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What We Read Today 22 February 2016

Econintersect: Every day our editors collect the most interesting things they find from around the internet and present a summary "reading list" which will include very brief summaries (and sometimes longer ones) of why each item has gotten our attention. Suggestions from readers for "reading list" items are gratefully reviewed, although sometimes space limits the number included.

This feature is published every day late afternoon New York time. For early morning review of headlines see "The Early Bird" published every day in the early am at GEI News (membership not required for access to "The Early Bird".).

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Every day most of this column ("What We Read Today") is available only to GEI members.

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Topics today include:

  • Increasing inequality for minorities

  • Obama and Putin Agree to Syria Truce

  • Environmentally Friendly Fracking

  • The World is an "Old Boys' Club"

  • Top of Bear Market Rally?

  • Stocks and Bonds Diverged Today

  • Pound Crash over Brexit Worries

  • Syria Cease Fire Agreement

  • Ten Million without Water in Delhi

  • China Soon to Have 25% of World Output?

  • And More

Articles about events, conflicts and disease around the world

Global

 "Moments ago, after having called the bear market bounce for what it was just on February 11, and positioned accordingly to take advantage of the expected 6-8% rebound Swiss private bank Geneva Swiss Bank just called the end of the bear market rally, and has gone back to a market neutral stance." 

divergences.2016.feb.22

U.S.

divergence.stocks.bonds.2016.feb.22

UK

  • Boris V. Dave: Britain’s Savage Civil War on Europe (The Daily Beast)  London mayor Boris Johnson and Prime Minister David Cameron, two Conservative Party allies, are at each other’s throats over whether Britain should leave the European Union.

  • Pound soothed after Cameron performance (Forex Live)  Hat tip to Alex @plasticlaughing, Twitter. The day's panic has softened but the pound is by no means out of the woods just yet. Short term, a break of 1.4175 and then 1.4200 will likely get some of the new shorts taking their money off the table.  Econintersect:  After collapsing 2.5% from last night to this early afternoon, the pound has rebounded by nearly 1/3 (+0.8%). 

Syria

  • US, Russia agree on Syria cease-fire plan; questions remain (Associated Press)  The United States and Russia have agreed on a new cease-fire for Syria that will take effect Saturday, even as major questions over enforcing and responding to violations of the truce were left unresolved. Syria's warring government and rebels still need to accept the deal.

India

  • India caste unrest: Ten million without water in Delhi (BBC News)  More than 10 million people in India's capital, Delhi, are without water after protesters sabotaged a key canal which supplies much of the city.  The army took control of the Munak canal after Jat community protesters, angry at caste job quotas, seized it.  Keshav Chandra, head of Delhi's water board, told the BBC it would take "three to four days" before normal supplies resumed to affected areas.  All Delhi's schools have been closed because of the water crisis.  Sixteen people have been killed and hundreds hurt in three days of riots.

China


Slow progress bridging America's economic divide (John W. Schoen, CNBC)  While real median household income overall has declined for much of the current century, since 2007 minority income has declined faster than white non-hispanic households.  If graphic below does not display properly or is not interactive, go here.

Other Scientific, Health, Political, Economics and Business Items of Note - plus Miscellanea

  • U.S. shale exploration just got more interesting (Personal Liberty)  GE and Norway’s Statoil are developing a new technology for fracking using only frozen carbon dioxide (CO2) gas. The CO2 would be chilled at the wellhead to a super critical fluid that is neither solid nor liquid and then propel the sand and other fracking chemicals into the shale.  Advantages:

    1. Avoids use of water

    2. Avoids water disposal problems

    3. Greatly reduces groundwater contamination risks

    4. Reduces earthquake risks 

  • Nothing New About Gold (Roger Nussbaum, Seeking Alpha)  Nussbaum says the longstanding debate about whether to invest in gold or not misses the most improtant points:

  1. A big part of successfully engaging in markets is revisiting certain principles that although crucial can be forgotten when they are most important.

  2. A great example of this is holding onto a small allocation to gold for its low to negative correlation to equities.

  3. I continue to believe that if gold is the top performing holding you have, then chances are things are going so well in the world.

  • Wall Street’s Message to Young Adults: “You are Clueless” (William K. Black, New Economic Perspectives)  WBK contributes to GEI.  This column is remarkable for two explosive statements excerpted below, in WBK's effort to explain why Bernie Sanders has so much appeal to youth.  The first addresses the parasitic organization that the financial sector has become:

     Wall Street is vastly too large and it primarily moves capital to uneconomic uses because it is led by frauds and functions largely as a parasite.  Wall Street shrinks the “pie” (the overall size of the economy) and takes an astonishingly large share of that diminished pie.  The author complains that “governments lack the incentives and resources to effectively allocate and manage capital in the microeconomy.”  He apparently was out of town when Wall Street did exactly the same thing for exactly the same reasons – Wall Street’s executive compensation schemes create perverse incentives that Wall Street spreads throughout “Main Street.”

    The second point addresses the estimate that the job destruction by automation that has destroyed millions of lower skill repetitive jobs and middle income craftsmen jobs will proceed to displace "service professionals and Ph.Ds just as they have factory workers", which will displace in the U.S. "75 million jobs in the next two decades".  Referring to a WSJ column that refers to this as progress, Prof. Black writes:

    I can’t think of any reason why a young adult American would not embrace the prospect of shedding 75 million often good jobs and flushing those 75 million Americans into a desperate struggle against each other in the emerging “gig” economy to secure enough scraps to survive.  Wall Street CEOs aren’t “clueless” – they plan to get rich by getting paid huge fees to destroy those 75 million American jobs.  Wall Street CEOs think that the prospect of them becoming even wealthier by destroying those 75 million jobs should cause “Millennials” to praise them because Wall Street exists “to effectively allocate and manage capital in the microeconomy.”  It is, after all, all about “capital,” not people.  The Wall Street CEOs think the young should cheer Wall Street’s “effective[ness]” in destroying the middle and working classes in America.

  • This Is the Date Bernie Sanders Berns Out (The Daily Beast)  This column proposes that Bernie Sanders has "an expiration date" and that is Super Tuesday, March 3.  The author says that possible wins in Vermont, Massachusetts, and Wisconsin cannot offset "all but impossible" states "like Georgia, Virginia, North Carolina, and Texas".  The author also assigns victory to Clinton in this Saturday's South Carolina primary.

  • Why do men think other men are more intelligent? (Twitter)  Societal bias against women is documented by this study.


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