Oct

5

An Armor Conspired: the Global Shipping Freeze

First, the foundations. While bottlenecks are occurring everywhere, at present US ports are disproportionately affected. Docking locations along US coasts are among the slowest in the world: not because of size or technological capacity but collective bargaining hindrances. As Dominic Pino recently wrote,

Why are our ports so far behind? Not because we don’t spend enough on infrastructure, as the Biden administration would have you believe. The federal government could spend a quadrillion dollars on ports, and it wouldn’t change the contracts with the longshoreman unions that prevent ports from operating 24/7 (as they do in Asia) and send labor costs through the roof. (Lincicome finds that union dockworkers on the West Coast make an average of $171,000 a year plus free healthcare.) The unions also fight automation at American ports today, “just as they fought containerized shipping and computers decades before that.”

James Lackey adds:

Pete there is another one you can add to your list: The conspiracy to collude. The ftc is looking the other way whilst all car manufacturers minus Toyota Subaru and Mazda are limit up on next years ie 2022 sticker prices and it's not collusion - if you're not cheating, you're not winning in racing.

Oh, and the help wanted signs are bullshiza as they do not want to hire anyone as their wage offers are limit down. They can't pay back the ppp - they are all broke.

Bud Conrad comments:

The article is long on the sequence of events that colluded to a Perfect Storm of shipping delays. But he doesn't pick the specific culprit (Labor Unions? Government Port Investment? COVID Rebound? Trucking and intermodal capacity inadequacies? and I'll throw in another: Some kind of government or business sector conspiracy to get prices higher.

Regardless of the cause, the impacts on our economy are likely to be most felt in surprisingly high price inflation, for a broad range of products, that the US no longer knows how to make.

We will also see prices rising from the expanded money supply. Wage price inflation is already visible.

Pete Earle responds:

I don’t pick a specific culprit as the current state is not the product of a singular influence. Very simple, and the entire point of my article.

"Some kind of government or business sector conspiracy to get prices higher." [Not a reasonable theory.]

Bud Conrad clarifies:

I learned a lot in reading your article, and the problems you so well identify, including presenting the many charts. Yes: the world and its movements do work with multiple influences.

My challenge was rooted in my hope for identifying an overriding cause that could be addressed, and thus be the course of action to get things back into balance. Of course solutions will require many many efforts. And that was your point. What do you expect to happen?

I also threw out what I expected to be the consequence, that we would have very high price inflation, which will have obvious implications for all of us.

Sep

30

The Irony of China’s Most Recent Bitcoin Ban
by Peter C. Earle

In light of both its history and the decentralized nature of crypto, it’s difficult to see this latest ban as anything but terrifically bullish for the development of the sector as a whole. It forces miners located in China taking advantage of cheap development and energy costs to move elsewhere, likely resulting in greater geographic diversification. (The concentration of hashing power in China-based mining facilities was seen as an existential vulnerability to Bitcoin by some observers; yet for several months an exodus of mining operations has been underway.) The crackdown will likely induce more research into energy-efficient means of mining. And there will undoubtedly be increased innovation directed at the concealment of ‘on and off ramps.’

Steve Ellison adds:

The power shortage in China is the least expected and most interesting news of the week, apparently driven by a push to reduce carbon emissions.

China’s Manufacturing Weakens, as Power Cuts Threaten More Damage
Contraction ends 18-month expansion that powered the country’s recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic

BEIJING—China’s manufacturing activity contracted in September, ending an 18-month expansion that powered the country’s recovery from the pandemic, with power curbs in hubs threatening further disruption.

China’s manufacturing purchasing managers index fell to 49.6 in September, the National Bureau of Statistics in Beijing said Thursday. That marks the gauge’s first drop below the 50 mark that separates an expansion of activity from contraction since February 2020, when the metropolis of Wuhan and surrounding Hubei province were shut down to contain the fast-spreading virus.

Aug

17


The American Institute for Economic Research: The Gold Standard: Retrospect and Prospect

“In general, the gold standard effectively managed the money supply to stabilize the purchasing power of money over time. This was no accident.” ~Peter C. Earle and William J. Luther

On August 15, 1971, President Richard Nixon closed the gold window, thereby preventing foreign governments from converting United States (U.S.) dollars into gold.

The Nixon shock created a clear dividing line in American monetary history. Prior to August 15, 1971, the U.S. dollar had been tied to gold in one way or another since the nation’s founding.

Fifty years after the Nixon shock, it is difficult for many to imagine a dollar connected to gold. Most Americans have never used a gold-backed dollar. They do not understand how the gold standard worked. They have not considered the merits of returning to the gold standard. The gold standard, in their minds, is a relic of a bygone era.

The contributions in this volume help to bridge the knowledge gap created by fifty years of fiat money.

Feb

11

Alex Castaldo writes:

what does dr burry mean by his btc mining tweet today

(20) Cassandra on Twitter: "70% of $BTC is mined in sanctioned countries, China, Iran, Russia. Crypto is in a race - add enough reputable agents of commerce to counter and overcome the inevitable coordinated actions of the ECB/BoJ/Fed/IMF/WorldBank-level powers-that-be to crush it. https://t.co/glYdmeTJ4g." / Twitter

70% of $BTC is mined in sanctioned countries, China, Iran, Russia. Crypto is in a race - add enough reputable agents of commerce to counter and overcome the inevitable coordinated actions of the ECB/BoJ/Fed/IMF/WorldBank-level powers-that-be to crush it. 

Pete Earle writes:

He's saying that BTC needs to grow its network and become a more compelling medium of exchange in order to survive the likely outcome of the governments and monetary authorities in China and Russia (Iran?) putting severe criminal penalties on its mining and usage. Meh. 

Does not follow that if mining were quashed in those countries other miners elsewhere wouldn't fill the gap, but it would be a bumpy ride and the price would almost definitely suffer. (There's also the remote chance that in the tumult that would follow miners going offline there could be a 51% attack.) But it strikes me that when an illicit enterprise becomes big enough (gambling, marijuana, etc.) governments would rather become privileged providers and gatekeepers than suppressors. 

Jayson Pifer writes:

Burry seems to be missing that cheap electricity wins.  It's not a matter of simply adding reputable agents when they will not be able to scale to compete with Chinese miners.  Not to mention that those sanctioned countries are incentivized to mine heavily and therefore keep the security of the network high.  I don't really see this changing.

I'm curious what sort of coordinated actions he supposes will be taken by the power-that-be.  For the foreseeable future it appears to be concurrent debasement of currencies to the benefit of cryptos.

I forget who on the list was running a mining operation, the information shared was valuable.  Perhaps we could get some recent insight.

Jan

11

 Neil Peart, legendary drummer for Rush and a self described "Bleeding heart libertarian" died Tuesday from complications due to brain cancer. He was a friend of liberty and one of the best drummers in the world.

Pete Earle writes: 

This one hits home in a way that few others have. I had listened to their music since the early 1980s and seen them live 20, 25 times. Words and music that inspired and lifted me in every phase of my life. Neil was one of the good ones. Devastating.

Oct

2

What is the significance if any of recent money market stress and Fed actions?

Larry Williams writes: 

If it is a mini QE-4, as I suspect, bullish.

Peter Ringel writes: 

I had decreasing excess commercial bank reserves as bullish factor for equities, because it is an indicator of optimism.

People are less in cash and invest more and more in other assets.

Pete Earle writes: 

A colleague and I wrote an article about this two days back. "This is Not QE4, Yet"

Mr. Isomorphisms writes: 

If it's due to quarterly tax payments, why doesn't this happen every quarter?

Pete Earle replies:

It's not just because of taxes. Read the article.

Nov

28

The Prez was right with all his comments about Powell being hawkish and "not a little bit satisfied with Powell" and the markets all over the world gave everyone wealth. But now we shall have to hear about "succumbing" and "interference" and the inviolable "independence of the Fed being violated".

Pete Earle writes: 

Here is something I wrote a month or two back regarding the media assertion that the current President is conducting himself in manners vastly outside historical norms.

Oct

24

 From Hamon's New York Stock Exchange Manual, 1865:

"Great gains usually alternate with great losses in this kind of business. One would think that jobbers would soon die of worry and anxiety, and often enough they are seen to be very 'down in the mouth'. But nature is kind, and fits the back to the burden, or rather most of these men have been born with the peculiar temperament of the speculator.

They have an extra amount of hopefulness, and get through life with more excitement, indeed, but hardly with less equanimity on the whole than other men engaged in trade."

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