Links 21 February 2013


Here’s a list of things Reynard read over night.

Global Macro/Markets:

  • Jeremy Grantham about managing progress in a world of finite resources – BBC Radio
  • Why do “experts” always avoid mentioning household debt – Wall Street Pit
  • Our obsession with growth rates, by Scott Winship – Marginal Revolution

North America:

  • Housing starts plummeted in January. Here’s why not to panic – Washington Post
  • FRB: FOMC Minutes, January 29-30, 2013 – Federal Reserve
  • U.S. Banks Bigger Than GDP as Accounting Rift Masks Risk – Bloomberg
  • U.S. Banks Would Look Scarier If They Were European Banks – Dealbreaker
  • It’s Time To Worry That Our Government Will Wreck Our Economy Again – Yahoo
  • Macroeconomic Advisers: 50% odds of sequester, would cut GDP by 0.6% – Econbrowser


  • A Minutes worth of sterling freefall – FT Alphaville
  • The OC (of Greek covered bonds) – FT ALphaville
  • The real rate of British inflation – FT Alphaville
  • Spanish Economy and Italian Politics Could Trigger Euro Crisis Return – Der Spiegel
  • Austerity’s poster child Portugal says economy is doing way worse than it realized – Quartz


  • Japan posts record January trade deficit – Financial Times
  • Andy Xie: Chinese govt must “cut spending & fixed-asset investment or wake up to a messy economic reckoning” – Caixin
  • Secretive Chinese firm used bribes and blackmail to help clients “erase” negative articles from internet – South China Morning Post
  • China: No country for old age – New York Times
  • China, world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gasses, will tax carbon – Quartz
  • Asia’s pollution crunch challenges economy – The AFR



  • RBNZ on NZ’s overvalued exchange rate – FT Alphaville
  • The future of free-market healthcare – Reuters


  1. From the Link;

    “Mining employs three times more than thought: RBA”

    Only if you are outside the industry would you think that. About time they woke up.

  2. While 3.25 per cent of the nation’s workers are employed in resources extraction, 6.75 per cent owe their jobs to the sector’s flow-on benefits.

    Extrapolating the report’s analysis of 2011-12 to the most recent labour force statistics, the findings indicate that 1.1 million workers owe their jobs to the boom – equivalent to 9.75 per cent of the nation’s 11.5 million workers.

    While about 375,000 of these workers are in mining and gas extraction, the remainder are in activities such as business services, construction, retail and transport.

    The implication that those ~700,000 people would be otherwise unemployed seems to be drawing a rather long bow.

    It’s a bit like the people who say “the war on [blah] has cost $X”, whilst including the salaries of full-time soldiers and cost of equipment that would have been spent anyway.

    • And what other industry would provide those job growth numbers, during this period?

      And what other industry could provide similarly high salaries?

      Continual undervalueing of the resources sector in our social sphere has led to a lot of misinformed opinions and choices.

      • And what other industry would provide those job growth numbers, during this period?
        And what other industry could provide similarly high salaries?

        Why does it have to be just one ?

        As for salaries, huge swathes of mining jobs are ludicrously overpaid in the context of the knowledge, skills, and time taken to attain them. Sustainably high wages don’t come from bubbles.

        Continual undervalueing of the resources sector in our social sphere has led to a lot of misinformed opinions and choices.

        I think the main argument from the MB bloggers is the continual*over*valuing of the resources sector.

    • Whatever. The beneficial impact of the boom has been immense and this is gradually gaining wider understanding and acceptance.

      • The benefits from the mining boom are there for everyone to see: higher incomes, more jobs, greater tax revenue, etc.

        I am just pissed that we have squandered the bounty and am concerned about the fallout should it unwind in a disorderly manner.

        • “are there for everyone to see..”

          Unfortunately, jealousy and one eyed outlooks from the sense impaired render this innaccurate, despite it being blindingly obvious.

          “we have squandered the bounty ” .. Absolutely correct, to the tune of a $200 + Billion hole and growing.

  3. Reports: Shale Gas Bubble Looms, Aided by Wall Street

    Two long-awaited reports were published today at by the Post Carbon Institute (PCI) and the Energy Policy Forum (EPF).

    Together, the reports conclude that the hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) boom could lead to a “bubble burst” akin to the housing bubble burst of 2008.

    While most media attention towards fracking has focused on the threats to drinking water and health in communities throughout North America and the world, there is an even larger threat looming. The fracking industry has the ability – paralleling the housing bubble burst that served as a precursor to the 2008 economic crisis – to tank the global economy.


    (extract from )

    Although no one really knows where the globe’s energy mix is headed or how it will shape our lives in the future, energy experts now offer a diversity of forecasts, stories and warnings.

    Their pronouncements are both myth busting if not startling.

    Jeff Rubin, the former chief economist for CIBC, argues that “the new green” will not be endless arrays of solar panels or windmills but less oil and smaller economies.

    Mikal Hook, an analyst at Sweden’s Uppsala Depletion Group, goes further and argues that any orderly energy transition might now be impossible because renewables simply can’t grow as fast as oil.

    He also warns that all citizens should prepare for “high and likely volatile oil prices,” and that governments should be “educating their citizenry of the risk of contraction to minimize potential future social discord.”

    Chris Turner, Calgary’s sustainability journalist, believes that an orderly energy leap can be made but political leaders and the status quo aren’t showing much interest in public transit or renewable forms of energy at least in North America.

    Joseph Tainter, the U.S. anthropologist and historian, suggests that civilization has climbed a tall spiral staircase of energy complexity without knowing how far we can go with the resources we have at hand.

    He warns that it takes energy to solve complex problems and he doesn’t think society can voluntarily cut back on fossil fuels.

    Vaclav Smil, a University of Manitoba researcher and one of the world’s great energy analysts, believes that energy obesity is the moral problem and proscribes a diet consisting of low-hanging fruit such as efficient furnaces and high speed trains.

    History shows that energy transitions are invariably a utopian’s worst nightmare or a novelist’s best idea: they are protracted, difficult and unpredictable.

  5. The world’s remaining global fossil fuel resources (mainly coal) would produce an enormous 9-13 trillion tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. If all of it were burnt without capturing the carbon it would be enough to raise the average global temperature some 18 degree C, may be more. This 9-13 trillion tonnes is large compared with the 0.5 trillion tonnes already produced since the start of the Industrial Revolution. Nearly half of this 0.5 trillion tonnes remains in the atmosphere causing serious problems resulting from a warming of only 0.6 degree C. A recent report by independent consultants shows that there are planned mega fossil fuel projects which would add nearly 2 trillion tonnes of carbon by 2020 . Discharging all of this to the atmosphere would set the world on a path to warming 5 -6 degree C, already the stuff of nightmares. Discharging the additional 7-10 trillion tonnes would be an act of insanity.

    To return the atmosphere to a safe level of carbon dioxide requires annual emissions to fall almost immediately, and to cease almost completely by 2050.

      • Generally using the internet consumes electricity (although there is an RFC that details TCP over carrier pigeon) and electricity is largely generated by burning fossil fuels.

        However, the internet should still function if all the electricity were to be generated from sustainable power sources.

        You are correct, currently it is not possible, but it does not have to always be the case.

    • Can MB open a “Green” page please?

      And a brown (in more ways than one 🙂 ) page for you?

      These issues (AGW, energy) are no longer “green” issues. They affect us all.

      • If AGW was a genuine issue, you may have a valid point. “They affect us all” because misguided Gov’ts think they can tax cooler temps into being, despite the fact that temps have been stable for over a decade. Could it be remotely possible that the fluctuations in temp and climate ( from data derived over the millennia) are a natural phenomenon?

        • temps have been stable for over a decade

          That’s a furphy, and everyone knows it.

          Please stop using it. AGW is real, the Earth is not flat, evolution actually happens, we don’t have an invisible friend called Jesus, and there is no Hell.

          Remove head from fundament.

          • I would like to make a deal with you and R2M. I will promise not to post any links to wattsupwiththat if you promise not to post links to skepticalscience or climateprogress.


          • Nah. You keep posting links to a site run by a guy who dropped out of university, and I’ll keep linking to real science.


          • I’ve got a better deal. I won’t post any links that don’t reference scientific consensus, peer-reviewed data and conclusions if you don’t.