Friday, March 8, 2013

Agriculture and Revolution

“Bread provides one-third of the caloric intake in Egypt, a country where 38 percent of income is spent on food,” notes Sternberg. “The doubling of global wheat prices — from $157/metric ton in June 2010 to $326/metric ton in February 2011 — thus significantly impacted the country’s food supply and availability.” Global food prices peaked at an all-time high in March 2011, shortly after President Hosni Mubarak was toppled in Egypt.
Everything is linked: Chinese drought and Russian bushfires produced wheat shortages leading to higher bread prices fueling protests in Tahrir Square. Sternberg calls it the globalization of “hazard.” 
Source: Friedman, NYT

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Working on the wrong end

LONDON — The Bank of England decided to keep its benchmark interest rate unchanged on Thursday amid doubts about the strength of Britain’s economic recovery.
The central bank left its interest rate at 0.5 percent, a record low, and also held its program of economic stimulus at £375 billion, or about $560 billion.  

Central bankers the world over are working on the wrong end. Business won't borrow even at historically low interest rates when consumer demand is weak.  Money needs to be put in the hands of consumers, not banks.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Of Quarterbacks and CEOs

The quarterback for the winning Baltimore football team was given a raise to $120 million over six years.  The CEO of Heinz could land a $212 million golden parachute if he leaves the company after it is taken private.  The quarterback said the money was not all that important but rather "to get the respect that I felt, that I feel now from this organization."  What ever happened to promotions, the gold watch, and ribbons as in the military? 
   The sensible Swiss just passed a limit on CEO salaries.