Friday, July 24, 2015

An interesting "effect" of an economic-banking crash

If your typical prepper-novelist was writing the real life story of Greece, they probably would have had them raping in pillaging in the streets a year ago.  Or certainly the first time someone went to an ATM machine and couldn't get their money out!
 
I knew some of the fallout from reading Ferfal's accounts of what happened in Argentina when they had a debt non-payment collapse.  But still, this is a wrinkle, that while obvious when you think about it, hadn't really occurred to me.
 
ekathimerini.com, 20 July 2015 (hat tip: NC)
Capital controls imposed by the Greek government are taking a heavy toll on the country's businesses, a survey showed Monday, with nearly a quarter saying they are seeking to move their headquarters abroad.
Endeavour Greece, a non-profit group that supports entrepreneurs, found that 58 percent of the 300 companies it surveyed between July 13 and July 17 reported a "significant impact on their operations caused by the limitations imposed to cross-border transactions."
"Many of these companies cannot import raw material or have access to foreign services and infrastructure," the group said in a statement, adding that 23 percent "plan to transfer their headquarters abroad for security, cash flow and stability reasons."
Of course they have to get out of the country, at least to some extent, so that they can avoid the hard cash controls.  Greece can't afford to have cash leave the country, and business can't survive without paying cash for imports.  Greek business, with Greece being geographically much closer to so many neighbors than Argentina, can probably manage to operate at least some of their business as a parallel enterprise just over the border.  Still tough, but at least you can keep some of the cash exchange outside of Greece.
 
On a grimmer note, one of the reasons the Germans started keeping the Jews from emigrating prior to WW2 was because they were taking too much money with them, and they were worried about a flight of capital.  The Jews often knew very well that they should go, but the Germans set the price of exit too high for most to afford.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

I guess the end is coming sooner for some folks

Well, I am going to let your imagination run wild as to the personal-apocalypse scenarios possible here.
 
BBC, 20 July 2015 (hat tip: NC)
Customer data has been stolen from Ashley Madison, a dating website for married people who wish to cheat on their spouse.
The hackers said they had obtained information including "all the customers' secret sexual fantasies and matching credit card transactions".
The site's operator confirmed there had been an "intrusion" but not its extent.
One security expert said a small percentage of the site's user account data had been published online...
Ashley Madison says it operates in more than 50 countries and has 37 million users, more than a million of whom live in the UK.
It promotes its service with the tagline, "Life is short, have an affair."
The only apocalyptic novel I can recall that involved computer dating was Will McIntosh's Soft Apocalypse.  As I recall the author had done some research on these services.  But I also seem to recall that the scenario they were involved in didn't add much to the book.  This sounds like a much a scenario that could involve a lot more firepower.
 
 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The pin is near the fracking bubble?

 
Not everyone is aware of the huge lending support that the various fracking folks have used to push their business model.  When this type of behavior continues, even when the participants show little signs of profit...you might be in a speculative bubble.
 
Well now that the bubble which is China's economy has crashed, dropping the bubble driven demand for basic economic inputs (and gold too recently) we will get to see just how much of a bubble fracking is.
 
Asjylyn Loder, Bradley Olson, Dawn Kopecki, Bloomberg Business, 20 July 2015 (hat tip: NC)
 
Bank regulators have issued warnings on the risks involved in lending to U.S. drillers, threatening a cash crunch in an industry that’s more dependent than ever on other people’s money. Wall Street has been one of the biggest allies of the shale revolution, bankrolling thousands of wells from Texas to North Dakota. The question is how that will change with oil prices down by half since last year to $50.36 a barrel.
“Lenders in general are increasing pressure on oil companies either to raise more equity or do some sort of transaction to pay down their credit lines and free up extra cash,” said Jimmy Vallee, a partner in the energy mergers and acquisitions practice at law firm Paul Hastings LLP in Houston.
 This isn't really new news, but it is a data point along the continuum.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The coming chillout

The last 200 years have been had some of the most stable known periods of weather. And the reason it took so long for farming to be introduced by the hunter gatherers who inhabited the world is that the weather prior to that was too unstable allow for an agriculture-only lifestyle.
So I don't take the potential for global cooling to necessarily mean that it will mix with global warming to allow us all to live a Mediterranean lifestyle.  Likely it just means an oscillating hell.  Sort of like where our recent weather has been going.
VanWinkle's, Huff Post Science, 1 July 2015 (Hat tip: NC)
Modern technology has made us able to predict solar cycles with much greater accuracy, and Zharkova’s model predicts that solar activity will drop by more than half between 2030 and 2040. 
"In cycle 26, the two waves exactly mirror each other -- peaking at the same time but in opposite hemispheres of the Sun. Their interaction will be disruptive, or they will nearly cancel each other. We predict that this will lead to the properties of a ‘Maunder minimum’,” said Zharkova. 
The Maunder Minimum is the title given to periods of time when sunspots are rare. It last occurred between 1645 and 1715, when roughly 50 sunspots were recorded, as opposed to the standard 40,000. That time was marked by brutal, river-freezing temperatures in Europe and North America.
I should note that the little ice age they note was also accompanied by an increase in volcanic activity.