China’s Economic Reforms Get Another Chance

Re-Blogged From

Editor’s Note

The 19th Chinese Communist Party Congress runs Oct. 18-24. The convention marks the start of a transition as delegates name new members to lead China’s most powerful political institutions. But the change in personnel is only part of a larger transformation underway in the Party and in the country — a process that began long before the party congress kicked off and will continue long after it ends. This is the third installment in a four-part series examining how far China has come in its transition, and how far it has yet to go.

For years, China has tried to better balance the wealth in Qingdao and other coastal areas with inland areas that have languished.

(STR/AFP/Getty Images)

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America the Beautiful, but Divided

By Rebecca Keller – Re-Blogged rom

For nearly a year the world has worked to adapt to recent changes, both real and perceived, in U.S. foreign policy. But as the globe responds to the new priorities of its only superpower, Americans themselves remain divided over how best to engage with their surroundings.

Much like the members of the European Union, each of America’s states has its own needs to fulfill. Technological progress has given some states an edge in pursuing their goals, but it has also left behind regions that were once among the most prominent forces in U.S. politics — including the country’s flourishing breadbasket, the American Midwest. And as the socio-economic gap between different parts of the country has widened, so have their policy preferences.

By design, political discourse and debate are woven into the very fabric of American governance. But rarely do rifts among states spill into foreign policy and global issues in a substantial way. That may not be the case for much longer, however, as U.S. President Donald Trump’s populist appeals attract strong allies — and even stronger opponents — to the White House.

States like California hold political stances that are much different than those of Trump's constituents in the American Midwest, particularly on matters related to the environment, energy, immigration and the tech sector.


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What Could Pop The Everything Bubble?

By Charles Hugh Smith Re-Blogged From

A Crisis That Can’t Be Solved By Just Printing More Dollars

I’ve long held that if a problem can be solved by creating $1 trillion out of thin air and buying a raft of assets with that $1 trillion, then central banks will solve the problem by creating the $1 trillion out of thin air—nothing could be easier.

This is the lesson of the past eight years: if a problem can be solved by creating new money and buying assets, then central banks will solve that problem.

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This Bubble Gets Its “Alternative Paradigm”

By John Rubino – Re-Blogged From

Towards the end of financial bubbles, asset prices behave in ways that can’t be explained with rational/historical metrics. So new ones are invented to make sense of things. In the 1990s tech stock bubble, earnings were “optional” and “eyeballs” – that is, the number of visitors to a dot-com’s website – were what determined value. In the 2000s housing bubble, home prices would always rise, which justified pretty much any selling price and asset backed security structure.

Now David Einhorn, a high-profile (and highly frustrated) hedge fund manager, has offered an explanation for today’s bubble:

David Einhorn: ‘We wonder if the market has adopted an alternative paradigm’

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DC Swamp Denizens Strike Back

By Paul Driessen – Re-Blogged From

While demand for biodiesel is down, senators and crony corporatists deep-six proposed EPA reductions in biodiesel mandates

Despite what I thought were persuasive articles over the years (here, here and here, for example), corn ethanol and other biofuel mandates remain embedded in US law. As we have learned, once a government program is created, it becomes virtually impossible to eliminate, revise or even trim fat from it.

This year, it looked like this “rule of perpetuity” might finally change. The Trump-Pruitt Environmental Protection Agency proposed to use its “waiver authority” to reduce its 2018 biodiesel requirement by 15% (315 million gallons) and (possibly) lower the 2019 total down to the 1-billion-gallon minimum mandated by Congress. The proposed action would not affect corn or other ethanol production and blending requirements, despite growing problems with incorporating more ethanol into gasoline.

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Wal-Mart’s New Robots Scan Shelves to Restock Items Faster

By Thomson Reuters – Re-Blogged From Newsmax

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is rolling out shelf-scanning robots in more than 50 U.S. stores to replenish inventory faster and save employees time when products run out.

The approximately 2-foot (0.61-meter) robots come with a tower that is fitted with cameras that scan aisles to check stock and identify missing and misplaced items, incorrect prices and mislabeling. The robots pass that data to store employees, who then stock the shelves and fix errors.

Image: Wal-Mart's New Robots Scan Shelves to Restock Items Faster

Yawning Debt Trap Proves the Great Recession is Still On

By David Haggith – Re-Blogged From Great Recession Blog

While David Stockman stated early this year with resolute certainty that the debt ceiling debate would blow congress up and send the nation reeling over the financial precipice, I avoided jumping on the debt-ceiling bandwagon. While I was convinced major rifts in the economy would start to show up in the summer, I was not convinced they would have anything to do with the debt ceiling debate. If there is anything you can be certain of this in endless recovery-mode economy, it is that the US will just keep pushing its bags of bonds up a hill until it can finally push no more. So, I figured another punt down the road was more likely.

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