Monday, November 19, 2012

Who is buying Euro area debt?

Just some wild, baseless speculation, but with Euro area banks and governments under so much pressure to maintain their capitalization levels, it seems like a fantastic opportunity to launder some money out of the black market.

If I were a politician in certain southerly Euro nations, I would be doing anything to make sure that my country could make its interest payments and keep the flow of money going into the public sector that employs 1/3rd or more of the country, and is a key income in at least half of households - and possibly a majority of voters.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Bankster tax? How about a profester tax?

It seems that barely a week goes by without an op-ed by a distinguished professor of social policy, labour, or political science, declaiming income inequality and calling for new taxes on the rich.

Not to tear down straw men, but the argument tends to go that since banks (and their executives and employees (though apparently not pension plan shareholders or bondholders)) have profited so much from being bailed out by taxpayers, their salaries, bonuses, capital gains and lately, wealth, should be clawed back in the form of higher taxes, to "give back" the money they have "taken" from the public.

Monday, November 5, 2012

A bit of bother for bitcoin.

Digital currencies were considered a fringe idea unworthy of serious consideration a decade ago. Yet,  with the level of uncertainty about how the Euro crisis is going to play out, questions about currencies like Bitcoin are being contemplated by central bankers and mainstream economists.

The digital currencies are distinct from electronic payment systems like PayPal or Visa in that instead of negotiating the transfer of money from one place to another, electronic cash systems are designed to _store_ value instead of transmit it.

There are a number of criticisms of e-cash systems, which I won't go into here, but there is one I think will be a deal breaker is something that appears to be intrinsic to any system of algorithms.