all the other dogs in that natural pack grouping would be equal participants with no ambitions to be anything else.
Anyone who has had the privilege of living with a group of dogs will know beyond doubt that they develop a wonderful community strength. Let’s reflect on the lessons being offered for us in this regard by our dogs.
To reinforce the fact that this is not a new phenomena, at the time I was drafting my book last November, a new report was issued by the Center of Economic Policy Research (CEPR) on the latest (American) Survey of Consumer Finances. It painted a picture very familiar to many: the rich becoming richer while those with less wealth are falling further and further behind.
David Rosnick of the CEPR, and one of the report co-authors, made this important observation:
The decline in the position of typical households is even worse than the Consumer Finances survey indicates. In 1989, many workers had pensions. Far fewer do now. The value of pensions isn’t included in these surveys due to the difficulty of determining what they are worth on a current basis. But they clearly are significant assets that relatively few working age people have now.
Sharmini Peries, of The Real News Network, in an interview with David Rosnick, asked:
PERIES: David, just quickly explain to us what is the Consumer Finance Survey. I know it’s an important survey for economists, but why is it important to ordinary people? Why is it important to us?
ROSNICK: So, every three years, the Federal Reserve interviews a number of households to get an idea of what their finances are like, do they have a lot of wealth, how much are their house’s worth, how much they owe on their mortgages, how much they have in the bank account, how much stocks do wealthy people own. This gives us an idea of their situations, whether they’re going to be prepared for retirement. And we can see things like the effect of the housing and stock bubbles on people’s wealth, whether they’ve been preparing for eventual downfalls, how they’ve reacted to various economic circumstances, how they’re looking to the long term. So it’s a very useful survey in terms of finding out how households are prepared and what the distribution of wealth is like.
PERIES: So your report is an analysis of the report. And what are your key findings?
ROSNICK: So, largely over the last 24 years there’s been a considerable increase in wealth on average, but it’s been very maldistributed. Households in the bottom half of the distribution have actually seen their wealth fall, but the people at the very top have actually done very well. And so that means that a lot of people who are nearing retirement at this point in time are actually not well prepared at all for retirement and are going to be very dependent on Social Security in order to make it through their retirement years.
PERIES: So, David, address the gap. You said there’s a great gap between those that are very wealthy and those that are not. Has this gap widened over this period?
ROSNICK: It absolutely has. As, say, the top 5 percent in wealth, the average wealth for people in the top 5 percent is about 66 percent higher in 2013, the last survey that was completed, compared to 1989. By comparison, for the bottom 20 percent, their wealth has actually fallen 420 percent. They basically had very little to start with, and now they have less than little.
PERIES: So the poorer is getting poorer and the richer is getting extremely richer.
ROSNICK: Very much so.
To my way of thinking, if in the period 1989 through to 2013 “the average wealth for (American) people in the top 5 percent is about 66 percent higher” and “for the bottom 20 percent, their wealth has actually fallen 420 percent” it’s very difficult not to see the hands of greed at work and a consequential devastating increase in inequality.
In other words, the previous few paragraphs seemed to present, and present clearly, the widening gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots’, comparatively speaking, and that it was now time for society to understand the trends, to reflect on where this is taking us, if left unchallenged, and to push back as hard as we can both politically and socially.
I wrote that shortly before another item appeared in my email ‘in-box’ in the middle of November (2014), a further report about inequality that, frankly, emotionally speaking, just smacked me in the face. It seemed a critical addition to the picture I was endeavouring to present.
Namely, on the 13th October, 2014, the US edition of The Guardian newspaper published a story entitled: US wealth inequality – top 0.1% worth as much as the bottom 90%. The sub-heading enlarged the headline: Not since the Great Depression has wealth inequality in the US been so acute, new in-depth study finds.
The study referred to was a paper released by the National Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge, MA, based on research conducted by Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman. The paper’s bland title belied the reality of the research findings: Wealth Inequality in the United States since 1913.
As the Guardian reported:
Wealth inequality in the US is at near record levels according to a new study by academics. Over the past three decades, the share of household wealth owned by the top 0.1% has increased from 7% to 22%. For the bottom 90% of families, a combination of rising debt, the collapse of the value of their assets during the financial crisis, and stagnant real wages have led to the erosion of wealth. The share of wealth owned by the top 0.1% is almost the same as the bottom 90%.
The picture actually improved in the aftermath of the 1930s Great Depression, with wealth inequality falling through to the late 1970s. It then started to rise again, with the share of total household wealth owned by the top 0.1% rising to 22% in 2012 from 7% in the late 1970s. The top 0.1% includes 160,000 families with total net assets of more than $20m (£13m) in 2012.
In contrast, the share of total US wealth owned by the bottom 90% of families fell from a peak of 36% in the mid-1980s, to 23% in 2012 – just one percentage point above the top 0.1%.
The report was not exclusively about the USA. As the closing paragraphs in The Guardian’s article illustrated:
Among the nine G20 countries with sufficient data, the richest 1% of people (by income) have increased their income share significantly since 1980, according to Oxfam. In Australia, for example, the top 1% earned 4.8% of the country’s income in 1980. That had risen to more than 9% by 2010.
Oxfam says that in the time that Australia has held the G20 presidency (between 2013 and 2014) the total wealth in the G20 increased by $17tn but the richest 1% of people in the G20 captured $6.2tn of this wealth – 36% of the total increase.
I find it incredibly difficult to have any rational response to those figures. I am just aware that there is a flurry of mixed emotions inside me and, perhaps, that’s how I should leave it. Nonetheless, there’s one thing that I can’t keep to myself and that this isn’t the first time that such inequality has arisen; the period leading up the the Great Depression of the 1930s comes immediately to mind.
What on earth is coming down the road this time!
If only we truly could learn from our dogs!
Why we have to learn integrity from our dogs, and soon!
After yesterday’s post about the ice dagger poised to fall on the heads of humanity, I was hoping to offer something more cheerful for today. Indeed, I had a guest post ready for publication but then ran into a small technical hitch that stopped it being scheduled for today.
So I turned to this recent article that appeared on The Conversation blogsite that is, unfortunately, another reminder of these mad times. It is republished within the terms of articles that appear on The Conversation.
How could VW be so dumb? Blame the unethical culture endemic in business.
Author: Edward L Queen, Director of Ethics and Servant Leadership Program, Emory University.
That far too much of the world’s corporate leadership is driven by moral midgets who have been educated far beyond their capacities for good judgment should be obvious after observing the events of the past week.
The financial industry-led economic collapse of 2008 should have taught us this lesson, but the specificity and clarity of it was brought home by news of price-gouging in the pharmaceutical industry and, even more blatantly, by the announcement that Volkswagen intentionally programmed thousands of its diesel automobiles to cheat emissions testing.
We should be outraged by such behavior and demand appropriate punishments and sanctions as well as restitution and correction. But we should not be shocked. As an ethicist who has looked at the behavior of individuals in business and corporations, I can point to a number of troubling trends that help explain these transgressions.
Impaired moral imaginations
For the past five to six decades, epigones of Milton Friedman have been emphasizing that the only duty of a corporation is return on investment (regularly ignoring his caveat of doing so within the law and social norms).
This lesson, drilled into generations of business school graduates, now drives tsunamis of corporate malfeasance. Data regularly demonstrate that business school students are more likely to cheat on examinations and assignments than their peers, although – and this is of interest for the Volkswagen case – they are closely followed by engineering students.
Additionally, some evidence suggests that not only are business students more impaired in their moral judgments in a broader sense than are those in other majors and professional schools, but that business schools themselves may be responsible.
More disturbing, observational and anecdotal evidence suggests that business students are not only impaired in their moral judgments but that significant percentages of them have severely impaired moral imaginations. By this I mean not only do they make bad ethical decisions, but they actually are incapable of identifying an ethical situation when they are presented with one.
Numerous interviews with business ethics faculty I have had over the past decade suggest that when business students are presented with an ethics case, that is a case where they have been told that there is an ethical problem, 20% to 30% of the students cannot find or identify the ethical issue. This has been borne out by my personal experience when teaching business students.
With regards to the Volkswagen scandal, let us be clear about the nature of the company’s activities. This was not a mistake, an error, an ethical lapse or poor judgment. This was an intentionally designed and executed violation of the law in both its letter and its spirit. It also was an ethical violation of the highest level.
Volkswagen intentionally deceived those to whom it owed a duty of honesty. It fraudulently misrepresented its automobiles to be other than what they were. Most significantly, it intentionally chose to do so and went out of its way to commit the wrong.
This last fact may make it far more difficult for VW to recover from the reputational hit than it perhaps has been for GM or Toyota. Even though the latter’s product defects cost people their lives, they did not intentionally produce such parts.
The sheer brazenness and conniving that went into Volkswagen’s actions are probably what shocked people the most. This was a highly technical and sophisticated operation that basically taught the emissions system how to distinguish between road travel, typical idling and idling while undergoing an emissions test.
No spin can mitigate that fact. There is and can be no claims of confusion or misunderstanding, no failures to communicate. This will erode people’s trust in Volkswagen as a company to a degree that the failures of other companies may not have experienced. In the Volkswagen scandal, just like the story about price gouging in pharmaceuticals that broke the same week, consumers are confronted with the stark reality of corporate malfeasance.
In both instances, the wrongdoing was exacerbated by the responses of the companies’ CEOs. The now former CEO of Volkswagen, Martin Winterkorn, basically acknowledged his incompetence and failure of leadership by claiming that he was unaware of the actions taken by his employees. Martin Shkreli, the CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, in a series of tweets responding to criticisms of its pricing of the drug Daraprim demonstrated a level of knowledge of moral and social norms that can only be described as clueless.
These events – and others – make clear that there is a need to look at the broader cultural realities that drive unethical decisions in business, particularly the perception that the only way of determining value and worth is money.
This situation is not new – as early as 1906 William James wrote in a letter to H G Wells, “The moral flabbiness born of the exclusive worship of the bitch-goddess SUCCESS. That – with the squalid cash interpretation put on the word success — is our national disease.”
When a person’s worth is determined only by money, only by success as it is and can be monetized, when one has no sense of being without the BMW, the Rolex, the Armani suits, the yacht, etc, the moral flabbiness emerges. Indeed, it engulfs entire organizations and perhaps even entire societies.
Those last two sentences of that essay need repeating over and over again. This may just be a blog about learning from our beloved dog companions but as my home page spells out, this is not some silly romantic notion:
As man’s companion, protector and helper, history suggests that dogs were critically important in man achieving success as a hunter-gatherer. Dogs ‘teaching’ man to be so successful a hunter enabled evolution, some 20,000 years later, to farming, thence the long journey to modern man. But in the last, say 100 years, that farming spirit has become corrupted to the point where we see the planet’s plant and mineral resources as infinite. Mankind is close to the edge of extinction, literally and spiritually.
Dogs know better, much better! Time again for man to learn from dogs!
A sombre reflection on the killing abilities of man.
I was in two minds as to whether to post this today for it is certainly a grim reminder of the less desirable aspects of our species.
In the end, I decided to so do because it needs to be shared and if it changes the mindset of just one person it will have been worthwhile. I was originally seen by me on the EarthSky blogsite.
Want to see Earth’s super predator? Look in the mirror.
Our efficient killing technologies have given rise to the human super predator. Our impacts are as extreme as our behavior, says study.
Extreme human predatory behavior is responsible for widespread wildlife extinctions, shrinking fish sizes and disruptions to global food chains, according to research published in the August 21 edition of the journal Science these are extreme outcomes that non-human predators seldom impose, according to the article.
Lead researcher Chris Darimont is a professor of geography at the University of Victoria. Darimont said:
Our wickedly efficient killing technology, global economic systems and resource management that prioritize short-term benefits to humanity have given rise to the human super predator. Our impacts are as extreme as our behavior and the planet bears the burden of our predatory dominance.
The team’s global analysis indicates that humans typically exploit adult fish populations at 14 times the rate than do marine predators. Humans also hunt and kill large land carnivores such as bears, wolves and lions at nine times the rate that these predatory animals kill each other in the wild.
Researchers noted that in some cases, dwindling species of predatory land carnivores are more aggressively hunted for trophies, due to the premium placed on rare prey.
The result of human activity on wildlife populations is far greater than natural predation. Research suggests that socio-political factors can explain why humans repeatedly overexploit. Technology explains how: Humans use advanced killing tools, cheap fossil fuel, and professional harvesters – like high-volume commercial fishing fleets – to overcome the defensive adaptations of prey.
Humanity also departs fundamentally from predation in nature by targeting adult quarry.Co-author Tom Reimchen is a biology professor at University of Victoria. He said:
Whereas predators primarily target the juveniles or ‘reproductive interest’ of populations, humans draw down the ‘reproductive capital’ by exploiting adult prey.
During four decades of fieldwork on Haida Gwaii, an archipelago on the northern coast of British Columbia, Reimchen looked at how human predators differ from other predators in nature. Reimchen’s predator-prey research revealed that predatory fish and diving birds overwhelmingly killed juvenile forms of freshwater fish. Collectively, 22 predator species took no more than five per cent of the adult fish each year. Nearby, Reimchen observed a stark contrast: fisheries exclusively targeted adult salmon, taking 50 per cent or more of the runs.
The authors conclude with an urgent call to reconsider the concept of “sustainable exploitation” in wildlife and fisheries management. A truly sustainable model, they argue, would mean cultivating cultural, economic and institutional change that places limits on human activities to more closely follow the behavior of natural predators. Darimont said:
We should be protecting our wildlife and marine assets as an investor would in a stock portfolio.
Bottom line: According to research published in the August 21, 2015 edition of Science, extreme human predatory behavior is responsible for widespread wildlife extinctions, shrinking fish sizes and disruptions to global food chains.
Chris Darimont really put his finger on the spot in my opinion when he was quoted,”We should be protecting our wildlife and marine assets as an investor would in a stock portfolio.”
Going to close today’s post by repeating what is presented on the Welcome page of Learning from Dogs, namely:
As man’s companion, protector and helper, history suggests that dogs were critically important in man achieving success as a hunter-gatherer. Dogs ‘teaching’ man to be so successful a hunter enabled evolution, some 20,000 years later, to farming, thence the long journey to modern man. But in the last, say 100 years, that farming spirit has become corrupted to the point where we see the planet’s plant and mineral resources as infinite. Mankind is close to the edge of extinction, literally and spiritually.
Dogs know better, much better! Time again for man to learn from dogs!
My argument rests!
Suddenly, it all makes sense!
“Washing one’s hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral.” –Paulo Freire
Dear neighbours, Dordie and Bill, lent us a documentary video to watch on Sunday night. It was called “HEIST: Who Stole the American Dream?”
As the film’s website explains:
HEIST: Who Stole the American Dream? is stunning audiences across the globe as it traces the worldwide economic collapse to a 1971 secret memo entitled Attack on American Free Enterprise System. Written over 40 years ago by the future Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell, at the behest of the US Chamber of Commerce, the 6-page memo, a free-market utopian treatise, called for a money fueled big business makeover of government through corporate control of the media, academia, the pulpit, arts and sciences and destruction of organized labor and consumer protection groups.
But Powell’s real “end game” was business control of law and politics. HEIST’s step by step detail exposes the systemic implementation of Powell’s memo by BOTH U.S. political parties culminating in the deregulation of industry, outsourcing of jobs and regressive taxation. All of which led us to the global financial crisis of 2008 and the continued dismantling of the American middle class. Today, politics is the playground of the rich and powerful, with no thought given to the hopes and dreams of ordinary Americans. No other film goes as deeply as HEIST in explaining the greatest wealth transfer of our time. Moving beyond the white noise of today’s polarizing media, HEIST provides viewers with a clear, concise and fact- based explanation of how we got into this mess, and what we need to do to restore our representative democracy.
It’s an incredibly interesting film, but more of that later. For me, what was stunningly enlightening was at last understanding the powerful forces at work since Lewis Powell published ‘the memo’ back on August 23, 1971. Because for me over in Britain, the era of the ’70s’ and ’80s’ were incredibly fulfilling. First, as a salesman for IBM UK – Office Products Division, from 1970 through to 1978, and then forming and managing my own company through to 1986 when I succumbed to an attractive purchase offer. Then, when my company was sold, taking a few years off cruising a sailboat in the Mediterranean; based out of Larnaca, Cyprus.
Thus I was immune to the global money and power plays, albeit enjoying rising house prices! Only Lady Luck protected me from the collapse of 2008 in that I had sold my Devon home in early 2007 and was renting. Then Lady Luck arranging for me to meet Jean in Mexico, Christmas 2007 (we were born 23 miles apart in London) and subsequently moving out to Mexico with Pharaoh in September, 2008, to be with Jean and all her dogs. Lady Luck’s magic continued in that we came to Merlin, Oregon because we were able to take advantage of a bank-owned property; moving there in October, 2012.
Of course, the scale of the downturn was obvious and there were many instances of people that I knew losing jobs or homes, or both, and generally having a very rough time.
So back to the film. Here’s the official trailer.
Uploaded on Feb 17, 2012
Please watch the newly updated trailer for “Heist: Who Stole the American Dream?,” the new, explosive documentary from Frances Causey and Donald Goldmacher exposing the roots of the American economic crisis and the destruction of the American dream. Visit www.Heist-TheMovie.com for more information on how to see the feature film and how to Take Action in restoring democracy and economic justice in the United States.
But here’s another thing that now makes sense: The legitimate anger of so many people, especially those who have some insight into what had been taking place. No, amend that! What is still taking place!
My strong recommendation is that you take an evening off and watch the film. Here’s another preview:
Frances Causey, Co-producer & co-director-Heist & Donald Goldmacher, Co-producer & co-director-Heist join Thom Hartmann. Corporate America is the biggest Welfare reciepient in the country – but that wasn’t always the case. The makers of Heist will tell you how organized money has been able to pull off the biggest “Heist” of the American Dream!
The film also concludes by offering many ways in which individuals can take back control of their lives, reinvigorate local communities, actively show that people-power is unstoppable. As it always has been and always will be.
This post started with a quote and I’m going to close with another.
“The day the power of love overrules the love of power, the world will know peace.” -Mahatma Gandhi
Changing climate is changing us and the world in significant and fundamental ways.
I wrote this around noon on the 7th September. That day we awoke to the sky, normally clear blue, covered totally in grey stratus cloud. Shortly after 9am it started to rain and some three hours later that rain was still steadily falling from the sky. Don’t get me wrong, the steady rain was vital to the area.
The precipitation statistics for Payson, AZ up to yesterday (6th at the time of writing) are:
Precipitation year to date (ergo to the 6th September) = 8.02 inch (20.37 cms)
Precipitation 30-year average to the end of September = 16.25 inch (41.28 cms)
Year to date as a percentage of 30-year average = 49.4%
The annual 30-year average precipitation for the year for Payson is 21.5 inch. (54.6 cms)
So despite a moderately effective monsoon, there is no way that Payson, Arizona will be even close to the 30-year average for precipitation.
That’s why a recent essay by Chris Martenson, he of Peak Prosperity fame, is so critically worth reading. I’m very grateful to Adam Taggart, Chris’s business partner, for giving me permission to republish the essay. (Note that the essay was published before Hurricane Isaac arrived.)
Also note that this is Part One of Chris’s very detailed report and that to read the concluding Part Two you will need to enrol over at Peak Prosperity. However, Part One is very detailed and covers much. Thus even without Part Two there is much here to ‘exercise the mind’.
The U.S. Drought Is Hitting Harder Than Most Realize
Repercussions are everywhere. By Chris Martenson, Wednesday, August 29, 2012, 8:02 PM
This is an important update on the U.S. drought of 2012, the combined record-setting July land temperatures, and their impact on food prices, water availability, energy, and even U.S. GDP.
Even though the mainstream media seems to have lost some interest in the drought, we should keep it front and center in our minds, as it has already led to sharply higher grain prices, increased gasoline costs (via the pass-through of higher ethanol costs), impeded oil and gas drilling activity in some areas (due to a lack of water), caused the shutdown of a few operating electricity plants, temporarily reduced red meat prices (but will also make them climb sharply later) as cattle are dumped in response to feed- and pasture-management concerns, and blocked and/or reduced shipping on the Mississippi River. All this and there’s also a strong chance that today’s drought will negatively impact next year’s Winter wheat harvest, unless a lot of rain starts falling soon.
The good news from Hurricane Isaac is that he’s traveling on a perfect path to deliver relief to one of the most heavily drought-impacted areas:
There are steps that everyone can and should take to become more food- and fuel-resilient in case the drought persists – as some experts think is quite possible – into next year and perhaps a few more. We’ll get to those steps shortly.
Further, there will be a definite impact to U.S. GDP, which could add to pressures (excuses?) that the Fed may use to justify additional quantitative easing (QE) measures (otherwise known as ‘printing more money’).
U.S. Drought Intensifies
The drought in the U.S. has intensified in the recent weeks, even though it has somewhat dropped from the front pages of mainstream media, possibly because the story is stale or possibly because it’s just too serious to dwell on for long:
Extreme drought in the U.S. intensifies
Aug 17, 2012
The drought in the United States is continuing to intensify, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
The latest Drought Monitor says 61 percent of the contiguous United States faces moderate or worse drought conditions this week.
Nearly 30 percent is experiencing extreme to exceptional drought, exceptional being the most severe category.
Officials say the amount of land that’s currently affected across the U.S. is larger than the entire state of California.
In this next image, it is notable that the areas of the highest drought classification — ‘exceptional’ — have dramatically expanded from the prior week (the August 7, 2012 report).
Much of the drought is centered squarely over the U.S. ‘breadbasket’ region and has really dented this year’s harvests in a big way.
Certainly the number one story around the U.S. drought centers on its impact on grain production, specifically corn and soybeans. In a minute we’ll discuss the other impacts, but we’ll start with the one that has the greatest potential to cause both suffering and strife over the coming months (and possibly years), especially for those on limited budgets.
In 2011, the U.S. reaped a corn harvest of some 314 million tons. In 2012, the USDA has estimated a harvest of 274 million tons – a shortfall of 40 million tons – despite record acreage being planted.
While the USDA has been steadily reducing their crop estimates, practically with every passing week, it seems likely that the USDA remains behind the curve today, as it has been every step of the way. A different source for information comes from the Pro Farmer Midwest Crops Tour, which is coming in slightly under the current USDA estimates:
Initial reports from the closely watched Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour suggested more crop damage than expected from the drought, raising the potential for diminished soybean production this fall and sending futures sharply higher.
The disappointing crop reports from scouts touring fields on the Pro Farmer crop tour in states such as Ohio and South Dakota make it hard to believe soybean yields will reach current U.S. government crop projections, said Don Roose, president of advisory and brokerage firm U.S. Commodities in West Des Moines, Iowa.
The market is in the “watch and worry” mode on all fronts as shrinking crop forecasts will further tighten supplies already projected to dwindle to precariously tight levels in 2013, Mr. Roose said.
On the annual Pro Farmer tour, analysts and investors walk corn and soybean fields in seven Midwestern states over four days to assess prospects prior to the fall harvest. Pro Farmer is an agricultural advisory firm. The Pro Farmer tour, which wraps up Thursday, reported diminished potential for the soybean crop in both Ohio and South Dakota.
The crop tour doesn’t estimate soybean yields, but it reported an average 584.9 pods per 3-foot-by-3-foot square area in South Dakota, down 47% from a year ago. In Ohio, scouts reported soybean counts at an average of 1,033.72 pods per 3-foot-by-3-foot square area, down from 1,253.2 pods a year ago.
Soybeans entered their critical growing phases in recent weeks, and the crop has benefited in some regions from recent rains across the eastern Farm Belt.
Meanwhile, scouts with the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour on Monday reported an average estimated corn yield in Ohio of 110.5 bushels per acre, down from the tour’s estimate of 156.3 bushels a year ago. In South Dakota, tour scouts reported an average yield estimate of just 74.3 bushels per acre, down from 141.1 bushels a year ago.
While commodities traders and agronomists have braced for weeks for the prospect of a crop decimated by drought, the estimates were lower than many had expected.
The summary here is that the Pro Farmer Tour is reporting crop yields to be 2% – 3% lower than current USDA forecasts, which is a big deal when it comes to food. We’re talking a few tens-of-millions-of-bushels’ difference.
The somewhat sour note in this unfolding drama is the fact that 40% of the nation’s corn crop goes to ethanol producers, which means that food will be burned in the nation’s auto fleet instead of helping to keep prices down for consumers and animal feed. Another 40% goes to animal feed (chicken, cattle, hogs, etc.), and the remaining balance goes to direct human consumption.
However, the ethanol mandate is a congressional requirement for our fuel blenders, so they do not have a choice in the matter. It would literally take an act of Congress to even temporarily suspend the ethanol requirement – and in an election year, that’s just not going to happen, given the powerful constituencies invested in preserving that mandate.
Of course, higher input costs will ripple through the entire chain, so perhaps Bernanke will get the inflation he seeks, although it won’t be the one he wants. The inflation he wants is simple monetary-driven inflation. The inflation he will get is nothing more than a supply/demand mismatch.
Still, the USDA has a handy calculation for estimating the future impacts:
The USDA has provided considerable information about how the drought’s effects were likely to percolate through the economy. Because of a smaller-than-expected corn crop, the USDA said it can make the general prediction that “we will see impacts within two months for beef, pork, poultry and dairy (especially fluid milk). The full effects of the increase in corn prices for packaged and processed foods (cereal, corn flour, etc.) will likely take 10-12 months to move through to retail food prices.”
The USDA has a formula for predicting changes in the rate of inflation caused by gains in prices at the commodity level: if the farm price of corn rises 50%, retail food prices rise by 0.5% to 1% as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
The price of September corn futures from mid-June until early August advanced 55%, meeting the USDA’s criterion for a measurable increase in the CPI Lapp presented a more extreme scenario than the USDA. He predicted that the damage to the 2012 corn crop will translate into a food inflation rate of 4% to 5% in 2013. In his view, the dollar cost of the drought already was $30 billion, which accrued rapidly over the summer.
“This is a cost that somebody has to bear,” Lapp said. “Some price hikes are fairly quick and others take a while.”
He said high feed costs will have to be absorbed by producers, who will likely liquidate part of their cattle and swine herds and poultry populations. At the retail level, the drought’s effects will translate into narrower margins — and expected higher prices — for processed food and soft drink manufacturers among others.
Lapp offered his opinion that legislation that has effectively required 40% of the corn crop be used in making biofuels has made everything worse.
“The situation has been aided and abetted in a negative way by the biofuels mandates,” he said. “Shame on us for having mandated so much to corn ethanol” without creating contingencies for a bad crop year.
Because corn is the base unit for so many things (especially in the form of high-fructose corn sweetener), and because it’s a primary feed component for finishing cattle and raising chickens and hogs, it tends to have a pretty decent impact on food prices.
However, it takes time for those price hikes to work through the system. So it will not be until 2013 sometime that we really begin to feel it in the U.S. And for the rest of the world that lives more directly on grains? They’re not as lucky. The price hikes hit them almost immediately.
It looks like the harvest in Russia will be below expectations as well:
(Reuters) – Two leading Russian agricultural analysts cut their forecasts for Russia’s grain harvest on Monday after harvest data from two drought-stricken eastern growing regions reduced the outlook for the overall crop.
SovEcon narrowed their grain forecast to 71-72.5 million metric tonnes (…)
The government’s official grain harvest forecast is 75-80 million tonnes, of which 45 million tonnes could be wheat. The government has put this season’s exportable surplus at 10-12 million tonnes, a level seen by traders as an informal cap on exports.
The government has tried to reassure markets there will be no repeat of August 2010, when Russia’s government shocked markets with a snap decision to ban grain exports when the scale of losses from major drought became clear.
The government has indicated that protective tariffs could be an option, though only after the end of the calendar year.
But traders widely expect limits to be imposed in some form, perhaps as early as November, after heavy exports in the early months of the season showed Russia could hit the 10-12 million tonne mark sooner than January.
Russia is still officially projecting 75-80 million tonnes but may only get 71 tonnes. If the projected exportable surplus is 10-12 million tonnes, but Russia actually harvests 9 million tonnes less than their hoped-for projection, then its exports will have to decrease to plug that gap.
Here’s the kicker: Russia has already exported a good deal of that amount. That is, the prospect of another Russian export ban this year is quite realistic. If we get one, then we can expect a repeat of the turmoil in the grain markets that we saw in 2010.
But there’s another much more fundamental reason why we can expect higher prices going forward.
Need for Even Higher Prices
The good news is that there’s still plenty of supply to carry us through to the next harvest. However, demand is going to have to go down some, and the way we accomplish that is through the price mechanism.
Right now, physical grain traders are saying that prices are too low and that unless they rise, we’re going to run out of grain before the next harvest. Obviously, that’s not truly going to happen – increasing scarcity will cause prices to rise until current demand levels are reduced.
Fall in corn price disguises real picture (Financial Times)
Aug 20, 2012
Corn prices surged this month to an all-time high of $8.4375 a bushel on the back of the worst drought in the US in nearly half a century. But prices have since fallen roughly 5 per cent. The impression is the rally has run out of steam.
This is far from the real picture. Prices need to rise again – probably setting all-time highs – to dampen consumption that is running ahead of supply.
If demand does not slow down, silos will be all but empty before the next harvest arrives in late 2013.
On paper, the balance sheet for corn supply and demand published by the US Department of Agriculture seems good enough. But in practice, the numbers look a bit shaky. The agency, whose figures are closely watched by the market, first estimates supply and, after that, adjusts the demand data to maintain a minimum level of inventories.
This time the USDA is asking for monumental rationing on the demand side. For example, US corn feed and export demand will need to drop to their lowest levels in nearly 20 years.
The USDA is also forecasting lower ethanol production – and thus corn demand. Ethanol output has fallen, but not nearly enough. Worse, the rise in wholesale petrol prices back above $3 a gallon means that ethanol producers are profitable again, even when paying record corn prices.
Corn is now trading just above $8 a bushel – but traders in the physical market say that prices need to rise to $9-$10 to force demand down enough to meet the consumption levels anticipated by the USDA.
The retreat in corn prices over the past couple of weeks has given inflation watchers a false sense of security. The market should not relax, however. More food inflation is just waiting around the corner.
The idea here is that the cash market will have to lead the futures market higher, an odd situation because it is usually the other way around. With so many hedge funds now playing in the commodity space, one explanation is that they are simply playing paper games with each other – those playing the short side will get a lesson in the importance of keeping one eye on reality.
A truly shocking event would be if the U.S. ever gets to the position of limiting exports of corn or even soybeans. That is a very unlikely proposition to consider, but if the silos get drained because we have dysfunctional markets that saw fit to keep prices bizarrely low while our free trade agreements allow the too-low grains to be exported, threatening domestic supplies, then that possibility notches up a little bit.
Dairy, Meat, and Even Higher Gasoline Costs
While it is clear that basic grain prices are heading higher, the knock-on effects into other soft commodities are a little less clear, but are definitely still important to consider.
The most obvious of these are higher grain feed costs that will hit both livestock and dairy producers especially hard:
The withering crops are translating into higher feed costs for livestock producers. “This is different than anything I’ve ever experienced,” said Kent Pruismann, who raises cattle and hogs on a farm in Sioux County, Iowa, and saw his costs for feed jump by 20% in July.
The higher corn, soybean and wheat prices will reach food makers, exporters and eventually consumers. Drivers already have seen fuel costs climb because of higher prices for ethanol, a corn-based fuel that is blended into gas. The drought also has reignited the debate over whether ethanol production is a drain on global food supplies.
Some are already turning to, shall we say, other means to keep their herds fed:
Aug 14, 2012
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – When you think of cattle feed, you probably don’t think of candy, but due to the drought that’s exactly what one farmer chose to do.
At Mayfield’s United Livestock in Western Kentucky, owner Joseph Watson feeds his herd second-hand candy.
Watson started feeding his cattle the candy because corn prices were so high.
He mixes the candy with an ethanol by-product and a mineral nutrient. He monitors the daily intake and said the cows have had no real health issues.
Yes, the higher grain costs are going to hit everything from big cattle feedlot operations to my own two-bags-a-month chicken-feed usage.
However, it will be the cost of and even lack of hay that will really create some big problems later this year. The drought not only harmed the range and pasture lands, forcing greater use of stored hay to offset the decline in forage, but it put a huge crimp in this year’s hay production:
Aug 19, 2012
Widespread drought has scorched much of the pastureland and hay fields needed to sustain cattle herds in the U.S., forcing many ranchers to find feed alternatives or sell their animals early into what has become a soft beef market.
The shortage has led to higher hay prices, with some farmers saying they have to pay two to three times last year’s rates.
Despite farmers setting aside more land to grow hay this year, they are still producing a lot less because of the drought, according to a recent Department of Agriculture estimate.
The harvest of alfalfa, generally considered to make the best hay because of its high nutrient levels, is forecast to be the worst since 1953, according to the USDA.
Pasture grass and hay are what most cattle are fed for the roughly two years they live before being slaughtered, but the drought is threatening to starve the animals.
Illinois rancher Steve Foglesong said that most years he could graze his cattle from spring through November on verdant fields that are now brown, buying them hay bales only in the winter. This year, he and his animals have their eyes on withered corn plants.
“It may not have any ears on it, but it makes pretty good cow feed,” he said.
John Erwin, who owns 20 acres of land in Shelbyville, Ill., said he is having trouble growing alfalfa hay, but demand is strong for what he can produce.
“I’m getting calls from ranchers as far away as Wyoming,” Mr. Erwin said. “They’re desperate.”
He said he has been offered $250 a ton for his hay, nearly double the $130 a ton in a non-drought year. His fields didn’t produce any hay in July.
A doubling of hay prices is obviously going to create quite a bit of economic hardship for many farming operations, which tend to be marginal profit businesses even when everything is going well.
Here’s another view on the hay situation:
I spoke with Caldwell [of Indiana horse rescue] and a number of other horse-rescue organizations around the country by telephone this week. The relentlessly hot dry weather, amplified in many areas by wildfire, has been devastating to farmers, ranchers and other horse owners.
“Everybody is using their winter hay now. The pastures are destroyed and they probably won’t recover before winter,” said Caldwell. “The price of hay has doubled, and the availability is down by 75 percent.”
Caldwell is somewhat sanguine about his own lot, but not optimistic about what lies ahead.
“Today the problem is not nearly as bad as it’s going to be,” he told me. “It’s terribly bad today, but it is going to get a lot worse.”
The drought has done some very serious harm to the nation’s hay supply that goes beyond the economics of higher hay costs. First there’s the supply of the hay, and then there’s the relatively poor quality of hay that was taken from non-irrigated, drought-stricken fields. All in all, it’s not a good situation.
To add a bit more difficulty into the situation, it turns out that drought-stricken silage and even the corn itself can be harmful to animals:
Aug 16, 2012
COLUMBIA, MISSOURI, U.S. — Tim Evans, an associate professor of veterinary pathobiology and toxicology section head at the Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory at the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine, Columbia, Missouri, U.S., warns U.S. farmers and livestock producers that drought-damaged corn plants can pose a risk to animal health.
“During severe drought conditions, corn plants, especially those heavily fertilized with nitrogen, can accumulate a chemical called ‘nitrate’,” Evans said.
“This chemical can be very harmful to animals, especially cattle, if they eat corn plants or other vegetation containing too much nitrate. Eating plants with too much nitrate can cause damage to red blood cells, resulting in lethargy, miscarriage, and even sudden death.”
Evans says that in normal conditions, corn crops typically absorb nitrate into only the lower 12-18 inches of the stalk, which does not have to be fed to animals. However, during severe drought conditions, high concentrations of nitrate can accumulate in the upper portions of the stalk, which cattle and other livestock often eat.
Evans also says that many naturally growing plants and weeds in grazing pastures can accumulate nitrate during drought conditions, as well. These plants include many types of grasses and some weeds, which animals might be forced to eat because of limited pasture or hay available as forage for livestock.
The key here is that nitrates are safe below 2,000 ppm but toxic above 15,000 ppm, and the levels found in the stalks and how high it travels are a function of whether enough rain fell to allow the plant to take it up. Much of the corn crop was so desiccated that the plants could not even manage to draw up this nutrient, and therefore it is safe as a feed product.
While it’s hard to get a read on at this early stage, there are enough warning signs here pointing to much, much higher grain, food, and meat prices in the future. The worry is whether there will even be enough feed to sustain the animal populations through the Winter and Spring. Given the damage to the harvestable corn, a lot of it is going to be turned into silage
Many ranchers and farmers are faced with a horrible choice here. Saving their herds may be economically unsound or even impossible where hay and safe silage are not available, and so they are selling their herds, one of the most heart-wrenching decisions anyone could have to make.
So many are doing this that recently the price for cattle has dropped, as everyone is selling into an increasingly soft market. My advice is to enjoy these low meat prices while they last, because the next stage of this story involves much higher meat prices.
The problem with understanding just how bad the hay situation might (or might not) be is that there are no national statistics collected that could tell us whether or not there’s even enough hay available to sustain the current commercial and recreational livestock populations.
The Importance of Positioning Yourself
So, with all of these repercussions building during the current drought – to which there’s yet no end in sight – what can you do today to minimize their impact on your budget and lifestyle?
Part II: Positioning for the Drought’s Aftermath looks at the likeliest outcomes in food prices, food availability, energy prices, and macroeconomic consequences (of which there will no doubt be many from this drought). We have a national food distribution system that runs significantly on a just-in-time basis, which leaves it vulnerable to price and inventory shocks when there are supply disruptions. The reduced water levels caused by the drought are handicapping electrical power generation in growing regions in the country; electrical thermal plants are the number one biggest user of water in the U.S. The global financial markets are similarly tenuous these days, as resources are already taxed in trying to stimulate the moribund U.S. economy and dig Europe out of its massive credit woes.
This is one of those moments where taking simple, prudent steps now can have an outsized effect on preserving your quality of life.
It’s not pleasant reading, is it! But unless we all fully understand the implications of what we are doing to the planet by continuing to pollute the atmosphere, how can we embrace change!
The story that could run for an awfully long time!
I rather revealed my newness as a US resident by posting my review of David Kauders’ book The Greatest Crash over 2 days last week, one of them being Thanksgiving Day. Despite that 1,895 people viewed my review which was entitled The end of an era.
A week has now passed since that review. I was curious to see what sorts of headlines had been making the news in the last 7 days. It’s just a random trawl through those items that have captured my attention.
Let’s start with the Financial Times, November 27th,
The eurozone really has only days to avoid collapse
By Wolfgang Münchau
In virtually all the debates about the eurozone I have been engaged in, someone usually makes the point that it is only when things get bad enough, the politicians finally act – eurobond, debt monetisation, quantitative easing, whatever. I am not so sure. The argument ignores the problem of acute collective action.
Last week, the crisis reached a new qualitative stage. With the spectacular flop of the German bond auction and the alarming rise in short-term rates in Spain and Italy, the government bond market across the eurozone has ceased to function.
Wolfgang concludes his article thus,
Italy’s disastrous bond auction on Friday tells us time is running out. The eurozone has 10 days at most.
Then my print copy of The Economist that arrived on the 26th had this lurid cover page,
Unless Germany and the ECB move quickly, the single currency’s collapse is looming
The leader article contains this paragraph,
Past financial crises show that this downward spiral can be arrested only by bold policies to regain market confidence. But Europe’s policymakers seem unable or unwilling to be bold enough. The much-ballyhooed leveraging of the euro-zone rescue fund agreed on in October is going nowhere. Euro-zone leaders have become adept at talking up grand long-term plans to safeguard their currency—more intrusive fiscal supervision, new treaties to advance political integration. But they offer almost no ideas for containing today’s conflagration.
and a few paragraphs later, this,
This cannot go on for much longer. Without a dramatic change of heart by the ECB and by European leaders, the single currency could break up within weeks. Any number of events, from the failure of a big bank to the collapse of a government to more dud bond auctions, could cause its demise. In the last week of January, Italy must refinance more than €30 billion ($40 billion) of bonds. If the markets balk, and the ECB refuses to blink, the world’s third-biggest sovereign borrower could be pushed into default.
Then on Sunday, 27th, MISH’s Trend Analysis blogsite reveals,
ICAP Plc, the world’s largest inter-dealer broker (one that carries out transactions for financial institutions rather than private individuals), is now Testing Trades In Greek Drachma Against Dollar, Euro
ICAP Plc is preparing its electronic trading platforms for Greece’s potential exit from the euro and a return to the drachma, senior executives at the inter-dealer broker said Sunday.
ICAP is the latest firm to disclose such preparations, joining the growing ranks of banks, governments and other key players in the global financial system whose officials are worried enough about the stability of the common currency to be making contingency plans for a possible break-up.
Investors sent Europe’s politicians a painful message last week whenGermany had a seriously disappointing government bond auction. It was unable to sell more than a third of the benchmark 10-year bonds it had sought to auction off on Nov. 23, and interest rates on 30-year German debt rose from 2.61 percent to 2.83 percent. The message? Germany is no longer a safe haven.
Ultimately, an integrated currency area may remain in Europe, albeit with fewer countries and more fiscal centralization. The Germans will force the weaker countries out of the euro area or, more likely, Germany and some others will leave the euro to form their own currency. The euro zone could be expanded again later, but only after much deeper political, economic and fiscal integration.
Tragedy awaits. European politicians are likely to stall until markets force a chaotic end upon them. Let’s hope they are planning quietly to keep disorder from turning into chaos.
Finally, on the 29th the BBC News website carried details of the Autumn Statement made by British Chancellor, George Osborne, to Parliament.
Osborne confirms pay and jobs pain as growth slows
Chancellor George Osborne has said public sector pay rises will be capped at 1% for two years, as he lowered growth forecasts for the UK economy.
The number of public sector jobs set to be lost by 2017 has also been revised up from 400,000 to 710,000.
Borrowing and unemployment are set to be higher than forecast and spending cuts to carry on to 2017, he admitted.
Just look at that figure of public sector job losses – 710,000!
Well that’s more than enough from me but it does surely endorse the opening views that David Kauders expounded in his book, as carried in my review, and reproduced here,
Starting with the first sentence, David sets out the core problem;
This book argues that it is impossible to expand the financial system much further.
expanding this a few paragraphs later,
This is the financial system limit: lack of new borrowing plus excessive weight of debt obligations from past borrowing combine to slow economies down. This is the barrier whichever way policy makers turn. It is like the lid on a boiling kettle. Enough steam can lift it for a while but it always snaps back into place. The financial system limit is a roadblock preventing growth.
A few pages later in this opening chapter ‘The roadblock preventing growth‘ this limit is explained thus,
Policy contradictions also show us that the financial system has reached a roadblock. The glaring conflict between bailout and austerity is at the core. Each bailout or stimulus requires creation of more credit, leading to false financial speculation, and for a short while markets recover their poise. The threat of inflation returns. Later, bad debts rise, the markets tumble again and a new crisis emerges. Austerity, the alternative policy, cuts spending thereby cutting the immediate level of economic activity and bringing economic decline more quickly than the stimulus alternative. Whichever way they turn, the authorities are damned.
You can understand why I called this Post a ‘footnote’ not an endnote.
A review of David Kauder’s recently published book, The Greatest Crash.
Details of the availability of the book are included at the end of the review.
Extracts from the book included are with grateful thanks to Sparkling Books.
Part One of this review was published yesterday which needs to be read before Part Two.
Chapter 5 continues by examining the over-bearing consequences of excessive public spending, excessive Government regulations, substitute taxation, weakness of Treasury forecasts, and so on. While these are UK issues, there is no doubt that similar restraints of free enterprise exist in many other western nations.
In Chapter 6, ‘Group Think‘, David looks at the strange ways in which we form opinions. It’s a topic that has been discussed and written about widely but the point behind this chapter is that people have in great part lost the ability to discern truth from fiction, with terrible implications when it comes to understanding how individuals are affected by government and bureaucratic institutions.
The chapter closes;
One of the remarkable points that I have found in writing this book is that many of the detailed errors, incorrect policies et al, have already been amply documented by others. But we never learn. The delegated society, the strength of lobby groups and vulnerability of our political system to pressure, the sheer volume of noise in the media and on the Internet, the immediacy of the demands of daily life, all combine to make our collective memory rather short.
Amen to that!
Chapter 7, ‘Academic differences of opinion‘, was surprisingly short at just 6 1/2 pages. One would have thought the subject worthy of a much longer review especially as David was exploring the fundamental differences between Keynesian and Ricardian economic theories and opportunities for alternative theories. Must say that that I laughed out loud (David’s book is a little short on humour!) at the sentence on p.127 that ran, “One correspondent writing to the Financial Times proposed that economics should be declared a failing discipline, economists as not fit for purpose, and a physicist put in charge of sorting their theories out.”
Chapter 8, ‘The dark side of capital markets‘, is the penultimate chapter and quite a technical one at that. But David manages to trip through esoteric aspects, well esoteric to the lay reader, in a manner that keeps one involved. Here’s an example from early on in the chapter.
Capital markets follow a long cycle beyond the experience of most practitioners, detectable only by understanding history and then applying this understanding to contemporary conditions.
It didn’t mean much to me. Then the next sentence;
The principles are identical for any market where prices depend on the supply of credit: equities, bonds, property and commodities are all markets where the prices must relate to the availability of credit.
That, at least, was understood but still the penny hadn’t dropped. Then came;
Bond prices prosper when credit is lacking while the other three prosper when credit is abundant.
That then made sense to me but still only at some academic level. David then followed those sentences with these two paragraphs;
The whole market cycle consists of bull market followed by bear market, as surely as night follows day. The bull market in assets is driven by an increasing supply of credit and economic expansion, since more credit leads to higher prices. The bear market in assets is driven by less credit and economic contraction; there is no purchasing power to keep asset prices high. Only fixed interest bonds are contra-cyclical, declining in price as credit expands and rising in price as credit sinks.
There are two useful theories for analysing the whole market cycle: conversion flow and Dow theory.
So in half-a-page of text, the book effectively educated me and then showed the relevance of that learning to the world I was living in. Cleverly done!
Chapter 9, ‘The attitude change‘, is, without doubt, a clincher of a close to this fascinating book. The sentiments conveyed in this chapter are so unexpected that, forgive me, it would be wrong to explicitly refer to them. Buy the book!
Let me just say that the last chapter fully endorsed me calling this review The End of an Era.
This is an important book from a writer who has both the academic and professional experience to enable him to form the views that he expresses. Only time will tell if the whole scenario that is envisaged by Mr. Kauders will play out as he expects. My personal view is that it will.
For individuals and business alike, reading The Greatest Crash will inform you in a manner that I would argue is critical when one notes the precarious and potentially unstable period we are living through. The decisions readers make after reading the book are beyond the remit of this review and, of course, David Kauders, but, at least, read the book!
Prof. Myddelton in the book’s introduction wrote, “But one of the things we need now is new thinking on the fundamentals.” Perhaps not new thinking on fundamentals, as the Prof. puts it, but a reinstatement of core fundamental values.
I am not alone from sensing that the world, especially the western world, is transitioning from an era of greed and materialism, seeing a world of unlimited resources, to a different societal relationship with planet Earth, the only planet we have. A transition across all layers of society towards the values of truth, integrity and compassion; values whose day has come.
The Greatest Crash reinforces immensely my notion that this truly is the end of an era.
Want to buy The Greatest Crash? The ebook was published in October worldwide, the paperback published in the UK on the 1st November UK, the hardcover being released any day now in the UK. For North America both the paperback and hardcover versions are being published on 1st February, 2012.
Full details from the Sparkling Books webpage here.
Copyright © 2011 Paul Handover