Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Some evening news

Some longer political-economics pieces for your edumacation:

Jared Bernstein - faster productivity growth won't raise middle-class incomes. Or lower class incomes either, Jared you bourgeois scum. But yes, there's no mechanism handing any particular share of productivity growth to the workers - I mean, we used to have that to some extent with unions, but then the Republicans banned them - so why should any of us care about boosting productivity? It'll just end up being yet more dollars stuffed into numbered Guernsey accounts.

Conversable Economist - what EU single market? It's not a single market but a goddamn kludge serving the kleptocratic elite:
On one side, EU countries make strong statements about their commitment to the European project, and at some level they mean it. But when push comes to shove in domestic politics, there remains a strong desire for national control over all sorts of regulations, prodded by national-level interest groups that like limited competition and public monopolies and also play a large role in the electoral fortunes of national politicians.

But as the EU economy staggers along with barely positive economic growth and an unemployment rate that has been above 10% for the last three years (and of course is much worse in certain countries), it's time to recognize that Europe's productivity problems are about more than government debt and managing the euro-zone. Indeed, even if the gains to European productivity are small in the short-term and only emerge over time, there is good reason to believe that moving toward a single market could help to ease some of the macroeconomic stresses created by having such different economies sharing the single euro currency.
Yeah good luck with that. It reminds me of this book I'm reading right now, Making People Illegal: What Globalization Means for Migration and Law. The central thesis is that "globalization" is only globalization of capital: global workers have utterly no right to freely cross borders looking for the best deal for labour, it's all about capital crossing borders to look for the best deal for capital. Well, similarly the EU is a capital globalization zone that refuses to allow workers to cross borders. How the hell can such a grafted-together monstrosity possibly see growth?

Bloomberg View - China will keep growing because it has to. This fellow seems to be someone who actually knows something about China:
As the U.S. and the U.K. grew into industrial powers in the 19th century, they were tripped up every 10 to 20 years by financial crises and economic depressions. Measuring from December 1978, when the Chinese Communist Party “shifted its center of gravity from propagandizing class struggle and organizing political campaigns to economic construction,” China is now in its 37th straight year of economic expansion.
That's a good reminder - China hasn't been screwing anything up, have they? So why do you think they're about to this year, Whitey?

Glenn Chan - about the skill of mining CEOs. Damn, he don't mince words:
Investment banks sometimes hire analysts with mining backgrounds. However, every single investment bank missed the Bre-X fraud (whereas the senior miner Freeport McMoran didn’t). Investment banking analysts typically have conflicts of interests with their clients that cause the analysts to overlook how crappy the bank’s secondary offerings and IPOs are. I would not take any of the investment banking analysts seriously.

In general, almost all senior miners have the right technical expertise to value assets because they have mining professionals on staff. However, for political reasons, they sometimes make really dumb investment decisions and chase projects that they know are uneconomic. The CEO may surround himself with “yes men” who bend the numbers to make a project seem economic.
Dayum! And:
Some CEOs like Nolan Watson do not have formal (or informal) training in mine exploration or mine engineering. Despite the lack of mining expertise, they do not hire mining professionals onto their staff. These are the people who make really dumb investments. So far, every single Nolan Watson investment in Sandstorm Metals and Energy has turned out to be a disaster.
Double dayum!

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