Tag Archives: bailout

Economic Doom and Gloom: A Starbucks Dystopia

20111203 Massage Chair Face 150x150 Economic Doom and Gloom: A Starbucks Dystopia

This picture of a massage chair was sent in by Tim. If only it had been framed a little lower it would have been perfect.  Are you sitting comfortably?

There was more economic doom and gloom this week and about a week ago I tweeted a story about the OECD predicting a double-dip recession for the UK in 2012.  The mainstream media reported the story two days later.  In George Osborne’s Autumn Statement growth for 2011 was slashed to 0.9% and the pension age raised to 67 –  fifteen years earlier than planned.  Public sector workers went on strike over pension arrangements, mistakenly believing they have the God-given right to be exempt from the Global Financial Catastrophe.  I don’t generally subscribe to Tory slogans and ideology, but did someone say, “We’re all in this together”?  Give that man a biscuit and his dog a cigar!  Most of us would be lucky if we could retire at all.

10 days until Eurogeddon

In another corner of Europe, EU Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn warned that we had “10 days to save the Euro”.  With previous warnings that another Eurozone country bailout would spell disaster for the global economy, this should have had us trembling in our boots.  The thing is, headlines like these are beginning to lose their impact.  It’s a bit like crying wolf, except there really is a wolf and it’s such a gigantic ravenous bastard, there’s nothing you can do; it will eat you and all your friends but no-one cares anymore.

But really, 10 days?  We have known about this crisis for months and we’ve had that long to do something about it.  Why the sudden self-imposed urgency that’s only going to aggravate markets when deadlines are inevitable missed?  Incidentally, those bilateral liquidity swap arrangements: did you see the markets jump on the news?  Utter nonsense in my opinion; I suspect we’ll see a “correction” in the near future (he says, writing as a bewildered cynic).

As I write, there is talk of a Eurozone fiscal union and an new EU treaty, which actually sounds quite exciting, particularly when watching a debate between Nigel Farage (UKIP) and Matt Hancock (Conservatives) on Channel 4 News last night, in which the Conservative Party looked refreshingly progressive, albeit because their hand is being forced.  Stability has to be good for the Eurozone and for Britain.

I’m keeping my eyes on the Italian 10- year bond yield, though.

Starbucks Dystopia

In a previous article I rhetorically posed the question about the end game in global economics.  Jon Snow of Channel 4 News fame recently tweeted that 2011 is the year the “expert” died, referring to the fact that no-one had predicted the Arab Spring.  By extension, there are so many so-called financial “experts” who have disparate outlooks; the gold bugs, the doom mongers, the profiteers like Alessio Rastani (who incidentally predicted a collapse of a large UK-based bank in early 2012 based on unconfirmed rumours in the city).  Max Keiser thinks we are all going to end up playing Zynga games in virtual gulags.

My dystopian vision for the future? Last week it was reported that November saw a decline in manufacturing, it being at its lowest in 2.5 years, whilst Starbucks announced it would create 5,000 jobs in the UK.  I reckon we will all end up working for Starbucks, serving each other coffee, the same coins going round and round in a poverty-inducing vicious circle, as we all become ever more addicted to caffeine.

Are you still sitting comfortably?

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Please sir, can we have some more?

20111030 Dutch electrical socket snowman face 150x150 Please sir, can we have some more?20111030 Water meter lid robotic transformers face 150x150 Please sir, can we have some more?20111030 Toilet open mouth face 150x150 Please sir, can we have some more?

 

 

 

 

These pictures were sent in by Chris and depict a dirty toilet with its mouth open, a snowman (in the form of a Dutch electrical socket) with its mouth obscured and a water meter inspection chamber lid.  All three photographs were taken in Amsterdam. 

The dirty toilet mouth could be a metaphor for talking shit.  Speaking of which, this week saw the European leaders meet at yet another emergency summit (one of many in the last two years) to reach a deal on the EFSF or €1tn bailout fund of worthless paper money or whatever you want to call it.  I call it nihilfoliteracapital.

I can’t believe all the hype that was made around this deadline and the nervousness and volatility in the markets in the days leading up to the agreement.  Did this deadline really have any significance?  After all, it was a self-imposed deadline and what did it really matter, other than the fact that the markets would remain volatile?

Place bets now!

It is incredible how naïve the casinos – sorry, the markets (Freudian slip) – appear to be and how easily swayed they are on the basis of what is effectively nothing but hot air.  There was nothing inherently positive about Wednesday evening’s news of a master plan to tackle the Eurozone’s debt.  Greece received a 50% cancellation of its debt, yet banking shares were up.  Where’s the logic in that?

A 50% haircut is surely tantamount to an incremental default.  Given the massive deficit the country still has, even after implementing austerity measures, I think it is just a matter of time beforeGreecefinally defaults.  The question is, will it be 6 months, 6-18 months or longer than that?  Banzai!  Place bets now!  Bet bet bet!

Betting ends.

Democracy and occupation

Everyone knows that Greece should never have been allowed to join the Euro in the first place, but I suppose there was a political, almost romantic notion of unity in allowing Greece, the fathers of democratic principles to join.  I used to be pro-Euro and politically I still think it is a good idea, provided correct controls are implemented.  Strategically (or more likely by nothing but sheer chance), it turns out that Britain’s decision not to join the Euro was probably a good thing.  If only we had anything to export to the Eurozone and the Eurozone’s economy was strong enough to buy useless trinkets from us, it would be better.

I am not against capitalism, but somewhere down the line our society has got greedy and we have allowed it to get out of hand.  It is this corporate greed and materialism funded by fiat debt that I am against, which is why I support the GIABO, or Global Occupy movement.  To me this movement is not against capitalism per se, as the mainstream media keep suggesting – especially the BBC, whose shoddy journalism has got so intolerable for a number of personal reasons that I try to avoid it.

Please sir, can we have some more?

So, assuming this rescue plan is going to work, where the hell is the €1tn going to come from?  Does it really matter?  Speaking not as an economist (which I am not), but as a cynic, the whole thing sounds like shifting debt around:  it hasn’t disappeared; it is simply owed to others and the banks seem to get a good deal out of this (despite the 50% haircut).

Why don’t we just stick two fingers up at the banks and let Greece default?  The banks are the ones who got us into this mess and now we’ve gone cap in hand, begging China for money so we can repay them.  This, in my opinion, further cements China’s position as the new superpower.  Please sir, can we have some more?

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If you’re happy and you know it…

20111019 Gum Cigarette Bin Jihadi or Ninja Face 150x150 If youre happy and you know it...

This picture was sent in by Ravi.  It is a chewing gum and cigarette bin – what a combination and what an age we live in!  Is that where Nicorette got their idea of nicotine chewing gum from? (Other brands are available)

This is a beautiful photograph – definitely among the highest quality submissions – and the face is reminiscent of a figure wearing a balaclava.  Is it a ninja or a jihadi?  The parabolic light arcs on the railings just above the head give the illusion of horns, which have an association with (one form or another of) the Devil in many cultures and thus signify evil.  This juxtaposition can only mean one thing: jihad.

All the rage 

Remember when jihad was all the rage back in the 2000s?  Remember the headlines time and again when police forces across the country carried out raids on (mostly innocent) Muslims, resulting in scores of people being arrested under the Terrorism Act 2000 and detained?  Many of these people were eventually released without charge but this was never reported by the media and all the while their names were out there being blackened.  How can a system of restorative justice ever prevail if the media are allowed to report full names of suspects?

This same injustice applies across the board, cf. Christopher Jefferies, whose name was smeared by the press and whose release without charge was covered only as an afterthought – in the small print if you will.

If you’re happy and you know it…

No-one ever seems to talk about the supposed threat of Islamic terrorism anymore and flavour of the month – the new terror on everyone’s lips – has shifted towards the economy, the Greek bailout and other financial misery.  Those of you who follow Max Keiser will no doubt have heard him speak of Jihadi Bankers.

Another case where the mainstream press (particularly the BBC) have got it wrong is in the lack of coverage of the Occupy Wall Street movement, or the GIABO (Global Insurrection Against Banker Occupation) that has spread globally.  The only station that seems to cover this regularly is RT.

Yesterday it was announced that the UK inflation rate hit 5.2%, which is appalling for savers – those who have worked hard and lived within their means.  To those with less self-control than a monkey with tourettes (or tourettes monkey), who spend, spend, spend like buggery, this would appear to be a dream, as their debt is inflated away.  But then consider the scandalous interest rates greedy banks such as HSBC charge on credit cards, overdrafts and loans.  All this whilst the base rate of interest stands at a mere 0.5%.  Combine this with unemployment now standing at 2.57m, is it any wonder that the UK Misery Index now stands at a 19-year high?

State-sponsored fraud

Mervyn King has gleefully printed £275 billion in worthless fiat money in what is termed Quantitative Easing.  It sounds posh, therefore it must be effective (read: bollocks).  Vic would call it bambolloconomy.

QE was supposed to encourage cheap credit and give the economy a kick up the arse, so that we could spend our way back into economic expansion, at which point the gilts would be sold back and destroyed.  In effect it’s a phantom loan of phantom money, borrowing some of tomorrow’s economic productivity to fund today’s.  The only trouble is there’s no actual wealth and today we manufacture the sum total of bugger all in this country.

A significant proportion of this country’s GDP comes from state-sponsored fraud in the city and the only thing QE appears to have done is given banks more free money to gamble, whilst leaving small businesses and individuals with less money than they had before, due to heavy inflation and so a reduction in purchasing power.

Where will it all end?  Don’t ask me; I’m not an economist or an analyst for that matter.  I merely write opinion around faces in objects.  Stick that in your roll-up and smoke it!  And don’t forget to put your stub in the cigarette bin provided.

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