Friday, December 7, 2012

Links 12/07/2012

- Europe and Asia coming together (after all, Europe wants Asia's goods/services and Russia's energy, and Asia-Russia want Europe's goods and services, and its technical know-how, so now that America is no longer able to control Europe like before (due to its decline), Europe & Russia/China are a perfect fit for each other): Land bridge to boost Asia-Europe trade:"Trade between China and Shanghai Cooperation Organization members will be greatly boosted, thanks to Eurasian countries' efforts to improve the transportation channel of a new Eurasian land bridge linking China and Europe, experts have said.". SEE ALSO: Putin to visit Brussels as 'Eurasian Union' leader

- Asia, China in particular, is investing in hard assets, like land, energy, and of course gold: Record Asia Oil Takeovers Match U.S. Pace for First Time: Energy. SEE ALSO: Bank of Korea Raises Gold Holdings as Central Banks Buy

- Southeast Asia at a Crossroads on Wages: This is a "paradigm shift", as the "Western consumer" is dying, and the exporting nations (Asia + Germany) need to find someone else to consume all the goods and services that were previously exported to the West. At the same time, the Asian workers are starting to demand better working conditions, and better wages, which would make them 'better consumers' I suppose, but at the same time, the capitalists never like giving more to the workers. But if they don't, who is going to buy all these goods and services?

- BTW, Apple is set to return some Mac production to U.S. in 2013, because wages are going up in Asia, and down in the West, so maybe it is preferable to return there (let's not forget that Apple will also save money on shipping costs, and that Apple will also be able to sell more iMacs if they are "made in USA", because some people in the West will gladly pay more money to support their national economies). After all, protectionism is a rising trend (SEE ALSO:  Trade wars, protectionism, military spending and war; Who is Nikolai Bukharin?)

- Meanwhile, back in the PIIGS nations: Jackpot In Italian Lottery: Supermarket Job - a supermarket has come up with a novel way of hiring. According to Germany's Mittelstands Nachrichten, customers who spend over EUR30 will receive a lottery ticket and the grand prize winners will be given "temporary part-time assistant jobs" at the supermarket. You are not competitive enough -> No investments -> You are left to starve to death -> If and when the wages level drops to a Bulgarian-like level, maybe the capitalists will start reinvesting there. For now, unemployment will continue to rise

- And it's not just the PIIGS nations, it's the entire West that is not competitive enough (with the exception of Germany, where things are noticeably better in terms of how competitive the labor force is). Here's something from England for example: Students Become Strippers

- Financially Sick Firms Often Grant Bonuses in Months Before Bankruptcy Filing. "So what if I led the company to bankruptcy? I am the boss, so I will take my big fat paycheck and the rest of you can go to hell for all I care!"

- Santa-Claus is coming to town (if you've been a good little banker that is) -  more free bailout money coming to the insolvent banks from Santa-FED: Fed to launch fresh bond buying

- The City of London should be deposed as the euro’s main financial centre so the single currency club can “control” most financial business in the eurozone, France’s central bank governor has said.

- China is on the rise, but, much like the West a century ago, during the Guilded age, China will too experience a series of crises. The difference is that China will emerge stronger (like the West emerged stronger from the crises of the past century), because China attracts capital investments, and this means that China will continue to grow, despite the crises. Here's an interesting piece by M. Pettis on China's growth : Three cheers for the new data?

- Gambling has been around for many many years, and it tends to increase in times of crisis, as people become more desperate in  looking for ways to make money. So, it is "a good investment", and this is how Facebook (and Zynga) will become profitable: By incorporating an online gambling service..Many investors think that Facebook's business model is bad, because it is not making any money, but if they were to offer an online gambling service, things will change...(NOTE: I am not advocating gambling -quite the opposite actually- I am simply pointing out how the whole thing works)

- Intel probed the market by announcing the death of socket #CPUs - when they saw that people hated the idea, they backed off

- Germany used to have some "moral standards" when it came to selling arms to other countries. But "moral standards" are a liability in times such as these - so, Germany is now selling arms to everyone