Thursday, 17 November 2011

How Many Clintons Does It Take To Screw An Intern?

Jean Baudrillard: "If the simulacrum is so well designed that it becomes an effective organiser of reality, then surely it is man, not the simulacrum, who is turned into an abstraction."

Prior to the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation summit, La Clinton, in a strident manner, warned China of the dangers of state capitalism.
As The Economist stated: "A Congressional report released on October 26th railed against the unfair advantages enjoyed by state-owned firms and lamented that China is giving them 'a more prominent role...'"
To further market their brand, Roselyn Hsueh in a recent book "China's Regulatory State" claims the Chinese government obstructs market forces in several key sectors of the economy.

And no doubt it does.
But who doesn't?

As The Economist continued: "...state firms must pursue the state's aims, which include many things beside making profits."

But we should be careful in our analogies.
Although both China and the US are state-based economic systems, there is one monumental difference.
In China the state runs the system whereas in the US the system runs the state.

Jeffrey Sachs: "On many days it seems that the only difference between the Republicans and Democrats is that Big Oil owns the Republicans while Wall Street owns the Democrats." As The Economist again pointed out, "[Sachs] is particularly scathing of the 'revolving door' between Mr Obama's administration and Wall Street."

But it isn't just Big Oil and Big Markets that exert control, the arms industry, Boeing, military R&D, Halliburton, Big Pharma etc etc etc all control the state either directly or by extensive lobbying.
And then there are the Private Equity houses like the Carlyle Group who co-opt past and serving presidents onto their boards that they might better match the strategies of business and state.

Meanwhile two European countries have had their governments selected by the European Central Bank as opposed to their voters - a structure which we are expected to believe is a democratic one - while a democratic protest by Occupy Wall Street against all this charadery is violently broken up and dispersed by police as it was not apparently democratic!

Baudrillard: "Monopoly structures (and any state is a monopoly, since it claims a monopoly in the political and social spheres) cannot but secrete a para-political society, a mafia of some sort, to control this form of generalised corruption. It is pure hypocrisy on behalf of the political authorities to fight this mafia since it is an emanation of those authorities themselves."

Excellent.

In China, the state runs the mafia...
... while in the US of A, the mafia runs the state.
And in Europe, bankers run the peripheral states in order to stop the mafias from running them...
... while bankers run the financial centres that run the primary states on behalf of the mafia.

And that, girls and boys, is Democracy!!!

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

RICS and Nimby Numpties Create Double Dip Depression in UK

Est modus in rebus is the motto of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) - "there is measure in all things".
Unfortunately there is also manipulation and murkiness in all things too.

RICS is allegedly an independent body that advises government but the reality is more nuanced and top down as the current systemic manipulation of the British housing market indicates.
RICS are imposing an approximate 10% devaluation on all property sale prices that have been agreed by buyer and seller.
There has been no public announcement to this new structure by either government or RICS and yet, mysteriously, every single surveyor has unilaterally determined to impose this devaluation on the market.

Why the secrecy to this coordinated market adjustment?

More importantly, why haven't the government thought through the impact of their actions on a fragile economy?

Such market manipulation distorts the validity of the market creating skewed incentives to insiders and those with the housing equivalent of first-mover advantage and, due to the behavioural aspects that underpin all markets (particularly those that are constructively precious to our lives like our homes), will lead to a whole batch of unintended consequences...
...as well as some top down intended ones.

First we might look at the real impact of this manipulation and, secondly, we'll assess what the Old Etonians are up to.

British house prices are currently overvalued by 8%.
By forcing property prices down, the government intends to burst this bubble aggressively instead of allowing the market to return to norm under its own incremental momentum.
The real impact for real people will be far more devastating.
For the majority of the country, their main asset is their property. By removing 10% of wealth at a secret stroke, the government and RICS are going to drive a whole swathe of the population into negative equity territory. Repossessions will rise as banks refuse to lend or support a whole new strata of sub-prime mortgages.
The manipulation will also have huge impacts on several industry sectors including construction and building, architects, estate agents, surveyors and, indeed, the government as the property market will seize up under the force of this adjustment.
By forcing prices down, the government/RICS are deluding themselves that the affordability factor will energise the market which will absolutely not be the case due to the work and financial instabilities experienced by the poorer sections of the country and the refusal of banks to part with their cash, particularly on investments that have a high probability of going belly up.

The causes of the coming market freeze up are best demonstrated by an example provided by a local estate agent.
Your house is marketed at £280K. A sale is agreed at £270K. RICS come in and value the property at £240K.
If the seller accepts this paltry price, the distortion is transferred to the property that they in turn are purchasing but it only needs one cog in the chain to refuse to accept this devaluation and the whole strategy tumbles into a market freeze.
The chain is distorted and, more crucially, made increasingly volatile.

Furthermore, nobody may escape this structure as to sell and bank the money awaiting property prices falling further is a highly risky strategy when government guarantees of banking deposits are worth nothing at all. When the euro implodes, there can be no government guarantee - exactly how will a bust state rescue a bust bank?

The double dip is done deal.

And that is exactly what this is. A deal...
Any coordinated action in a marketplace by institutionally powerful operators results in opportunities for insider trading based on the systemic market maniplulation - a surveyor thinking of selling his/her property would have had a going to market timing advantage denied to the rest of us and would rake in the £270K insider price rather than the £240K mug price.

So what is in this for the free marketeering government?
The long term impact will undoubtedly be a bifurcation of the housing market into the standard neo-con template of the privatised elite and the masses left to struggle. Just like the privatisation of health, education, utilities, this is a wealth grab .
By combining this underhand manipulation with the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), the government further bifurcates the market.
When the Tory antisocials were having their chins-wags in Manchester recently, apparently there was uproar from the commuter belt/countryside lobby about the potential relaxation of planning in the country. As a result, any extension of planning will occur in areas already disenfranchised or areas that are to be blighted with future disenfranchisement.
A Big Society this is not...

For a creed that believes in free markets, these people do an awful lot of unfree market manipulation!

Aside from the impacts of the Depression undermining this pitiful strategy, there are much more concerning signs across the Atlantic where the sub-prime outrage began.
As the Financial Times is kind enough to inform us: "Sub-prime mortgage-backed securities dipping below par, or full value, as measured by the ABX index, arguably prefaced the financial crisis of the last decade... [I]ts steadier sibling the PrimeX, which follows higher quality US mortgage-backed securities, is now threatening to dip below par, a worrying sign for the US economy."

Being a client state of the US, albeit with a time lag, is it sensible for the Old Boys to be pulling the rug from under the middle classes just when systemic impacts are pulling that rug equally violently?

And, if the Old Boys are so confident as to the efficacy of their ruse, we ask once again - Why The Secrecy?