Predictions on what 2008 will bring?
Here are my guesses...
- cascading counterparty defaults
- credit-deflation despite inflationary monetary policy
- recession is out in the open, MSM turns sour
- YOY drop in the fortress
There are also a few way-out-there possibilities that I would not be surprised by...
- banks forced to mark-to-market, some banks choke on being force-fed their own toxic waste
- BoJapan eases rates again in co-ordinated CB move, re-igniting carry trade
- HARM likes the Bay Area and decides to settle down here... :-)
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Yeah don't fuck with people who spell it "loose" dammit!
amurrikuh! Heck yeah!!
FollowBefriend1 threads3,248 comments
I beg to differ on your comment on mortgage. It is all about timing. Taking on a mortgage is a great deal just when inflation is around the corner and housing price has yet to reflect it - you are paying back with inflated, cheap fiat which looks bigger on the face value, especially if you can lock in a fixed rate. Those who bought in 1997 and refinanced into a fixed rate mortgage in 2003 will be the biggest winners. If you buy at the top when inflation is already very obvious, and get into an ARM, then needless to say, the biggest fool on earth.
There are times that it is completely stupid to take on a mortgage and there are times that it is the smartest thing to do. For most people, mortgage is a compulsory saving mechanism because frankly, most people I see lack financial discipline, and cannot possibly save on their own.
Smart and disciplinary savers (very few) who are also savvy in financial investment can beat the return of buying a home on mortgage over the long term. Unfortunately, most people do not fall into this category. So even mortgage may be a bad deal, it is still infinitely better than their other option - squandering their money away.
FollowBefriend287 comments GammaRaze's website
Wow. This thread has quickly turned into a huge geo-political sling fest.
I don't know anything about Russia, but I was born and raised abroad, so let me tell you all something.
Americans constantly underestimate and overestimate foreign countries.
There is one school of thought that declares every other country to be a $hithole and corrupt and whatnot and basically brushes off any suggestion that other societies could become successful and wealthy as well. People who subscribe to this also take great joy in locating some obscure news item and convincing themselves that things are horrible over there.
Such people are wrong. There are plenty of smart, capable people all over the world and No, not all of them want to come over to America. And the American economy and society does have many issues.
The other school of thought is one that constantly praises other countries (Russia, China, India, Brazil, whatever) and claim that very soon, their economy will be the leading one in the world and all Americans will be living a Mad Max lifestyle.
Such people are wrong too. The current state of affairs have to continue for a long time before this happens. And don't discount the possibility that people will wake up soon enough and put an end to the current sorry state of affairs, thereby correcting the ship. Ron Paul may not win but it shows there are quite a few people who realize what is going on.
What we all need, is a little perspective.
Such people are wrong.
Subtract the spurious "Such people are wrong." at the end.
FollowBefriend2 threads2,944 comments Different Sean's website
I agree largely with moo_divine in terms of overall sentiment, unreconstructed Marxist and Soviet apologist of the 70s tho s/he is ;)
Merry Xmas to all, and to all a good night...
It's actually the am of the 26th here now, Santa obviously starts at the International dateline each year and goes west to get a headstart...
I'm increasingly blogging on the global housing price crash forum (GHPC) Australian discussion, which is obscure and hard to find, at
so won't be writing on patrick.net much at all in the new year...
So to everyone in the US, thanks for all the fish, and having a subprime mortgage meltdown that brought the rest of the world unstuck... to be continued...
FollowBefriend4 threads2,252 comments
For the year ahead:
A bank run in the US, probably a credit union or a construction loans-r-us S&L. Lets hope it not one of the majors (WaMu, or even our favorite, Countrywide).
Can't help but think that 2007 will be seen as the year the West handed off the baton to the East. Or am I just being overly paranoid here? Thinking of our financial institutions selling off large chunks of themselves to foreign investment funds (usually controlled by an arm of sovereign nation/central bank or a bunch oil rich sheiks).
>> Ron Paul may not win but it shows there are quite a few people who realize what is going on.
Vote for Ron Paul
The US's metamorphosis into a giant work-camp progresses...
FollowBefriend15 threads1,255 comments
Michael Holliday said to moo_divine:
Ha, ha! There you go again. Showing your true Marxist paranoid colors again. Blame it on the evil United States.
Michael, I will try to repeat this again, since you still seem to have misunderstood the point. Nobody is blaming anything on the United States, so please calm down and stop yelling "Red!" at anything that moves.
The point is that over the past few (8, 10 or 15 years), the policy elite (both public policy and corporate policy) in this country have seriously damaged the America's prospects - and someone like yourself who is obviously passionate about this country ought to be directing your attention to the perpetrators of this travesty, instead of slinging cold-war era insults at the messenger.
[Since I am the author of this thread, if enough people feel this conversation is pointless, I will delete the comments (including mine, of course).]
sriramgopalan - according to this theory the British Empire is still standing, along with the Ottoman Empire and the Third Reich. My point being is that there is no stasis in the affairs of state. The fortunes of countries rise and fall in relation to a wide range of variables that govern the processes of complex societies. Distractions (bread and circus') abound that serve to keep the vast majority of people mindlessly preoccupied and unable to cope with the complexities of modern mass society. This same society askes us to acquiesce to authority (surrender our innate freedom) in return for some benefit. The ritual today, for legitimizing this surrender, is voting, which in itself is an article of faith. Control over the state apparatus has taken many forms from divine kingship to palimentary democracry to marxist-leninism to republicanism but essentially they are all share the same objective and utilize an assortment of methods to achieve 'legitimacy' in the eyes of the ruled. Having said that, it is common knowledge that the capacity of an elite to govern is closely tied to its capacity to legitimize its wielding of power. If the public begins to withdrawal their consent (which is a political right granted to us by the founding fathers) in any form then the governing elite is in trouble. American is not immune to such a thing...in fact it is an inevitability. The rise of right and its own brand of american fascism is a response to the reality of american power losing legitimacy internally and externally.
In this country, Americans are routinely (and largely successfully) vaccinated against harboring dissenting thoughts regarding its system of governance or the nature of power that controls it. It sort of manifests inself as an adolesent, if not infantile, inability to cope with criticism (objectivity/inter-subjectivity). The illusion (Bailey) is too fragile to bear the weigh of any objectivity or rationality and so the ad hominem attacks begin. People are very vested emotionally (if not socially and financially) in the system and therefore lack ability to come to terms with its incredibly abusive and coercive realtionship to its citizenry. American's like to droan on about our rights and freedoms, etc but our conceptions of these things are remarkably narrow, if not emptied of meaning by the ideology of the 'free market' and the cult of the Self (Curtis). Power is the state religion and it is through the endlessly 'exalted american ego' (Morgan) that our paradigm of social control work. Minds mired in the conceptions of the Right/Left are largely inhibited from understanding the dichotomy and how it functions....they actually believe the pseudo-ideological drivel. Pay attention to all the bread and circles and the underlying messages are quite clear in both sides of the arguments.
The fate of the country, of human lives for generations to come are not in the hands of Americans where they belong. They are in the hands a few whose capacity to govern in the interest of the nation (a collective concept) are questionable at best. There has been a severe decline in the last thirty years in the standard of living (wealth) for the overwhleming majority of Americans contrasted to a overwhelming increase in the wealth of a very small layer of Americans. These are reletively simple facts chronicled by mainstream instuitions of society from the WSJ on down and across the narrow political spectrum. We are told everyday that everyone in American has a chance to be rich and therefore the system must be oriented to providing that opportunity since that is the highest ideal of the society. Anything that inhibits the accumulation of wealth or redistributes it is evil (Buchanan). This is pure ideology that attempts to mask itself as some sort of organic force. The destruction of the 'middle-class' has been a necessary consequence since all that lazy wealth that was accumulating for the last 40 yrs as a result of a powerfully organized citizenry was not being put to good use. The systemic attack on organized labor and social groupings of all kinds was deliberate. However, when the ponzi-schemes breakdown, the class who talks endlessly of risks and rewards, suddenly becomes quite adverse to suffering the consequences of their own actions and inevitabily looked to get bailed out by the public as is happening now with the mortgage crisis. The transformation of society into a collection of 'selves' competing for advantage over each other, which the is the basic world-view of the neoconservative and their adherents. Such a view was promoted by the economist Buchanan who based his free market theories on Nash's mathematical models from the 50's. Nash, in a 2006 interview, revealed the fact that those models were flawed. That they were models of his own sick mind (A Beautiful Mind) and bore no resemblance to the real world. In fact, all attempts at validating his models failed. We have, nonetheless, inherited a world transformed by a handful of men whose belief in the theories of Buchanan and models of Nash frame the nightmare that is enveloping the nation.
Can’t help but think that 2007 will be seen as the year the West handed off the baton to the East.
It is entirely possible that the "investors" from the east may eventually turn out to be the biggest bag-holders since many of these companies have much more trouble ahead.
The story in January will be counterparty default - which will leave a lot of bankers naked at the exact moment when they are on the wrong end of a trade. Selling out to a foreign investment fund just before collapse could be the three-card monte trick of the century.
I would argue for keeping it alive. I think it is clear that many folks here are sensitive to the underlying social conditions that the mortgage crisis reflects. Amercians of all kinds need to engage in discourse and dialogue about the nature of the problems and the challenges facing us. To keep the discussion narrowly focused on the superfical issues and events of hosuing and mortgages does little to bring us to some meaningful understanding of this issues and events.
>Vote for Ron Paul
I am not allowed to. Unfortunately :(
I did donate though. And it felt good.
moo_divine (BTW, as a Hindu, I agree with your name :-) - just kidding)
I am not suggesting that empires don't rise and fall. Nor am I arguing that the state of the American union is strong. US these days does have the appearance of an empire in decline.
But I tend to disagree with the claims that the end is nigh - a lot of things have to simultaneously go wrong and for a sustained period of time.
This country is still a powerhouse in many respects. Things can still be turned around if (a) we abandon the ridiculous empire-building foreign policy and (b) cut down on size/expenditure of domestic spending.
If you have never lived outside this country, there many intangible advantages that this country has that you might not realize. Simple things like respect for law and order and goodwill towards entrepreneurship, among other things.
My Dad tried to start a small business in India in the early 80s. I saw with my own eyes how hard it was for an honest man in an atmosphere that was (a) corrupt and (b) leery of private businesses. Things have improved but not enough, in my opinion.
I don't want to go into details too much but for other countries (whoever) to do better, that might take a long time too but it is not just an government thing or a productivity thing, it is also a cultural thing. America's uniqueness is often not realized by many Americans.
The Original Bankster Says:
if you really want to understand what Russia is really thinking, see Alexander Dugin.
It is always good to be aware of all viewpoints - however, I would disagree with the characterization of Aleksandr Dugin's opinion as representative of "what Russia is really thinking".
In general, Russian policy under Putin seems very focused on strengthening Russian national influence, and generally seeks to restrict corporate interests from acting in ways that conflict with this goal.
moo_divine, while everyone's views are generally welcome I would request you to not cut-and-paste several screens worth of text. This isn't an academic forum, we are all just a bunch of windbags airing our opinions - so try not to bore everyone to death, mmmkay?
This country is still a powerhouse in many respects. Things can still be turned around if (a) we abandon the ridiculous empire-building foreign policy and (b) cut down on size/expenditure of domestic spending.
There also seems to be a corporate stranglehold on policy decisions that needs to be checked-and-balanced. It has spread to pretty much every aspect of public policy - fiscal, monetary, health, food-safety, energy, defense, you-name-it.
Just last weekend, I read an op-ed about how the auto-workers cut a deal - to protect their boomer pensions, in exchange for looking the other way on shutting down local manufacturing and increasing parts outsourcing to China.
If that isn't a "gimme-mine-and-to-hell-with-you" middle-finger in the face of the American working class, I don't know what is.
SP. you are absolutely right. When I meant cut down on domestic spending, I should also mentioned that we need to cut the size of government in general. Less power and money with government means less influence such corporations and lobbyists can have.
"The problem is not abuse of power, it is having the power to abuse" - George Cloud(?)
My prediction for 2008
1. Crash landing of China begins - time to load up FXP
2. Very disappointing retail numbers across the US in all shopping seasons - time to short retailers
3. People start to realize that high energy price is here to stay - last phase of oil bull run begins, could last a while before crashing back into 2004 USD equivalent of around $50/barrel
4. More credit crunches, but even bigger liquidity injection by all central banks. USD will reach its lowest against currencies in 2008 or 2009. Competitive devaluation of fiat begins.
5. Food commodities start the mid-phase bull run, which will outlast the energy bull run. Expect grocery price to go up at least 15-20% annually.
6. Fortress price softens and slips, rest of BA hard landing.
7. Notable scale of job layoff.
8. Someone other than Rudy, Hillary and Ron gets elected.
My prediction for 2008: Crash landing of China begins
OO, you seem familiar with the Chinese situation - would you mind sharing the story behind this item? We know there is a bubble in the Chinese stock-market and real-estate. What factors do you think will precipitate the correction? Would be interesting to see your take on this. TIA
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I for one do not mind if some of moo-devine's thoughts indeed happen to be cut/paste from some earlier writings. Moo_devine is lucid and insightful, and I would not mind seeing more of his writings.
I'd agree that there are way too many people droning on about our "great freedom" in this country, and many of them seem to have no idea that there are plenty of other countries where freedom is as good if not better than here.
That is, unless you mean "freedom to dominate and exploit all of your fellow citizens that have less money than you have". On that scale, the US scores high.
Did everyone notice how Google Adwords is serving up ads for Russian mail order brides to go along with this thread? Moo_devine, it's all your fault :-).
Moo devine seems like the smartest poster around... you have a blog?
Michael Holiday, you are in the wrong place. Suggest you tune to Bill O'Rylley or whatever his name is, you will have much in common. You are like a girlfriend I have, she spent like 10 thousand on me and now is sticking around hoping I will pay her back. So basically I bought her with her money. (Always wanted to gold dig a gold digger :)
You see the way that the government is threating us is like the way the american parent threats their child. And we have grown up just like the average american child. We are waiting for the "invisible hand" to come and fix all our problems - children, economy, society and so forth. It is the people that know they will have a hard time in the future or have an easy time now that want to keep this crappy status quo.
I mean since those people are now paying for the army they don't even have to nurture nationalism as much since they get their army without the people believing in this crap. The "invisible hand" have got us by the balls so good I envy envy it. No matter who we vote for it is one of them. We can't fight them and we can't protest them. We don't even have anyone to fight and protest because it is usually the "invisible hand".
wow, Florida's hurting -- have a look at this:
This Is the Sound of a Bubble Bursting - New York Times
The invisible hand turns out to be the parents running interference for their spoilt children, to prevent any pain, suffering or real lessons of life? All at the small expense of their rchildren's inheritance being squandered in the process?
It sounds very similar to Big Daddy Alan Greenspan trying hard to prevent that any of his spoiled Wall Street children gets a boo-boo from engaging in too much horseplay.
No wonder there are so many people in this country that firmly believe in the invisible hand of the markets. It is not an invisible hand, it is the proverbial "man behind the curtain", selling your future down the river all the while assuring you "that everything is going to ok".
I especially like the bit about Mr. Jarrett that left his mental health-counseling job and began selling real estate.
Perhaps not all that different?
"Michael Holiday, you are in the wrong place. Suggest you tune to Bill O’Rylley or whatever his name is, you will have much in common. You are like a girlfriend I have, she spent like 10 thousand on me and now is sticking around hoping I will pay her back. So basically I bought her with her money."
Mhrist I think I've been posting here, on and off, longer than you have.
Just because you're in league with some of the more liberal posters doesn't give you a monopoly on free speech, though, in true left-wing fashion, your disdain for spirited dialog is stereotypical.
I remind you of your girlfriend. WTF?
Obviously you screwed your girlfriend in more ways that one. Dude, you sound like a garden variety, "Me Generation," "stick it to the man," "I've got mine," Boomer weed. Or, perhaps, you've been smoking too much weed.
I think you suffer from Boomeritus.
I know a few losers like you. Mutual users, stuck in dead-end, symbiotic, co-dependent relationships. You probably play guitar in a cover band and mooch off your girlfriend for a living.
If you can't get a life, at least get a clue.
Care to post some more complete references to some of the works that you somewhat informally cited?
Mhrist, who plays the parent role in this country? The free market "invisible hand" or the big government?
Is it the invisible hand that is pretending to protect me from trans fats? And second hand smoke? And "islamofascists"? And predatory lenders? And so on and so forth? And all the while controlling me more and more?
FollowBefriend4 threads1,479 comments Hampton, VA
People start to realize that high energy price is here to stay - last phase of oil bull run begins, could last a while before crashing back into 2004 USD equivalent of around $50/barrel
Your statement, along with today's Mish Article, http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/2007/12/not-your-fathers-deflation-rebuttal.html?ref=patrick.net gives hope that we will have deflation in 2008. Maybe the house prices in the bubble areas will actually fall to 50% of the 2006 prices, as indicated by the builders price cuts in the LA area.
It seems that the general argument of the moo-divine crowd is that members of the American gov are enriching themselves by serving corporate interests over the American public. Maybe the Michael Holiday - sirisgopalan crowd would agree.
Oddly enough, the moo-divine types seem to think the solution to government abuse is to give even more power to the government. Pehaps they think a properly enlightend individual with broad powers would bring a working man's utopia, similar to the Soviet concept of "1980." Maybe a Putin, Fidel, or Kim.
Maybe a better plan would be to work for checks on gov power, and thus limit the ability for gov to abuse power.
Headset, well put.
There have always been a sizable population in the US that believed in socialistic/communistic principles.
Now that they are seeing with their own eyes all the atrocities that a big central government can do with our money and our rights, their solution is...
a bigger, more powerful government with a "good guy" at its helm!
Government is the only institution in the history of mankind to get rewarded for doing a bad job. In fact, the more horrible its performance, the higher the screams for increasing its size and giving it more power.
And this is not just applicable to one party. Both parties are saying the same thing with small, pointless differences. When will the sheeple wake up?
There have always been a sizable population in the US that believed in soc1al1stic/communistic principles.
Now that they are seeing with their own eyes all the atrocities that a big central government can do with our money and our rights, their solution is…
a bigger, more powerful government with a “good guy” at its helm!
Communism will never ever work, because frankly if I become a communist toppling the current admin, I would topple it for my own good, and I believe only the smart (not the mindlessly generous and principled fair guys) and calculating guys will manage to climb to the top of the power ladder. And you expect these smart and calculating guys, once in grasp of the ultimate power, subject themselves to the same set of rules as everyone else, instead of taking advantage of the system, just like the top guys in the capitalist system?
The ultimate solution is always check and balance, be it communism or capitalism. Smart and calculating guys will ALWAYS float to the top under whatever system we are to implement and give themselves the biggest cut of the cake. So the only way to ensure that the rest of us will not be left with no cake is to instill a check and balance, which we had at one time, but got eroded as the American public got lazy and stupid.
No, actually, some of us think that the solution is to give more power to the people, not to the government, by tuning up the electoral system so that we can have more than two parties, true proportional representation, and an executive that is held in check by a diverse (that means >2 parties again) legislative body. Would that work for you, Headset?
Anyone who truly believes in free markets ought to support a free market in political representation, rather than the current highly-regulated duopoly that makes it all but impossible for the individual voter to be heard.
in short, follow Warren Buffet, he cashed out ALL his China stakes in the last 3 months. Currently he held zilch interest in China and refused to put in money in stake in Chinese enterprises when approached.
The longer version is, China has never corrected in the last 20 years because US has never corrected. China has evolved to become a lower-end support structure of the US system, when US system needs a big flush, it will have to sustain a bigger shock.
We all know that China is in a gigantic asset bubble (housing affordability way lower than BA), and stock bubble (P/E of comparable companies 3-5x that of the Wall Street). The key factor leading to the bubble bursting will be determined by one factor - rampant inflation.
Because RMB is pegged to the US, and USD headed down 35-60% against all major currencies, the mere appreciation of 10% against USD still means significant depreciation of RMB against all major currencies except for USD and Yen, another quasi-pegged currency. Therefore, the impact of commodity inflation from industrial metals to crops, from energy to cement, is most felt by China, because it is the lowest on the food chain and commands no products that can charge a premium like the US or Japan. The one and only selling point of made-in-China is CHEAP. At the same time, China has hundreds of millions of low-skilled labor that need to be put to work, so China's policy so far is to endure inflation for as long as possible for the sake of employment.
However, recently statistics has shown that China is coming to that breaking point. China has never been genuine in its intention to control asset bubble, in fact, it is the government's policy to use inflation to digest the asset bubble, because the government is controlled by a group of elites just like this country. The only stark difference is, their elites control a much much bigger share of the country's wealth than us. Since 2006, their inflation has been getting out of control. Food staples and meat has been rising at 30-50% per annum, and lately cooking oil is going up at 10-15% per month! Speaking of hyperinflation!
What does that mean? Unlike the US, China's public spend a far bigger share of their income on food and daily living consumer staples, a common characteristic of population in developing countries. Therefore, the rampant inflation in China is eating away the livelihood of its lower and lower middle class, a major factor in social instability. Riots are happening at a hastened pace. The incumbent ommunists know very well, between profit and keeping their power, they will always opt for the latter, which is the source of all personal profit.
Therefore, after delaying interest rate hikes and just tempering with peripheral ways controlling (not bursting) the bubble, the PBOC and relevant parties are eventually getting serious in mopping up the liquidity, which they never did. They also will appreciate against the USD much faster next year to help alleviate inflationary pressure. However, that is the precisely the last straw on the camel's back which will crash land the economy.
Just to illustrate the importance of inflation to China, may I remind those who thought of the Tiananmen incident as a political event, it was in fact an ECONOMIC event.
People understood little about democracy over there, if you understand little and have never experienced that type of system, why would you be willing to die for that cause? Chinese are very practical, non-religious, so most of the things done by Chinese (99%) can be explained by financial motives and prestige.
The background of the Tiananmen incident was rampant inflation in the 80s when China started to become a capitalistic society. Under Mao, thanks to central planning, food and consumer staples were scarce but the price was fixed for a good 35 years, same as salary. In the 80s, in order to adopt the market-based economy, China chose a dual-track pricing scheme which fixed price for some but floated price for others, which was taken advantage of by the incumbent communist elites as a way of arbitrage to maximize personal profit. The published official data was 20+% inflation a year, but the reality was much worse. People started hoarding rice, wheat flour, soap, anything that they could get their hands on. Tiananmen was just a venue for the country to vent their dissatisfaction and frustration which took the wrong turn.
Tracing back another 50 years, KMT lost China to the communists precisely because of hyperinflation. KMT induced a text-book-style hyperinflation that only comes second compared to Weimar Republic. To finance the civil war against the communists, KMT resorted to printing and got off the gold-standard. The annual inflation was north of 1000%. Those who lived through it, including my grandparents, completely lost confidence in the incumbent government.
sriram - yes indeed. There's always been a large Socialist sentiment in the US. The right thing to do is to channel it into the kind of Folkish, "Nationalist, Protectionist, Isolationist" state we need. This is why there are so many Ron Paul voters right now and so many whom, like me, want Pat Buchanan to run.
Dunno how many of you read www.lifeaftertheoilcrash.net but there's a link on the Breaking News page about how the large US banks are trying to sell themselves to China, because they're desperate for cash.
this is the kind of thing that will bring things to a head in the US.
Its not that the executive is held in check, it's that congress actually does its job and balances the executive. Congress has abdicated its responsibility. All proportional representation would mean is the more populous states ganging up against the less populous states. No, no, no. What the current system needs is an electorate that actually takes its responsibilities seriously, knows the issues and votes, votes, votes. Everything else, mostly, is symptomatic fixes. People already have the power, they just don't use it.
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