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Obama Demands Russia Leave G-8; June Summit Cancelled While Ukraine Deploys Army Along Borders | Zero Hedge

Obama Demands Russia Leave G-8; June Summit Cancelled While Ukraine Deploys Army Along Borders | Zero Hedge.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron stated that it is “absolutely clear” that the G-8 Summit scheduled for June in Sochi, Russia will not go ahead. But it is President Obama that appears to be pressing the hardest for major changes:

  • OBAMA SAID TO PRESS ALLIES TO SUSPEND RUSSIA FROM G8: WSJ

This comes at a time when Ukraine forces are being withdrawn from Crimea and deployed to North, South, and East borders of the region.  Meanwhile, Ukraine is taking its soldiers pulled from Crimea and deploying them along all other borders.

  • UKRAINE’S PARUBIY: PRIORITY IS TO PROTECT BORDERS, LEAVE CRIMEA
  • UKRAINE DEPLOYS ARMY TO NORTH, SOUTH, EAST BORDERS: PARUBIY
  • UKRAINE HAS MOBILIZED MORE THAN 10,000 PEOPLE, PARUBIY SAYS

David Cameron says G-8 Summit Scrapped…

There will be no G8 summit in Russia this year, David Cameron said in a further ign of efforts to isolate Moscow over the Ukraine crisis.

The Prime Minister said it was “absolutely clear” the meeting could not go ahead.

Speaking in The Hague ahead of a meeting of G7 leaders, he said: “We should be clear there’s not going to be a G8  summit this year in Russia. That’s absolutely clear.”

Preparations for the planned June summit in Sochi had already been suspended as a result of Russia’s actions in neighbouring Ukraine.

And Obama is calling for Russia to be kicked out of the G-8.

  • OBAMA SAID TO PRESS ALLIES TO SUSPEND RUSSIA FROM G8: WSJ

Could The Markets Crash Again? | Zero Hedge

Could The Markets Crash Again? | Zero Hedge.

This is the trillion-dollar question. From a common sense perspective, the simple answer is “absolutely!”

Since 1998, the markets have been in serial bubbles and busts, each one bigger than the last. A long-term chart of the S&P 500 shows us just how obvious this is (and yet the Fed argues it cannot see bubbles in advance?).

Moreover, we’ve been moving up the food chain in terms of the assets involved in each respective bubble and bust.

The Tech bubble was a stock bubble.

The 2007 bust was a housing bubble.

This next bust will be the sovereign bond bubble.

Why does this matter?

Because of the dreaded “C word” COLLATERAL.

In 2008, the world got a taste of what happens when a major collateral shortage hits the derivatives market. In very simple terms, the mispricing of several trillion (if not more) dollars’ worth of illiquid securities suddenly became obvious to the financial system.

This induced a collateral shortfall in the Credit Default Swap market ($50-$60 trillion) as everyone went scrambling to raise capital or demanded new, higher quality collateral on trillions of trades that turned out to be garbage.

This is why US Treasuries posted such an enormous rally in the 2008 bust (US Treasuries are the highest grade collateral out there).

Please note that Treasuries actually spiked in OCTOBER-NOVEMBER 2008… well before stocks bottomed in March 2009.

The reason?

The scrambling for collateral, NOT the alleged “flight to safety trade” that CNBC proclaims.

WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH TODAY?

The senior most assets backstopping the $600 trillion derivatives market are SOVEREIGN BONDS: US Treasuries, Japanese Government Bonds, German Bunds.

By keeping interest rates near zero, and pumping over $10 trillion into the financial system since 2007, the world’s Central Banks have forced investors to misprice the most prized collateral backstopping the entire derivatives system: SOVEREIGN BONDS.

SO what happens when the current bond bubble bursts and we begin to see bonds falling and yields rising?

Another collateral scramble begins… this time with a significant portion of the interest rate derivative market (over 80% of the $600 TRILLION derivative market) blowing up.

At that point, rising yields is the last thing we need to worry about. The assets backstopping a $600 trillion market themselves will be falling in value… which means that the real crisis… the crisis to which 2008 was the warm up, will be upon us.

This is why Central Banks are so committed to keeping rates low. This is also why all Central Bank policy has largely benefitted the large financial institutions (the Too Big To Fails) at the expense of Main Street…

THE CENTRAL BANKS AREN’T TRYING TO GROW THE ECONOMY, THEY’RE TRYING TO PROP UP THE FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS’ DERIVATIVE TRADES.

To return to our initial question (is this just a temporary top in stocks or THE top?), THE top is what we truly have to watch out for because it will indicated that:

1)   The Grand Monetary experiment of the last five years is ending.

2)   THE Crisis (the one to which 2008 was just a warm up) is beginning.

 

For a FREE Investment Report outlining how to prepare for another market crash, swing by: www.gainspainscapital.com

 

Best Regards

 

Phoenix Capital Research

Could The Markets Crash Again? | Zero Hedge

Could The Markets Crash Again? | Zero Hedge.

This is the trillion-dollar question. From a common sense perspective, the simple answer is “absolutely!”

Since 1998, the markets have been in serial bubbles and busts, each one bigger than the last. A long-term chart of the S&P 500 shows us just how obvious this is (and yet the Fed argues it cannot see bubbles in advance?).

Moreover, we’ve been moving up the food chain in terms of the assets involved in each respective bubble and bust.

The Tech bubble was a stock bubble.

The 2007 bust was a housing bubble.

This next bust will be the sovereign bond bubble.

Why does this matter?

Because of the dreaded “C word” COLLATERAL.

In 2008, the world got a taste of what happens when a major collateral shortage hits the derivatives market. In very simple terms, the mispricing of several trillion (if not more) dollars’ worth of illiquid securities suddenly became obvious to the financial system.

This induced a collateral shortfall in the Credit Default Swap market ($50-$60 trillion) as everyone went scrambling to raise capital or demanded new, higher quality collateral on trillions of trades that turned out to be garbage.

This is why US Treasuries posted such an enormous rally in the 2008 bust (US Treasuries are the highest grade collateral out there).

Please note that Treasuries actually spiked in OCTOBER-NOVEMBER 2008… well before stocks bottomed in March 2009.

The reason?

The scrambling for collateral, NOT the alleged “flight to safety trade” that CNBC proclaims.

WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH TODAY?

The senior most assets backstopping the $600 trillion derivatives market are SOVEREIGN BONDS: US Treasuries, Japanese Government Bonds, German Bunds.

By keeping interest rates near zero, and pumping over $10 trillion into the financial system since 2007, the world’s Central Banks have forced investors to misprice the most prized collateral backstopping the entire derivatives system: SOVEREIGN BONDS.

SO what happens when the current bond bubble bursts and we begin to see bonds falling and yields rising?

Another collateral scramble begins… this time with a significant portion of the interest rate derivative market (over 80% of the $600 TRILLION derivative market) blowing up.

At that point, rising yields is the last thing we need to worry about. The assets backstopping a $600 trillion market themselves will be falling in value… which means that the real crisis… the crisis to which 2008 was the warm up, will be upon us.

This is why Central Banks are so committed to keeping rates low. This is also why all Central Bank policy has largely benefitted the large financial institutions (the Too Big To Fails) at the expense of Main Street…

THE CENTRAL BANKS AREN’T TRYING TO GROW THE ECONOMY, THEY’RE TRYING TO PROP UP THE FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS’ DERIVATIVE TRADES.

To return to our initial question (is this just a temporary top in stocks or THE top?), THE top is what we truly have to watch out for because it will indicated that:

1)   The Grand Monetary experiment of the last five years is ending.

2)   THE Crisis (the one to which 2008 was just a warm up) is beginning.

 

For a FREE Investment Report outlining how to prepare for another market crash, swing by: www.gainspainscapital.com

 

Best Regards

 

Phoenix Capital Research

Russian Bank Impacted By US Sanctions Hit By Mini Bank Run Over The Weekend | Zero Hedge

Russian Bank Impacted By US Sanctions Hit By Mini Bank Run Over The Weekend | Zero Hedge.

Last week, after western sanctions against Russia expanded to include not only the first financial institution, Bank Rosiya, but also SMP bank whose main shareholders were on the sanctions list, unexpectedly both Visa and MasterCard halted providing transaction services to the two banks, without providing an explanation. Over the weekend, one of the banks got its full credit card functionality back after Visa Inc and MasterCard both resumed services for payment transactions for clients at Russia’s SMP bank.

As a reminder, SMP, which has about 100 branches covering more than 20 Russian cities, has co-owners Boris Rotenberg and older brother Arkady,  who received large contracts in the Sochi Winter Olympics, and who were both added to the expanded US sanctions list, and as we reported before, SMP had said on Friday that Visa and MasterCard had stopped providing services for payment transactions for clients at Russia’s SMP bank. The bank said the decision to stop providing services by Visa and MasterCard was unlawful because the sanctions were imposed on shareholders, not the bank, which said it has no assets in the United States.

“We are glad that the two biggest international payment systems have heard our arguments and reversed their decision to block (SMP bank transactions),” SMP bank CEO Dmitry Kalantyrsky, said in a statement.

What was the purpose of this escalation? Simple: as Reuters reports, SMP Bank said on Monday around 9 billion roubles ($248 million) had been withdrawn by depositors since U.S. sanctions were announced last week.

Washington imposed sanctions on Thursday against 20 Russians close to President Vladimir Putin over Moscow’s involvement in the Ukraine crisis, including Boris Rotenberg and his older brother Arkady, the co-owners of SMP Bank.

SMP CEO Dmitry Kalantyrsky told a news conference that an estimated 4 billion roubles had been withdrawn by individuals and 5 billion by organisations.

In other words, the staggered escalations against Russian banks, to which credit card processors have joined without any specific reason, were meant solely to incite a bank panic and to promote bank run conditions. With SMP this succeeded partially, with quarter of a billion withdrawn, however hardly enough to cripple the bank. At least for now.

As Bloomberg reports, as the new Cold War escalates between the West and Russia, the next most likely event is a Russian recession:

Banks including state-run VTB Capital say the world’s ninth-biggest economy will shrink for at least two quarters as penalties for annexing Crimea rattle markets, curb investment and raise the cost of borrowing. Sanctions that have so far focused on individuals via visa bans and asset freezes may be expanded to target specific areas of the economy.

President Vladimir Putin sent his popularity surging to a five-year high by making Crimea a part of Russia again after 60 years and says he won’t be swayed by foreign retaliation. Even so, the costs of the decision are starting to unfold, with Russian stocks this year’s worst performers and the economy set to suffer more than the West, said Mircea Geoana, Romania’s government representative for diplomacy and economic projects.

“We’re witnessing the start of a new geopolitical and economic Cold War and I think it will take at least two to three years to establish some sort of equilibrium,” he said. “The ones who’ll pay the bill for this aggression, no matter how popular and patriotic it looks, will be the Russian people because there’s a huge difference between the economic force of the EU and the U.S. and that of Russia.”

* * *

Russia will probably dip into a recession in the second and third quarters of this year as “domestic demand is set to halt on the uncertainty shock and tighter financial conditions,” according to Moscow-based VTB.

Russia’s central bank unexpectedly raised its benchmark interest rate by 150 basis points after the armed takeover of Crimea triggered a rout in the ruble. Putin completed his annexation of the Black Sea peninsula March 21.

Russia may shun foreign debt markets in 2014 because of higher borrowing costs, according to Finance Minister Anton Siluanov. He expressed frustration at disruptions to MasterCard Inc. and Visa services for cards issued by banks on or linked to persons on the U.S. sanctions list.

“Some people say these sanctions won’t affect Russia’s financial system but they already are,” he said March 21.

Of course, as we reported last week, any dramatic deterioration in the Russian economy will simply push it closer to China, which for all intents and purposes is the provider of funding for Western “discretionary spending” anyway, so why not just cut the middleman, and the petrodollar, entirely?

Russian Bank Impacted By US Sanctions Hit By Mini Bank Run Over The Weekend | Zero Hedge

Russian Bank Impacted By US Sanctions Hit By Mini Bank Run Over The Weekend | Zero Hedge.

Last week, after western sanctions against Russia expanded to include not only the first financial institution, Bank Rosiya, but also SMP bank whose main shareholders were on the sanctions list, unexpectedly both Visa and MasterCard halted providing transaction services to the two banks, without providing an explanation. Over the weekend, one of the banks got its full credit card functionality back after Visa Inc and MasterCard both resumed services for payment transactions for clients at Russia’s SMP bank.

As a reminder, SMP, which has about 100 branches covering more than 20 Russian cities, has co-owners Boris Rotenberg and older brother Arkady,  who received large contracts in the Sochi Winter Olympics, and who were both added to the expanded US sanctions list, and as we reported before, SMP had said on Friday that Visa and MasterCard had stopped providing services for payment transactions for clients at Russia’s SMP bank. The bank said the decision to stop providing services by Visa and MasterCard was unlawful because the sanctions were imposed on shareholders, not the bank, which said it has no assets in the United States.

“We are glad that the two biggest international payment systems have heard our arguments and reversed their decision to block (SMP bank transactions),” SMP bank CEO Dmitry Kalantyrsky, said in a statement.

What was the purpose of this escalation? Simple: as Reuters reports, SMP Bank said on Monday around 9 billion roubles ($248 million) had been withdrawn by depositors since U.S. sanctions were announced last week.

Washington imposed sanctions on Thursday against 20 Russians close to President Vladimir Putin over Moscow’s involvement in the Ukraine crisis, including Boris Rotenberg and his older brother Arkady, the co-owners of SMP Bank.

SMP CEO Dmitry Kalantyrsky told a news conference that an estimated 4 billion roubles had been withdrawn by individuals and 5 billion by organisations.

In other words, the staggered escalations against Russian banks, to which credit card processors have joined without any specific reason, were meant solely to incite a bank panic and to promote bank run conditions. With SMP this succeeded partially, with quarter of a billion withdrawn, however hardly enough to cripple the bank. At least for now.

As Bloomberg reports, as the new Cold War escalates between the West and Russia, the next most likely event is a Russian recession:

Banks including state-run VTB Capital say the world’s ninth-biggest economy will shrink for at least two quarters as penalties for annexing Crimea rattle markets, curb investment and raise the cost of borrowing. Sanctions that have so far focused on individuals via visa bans and asset freezes may be expanded to target specific areas of the economy.

President Vladimir Putin sent his popularity surging to a five-year high by making Crimea a part of Russia again after 60 years and says he won’t be swayed by foreign retaliation. Even so, the costs of the decision are starting to unfold, with Russian stocks this year’s worst performers and the economy set to suffer more than the West, said Mircea Geoana, Romania’s government representative for diplomacy and economic projects.

“We’re witnessing the start of a new geopolitical and economic Cold War and I think it will take at least two to three years to establish some sort of equilibrium,” he said. “The ones who’ll pay the bill for this aggression, no matter how popular and patriotic it looks, will be the Russian people because there’s a huge difference between the economic force of the EU and the U.S. and that of Russia.”

* * *

Russia will probably dip into a recession in the second and third quarters of this year as “domestic demand is set to halt on the uncertainty shock and tighter financial conditions,” according to Moscow-based VTB.

Russia’s central bank unexpectedly raised its benchmark interest rate by 150 basis points after the armed takeover of Crimea triggered a rout in the ruble. Putin completed his annexation of the Black Sea peninsula March 21.

Russia may shun foreign debt markets in 2014 because of higher borrowing costs, according to Finance Minister Anton Siluanov. He expressed frustration at disruptions to MasterCard Inc. and Visa services for cards issued by banks on or linked to persons on the U.S. sanctions list.

“Some people say these sanctions won’t affect Russia’s financial system but they already are,” he said March 21.

Of course, as we reported last week, any dramatic deterioration in the Russian economy will simply push it closer to China, which for all intents and purposes is the provider of funding for Western “discretionary spending” anyway, so why not just cut the middleman, and the petrodollar, entirely?

Spanish 'Anti-Austerity' Protesters "Sick Of This System They Call Democracy" | Zero Hedge

Spanish ‘Anti-Austerity’ Protesters “Sick Of This System They Call Democracy” | Zero Hedge.

logo

“I’m here to fight for my children’s future,” exclaims one father as Spaniards rallied in Madrid against poverty and EU-imposed austerity. As Reuters reports, the largely peaceful protest latermarred by violent clashes in which police fired rubber bullets. The so-called “Dignity Marches” brought hundreds of thousands to the capital with banners making it clear what their feelings about record 26% unemployment were – “Bread, jobs and housing for everyone” and “Corruption and robbery, Spain’s trademark.” One protester summed up the people’s views of the government,“I’m sick of this system they call democracy… I want things to change.”

 

 

 

Via Reuters,

The so-called “Dignity Marches” brought hundreds of thousands to the capital, according to estimates of Reuters witnesses. Travelling from all over Spain, they were protesting in support of more than 160 different causes, including jobs, housing, health, education and an end to poverty.

 

 

…Spaniards rallied in Madrid on Saturday against poverty and EU-imposed austerity in a largely peaceful protest later marred by violent clashes in which police fired rubber bullets.

 

 

Some protesters started to throw stones and bottles at the large numbers of riot police present and attacked cashpoints and hoardings. The police fired rubber bullets to disperse them, according to video footage seen by Reuters.

Central government representative Cristina Cifuentes said 19 protesters had been arrested and 50 police officers had been injured, one of them very badly, in the clashes.

Once again the issue is government corruption combined with austerity (or at least slowing growth in spending to be perfectly clear) – a combination that we have discussed numerous times tends to end in social unrest…

A housing bubble burst more than five years ago, forcing a 41-billion euro ($56 billion) bailout of Spain’s banks, squeezing homeowners and throwing millions out of work.

 

 

The government introduced public sector austerity to whittle down the deficit, provoking widespread anger amongst middle- and low-income families as dozens of cases of corruption in the ruling class are investigated by judges.

The people’s feelings were clear as the OECD says the economic crisis has hit Spain’s poor harder than in any other country in the euro region.

Banners urged the conservative government not to pay its international debts and to tackle Spain’s chronically high unemployment of 26 percent.

 

Bread, jobs and housing for everyone“, read one banner, “Corruption and robbery, Spain’s trademark,” said another.

 

I’m here to fight for my children’s future,” said Michael Nadeau, a 44-year-old entrepreneur.

 

For those who are in power we’re just numbers. They value money more than they value people,” he said, shouting to be heard above the din of chanting, whistling and drumming.

 

“(I’m here because) I’m sick of this system they call democracy,” said Jose Luis Arteaga, a 58-year-old teacher whose wage has been cut 20 percent. “I want things to change.”

It seems that almost record low bond yields and high stock market levels did not appease the people of Spain either…Time for that IMG income inequality equalizing wealth redsitriburion it would seem…

Spanish ‘Anti-Austerity’ Protesters “Sick Of This System They Call Democracy” | Zero Hedge

Spanish ‘Anti-Austerity’ Protesters “Sick Of This System They Call Democracy” | Zero Hedge.

logo

“I’m here to fight for my children’s future,” exclaims one father as Spaniards rallied in Madrid against poverty and EU-imposed austerity. As Reuters reports, the largely peaceful protest latermarred by violent clashes in which police fired rubber bullets. The so-called “Dignity Marches” brought hundreds of thousands to the capital with banners making it clear what their feelings about record 26% unemployment were – “Bread, jobs and housing for everyone” and “Corruption and robbery, Spain’s trademark.” One protester summed up the people’s views of the government,“I’m sick of this system they call democracy… I want things to change.”

 

 

 

Via Reuters,

The so-called “Dignity Marches” brought hundreds of thousands to the capital, according to estimates of Reuters witnesses. Travelling from all over Spain, they were protesting in support of more than 160 different causes, including jobs, housing, health, education and an end to poverty.

 

 

…Spaniards rallied in Madrid on Saturday against poverty and EU-imposed austerity in a largely peaceful protest later marred by violent clashes in which police fired rubber bullets.

 

 

Some protesters started to throw stones and bottles at the large numbers of riot police present and attacked cashpoints and hoardings. The police fired rubber bullets to disperse them, according to video footage seen by Reuters.

Central government representative Cristina Cifuentes said 19 protesters had been arrested and 50 police officers had been injured, one of them very badly, in the clashes.

Once again the issue is government corruption combined with austerity (or at least slowing growth in spending to be perfectly clear) – a combination that we have discussed numerous times tends to end in social unrest…

A housing bubble burst more than five years ago, forcing a 41-billion euro ($56 billion) bailout of Spain’s banks, squeezing homeowners and throwing millions out of work.

 

 

The government introduced public sector austerity to whittle down the deficit, provoking widespread anger amongst middle- and low-income families as dozens of cases of corruption in the ruling class are investigated by judges.

The people’s feelings were clear as the OECD says the economic crisis has hit Spain’s poor harder than in any other country in the euro region.

Banners urged the conservative government not to pay its international debts and to tackle Spain’s chronically high unemployment of 26 percent.

 

Bread, jobs and housing for everyone“, read one banner, “Corruption and robbery, Spain’s trademark,” said another.

 

I’m here to fight for my children’s future,” said Michael Nadeau, a 44-year-old entrepreneur.

 

For those who are in power we’re just numbers. They value money more than they value people,” he said, shouting to be heard above the din of chanting, whistling and drumming.

 

“(I’m here because) I’m sick of this system they call democracy,” said Jose Luis Arteaga, a 58-year-old teacher whose wage has been cut 20 percent. “I want things to change.”

It seems that almost record low bond yields and high stock market levels did not appease the people of Spain either…Time for that IMG income inequality equalizing wealth redsitriburion it would seem…

Is an Economic War Replacing the Cold War?: Video – Bloomberg

Is an Economic War Replacing the Cold War?: Video – Bloomberg.

Probably The Most Important Chart In The World | Zero Hedge

Probably The Most Important Chart In The World | Zero Hedge.

logo

Having discussed the links between economic growth and energy resource constraints, and with the current geo-political fireworks as much about energy (costs, supply, and demand) as they are human rights, it would appear the following chart may well become the most-important indicator of future tensions…

Source: Goldman Sachs

This is not the first time we have discussed “self-sufficiency” – As none other than Bridgewater’s Ray Dalio noted in a slightly different context:

self-sufficiency encourages productivity by tying the ability to spend to the need to produce,”

Societies in which individuals are more responsible for themselves grow more than those in which they are less responsible for themselves.” The nine-factor gauge of self-sufficiency provides some interesting insights into those nations most likely to experience above-average growth going-forward and those that are not; as European countries, notably Italy, France, Spain, and Belgium, all ranking at the very bottom on self-sufficiency.

And here we discussed, What If Nations Were Less Dependent On One Another?

The ability to survive without trade or aid from other nations, for example, is not the same as the ability to reap enormous profits or grow one’s economy without trade with other nations. In other words, ‘self-sufficiency’ in terms of survival does not necessarily imply prosperity, but it does imply freedom of action without dependency on foreign approval, capital, resources, and expertise.

Freedom of action provided by independence/autarky also implies a pivotal reduction in vulnerability to foreign control of the cost and/or availability of essentials such as food and energy, and the resulting power of providers to blackmail or influence national priorities and policies.

Consider petroleum/fossil fuels as an example. Nations blessed with large reserves of fossil fuels are self-sufficient in terms of their own consumption, but the value of their resources on the international market generally leads to dependence on exports of oil/gas to fund the government, political elites, and general welfare. This dependence on the revenues derived from exporting oil/gas leads to what is known as the resource curse: The rest of the oil-exporting nation’s economy withers as capital and political favoritism concentrate on the revenues of exporting oil, and this distortion of the political order leads to cronyism, corruption, and misallocation of national wealth on a scale so vast that nations suffering from an abundance of marketable resources often decline into poverty and instability.

The other path to autarky is selecting and funding policies designed to directly increase self-sufficiency. One example might be Germany’s pursuit of alternative energy via state policies such as subsidies.

That policy-driven autarky requires trade-offs is apparent in Germany’s relative success in growing alternative energy production; the subsidies that have incentivized alternative energy production are now seen as costing more than the presumed gain in self-sufficiency, as fossil-fueled power generation is still needed as backup for fluctuating alt-energy production.

Though dependence on foreign energy has been lowered, Germany remains entirely dependent on its foreign energy suppliers, and as costs of that energy rise, Germany’s position as a competitive industrial powerhouse is being threatened: Industrial production is moving out of Germany to locales with lower energy costs, including the U.S.

The increase in domestic energy production was intended to reduce the vulnerability implicit in dependence on foreign energy providers, yet the increase in domestic energy production has not yet reached the critical threshold where vulnerability to price shocks has been significantly reduced.

America’s ability to project power and maintain its freedom of action both presume a network of diplomatic, military, and economic alliances and trading relationships which have (not coincidentally) fueled American corporation’s unprecedented profits.

The recent past has created an assumption that the U.S. can only prosper if it imports oil, goods, and services on a vast scale.

Probably The Most Important Chart In The World | Zero Hedge

Probably The Most Important Chart In The World | Zero Hedge.

logo

Having discussed the links between economic growth and energy resource constraints, and with the current geo-political fireworks as much about energy (costs, supply, and demand) as they are human rights, it would appear the following chart may well become the most-important indicator of future tensions…

Source: Goldman Sachs

This is not the first time we have discussed “self-sufficiency” – As none other than Bridgewater’s Ray Dalio noted in a slightly different context:

self-sufficiency encourages productivity by tying the ability to spend to the need to produce,”

Societies in which individuals are more responsible for themselves grow more than those in which they are less responsible for themselves.” The nine-factor gauge of self-sufficiency provides some interesting insights into those nations most likely to experience above-average growth going-forward and those that are not; as European countries, notably Italy, France, Spain, and Belgium, all ranking at the very bottom on self-sufficiency.

And here we discussed, What If Nations Were Less Dependent On One Another?

The ability to survive without trade or aid from other nations, for example, is not the same as the ability to reap enormous profits or grow one’s economy without trade with other nations. In other words, ‘self-sufficiency’ in terms of survival does not necessarily imply prosperity, but it does imply freedom of action without dependency on foreign approval, capital, resources, and expertise.

Freedom of action provided by independence/autarky also implies a pivotal reduction in vulnerability to foreign control of the cost and/or availability of essentials such as food and energy, and the resulting power of providers to blackmail or influence national priorities and policies.

Consider petroleum/fossil fuels as an example. Nations blessed with large reserves of fossil fuels are self-sufficient in terms of their own consumption, but the value of their resources on the international market generally leads to dependence on exports of oil/gas to fund the government, political elites, and general welfare. This dependence on the revenues derived from exporting oil/gas leads to what is known as the resource curse: The rest of the oil-exporting nation’s economy withers as capital and political favoritism concentrate on the revenues of exporting oil, and this distortion of the political order leads to cronyism, corruption, and misallocation of national wealth on a scale so vast that nations suffering from an abundance of marketable resources often decline into poverty and instability.

The other path to autarky is selecting and funding policies designed to directly increase self-sufficiency. One example might be Germany’s pursuit of alternative energy via state policies such as subsidies.

That policy-driven autarky requires trade-offs is apparent in Germany’s relative success in growing alternative energy production; the subsidies that have incentivized alternative energy production are now seen as costing more than the presumed gain in self-sufficiency, as fossil-fueled power generation is still needed as backup for fluctuating alt-energy production.

Though dependence on foreign energy has been lowered, Germany remains entirely dependent on its foreign energy suppliers, and as costs of that energy rise, Germany’s position as a competitive industrial powerhouse is being threatened: Industrial production is moving out of Germany to locales with lower energy costs, including the U.S.

The increase in domestic energy production was intended to reduce the vulnerability implicit in dependence on foreign energy providers, yet the increase in domestic energy production has not yet reached the critical threshold where vulnerability to price shocks has been significantly reduced.

America’s ability to project power and maintain its freedom of action both presume a network of diplomatic, military, and economic alliances and trading relationships which have (not coincidentally) fueled American corporation’s unprecedented profits.

The recent past has created an assumption that the U.S. can only prosper if it imports oil, goods, and services on a vast scale.

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