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Showing posts from December 17, 2015

Refuting a common misconception - Is Saudi Arabia trying to 'drive out' North American shale?

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[A really interesting piece applying Game Theory (specifically the Prisoner's Dilemma game) to Saudi Arabia's decision to keep pumping high levels of oil. Saudi Arabia would be much more likely to reduce oil production in an era of falling prices if it trusted other OPEC countries to do likewise. But it does not, after past failures of trust. The optimal no-trust strategy for any one country is to produce more oil at lower unit prices. Nor are the Saudis seeking to bankrupt the US shale industry. They know that if a US operator fails, another moves in. *RON*]

By MrDannyOcean, Reddit Geopolitics, 14 December 2015.

So this is a commonly repeated viewpoint, both in this subreddit and in the broader reddit-verse and media. It goes something like
Saudi Arabia is intentionally leaving the oil taps on as a strategy to kill North American shale! Flood the market with cheap oil, drive out those companies by bankrupting them, then go back to the glo…

Developer urges government bonds to pay for affordable housing

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[Not a bad idea. A developer says issuing 35-year government bonds at 2.5% would inject $6-billion into affordable housing. This would also create many jobs. *RON*]

CBC News, 15 December 2015


Sponsors of incoming Syrians are scrambling to find affordable places for the refugees in one of the most expensive cities in the world.
But Toronto's affordable housing crisis is several decades old. There are almost 100,000 families in Toronto already on the waiting list for affordable housing.

Now one of the biggest developers in the country wants the government to sell bonds to help raise money to build affordable rental housing across the country.

Cary Green, the chair of Greenwin Inc and executive vice-president of Verdiroc Development Corporation, said the government should sell 35-year bonds at an interest rate of 2.5 per cent. He called them Federal Development Bonds.

The money from the sale of the bonds — which he estimates would be $6 billio…

U.S. interest rate hike is tough medicine for indebted Canada

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[A good piece on the differences between the Canadian and American economies. I think he pin-points things by focusing on the fact that America has had its housing market 'correction,' but ours is yet to come. The government should also reduce the maximum length of mortgages. *RON*]

By Neil Macdonald, CBC News 16 December 2015

Related Stories
Waiting to see if new mortgage rules will pop a bubble or prevent one: Don Pittis
How negative interest rates could have a positive economic impact
Developer urges government bonds to pay for affordable housing
Home prices projected to fall in 3 oil-producing provinces next year: CREA

Let's look at the unfortunate facts for a moment.

The U.S. Federal Reserve raised interest rates slightly today, because it believes an American recovery is well underway. The U.S. economy is now at what economists would call full employment — about five per cent.

Good for them. An American recovery cannot be anything …

And this is austerity? Central banks have trillions for speculation, none for people

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[A good short primer on austerity, quantitative easing and what this really means for the average person. "Instead of throwing money at speculators and banks, we could have wiped out student debt, fixed all the schools, rebuilt aging water and sewer systems, cleaned up contaminated industrial sites, repaired dams, and still have $700 billion left." *RON*]

Pete Dolack, Ecologist, 17th December 2015

In this new age of austerity money is a perpetual struggle for the public sector and ordinary people, writes Pete Dolack. Yet central banks have squandered trillions to boost profits in the financial sector, reward speculation and push up real estate values. In fact, the world is awash with money as never before - our money. Just don't expect to get your hands on it any time soon.

There's no money for schools, no money for social services, no money for the environment.

There is lots of money for speculators, however. A tsunami of money. M…

Impact of ‘austerity politics’ charted by De Montfort centre

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[New centre is the first of its kind in the UK, and is settling in for the long haul to do research on the impacts of austerity policies on politics and democracy. *RON*]

By Chris Havergal. Times Higher Education, 17 December 2015
With George Osborne firmly ensconced in 11 Downing Street and economies around the world remaining fragile in the wake of the global financial crisis, austerity looks to be here to stay.

It seems only right, therefore, that researchers focus their efforts on the study of austerity, and the impact that it has on societies.

Enter De Montfort University’s Centre for Urban Research on Austerity, thought to be the first academic centre dedicated to the study of austerity in the UK, if not the world.

Launched last month, the centre aims to bring together academics and activists to examine the politics of austerity, and its impact in global cities.

CEO reviled for drug price gouging is arrested on fraud charges

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[*RON*]
Christie Smythe and Keri Geiger, Bloomberg, 17 December 2015

A boyish drug company entrepreneur, who rocketed to infamy by jacking up the price of a life-saving pill from $13.50 to $750, was arrested on securities fraud related to a firm he founded.

Martin Shkreli, 32, ignited a firestorm over drug prices in September and became a symbol of defiant greed. The federal case against him has nothing to do with pharmaceutical costs, however. Prosecutors charged him with illegally taking stock from Retrophin Inc., a biotechnology firm he started in 2011, and using it pay off debts from unrelated business dealings. He was later ousted from the company, where he’d been chief executive officer, and sued by its board.

In the case that closely tracks that suit, federal prosecutors accused Shkreli of engaging in a complicated shell game after his defunct hedge fund, MSMB Capital Management, lost millions. He is alleged to have made secret payoffs and se…

Can you guess which state had over 500 significant quakes in 2014? The answer is telling.

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[Normally, Upworthy only provides Facebook click-bait ("...and you won't BELIEVE what happened next!!"), but this was was pretty interesting. For a more scientific view that reaches the same conclusion, see the US Geological Survey page on Induced Earthquakes. *RON*]

It's a 600-fold increase in the historical rate of quakes. And it's not natural.

By James Gaines, Upworthy, 2 December 2015

This is a part of a special Upworthy series about the issue of drilling in the Arctic made possible by the League of Conservation Voters.

When I think of a disaster in Oklahoma, I usually assume it's a tornado.

That's because Oklahoma sits right in Tornado Alley. And it's true, some really terrible storms have come through the state in the last few years, such as the one that hit the town of Moore in 2013.

But something else has been hitting the state lately — earthquakes.

B.C. Liberal party exec Laura Miller resigns, facing criminal charges in Ontario

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[Destruction of emails. Hmm, does this sound familiar?... Miller charged with breach of trust, mischief, and misuse of a computer system to commit mischief. *RON*]

CBC News 17 December 2015
Related Stories
Dalton McGuinty's ex-chief of staff, deputy charged in gas plant scandal
Gas plant allegations
Gas plants scandal: B.C.'s Christy Clark asked to free up party director Laura Miller to testify in Ontario
Ontario Liberals paid $10,000 to have gas plant data erased: OPP

B.C. Liberal party executive director Laura Miller has resigned, after being charged with three criminal counts in Ontario in relation to an investigation into the destruction of documents pertaining to cancelled gas plants in Ontario.

Miller has been charged with breach of trust, mischief, and misuse of a computer system to commit mischief.

Miller was a senior aid under Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty until 2013.