A letter to my family on peak oil and the global economy

Tim turned 16 the other day. By the time Tim is 30 the world will be producing only half the oil it is producing now and when he is 40 it will be producing less than a third.

Since I found out about peak oil in 2004 I have bothered you with my dire predictions. I know we got the timing wrong, and I know we have subsequently found shale oil and the global economy has continued on a business as usual path. You think I was wrong, do you?

Well here we are at 2017 and the article I have just read several times explains why the timing was wrong. We didn’t allow for fracking and we didn’t factor in the financing of oil. But now we are stuck. You tell me where the Nafeez Ahmed article falters. He quotes from an HSBC report and that is the sixth to biggest bank in the world. The HSBC article quotes from the International Energy Agency and from a Swedish University’s energy programme. Ahmed quotes further from a recent Cornell University paper which in turn quotes a paper from the Italy’s premier agency for government research.

I know very few of you will want to read the Ahmed paper. After all it is holiday season and we all have books to read, swimming to enjoy, bike rides and tramps to accomplish and screens to attend to.

So let me summarise this paper a little, adding an odd bit for explanatory reasons:

Conventional oil peaked in 2005. Unconventional oil (shale oil, deep sea oil) peaked in March 2015. Oil is the most dense energy form human beings have ever found and nothing has yet replaced it. Consequently it is closely correlated with economic growth and population growth. The current economic system requires constant economic growth. Oil has fuelled the growth in global wealth.

Ten years ago some of you replied, “Don’t worry, we will find something”. Oh yes we found fracking, and China went back to coal. But we also had already found debt instruments. If you don’t understand what these are you are in good company. Not even the heads of hedge funds or big banks know what strange derivatives (bets) are being invented by their traders sometimes. Ahmed says simply “the world is borrowing from the future to sustain our present consumption levels”. I know the shale oil companies were largely funded not from banks but from selling bonds. Ordinary people bought company bonds and got paid very high interest rates. The interest rates have risen so high that many shale companies are going broke paying them.

As oil exploration is yielding fewer and smaller fields and the oil is getting deeper and more expensive to extract, the oil companies abandon uneconomic fields. This happened around New Zealand and we attributed it largely to the actions of Greenpeace. But it was more than that. It costs them too much to extract it. Oil prices have recently climbed to just over $50 a barrel and companies need about $60 to break even. So they borrow. The trouble is this debt doesn’t produce real wealth.

Remember back in 2008 just before the Global Financial Crisis we had soaring oil prices? Oil went to $150 a barrel. Since nearly all goods are transported and the transport cost went up there was less money left for the rest of the economy. So we had a huge recession. So if oil prices are too high we get a recessionary effect that destabilises the global debt bubble. That debt is now higher than the pre-2008 crisis. If oil prices are too low we get too much debt which brings with it huge bank risks.

The economy can’t grow without oil. So we are stuck. The article says “the economy can quite literally never recover unless it transitions to a truly viable new energy source which can substitute for oil.”

Ahmed won’t of course have read my essay that I just submitted to the Next System Project essay competition where I propose an entirely new way of constructing a political economy so that we are not dependent on oil or on money as debt. (More of this later, I have just entered it into their international competition)

Ahmed says that because on 1 Jan 2018 there are new regulations coming into force in the finance industry, there will be a massive collapse shortly after that. He called it in 2008 and he is calling it now.

So while you are reading soothing headlines about how the economy is ‘in recovery’ or angsting over Donald Trump’s appointment of Exxon Mobil chief as Secretary of State or yet another climate change denier to a key position, think about your preparation for next year. The economy can't recover, given its present structure and its geophysical limitations. Where will you get your food? Cash? Petrol? Will your local authority be able to maintain a good supply of drinkable water or a sewerage system if they are in increasing debt? What about power?

Now there will be those who say this is wonderful for climate change. Yes it may be the only thing that makes our planet habitable. But it is an awful way for billions of us to learn. Actually the people who will be best off will be those who are already scraping a subsistence living. But that is another matter.

If only half the today’s global oil supply is available to Tim when he is 30, what is the future for your grandchildren? Or your old age? Can you devote an hour of your precious time to getting a handle on the reality of all this? We are so privileged in New Zealand and have had it so good for so long. I have missed out on a share price boom I know. Yes I got the timing wrong. Yes I have been a doomster. But please think for yourself now. You are educated, you probably have unlimited data for your computer, use it. Plan now for a massive, tightly interconnected, global financial collapse now. You might have a year.

At last a good explanation for the rise of ISIS

Thank you, thank you Jim Tankersley of the Washington Post. You have finally answered the question about why people from the Middle East feel so bad about the west that they need to commit dastardly acts of terrorism.

I don't have friends who are experts on the Middle East's inequality and Piketty has spelt it out for us so well. Finally!

Your article should be read by everyone. You say the inequality is due to the concentration of oil wealth into a few countries with relatively little population. You draw attention to the oil monarchies controlling 60-70% of the wealth. It seems he is talking about Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Oman. They had 16% of the region's population in 2012 and almost 60% of its Gross Domestic Product.

Within those monarchies, Piketty says, a small slice or people controls most of the wealth while a large proportion, including women and refugees, are kept in a state of 'semi-slavery'.  Piketty's list starts with the first Gulf War, which resulted in allied forces returning oil 'to the emirs.' The wars that benefited only a select few have become what Piketty calls a 'powder keg for terrorism across the region'.

Tankersley writes 'Terrorism that is rooted in inequality is best fought economically.' Piketty says the region is the most unequal on the planet.

And Piketty says the Western nations largely have themselves to blame for terrorism as the west perpetuated the wars that worsened inequality. 'The countries in question are the regimes that are militarily and politically supported by the Western powers, all too happy to get some crumbs to fund their (soccer) clubs or sell them some weapons.'

It looks like this is what Piketty will be remembered for. The discussion is only just beginning.

Of course this brings us to searching for the real political solution, otherwise terrorism will persist for ever.

I am reminded of the first part of Silvio Gesell's wonderful 1906 book The Natural Economic Order. The part is called Free Land and he writes,' Free Land means that the earth is to be conceived as a globe on which there is no import or export of goods. Hence Free land also implies universal free trade and complete elimination of all tariff boundaries. National boundaries must become simply administrative boundaries, such as, for instance, the boundaries between separate cantons of Switzerland. From this description of Free Land it follows that such expressions as 'English coal, 'German potash', 'American oil and so forth can be understood only in a geographic sense. For everyone, no matter to what race he may belong, has the same right to English coal, German potash and American oil.'

Work this out, using the principle of sharing the rents from the earth's resources. Quite a challenge.

 

Anti-TPPA campaign needs to change its language and symbols

When a campaign needs to step into a new phase, is time to look at the language they are using. When the language changed from anti-smoking to smoke-free, the campaign stepped up a notch and a much larger section of the public was won over.

freedomThe current language against signing the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement is the language of protest. It needs to change to the language of freedom.

What is this freedom? Freedom for the government to make its own decisions without fear of being sued by a corporate.

So symbols of freedom must be used.

libertyOh and we might get round to answering the nonsense about how our companies will have a free market in other countries too. So we want our corporates to be able to write the laws of other countries do we? We want our corporates to invade other countries and ride roughshod over their freedom to make their own laws? Of course not. This argument is like saying you are justified in robbing us because we also rob you.

So far the battle of language has been won by the corporates. They have controlled the language, and captured the freedom imagery with their appeal to "free trade". It is time to grab the word 'freedom' from the corporates.

If TPPA had been in place when our smokefree legislation was introduced we would have been sued for millions. The Labour Party is currently advocating favouring local business when awarding government contracts. That could never eventuate either with TPP.

It is time to get smart. Otherwise many great policies can simply never be implemented for fear of being sued in a foreign secret tribunal and paying huge fines.

Commodity bubbles, oil derivatives and the price of petrol

This week several questions in Parliament were about the drop in the price of dairy products and the effect on the New Zealand economy. But the price of wool, beef, timber and logs are not dropping. I began wondering about commodity prices.

On the radio I heard a journalist say that if oil prices are down then economic growth rises. He went on to say how well the economy will do now that the price of oil is falling.

That is a deceptive argument. As Automatic Earth blogger Raul Ilargi Meijer pointed out the oil companies are already mired in debt, and when they receive less for their oil their finances will be in real trouble. He says, “there is no industry like the oil industry and it’s highly doubtful there’s another one with such debt levels”. The drop in crude prices has undercut the profitability of many oil projects and if you are an oil-exporting country you are vulnerable. Russia is being hammered right now and the ruble is in freefall. The share market in Saudia Arabia is falling.

Meijer points out that plummeting oil prices don’t just mirror the state of the real economy they will drag the whole economy down. The oil industry swims in debt not reserves.

Remember in 2012 Petrobras pulled out of New Zealand? They said they hadn’t found enough oil. Rather than giving the credit to Greenpeace for their vigorous opposition to deep sea drilling, the company’s explanation about low profitability is probably nearer the truth. Petrobras is the world’s third biggest oil company with sales of $150 billion a year.

The Telegraph writer Ambrose Evans-Pritchard in an article on oil company indebtedness wrote “Petrobras is committed to spending $102bn on development by 2018. It already has $112bn of debt. Petrobras’s share price has fallen by two-thirds since 2010.

This led me back to the whole commodity issue. I found a good article by bubble analyst Jesse Colombo and will summarise it. https://web.archive.org/web/20120302222518/http://www.thebubblebubble.com/commodities-bubble

He says “China’s economic boom since 2009 is actually a debt-driven bubble, and that its unsustainable, resource-intensive growth has temporarily boosted the prices of commodities.” He has been expecting the bubble to burst for a while now.

China's consumption of commodities drove real money into a new "asset class". But production has spiked and the bubble is popping now as real money leaves. We are now at the end of the commodities supercycle.

Three years ago the same Jesse Colombo warned of a commodity bubble. He said “The price of nearly every commodity from wheat to uranium exploded during the past decade as hundreds of billions of dollars of capital entered commodities as the new “hot” investment destination.”

He wrote then “Commodities prices, as measured by the Continuous Commodity Index (CCI), have risen a staggering 275% since the start of their bull market in November 2001”

He said Crude oil (WTI) is up 1,050%, gasoline 1,050%, heating oil 1,000%, gold 528%, silver 1130%, copper 666%, platinum 435%, palladium 443%, wheat 275%, corn 348%, soybeans 250%, oats 300%, sugar 600%, coffee 635%, cocoa 435%, orange juice 245%, cotton 650%and lean hogs 213%. (measured at the peak in mid-2011)

“Like all bubbles, from the Roaring Twenties bubble to the Dot-com bubble, the 2000s commodities bubble started as a legitimate economic trend and devolved into a “hot money”-fueled speculative mania.

“Record-high commodities prices led to ambitious plans such as Quebec, Canada’s $80 billion investment and decision to open its vast northern region to mining development – an area twice the size of France with an abundance of iron, nickel and copper ore deposits.

“High oil prices have incentivized the development of a wide range of technologies that are helping the discovery and production of far more oil than originally estimated and helping to allay Peak Oil fears for the time being. Fracking in US made US the biggest oil producer in the world.

“China and India’s real estate development and infrastructure construction soared in the early 2000s, causing economic growth and the demand for raw materials to hit a powerful upward inflection point.

“While the Chinese government builds scores of excessively extravagant government buildings, entire uninhabited “ghost cities” are cropping up, as can be seen in satellite images.

“When China and India’s economic bubbles pop, the commodities bubble is sure to crash along with them.

We have also seen the rise of commodities as an investment class. The boom has taken place across a wide range of commodities, and, indeed, is unprecedented in scope and size. These commodities include sugar, cotton, soybean oil, soybeans, nickel, lead, copper, zinc, tin, wheat, heating oil.

derivatives-3“The unprecedented aspects of the commodities boom and bubble are due to a relatively recent fundamental change in the commodities market – financialization, or the large-scale transformation of the commodities market into an investment asset class like stocks and bonds.

“Pension funds have become one of the largest sources of capital parked in long-term commodity investments ever since Congress essentially forced them to diversify into commodities by law. The tsunami of new investment capital flowing into the commodities market has been a major contributor to the boom in prices. In addition, the financialization of commodities paralleled the financialization of, and bubbles in, the US housing and mortgage markets.

But it is not just the commodities themselves. There is now a staggering range of commodities derivatives products. They call it “financial innovation”. Here is Jesse Colombo again in 2011 “The market value of agriculture commodities derivatives grew from three quarters of a trillion in 2002 to more than $7.5 trillion in 2007, while the percentage of speculators among agriculture commodities traders grew from 15 to 60 percent. The total number of commodities derivatives traded globally increased more than five-fold between2002 and 2008. The commodities market has become increasingly dominated by big banks, hedge funds and other speculative participants.

According to Wikileaks cables, speculators, not supply and demand, were the main cause of the 2008 oil bubble when oil hit $147/barrel.

One of the main catalysts for the second phase of the commodities bubble (2009-to-Present) was the launch of the Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing (QE) programs.”

Further to the topic of derivatives. If you want something scary to read then try reading about how big banks hold a great many oil derivatives and are at the losing end of the bet as oil drops in price. http://www.activistpost.com/2014/12/plummeting-oil-prices-could-destroy.html

And here is an article from earlier this year. The author is one Harry Dent and the website http://economyandmarkets.com/markets/foreign-markets/2014-the-year-china-bubble-burst/ and I quote it in full.

“For two years now, I’ve been warning in our Boom & Bust newsletter that China is going to be the ultimate and largest trigger for the next global financial crisis… a crisis that will be deeper and last longer than the first one that governments quickly combatted with unprecedented quantitative easing and bailouts.

And the cracks in the greatest bubble in modern history are finally starting to show. China bubble burst? Yes. And 2014 is the year that happens. When it does, it will trigger a market crash around the world.

George Soros warned late last year that China’s subprime lending was starting to look like the U.S. just before its crisis.

Now Leland Miller, President of China Beige Book International, is warning that 2014 will be the year of defaults for China.

Defaults will occur in trust products… wealth-management products… corporate bonds… and even some government bonds.

China’s subprime lending has mushroomed to more than $2 trillion in the last five years.
Its corporate bond market now totals $4.2 trillion.

Its total credit has surged from $9 trillion to $23 trillion since late 2008, or 250% of GDP.
Once again, additional borrowing and spending adds very little to GDP…

Just like it was, right before our subprime crisis, right now every dollar of debt China incurs adds only 15 cents to its GDP. At the height of our crisis in 2009, each additional dollar of debt created 85 cents of GDP.

China is currently getting very little bang for its borrowed buck.
As I always say: Debt is like a drug. It takes more and more to create less and less effect until the system fails.

Now, China’s system is starting to fail… and the bubble is starting to blow up and the fallout will affect us all.

As Miller warns, this is a different China than that of the past two decades. The government understands that it has to slow growth after massively overbuilding and inflating bubbles.


This, he warns, will impact China’s neighbors — places like South Korea, Japan, and Australia (where I recently issued strong warnings about the China burst) — more than most people assume.


Societe Generale’s analyst, Albert Edwards, warns: “Australia is a leveraged time bomb waiting to blow up. It is not a CDO (meaning collateralized debt obligation), it is a CDO squared. All we have in Australia is, at its simplest, a credit bubble (consumer debt) built upon a commodity boom, dependent for its sustenance on an even greater credit bubble in China.”


Exactly!

Already, an agricultural financial co-op has closed its doors, and depositors couldn’t withdraw their money. And a China Credit Trust wealth-management product of $496 million blew up.
The Chinese government bailed them out.

Then, on March 7, China saw its first corporate bond default, when Shanghai Chaori Solar defaulted on its bond payments. It’s unlikely the government will bail it out.”

There is no shortage of bedrooms in Auckland but…

The Q and A programme on TVOne this week started with a debate on housing. Property investor Olly Newland and Hive News Publisher Bernard Hickey were asked by Susan Wood about how to control the housing bubble in Auckland, since the Reserve Banks had this week decided it was not budging and would leave the Loan To Value (LVR) restrictions in place.

Olly Newland seemed to want no restrictions at all so that rents will come down. Bernard Hickey pointed out that if you have first home buyers with 1% deposit you run the risk that the banks will fail and the Reserve Bank can’t take that risk. Olly replied that the banks can look after themselves, which fails to understand that we need a reliable banking system. He said that LVR restricts first home buyers and that is preventing them from getting on the housing ladder. He even used the term “moral aspect” and said he was the first to encourage home buying for first home buyers.

Bernard pointed out that if rents go up the government has a fiscal problem because it pays accommodation supplements. Bernard says if interest rates go up homeowners are in trouble. He reflected on the fact that RBNZ had been considering various ways of controlling lending to investors, including a different rule for those who have five or more properties.

They disagreed on whether interest rates will rise or go down, Olly opting for the latter and saying we are getting deflation starting round the world. He dismissed the RBNZ’s solution to control investment finance as “political claptrap” and said he wanted people to be able to rent property for a lifetime securely. He believes the market would steadily slow down and people were investing for the long term.

Oh well, interesting to have his views.

Then the panellists came on and included Matthew Horton and Laila Harre. Laila said the government doesn’t know whether
they want more people to live in their own houses
they want to control the rental market. They should get a policy on these.

Laila said there was an obsession with the supply issue and a lack of proper statistics. The housing shortage figures vary between 5000 and 30,000! Property investors owning 5-6 homes are often living in large houses themselves when all their children have gone. There isn’t a shortage of bedrooms in Auckland at all.

Matthew then pointed out the anomalies possible in the RBNZ’s other options e.g. does a property owner with five bedsits have a bigger portfolio than those with three huge student houses? Here we go again. If you don’t ask the right questions you don’t get the right answers and you end up with a complicated messy system full of anomalies.

So they managed to have a whole debate without once raising the issue of land prices and how to keep them down.

You know when I was writing my book Healthy Money Healthy Planet – Developing Sustainability through New Money Systems I was arguing that money be created without interest. Some said interest rates need to go up not down. But the strongest reaction I got from the drafts was from Robert Keall of Resource Rentals for Revenue. He basically said “zero interest loans over my dead body” because he knew land prices go up. He said we want higher interest rates not lower interest rates.

Ten years later I know what they all meant. Low interest rates mean a land bubble (people call them housing bubbles but it is really the land that rises in value not the building).

So while I am still of the opinion that money should be never be created as interest bearing debt, I am also acutely aware of the connection between land and money and know that in New Zealand new land tenure systems were introduced by British colonists at the same time as private banks and their money creation powers.

The whole point is that because land is naturally occurring, it belongs to everyone. Colonists brought with them a concept completely alien to Maori, and indeed to the thinking of indigenous people worldwide, – private land ownership. The setttlers, who had largely been tenant farmers in England and Scotland, wanted freehold land. Freehold means land ‘free of rent’. Thousands of years of enclosures of land in Britain had meant that freehold was the new ideal. They had forgotten that land belongs to everyone.

It is a sign of how little distance we have come in our understanding of land as a natural resource that a high profile debate like this QandA debate can go hard at it without mentioning land. One tweeter said ‘The elephant in the room is capital gains’, again without mentioning land.

Oh and they had a debate they had about ‘forcing people out of their homes’. When Laila pointed out that there was no shortage of bedrooms in Auckland, Matthew Hooten said you can’t force people out of their homes. Well a tax system can. That is what tax systems do – they alter behaviour. If a Remuera retired couple is living in a huge home and the only cost to hold their land is the rates, they stay there. If however they had to pay an extra 3% land tax they might reconsider buying a smaller property more suited to their needs.

The next day the Dominion Post carried a short piece making Laila look ridiculous for saying this but she was only pointing out a fact.

A recent Melbourne study has found that a great many property owners are not even renting, they are just sitting on their properties waiting for capital gain. In the commercial area it is a higher percentage and in each suburb it differs. 64,386 properties are likely vacancies during Melbourne’s record-long housing supply crisis - See more at: http://www.prosper.org.au/tag/speculative-vacancies/#sthash.cHtfoINb.dpuf

It is time such a study was done for Auckland.

Economics professor Steve Keen in a recent interview said it is only thing stopping unemployment rising to the levels of Europe is the the housing bubble. The housing bubble keeps money supply up. Goodness, that is a critical point and leads us to understand the interconnections between the money supply, unemployment and how the tax system affect where money is invested. Of course Steve Keen must then argue we need more money in the system as well as a tax system that taxes the monopoly use of the commons and not work. And we have to find a money system that is sufficient. Thank goodness for the citizen effort going on at the moment to start a Christchurch currency. Yes getting this new political economy is a huge challenge for the entire world. http://www.switzer.com.au/video/keen13112014/.

Will The US and Japan reach a deal on agriculture and automobiles, and offer virtually nothing to everyone else

eight_col_tppa_protest_welliLast Saturday was a very successful International Day of Action against the TPPA! Here is something Jane Kelsey wrote about the various scenarios. Here is hoping we don't get option 3. And watch the timing, as it could all happen when we are busy with Christmas...And here is Jane writing now:

“It is a hell of a lot easier to stop the TPPA being concluded than trying to prevent it coming into force after the deal has been signed. This is the time to ram that message home, not just to the government, but to the opposition parties as well – including the prospective Labour leaders whom I have yet to see stake a position on the TPPA.”

There is a mythology that the TPPA will never happen. That is a reckless assumption. It encourages complacency and inaction. And it is seriously wrong.

The political leaders of the twelve countries know they have to do the deal soon or it will become paralysed.

That won’t happen when the trade ministers meet on 8th November in Beijing on the margins of APEC. But it could happen within a couple of months. No one should doubt how serious they are.

That was obvious at the ministerial meeting ten days ago in Sydney.

The pressure on the negotiators in the handful of remaining sensitive chapters is intense, as if they have instructions to finish their technical work so the ministers can finalise the deal.

What has been saving us all is the continued standoff between the US and Japan over agriculture and automobiles.

That could continue to save us. But don't bet on it.

There are mixed views about what the Republican victory in Tuesday’s mid-term Congressional elections in the US will mean. It is already being spun to say that Republicans are pro-free trade and will be better for the TPPA, so they may give Obama fast track authority to ease the TPPA through Congress. That would reassure the other governments at the table and encourage them to finalise the deal.

Those who are tracking developments in Congress, such as Lori Wallach from Public Citizen, disagree. There is a real hatred of Obama in some Republican circles, and the price for fast track would be hugely controversial, such as rules on so-called currency manipulation, which some countries couldn't agree to.

On the Japan side, it is unclear how the political scandals in the Abe government might affect the shape of a final deal with the US on agriculture and automobiles. Abe also has a controversial tax change to steer through the Diet in the next few months that will use up a lot of his scarce political capital.

Despite these factors, both the US and Japan need an outcome. Soon. They could well do a pragmatic deal that works for them, and let the dominos fall.

I can see four scenarios.

Scenario one: The US and Japan decide to play by the supposed rules of November 2011 and liberalise everything for everyone. And flocks of flying pigs will fill the skies over the twelve countries.

Scenario two: The US and Japan cannot reach agreement on agriculture. Everything remains stalled. After some time – who knows how long - they stop pretending and suspend negotiations.

They know that once they do that, the momentum is almost impossible to regain. The Doha round at the World Trade Organization started in 2001, was suspended in 2007, then restarted but no-one would know! In this scenario, expect the TPPA to drag on with no one willing to pull the plug.

Scenario three: The US and Japan reach a deal on agriculture and automobiles, and offer virtually nothing to everyone else. That is consistent with what Japan reportedly offered to New Zealand on dairy in Sydney. Canada will happily follow suit, hiding behind the US and Japan. Faced with this, Groser can’t bring himself to walk away, swallows the rat, accepts what’s on offer and agrees to trade-off our medicines, internet, investment, SOEs, etc.

Scenario four: Groser does what he has threatened to do, and walks away because there is no meaningful liberalisation on agriculture. More flocks of pigs join their whanau in scenario 1.

The agriculture lobby is terrified because they know the third option is the most likely. That saw them at panic stations last week with a series of statements from Federated Farmers, the dairy lobby, Groser and sympathetic journalists insisting that New Zealand must be prepared to walk away from a lousy deal.

Groser will never walk away. He views the TPPA deal as his brainchild. He will spin whatever is in the final deal as the first step to something that will bring huge long-term benefits to New Zealand. ‘We can’t afford not to be part of the biggest deal between the world’s biggest trading powers … ‘

If he is clever – and he is - Groser could seek to defer implementation of the worst parts of the TPPA so the impacts are delayed. Better still, if Parliament didn’t have to change the law immediately, the US would be unable to hold New Zealand to ransom over compliance (the blackmail process known as 'certification').

Then Groser can say, 'see, the scaremongering about the TPPA was a big beat up.' By the time the impacts are felt, his role as the minister who negotiated the TPPA (and hopefully the National government) will be history.

This could well happen unless we turn up the heat, on and after Saturday.

Defeatists will say that taking to the streets won’t make any difference. But activists in Australia, Japan, Malaysia and the US will be doing the same. The collective pressure does matter. The other governments are nervous about who can deliver on what they are promising, especially when it is unpopular at home.

It is a hell of a lot easier to stop the TPPA being concluded than trying to prevent it coming into force after the deal has been signed. This is the time to ram that message home, not just to the government, but to the opposition parties as well – including the prospective Labour leaders whom I have yet to see stake a position on the TPPA.

Gatherings on Saturday were in Auckland, Hamilton, Raglan, Tauranga, Rotorua, New Plymouth, Napier, Palmerston North, Levin, Wellington,Nelson, Christchurch, Timaru, Dunedin, Invercargill. Details on itsourfuture.org.nz."

Financial analyst and former oildrum editor joins New Economics Party as spokesperson

Top Financial Analyst to join New Economics Party

Friday, 1 August 14

The New Economics Party has just added top financial analyst Nicole Foss to its group as spokesperson on the global economy.

“We are delighted to welcome Nicole, Senior Editor of The Automatic Earth website to our team” said party co-leader Deirdre Kent. “Nicole, a Canadian has recently arrived to live in Motueka and is in demand as an international speaker on finance, energy and resilience,” she said.

Nicole is former Editor of The Oil Drum Canada (canada.theoildrum.com). She used to be a Research Fellow at the Oxford Institute for energy Studies in the UK and used to run the Agri-Energy Producers' Association of Ontario in Canada. Her formal background is in science and law.

Nicole says she aligns with the New Economics Party idea that the global financial crisis is far from over. “The recent credit bubble was the biggest ponzi scheme the world has ever experienced and it’s not yet unwound.” The bailouts now add up to at least $4.6 trillion or $4,600,000,000,000. Foss says the bubble is leading us into a very long and painful depression.

The New Economics Party http://neweconomics.net.nz is not contesting this election.

For further comment phone Deirdre Kent 06 364 7779 or 021 728 852 or Nicole Foss 022 312 5120