Friday's Top 10 with NZ Mint: The Great Disruption to unsustainable non-growth; Asia's non-decoupling; Matt Taibbi's advice to occupy Wall St; Cartoons galore; Dilbert

Here's my Top 10 links from around the Internet at midday in association with NZ Mint.

I welcome your additions in the comments below or via email to

I'll pop the extras into the comment stream.See all previous Top 10s here.

Those Occupying Wall Street should look at Matt Taibbi's manifesto at number 9.

1. The Great Disruption - Tom Friedman writes at the New York Times about the way social protests have spread like wildfire in the last year from Tunisia to Wall Street and how a lack of physical resources and income inequality is at the heart of the problem of no growth.

He cites an Australian author and the quote below captures nicely the sense of unease growing now about the global economy's model of unending growth with limited resources.

What happens if there isn't enough oil or innovation to support this unending growth?

Who benefited from the the debt-fueled and unsustainable consumption growth of the last 20 years?

Why did the 1% get much richer and the 99% get poorer?

This particular version of capitalism seems to have failed.

Here's the quote:

Paul Gilding, the Australian environmentalist and author of the book “The Great Disruption,” argues that these demonstrations are a sign that the current growth-obsessed capitalist system is reaching its financial and ecological limits. “I look at the world as an integrated system, so I don’t see these protests, or the debt crisis, or inequality, or the economy, or the climate going weird, in isolation — I see our system in the painful process of breaking down,” which is what he means by the Great Disruption, said Gilding. “Our system of economic growth, of ineffective democracy, of overloading planet earth — our system — is eating itself alive. Occupy Wall Street is like the kid in the fairy story saying what everyone knows but is afraid to say: the emperor has no clothes. The system is broken. Think about the promise of global market capitalism. If we let the system work, if we let the rich get richer, if we let corporations focus on profit, if we let pollution go unpriced and unchecked, then we will all be better off. It may not be equally distributed, but the poor will get less poor, those who work hard will get jobs, those who study hard will get better jobs and we’ll have enough wealth to fix the environment.

“What we now have — most extremely in the U.S. but pretty much everywhere — is the mother of all broken promises,” Gilding adds. “Yes, the rich are getting richer and the corporations are making profits — with their executives richly rewarded. But, meanwhile, the people are getting worse off — drowning in housing debt and/or tuition debt — many who worked hard are unemployed; many who studied hard are unable to get good work; the environment is getting more and more damaged; and people are realizing their kids will be even worse off than they are. This particular round of protests may build or may not, but what will not go away is the broad coalition of those to whom the system lied and who have now woken up. It’s not just the environmentalists, or the poor, or the unemployed. It’s most people, including the highly educated middle class, who are feeling the results of a system that saw all the growth of the last three decades go to the top 1 percent.”

2. That's one way to do it - The Washington Post reports banks in America are knocking down buildings they have foreclosed on (mortgagee sales) to remove them from the overhang on the market that is pressing down prices. Some are even giving the homes away to community groups to renovate or destroy and turn into parks and playgrounds.

Cleveland — The sight of excavators tearing down vacant buildings has become common in this foreclosure-ravaged city, where the housing crisis hit early and hard. But the story behind the recent wave of demolitions is novel — and cities around the country are taking notice.

A handful of the nation’s largest banks have begun giving away scores of properties that are abandoned or otherwise at risk of languishing indefinitely and further dragging down already depressed neighborhoods.

The banks have even been footing the bill for the demolitions — as much as $7,500 a pop. Four years into the housing crisis, the ongoing expense of upkeep and taxes, along with costly code violations and the price of marketing the properties, has saddled banks with a heavy burden. It often has become cheaper to knock down decaying homes no one wants.

3. So much for decoupling - The Age reports the IMF has warned that the European debt crisis poses an "extreme risk" to growth in Asia, and therefore to Australia (and to us too).

John Key - Are you listening?

In a ''severe global downturn'' where Europe contracted sharply and the United States barely grew, the IMF said Australia's annual growth could be 2 percentage points lower than expected.

For 2012, this suggests the economy would slow to a paltry 1.3 per cent. Over two years, the IMF says an overseas shock would take more than 3 percentage points off the economy's expansion.

Despite last week praising Australia's economic position as ''enviable'', the IMF said the economy would not be immune from a global shock.

''Australia would be affected through a sharp decline in the demand for, and prices of, commodities, as well as likely pressure on bank funding: both would combine to have a significant negative impact on investment,'' the report said.

4. European banking regulators made America's look good - Jonathan Weill writes a good column at Bloomberg about the utter failure of Europe's banking regulators. He points out Belgium's Dexia was ranked very highly in the July 15 stress tests but collapsed into a government bailout 86 days later.

The stress-test exercise was a charade, just as it was a year earlier when Bank of Ireland Plc and Allied Irish Banks Plc passed their tests and collapsed soon after. Once again the rules were rigged so only a handful of unimportant banks would flunk. Everyone who was paying attention understood this.

In a way, by blowing its job so spectacularly, the European Banking Authority may have done the public a favor. Now that we have a clear point of reference, all you need to do to see what other European banks we should be worried about is look up which ones were sporting capital ratiossimilar to Dexia’s.

For instance, as of Dec. 31, four other European banks that passed this year’s stress tests had Tier 1 capital ratios of more than 10 percent while showing tangible common equity ratios of less than 2 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. France’s Credit Agricole SA (ACA) was one. The others were Germany’s Commerzbank AG (CBK), Landesbank Berlin AG and Deutsche Bank AG. (DBK)

Alternatively, if you want a larger sample, click here for a chart the Italian bank Intesa Sanpaolo SpA (ISP) showed at an Oct. 6 investor meeting in London, comparing its stress-test results with those of 20 of its peers. (This was one day after news broke that government intervention at Dexia was imminent.) Touting its fourth-place finish, Intesa said its “core Tier 1 ranks among the best under the adverse scenario.” And who was No. 1? Dexia, of course. So at least we can thank Intesa for the warning should the rest of Europe’s banks crater.

Bottom line, if Europe’s leaders want to further undermine public confidence in the region’s banks, then they should keep doing exactly what they’ve been doing the past couple of years. A few more put-ons like the last two rounds of stress tests and we’ll have the global financial crisis back to peak form in no time. Dexia’s demise is only the start.

5. China's lonely power - Macrobusiness' Houses and Holes says Australia's Lowy Institute has put out an excellent paper on how difficult China will find converting its economic dominance in Asia into political or military dominance.

Regular readers will know that the schism in Australian policy on this topic has been a bugbear of mine for some time. The Great Straddle, as I call it, is the uncomfortable position we find ourselves in with the left leg of our economic dependence  headed in one direction as the right leg of our defense posture goes entirely in the other, leaving us in perennial danger of a nasty rip in the trouser.

And from the report:

The common and generally correct assumption is that lasting strategic influence is built on the back of economic power. Today, however, Beijing is confronted with the uncomfortable reality that it has been unable fundamentally to shift the strategic alignment of even one major Asian capital. While China has emerged as the largest trading partner for countries such as Japan, South Korea, India and Australia, all these countries have begun ‘hedging’ against China’s rise, with varying degrees of intensity, by deepening strategic relations with America and each other. A similar dynamic is at work among the countries of Southeast Asia, despite the landmark China-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement coming into force in January, 2010.

By contrast, China’s only true allies in the region are weak or failing states – North Korea, Burma and Pakistan. This makes China one of the ‘loneliest rising powers in world history’. The reality of China’s relative strategic isolation suggests two related conclusions. First, America will remain the preferred security partner and pre-eminent strategic actor in the region for a number of reasons that will be difficult to alter. And second, China’s capacity for translating economic size into strategic leverage is problematic now and likely to face sharp limits into the future.

6. Swiss housing bubble - Bloomberg reports this is what happens when you slash interest rates to zero and print money. Sound familiar?

“As interest rates have fallen, many people who could not afford it before can buy a house,” Alexandre Ziegler, an assistant professor of finance at the University of Zurich, said. “This has fueled demand and house prices, and could eventually result in a real-estate bubble.”

In August, the SNB cut interest rates from an already record-matching low of 0.25 percent. The Swiss franc’s record ascent against the euro prompted policy makers to impose a currency ceiling on Sept. 6. A similar cap in the 1970s sparked a decade of high inflation followed by a housing bubble in the 1980s.

The average price for a mid-size Swiss apartment has risen 12.5 percent since the end of 2009, according to a study by Zurich-based research consultant Fahrlaender Partner AG. In the cantons of Zurich and Geneva, prices jumped 13.7 percent and 14.5 percent, respectively.

7. China hard landing - Houses and Holes also points to a fresh Credit Suisse report on China's banks.

It’s still at the periphery, but more investment banks are flipping to China bears. Interestingly, this Credit Suisse report (h/t Zero Hedge) projections a huge jump in Chinese banks non-performing loans based upon precisely the two stress test outcomes that I described via the IMF earlier this week, a combined realty and exporters crunch. It is interesting to note that CS sees the likelihood that 80% of bad loans will emanate from these two sectors.

8. Occupy Wall Street  - Matt Taibbi wrote the seminal article in 2009 on Goldman Sachs as a Vampire Squid. I think it's one of those moments that created the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Here he is with some advice for the protestors.

The time is rapidly approaching when the movement is going to have to offer concrete solutions to the problems posed by Wall Street. To do that, it will need a short but powerful list of demands. There are thousands one could make, but I'd suggest focusing on five:

1. Break up the monopolies. The so-called "Too Big to Fail" financial companies – now sometimes called by the more accurate term "Systemically Dangerous Institutions" – are a direct threat to national security. They are above the law and above market consequence, making them more dangerous and unaccountable than a thousand mafias combined. There are about 20 such firms in America, and they need to be dismantled; a good start would be to repeal the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act and mandate the separation of insurance companies, investment banks and commercial banks.

2. Pay for your own bailouts. A tax of 0.1 percent on all trades of stocks and bonds and a 0.01 percent tax on all trades of derivatives would generate enough revenue to pay us back for the bailouts, and still have plenty left over to fight the deficits the banks claim to be so worried about. It would also deter the endless chase for instant profits through computerized insider-trading schemes like High Frequency Trading, and force Wall Street to go back to the job it's supposed to be doing, i.e., making sober investments in job-creating businesses and watching them grow.

3. No public money for private lobbying. A company that receives a public bailout should not be allowed to use the taxpayer's own money to lobby against him. You can either suck on the public teat or influence the next presidential race, but you can't do both. Butt out for once and let the people choose the next president and Congress.

4. Tax hedge-fund gamblers. For starters, we need an immediate repeal of the preposterous and indefensible carried-interest tax break, which allows hedge-fund titans like Stevie Cohen and John Paulson to pay taxes of only 15 percent on their billions in gambling income, while ordinary Americans pay twice that for teaching kids and putting out fires. I defy any politician to stand up and defend that loophole during an election year.

5. Change the way bankers get paid. We need new laws preventing Wall Street executives from getting bonuses upfront for deals that might blow up in all of our faces later. It should be: You make a deal today, you get company stock you can redeem two or three years from now. That forces everyone to be invested in his own company's long-term health – no more Joe Cassanos pocketing multimillion-dollar bonuses for destroying the AIGs of the world.

9. Totally irrelevant video - Some gentle Irish fun in an ad for apple cider.

10. Totally Clarke and Dawe video for the weekend -  On Carbon Tax The Movie

"Some small arms fire was observed."

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

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Where is your 2 ticks Labour banner Bernard? Real bee in your bonnet today I see. Will be another 3 bad years for you when Nats win election.

Going on present form it will be another 3 bad years for ALL of us when the Nats win the election.

Best of a pretty average bunch. Labour are worse.

Actually I would put them about par for mediocrity - and for both being totally clueless about the changes that need to happen.

I'm with Gummy on this one - two ticks Green for me.

And, hopefully Winnie is on form and takes the Greypower vote with - two ticks NZ First.

Then we have a Greens- NZ First coalition. 

This serves to diminish the importance of the separate Maori seats, the single seat of Epsom and Ohariu-Belmont, and the 'old money-go-round' of the BRT vs the Unions...

.... then we can all get back to just being NZers - not left, not right, not rich, not poor, not electorally or racially segregated.  Just a little paradise on the bottom of the world making our own laws to suit our own way of life.

And then Winston and Russell can team up with Gareth to enact real reform.

Okay, wishful thinking over.

Kate's dream: NZ, the Cuba of the South Pacific.

Whomever wins doesnt matter, its going to be bad anyway.


I don't think it makes much difference who wins the election and I don't have a partisan view on politics.

A lot of the forces driving the above are accepted by both sides of politics and neither is advocating much change to the status quo.

They are both dedicated to free trade and free movements of capital. Neither really want to tax capital tied up in land.

Neither want to remove the middle class tax breaks the Super eligibility age of 65.

Neither can change (or wanted to change when they were in power) the NZ$100 billion of foreign debt we loaded up on from 2002 to 2008.

Neither are willing to change the way we fund our lifestyle.




And both are determined to bankrupt the country to get re-elected!

We should not lose sight of the fact that the financial system the bankers 'played' was not constructed by them.  It was constructed by politicians.

Whilst there is no doubt the system needs an overhaul, in my opinion it is the interference of government that has driven us to where we are today.  We are exactly where the laws and institutions we constructed let us be.

Isolating, denegrating and targeting of minorities to blame may be politically expedient and socially acceptable - but it's also very dangerous.

Ralph you are right commenter’s consistently berate the players within the system which has been created and nurtured by the politicians and central bankers. They are the culpable 

Whatever the system some people will try to change it. That's why billions have been spent on lobbiests. Then there are the networkers and those who exploit all the foilibles of human nature "it goes on just about everywhere" (Hugh Pavletich). What the politicians do is partly due to the efforts of powerfull vested interests.

The financial system was pure unadulterated Randite orgy.  There was no, and still is no regulation.  Politicians are the puppets and they do what the bankers say every time.

'unadulterated Randite orgy'.

Nice metaphor but very, very unpleasant imagery - Ayn Rand and orgy is one mental picture I would rather do without  (though no doubt that dungbeetle Alan Greenspan would disagree).

Greenspan WAS a Rand-ite when he was young. He certainly was NOT when he was Governor of the Federal Reserve Bank - he has been reviled as a traitor by every Randite and Austrian economics guru under the sun.

THIS satire on LewRockwell.Com says it brilliantly:

.......interesting to see which NZ polictical party comes up with NZ's version of those demands for change.  I suspect if any, it will be the Greens.  If they do,  they will grab another bunch of votes with it...

Problem for Mr key is that as that he is one of those perceived (or actually) gained from gambling the finance system.  Love  him or hate him, he will be trapped as it turns sour here..

Interesting BBC article here. Spain trying to lure Brits to buy some of its 687,000 empty houses -

Yep, this phenomenon has to reach NZ eventually, and Aussie. Call it Karma, Nemesis, Fate, whatever. You can't get away with mass housing bubble stupidity forever. There are 2 types of people on this issue, those who see it as a bubble, and those who don't want to see it as a bubble.

A mutual subset of both those types, Phil, are those who after 40+ years of conditioning can't bring themselves to be out of the market, even if they see it for what it is. I fear there is as much financial tragedy coming to many New Zealanders as there has been in the combined effect of the finance company collapses; the leaky homes debacle and the earthquake. And at their roots, those three events were related.

For those that missed it yesterday.

Forget the current band of political tyrants, the intent from one of the organisers?

"This is a leaderless Revolution... The Establishment Group just has to get people to the first General Assembly... after that the masses take over..."

They intend on being in for the long haul.


I'm thinking a few of those cones, some of that orange plastic fence stuff and a coupla well placed detour signs along the fan trail might get us some good Telly.....

I booked a train ticket today - Kaikoura to Auckland – hopefully I’m there by next Wednesday to join.

Good on you Kunst.

I would think the new producers would steer well clear of anything like this.

It is certainly going to be interesting. I think we are shy of the critical mass to drive this just yet, but it won't be long until it gets some momentum. 

I have said it before here that lots of educated unemployed people is a recipe for trouble. Even gets a mention in the encyclopedia under economics.


I've got no savings, I've got debts to pay, bills to pay, mouths to feed, govt has taken my money and given it to speculators, while the rich make millions with tax advantages that I dont have, my parents lost their savings because of those speculators, and I'm pretty angry about it.  To top it off the world is turning to hell. 

Go Matt Taibbi...............what a cracking list to start may have left out The overhaul of  the Consitution itself to ensure a disconnect from powerful lobbyist groups . 

 Just how you would dismantle that web would be a major...but a necessary step for the other suggestions to take place with any sense of permanence.

 The Big Short is still a must to read if you haven't already..!~

It's a great book. One of my favourites.

I liked it so much I went to the Venetian Hotel in January this year ( I was there for a conference with my Wife who has an exporting business in the states) and went to the conference venue where the famous set piece between Steve Eisman and Wing Chau took place at the American Securitisation Forum conference.

Here's the reference to this moment via the Guardian's review.

Lewis creates magnificent financial set-pieces, such as a sub-prime bond conference in Las Vegas in January 2007. While the financiers extol their new market, a stripper has five home loans she cannot hope to repay. At the gala dinner, Eisman sits next to a mortgage-bond seller called Wing Chau so ignorant and complacent that he bursts out: "Whatever that guy is buying, I want to short it."

Here's the link to that gala dinner where Jay Leno was the keynote speaker...


My husband and I were watching an interview of Taibbi on a doco the other day.  The interviewer was a reporter who had moved back to his hometown of Detroit to work.  Man that city is depressing, but that's why he went back - because as he said, "America, Detroit is a city coming your way soon".  But, I digress.

He interviewed Matt (we got the impression) at his place.  And both my husband and I commented on the surroundings - as it didn't look very flash - in fact, strikingly basic.  And I wondered - was it staged that way - or is it such that someone with his profile can be working for the love of it with an anti-establishment rag that just can't pay big dollars?

Just wondered if anyone else saw the doco.

I agree 100% with Taibbi's prescription for finance sector malfeasance, but he clearly fails to understand that a significant part of the USA is NOT going to be "Detroit". This is Texas and other Southern and heartland States, with low taxes, small government, pro business, pro growth regulations (no urban growth boundaries or "resource management" laws) etc etc.

California and the other leftwing liberal greenie States certainly WILL be Detroit.

Disagree with me all you like, you are going to be very sad and sick over the truth of this prediction.

Quite probably PhillB...which is why I alluded to reforms in the constitution itself before any of Taibbi's  valuable suggestions could be considered ........implemented.

Would it be hello again to Johnny Reb...hope not as I'm sure the military is entrenched in the funding from "out of my cold dead hand" Republican rednecks.

Christov, you are one of the best on this forum. My dig was not at all directed at you. I note the usual suspects who have usually climbed into me for saying what I just did re the 2 different cultures in the USA, have not responded this time. Perhaps they are starting to see the truth of it.

No...I dont agree with you or that texas etc will be different...the only overall truth I see is you are a blinkered (and wrong) libertarian extremist. However you are right on one thing, we will indeed see who is right within a few years....Peak oil will kill Texas and Houston....but it will see to the USA as well.

Talking about getting your cake and eat object if someone challenges your ramblings...then try and put words in ppls mouths when they dont....

How about keep the rubbish you spew coming out of your own mouth....thanks



"America, Detroit is a city coming your way soon".

Very true....not just the USA though...

Doco....try a youtube search of some key words....if it pops up let me know, I'd like to watch it.


Item 6 explains clearly what Bollard and the banks are up to. They have not learned a bloody thing, have they. More debt to solve a property bubble built on too much debt.  

#1:  The Great Disruption

Is this going to occur here too?

You bet.  With the removal of Gift Duty, the last obstacle has been removed to untrammelled growth in assets & their transfer, thus creating an ever-richer elite coupled with a landed aristocracy.


If its gets "rough" and it probably will, then the rich transfering assets about to dodge tax wont do them much will just get "nationalised"....

Right now enough of the middle class think they are getting ahead but once they realise that isnt the case and they are being pillaged by the right and rich I suspect we will see a strong (hopefully democartic) swing to the left....which is a worrying but an understandable reaction to the present swing (behind the scenes) to the right....

So the Q is when....I suspect its 5+ years off NZ anyway....I dont think the effects of peak oil will really impact for 5 years or so....another 2 elections....2017 will be very interesting......of course it could be faster....maybe 2014 elections.........but I think it will come.


"But, meanwhile, the people are getting worse off — drowning in housing debt and/or tuition debt"

Excuse me, but no one held a gun to the head of anybody and said that they should buy a house that wes beyond their means or not save before they went to University, or work their way through it.

While the basic principle of the 1% and the profit-before-else complaint is to be deplored of course, we all do have to take responsibility for ourselves.   We do not have to listen to the advertisers.


Does that mean the 99% sit outside the window with their faces pressed to the glass watching the 1% owning the assets and drinking the wine and eating the food?

And just accepting it as the way of the world?

I'm sorry. We're all past that phase of accepting this the natural order of things and it's our fault for being poor.



Response posted waay down the page >>>

Is it not only a few weeks since Bernard was all enthusiastic about the Swiss doing something to control their currency and ripping in to the powers that be here for not following suit? Turns out slashing interest rates to make your currency less attractive and printing lots of francs to discourage people from buying them has unintended consequences. I would have thought it would take more than a month for a housing bubble to form but you have to hand it to those swissies for seeing a chance and taking it.

If Bernard is to retain his credibility he should stop worrying about John Key's and put some effort in to some decent analysis. It would help if he was a bit consistent and gyrated less from one wild idea to the next.

#2.  Read David Harvey on "accumulation by dispossession" - this was predictable.

The capitalist accumulators find they have dispossessed so many, that they become over-burdened with the accumulated assets - and through their own making - they have devalued those assets by a greater magnitude than had they not dispossesed so many.

Now the accumulators don't want to bear the societal burden of their assets.. i.e. local property tax.  And, as both schools and police are locally (as opposed to centrally) funded in the US - that means more Cleveland cops and teachers out of work - and more crime and more crowded classrooms for those citizens who have not yet been dispossessed.

If this "new idea" works for the capitalist accumulators, the US will head toward third-world cities at bullet speed.

It's a disgusting disgrace.  Tearing down houses to make a profit, a bunch of sick twisted psycopaths this is what the system is all about, and this is what OWS is all about getting rid of.  Not Mat Taibbi pathic excuse to divert attention away from the overall morally bankrupt system.  US is already way past China in terms of putting food on the table

Chinese have a better standard of life then Americans 

What rot. The Chinese housing unaffordability problem is far worse than the USA was at its worst. Median multiples are up around 14. China is about to re-run "the Asian Crisis" bigger than it was the first time round, for the same reason - a property bubble driven by corruption surrounding the process of urban development. Same in Japan in the 1980's, same in California, same in Britain, same in Ireland, same in Spain, same in NZ (as Hugh Pavletich keeps telling us).

The only places this racket does not exist, Southern and heartland USA, there has never been a housing unaffordability problem or a house price bubble. You can put up apartments in Houston and sell them at a lower price in outright dollars than what is being done in China right now - let alone as a factor of income.

Goodness me - even the saintly Rabobank has now been put on downgrade watch:

I cant imagine its too long till the Aussie big 4 are downgraded.....

goodness me indeed. :(

 gyrated...........there's a word

hard to picture him dancing suggestively or otherwise.....a spinner..?

I don't think he's that worried about Key's much as the discovering the lack of it.....Bernard is not running the show..! John Boy is..and because someone opens their mind to the input of other ideas does not make them inconsistent it makes them inquisitive.

In case you had not noticed most of what he puts up is bait for us to take or leave....if we pick it up and run ...good business...if not bait......all fish are free to come and go as they please....

If you feel Johns not getting a fair go you should say so....and expain what the evidential basis of your complaint is.

wup..! gotta go..It's Friday....not so Yay !.. today !

Always be careful about entrapment around bedtime...


Would You Marry Again? 


A husband and wife are sitting quietly in bed reading when the Wife looks over 

at him and asks the question.... 


WIFE: "What would you do if I died? Would you get married Again?" 


HUSBAND: "Definitely not!" 


WIFE: "Why not? Don't you like being married?" 


HUSBAND: "Of course I do.." 


WIFE: "Then why wouldn't you remarry? " 


HUSBAND: "Okay, okay, I'd get married again." 


WIFE: "You would?" (with a hurt look) 


HUSBAND: (makes audible groan) 


WIFE: "Would you live in our house?" 


HUSBAND: "Sure, it's a great house." 


WIFE: "Would you sleep with her in our bed?" 


HUSBAND: "Where else would we sleep?" 


WIFE: "Would you let her drive my car?" 


HUSBAND: "Probably, it is almost new." 


WIFE: "Would you replace my pictures with hers?" 


HUSBAND: "That would seem like the proper thing to do." 


WIFE: "Would you give her my jewelry?" 


HUSBAND: "No, I'm sure she'd want her own." 


WIFE: "Would you take her golfing with you? 


HUSBAND: "Yes, those are always good times." 


WIFE: "Would she use my clubs? 


HUSBAND: "No, she's left-handed." 


WIFE: -- 

silence -- 






Christov - it just shows how clever wives are and with a little bit Alzheimer like me – hmmm careful !

Roubini in the toppest of top form:

''The problem is not new. Karl Marx oversold socialism, but he was right in claiming that globalization, unfettered financial capitalism, and redistribution of income and wealth from labor to capital could lead capitalism to self-destruct. As he argued, unregulated capitalism can lead to regular bouts of over-capacity, under-consumption, and the recurrence of destructive financial crises, fueled by credit bubbles and asset-price booms and busts''.

One for your next top 10 Bernardo.......

but he's in the past, ignoring that energy is no longer cheap and plentiful.....that booms and busts are a thing of the past IMHO.....the next 30 years will be some odd few years of staggering stagnation followed by a recession as the demand for oil recovers and falters....and its price drives the "growth" out.....


30 years, you might be being a bit too optomistic.

Here is one assessment of NZ oil consumption/availability which is startling. You might want to move to South Korea with its 100 year supply contracts.

Nice link, cheers.

Capitalisim is right now in the self destruct sequence.  There is so much capital it has run out of places to go.  Once you start paying negative rates for debt you can tell the game is up.  Every asset class left behind in the flight of capital is going to be destroyed.  Eventually money itself will be useless.  The weakest link was the sub prime mortgages in America.  Now the rot has spread inward to the Prime mortgages, once they implode the banks will implode, and with OWS holding a knife to the throat of the TBTF's don't expect anymore bailouts or blood will flow.  Once the banks implode under the weight of even more toxic debt, soveriengs will follow caused by higher interest rates due to a lack of depth in the now failed capital market, no tax revnues massive unemployment and one hell of a recession.

Nice one. cheers



Roubini and you both need to read "Sharing the Wealth Generated Between Work and Capital, and Its Evolution" By Remy Prud'Homme.

You need to Google Search it and then use "Google Translate" to change it from French into English. It is extremely enlightening.

Marx has never been remotely close to right about "the redistribution of income and wealth from labor to capital". Labour has consistently gained the lion's share of the fruits of rising productivity.

Here's Harvard Economics professor Marty Feldstein calling at the NY Times for a big haircut on underwater mortgages ( a type of debt jubileee) to get the market going.

To halt the fall in house prices, the government should reduce mortgage principal when it exceeds 110 percent of the home value. About 11 million of the nearly 15 million homes that are “underwater” are in this category. If everyone eligible participated, the one-time cost would be under $350 billion. Here’s how such a policy might work:

If the bank or other mortgage holder agrees, the value of the mortgage would be reduced to 110 percent of the home value, with the government absorbing half of the cost of the reduction and the bank absorbing the other half. For the millions of underwater mortgages that are held by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government would just be paying itself. And in exchange for this reduction in principal, the borrower would have to accept that the new mortgage had full recourse — in other words, the government could go after the borrower’s other assets if he defaulted on the home. This would all be voluntary.

What planet is he on?  Buldoze the houses, reduce supply, then the price goes up and the banks are happy.  Then once the price is high enough build more houses, this is a capitalist economy, and a free market, not a give away to help people out free market, a free market were everyone pays except the TBTF.

110% of the home value and a full recourse mortgage?  A suckers bet for the homeowner - given they can just send the keys back now in the mail - non-recourse in the event they can't pay.

This "novel idea" isn't guaranteed to halt the slide of American property prices - that will likely continue and in two years your previous 110% of value mortgage will see you back further underwater - then you lose your job - and hey presto, now you're really screwed cause you've got a non-recourse loan.

And this guy is a Harvard Economics Professor.  God bless the USA.

I'm with you, Kate. You'd have to be crazy to take that deal!

NONE of this stuff is happening in the dozens of cities in the USA that did not have urban growth boundaries, a racket in urban land development, unaffordable housing, and a bubble and bust.

Randal O'Toole was right to entitle a paper "How Urban Planners Caused the Housing Bubble".

Spew all you like. This is the truth.

Washington Points out at Barry Ritholz's blog that Liberals and true Conservatives actually agree on quite a lot in America.

Here's his thinking:

While many pretend that liberals and conservatives are too far apart to work together, there are actuallymany issues on which everyone can agree.

For example, both liberals and conservatives hate the malignant, symbiotic relationship between big government and big corporations:

Most Americans – whether they are conservative or liberal – are disgusted that virtually all of the politicians are bought and paid for. No wonder people of all stripes have lost all trust in our government.

And everyone hates government-enabled fraud. The big banks, of course, committed massive fraud. But the auditors, rating agencies and regulators also all committed fraud, which helped blow the bubble and sowed the seeds of the inevitable crash.

Well, he may be right but the electoral system will defeat any chance of someone, like Ron Paul, who intends to end the symbiotic relationship between big government and big corporations (including the Fed - and they're in the big corporate box, just in case anyone here thought they were government) - will NEVER get the Republican nomination.  Why? Take my brother - he's voted independent for years and years and years.  It hasn't mattered to him who was running as an Independent - he used his vote religiously as a protest against the political duopoly.  So, I said to him this time - what do you think of Ron Paul?  Well, he agrees his intentions (which he points out are so commonsense, all the candidates who debate with his end up agreeing with him) are what America needs.  But, to vote for Ron Paul to ensure he runs against Obama - he has to register as a Republican - something totally against his principles.  Lots of Americans are the same - non-party aligned - and they wait for the main race.  Hence, they get stick with a choice of one crony vs another.

Not a chance, Bernard.   While there are some areas of overlapping interest, the cultural divide between right and left is just too large.   The solutions proffered to fix the problems are way too different between the two groups to build common ground.  One side must win and the other must lose.   That's life. 

The last guy who tried on this "we just need to come together" theory was Ross Perot in 1992, and after he proved himself to be a complete doofus, the so-callled Reform party completely fell apart because they didn't really have a theory of governing other than their smug belief that they were more virtuous than everyone else.  They weren't.  In the end, they turned on each other and the whole thing collapsed. 

2012, like most consequential elections, will be a war of opposing viewpoints.   1864 was one, 1980 was one, and 2008, to some extent, was one as well.   The argument this time is about the proper size and role of government and it's a good fight to have.  So, let's have it and see what happens.  The results will depend simply on who wins that argument.  

Independent statistical poll sampling proves very conclusively over and over again that elections actually do represent the will of the people who turned up to vote.   These consipriacy theories that somehow these elections are "stolen" are such nonsense, I find it hard to believe that grown adults actually believe it.   How does one "steal" an election run by over 10,000 independent precincts staffed mostly by senior citizen volunteers and poll watchers?  

Also the reason that most Americans don't support Ron Paul is that they don't agree with him.  There just isn't much support for abolishing the Federal Reserve and withdrawing from all foreign commitments,  for example.  We also haven't elected a sitting congressman to the presidency in over 150 years.   There is another simple reason that Libertarians like Ron Paul don't succeed.  Most Americans are not libertarians.  

The Electoral College, Kate, has nothing to do with that.  It's been around for 230 years and is working precisely as designed, mainly to protect smaller states from the larger ones.  

I suggest you all stop looking for creative reasons or conspracies as to why things are how they are and look for the more obvious ones.  They are much more likely to be true. 

Independent statistical poll sampling proves very conclusively over and over again that elections actually do represent the will of the people who turned up to vote.

Yeah, and from what I hear, Ron Paul wins most of those - but will he become President - doubt it - as it's unlikely he'll get the Rep nomination.  And as for the electoral system there working - well my brother's in PA - and as he said - his vote doesn't matter as by the time they get to his state, the way things work - it's already decided.

Now, I don't live there anymore, so don't really know - but our single-round MMP system seems to me to be much, much more representative of the popular wishes.  Among many oher things, the US needs to reform its two-party duopoly - which is really a status quo monopoly..

And another thing wrong with the electoral system, this time according to a nephew - is the whole primary thing.  He says that candidates have to campaign for so long and promise so much to just get through that - that then if/when they get into a position of potential Presidential leadership challenge, the copious record of what they said during the primary race, gets dragged back up at them, and they can't do anything but keep all these inane promises made during the race where they campaigned against members of their own party.  And of course, you have to be registered as a party member to even vote in that stage of the democratic process.  Whereas here, we don't need to be affiliated to any party to influence who gets to run in the big race. 

Things are so bad in the US - Obama will lose on a protest vote.  The Republicans could run just about anyone - aside perhaps from Sarah!

Political parties could be described as being like Mafia families: always scrapping amongst themselves and vying for dominance, but instantly closing ranks against outsiders, whom they ruthlessly attack and attempt to destroy.

Nonsense.  Political parties are filled mostly by average voters (like you  me) who happen to take a similar point of view and operate locally.  They work, imperfectly, to find a candidate that best represents it and then try to win elections.  Sure, there are bad apples in any large organisation and they make mistakes (2008 is clear evidence of that) but that doesn't make them "mafia families".   

Which political parties?  in the USA? the GOP is filled/led with extreme right wing nutters, who have sold their souls for re-election money and as per normal they have sheep who vote for them blindly  .......Democrats, not so sure, somewhat maybe "average" in comparison, but have peddled their souls just as hard and as per normal they have sheep who vote for them blindly....In both cases the political parties abuse that "trust"....

Here in NZ my experience of party members is they are self-rightious twerps utterly convinced they are right (and maybe their party) and are going to be the next PM......and will cut anybodies throat to achieve that....hardly average IMHO.....very similar in the UK...


Was that meant to be self parody?   The only self-righteousness I can see here is contained in your post. You presume to make judgements about people you don't know the first thing about and then pronounce them as unworthy of respect as "twerps", "nutters" and the like.  In your case, I must reluctantly say BOZOBIT = TRUE. 

I can see and read....

More than enough....


The polls Ron Paul wins are straw polls packed with his enthusiasts.   Nationally, he is in fourth place.   Here are the numbers averaging all the major independent polling firms.   Unless he catches fire in the next six weeks, he's toast.   Time to stop living in Ron Paul fantasy land.

Here's Nouriel Roubini's view via Foreign Policy on Occupy Wall St, which I agree with:

My view of it is that it is a symptom of the economic malaise that we're facing not just in the United States, but all over the world. It started with the Arab Spring, and of course, poverty, unemployment, corruption, inequality eventually leads to people becoming restless. But now, you have middle-class people in Israel saying we cannot afford homes; you have middle-class students in Chile saying we don't have education; you have riots in London; people smashing Mercedes and BMWs of fat cats in Berlin and Frankfurt; you have an anti-corruption movement in India. It takes a lot of different manifestations, but we live in a world with a lot of economic insecurity, of worries about the future, of inequality, poverty, of concerns about jobs. And [Occupy Wall Street] is the manifestation in the U.S.

In 2009, [President Barack] Obama told the bankers, "I'm the only one who's standing between you and the pitchforks." The bankers got the bailouts; they were supposed to extend credit, extend mortgages. They did pretty much nothing, and they went back to the same actions as before: making money through trading. At this point, I think people are fed up with it. Rightly or wrongly, there's a huge amount of anger.

This is a symptom of the 'economic malaise' alrite.  The greed and psycopathic personalities of the coorporations and TBTF's is the cause.  As Kunst would say "Looking into current developments on many fronts – the world will never recover again, simply because among the powerful in societies ethics, moral requirements and standards don’t prevail "

Giving bailout money to the financial system in the US was obviously the inexpedient thing to do. It would hardly have done banks any good to use this money by lending to people who could not pay it back though, and there are real reasons cridit criteria have tightened which have little control by the financial system. Once the economy had stalled the financial system could not restart it, whether or not they wanted to.

Obama should always have prosecuted existing regulations and laws where appropriate, this is necessary so as not to lose all confidence in the government, and financial system from people in the US. Probably a lot of the prior capital regulations should have been reinstated, at as minimum as well.

The only way out has always been some kind of debt foregiveness, at least if the basic structure of the financial system actually remains the same. But of course the banks can't do this of their own accord. My point about this is, how bad would it have been if the can had been kicked 10 more years down the road?

Real reforms can only happen after significant turmoil of course so in some ways it could be better that a patchy solution has not been achieved. Hopefully the results are worthy of the struggle to achieve them.


Reagan would have told Wall Street to get stuffed, and the world would NOT have ended. Wall Street was only ever playing a game with ignorant, hubristic politicians.

The great awakening of the Millenials from Dave Serchuk at Forbes

I applaud them for standing up for the world they were told to expect, for demanding Boomers think about someone, anyone, other than their selves, for a change. I applaud them for their sense of joyful anarchy about it all, even as the predictable criticisms against them pile up.

I applaud them for not getting subsumed, as my generation, Generation X, did. We channeled our revolutionary fervor into still more status-quo consumerism by making it “cool” to identify with, and as, brands. In other words we sold out. We used our youthful energy to not challenge the system but reify it. And then we acted surprised when we learned we were expendable.



Uh huh.   Any Democrat with half a brain will be running from this OWS thing as fast as they can and many of them are because they know their history. 

It all looked very "cool" and "hip"  in 1968 when the youth tried on their moral superiority for us all to marvel at.  Too bad it all went horribly wrong that summer when the Chicago riots in front of the Democratic Convention showed everyone that they were really just spoiled brats backed by some very unsavoury characters.   So, Hughbert Humphrey lost that election and we got Richard Nixon.    

Methinks a repeat may be in the cards.

Where do you get these impressions.  I lived in Chicago then - and that certainly wasn't what I took away from those riots. 

Well you may not have, but many voters did.  It's pretty indisputable that the event and those leading up to it split the Democratic party, did it in public for all to see and threw the election to Nixon.

As the Wiki entry points out - it was the police brutality and violence that was on showcase for the world - "the world is watching".  Wouldn't have mattered what went on inside the hall regards candidate nomination - the public outside had simply had enough of all colors of authority at all levels of government.  And the ensuing trial of the Chicago Seven - in proceeding through the justice system largely failed to convict on the ridiculous charges laid.  The incitement to riot was largely the responsibility of Mayor Daly and his bigotted police force.... that's what I took from it.  

I guess my point is - who did or did not get the Democratic nomination didn't change the world - as we have found more acutely now - Democrat or Republican - same old crony capitalism... but the demonstration pointed out that the right to peaceful, lawful assembly was what was being tested that day.... and indeed throughout much of the 60s.  It took far too many American lives to get that right back.

My original point stands.  You can argue all you want about what happened on the ground that day, but enough Americans associated what happened with a weak and vacillating Democratic party and wanted nothing to do with it.     It doesn't matter whether it was fair. It just turned out that way.    

If the Democratic party embraces these OWS protesters they are playing with fire..

From my reading so far - OWS don't want a bar of either party.  Hope they keep it that way.

The number of us "boomers" who get "it" Bernard may surprise you, the fears we hold for the children of our children are escalting as competition on every rung of the ladder grows....while dispicable acts of self indulgent  avarice are flouted in the faces of those who should rightfully inherit this earth.

While I agree with your statement for the most part ,be careful not to alienate a powerful and soon to be empathetic friend.....because of the golden years maybe ,we are slow to respond, lazy,apathetic...and sometimes need a little help to identify with each other......inescapably  at some point in the future, the world will have to address Growth as identified currently ,continuing at a pace that is unsustainable.

Those pigs yet to face the wrath ( I pray they do) chant the mantra of Growth for self serving reasons only, just as percentages,divorced from any realities confronted by those who will try to make a life that has some level of decency and quality about it.

You are not alone in there.....more connective tissue needed to bind us in what will become your childrens struggle when we pass.

As I have said here before ...Man's inability to think beyond his own mortality (for the most part) is the brick wall. 

I am sincerly hoping the media does not run with the tone of lefties/stoners/unionists/greenies during the protest because that would be a traversty.

If these pigs from the Global Banking Corporations to those that facilitate their existance by all manner of legislation are the pinnicle of what humanity should aspire to....we are indeed a pathetic species in need of a lesson of Biblical proportions.

Bernard, i do not understand why the baby boomers get all the blame. My understanding of history tells me all this blame game is unjustified.

Who was it that fought the capitilists and started up the Unions then started up the Labour party. Have you never heard of the 1951 Waterfront strike.

The baby boomers fought  for better pay AND better working conditions. This generation, over the past 25 or 30 years, dumped everything that had been hard won by struggle. Now they are too pathetic to take any of the blame.

The baby boomers got schools, hospitals, and many other assets which this generation sat back and allowed Roger the Dogger to sell. How can you say it is not the fault of this generation when they have allowed the Unions to slump, real wages to fall, and bloody awful working conditions (Pike River) and as mentiond their assets to be sold.

It is under this generation that the gap between rich and poor has reached insane levels, in fact, all of these bad things have happened under this generations stupidity.

How can this generation say NONE of this is their fault?

Stand up all of you who fought the asset sales? or anything else for that matter. You are all just a  bunch of finger pointing wingers. Grow up and take the blame you so rightly deserve.

If you are not just a winger then let's see some action, or else SHUT UP.

PS. Not blaming you Bernard because you have done something and given us a voice. Thank you.

Your understanding of history is extremely confused and riddled with holes.

In 1951 the oldest of the boomers were just starting school. 

The Labour Party was established in 1916, and has been one of the two primary parties since the 1930s.  Those damn time-travelling boomers.  While they were at it, couldn't they have won WW1 a couple of years early as well?  Lazy buggers.

Unionism goes back to the 19th century and earlier.  Are you going to claim credit for that for BB's as well? 

The mysterious 'this generation' you refer to, that's been predominantly in power for the past 25 to 30 years is the boomers, and a rump of their immediate predecessors.   Anyone post-boomer wasn't in a position to fight asset sales, what with being more occupied with going to primary school, playing in the sandpit at preschool, or just not existing yet.

If you're going to point the finger, and foam at the mouth over 'wingers' at least get it right.



The point is "What has your generation done to make things better?" NOTHING. You have all sat on your arses, running up debt while all these things you winge about got into this mess. Take ownership of your own cock ups.

Lets try and let you see the bigger picture then, because you are to close to the day to day issues and have a twisted perspective.....

The blame can clearly be laid at the feet of The BBs and the generation before who have removed 50% of the world's fossil fuel already....Increased population beyond sustainablity, popualtion has climbed from a supportable 2 billion pre-ww2 to an unsustainable 7billion today....

This generation not X or Y or Z.

Who leads from which generation most Govns right now and will for the next decade? old are the CEOs and leaders of business right now? Mostly BBs, How ld are the senior ppl in Govn depts? bet they are mostly 50+....Who has lead for the last Generation?  (25~30years) we can easily look to Clinton, a BB.....Reagan before him, sure....not a policy difference though.

Who has indebted the nation(s) with property specualtion? few Xs and even fewer Ys.....mostly all BBs.....

Schools etc....yep sure....but by using humans have converted energy and raw materials at an un-sustainable rate to "improve" our lives and support more lives....the former actions at 2 billion was probably managable....7billion wanting in, isnt.

Now you sound like the whinner you are not facing up to your amoral behaviour....

On a brighter note the wealth of the BBs is only supported by the BBs....the bubble in the stock market and property market cant be sustained once the BBs move from buying to selling assets to fund their retirements they think they have earned.....

and if that isnt enough the BBs have used 1/2 the oil and most of the easy stuff (ditto minerals etc) that alone guarantees the retirement plans of the BBs goes up in smoke....fitting really.

Stand up and do what exactly? take the right to vote off BBs like the criminals they are? personally like <18year olds I think anyone over 65 should not be allowed to vote....if <18 years old is to immature then >65 is to senile....cant happen because the Govn, business and organisations are all run by BBs....protest? yeah right, who runs the police? a 30 something? I think not....the Army? yeah right.....



What a deluded rant this is!

yeah right....lets let history decide.


Steven, what has your generation achieved? NOTHING but a bloody awful mess, this happenned on your watch so take resposibility for it

The current mess we ALL find ourselves in, of whatever generation you are, reminds me of skin cancer. When we were younger, we did not KNOW about it. BB or no BB. Now we do. It seems pointless to me to blame anyone as we are now in it together. 99 percent of us, remember.

JD, could'nt agree more. As long as these people continue to put all the blame on BB's nothing will be achieved. What is needed is action, like 'Ocupy Wall Street'. Well said, thanx

This mess was and is the creation of the BBs....the BBs who hold the money and the now we see signs they are handing over the pile of poo to the next generation(s) expecting nice fat pensions and free and expansive health care....I think thats about to un-ravel....


Are you happy about that? I would like to see continued good, free health care and see good working wages for all and decent pensions for all. In my own life so far, by the way, I've mostly seen lower middle class battlers and not these mythical fat BB's people seem to enjoy pointing fingers at. Guess I hang out with the wrong crowd.

God forbid we should ever devolve to U.S style health care or lack of social programmes btw. Do you want to live like that?

Angry finger pointing gets us nowhere. 99 percent of us includes the BB. Who cares who broke the system? Do you think they did it on purpose? Seriously? I remember when people genuinely thought trickle down would benefit workers, that the globalisation of trade would work better for everyone.

I think we are at one of those cross roads of history, sort of like the industrial revolution, or maybe the Great Depression where we are in a painful, scarey place; we're scared because we can't foresee the outcome and we're mad too. We can't lose our heads and just react (and throw out the good things that can and do work with the bad)

Be angry, sure, but focus on good outcomes for all, blame gets us no where and wishing Ill and worse feeling satisfied to see ill besetting others is just wrong. We are all the 99 percent and we need to stick together and come up with a way out of this mess.

I don't have any answers. It's going to take someone a lot smarter than me! I'm just a PAYE, overworked, stressed out, worried-about-the-future person trying to figure out how I can save enough to not have to work some day in the future. I can only see the low wages in my community and the poor prospects of employment of today's youth and read about the high prices of houses compared to median wages. I read about the number of children in our country living in poverty. I worry about where to put my pretty-recently-aquired and all-to-slow-growing savings to prevent it from losing ground to inflation. I worry about GE crops and how (particularly in North America) they are destroying soil and contaminating the original strains (specifically Mexican corn).

I read here hoping to clarify in my own mind what possible answers there are and who I can vote for to help improve things. Not that it helps. I think it may be just making me worry more.

To specifically address your health care concern, I can recognize some good things about our system (not saying they can't be improved) but compare our health care system to the U.S (perhaps watch Michael Moore's "Sicko" doco) and I sure as heck know where I would rather be. Canada's works well. Cubas from what I can see/hear/read seems to work well. The US's does not. Ours seems in the middle but beats most of the countries of the world.

All I know is finger pointing isn't going to help, we're going to need all of us.

Also, we're too close to the whole thing. When you are in the midst of big events in history it's pretty hard to see it clearly. Some day I hope we can all sit back and say "whew". I sure as heck hope so anyway.



Steven, i am really disapointed that we disagree on this when we seem to have so many other opinions in common. I just cannot accept your logic that All BB's are equal, otherwise i would have to accept that if a handfull of generation X are Gay the ALL Gen X must be Gay and that's a crap argument.  If some darkies are thieves how does that make ALL darkies thieves?

Did you notice how NOT ONE person, including you, could name just ONE positive physical action they had taken, so i must conclude that you are all just a bunch of DO NOTHING wingers etc and it really does disapoint me to have to say that.

As for me i have participated in many positive actions over the years such as joining in the protest in Cathederal Square oposing the government take over of ECan. Over the years i fought for what i got which is more than you can say.

So, So Sad, what a sorry lot., i only wish i knew how to motivate the likes of you to get you active, then i, like many others, would join you.

Um....Im not sure how to reply to this as yet and Im not sure ive said all BBs are equal this was not my intent within hw you are saying I am saying. OK, but despite active opposition the BBs have in effect lost the greatest chance to steer a safe course for humanity. I listen to ppl and have tried to talk to them and they just dont care.....they think Im a one wants bad news.....

Me active, well Ive decided that I will make my own peace.....I will conserve energy, I will so as little environmental damage as I can.....I will try and steer my children into a lifestyle and work skill set that will see they have the best chance of getting by their 60~70 years....


Would later generations have been any better I wonder? earlier ones could arguably be excused to a degree on lack of science and education....history will be the judge...


Banks will fight back (standing behind a policeman)

Finnancial giant JPMorgan Chase & Co. donated $4.6 million to the New York Police Department (NYPD) to "strengthen security in the Big Apple" and several months later, the NYPD conveniently arrests over 700 individuals, all at one time, involved in peaceful OWS protests.

Learn more:

Liked the Vendeta masks a lot...could be the go

Simply the best!

My fav - the 99% interstate highway sign. 

Those masks are a person called Guy Fawkes.  He was part of a plot to assasinate an oppresive and tyranical monarch.

Hmmmm - most historians would say the plot was more to do with restoring a Catholic to the throne (though no doubt if you were part of the Catholic minority living under the Protestant monarchs of the time you perhaps did feel a tad oppressed).

Maybe in 400 years people will say the same of OWS.  "Always remember the 5th of november with treason and plots"

I take it you have not seen  V is for Vendetta skudiv.....I think you  would like ...yes I do...!

Cheers, i'll check it out.

Good watch cheers for tip. 

Here's IMF Economist Simon Johnson on why tax cuts don't pay for themselves, as much as people like John Key might like to think.

Can tax cuts “pay for themselves,” inducing so much additional economic growth that government revenue actually increases, rather than decreases? The evidence clearly says no.

I would start with a study by Gregory Mankiw, former chairman of George W. Bush’s Council of Economic Advisers – and therefore presumably on the tax-cutting side of American politics – and Matthew Weinzierl (published in The Journal of Public Economics in 2006 and, unfortunately, available only to subscribers) that shows the economic growth caused by a tax cut can offset, at best, a portion of the revenues lost by that tax cut.

Specifically, Professors. Mankiw and Weinzierl calculated that 32.4 percent of the “static” or direct revenue loss of a capital-gains tax cut and 14.7 percent of the static revenue loss of a labor tax cut could be offset in present-value terms by additional growth, ignoring short-term Keynesian effects (i.e., any immediate stimulus provided to the economy).

Now 32.4 percent is a lot, but it is far less than 100 percent. And a critical assumption for Professors Mankiw and Weinzierl is that government spending falls to keep the budget in balance.

 if instead the tax cuts are financed by additional debt, as was our collective experience during the 2000s, the ultimate effect of those cuts can be to lower economic growth in the long term, depending on whether the larger debt eventually leads to lower government transfers, lower government consumption, higher taxes on capital or higher taxes on labor.

More broadly, in 2005, the Congressional Budget Office, then headed by a Republican appointee, Douglas Holtz-Eakinestimated that the economic effects of a 10 percent cut in income taxes would offset from 1 to 22 percent of the revenue loss in the first five years; in the following five years, the economic effects might offset up to 32 percent of the revenue loss, but might also add 5 percent to the revenue loss.

So socio economic utopia must be as easy as just raising and raising taxes until the government share of GDP is 100%. Far out.


Here's The Economist on why tax havens are in trouble. So why would John Key want to set up one here for fund managers to exploit?

As public faith in the universal benefits of markets and globalisation wobbles, and public coffers empty, such arguments pall. Small firms are angry that clever offshore schemes favour their bigger competitors. Citizens and policymakers are readier to hear a broader case: that offshore finance skews the global distribution of wealth, away from poor countries and those that levy taxes to pay for public goods (including the ones that benefit companies).

Global Financial Integrity, a campaigning group, says poor countries “lose” more than $1 trillion a year to tax havens, around ten times the aid they receive. Two-thirds of this is tax evasion and avoidance, the group says, the rest transfers by criminals and the corrupt. Another outfit of fiscal inquisitors, the Tax Justice Network (TJN), cites research by the Bank for International Settlements, the Boston Consulting Group and McKinsey to calculate that global offshore deposits amount to at least $9 trillion, some $2 trillion more than the total held at home by American banks. ActionAid, a charity, published research this week showing that the companies in the FTSE 100 index had 8,492 offshore subsidiaries.

He needs a nice job to "retire" to after being PM?


Just like Helen Clark got a top job at the UN, John Key is setting himself up for a Knighthood so he can go back to Wall Street as Sir John Key, ex PM of NZ and all the doors of the exclusive Wall Street Clubs will open for him.

NZ leaders have an attitude of "stuff NZ, its my future that counts. Oh, by the way is JK a baby boomer?

Clue "one of the first things JK did on coming into office was to restore Knight Hoods" Guess Why? Add to this his Financial Services Hub which will please some. Need i say more?

And a Time Poll shows Occupy Wall St is now twice as popular as the Tea Party with Americans

The survey also revealed that respondents have a better impression of the left-leaning protest movement known as Occupy Wall Street than they do of the Tea Party movement. Fifty-four percent of respondents harbor a positive view of the burgeoning protest movement, well above the 23% with a negative opinion. By contrast, just 27% of those surveyed have favorable views of the Tea Party, while 65% say its impact on U.S. politics since its inception in 2009 has been negative or negligible.

Those results reflect a strain of economic populism common to the new movement’s backers. Among those respondents familiar with Occupy Wall Street, nearly 80% argue that the wealth disparity in the U.S. has grown too large, and 68% say the rich should pay more taxes. Even so, this cohort is aware of the challenges facing the movement. Fifty-six percent predict that Occupy Wall Street will have little impact on American politics, and another 9% say its effect will be negative.

I'm gonna read some of this over the weekend  ..thanks for the links up top will def go to for a lookie see....should you not be out dining with the wife or somesuch....your a young man.. eat..! eat..! your skin and bone...!

Well you are a bit behind the eight ball Bernard, TV3 beat you to the story of the Auckland Occupation kicking off this weekend.

and scoop

Americans "prefer" the "Flea Party"?

I do not believe this poll is truly representative of a cross section of American people.

Here's how China is trying to stop its slowdown turning into a hard landing.

Following a meeting in the State Council, Premier Wen Jiabao announced six new measures to support small business:

The more important 4 points of the 6 are:

  1. Increase small businesses’ access to credit from banks, with growth of credit to small businesses not lower than the overall loan growth

  2. Banks should scrap unreasonable fees charge to small businesses to reduce costs of running small businesses

  3. Explore more channels for small businesses to obtain credit

  4. Refine differential regulatory structure for small businesses. Loans of the size below CNY5 million could be excluded in the calculation of of loan-to-deposit ratio, and would allow banks to use the same risk-weighting as retail loans

The State Council will also raise the the entry point for some taxes for small businesses and reduce some stamp duties, etc.

On the whole, policymakers seem to be aware of the problem (of course they are).  But these measures aren’t really that dramatic against the backdrop of a tightening cycle.  Also, the it does not sound like a very good idea to reduce the risk-weighting of SME loans, which are more risky.  I am already very pessimistic about Chinese banks, and I am sure that there is room to be even more bearish on banks if policy makers think that it is a good idea to start lending indiscriminately again.

Nah Bernard, I am just annoyed that people like me who work in credit, not in debt and have worked hard all our lives and who's parents worked hard all their lives, and honeslty too .. not to mention has actually lost jobs for standing up for what is 'right' (have you ever done that Bernard?)

1.  have to suffer with everyone else

2. apparently draw the jealousy of some people - most of whom have not worked as hard as me (not all, but many) because we now have money in the bank.   Hey I am not a 1 percenter by any stretch of the immagination, but this sort of activity can easily get out of hand and I fear being stuck in the middle.

As for the general principle of people before profit, I have always championed that.   Probably before my time.   I just don't want all this to get stupid, and caution against it.

this sort of activity can easily get out of hand and I fear being stuck in the middle.

What do you mean "stuck in the middle"?

Just curious.

I'm curios how you can work in credit, not debt.

sorry Kate, my post may be out of context, it was in reply to Bernard's reply to mine further up the page :)   If it still does not make sense, let me know :)

Tells it.....

"Which inexorably leads to the conclusion that the Eurozone of 17 members will not exist much longer"

Hmm I wonder at what point France and Germany throw greece to the wolves...except spain. portugal and italy go to....can it really be "solved" ? they have not solved it yet....and its harder now me thinks.


It's a cancer steven, it's like cutting off your hand but it had spread to your lungs years ago.  It looks as though it has been misdiagnosed for years.

Of all the economic mistakes this country can potentially still make, asset sales is easily the worst. Even the brain damage-like borrowing program (to cover tax cuts) pales into insignificance next to asset sales.

And just to make it even worse (God...HOW?!), asset sales is a mistake we've already repeatedly made.

If it's not classified as treason, it ought to be.

It is not treason, it is criminal looting.

Bernard has capitulated and removed the readers choice comment of the day with 14 votes! 

This is the third time in the last month I have noted this mode of censorship. It may not have been Bernard's call, but either way his credibilty takes a big hit.

It could be that they just cycle out after a certain time period.

Not a chance of that. The readers choice comment will likely be an automated database query. Paraphrasing, something along the lines of: select the comment with the most thumbs ups from the last 24 hours. The readers choice comment will change with time, and without the need for human intervention.

The censorship occurs when the option to display the readers choice comment is disabled i.e. the link to the offending readers choice comment simply disappears until it is restored after it starts referencing another comment due to either time or popularity.

This sort of censorship would be something straight out of Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four.  

I gotta read that book, 2011 will make a great book too imo.

Add Orwell's 'Animal Farm' to your reading - it will only take a couple of hours and is well worth the time.

Perhaps I should donate copies of both books to

You talk utter drivel......


Steven, thanks for reading my comments. It is possible we could all learn something if you are able to be a little more explicit about what you find wrong or offensive in my 'utter drivel'.

Is it:

a) That the NZ media (in this case feels it must remove any promotion of the most strongly supported comments if they are critical of government (in this case over asset sales)?  and/or

b) You don't accept that the 'Readers Choice' comment has disappeared a number of times when it has linked to popular but unflattering opinion?  and/or

c) I am wrong technically with how the 'Readers Choice' comment is generated?


a) I think is totally un-substantiated on your part.....then of course you jump off a cliff with Orwell's work....

b) Can be explained with technical difficulties.

c) Again guess all means guess but dont conclude that its neg against the Govn as the reason......

personally I think the present Govn are a bunch of losers that have no idea or are lying (I go with the latter).....but the other party are as bad....

NB How about asking BH for the reason rather than cliaming its a conspiracy

lex parsimoniae is usually the answer....or the simplest explanation is usually b) is the most likely.




Thanks Steven.

I think we should agree to differ over how we view governments. The following is a short but very good article on the 'perception management' economy that I think is very relevant:

I am familiar with the software (Drupal) that drives the site, and do not accept that technical difficulties could explain the disappearance of the 'Readers Choice' link. Even if they could, the chances of that happening three times (that I have noted) over a period of a few weeks, and all with durations matching popular but highly critical comments, simply isn't plausible.

Regardless, by raising the issue here I think we should expect the 'Readers Choice' comment feature of this site to become more 'stable'. 

"Differ", yes....we sure do.

"perception-management"  a very good piece.....and lets face it it has mostly worked during the Reagan and later administrations periods, especially the Bush years....however, its can kicking at its has succeed in the status quo...something like the coyote in the road runner going off a cliff....just dont look down and it will be fine...sooner or later we will look down.

"Drupal" I have not used this software myself, but I do work in IT and know wierd things can happen and be ervy hard to trace on complex certianly seems to run slowly and time out frequently....double posts etc...abound.

I am also concious that its quite easy to hijack threads with astro-turf clicking and conspiracy theory can work both ways.....Given BH's critisism of the Govn's it really odesnt strike me as probable he's removing posts based on something like this.



The site certainly performs poorly but I don't know whether that is because its hardware is not up to scratch, there are too many features/too much advertising running, or poor network access. Probably all of them at times. 

I was careful to note that it may not have been Bernard's decision to remove the 'Readers Choice' comment.   

With Drupal it is very easy to switch features on or off, and to change permissions for the types of users that can access features. For instance, granting access to the 'thumbs up' feature for all users rather than just logged in ones might require an administrator to do no more than tick another permission box and then save the setting.

Sure the primary system is long and greuling, but  if you replaced it with something else, do actually think that would change politcal reality?   Factions left and right will still want what they want and demand what they demand.   Weak-willed politicians will cater to it and gullible voters will vote for it.  I don't see how  tinkering with the process changes that dynamic.   (By the way, not all states have closed primaries.  Many do allow open voting across parties. It's local thing).

If you really want to make politicians less important, make the government less important, but that is much easier said than done. 

Prime-X is imploding, give this a couple of weeks before the MSM realises the implications.  These are unregulated derivitives, and hence any claims to the notional value are fundamentaly flawed.  The underlying security are the RMBS, which will be substatial on the TBTF banks balance sheets, not to mention the actual underlying asset which is the houses and the people living in them and struggling to pay the mortgage.  60% of US homeowners have less then 10% equity.  No wonder banks are desperatly bulldozing houses to try and pump up demand, while former homeowners live in tents and tunnels. 

Here is a guy saying what we all know in the back of our minds.  The only option is default, the other option aren't even possible.

If German politicians are really sworn to support the well-being of their citizens, the best thing they can do is look everyone in the eye and say, “Buckle up, people, we’re about to swallow a nasty pill… better we get it over with now than drag it out for years.” 

Years? try decades. To sort this not less than 10 years of depression IMHO, and I suspect 30 years...after the bullet is bitten....and its not been bitten in 3 years...listening to he talking heads...they still seem to think can kicking is the plan til things get better....meanwhile we do nothing to make things better and actually seem to want to make things worse by doing perverse things...

Was the blue pill the "nasty" pill please that took us tot he real world? cant recall.....but ppl need to stop taking the red one...



Brian Gaynor hits the bullseye:

''The National Government is enormously popular, partly because Prime Minister John Key and Finance Minister Bill English are willing to throw money at almost every problem.

The latest $18.4 billion deficit represents 9.2 per cent of gross national product - one of the worst amongst the 30 OECD member countries.

Only Greece, Ireland, United Kingdom and United States have Budget deficit/ GDP ratios in excess of 9.2 per cent last year or this year''.

NZconservative, NZfriendly and NZpolite NZjournalists becoming a little bit unsettled – hmmm !

Megalomaniac projects and behaviour by government - go figure !

Metiria Turei: Who will have responsibility for containment and clean-up if there is a catastrophic oil leak in the exploratory well that Anadarko plans to drill in waters 1,500 metres deep off the Canterbury coast?

Hon HEKIA PARATA: Maritime New Zealand.

Metiria Turei: Will the Government require a substantial bond from Anadarko as an insurance against the possibility of a catastrophic oil leak, which would cost New Zealand taxpayers billions of dollars to clean up?

Hon HEKIA PARATA: If Anadarko is to drill an exploratory well, it must provide a discharge management plan to Maritime New Zealand. That is the process the Government observes.


 Our government without a clear direction in economics, working often not only with big foreign corporations with a short term gain, but extremely risky - destroying life’s, health, our workforce and our environment. Financially already stretched to the limit, it is only a matter of time until the burden for taxpayers are becoming too great and the NZsociety collapses.

Where are our clean and green standards – our ethic and moral attitudes – gone !

As much as I appreciate your sophisticated articles commenting Iain, what do they tell you about our system, parliamentarians, parties, society ? Where are we hitting and what should be changed. I’m expressing my opinion(s) many times - what are yours ? Tell us about people involved - the crooks and the goods.

The only economic reality is you borrowed credit to buy property when you could have accumulated the capital and opted for less property which would now see you debt free and in the position of complaining that those who want to use your savings are not paying a high enough price....parky!


Are you suggesting that everyone has the ability to save and purchase a house for CASH!!!!!

Are you saying all credit should be banned, like Letter of Credits, to which much of the worlds trade is based on???

So no world trade?

I am sure you can pick up a cheap cave somewhere to horde your piles of salt?


Read on the Great Depression it was a huge credit prices collapsed.  If at present a $400k house can only be sold for the deposit ppl have been able to save, say 80k....what options will the seller have? especially the mortgagee seller? the bank will wnats its $ and it has a hold on the seller, the only option for ppl with 80 or 90% mortgages right now is bankrupty IMHO....and we have a property bubble, fright now houses are twice the 3:1 ratio...

The world is going to be way different within a decade IMHO.....enjoy.


" law abiding and hardworking citizens that no matter how hard they try the system no longer provides them dignified access to what most would deem the necessities of life"

Oh come on Parky that's so much *&^%.

You "would have prefered it that way" are the one who prefered to borrow credit....don't fob the blame off on those who sold it to you.


That's just fluff parky. Average wage is a meaningless piece of BS. Each peasant is different, not that socialists will accept it. You gotta answer to yourself for borrowing all that credit. You helped cause the problems.

To give him credit I think he sees that now Wolly. Got a good link for you somewhere, will post it on todays threads somewhere when I find it. Somehthing to do with chemical passification of the populace. Trouble is you and I are on tank water:-P

 These protests are not about capitalism , they are about the naked greed.

"A funny thing happened on the way to the bailouts- the same people who had spent thirty years preaching endlessly about the virtues of the capitalist system- the bankers, the think tanks, the foundations, the mindless sweeping herds of bovine 'economists' all of the motley crew of free market apologists said and did nothing.

Instead of outrage at the gross state interference in the free market represented by the bailouts the entire neo liberal freak show just stuck their collective hands out for a Government bail out- and on that day whatever shreds of credibility they had left were stripped away to reveal the naked greed that was and is the core of their bankrupt ideology. "

Iain, Have you been keeping an eye on Belgium. A country formed by the Uk, in I think the 1830's out of self interest,trapped between Germany and France in the first world war,it would be ironic if Belgium once again found itself in the middle of another great war, this one over finances, I think this it what will eventualy happen in Europe as self interest slowly destroys any semblance of unity and a full on financial war develops.

Anonomous, Great real life take on vendetta. 

SVGA BIOS Ogabri 2012 +Kind

Hi lain, Just thought you may be interested in this

Thanks, will do