A Checkpoint with this Week’s Expected End of QE

 

What’s New: With the curtain falling on the Fed’s QE. let’s take a look at what’s been happening of late for US Treasuries. The yields on the 10-, 20- and 30 year Treasuries have generally trended downward since the end of 2013.

The latest Freddie Mac Weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey last Thursday puts the 30-year fixed at 3.92%, well off its 4.53% 2014 peak during the first week of January and its lowest rate since June 2013.

 

Here is a snapshot of the 10-year yield and 30-year fixed-rate mortgage since 2008.

A log-scale snapshot of the 10-year yield offers a more accurate view of the relative change over time. Here is a long look since 1965, starting well before the 1973 Oil Embargo that triggered the era of “stagflation” (economic stagnation with inflation). I’ve drawn a trendline connecting the interim highs following those stagflationary years. The red line starts with the 1987 closing high on the Friday before the notorious Black Monday market crash. The S&P 500 fell 5.16% that Friday and 20.47% on Black Monday.

Here is a long look back, courtesy of a FRED graph, of the Freddie Mac weekly survey on the 30-year fixed mortgage, which began in May of 1976.

A Perspective on Yields Since 2007

 http://www.advisorperspectives.com/dshort/updates/Treasury-Yield-Snapshot.php

Related Posts

  • 81
    The Federal Reserve holds its last policy meeting of the year on Tuesday and Wednesday, resulting in plenty of material to be scoured for clues about when interest rates will start inching up. The central bank’s policy committee releases its statement and new economic projections at 2 p.m. Wednesday, followed…
    Tags: time, market, oil, inflation, economic, year, fed, bank, central, usa
  • 73
    Several Fed Officials Said Forecasts Overstated Rate Rise Meeting minutes revealed that in March, Fed Reserve policy makers discussed that a rise in their median projection for the main interest rate exaggerated the likely speed of tightening. Treasury yields rose last month after policy makers predicted that the benchmark interest…
    Tags: rate, fed, year, high, january, expected, years, bank, market, central
  • 62
    The Federal Open Market Committee releases minutes from its last meeting on Wednesday afternoon, but Wall Street is already downplaying the event as a sideshow in comparison to an annual symposium on monetary policy in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, two days later. "The FOMC minutes are telling us about what happened…
    Tags: market, bank, fed, central
  • 61
    Who would have thought that six years after the global financial crisis, most advanced economies would still be swimming in an alphabet soup – ZIRP, QE, CE, FG, NDR, and U-FX Int – of unconventional monetary policies? No central bank had considered any of these measures (zero interest rate policy,…
    Tags: central, bank, years, market, inflation, fed
  • 61
    Here’s what to look for from the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City’s annual economic symposium in Jackson Hole,Wyoming, which runs Aug. 21-23. -- Yellen’s keynote: The highlight will be Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s speech Aug. 22 on labor markets at 10 a.m. New York time. She’ll probably reiterate the Fed’s view…
    Tags: fed, year, bank, market, central, view, economic, time, june

WALL STREET’S BRIGHTEST MINDS REVEAL THE MOST IMPORTANT CHARTS IN THE WORLD

Here they are: the most important charts in the world.

A lot has changed since the last time we published this collection back in July.

The economic situation in Europe has deteriorated, the unemployment rate in the US has fallen below 6%, and the Fed looks poised to conclude its quantitative easing program this week.

Volatility has returned to markets, with the S&P 500 recently declining more than 9% before sharply rebounding, while the bond market had one of its most volatile days in history as the US 10-year yield fell 37 basis points in just a few hours.

And in the background of all of this is the declining price of oil, which on Monday fell below $80 a barrel for the first time in over two years, and a Russian economy that is looking at a dramatically depreciating ruble.

We asked our favorite economists, analysts, bloggers, and hedge fund managers for the chart they’re watching right now. What they responded with was a collection of charts reflecting the increasing market fears about deflation, the economic malaise in the eurozone, and the growing suspicion that maybe the Fed’s QE program will be reinstated faster than many people currently expect.

And despite the uncertainty, many of our experts offered reasons why we should be optimistic.

So without any further ado, here is what some of the sharpest folks on Wall Street are focused on right now.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/most-important-charts-in-the-world-q4-2014-10?op=1

Related Posts

  • 72
    The hedge fund industry used to have humble beginnings: in 1990, it had $40 billion in assets under management. Now, its growing appeal has led to a staggering $2.6 trillion in 2013. In retrospect with the mutual funds industry and the global financial markets, this is a small figure. However,…
    Tags: hedge, fund, trading
  • 72
    At first glance, the eurozone economy seems like it might finally be on the mend. True, according to some estimates, the eurozone economy may now be growing at an annual rate of 1.6%, up from 0.9% in the year to the fourth quarter of 2014. With the eurozone economy 2% smaller than it…
    Tags: eurozone, economy, trading, europe
  • 71
    Dr Faber is predicting a 1987-type stock market crash this year only it will be worse. The US technology-heavy Nasdaq plummeted by 3.1 per cent on Thursday night (US time), its biggest one-day drop since November 2011. Dr Faber, the editor of the Gloom, Boom & Doom Report, has already…
    Tags: year, will, market, s&p, fed, time, trading, economy
  • 70
    What is a Hedge Fund?  A hedge fund is an aggressively managed investment fund that is maintained by a professional management firm. Hedge funds are typically a portfolio of investments that makes use of advanced and complex investment strategies like short and long positions, leveraged positions, arbitrage, and derivative positions…
    Tags: hedge, fund, trading
  • 70
    On Thursday Mohamed A. El-Erian was on CNBC`s Halftime Report and he said something that a lot of people have been saying regarding the bond market, and it needs to be cleared up, because the amount of poor understanding regarding the bond market by people who make their living, i.e.,…
    Tags: bond, market, people, lot, trading

BIG MARKET NEWS WEEK 26 OCT – 31 OCT 2014

 

European Monetary Union

Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014 n/a
EUR Bank Stress Test Info
Germany Monday, Oct. 27, 2014 10:00
EUR   IFO – Business Climate (Oct)
United States Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014 13:30
USD Durable Goods Orders (Sep)
United States Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014 15:00
USD Consumer Confidence (Oct)
New Zealand Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2014 01:00
NZD ANZ Business Confidence (Oct)
           United States Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2014 19:00
USD Fed Interest Rate Decision
            United States Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2014 19:00
USD Fed Pace of MBS Purchase Program
           United States Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2014 19:00
USD Fed Pace of Treasury Purchase Program
           United States Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2014 19:00
USD Fed’s Monetary Policy Statement
New Zealand Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2014 22:00
NZD RBNZ Interest Rate Decision
Germany Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014 09:55
EUR Unemployment Change (Oct)
Germany Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014 09:55
EUR Unemployment Rate s.a. (Oct)
United States Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014 13:30
USD      Gross Domestic Product Annualized  (Q3)Preliminar
United States Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014 13:30
USD Initial Jobless Claims (Oct 25)
Germany Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014 14:00
EUR Consumer Price Index (YoY) (Oct)Preliminar
Germany Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014 14:00
EUR Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices (YoY) (Oct)Preliminar
Japan Friday, Oct. 31, 2014 00:30
JPY National Consumer Price Index (YoY) (Sep)
Australia Friday, Oct. 31, 2014 01:30
AUD Producer Price Index (QoQ) (Q3)
Japan Friday, Oct. 31, 2014 n/a
JPY BoJ Monetary Policy Statement
Japan Friday, Oct. 31, 2014 n/a
JPY BoJ Press Conference
European Monetary Union       Friday, Oct. 31, 2014 11:00
EUR Consumer Price Index (YoY) (Oct)Preliminar
European Monetary Union       Friday, Oct. 31, 2014 11:00
EUR  Consumer Price Index – Core (YoY) (Oct)Preliminar
Canada       Friday, Oct. 31, 2014 13:30
CAD Gross Domestic Product (MoM) (Aug)

Related Posts

  • 93
    Canada Monday, Oct. 6, 2014 16:00   CAD    Ivey Purchasing Managers Index (Sep) Japan Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2014 05:00   JPY BoJ Interest Rate Decision Japan Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2014 n/a JPY   BoJ Monetary Policy Statement Australia Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2014 05:30   AUD RBA Interest Rate Decision…
    Tags: oct, calendar
  • 92
        Canada Monday, Oct.20, 2014 14:30 CAD   Wholesale Sales (MoM) (Aug) Australia Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014 02:30 AUD RBA Meeting's Minutes China Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014 04:30 CNY   Gross Domestic Product (YoY) (Q3) China Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014 04:30 CNY   Gross Domestic Product (QoQ) (Q3) Australia…
    Tags: oct, calendar
  • 88
    Monday, Oct. 13, 2014 n/a CNY New Loans (Sep) Monday, Oct. 13, 2014 4:00 CNY Trade Balance (Sep) Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014 10:30 GBP   Core Consumer Price Index (YoY) (Sep) Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014 10:30 GBP Consumer Price Index (YoY) (Sep) Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014 11:00 EUR   ZEW…
    Tags: oct, calendar
  • 87
      China Monday, Nov.10, 2014 02:30 CNY Consumer Price Index (YoY) (Oct) China Monday, Nov.10, 2014 02:30 CNY Consumer Price Index (MoM) (Oct) China Monday, Nov.10, 2014 n/a CNY New Loans (Oct) Australia Tuesday, Nov.11, 2014 01:30 AUD  National Australia Bank's Business Confidence (Oct) New Zealand Tuesday, Nov.11, 2014 21:05…
    Tags: oct, calendar
  • 82
    Australia Monday, Nov. 3, 2014 01:30 AUD Building Permits (MoM) (Sep) China Monday, Nov. 3, 2014 02:45   CNY HSBC Manufacturing PMI (Oct) United Kingdom Monday, Nov. 3, 2014 10:30 GBP Markit Manufacturing PMI (Oct) United States Monday, Nov. 3, 2014 16:00 USD ISM Manufacturing PMI (Oct) Canada Monday, Nov.…
    Tags: oct, calendar

Jack vs Jeff: The two biggest ecommerce billionaires in the world are total opposites

 

In 1990, Jack Ma was teaching English to a group of university students at Hangzhou Dianzi University. Who would have thought that, 24 years later, he would be China’s richest man?

In that same year, Jeff Bezos was working at D.E. Shaw & Co., an investment management firm based out of New York City. After graduating summa cum laude from Princeton university with a Bachelor’s degree in computer science and electrical engineering, there was no doubt Bezos would end up in tech, it was just a matter of time.

Years later, both of them would come up with similar names for their companies. Bezos wanted Cadabra, a name that signified magic. Ma wanted Alibaba, hoping that the name would open doors with an “open sesame”. But that might be as similar as they can get: ecommerce and magic.

These origin stories are tell-tale signs of two diverging philosophies and the companies they gave birth to. And yet they meet in some inroads. Just one month after Alibaba’s IPO, let’s take a deeper look at the two founders and the companies that are destined to shape the future of online retail.

Putting customers first?

Amazon is notorious for its obsession with customers. In fact, it’s Bezos’ go-to mantra and arguably his number one rule when it comes to how the culture of Amazon should be set. Bezos is a customer-centric founder:

We have so many customers who treat us so well, and we have the right kind of culture that obsesses over the customer. If there’s one reason we have done better than of our peers in the Internet space over the last six years, it is because we have focused like a laser on customer experience, and that really does matter, I think, in any business. It certainly matters online, where word of mouth is so very, very powerful.

But Jack Ma has a slightly different angle. Ma told CNBC newscasters, minutes after Alibaba listed on the New York Stock Exchange on September 22, “Customers first, employees second, and shareholders third.” What the newscasters didn’t realize was that when Ma thinks of customers, he’s not talking about everyday consumers in the same way as Bezos. To Ma, his customers are the small businesses that use the firm’s Taobao and Tmall marketplaces. Speaking at Stanford in 2013, Ma outlined this clearly:

Alibaba is not a company for consumers […] I knew that we didn’t have the right DNA to become a consumer company. The world is changing very fast, and it’s hard to gauge consumers’ needs. Small businesses know more about the needs of their customers. We had to empower our power sellers and our SME’s to support their customers.

This divergence is profoundly clear when you dig into stories about Amazon’s dealings with small businesses. In 2006, Amazon throttled the sales of a 200-year-old German business selling knives. In 2007, when Amazon released the Kindle, it didn’t reveal the US$9.99 price to publishers until the day of the release. And just this year, Amazon is making it harder for customers to buy books from publisher, Hachette, all because, as Forbes notes, “Amazon wants a bigger piece of its suppliers’ profit margins to purportedly pass on to its customers in the form of lower prices.” Amazon functions like a monopolistic empire.

You just won’t see this kind of behavior at Alibaba. The philosophy is poles apart from Amazon’s. This is what Jack Ma had to say on this very topic at Stanford in 2011:

I believe in the internet time, there is no empire thinking. I hate the empire. Empire thinking means join me or I’ll kill you. And I don’t like that model. I believe the ecosystem. […] I believe everybody should be helping each other, connecting each other. It’s an ecosystem. So Taobao become so big, so fast, and I worry about that. Give the industry some opportunity, give the competitors some opportunity.

See: Jack Ma’s Last Speech as Alibaba CEO
## No money, no technology, and no plans

When you dig deeper into the business philosophies of these two giants, you start to see even deeper discrepancies. When Ma spoke again at Stanford in 2013, he outlined some peculiaritiesof Alibaba’s founding story.

The ignorant are not afraid. There were three reasons behind our success. They were very valid points. First, we had no money. Second, we didn’t understand technology. Third, we never planned.

Alibaba started with RMB 50,000. That’s about US$8,150. When Amazon started out, Bezos got US$300,000 from his parents.

Ma was an English teacher before starting his entrepreneurial journey. Bezos graduated from an Ivy League school.

In contrast to Ma’s “no plan” (he goes into it much deeper here), Bezos is the meticulous planner. In a short video in 2009, following the acquisition of Zappos, Bezos outlines the “only things he knows.” The list includes: obsessing over customers, inventing, and thinking long-term. Bezos adds:

Any company that wants to invent on behalf of customers has to be willing to think long-term. And it’s actually much rarer than you might think. I find that most of the initiatives that we undertake may take five to seven years before they pay any dividends for the company […] It requires and allows a willingness to be misunderstood.

But in one or two ways, these tech titans are growing. Today, Ma’s net worth is US$21.8 billion, making him the 37th richest person in the world. Bezos is worth US$30.5 billion, putting him 21st on the list.

Epilogue: Beyond Alibaba, beyond Amazon, beyond money, beyond humanity

https://www.techinasia.com/jack-ma-jeff-bezos-amazon-alibaba-billionaires-ecommerce/

Related Posts

  • 59
    What's Alibaba? It's one of dozens of internet giants you haven't heard of. There's been a big stir this week, caused by the float of Alibaba.com, a website that most of us have never heard of, that is about to have a mammoth IPO on the New York stock exchange.…
    Tags: alibaba, business, businesses, china, years, amazon
  • 53
    This week marks the centenary of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria - the key trigger for WWI leading to a conflict between European powers soon enough. A hundred years later, the world has similar echoes of the early 20th century with a major shift in global power…
    Tags: china, usa
  • 52
    Jack Ma is the main founder of Alibaba Group, China's largest e-commerce business whose IPO may be one of the world's largest this year if it finally happens. After failing to win Hong Kong regulatory support for a listing under its current shareholder structure last year, the company held off…
    Tags: ma, jack, china, alibaba
  • 49
    The largest technology stock offering in history is looming, but few in Silicon Valley seem to care. http://www.nytimes.com/
    Tags: alibaba, usa
  • 47
    For the first time, New York City has surpassed Moscow for the most billionaire residents, according to the latest global rich list from Hurun, a group that tracks wealth in China. According to Hurun, New York added 14 billionaires this year, bringing its total to 84. Moscow, meanwhile, lost a…
    Tags: china, usa

How Would the Buddha Handle North Korea? Mindfulness in Diplomacy

(source http://www.huffingtonpost.com/seokhyun-hong/how-would-the-buddha-hand_b_6027544.html )

Today’s diplomacy is dysfunctional, and it seems as if the more we try to fix things without negotiations, the more serious the problems become. Recently the challenges in places like Iraq or Syria have grown so dire that we have to wonder whether we simply have the fundamentals wrong.

It may seem odd that this age of global integration would give birth to serious diplomatic tensions and occasionally to brutal conflicts. Part of the problem can be traced back to fundamental assumptions in the Western diplomatic tradition that have dominated international strategy since the seventeenth century.

The Western frame of mind that informs international relations assumes rivalry to be an essential principle. Throughout Western diplomatic history it has been assumed that one side must win over others through a winner-take-all struggle for hegemony.

But is such a vision appropriate for this age of the global community and of shared concerns such as climate change? Do all our exchanges have to take place in a Hobbesian world of all against all?

My experience in diplomacy suggests that the Eastern philosophical traditions of Daoism, Hinduism and above all Buddhism offer alternative approaches to diplomacy that have come of age. Buddhism places emphasis on harmony, rather than rivalry, and offers concrete strategies for engagement that help us to respond to the diplomatic challenges of an interconnected world.

The Buddhist approach does not naïvely assume that humans will always cooperate. Rather, it provides insights into the potential for true progress in all circumstances, a potential one can only grasp when one sees the duality and complexity of relations. There are deeper patterns in human relations that go beyond the simplistic impressions of good and evil that we find everywhere in the media, depictions that often apply and exploit an unstated religious framework in a Judeo-Christian interpretive matrix.

Many assume that diplomacy is a ruthless game of hegemony in which one just gives lip service to harmony as a strategy for justifying one’s actions. But what if harmony was actually the goal of diplomacy?

To be sure, the concept of harmony among nations is not foreign to the Western diplomatic tradition. The historical diplomatic aim of achieving a “concert of Europe” would seem to appeal to just such a longing for peaceful, cooperative order. Despite the appealing metaphor, though, we would better understand this term as a euphemism, a pleasant name for the disposition of the affairs of small countries by the great powers, to the advantage of the latter. In the words of one historian, the “concert of Europe” implied a harmony that “really meant that the smaller nations were coerced into carrying out what the great powers had agreed upon among themselves.”

Buddhism regards such hegemonic approaches to international relations as simply less effective in assuring security than simple dignity and a commitment to harmony. There is a deeper order beneath the surface of things and our sense of harmony, played out through small symbolic steps, can change the very nature of the debate in a positive direction.

The game of chess has come to symbolize diplomacy in the Western tradition. Just as in the game of chess, the Western strategist assumes a zero-sum framework wherein you must take the opponent’s pieces and eventually checkmate his king. (Tellingly, the English word “checkmate” derives ultimately from a Persian expression that means “the king is dead.”)

But the more dignified approach to game-play in the East is based on the assumption of the possibility of co-existence and co-prosperity. Asian games like weiqi (Chinese chess) or baduk (known as go in Japanese) differ from Western chess fundamentally in that the game assumes a mutual harmony even in competition, rather than ruthless elimination of the enemy.

Western chess assumes only one simplistic victory based on hegemony: you go after the king and destroy him, at which point the game ends. But in weiqi, there are millions of ways of winning the game. You can win with a half-house, or you can win by several hundred houses. There is a winner, but the myriad of potential games unfolds like a dance, without an assumption of total domination. Success in weiqicomes from harmony and balance.

The metaphor of balance, like that of harmony, has long had a place as a term of art in the Western tradition of diplomacy. From the eighteenth century through the early twentieth, the concept of a “balance of power” guided the conduct of international relations among the European great powers. Acting in accordance with this principle, diplomacy wove shifting alliances and international understandings in an effort to prevent the rise to hegemony of any one power or bloc. Yet the nature of the balance sought was curiously limited. This approach recognized and served only the aims and interests of the established club of the great powers; other nations and peoples often played the role of pawns, or of the stakes of the competition, in the scramble for domination and colonial mastery.

Also, the constant need to reestablish equilibrium among the powers was made necessary by the very fact that no nation regarded the principle of balance as, in itself, a desirable goal or guiding principle. Rather, it was the means available to prevent rivals or enemies from achieving the unstated goal privately maintained by each participant in the game, namely that of reaching the top of the hierarchy of relative status and power and of exerting a determining influence in the affairs of the other competitors. In this light we see that the balance maintained by this system of relationships was of an unstable sort that could last only so long as circumstances did not allow one side to upset the balance to their own advantage: there was no commitment to balance, or to the benefits that could follow from it, as worthwhile ends in their own right. The dangers inherent in this unstable equilibrium can hardly be overstated, as clearly shown by the outbreak, one hundred years ago at this writing, of the First World War.

Balance is an essential value in Buddhism, and that approach to human affairs has an immediate application with regards to North Korea. Many Western strategists approach Pyongyang with a hegemonic way of thinking. They simply assume that you “go after ” North Korea and win by changing the regime, or by getting rid of the top person. But, as we know from experience, such an approach does not necessarily lead to success. Decades of US intervention in Latin America and the Middle East have shown that each unilateral intervention carries with it the threat of later “blowback,” the unforeseen consequences that complicate and escalate conflicts. Although you may achieve your short-term goal, you will so disrupt the harmony as to create new problems, especially for ordinary people. After all, where North Korea is concerned, eliminating nuclear armaments is important, but if that process is disruptive, it will lead to only greater problems.

In my own diplomatic career, I have constantly fallen back on the wisdom of Buddhism, finding uses for mindfulness, balance and awareness in all aspects of international relations.

It is essential that when one is distressed by a diplomatic situation, when the situation seems hopeless, to take time out and return to one’s inner self. I find that taking time to meditate, to feel at peace with oneself and regain composure, can do wonders for one’s perspective. One should not make a serious decision until one has been centered.

Whomever I may be working with, I want to imagine a win-win situation, rather than fantasizing about destroying my opponent. The act of seeking harmony as an end in itself can lead one to discover previously unimaginable solutions. And in today’s interconnected world, we have no choice but to think about harmonious solutions that avoid dangerous confrontations.

One valuable concept in Buddhism is “mushim” which is an important part of my personal practice. Mushim means something like “no mind,” or more precisely “no fixed thinking.” It is a state in which the mind is open to all things and is not occupied by a thought or an emotion. In such a state, one is always neutral and calm, with a perspective from outside of one’s self. In such a state one can move beyond one’s prejudices and see one’s counterpart as he is.

Step one is taking the emotions out of diplomacy. There is no reason to lose your temper at the remarks or the actions of your counterpart. They are not part of you. You should be like a mirror that reflects back those comments and actions. A mirror does not become irritated by the images that it reflects back. They come and go. But of course one should be aware of those images, those shifts in message and in direction. And one should be aware of one’s own emotional responses. If one can keep up that detachment, can be aware of what is happening and of one’s emotional responses, then one reaches a state of mushim.

An analogy to the ocean is useful. Your mind is like an ocean rocked by waves throughout the day. Shocks and insults cloud your thinking. But if one achieves an even, level state with few disruptions, the ocean can reflect the sky perfectly. So also can the mind reflect on the world with remarkable accuracy if it is not churned by emotions. Things come and go. When you can let things come and go, you catch the essence. You become a more objective observer of yourself and your counterpart as your ego fades from the dialogue.

The most common error we make is to mistake our obsessiveness, our fascination with events and images, with true mindfulness.

Buddhism suggests that meditation helps in any profession. Even thieves will do a better job if they meditate! That is to say that meditation is not a matter of value judgments. It is rather about focus and awareness. For the same reason, Buddhist practice does not conflict with any particular religion. Mindful practice mixes well with Christianity or Islam.

After all, moral judgment is a matter of perspective. If you think in terms of history on the scale of thousands of years, you can come to a judgment of an event or actor with some detachment. But you will be far away from the actual moment. But if you focus in on the moment and make a value judgment, what you thought was right may prove to be the opposite in a month, a year, or a decade.

Thus I once met an American who spoke about the North Korean regime and said to me, “We cannot trust North Korea, we should attack the WMD sites and push for a regime change.”

In response, I started out by expressing my agreement with the goal in a general sense of transforming North Korea and eliminating nuclear weapons. But I then continued his logic, asking about what the consequences of our actions would be for ordinary North Koreans. I kept coming back to the ultimate purpose of change in North Korea, suggesting that co-prosperity and coexistence, in whatever form, was the goal. I also suggested that, although not everything is possible at one time, there is a win-win out there. I never denied the validity of his position. I only suggested that there were other approaches that needed to be exhausted first.

I sensed that he was obsessed with one goal without thinking out the variety of paths by which that goal might be reached. I tried to get him to focus more on process, on the issues faced by specific people in the North, in the South, in surrounding nations.

While I was ambassador to the United States during the regime of the Roh Moo-hyun government, I received many comments to the effect that Korea is not sufficiently concerned about human rights in North Korea. My response then was to say: I’m very concerned with the human rights issues, in a big sense. I fully understand the tragedies that the people from the North suffer through.

I then explained that if we become obsessed with the images we see in the media, and fail to understand the larger institutional and cultural issues behind these injustices, then we are likely to respond impulsively and will inadvertently make human rights issues worse for the short and medium term.

In this sense, mindfulness means a true awareness of human rights as something more than just the right to vote or freedom from arbitrary arrest. We need to consider the millions of people who are undernourished or starving to death. How are we bringing human rights to them? That is an essential question for us.

Buddhism offers to diplomacy a focus on the long term and on balance in all relations. Progress can be made in international relations, but we must consider always the Buddha’s middle way. To the degree that we can create a win-win for all players, and avoid extremes, we can go forward in a meaningful way. If we try to force the issue by insisting on one perspective and by falling back on military strikes, we are unlikely to get more than a temporary result that will soon be reversed. Action undertaken in this spirit could easily lead to a worse result than doing nothing.
Only by remaining mindful of how our impulsive reactions, winner-take-all outlook, and shifting policy objectives can undermine our deeper commitment to the common causes of humanity can we establish a balance, not of power, but of perspective, and in the process aspire to a harmony among nations worthy of the name.

The author is chairman of JoongAng Media Network — one of South Korea’s leading media groups, including the prestigious JoongAng Ilbo daily and a former South Korean ambassador to the United States.

Related Posts

  • 38
    Real life is the game that – literally – everyone is playing. But it can be tough. This is your guide. Basics You might not realise, but real life is a game of strategy. There are some fun mini-games – like dancing, driving, running, and sex – but the key to winning is simply…
    Tags: game, time, things, simply, #longread
  • 37
    I met a priest in the north of Japan who exorcised the spirits of people who had drowned in the tsunami. The ghosts did not appear in large numbers until later in the year, but Reverend Kaneda’s first case of possession came to him after less than a fortnight. He…
    Tags: people, power, north, great, #longread
  • 36
    TEAR GAS IS A GOOD TEACHER. It taught me that what they say is true: Awful conditions can bring out the best in people. It taught me that one can get used to almost anything, including a sensation of choking, and of impending death. It taught me to savor the simple…
    Tags: media, people, true, time, #longread
  • 36
    The public health danger posed by potentially pandemic-causing viruses escaping from laboratories has become the subject of considerable discussion, spurred by “gain of function” experiments. The ostensible goal of these experiments—in which researchers manipulate already-dangerous pathogens to create or increase communicability among humans—is to develop tools to monitor the natural…
    Tags: potential, goal, #longread
  • 36
    Hayes has devoted the past fifteen years to studying atrazine, a widely used herbicide made by Syngenta. The company’s notes reveal that it struggled to make sense of him, and plotted ways to discredit him. http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2014/02/10/140210fa_fact_aviv
    Tags: sense, #longread

Wake Up, Europe by Soros

The following article will appear in The New York Review’s November 20 issue.

Europe is facing a challenge from Russia to its very existence. Neither the European leaders nor their citizens are fully aware of this challenge or know how best to deal with it. I attribute this mainly to the fact that the European Union in general and the eurozone in particular lost their way after the financial crisis of 2008.

The fiscal rules that currently prevail in Europe have aroused a lot of popular resentment. Anti-Europe parties captured nearly 30 percent of the seats in the latest elections for the European Parliament but they had no realistic alternative to the EU to point to until recently. Now Russia is presenting an alternative that poses a fundamental challenge to the values and principles on which the European Union was originally founded. It is based on the use of force that manifests itself in repression at home and aggression abroad, as opposed to the rule of law. What is shocking is that Vladimir Putin’s Russia has proved to be in some ways superior to the European Union—more flexible and constantly springing surprises. That has given it a tactical advantage, at least in the near term.

Europe and the United States—each for its own reasons—are determined to avoid any direct military confrontation with Russia. Russia is taking advantage of their reluctance. Violating its treaty obligations, Russia has annexed Crimea and established separatist enclaves in eastern Ukraine. In August, when the recently installed government in Kiev threatened to win the low-level war in eastern Ukraine against separatist forces backed by Russia, President Putin invaded Ukraine with regular armed forces in violation of the Russian law that exempts conscripts from foreign service without their consent.

In seventy-two hours these forces destroyed several hundred of Ukraine’s armored vehicles, a substantial portion of its fighting force. According to General Wesley Clark, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander for Europe, the Russians used multiple launch rocket systems armed with cluster munitions and thermobaric warheads (an even more inhumane weapon that ought to be outlawed) with devastating effect.* The local militia from the Ukrainian city of Dnepropetrovsk suffered the brunt of the losses because they were communicating by cell phones and could thus easily be located and targeted by the Russians. President Putin has, so far, abided by a cease-fire agreement he concluded with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on September 5, but Putin retains the choice to continue the cease-fire as long as he finds it advantageous or to resume a full-scale assault.

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2014/nov/20/wake-up-europe/

Related Posts

  • 74
    The German government says Russian President Vladimir Putin accepted a proposal by Chancellor Angela Merkel for a fact-finding mission and a "contact group" on Ukraine that could be led by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Government spokesman Georg Streiter said the proposal came in a telephone conversation…
    Tags: putin, ukraine, law, russia, europe, president
  • 74
    Putin’s preferred outcome in Ukraine is to engineer a financial and political collapse that destabilizes the country, and for which he can disclaim responsibility, rather than a military victory that leaves him in possession of – and responsible for – part of Ukraine. The financial collapse of which Soros had been…
    Tags: ukraine, putin, russia, europe
  • 71
    Can you guess where most Chinese nationals are in Europe ? The answer is Italy. Who lives where in Europe? Nationalities across the continent mapped People of many different countries are now living in Europe, with the continent's residents coming everywhere from Jamaica to Tuvalu. Using data from 2011 censuses we have mapped…
    Tags: europe, european
  • 69
    There seems to be an obvious solution to rising inequality: higher taxes. But there's an inconvenient fact here. The way most advanced, industrial countries have made real gains on inequality is through relatively regressive taxes that fund programs that reduce inequality. In fact, America's tax system is already unusually progressive by…
    Tags: europe
  • 68
    5 REASONS FOR INVESTORS TO CARE ABOUT RUSSIA’S MARKET TURMOIL It might be tempting to think in realpolitik terms about Russia’s financial woes right now — the idea that a weakened Russia has less weight to throw around in conflicts such as the Ukraine and Syria. But the reality is…
    Tags: russia, europe, ukraine

The US debt level of over $17.9 trillion would take more than 398 million years to pay off.

Debt-Chain-Slavery

October 22, 2014
Santiago, Chile

The US government’s debt is getting close to reaching another round number—$18 trillion. It currently stands at more than $17.9 trillion.

But what does that really mean? It’s such an abstract number that it’s hard to imagine it. Can you genuinely understand it beyond just being a ridiculously large number?

Just like humans find it really hard to comprehend the vastness of the universe. We know it’s huge, but what does that mean? It’s so many times greater than anything we know or have experienced.

German astronomer and mathematician Friedrich Bessel managed to successfully measure the distance from Earth to a star other than our sun in the 19th century. But he realized that his measurements meant nothing to people as they were. They were too abstract.

So he came up with the idea of a “light-year” to help people get a better understanding of just how far it really is. And rather than using a measurement of distance, he chose to use one of time.

The idea was that since we—or at least scientists—know what the speed of light is, by representing the distance in terms of how long it would take for light to travel that distance, we might be able to comprehend that distance.

Ultimately using a metric we are familiar with to understand one with which we aren’t.

Why don’t we try to do the same with another thing in the universe that’s incomprehensibly large today—the debt of the US government?

Even more incredible than the debt owed right now is what’s owed down the line from all the promises politicians have been making decade after decade. These unfunded liabilities come to an astonishing $116.2 trillion.

These numbers are so big in fact, I think we might need to follow Bessel’s lead and come up with an entire new measurement to grasp them.

Like light-years, we could try to understand these amounts in terms of how long it would take to pay them off. We can even call them “work-years”.

So let’s see—the Social Security Administration just released data for the average yearly salary in the US in fiscal year that just ended. It stands at $44,888.16.

The current debt level of over $17.9 trillion would thus take more than 398 million years of working at the average wage to pay off.

This means that even if every man, woman and child in the United States would work for one year just to help pay off the debt the government has piled on in their name, it still wouldn’t be enough.

Mind you that this means contributing everything you earn, without taking anything for your basic needs—which equates to slavery.

Now, rather than saying that the national debt is reaching $18 trillion, which means nothing to most people, you could say that the debt would currently take almost 400 million work-years to pay off. Wow.

When accounting for unfunded liabilities, the work-years necessary to pay off the debt amount to astonishing 2.38 BILLION work-years…

And the years of slavery required are only growing.

As an amount alone the debt is meaningless, but in terms of your future enslavement it can be better understood.

To put this in perspective even further—what was the situation like previously?

At the end of the year 2000, the national debt was at $5.7 trillion, while the average yearly income was $32,154. That’s 177 million work-years.

Related Posts

  • 59
    Most people that discuss the "economic collapse" focus on what is coming in the future.  And without a doubt, we are on the verge of some incredibly hard times.  But what often gets neglected is the immense permanent damage that has been done to the U.S. economy by the long-term…
    Tags: year, people, government, years, debt, usa
  • 56
    Not long after Alan Greenspan stepped down as Federal Reserve chairman in 2006, global financial markets began to unravel. The collapse of a few financial institutions, the near-collapse of many others, a massive bailout by multiple governments, and the worst economic downturn in three-quarters of a century ensued. Lots of…
    Tags: years, people, usa, debt
  • 53
    The largest technology stock offering in history is looming, but few in Silicon Valley seem to care. http://www.nytimes.com/
    Tags: usa
  • 53
    The dichotomy of reaction to the Trump election victory from the mainstream media versus financial markets is truly extraordinary.
    Tags: usa
  • 52
    For the first time, New York City has surpassed Moscow for the most billionaire residents, according to the latest global rich list from Hurun, a group that tracks wealth in China. According to Hurun, New York added 14 billionaires this year, bringing its total to 84. Moscow, meanwhile, lost a…
    Tags: year, usa

Natural Gas: The New Gold

Natural gas is creating a new reality for economies around the world.  Three major developments of the past few years have thrust natural gas into the spotlight: the shale gas revolution in the United States, the reduction in nuclear power supply following the Fukushima disaster in Japan, and geopolitical tensions between Russia and Ukraine.

What’s cooking

Over the last decade, the discovery of massive quantities of unconventional gas resources around the world has transformed global energy markets, and reshaped the geography of global energy trade (see map). Consumption of natural gas now accounts for nearly 25 percent of global primary energy consumption. Meanwhile, the share of oil has declined from 50 percent in 1970 to about 30 percent today.


Natural gas, however, is different from other energy sources. Being lighter than air, it is a commodity that doesn’t travel very easily and is expensive to transport. Hence, natural gas markets tend to be regional, and much less integrated than oil markets. Shipping or transporting natural gas requires either costly pipeline networks or liquefaction infrastructure and equipment, including dedicated vessels, and then re-gasification at the destination. The limited global integration of gas markets has resulted in substantial price differences across regions in recent years due to the U.S. shale gas boom and the Fukushima disaster, in spite of increasing liquefied natural gas trade.

http://blog-imfdirect.imf.org/2014/10/22/natural-gas-the-new-gold/

Related Posts

Sovereign Wealth Fund Rankings | Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute

http://www.swfinstitute.org/fund-rankings/

Related Posts

  • 94
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZWz_Pln_uuI
    Tags: trading
  • 90
    Forex: 10 Events to Watch Next Week In order of release 1. UK Consumer Price Index (Aug 19) 2. New Zealand Dairy Auction (Aug 19) 3. RBA Semi-Annual Testimony (Aug 19) 4. Bank of England Minutes (Aug 20) 5. FOMC Minutes (Aug 20) 6. HSBC China Manufacturing PMI Aug Flash…
    Tags: trading
  • 84
    There is a reason why I recommend everyone download (and read) this document. Not only is it free but it provides both novice and experienced investors with some perspective on some very basic issues. For example, the next time some one says you should divest your portfolio of so-called “sin…
    Tags: gard, trading
  • 84
    One of my favorite pastimes is dissecting accepted Wall Street wisdom to see if it contains any value for investors or traders. Often, upon examination, the widely held beliefs turn out to be closer to magical thinking than financial acumen. One of the more recent examples is the way some…
    Tags: trading

BIG MARKET NEWS WEEK 19 OCT – 25 OCT 2014

 

 

Canada

Monday, Oct.20, 2014 14:30
CAD   Wholesale Sales (MoM) (Aug)
Australia Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014 02:30
AUD RBA Meeting’s Minutes
China Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014 04:30
CNY   Gross Domestic Product (YoY) (Q3)
China Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014 04:30
CNY   Gross Domestic Product (QoQ) (Q3)
Australia Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014 02:30
AUD Consumer Price Index (YoY) (Q3)
United Kingdom Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014 10:30
GBP BOE MPC Vote Cut
United Kingdom Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014 10:30
GBP BOE MPC Vote Hike
United Kingdom Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014 10:30
GBP BOE MPC Vote Unchanged
United Kingdom Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014 11:30
GBP Bank of England Minutes
Canada Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014 14:30
CAD Retail Sales (MoM) (Aug)
United States Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014 14:30
USD Consumer Price Index (YoY) (Sep)
United States Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014 14:30
USD    Consumer Price Index Ex Food & Energy (YoY) (Sep)
Canada Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014 16:00
CAD BoC Interest Rate Decision (Oct 22)
Canada Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014 16:00
CAD BOC Rate Statement
Canada Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014 16:30
CAD   Bank of Canada Monetary Policy Report
Canada Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014 17:15
CAD BoC Press Conference
New Zealand Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014 23:45
NZD Consumer Price Index (YoY) (Q3)
China Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014 03:45
CNY   HSBC Manufacturing PMI (Oct)Preliminar
France Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014 09:00
EUR   Markit Manufacturing PMI (Oct)Preliminar
Germany Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014 09:30
EUR   Markit Manufacturing PMI (Oct)Preliminar
United Kingdom Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014 10:30
GBP Retail Sales (MoM) (Sep)
United States Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014 14:30
USD Initial Jobless Claims (Oct 18)
New Zealand Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014 23:45
NZD Trade Balance (MoM) (Sep)
United Kingdom Friday, Oct. 24, 2014 10:30
GBP   Gross Domestic Product (YoY) (Q1)Preliminar
United States Friday, Oct. 24, 2014 16:00
USD New Home Sales (MoM) (Sep)

Related Posts

  • 92
      European Monetary Union Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014 n/a EUR Bank Stress Test Info Germany Monday, Oct. 27, 2014 10:00 EUR   IFO - Business Climate (Oct) United States Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014 13:30 USD Durable Goods Orders (Sep) United States Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014 15:00 USD Consumer Confidence (Oct)…
    Tags: oct, calendar
  • 88
    Monday, Oct. 13, 2014 n/a CNY New Loans (Sep) Monday, Oct. 13, 2014 4:00 CNY Trade Balance (Sep) Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014 10:30 GBP   Core Consumer Price Index (YoY) (Sep) Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014 10:30 GBP Consumer Price Index (YoY) (Sep) Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014 11:00 EUR   ZEW…
    Tags: oct, wednesday, calendar
  • 86
    Canada Monday, Oct. 6, 2014 16:00   CAD    Ivey Purchasing Managers Index (Sep) Japan Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2014 05:00   JPY BoJ Interest Rate Decision Japan Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2014 n/a JPY   BoJ Monetary Policy Statement Australia Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2014 05:30   AUD RBA Interest Rate Decision…
    Tags: oct, calendar
  • 86
      China Monday, Nov.10, 2014 02:30 CNY Consumer Price Index (YoY) (Oct) China Monday, Nov.10, 2014 02:30 CNY Consumer Price Index (MoM) (Oct) China Monday, Nov.10, 2014 n/a CNY New Loans (Oct) Australia Tuesday, Nov.11, 2014 01:30 AUD  National Australia Bank's Business Confidence (Oct) New Zealand Tuesday, Nov.11, 2014 21:05…
    Tags: oct, united, calendar
  • 84
    Australia Monday, Nov. 3, 2014 01:30 AUD Building Permits (MoM) (Sep) China Monday, Nov. 3, 2014 02:45   CNY HSBC Manufacturing PMI (Oct) United Kingdom Monday, Nov. 3, 2014 10:30 GBP Markit Manufacturing PMI (Oct) United States Monday, Nov. 3, 2014 16:00 USD ISM Manufacturing PMI (Oct) Canada Monday, Nov.…
    Tags: oct, united, calendar