In the aftermath of last week’s Brexit referendum many denounced the English vote with a mix of derision and indignation: the old and the uneducated crowds destroyed the European dream for everyone else. But would democracy be better if it were restricted to the best educated segment of the population? Let’s consider the idea of “wisdom of crowds.” This mysterious and utterly fascinating concept suggests that humanity evolved to be collectively intelligent and that the crowds tend to be more intelligent than the most intelligent of its members. If you have not yet come across this, prepare to be amazed (and keep an open mind): Continue reading
Monthly Archives: June 2016
NATO innovates to further escalate tensions with Russia
In an interview with Germany’s always fairly balanced Bild, NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg said that NATO can and must react to cyber-attacks, including with conventional military weapons, and that the 28 NATO member states will likely declare the cyberspace as an operational war zone. This makes total sense and all that’s missing from the interview is the reassurance that we’ve always been at war with Eurasia. I could not resist a repost here of my April 2014 article titled,
We must urgently rearm to defeat the New New Hitler from the East!!!
5/5: $500 oil and how to manage the looming uncertainty and risk
Let us recap what we covered in parts 1, 2, 3 and 4 of this report. In spite of the low price of oil (just below $50 at the time of this writing) and predominantly bearish market sentiment, the “big picture” suggests that we are facing a grave energy predicament. Petroleum producing countries, especially members of OPEC, have been vastly overstating their oil reserves. Production of oil from conventional sources is in an irreversible decline. Over the next 15 years, the EIA projected that production will fall over 40% short of demand. New drilling technologies, and this includes fracking, are unlikely to impact this shortfall in a meaningful way. These conditions have led the UK’s Ministry of Defence to predict in 2012 that oil price could rise to as high as $500 per barrel over the next three decades, causing crises of unforeseeable proportions. For the oil market participants, the trillion dollar question is how to cope with the looming uncertainty and risks. Continue reading
Central banks – what are they good for?
In 1912, the United States had no central bank and no personal income tax. It nevertheless managed to generate a $3 million fiscal surplus. Today, after a century of Federal Reserve’s management of the nation’s currency, the country is mired in unpayable debts, unending overseas military adventures and massive fiscal (and trade) deficits. Here’s a comparison, courtesy of Jim Quinn (the Burning Platform blog): Continue reading