Friday's Top 10 with NZ Mint: Spain's Robin Hood; Portugese running out of gold wedding rings; China's matrimonial property Catch 22; Swiss private banks dob in their bankers; Clarke and Dawe

Here's my Top 10 links from around the Internet at 1.00 pm today in association with NZ Mint.

As always, we welcome your additions in the comments below or via email

See all previous Top 10s here.

My must read today is #8. It's an academic paper about debt. I need to get out more.

1. Interesting housing control - Just imagine if Auckland did this. It would certainly have an impact.

Bloomberg reports Shanghai has banned non-married non-locals from buying property.

There's an interesting Catch 22 developing there because the tradition is the man can't ask a woman to marry him until he has bought a house...but they can't buy a house until they are married...

Some young Chinese men are understandably grumpy.

It's a fascinating detail showing just how determined the Chinese government is to control rampant house price inflation and why the Chinese construction-driven economy (and therefore steel and coal and iron ore prices) has slowed down sharply.

This might not end well.

Here's Bloomberg:

Tank Zhao is being forced to ditch tradition by taking a bride before buying a home as Shanghai bans unmarried non-locals like him from purchasing property. The 28-year-old software engineer from Fujian province had been looking for an apartment ahead of plans to marry his girlfriend next year, in accordance with the Chinese proverb “Zhu Chao Yin Feng” -- build a nest before attracting the phoenix. He’ll now have to secure the phoenix before the nest.

“The policy is unreasonable; we aren’t speculators, we just need a place to live,” said Zhao. “Getting married first goes against our culture. I’ll have to explain to my girlfriend’s family that the Shanghai policy is what it is.”

Shanghai last year started limiting locals to owning two homes, while families among the city’s 9 million non-local residents were capped at one. Unmarried non-locals, who had been able to buy as long as they proved a year or more of tax payments, are now being frozen out altogether after the city toughened implementation of the curbs following Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao’s vow in July to “unswervingly” contain prices.

Chinese males are expected to own a home before they approach their would-be wife’s family for approval to wed. In rural parts of the country, parents extract most of the family’s wealth to build houses for their sons ahead of the marriage; in cities, securing an apartment is the equivalent.

2. Spain's Robin Hood - Reuters reports on a Spanish Mayor who has become a cult hero there for staging robberies of supermarkets to feed the poor. He's about to march on the capital.

Seven people have been arrested for participating in the two raids, in which labor unionists, cheered on by supporters, piled food into supermarket carts and walked out without paying while Sanchez Gordillo, 59, stood outside. He has political immunity as an elected member of Andalusia's regional parliament, but says he would be happy to renounce it and be arrested himself.

"There are people who don't have enough to eat. In the 21st century, this is an absolute disgrace," he told Reuters this week in an interview in the Atocha train station in Madrid, tugging on his graying Fidel Castro-style beard.

"They say I'm dangerous. And the bankers who are let off for fraud? That's not dangerous? The banks which borrow from the ECB for 1 percent then resell that debt to Spaniards for 6 percent - they're not dangerous?" he said.

3. Look over your shoulder - Bloomberg reports Swiss banks are so desperate to get the US tax authorities off their back they are dobbing in their own employees. This could be entertaining in a rats-jumping-from-ships sort of way.

At least five banks supplied e-mails and telephone records containing as many as 10,000 names to the U.S. Department of Justice, according to estimates by Douglas Hornung, a Geneva- based lawyer representing 40 current and former employees of HSBC Holdings Plc’s Swiss unit, Credit Suisse Group AG (CSGN) and Julius Baer Group Ltd. (BAER) The data handover is illegal, said Alec Reymond, a former president of the Geneva Bar Association, who is representing two Credit Suisse staff members.

“The banks are burning their own people to try and cut deals with the DOJ,” said Hornung. “This violation of personal privacy is unprecedented in the Swiss banking industry.”

4. Running out of Gold - This Boomberg story on how Portugese people are running out of gold to sell to compensate for their economic collapse is one of the stories of the moment.

In Portugal, the historical home of some of Europe’s biggestgold reserves, the number of jewelry stores, which include cash-for-gold shops, increased 29 percent in 2011 from a year earlier, a study commissioned by parliament found. In the first quarter, an average of two new stores opened every day, the report said. Now some of them are closing.

“Business has gone from great to terrible in a matter of months,” Luis Almeida, whose family has owned a gold store near Lisbon’s Rossio Square for more than 40 years, said in an interview. “The sad truth is that most of my clients have already sold all of their gold rings.”

5. China's shadow banking disaster in waiting - Also Sprach Analyst has an interesting piece on companies that gave credit guarantees to other people and companies in China that are dropping like flies as the economy comes under pressure and the credit pyramid start collapses. A leading indicator is suicides of company CEOs...

Along with the 'Wealth Management Products' and Local Government Financing Vehicles, China's shadow banking structure looks to be under severe pressure.

The solar sector also demonstrates some of the practices that many other companies in China seem to share, and that is potentially going to make matter worse – the credit guarantee.

We have recently discussed a few interesting cases related to the practices of obtaining loans from banks with a third party guarantees.  One Beijing-based credit guarantee company, for instance, has gone bust.  Meanwhile, many more companies have been guaranteeing loans for each other, and that practice has dragged some 600 or more companies into a mini credit crunch in Zhejiang of China.  This practice is also popular in among steel, energy and in other sectors, including solar sector.

Li Fei, the CEO of Chengxing Solar Company, committed suicide after it becomes apparent that his company will not be able to service the loans that it guaranteed for another company.  Like quite a few other businessmen who are running away/hiding/killing themselves, his company was highly leverage and was under pressure. One of the sources of trouble, as it turns out, was that it has guaranteed some tens of millions yuan of loans for yet another solar company owned by a Wenzhou businessman called Hu Fulin, who, if some of you remember, ran away from creditors last year

The credit guarantees system has been an important part for many Chinese companies, especially for the small- and medium-sized businesses.  As more and more cases of credit guarantees causing troubles, we believe these are not isolated cases.  Rather, we suspect that it reflects a potentially serious systemic problem.

6. How much time we have left before the stuff runs out - This BBC infographic is self explanatory.

7. Mass mortgage refinancing - We all know the ultimate solution to too much debt is either inflation running higher than interest rates or debt forgiveness and restructuring.

Theere are different winners and losers in each scenario. So far central banks and policymakers have opted for the default via inflation and financial repression rather than a mass debt restructure.

Now Joseph Stiglitz is suggesting at Washington Post a mass debt restructure for America's over-burdened households. Fair enough. The banks and pension funds behind that restructure might not be so happy though...

Housing remains the biggest impediment to economic recovery, yet Washington seems paralyzed. While the Obama administration’s housing policies have fallen short, Mitt Romney hasn’t offered any meaningful new proposals to aid distressed or underwater homeowners.

Late last month, the top regulator overseeing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac blocked a plan backed by the Obama administration to let the companies forgive some of the mortgage debt owed by stressed homeowners. While half a million homeowners could be helped with a principal writedown, the regulator, Edward J. DeMarco, argued (we believe incorrectly) that helping some homeowners might cause others who are paying on their loans to stop so that they also could get their mortgages reduced.

With principal writedown no longer an option, the government needs to find a new way to facilitate mass mortgage refinancings. With rates at record lows, refinancing would allow homeowners to significantly reduce their monthly payments, freeing up money to spend on other things. A mass refinancing program would work like a potent tax cut.

8. When too much debt is too much for the economy - The Bank for International Settlements has done some research showing that household debt over 85% of income becomes a drag on growth in any economy.

New Zealand's household debt is around 93% of GDP at the moment...

That might explain a few things, including the Reserve Bank's recent reduction in New Zealand's economic growth potential from over 3% to around 1.5% in the last decade. Perhaps we need to get the debt down? See number 7 above.

At moderate levels, debt improves welfare and enhances growth. But high levels can be damaging. When does debt go from good to bad? We address this question using a new dataset that includes the level of government, non-financial corporate and household debt in 18 OECD countries from 1980 to 2010. Our results support the view that, beyond a certain level, debt is a drag on growth. For government debt, the threshold is around 85% of GDP. The immediate implication is that countries with high debt must act quickly and decisively to address their fiscal problems.

The longer-term lesson is that, to build the fiscal buffer required to address extraordinary events, governments should keep debt well below the estimated thresholds. Our examination of other types of debt yields similar conclusions. When corporate debt goes beyond 90% of GDP, it becomes a drag on growth. And for household debt, we report a threshold around 85% of GDP, although the impact is very imprecisely estimated.

9. The need for full employment - Professor Bill Mitchell works at the University of Western Sydney and is a proponent of Modern Monetary Theory. Here he is talking with Commonwealth Age Discrimination Commissioner Susan Ryan.

10. Totally Clarke and Dawe - Jeff Demission is a political scientist, not the head of Australia's Olympic Team. Australia has a lot of thinking to do. A lot of its problems are about the allocation of resources.

And there are an awful lot of Senates in Australia....

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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Gordillo's mob robbing shops..too fat and lazy to grow their own food. Exit all shops and all food trucked into Gordillo's grubby region..

As France slides deeper into recession, Public confidence in Hollande slides.
54% are unhappy with president François Hollande's overall performance.
Only 33% trust government to cut debt
Only 40% think Hollande can find a solution to the eurozone crisis


Finland is preparing for the break-up of the eurozone, the country’s foreign minister warned today.

Your quite right about it happening here Sorel.....I posted one such case last year, a person who I know first hand , and has been a Grandmother for quite some time , nearly all of that time a solo parent , had six children 4 girls 2 boys none of whom have ever worked, she herself taught them the filling out of required forms at a young age, what to do if pressure was applied to find work....Now each of the four girls , who are all solo (or more correctly invisible defacto) has between four and six children, some of whom are now recieving the unemployment benifit, a few of whom now have offspring of their own.
One of the boys has five children the other four children, some of working age but unemployed, a couple , (you guessed it )with children of their own.
 Now the Grandmother has done exactly as you decribed and fostered a number of the children on the grounds the daughters could not cope with such large families,as a consequence she recieves a benifit and remains in her State house uninterrupted.
So you have three generations of people here who have never been in the work force , and where welfare is just a way of life, a means of existance through a complete understanding of the requirements to gain welfare assistance, without any notion that you or I are the underwriters of their existance ,such as it is.
I know this , because I have discussed the subject with the Grandmother, only to find she has it clearly in her mind that it is Goverment money....not yours, not mine, but Government money, and that for her is the end to it, aside from imparting her vast knowledge of the how to's to her offspring and so on.
I assure you there is in my opinion, nothing to envy in regard to the way they live, and I feel  sad I guess,that none of them seem to have any aspirations beyond the welfare queues.
 For what it's worth, the Grandmother is European, most of the offsping 1st gen are Euro, mixed from there no one ethnicity to it ,but certainly a culture. 

And when did all this inter generational rorting begin? When in the interests of efficiency state departments like Railways, Ministry of Works etc were made SOE's and tens of thousands of marginal workers chucked out with nowhere to go. What's better not just economically but socially, paying these people minimum wage even if they're only partially productive or leaving them on benefits? The original generation I'm sure would have preferred to keep their low paid employment. Without govt work schemes there is literally no hope of full employment. There will never be jobs for tens of thousands regardless of whether they want to work or not. Private sector neither wants them nor can find enough profitable work for them.
There has also been a deliberate policy of "structural unemployment", keeping a minimum of 4% unemployed and looking for work as a means of keeping downward pressure on wage demands from the workers who are employed. Don't like the wages and conditions? Take a hike and one of these guys will take your place.
I don't even think a permanent underclass is an unintentional consequence.

Precisely.  Shift blame to mostly mythical welfare-scamming sluts and absentee teenage dope-smoking dads, and the targets of the propaganda will be too hopped up on righteous indignation to notice all the closed industries that weren't replaced and the off-shored jobs that have gone to exploited slave labour.

Thanks for the reality check Kakapo

There used to be a social compact. It was accepted that there would be a certain level of inefficiency in return for full employment and low crime. How many multi generational beneficiaries were there before the early 80's? Privatisation and market solutions don't cater for those at the margin with mental, physical or developmental issues. Instead of being given a spade they have been shoved onto a benefit or ended up in jail where 80% have some kind of mental impairment like foetal alcohol syndrome or childhood abuse.

I have no argument with that statement WTF......I guess I understated my dismay at the lack of aspiration on the part of the offspring.......just putting up the facts as they are ....what you make of it is your business.

Nor, have I any complaint with your response Kakapo....

True but it takes a rare individual to break free of their upbringing. The rags to riches story is the rare exception, either the result of a strong parent like Key or good fortune in striking a philanthropic mentor.

I don't even think a permanent underclass is an unintentional consequence.
You hit the nail on the head with that wtf , in fact it ensures taxation thresholds are recycled back into the economy and ultimately Corporate profits.

I didn't take your piece as a rag on benificiaries I think  your historicals testify  (as in what I've read from you.....)
 keep doing what it is you good, I think ..yes...?

Soon we will be deluged with the Labour Party pre 014 election spin promising the above for all who vote Labour...
I thought I would see if this can pass the Wolly test. Well fail might be more appropriate.

I think you are close. I reckon the average garage represented by the MTA would make about half their income from WOF inspections. I would say the Transit probably 100% funded by the motorist. Vested interests undertaking a poll?

It's Friday....yAy...sigh..!
Well we've all got to tighten our belts , and firm up our assets in readiness for unexpected shocks.....much like this guy did in trying to advise his wife.
 One morning while she was making breakfast, 

                                A man walked up to his wife, 

                                Pinched her on the butt and said.... 

                                'If you firmed this up, we could get rid of 

                                Your control top pantyhose.' 


                                While this was on the edge of intolerable,


                                She kept silent . 


                                The next morning, 

                                The man woke his wife with 

                                A pinch on each of her breasts 

                                And said.... 

                                'You know, if you firmed these up, 

                                We could get rid of your bra.' 


                                This was getting beyond the pale

                                yet still

                                A silent response... 


                                So she rolled over 


                                Grabbed him 

                                By his 



                                With a death grip in place, 

                                She said... 


                                'You know, 

                                If you 

                                Firmed this up, 

                                We could 

                                Get rid of  

                                The gardener, 

                                The Handyman,

                                   The pool man 


                                             Your brother !' 


                                Have A Good Day!   


Hopefully this doesn't detract from the Counts good work above.
Just a section from a facebook piece:

"The planet’s leading authority on the medical effects of radiation poisoning, Dr Helen Caldicott, will speak at an event in Byron Bay next Monday. At the first of a series of ‘The Media Is Silent’ events, Dr Caldicott will address concerns held by a growing number of local people about the little publicised fact that Fukushim's no 4 Reactor is slowly sinking into the ocean. 
Thousands of Japanese people are already suffering the effects of the nuclear plant melt down and a young Japanese woman presently living in Mullum describes herself as a Fukushima Refugee; we could indeed all be Fukushima refugees if something is not done to halt reactor number 4, but unlike Pico we will have no where to seek refuge. If Reactor 4 collapses the southern hemisphere is expected to be the last place on the planet to receive the full blast.
Pico whose face can be seen in the many photos of the thousands of Japanese people protesting Fukushima radiation, says she was advised by a scientist friend to leave Japan and not to return. She has written a peace song that she will sing at the event. Pico says she has cried many tears because of the predicament facing her people and is unhappy about the fact that their media is not telling them the truth.
If Reactor 4 collapses this would have the effect of a nuclear bomb hitting the water.
The latest medical report from Japan states that thirty eight per cent of children in the Tokyo area now have cancerous nodules on their thyroid glands.
Dr Caldicott is a pediatrician and the only doctor in Australia who is up to date on the implications of Fukushima radiation for Australians. She recently returned to Australia after many years of living in the US. 
Dr Caldicott for the under 30 age group who might not have heard of her, is a world authority on nuclear energy and an internationally acclaimed speaker. She is a Nobel Peace Prize winner, noted author, anti-nuclear power advocate and has founded numerous national and international groups opposing nuclear power & weapons, including Physicians for Social Responsibility.

Re #1 - just means all the young Chinese have even more reason to come over here and buy Auckland property.  This is going to end well.  I'll down-trade to the beach (or the GC) and let Mr Zhang enjoy my cold villa.  He can have it!  Life is great.

#9 - How do you get a job like a Commonwealth Age Discrimination Commissioner?  Is there also a Commonwealth Give-a-job-to-me-cos-I-went-to-university-and-passed-so-I-must-be-real-clever-and-will-make-your-business-heaps-of-money-and-I-promise-not-to-be-lazy-and-waste-your-hard-earned-money Commissioner?  TGIF


Ditto ditto

Ditto ditto ditto 
....... guys , I do believe we've discovered how  inflation works ! ........
Anyone got Ben Bernanke's phone number ?

1-800 BAILOUT*
Press 1 if a TBTF bank.
Press 2 to wait in the queue.

Yoooohoooo....are you there Tweak....Fiddle....either of you....this report could have been aimed at the pair of you....

The Gas price here in California is rocketing up. Only a few weeks ago you could find prices as low as $3.60 a gallon today it was  as high as $4.40. At this price the economy here gets the wobbles.

$US 1.10 per litre ? ..... I wish I could get some of those " wobbles " ...... lucky Yankee baskets !

Talked to a guy filling up beside me. His Dodge Ram took $110 to fill and he said it only did 11 miles to the gallon, lasted him two days.

Cut my open road speed to 70kph AJ and I'm saving heaps...easy pace to sidestep the 'hoons' too.

Oh they can for's a case of deciding not to...Tweak and Fiddle prefer to keep the pork for votes scam going as long as possible.
Another year for Treasury to blow through more than a billion churning out BS reports and spewing the latest rubbish ideas out of pommyland.
Young Kiwi opting to go the benefit route are displaying considerable planning...they know a good scam when they see it.
No different to the 'suits and earings' chasing the 'working group' fodder on offer.

Getting tired of hearing Johnny & the Gnats hit single , " Steady as she goes " , Wolly ?

Hello Gummy....I stopped listening to the BS spewing from the Beehive long ago...they are just a different variety of socialists...keeping the scams going...running the rorts...working the system to scoop the bigger salary handouts. Knighthoods all round.
Shearer has pinned his future on Parker producing the perfect pork...Keynesian pipe dreams for fools.

Still running with the Capital Gains Tax , are they Wolly ?....
.... Labour don't see it as their problem for having crap policies ( which have failed everywhere else ) ...... they see it as the electorate's fault for not Shearing their dream , for not embracing the better way of life ......
...... ummmm ...... " cradle-to-grave " , I thinks it's called .....
Where's that splendidly sensible fellow Cunny got to , when you need him most ..... we could do with a jolly good laugh , to lift the gloom .....

No Gummy...Labour have put all their eggs into Parker pulling off a fast one after a few chitchats with latterday Keynesian nutters on a worldwide junket holiday...seems he is not capable of using Google with his noodle.
Expect a grand announcement from Shearer that his team have found a pathway to an enlightened future for all Kiwi who believe in him and in the socialists ability to make it happen...with the help of the pinky greens of course.

...... we must keep stretching that socialist safety net , comrade Wolly .... until every citizen has an " entitlement package " from the state .......
And then we're the south pacific " Greece " ...... yippeeeee ..... more ouzo , brother  ?

"If Israel forgoes the chance to act and it becomes clear that it no longer has the power to act, the likelihood of an American action will decrease... We cannot wait to discover one morning that we relied on the Americans but were fooled because the Americans didn't act in the end…. Israel will do what it has to do."

Oh no , it's not ! ...... good news doesn't sell , in the media game ......
...... Bernard's advertisers would abandon him , if he didn't produce a steady stream of over-the-top hickeysterical articles & banner headlines ........
They'd all head back to the NZ Herald , the Dominion , & the Press ....
...... we don't want the truth , robby217 , the boring old truth won't get clicks & eyeballs to this site ....

Bernard has just announced that he is leaving in November!
I wonder how this site will survive without him?
Here is a link to his new site.  He is still going to do the 90 sec at 9 and top 10.

I guess , if he's heading over there , then misery shared ...... is misery halved ....
...... that is a win for us !

A classic example Shearer will not learn from!
"The French government and the unions want to prevent Peugeot from closing its plant in Aulnay-sous-Blois, outside Paris, and slashing 8,000 jobs. But if politicians and labor leaders are successful, they will only make things worse. Perhaps they'll manage to save a few thousand jobs in France in the short term. But, by doing so, they will put the company's future into even greater jeopardy.
The company, which has been making cars since 1890, is fighting to survive. Sales have plummeted, and plants are not operating at anywhere close to capacity. PSA is currently losing €140 million ($173 million) a month".

Jeepers creepers , Wolly ...... can you imagine a world without Peugeots !
..... we'd be forced to drive Toyotas , and Mazdas , Hondas .... cars that have a reasonable fuel economy , and that don't break-down every second day .....
Sacre bleu !

Be careful there Wolly. Keep an eye out for black rubber suited frogmen coming up the marlborough sound in zodiacs.

try closing a car plant in Germany

Thanks we know it was all a lie....and what about this side of the ditch!....more lies no doubt.
Tweak and Fiddle will be told to keep the easy credit flow going...Wheeler the dealer will do his part...Bollard will be appointed to a heap of working groups...the farce goes on...the economy gets sicker.
Stupid young Kiwi will be enticed into a lifetime of debt...the parasites refer to the game as 'peasant farming'....Kiwi Sheep

Is there any way of reading the CantabriansUnite page without having to join narcissist book?

Is it true that if you purchase a section in Invercargill , Mayor Tim turns up and gifts to you half a dozen mutton birds ?
........ you don't eat them , of course ..... just rub the fat onto your skin to help keep the winter winds from chilling you to the bone ......

Sunday skool for Labour's Parker...the junket man...
"The economics guild today is burdened by a century of erroneous monetary theory. Central planning is the universal doctrine still: central planning of money. The quest for power through politics has been the dream of all would-be philosopher kings from the days of Plato. It is the dream that politicians will listen to experts at all times, especially times of crisis.
This dream is inherently crackpot. Why would anyone with any understanding of politics take it seriously? But economists do take it seriously – all except the Austrians.
Parker expects to 'learn' from the Keynesian 'experts' how to save the NZ economy from decades of utterly useless thieving govt policies.

Here's a little something , for both the Hard Labour team , and Johnny & the Gnats , to ponder :
" .... the amassing of huge debt as the result of peacetime fiscal incontinence , especially to finance burgeoning welfare spending , is unforgiveable . "
( Roger Bootle : The Trouble With Markets )