201711.07
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The Economics Definition of Sanity: Keep Doing The Same Thing Over and Over Because It Has To Work One of These Times

We live in an age of statistics. They are everywhere, including a whole lot of junk numbers (endless studies) that don’t pass minimum scrutiny. Somehow, statistics have become the gold standard for at least the mainstream media in framing our view of everything from new discoveries to further exploration into how things work. That’s fine…

201711.06 5

Europe Is Booming, Except It’s Not

European GDP rose 0.6% quarter-over-quarter in Q3 2017, the eighteenth consecutive increase for the Continental (EA 19) economy. That latter result is being heralded as some sort of achievement, though the 0.6% is also to a lesser degree. The truth is that neither is meaningful, and that Europe’s economy continues toward instead the abyss. At…

201710.17
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Distinct Lack of Good Faith, Part ??

It was a busy weekend in retrospect, starting with Janet Yellen and other central bankers uncomfortably facing a global media that has become (for once) increasingly unconvinced. Reporters, really, don’t have much choice. The Federal Reserve Chairman might not be aware of just how much she has used the “transitory” qualifier since 2015, but others…

201710.16
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Global Inflation Continues To Underwhelm

Chinese producer prices accelerated in September 2017, while consumer price increases slowed. The National Bureau of Statistics reported this weekend that China’s PPI was up 6.9% year-over-year, a quicker pace than the 6.3% estimated for August and a 5.5% rate in July. Earlier in the year producer prices were driven mostly by 2016’s oil rebound,…

201709.25
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Distinct Lack of Good Faith

The erosion of social order in any historical or geographic context is gradual; until it isn’t. Germany has always followed a keen sense of this process, having experienced it to every possible extreme between the World Wars. Hyperinflationary collapse doesn’t happen overnight; it took three years for the Weimar mark to disintegrate, and then Weimar…

201709.08
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The Real Euro Watch

Everyone is now a euro watcher. The European common currency’s exchange value against the dollar has been on the rise, to put it mildly. Despite decades of declaring floating currencies the optimal framework, it really is quite entertaining to watch the furor when these things actually float one way or the other. This recent trend…

201708.21
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Being Rational

In April 2011, the European Central Bank’s staff and Governing Council were all optimistic. They had suffered through the panic and Great “Recession” and then the relapse in 2010 that birthed the term PIIGS. Despite all that and with considerable effort on their part (especially the purchasing of bonds), they thought there was reason to…

201708.21
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Weight Of Recovery

In 1871, W. Stanley Jevons in the preface to his book The Theory of Political Economy writes of a fundamental human issue with Economics. He makes a distinction between it and other sciences which do not suffer, as he said a century and a half ago, “the weight of authority.” Finding such words from so…

201708.07
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Irreführende Statistiken

Germany’s Federal Statistical Office (DeStatis) reported today disappointing figures for Industrial Production. The seasonally-adjusted series fell in June 2017 month-over-month for the first time this year, last declining in December 2016. The index had been on a tear, rising nearly 5% in the first five months of this year. The move was considered by many…

201707.26 1

Draghi Did Not Keep His Promise

It is like a great many things forgotten now, but five years ago today the head of the ECB compared Europe to a bumblebee. That’s not quite right, however, as Mario Draghi really said the euro was like a bumblebee, but you’d be forgiven for mixing the two up. The purpose of his folksy analogy…