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Stock Market Crash 2020: Welcome To The End Game

Stock Market Crash 2020: Welcome To The End Game

Red Graph moving down on chart as recession or financial crisis 3d animation
GETTY

If this chart doesn’t make you think the crash is coming soon, then probably nothing will:

The Nasdaq is going vertical
The Nasdaq is going vertical CREDIT: ADVFN

The Nasdaq is on its final run and is going vertical, a classic end of bubble move. This is trader heaven and turns into speculator hell for those who think that markets do grow to the skies. It could go up a long way in price but it won’t go for long in time. It could last to Christmas, it could fold tomorrow, but my feeling is that unless this bubble is cut down by the Fed, the final move will be large and quick.

You can refer to the dotcom crash for the general shape of what looks possible next.

The attempts by the government to pump up the economy with new money is resulting in it going straight into equities and straight into the tip of the equity spear, the giant high beta story stocks. This is a malfunction of the QE mechanism that supports asset prices and slowly trickles the benefits of this support down the pyramid of wealth. Now the game is up because the new money is going straight into this bubble of financial assets that are spiralling up out of control.

If we now get a Nasdaq bull vertical that is the end of the chapter of the process, it will be followed by a devastating crash as everyone dashes to the exit in a blaze of wealth destruction.

The Federal Reserve needs to get a lid on this fast and it appears to be trying to by tapering its balance sheet, but the bubble is still fizzing and if it does not stop soon it will do what bubbles generally do, erupt then collapse. The final eruption before collapse looks to be underway and we should only hope it doesn’t happen.

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COVID-19 And Global Supply Chains: Watch Out For Bullwhip Effects

COVID-19 And Global Supply Chains: Watch Out For Bullwhip Effects

In an earlier piece on the COVID-19 (Wuhan Coronavirus), I talked about how supply chain disruptions seemed to be occurring in slow-motion. A recent report from the Journal of Commerce warned of an imminent shortage of shipping containers in inland U.S. locations. How could these things be connected, and are we at risk of supply chain oscillations, often referred to as a bullwhip effect?

The virtual shutdown of commercial traffic in China has had a huge impact on global shipping. With the extended Lunar New Year shutdown, container shipping carriers have announced a large number of “blank sailings” – an industry euphemism for “we cancelled that voyage.” That’s completely rational, as nobody was sending trucks with outbound cargo to the big Asian container terminals. I had taken a class to visit the giant Yantian International Container Terminal in Shenzhen in January, and they told us they handled 20,000 trucks on a typical day. When I checked it last week, there was little visible traffic. With much of the country in lockdown and factories struggling to get production restarted, this was not a surprise.

Container ships from China take time to reach their destination in Europe or North America
The Ebba Maersk taking on containers at the Yantian International Container Terminal in Shenzhen, … [+]PHOTO: © 2020 WILLY SHIH

For global supply chains that go by ocean, there is a built in time lag attributable to ship transit times. Container ships carrying exports that left China before the outbreak are only recently discharging cargo at destinations. We saw the Ebba Maersk loading at Yantian in Shenzhen on January 5. It didn’t make it to Rotterdam until February 2, and at last check it was at the Thames Port in the United Kingdom. That meant 27 days to reach the first port of call in Europe. Yantian (Shenzhen) to Long Beach, California might take 14 or 15 days, and a rail connection to the Midwest might take five more days.

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Central Bankers Are Quietly Freaking Out About How To Fight The Next Recession

Central Bankers Are Quietly Freaking Out About How To Fight The Next Recession 

Mark Carney warns about the limits of central bank policy.
Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of England (BOE), listens at the annual Mansion House dinner in … [+]2018 BLOOMBERG FINANCE LP

The world’s top central bank officials are rightly concerned that politicians in rich economies missed one key lesson of the last recession: Interest rate cuts can help to moderate a downturn, but aggressive fiscal policy is key to a healthy recovery. 

It was a pro-austerity stance both in the United States, and even more saliently in the euro zone, that arguably prolonged the period of high unemployment and low wage growth that plagued most of the decade-long recovery from the 2007-2009 U.S. Great Recession. 

Outgoing Bank of England Governor Mark Carney told the Financial Times this week that central banks are running low on fuel. “If there were to be a deeper downturn, [that requires] more stimulus than a conventional recession, then it’s not clear that monetary policy would have sufficient space,” he said.Today In: Money

“It’s generally true that there’s much less ammunition for all the major central banks than they previously had and I’m of the opinion that this situation will persist for some time.”  

That echoed the sentiment of Christine Lagarde, who recently took over the European Central Bank. She’s telling budget-shy European politicians (especially in Germany) to get to work

Now, a new paper from Fed board economist Michael Kiley points to similar alarm among U.S. central bankers about their ability to fight future slumps. 

Drawing up two basic assumptions of what a downturn might look like, Kiley finds that “a recession may result in near-zero interest rates at long maturities, bringing U.S. experience closer to that seen in Europe and Japan.”

This, says Kiley, “could imply limits on the ability of monetary policy to support a recovery.”

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Why Apocalyptic Claims About Climate Change Are Wrong

Why Apocalyptic Claims About Climate Change Are Wrong 

Bill McKibben, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Greta Thunberg, and Zion Lights of Extinction Rebellion
Climate scientists are speaking out against grossly exaggerated claims about global warming.GETTY

Environmental journalists and advocates have in recent weeks made a number of apocalyptic predictions about the impact of climate change. Bill McKibben suggested climate-driven fires in Australia had made koalas “functionally extinct.” Extinction Rebellion said “Billions will die” and “Life on Earth is dying.” Vice claimed the “collapse of civilization may have already begun.” 

Few have underscored the threat more than student climate activist Greta Thunberg and Green New Deal sponsor Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The latter said, “The world is going to end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change.” Says Thunberg in her new book, “Around 2030 we will be in a position to set off an irreversible chain reaction beyond human control that will lead to the end of our civilization as we know it.” 

Sometimes, scientists themselves make apocalyptic claims. “It’s difficult to see how we could accommodate a billion people or even half of that,” if Earth warms four degrees, said one earlier this year. “The potential for multi-breadbasket failure is increasing,” saidanother. If sea levels rise as much as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts, another scientist said, “It will be an unmanageable problem.” Today In: Business

Apocalyptic statements like these have real-world impacts. In September, a group of British psychologists said children are increasingly suffering from anxiety from the frightening discourse around climate change. In October, an activist with Extinction Rebellion (”XR”) — an environmental group founded in 2018 to commit civil disobedience to draw awareness to the threat its founders and supporters say climate change poses to human existence — and a videographer, were kicked and beaten in a London Tube station by angry commuters. And last week, an XR co-founder said a genocide like the Holocaust was “happening again, on a far greater scale, and in plain sight” from climate change.

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The Reason Renewables Can’t Power Modern Civilization Is Because They Were Never Meant To

The Reason Renewables Can’t Power Modern Civilization Is Because They Were Never Meant To

“The Energiewende — the biggest political project since reunification — threatens to fail,” reports Germany's largest news magazine.

“The Energiewende — the biggest political project since reunification — threatens to fail,” reports Germany’s largest news magazine. DER SPIEGEL

Over the last decade, journalists have held up Germany’s renewables energy transition, the Energiewende, as an environmental model for the world. 

“Many poor countries, once intent on building coal-fired power plants to bring electricity to their people, are discussing whether they might leapfrog the fossil age and build clean grids from the outset,” thanks to the Energiewendewrote a New York Times reporter in 2014.

With Germany as inspiration, the United Nations and World Bank poured billions into renewables like wind, solar, and hydro in developing nations like Kenya.

But then, last year, Germany was forced to acknowledge that it had to delay its phase-out of coal, and would not meet its 2020 greenhouse gas reduction commitments. It announced plans to bulldoze an ancient church and forest in order to get at the coal underneath it.

After renewables investors and advocates, including Al Gore and Greenpeace, criticized Germany, journalists came to the country’s defense. “Germany has fallen short of its emission targets in part because its targets were so ambitious,” one of them argued last summer.

“If the rest of the world made just half Germany’s effort, the future for our planet would look less bleak,” she wrote. “So Germany, don’t give up. And also: Thank you.”

But Germany didn’t just fall short of its climate targets. Its emissions have flat-lined since 2009.

Now comes a major article in the country’s largest newsweekly magazine, Der Spiegel, titled, “A Botched Job in Germany” (“Murks in Germany“). The magazine’s cover shows broken wind turbines and incomplete electrical transmission towers against a dark silhouette of Berlin.

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The Rise Of Totalitarian Technology

The Rise Of Totalitarian Technology

Neil Howe

Is technological progress bad for human autonomy? That’s the question posed by Shoshana Zuboff in “The Age of Surveillance Capitalism,” a book that recounts the ways in which corporations and governments are using technology to influence our behavior. Zuboff is just the latest to chime in on “totalitarian technology” (or “total tech”), a term that describes devices and algorithms by which individuals forfeit their privacy and autonomy for the benefit of either themselves or some third party.

In the United States, total tech can be sorted into three different categories, or “spheres” of life: consumer services, the workplace, and government and politics.

Is there such a thing as too much technology?ISTOCK

Total tech is pervasive in the increasingly data-driven world of retail. Many shopping apps tap into your phone’s GPS to access your location, allowing retailers to send you advertisements the moment you’re walking past their storefront. Personalized pricing enables retailers to charge you the exact maximum that you would be willing to pay for a given product. Your personal data isn’t safe at home, either: Digital assistants like Amazon Alexa store your query history, meaning they know everything from your unique shopping history to your travel patterns to your music preferences.

Employers are also using total tech to track and monitor their workers. A growing number of companies use biometric time cards that scan an employee’s fingerprint, hand shape, retina, or iris. UPS outfits its trucks with sensors that track the opening and closing of doors, the engine of the vehicle, and the clicking of seat belts. Amazon is patenting an electronic wristband that would be used to track hand movements—making sure, for instance, that a warehouse worker stays busy moving boxes. Global freelancing platform Upwork runs a digital “Work Diary” program that counts keystrokes and takes screenshots of workers’ monitors.

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Outlaw Government Pensions? The Hunt for Endless Taxes

The commentary that has appeared in Forbes calls for the only solution is to outlaw pensions. This is actually what will happen. Because there is no resolution, the government pensions will demand to raise taxes and then there is never any reform in government so the end game is one major economic confrontation – the people v government. They really cannot grasp that the crisis is profound. For every person who retires, the government hires a replacement. The cost of government explodes exponentially. The system is doomed and this is what is going to rise up into civil unrest.

Federal governments can create money but state/provincial and local government can only raise taxes. In Germany, the lessor governments are petitioning the federal government for a bailout since already 40% are effectively broke. It is this desperate letter we received from California trying to claim we must pay taxes simply because Amazon may store some reports or DVDs in their California warehouse. If you buy something from Amazon, they send it to you and collect whatever tax. They remit the tax and we do not mail the products nor receiver the taxes collected. We would have no idea what tax would be owed to California. Obviously, we have no choice but to inform Amazon to remove all our products from California. If everyone is compelled to do the same, then there go those jobs in their California warehouse.

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When The US’s Stock Market Bubble Bursts, Inevitable Disaster Will Follow

When The US’s Stock Market Bubble Bursts, Inevitable Disaster Will Follow

Complete and utter disaster will be inevitable and unavoidable when the United States’ stock market bubble bursts. Unfortunately, too many think the high stock market is evidence of a stable economy, but it’s actually an artificial bubble that will end in a disastrous crisis.

This unusual market strength is not evidence of a strong, organic economy, but of an extremely unhealthy, artificial bubble economy that will end in a crisis that will be even worse than we experienced in 2008, reported Forbes.  The current market is highly unstable due to an artificially low interest rate.

Forbes writer Jesse Colombo explained it well. Ultra-low interest rates help to create bubbles in the following ways:

  • Investors can borrow cheaply to speculate in assets (ex: cheap mortgages for property speculation and low margin costs for trading stocks)
  • By making it cheaper to borrow to conduct share buybacks, dividend increases, and mergers & acquisitions
  • By discouraging the holding of cash in the bank versus speculating in riskier asset markets
  • By encouraging higher rates of inflation, which helps to support assets like stocks and real estate
  • By encouraging more borrowing by consumers, businesses, and governments

Another Federal Reserve policy (aside from the ultra-low Fed Funds Rate) that has helped to inflate the U.S. stock market bubble since 2009 is quantitative easing or QE.  Many have warned about the negative effects of QE only to be told by leftists that it was “necessary.” When executing QE policy, the Federal Reserve creates new money “out of thin air” in digital form and uses it to buy Treasury bonds or other assets. That action pumps liquidity into the financial system. QE helps to push bond prices higher and bond yields/interest rates lower throughout the economy. QE has another indirect effect as well. It causes stock prices to surge because low rates boost stocks, wrote Colombo.

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Friedman On Inflation, Hanke on Hyperinflation

In 1966, Milton Friedman wrote, as he often did, some memorable lines that have entered the lexicon of economic quotables. As Friedman correctly put it in a book chapter titled “What Price Guideposts?”: “Inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon, resulting from and accompanied by a rise in the quantity of money relative to output…. It follows that the only effective way to stop inflation is to restrain the rate of growth of the quantity of money.”

While true, Friedman’s classic statement doesn’t tell us anything about what drives the growth of the money supply that fuels inflation. The importance of this omission becomes particularly important in hyperinflations, when the monthly inflation rate exceeds 50% for thirty consecutive days. Hyperinflations are rather rare. There have only been 58 episodes of hyperinflation in recorded history. The first episode occurred in France, where the mandat collapsed. In August 1796, France’s monthly inflation rate peaked at 304%. Today, there is only one hyperinflation, Venezuela’s. I measure both Venezuela’s monthly and annual rate of inflation with high-frequency data each day. On August 27th, Venezuela’s monthly rate of inflation was 177% and its annual rate of inflation was 60,934%.

Many people ask, how can this be? What drives the money supply and inflation to astronomical heights? To answer these questions, we must go behind Friedman’s heavily quoted words.

In hyperinflations, the “printing presses” go into overdrive because governments spend, and all the sources for funding their largess either never existed or wither away, except one: central banks. To set the stage, in a pre-hyperinflation situation, when a full array of financing options are available, government expenditures can be financed by taxes, by the domestic and international bond markets, by revenue from state-owned enterprises, and by central banks. In addition, governments can defer payments by accumulating arrears. So, arrears are also a means of “funding.” Governments can also go hat-in-hand to obtain foreign aid, yet another source of funding.

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Tracking Military Weaponry and War Machines Flowing to America’s Local Police Departments

Tracking Military Weaponry and War Machines Flowing to America’s Local Police Departments 

This week, Attorney General Jeff Sessions outlined plans to transfer heavy military weapons to local police across America. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images – taken before Miami press conference on sanctuary cities.)

This week, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced President Donald Trump’s plan to distribute military gear to state and local law enforcement agencies. The rule change means weapons typically reserved for war-time use – tracked armored (tank-like) vehicles, weaponized aircraft and vessels, grenade launchers, bayonets, and firearms with ammunition of .50-caliber or higher – will start flowing to local law enforcement agencies through the Department of Defense’s 1033 Program.

Yes, the story is familiar. In 2016, we sounded the alarmat Forbes about the Obama administration sending heavy weapons to local police departments. We noted that people of good faith on both the left and right were raising serious concerns regarding civil liberties and the growth of government.

Today, the same questions are valid: What’s the legitimate law enforcement purpose for these weapons? Does the militarization of local police threaten our civil liberties?

Search our OpenTheBooks interactive map for all weaponry transferred to the 6,500 local, state and other federal police agencies across America since 2006. See it all – in your hometown, park district, forest preserve, junior college, university, county, state police – or federal agency such as Homeland Security, Interior and the Justice Department – across any ZIP code!

OpenTheBooks.com

Search the 6,500 local police departments across America for the military weaponry transferred from the Dept. of Defense.

What military gear will you find in your local police department? Here’s a sample of our findings:

  • In Illinois, the College of DuPage received 14 fully automatic M16 rifles. The police department in Wheaton (pop. 53,000) picked up 68 M16 and M14 rifles plus five pistols (.45 caliber). Evanston – a small community known to promote gun control ordinances – procured 20 M16 rifles.

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Yes, Google Uses Its Power to Quash Ideas It Doesn’t Like—I Know Because It Happened to Me [Updated]

Yes, Google Uses Its Power to Quash Ideas It Doesn’t Like—I Know Because It Happened to Me [Updated]

llustration: Jim Cooke/GMG, photo: Getty

The story in the New York Times this week was unsettling: The New America Foundation, a major think tank, was getting rid of one of its teams of scholars, the Open Markets group. New America had warned its leader Barry Lynn that he was “imperiling the institution,” the Times reported, after he and his group had repeatedly criticized Google, a major funder of the think tank, for its market dominance.

The criticism of Google had culminated in Lynn posting a statement to the think tank’s website “applauding” the European Commission’s decision to slap the company with a record-breaking $2.7 billion fine for privileging its price-comparison service over others in search results. That post was briefly taken down, then republished. Soon afterward, Anne-Marie Slaughter, the head of New America, told Lynn that his group had to leave the foundation for failing to abide by “institutional norms of transparency and collegiality.”

I was working for Forbes at the time, and was new to my job. In addition to writing and reporting, I helped run social media there, so I got pulled into a meeting with Google salespeople about Google’s then-new social network, Plus.

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There Is No Excuse For Janet Yellen’s Complacency

There Is No Excuse For Janet Yellen’s Complacency

Janet Yellen has been reported by Reuters as saying in London yesterday that “she does not believe that there will be a run on the banking system at least as long as she lives”:

“Would I say there will never, ever be another financial crisis? You know probably that would be going too far but I do think we’re much safer and I hope that it will not be in our lifetimes and I don’t believe it will be,” Yellen said at an event in London. “Fed’s Yellen: Not another financial crisis in ‘our lifetimes’

The only word I can use to describe this belief is “delusional.”

NEW YORK, NY – JUNE 14: Traders work as a television monitor displays Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen announcing the Fed’s decision to raise interest rates on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) June 14, 2017 in New York City. The Federal Reserved raised interest rates today .25 percent for a new target range of 1 percent to 1.25 percent. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

The only way in which her belief could be justified would be in financial crises were truly random events, caused by something outside the economy—or just by a very bad throw of the economic dice.

This is indeed the perspective of mainstream “Neoclassical” economic theory, in which Yellen was trained, and because of which she was deemed eligible—and indeed eminently suitable—to Chair the Federal Reserve.

This is the theory that led the OECD to proclaim, two months before the crisis began in August 2007, that “the current economic situation is in many ways better than what we have experienced in years”, and that they expected that “sustained growth in OECD economies would be underpinned by strong job creation and falling unemployment.” (OECD, June 2007, “Achieving Further Re-balancing”).

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Turkey Convulsed By Failed Coup: Turkish Voters, Not Soldiers, Should Toss Erdogan

Turkey Convulsed By Failed Coup: Turkish Voters, Not Soldiers, Should Toss Erdogan

Recep Tayyip Erdogan has ruled Turkey for more than a decade. He should be enjoying his time of triumph. He towers above the political system, able to create and dismiss governments at will.

The mayor turned prime minister turned president created a new, victorious Islamic movement. He eradicated the gaggle of old, squabbling secular parties. He promoted more business-friendly policies, generating prosperity for those previously left behind. And he won support from women, academics, and liberals as he defanged the military, which long was the ultimate arbiter of Turkish politics.

Turkish army’s tank enter the Ataturk Airport on July 16, 2016 in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by Defne Karadeniz/Getty Images)

Yet his country almost crashed and burned on Friday. Elements of the army and air force attempted a coup d’etat. Airports were closed. State television was occupied. Planes bombed the parliament. Tanks blocked the bridge which crosses the Bosphorus, sundering the land link between Europe and Asia. Soldiers and police battled in the streets. Loyalists’ planes attacked renegades’ helicopters and tanks. Army forces besieged the intelligence agency’s headquarters. Insurgents detained the army chief of staff and other top officers. Civilians confronted the coup’s foot soldiers.

At last count nearly 300 people were killed and almost 1500 were injured. So far some 3000 members of the military have been arrested, and that number is likely to rise. Erdogan promised revenge against those involved, who will “pay a heavy price for their treason.”

No doubt they will, since the thin-skinned Erdogan long has been making even mild critics suffer for their alleged sins. To tame the military his government previously tried hundreds of military officers and others in mass trials involving improbably fantastic conspiracies, such as the Ergenekon and Sledgehammer cases.

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You’ve Been Warned – Spotify Wants to Spy on You in Every Way Imaginable

You’ve Been Warned – Spotify Wants to Spy on You in Every Way Imaginable

Screen Shot 2015-08-20 at 9.27.06 AM

I clearly remember the moment several years ago when my closest friend from NYC was at my place pleading with me to download and use Spotify. The pitch was compelling and I was open minded about the concept, until I learned that you had to login through Facebook to use it (no longer the case I believe). I immediately found this creepy and refused to use it.

Fast forward to 2015, and Forbes has come out with a very important article highlighting the incredible creepiness factor in Spotify’s new “privacy policy.” Here’s some of what it found:

Music streaming market leader Spotify has decided that it wants to know a lot more about you. It wants to be able to access the sensor information on your phone so it can determine whether you’re walking, running or standing still. It wants to know your GPS coordinates, grab photos from your phone and look through your contacts too. And it may share that information with its partners, so a whole load of companies could know exactly where you are and what you’re up to.

This has all been made apparent by a rather significant update to the Spotify privacy policy, pushed out to users today. Upon opening the Spotify app up this morning, your reporter was greeted with a request to agree to the new conditions. A quick comparison with the previous privacy policy using the Wayback Machine showed some major changes had been made. I’m now considering whether the £10 I pay for a premium membership is worth it, given the amount of privacy I’d be giving away by consenting. 

Here are a couple of the key updates found by Forbes:

 

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The Looming Bankruptcy Of Saudi Arabia

The Looming Bankruptcy Of Saudi Arabia

There’s two interesting little stories in this idea that Saudi Arabia is going to go bust in a couple of years as a result of the sagging oil price. Both are more general economic ideas than just the story of that oil price. The first is that mono-anything in economics is something we don’t really like. We certainly don’t like either monopolies or monopsonies, but we should also be very careful of an economy that relies on any one product or even supplier. The perils of resting an entire economy on the production of just the one commodity should be obvious here. But the same could and should be said about reliance upon any one supplier in an economy as well. We want diversity, always, of producers and suppliers. The second is that this is an object lesson in why most economists don’t really believe in the idea of predatory pricing. Sure, it’s possible for a dominant supplier to try to lower prices and drive others out of the marketplace. The idea is that once they’ve bankrupted those others then they can sweep back in, raise prices and thus enjoy monopoly profits having killed the competition. There’s an element of Saudi having tried this, trying to kill off shale. And it’s not working: and economists have never really seen anyone making this tactic work. Which is why they don’t really believe in it as anything other than a theoretical possibility.

So here’s Ambrose Evan Pritchard: and it should be said, love him dearly though we do, he can be just a little over enthusiastic about his latest idea:

If the oil futures market is correct, Saudi Arabia will start running into trouble within two years. It will be in existential crisis by the end of the decade.
The contract price of US crude oil for delivery in December 2020 is currently $62.05, implying a drastic change in the economic landscape for the Middle East and the petro-rentier states.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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