America and Russia: Stirrings in the Borderlands

To my mind, one of the main sources of collective stupidity in modern American society is our pervasive bad habit of short-term thinking. It’s embarrassingly rare for anyone in American public life to stop and say aloud, “Hold it. What’s going to happen if we keep on doing this for more than a few more years?”

Oil crunch and Eurozone crisis

We are three and a half years into the Eurozone crisis that kicked off in October 2009 when Greek minister of finance George Papaconstantinou made it apparent to the outside world that his country’s budget was essentially a gaping hole. The recent bailout (or bail-in where depositors and creditors have to pay their share) of the Cyprus banks is just the latest chapter in this ongoing story of recession, austerity measures, high unemployment, strikes, protests, credit rating cuts, financial reforms and leadership resignations. But what if, on top of all of this, the price of oil was to spike at over US$200 a barrel? Would that mark the end of the Eurozone?

Ten reasons why high oil prices are a problem

A person might think from looking at news reports that our oil problems are gone, but oil prices are still high. In fact, the new “tight oil” sources of oil which are supposed to grow in supply are still expensive to extract. If we expect to have more tight oil and more oil from other unconventional sources, we need to expect to continue to have high oil prices. The new oil may help supply somewhat, but the high cost of extraction is not likely to go away.

2013: Beginning of Long-Term Recession?

We have been hearing a lot about escaping the fiscal cliff, but our problem isn’t solved. The fixes to date have been partial and temporary. There are many painful decisions ahead. Based on what I can see, the most likely outcome is that the US economy will enter a severe recession by the end of 2013.