“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."
Monday, June 04, 2012
Maybe it’s time for Desert Rat’s Platinum Trillion Dollar Coins
Global slump alert as world money contracts
Growth of the world money supply has dropped to the lowest level since the financial crisis of 2008-2009, heralding a severe economic slowdown later this year unless authorites rapidly take action.
Real M1 for the G7 economies and leading E7 emerging powers peaked at 5.1pc in November and has since plunged to 1.6pc in ApriPhoto: Getty Images
The latest data show that the real M1 money supply – cash and overnight deposits – for China, the eurozone, Britain and the US has been contracting since the early Spring. Any further falls risk a full-blown global recession.
Clear signs of trouble are emerging in the US, until now the last bastion of strength. The New York Institute of Supply Management said its ISM business index – a proxy for business demand – flashed a "screeching halt" in May, crashing to 49.9 from 61.2 in April, where anything below 50 denotes contraction. Unemployment is rising again after grim jobs data for April and May, indicating that the economy may have fallen below stall speed.
Central bank governors and finance ministers from the G7 bloc are to hold an emergency teleconference call on Tuesday to grapple with Europe's escalating crisis. There is mounting anger in North America and Asia over the failure of the Europeans to use their vast resources to contain the brushfire in Spain.
The world money data collected by Simon Ward at Henderson Global Investors show that real M1 for the G7 economies and leading E7 emerging powers peaked at 5.1pc in November and has since plunged to 1.6pc in April. The data explain why commodity prices are falling hard, with Brent crude down to a 16-month low of under $97 a barrel.
China's money data are falling at the fastest pace since records began. The gauge – six-month real M1 – gives advance warning of economic output half a year ahead. "Europe needs to start quantitative easing [QE] immediately and China must ease policy," said Mr Ward.
The Americans may act first. Goldman Sachs expects Federal Reserve chair Ben Bernanke to open the door for QE in testimony on Thursday.
Stock markets rallied in Madrid and Milan led by bank shares on rumours of an EU plan to recapitalise banks directly with funds from the EU bail-out machinery.
Olli Rehn, the EU economics chief, said use of the European Stability Mechanism to bail out lenders was a "serious possibility", adding that it was imperative to "break the link between banks and sovereigns".
However, there is no sign yet that Germany will be willing to drop its veto on such action, viewed by Berlin as the start of debt mutualisation. Chancellor Angela Merkel crushed talk of an instant "banking union" after meeting commission president Jose Barroso, saying their could be no quick fix. She called instead for EU banking supervision as a "mid-term goal".
Her spokesman said any options that "resemble eurobonds" are for the distant future. "It's up to national governments to decide whether they want to avail themselves of aid. That also applies to Spain," he said.
Use of the ESM for bank bail-outs would meet fierce resistance in the German, Dutch and Finnish parliaments. A senior EU official said even Germany's Social Democrats are cooling on eurobonds. "They looked at the polling data and shivered. The German people are not willing to send money into a bottomless pit," he said.