the_unlettered_tellurian

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Posts Tagged ‘depression

US employment – the last of the economists’ variables spiraling out of control?

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The US seems to be heading towards something scary. The last of the variables that was being flaunted by economists to ward off any suggestions of something similar to the great depression seems to be spiraling out of control.

Latest (un)employment figures released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that 533000 U.S. jobs were lost in November 08. This is almost 73% of the 723000 jobs lost in September(403000 job losses) and October(320000) put together.

The average job loss over the past 3 months has been 419,000 per month; the same figure stood at 82,000 per month from January 08 to August 08 – now that’s like over 400% increase.

But please don’t worry…let’s just get back to being optimistic, and hope that the wizards who turned us into paupers will get us back on our feet.

Or maybe, it’s already time for us to start learning to make some ‘depression cake‘, if not actually start making it.

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Written by theunletteredtellurian

December 6, 2008 at 9:08 pm

You Call this a Depression? Why Not?

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Robert Samuelson makes an interesting case here in his column “You Call this a Depression?”

A few more details are required, though, for the sake of clarity.

Talking about the 1930 depression, he says that it “was a social as well as economic breakdown. Our present situation bears no resemblance to this.”

What precisely are the social and economic breakdowns he is referring to here? Where does social breakdown stop and economic breakdown start? Or vice versa? If they both co-existed and lead to the horrible depression, how did they come to co-exist? And what are we facing now – just an economic breakdown?

What happened in the Great Depression – the events – are written in great detail… what seems to be missing is a solid set of explanations about the inter-relations between the events.

Other assurances about the current scenario not being anywhere close to the harshest slumps of the past are hardly comforting. Apparently the 1929 crash was preceded by a five year bull run. Could the current scenario be a pre-cursor to worse things? If it is not – we need a few more convincing arguments. Some of the hand grenades lobbed at today’s economic that he mentions – the subprime mortgages, the credit squeeze, high oil prices – seem to be quite recent. How much more of these can be withstood, and for how long?

The second page of the article provides even more evidence that we are gazing at the future through a thick mist. We need to look harder, and be bolder in facing what we see.

We are a global economy, an economy with better ability to mitigate risks by spreading it across continents. And if the lesson being learnt, as he rightly mentions, is that the business cycle isn’t dead, what awaits us when it does go down. The answer is right there in the last sentence – “The present economy would have to get much, much, much worse before it warranted the same appraisal.”

And just saying that it is not “that” worse right now does not in any way mean that it won’t get “that” worse.

Written by theunletteredtellurian

July 27, 2008 at 2:53 am

Belated realization of credit expansion dynamics

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David Tice, Prudent Bear Fund said there was a 100% chance of recession and a stock market decline of 50-60% on Bloomberg News Video almost 6 months back.

“This is not the time to be optimistic or pessimistic. It is time to be realistic. Our whole system is built on credit expansion. We have to grow credit year over year in order to keep the economy growing. The economy is not going to grow; it is going to enter a recession. And once it enters a recession, it is going to cascade…”

The interviewer responded with a “so you know more than Greenspan” on this… wonder is she would be dumb enough to ask the same question even today.

Written by theunletteredtellurian

July 26, 2008 at 3:03 pm

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Depression Cake

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Info on the “Depression Cake”, which helped many a brave soul tide through the Great Depression of the ‘30s. With all the talk about slowdown and recession going around, a couple of printouts might go a long way 😉

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Depression_cake

http://www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,176,156185-242204,00.html

A lot of people used to call it the “Eggless, Milkless, Butterless Cake” for obvious reasons 🙂

Written by theunletteredtellurian

June 27, 2008 at 11:50 am

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