Visualizing NAFTA’s Mixed Track Record Since 1994

On January 1, 1994, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) officially came into effect, virtually eliminating all tariffs and trade restrictions between the United States, Canada, and Mexico. As Visual Capitalist’s Jeff Desjardins reminds readers:
Bill Clinton, who lobbied extensively to get the deal done, said it would encourage other nations to work towards a broader world-trade pact. ‘NAFTA means jobs. American jobs, and good-paying American jobs,’ said Clinton, as he signed the document, ‘If I didn’t believe that, I wouldn’t support this agreement.’
Ross Perot had a contrary perspective. Lobbying heavily against the agreement, he noted that if it was ratified, Americans would hear a giant ‘sucking sound’ as jobs went south of the border to Mexico.
IT’S A COMPLICATED WORLD
Fast forward 20 years, and NAFTA is a hot-button issue again. Donald Trump has said he is working on ‘renegotiating’ the agreement, and many Americans are sympathetic to this course of action.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Mar 29, 2017.

NAFTA’s Mixed Track Record Since 1994

On January 1, 1994, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) officially came into effect, virtually eliminating all tariffs and trade restrictions between the United States, Canada, and Mexico.
Bill Clinton, who lobbied extensively to get the deal done, said it would encourage other nations to work towards a broader world-trade pact. ‘NAFTA means jobs. American jobs, and good-paying American jobs,’ said Clinton, as he signed the document, ‘If I didn’t believe that, I wouldn’t support this agreement.’
Ross Perot had a contrary perspective. Lobbying heavily against the agreement, he noted that if it was ratified, Americans would hear a giant ‘sucking sound’ as jobs went south of the border to Mexico.
It’s a Complicated World
Fast forward 20 years, and NAFTA is a hot-button issue again. Donald Trump has said he is working on ‘renegotiating’ the agreement, and many Americans are sympathetic to this course of action.
However, coming to a decisive viewpoint on NAFTA’s success or failure can be difficult to achieve. Over two decades, the economic and political landscape has changed. China has risen and created a surplus of cheap labor, technology has changed massively, and central banks have kept the spigots on with QE and ultra-low interest rates. Deciphering what results have been the direct cause of NAFTA – and what is simply the result of a fast-changing world – is not quite straightforward.

This post was published at The Burning Platform on March 25, 2017.

Trump Foiled Soros’ Master Plan to Impose New World Order — Hedge Fund Manager

“George Soros and Clinton Inc. were nearly able to declare ‘Mission Accomplished’ on their vision of establishing an opaque ‘New World Order’,” Feierstein, a hedge fund manager who has spent 38 years working in the New York, Tokyo and London global financial markets, said on Tuesday.
On Monday, Trump announced that he was scrapping the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) that his predecessor President Barack Obama had sought to complete during his eight years in office.
The top-secret TPP free trade agreement was one of the worst trade deals ever crafted by Washington’s pay-to-play culture of corruption, Feierstein stated.
The TPP was deliberately crafted to ensure a form of “globalization” so that these same corporations who designed the “rules” could operate in the dark with total impunity while stripping member nations of their sovereignty and denying consumers of all their rights and protections, Feierstein explained.
“TPP was Obama’s ‘Crown Jewel’ achievement after 35 years of failed neoliberalism funded by oligarchs for the benefit of oligarchies,” he observed.

This post was published at Sputnik News

Democrats, Trump, And The Ongoing, Dangerous Refusal To Learn The Lesson Of Brexit

Submitted by Glenn Greenwald via The Intercept,
The parallels between the U. K.’s shocking approval of the Brexit referendum in June and the U. S.’s even more shocking election of Donald Trump as president Tuesday night are overwhelming. Elites (outside of populist right-wing circles) aggressively unified across ideological lines in opposition to both. Supporters of Brexit and Trump were continually maligned by the dominant media narrative (validly or otherwise) as primitive, stupid, racist, xenophobic, and irrational. In each case, journalists who spend all day chatting with one another on Twitter and congregating in exclusive social circles in national capitals – constantly re-affirming their own wisdom in an endless feedback loop – were certain of victory. Afterward, the elites whose entitlement to prevail was crushed devoted their energies to blaming everyone they could find except for themselves, while doubling down on their unbridled contempt for those who defied them, steadfastly refusing to examine what drove their insubordination.
The indisputable fact is that prevailing institutions of authority in the West, for decades, have relentlessly and with complete indifference stomped on the economic welfare and social security of hundreds of millions of people. While elite circles gorged themselves on globalism, free trade, Wall Street casino gambling, and endless wars (wars that enriched the perpetrators and sent the poorest and most marginalized to bear all their burdens), they completely ignored the victims of their gluttony, except when those victims piped up a bit too much – when they caused a ruckus – and were then scornfully condemned as troglodytes who were the deserved losers in the glorious, global game of meritocracy.
That message was heard loud and clear. The institutions and elite factions that have spent years mocking, maligning, and pillaging large portions of the population – all while compiling their own long record of failure and corruption and destruction – are now shocked that their dictates and decrees go unheeded. But human beings are not going to follow and obey the exact people they most blame for their suffering. They’re going to do exactly the opposite: purposely defy them and try to impose punishment in retaliation. Their instruments for retaliation are Brexit and Trump. Those are their agents, dispatched on a mission of destruction: aimed at a system and culture they regard – not without reason – as rife with corruption and, above all else, contempt for them and their welfare.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 10, 2016.

The Week in Review: December 3, 2016

Fidel Castro died last week, giving the world – or at least those interested in truth – reason to remember the true horrors of communism. Dr. Yuri Maltsev, who visited as a former USSR economist, noted the horrific cost of Castro’s rise to power: ‘To enforce socialist slavery, more than a 100,000 were murdered and millions squeezed out.’ While many in the media and many heads of state seem to prefer to overlook this brutal reality, as Brittany Hunter noted ‘Neglecting to acknowledge the strife endured by the Cuban people during Fidel Castro’s decades-long reign of terror is not only a disservice to the memory of those who suffered, it is also a disservice to history itself.’
Meanwhile in America, President-elect Trump named former Goldman Sachs banker Steve Mnuchin to the Treasury, a curious choice for someone who claims to be draining the swamp. Trump also fulfilled a campaign promise when Carrier Air Conditioning announced they would be keeping hundreds of jobs in the US. While any steps toward tax and regulatory relief should be celebrated, so should the advantages inherent in free trade. American’s should worry less about companies leaving for oversees, and more the way government policies continue to erode their own freedoms, prosperity, and even their chocolate bars.
There is no Mises Weekends this week as Jeff is on the road traveling back from an event with Tom Woods in Orlando. But Jeff will be appearing tonight at 9pm EST with John Stossel on Fox Business Tonight to discuss cronyism is DC and the challenges politics creates in draining the swamp.

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on December 3, 2016.

Protectionism vs. Corruption: Which Is Worse for the Economy?

The revulsion felt by many towards the two major party candidates this election is more than just a matter of personal feelings. There is an economic basis for the apprehensions that most people feel towards Trump and Clinton.
Free trade is essential for prosperity. Free trade allows the employment of people in different nations to shift towards areas of highest productivity. Economists have known about the advantages of free trade for centuries. In 1817 David Ricardo explained how free trade allows an international division of labor according to ‘comparative advantage.’
In fact, an overwhelming majority of economists have agreed on the benefits of free trade since 1817. Historically, studies have suggested that more than 90 percent of economists strongly support fewer restrictions on international trade. Eleven percent of economists support restrictions on free trade mildly. The general reason for the strong support for free trade among economists is simple: economic theory and historical statistical data points towards the benefits of free trade.

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on Oct 5, 2016.

Trade deals – a global issue

The annual Conservative Party conference commenced last Sunday, and the media focus was mostly about the Government’s stance on Brexit.
This is hardly surprising, because Mrs May is being secretive, avoiding stoking a public spat with the EU by negotiating in public. The only hard news to emerge was that Article 50, formally giving notice of Britain leaving the EU, would be triggered by the end of March, in other words before the end of this tax year.
Brexit is mostly about trade deals, which is why big business is lobbying furiously, and EU functionaries are winding up their punitive rhetoric. In the US, Donald Trump has also wound up the rhetoric over trade, threatening to tear up NAFTA and refuse to ratify the trans-Pacific partnership. He also attacked China, accusing her of stealing American production and jobs. We should never believe anything a politician says on the stump to gain votes, but if nothing else Trump does seem to have identified electoral resentment on the trade issue.
This article looks at the theory behind trade, and finds that free trade, not the promotion of vested interests, should be the clear economic objective. But it also concludes that differing approaches to this thorny subject could accentuate the split between world trade into two separate streams, between fast-growing emerging economies and an increasingly sluggish old order.
Corn laws and Smoot-Hawley
Free trade first became a political issue in Britain when the 1815 Importation Act, which imposed tariffs on imported grain, led to artificially high grain prices, benefiting landlords at the expense of the poor. This was repealed by the Importation Act 1846. These Acts were known as the corn law and its repeal respectively.
The debate prior to the 1815 Act is echoed today, with producers always seeking to disadvantage foreign competition to the detriment of the consumer. However, there’s every reason to believe that the abolition of trade barriers and tariffs would be similarly beneficial to contemporary economies as the Importation Act 1846 was to both Britain and the global economy then. Equally, if this is true, then trade restrictions and tariffs hinder economic progress, and any country embarking on greater trade restrictions is therefore pursuing a deliberate policy of unemployment. For evidence that it is indeed true, we need look no further than the catastrophic introduction of the Smoot-Hawley Act of 1930 in the US.

This post was published at GoldMoney on OCTOBER 06, 2016.

The Stock Market Is Disappearing In One Giant LBO – – The Wilshire 5000 is Now Down To 3607 Companies

Numbers and false advertising have a long history: 4.9% unemployment, 2.5% GDP growth, 72 virgins. Now we can add the Wilshire 5000 to the list.
What started with good intentions ended with embarrassment as American economic dynamism collapsed in a cascade of falling profit margins, financial engineering, labor devaluation, and lopsided ‘free trade’ agreements. In 1974, Wilshire Associates created the Wilshire 5000, an index of 5,000 stocks that represented nearly the entire stock market. As new companies went public, the index expanded over the years, reaching a peak of 7,562 on July 31, 1998. Since then, the number of companies has been cut in half to 3,607 as of March 31, 2016. Wilshire notes, ‘The last time the Wilshire 5000 actually contained 5,000 or more companies was December 29, 2005.’

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on August 7, 2016.

Who’s The Barbarian Or Why Harvard’s N. Gregory Mankiw’s Arrogance Is The Pits

Very few people are against the concept of free trade, and those who are aren’t worth listening to. As a matter of economics (small ‘e’), free trade was established as a universal good that benefits all sides in one of the first scholarly debates that in the early 19th century helped turn political economics into a separate study meriting its own discipline. Trade has marked the upward surge of humanity out of the dark ages and feudalism toward republican democracy and dignity.
What people all over the world are objecting to today is the economic criminality that has masqueraded as the supposed benefits of free trade. The open borders for the flow of goods has been turned on its ear; it is now just open borders for the flow of finance. This is not in any way associated with free trade, though the reality of it has yet to reach the economics profession.
On Sunday in the New York Times, Harvard economist N. Gregory Mankiw wrote what is truly a remarkable piece of self-denial, extraordinary in that his contempt for anyone not an (elite) economist is scarcely cloaked in favor of his own self-regard. He writes:
Voters clearly aren’t listening to economists. In a recent poll, an overwhelming number of leading economists agreed that Brexit would most likely lower incomes both in Britain and in the rest of the European Union.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on August 2, 2016.

The Never Trump Crowd Prefers Smiling Statism From Nurse Hillary

While I never have, and certainly never will, get on board the ‘Trump Train,’ I am perhaps more annoyed by the certain type of Republican and evangelical ‘conservative’ who opposes Trump specifically for reasons such as his vulgarity, his alleged racism, his rudeness and crudeness, his un-Christlikeness, his narcissism, and so on. The Donald is notoriously – and purposefully (he’s a reality TV sensation after all) – provocative in the way he treats his political opponents and those by whom he feels threatened. Obviously, all these things are worthy of criticism.
However, what is completely shocking to me, though perhaps it shouldn’t be, is that these same ‘Never Trump’ hashtag users literally would have been just dandy with Mitt Romney, John McCain, Marco Rubio, Chris Christie, Newt Gingrich, and so on. In other words, what matters to them is not the fact that the GOP’s leaders and champions are Big Government, pro-welfare state, pro-warfare state, pro Federal economic regulation/intervention, pro- Taxes, pro spending, pro-nationalization of commerce and industry; no, what matters most to them is that the politician is ‘nice.’
I have heard countless ballyhooing about the fact that Trump is the next Hitler due to his vocal denouncement of free trade, his immigration preferences, his appeal to the ‘nativists’ in America, and so on. Hogwash! Trump is a demagogue to the very same extent, though not necessarily to the same constituency, as all other politicians! Every single politician, by nature of his dirty rotten job, is a demagogue, one who appeals to emotion and sentiment. We live in a time when the Democratic and Republican parties have pushed for deficit after deficit, every debt ceiling addition, every war, every welfare program, the annual and constant funding of hundreds of Federal departments and agencies, law upon law, regulation upon regulation, bailout for the rich, bailout for the poor, bailout for some foreign government, bailout for some radical group who opposes some foreign government – and yet Donald is the bad guy, because he is profane and insensitive.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on July 28, 2016.

Donald Trump is Right About Globalization: It’s a Broken System

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (Project Syndicate) – – While seemingly elegant in theory, globalization suffers in practice.
That is the lesson of Brexit and of the rise of Donald Trump in the United States. And it also underpins the increasingly virulent anti-China backlash now sweeping the world. Those who worship at the altar of free trade, including me, must come to grips with this glaring disconnect.
Truth be known, there is no rigorous theory of globalization. The best that economists can offer is David Ricardo’s early-19th century framework: If a country simply produces in accordance with its comparative advantage (in terms of resource endowments and workers’ skills), presto, it will gain through increased cross-border trade. Trade liberalization – the elixir of globalization – promises benefits for all.
That promise arguably holds in the long run, but a far tougher reality check invariably occurs in the short run. Brexit, the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union, is just the latest case in point.
Voters in the U. K. objected to several of the key premises of regional integration: free labor mobility and seemingly open-ended immigration, regulation by supranational authorities in Brussels, and currency union (which has serious flaws, such as the lack of a fiscal transfer mechanism among member states). Economic integration and globalization are not exactly the same thing, but they rest on the same Ricardian principles of trade liberalization – principles that are falling on deaf ears in the political arena.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner By Stephen S. Roach, Marketwatch ‘ July 25, 2016.

After ‘Brexit,’ Can We Exit a Few Things Too?

Last week’s UK vote to leave the EU may have come as a shock to many, but the sentiment that led British voters to reject rule from Brussels is nothing unique. In fact it is growing sentiment worldwide. Frustration with politics as usual, with political parties that really do not differ in philosophy, with an economy that serves the one percent at the expense of the rest of society is a growing phenomenon throughout Europe and in the United States as well. The Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump phenomena are but one example of a frustrated public sensing something is very wrong with society and looking for a way out.
What is happening in the UK, in Europe, and in the US, is nothing less than a breakdown of the entire system. The EU was meant to be a customs union where post-World War II Western Europe could rebuild itself through free trade and a reduction in bureaucracy. Through corruption and political ambition it became an unelected bully government in Brussels, where the well-connected were well compensated and insulated from the votes of mere citizens.
Whatever happens in the near future – and it is certainly not assured that the vote to ‘Brexit’ will actually end in the UK’s departure from the EU – a line has been crossed that supporters of more personal liberty should celebrate. Rule from London is preferable to liberty-minded Britons than rule from Brussels. Just as Texans should prefer rule from Austin to rule from Washington. That doesn’t make either option perfect, just more likely to produce more freedom.

This post was published at Ron Paul Institute on monday june 27, 2016.

Monetary Strangulation – – -Why Credit-Based Money Trade Is Not Free Trade

The Ricardian theory of free trade has dominated economics philosophy for good reason. It has a sound basis in common sense and offers a theoretical guide to understand the nature of exchange from a systemic standpoint. It does not, however, cover all such basis for all such manner of trade. Comparative advantage is somewhat straightforward where nations exchange goods, but what happens when the advantage is not goods but finance?
This question applies especially to the world under the eurodollar standard because credit-based currency follows far different rules of the game. Until 2007, that didn’t seem to matter because ‘dollars’ flowed freely and made the world look as if it had found enduring prosperity through free trade. This other side of the eurodollar divide, however, increasingly reveals that goods for ‘dollars’ trade was never free, nor did it benefit anyone outside of the money sector (so long as eurodollar banks would be made whole by TBTF).
These longer-term shifts are much harder to appreciate when everything is supposed to be condensed into at most a single business cycle. China is a perfect example of that not just from the perspective of the prosperity illusion, but in how their own redistributive connection to the ‘dollar short’ transforms others. For its own part, its economic ‘miracle’ only continues to unwind as the growth of the 2000′s comes apart and leaves the country with only debt, not created wealth. Because of this internal/external imbalance of the credit-based eurodollar (and the PBOC’s first policies to get out of the Great Recession), the Chinese have plied the rest of the world in search of them – or better.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner by Jeffrey P. Snider ‘ May 25, 2016.

‘Free Trade’ vs. Actual Free Trade

The unlikely rise of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump has focused public attention on an issue that hasn’t gotten much attention since the Civil War era – international trade.
One of the biggest controversies in nineteenth-century American politics was tariffs – with Big Business manufacturers for them, and farmers and producers of other commodities against them. Corporate behemoths wanted protection from foreign competition while ordinary consumers wanted lower prices. Furthermore, tariff revenue was used to enrich crony capitalists in the industrialized North: the federal government subsidized the building of railroads, canals, and other infrastructure while the beneficiaries of this largesse turned cheap tariff-free commodities produced in the South and West into high-priced manufactured goods.
These days, however, the ‘free trade’ versus ‘fair trade’ debate is seemingly reversed, with the big corporations supposedly favoring the former while the latter is championed by leftists like Sanders and right-wing populists of the Trumpian variety. In reality, however, nothing has really changed.
It would be very easy to institute a free trade regime in the United States, and you wouldn’t need a thousand-page treaty to do it. You’d only have to abolish all tariffs, subsidies, and other government-imposed impediments to the free passage of goods across our borders. That’s free trade.

This post was published at Lew Rockwell on May 7, 2016.

‘Free Trade’ Deals Are Not All That

The unlikely rise of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump has focused public attention on an issue that hasn’t gotten much attention since the Civil War era – international trade.
One of the biggest controversies in nineteenth century American politics was tariffs – with Big Business manufacturers for them, and farmers and producers of other commodities against them. Corporate behemoths wanted protection from foreign competition, while ordinary consumers wanted lower prices. Furthermore, tariff revenue was used to enrich crony capitalists in the industrialized North: the federal government subsidized the building of railroads, canals, and other infrastructure, while the beneficiaries of this largesse turned cheap tariff-free commodities produced in the South and West into high-priced manufactured goods.
These days, however, the ‘free trade’ versus ‘fair trade’ debate is seemingly reversed, with the big corporations supposedly favoring the former while the latter is championed by leftists like Sanders and right-wing populists of the Trumpian variety. In reality, however, nothing has really changed.
It would be very easy to institute a free trade regime in the United States, and you wouldn’t need a thousand-page treaty to do it. You’d only have to abolish all tariffs, subsidies, and other government-imposed impediments to the free passage of goods across our borders. That’s free trade.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner by Justin Raimondo ‘ May 6, 2016.

Let the TTIP Trade Pact Die if it Threatens Parliamentary Democracy

Unloved, untimely, and unnecessary, the putative free trade pact between Europe and America is dying a slow death.
The Dutch people have amassed 100,000 signatures calling for a referendum on this Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, orTTIP as we know it. The number is likely to soar after Greenpeace leaked 248 pages of negotiation papers over the weekend.
The documents do not exactly show a ‘race to the bottom in environmental, consumer protection and public health standards’ – as Greenpeace alleges – but they do raise red flags over who sets our laws and who holds the whip hand over our eviscerated parliaments.
Dutch voters have already rebuked Brussels once this year, throwing out an association agreement with Ukraine in what was really a protest against the wider conduct of European affairs by an EU priesthood that long ago lost touch with economic and political reality.
French president Franois Hollande cannot hide from that reality. Faced withapproval ratings of 13pc in the latest TNS-Sofres poll, a TTIP mutiny within his own Socialist Party, and electoral annihilation in 2017, he is retreating. ‘We don’t want unbridled free trade. We will never accept that basic principles are threatened,’ he said.
In Germany, just 17pc now back the project, and barely half even accept that free trade itself a ‘good thing’, an astonishing turn for a mercantilist country that has geared its industrial system to exports.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on May 5, 2016.

Trumps Misplaced Oreo Rage – -Uncle Sugar Made Them Do It

Presidential front-runner Donald Trump vows that he will ‘never eat another Oreo again’ to protest the transfer of 600 cookie-making jobs from Chicago to Mexico. And Trump is 100% correct when he condemns the factory’s exodus: ‘It’s unfair to us.’
But the villains who have destroyed the jobs of American workers are Congress and the Department of Agriculture, not Nabisco and free trade. It is the very protectionist policies The Donald advocates to help American industry ‘win’ again that caused the Oreo job losses he decries. Federal policy has long kept the U. S. price of sugar at double or triple that found in the world market. Food manufacturers such as Nabisco are hostage to a Byzantine combination of price supports and arbitrary import restrictions that make producing candy and other sweets far more expensive here than in Canada or Mexico.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on April 5, 2016.

Why ‘Free Trade Agreements’ Are Not Free Trade

Free trade is a great concept, as are free markets and freedom. The problem is none of these things exist in practice because they don’t provide sufficient advantages to the ruling class. The Fed and HFT systems now dominate global markets, western nations systematically overthrow any (freely elected) foreign government that doesn’t bow down to them and free trade agreements are put in place to ensure investors maximize profits no matter what the costs to society. Let’s focus on this last one.
You see rarely do nations turn away capital investment inflows. And so trade agreements are not created to allow for the free flow of capital as is generally touted. That is perhaps the biggest fallacy in the public’s perception of ‘free’ trade agreements. If a US company wants to build a factory in Vietnam and employ 200 workers there they will be welcomed with open arms. So then if these trade agreements are not meant to allow the free flow of capital what is their purpose?
It’s very simple. In microeconomic terms, it boils down to risk/reward. That is, all investments will generate some expected cash flow but will face some risks of realizing those cash flows. One way to improve return on investment is to lower costs, everything else equal. So if I can reduce my costs yet maintain my revenue and risk structures then I am better off. Corporations realized that one very easy way to reduce costs is to move labour to undeveloped nations where labour costs are only 5% to 10% of those in developed nations. That means I can greatly improve my returns to investors if I go ahead and move my operations overseas.
The caveat in the plan remember though is I have to be able to keep my revenue and risk structures the same. And this is where corporations realized they need a trade agreement. You see moving hundreds of millions in borrowed capital to a nation that has poor contract law and unstable governments adds a tremendous amount of risk to the investment model. And so the added risk (which significantly lowers the probability and thus value of future cash flows) creates new costs that essentially negate the reduction in costs obtained through cheaper labour. This means ROI doesn’t improve, which was the point of moving operations overseas.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on March 22, 2016.

How a Brexit Could Save Europe from Itself

It is those who love Europe, its diversity, its history and its humanity who should be the most enthusiastic about Brexit. A paradox? Not at all. TheEuropean Union, as currently constituted, has run out of road. It is doomed to fail, sooner or later, with catastrophic consequences for our part of the world, and the only way forward is for one major country to break ranks and show that there can be a better alternative consistent with Europe’s core enlightenment values.
It would be far better if we, rather than a more socialist or nationalistic country, were the first to break the mould: Britain would have the opportunity to show that free trade, an open, self-governing society and a liberal approach could ensure the peace and prosperity at the heart of the European dream. Others would soon join us. If we vote to stay, we will lose the moral authority to speak out, and other, less benign, inward-looking, illiberal approaches may triumph instead.
The eurozone is broken, and another, far greater economic crisis inevitable. The next trigger could be a fiscal meltdown in Italy, or another banking collapse, or a political implosion in Spain or France, or another global recession. Nobody can be sure what the proximate cause will be – but there will be one, and the fallout will be turmoil of a far greater magnitude than anything we saw in Greece. At the same time, the tensions fuelled by the migration crisis will grow relentlessly, especially if hundreds of thousands or even millions of people are settled across the continent over the next few years.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on March 10, 2016.

Another Useless G20 Pow-Wow

It’s Nice to Wine and Dine on the Taxpayer’s Dime …
There is only one good thing about G20 (and similar) meetings: almost nothing ever comes of them. That makes them intrinsically cheap, although the tax serfs of the host countries usually must expect that they will have to fork over 100ds of millions in expenses. The costs of providing security for the assembled bigwigs alone are absolutely staggering. Apparently these people are so well liked that they need to be defended against everything short of an asteroid strike regardless of where they show up.
Luckily the most recent G 20 meeting promises to be just as productive as the ones preceding it. To be fair, one statement was issued at its conclusion that we would support, namely a pledge not to engage in protectionism. One needs to keep in mind though that the current trade regime is a ‘managed’ one, not a truly free one (free trade doesn’t require agreements the length of telephone directories – just rescind all tariffs and uphold the property rights of foreign investors and be done with it). Still, in this case we will take what we can get.
Another Flood of Money to be Unleashed on Cronies
Unfortunately they still seem hell-bent on implementing state-directed ‘investment’ – although they have apparently refrained this time from mentioning their ridiculous ’800 plans’ (previously 900). There also seems to be a deep-seated faith in the magical powers of central bank money printing, although is is no longer deemed to be ‘enough’ on its own. That almost sounds like a threat unfortunately.

This post was published at Acting-Man on September 7, 2015.