Rising Food Theft Early Warning of Food Insecurity

The history of the U.S. Wild West frontier is rich with tales of gunslingers and cattle rustlers. Even though it seems like a crime of yesteryear, in fact incidents of cattle rustling have spiked in recent years, right along with the price of beef. But have you heard of pistachio and maple syrup rustling? In a nation relatively rich and well-fed, what is behind the rise in agricultural crime? Could the food insecurity that has sparked political turmoil in other parts of the world become a problem for the United States?

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Can Bitcoin Be Tamed?

Bitcoin, the virtual alternate currency that has swept the tech world, made headlines again recently when a billion-dollar Bitcoin-based enterprise called Silk Road was shut down in the wake of the arrest of its operator on a variety of shocking charges. The crack-down was cheered by investors and entrepreneurs hoping to convince regulators of Bitcoin’s respectability. But even if the online currency is corralled and regulated and co-opted by the government, there’s nothing to say “miners” outside the regulatory system can’t continue transacting with non-official, free-range Bitcoins. After all, the decentralized alternative currency was designed for just that purpose.

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Silver and Gold Watch Fed Inability to Tighten

In a 2011 interview, hedge fund principle, Kyle Bass spoke of "when [he] asked a senior member of the administration last week, 'how are we going to grow exports if we wont allow nominal wage deflation?'"

The response was: "We're just going to kill the dollar."

"Oh, okay, more you mean," Bass retorted.

The Federal Reserve Bank hasn't disappointed.

The result?

"After such a notable correction in the past 9 months, the precious metal once again becomes a very attractive global asset if monetary policy in the largest economy of the world spins out of control," remarks Jones Trading.

Even if policy is not perceived as "out of control," surely it snaps of the 100bp tightening Fed-Chairman Ben Strong pulled in early 1928, only to back-pedal afterward, admitting his error, and reversing course with a new rule, by September of that year:

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Dearth of Good Money Assets Signal End Is Near

The European Commission, a group self-tasked with herding cats, has proclaimed the end of “austerity” in the Eurozone for governments, granted citizens will surely continue to feel quite austere. But what does this mean for Europeans and their economy moving forward?

Before we dive into it, we would add that absolutely no austerity was obtained in any EZ national budget, except perhaps where it was forced by plummeting tax receipts as a result of all-out economic collapse (Greece). See: What Austerity Measures?

Here were the Commission’s proclamations on deficits:

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Myanmar – Investor Nirvana or Centrally Planned Clone?

After decades of political upheaval the country of Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, is now being hailed as a potentially lucrative market for serious investors. For a country that was, as recently as 2010, governed by a military junta, this is no small accomplishment. Like all emerging markets, however, investing in Myanmar is not without risks. To analyze the potential Myanmar offers, it is important to understand a bit of the country’s history.

Myanmar Burma Map via Google

Burma’s Turbulent History

Located on the Bay of Bengal and bordered by India, China, Thailand and Laos, Myanmar is a small country that was first established in 1057. The history of Myanmar has been one of turmoil and hardship, from invasion by the Mongols to years of being a province of British India.

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In Supposed Dog-Eat-Dog World, Social Cooperation Is Surprisingly Common

So-called “conventional wisdom” is that government is necessary to ensure the functioning of society—that left free of the restrictions and regulations of government, society would deteriorate into violence and chaos. But this film features another worldview from Professor Aeon J. Skoble—the view that, left unimpeded, even competing entities in society find ways to cooperate to better the conditions of all.

Skoble is Professor of Philosophy at Bridgewater State University in southeastern Massachusetts; he is also a regular contributor to LearnLiberty.org an online resource with a mission to teach about liberty and a free society. From the Website:

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Krugman's Social Media Feud Inspires Opera Nostra Culpa

A new opera based on, of all things, an argument between two different economic philosophies, will premiere this spring. Meanwhile, the argument that inspired the musical work continues to simmer: Does economic austerity work? As Michael Maloney might say of a similar arguments over the efficacy of free markets:  “We’ve never tried it.”

Last year financial columnist and sometime comedian Paul Krugman, evidently miffed at the good press the tiny Balkan nation of Estonia was getting for its apparent economic turnaround, posted a blog article denying that Estonia’s austerity program was a success. Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves responded in a huff, via Twitter, to defend his nation’s honor, with a frankness of language rarely exhibited by a chief executive. The global media, of course, delighted in the conflict, and for a day or three the snit dominated international headlines.

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Jobs Reports to Be Taken With Grain of Salt

On the first Friday of every month, the Bureau Of Labor Statistics (BLS) issues the Jobs Report. This report oftentimes is a predictor and influencer of future economic reports. For this and many other reasons, the rhetoric surrounding these reports is filled with political posturing. To cut through the hot air to the true picture, it’s important to understand what the Jobs Reports say… and don’t say.

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2012 in Review Shows Recession Still Holds US Economy in Grip

As we close on the end of the year, it is time to look back at the big picture 2012 painted.

With 2012 culminating 32 years of rising bond prices, following decades during which U.S. investors had taken to calling bonds “certificates of confiscation,” many asked if the U.S. is turning Japanese. We at WealthCycles, of course, really think so…

WealthCycles wrote on Valentine’s Day 2012 that the U.S. was experiencing economic contraction—that is to say, the U.S. is producing less and less as time progresses, what we labeled then as a “double dip.”

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Gold Earns Interest - Myth Fun

One of the funniest canards about gold, besides “you can’t eat it,” of course, is that gold does not earn interest. We have an entire article on bullion bank gold leasing, but earning interest on gold is not just for the big players. Just like anything lent out, it is done at a price. In many countries, banks will pay you to allow them to hold your gold. Many are leery of the idea of trusting institutions that are prone to having their front doors locked with one’s life savings trapped on the other side, yet the amount of gold on deposit at one Turkish bank was reported as growing at 8% a month.

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