Things we're reading today - 28th October 2022

The low interest rate regime of the last decade and a half had masked a lot of vulnerabilities in the global financial system. The recent surge in inflation and the resultant rise in interest rates and a streghtening dollar are bringing these vulnerabilities to the fore. If that wasn’t enough, climate chnage is leading to all sorts of issues around the world. To top it all of the Russia-Ukraine wa has put the global energy markets in disarray. The countries that are worst hit from all toxic cocktail of crises are the low and middle income countries.

Amongst this heady cocktail of issues. Climate change is the existential risk. While a lot is spoken, the simple reality is that most of these countries can’t afford to tackle these challenges unless the rich countries start footing a part of the bill. This is the bottom line that gets lost in all the BS about net-zero, climate summits, green finance etc. Tim Sahay and Kate Mackenzie At the Jain Family Institute started a new publication called The Polycrises looking at these challenges.

It’s a really good, albeit depressing read—check it out. Also, the main publication The Phenomenal World is equally good. It’s one of the best places to for critical macroeconomic perspectives.

The climate crisis cannot be solved without a thorough reckoning of the relations between the global South the global North.

What if World War 3 has already started?

The regular image of war is that of boots on the ground, tanks and planes. Pippa Malmgren, in response to Historian Niall Ferguson assertion that we’re slouching toward WWIII, argues that we’re already WWIII has already begun but not a conventional war. She says that countries are already fighting a hybrid war through proxy actors, trying to destroy or degrade critical infrastructure such as undersea internet cables, energy pipelines, satellite networks.

Events are occurring in places like North Africa, where Russia is backing one side, and NATO members are backing the other. Russia’s goal is to establish control over the territories through local governments from the Atlantic to the Red Sea to the Mediterranean. Russia is already deeply embedded in Libya, Algeria, and now Mali, Sudan, and Niger. But this war is somehow different from Ukraine. News of all these places and a coup in Burkina Faso don’t feel like they are related to WWII because no one has explained that these are proxy wars involving the superpowers. Similarly, in the Pacific, China is establishing military bases on islands around the Pacific through diplomatic and commercial deals while the US is massively expanding by building new military bases beyond Guam in places like Tinian Island. The NYT’s reports that the US wants to make Taiwan into a “giant weapons depot” and reshape the alliances in the Pacific in case of a conflict with China

With all the talk of wars and nuclear warfare, here’s a sobering reminder of just how easy it is for countries to sleepwalk toward Armageddon.

Facebook (Meta) is an example of how quickly things can change.
5 years ago, the narratives around these big tech companies is that they were invincible. All it took is one change from Apple to break their entire business model. The stock has now lost $700 billion in market cap. Remember all those presentations of US tech funds and ETFs? :sweat_smile: Perhaps, that was the top.

Your home might be making you sick!

Every day, people entered sealed buildings held together with solvents, adhesives, particle board, drywall, and all of the chemicals that came with them. Reports of “office illness” crept into the media, and in the early 1980s, the World Health Organization coined the term “sick building syndrome” to describe the constellation of symptoms caused by the invisible byproducts of modern construction.

“Prediction is very difficult, especially if it’s about the future!” – Niels Bohr.
But despite that, here’s an interesting forcast from the International Energy Agency.

For the first time ever, a WEO scenario based on today’s prevailing policy settings – in this case, the Stated Policies Scenario – has global demand for every fossil fuel exhibiting a peak or plateau. In this scenario, coal use falls back within the next few years, natural gas demand reaches a plateau by the end of the decade, and rising sales of electric vehicles (EVs) mean that oil demand levels off in the mid-2030s before ebbing slightly to mid-century. This means that total demand for fossil fuels declines steadily from the mid-2020s to 2050 by an annual average roughly equivalent to the lifetime output of a large oil field. The declines are much faster and more pronounced in the WEO’s more climate-focused scenarios.

TL;DR here

Slowly but steadily, the private markets are coming back to reality.

The perils of listening to talking heads on TV. Maybe we should do the opposite of what they say.


Inverse Cramer fund does just that. :rofl: