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Ferdinand E. Banks

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  • China's Giant Catch-22 [View article]
    Lord Keynes was correct when he said that economics is an easy subject that is difficult. Of course, he would also have been correct if he had said that it was a difficult subject that is easy. It depends upon whom you are talking to and waht you are talking about. Christine Lagarde - the lawyer who became an economic expert overnight when Mr Sarkozy needed a smart woman who could talk to dumb journalists - probably belongs in the second category, because although she doesn't know any serious economics, she makes it sound easy.

    This author is in the first category. He doesn't understand how difficult the subject is. The Chinese miracle - and it is a miracle - isn't going to go bust - isn't - and if it does the reason cannot be found in the last chapters of a half-baked Econ 101 textbook. And by the way, for you non-history readers, the U.S. accounted for a couple of miracles in the not-too-distant-past. I'm thinking of WWII and the U.S. Navy and Air Force, by which I mean the construction of ships and planes, and the training of people to use them - and this was done in 3 years.
    Jul 28 10:14 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Natural Gas: Look Out Below [View article]
    Captain Brian has got it right. We don't know what we need to know about natural gas, and the lies and misunderstandings that are/were flooding the bloggosphere are no help. One thing though is certain. I've spent a lot of time proving to myself that nuclear is the way to go where electric generation is concerned, but if there were the gas available that some people believe is available - if - then I have got some explaining to do (to myself at least).
    Jul 28 09:47 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • The Inefficient Market Hypothesis [View article]
    Burton Malkiel and Eugene Fama both seem to believe in the EMH, and both would have had a Nobel Prize years ago if the people on the Nobel committee were not ignoramuses. On the other hand, Andrew Lo at MIT does not seem to buy the EMH, and wrote a long and apparently widely read article on the subject, and the kindest thing I can say about that article - or maybe it is a book, I forget - is that it is crank.

    Where this topic is concerned, Fama and Malkiel are the main men, and as they would inform you if you asked them, all available information is so rapidly reflected in stock prices that no single investor should draw the conclusion that he or she knows more than the market as a whole knows. Then what about Mr Buffett? Mr Buffett is not an investor - Mr B. is a superstar, and so his opinion is of no use to the rest of us.
    Jul 26 11:08 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Get Out Of Coal Stocks [View article]
    Author, you get between D+ and C- from me for this effort, although just now I am leaning toward the former. I wrote a brilliant paper on nuclear some months ago, and a graduate of MIT. who is an executive somewhere, sent me an article from the (London) Financial Times saying why I was wrong.

    Do you get that? Do you dig? He sent ME an article by some ignorant journalist with the FT telling ME that I was wrong, and one of the dumb chief editors of that publication, who can hardly spell shale gas, later published an article saying that shale gas was the real deal - which it might be, but just as likely aint.

    Let's clear this up. According to the (US) EIA, China has much more shale gas that the US, but even so they are running around the world, buying every energy resource that can be burned, and often regardless of the trouble and expense that it involves. They are doing this because - on the basis of present evidence - a genuine belief in the ability of shale gas to make dreams come true is for fools. Once again please: shale gas is A-OK, and may turn out to be a VERY valuable asset, but NOT on the basis of present evidence.
    Jul 26 10:36 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Update On Natural Gas [View article]
    Interesting article, and taken as a whole, very interesting comments. Since the TV screen will be filled with the Olympics, and I dont intend to see a minute of it, maybe I'll entertain myself studying the natural gas market,
    Jul 22 08:44 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Natural Gas Bottom Has Yet To Be Reached [View article]
    Funny, but I tell friends and neighbors that I know everything that I want to know about natural gas, and as a result I regard this as an interesting (and perhaps valuable) article. I guess that I will just have to read it again.

    At the same time I want to confirm that that where natural gas is concerned, there is an enormous amount of foolishness circulating in the blogosphere.
    Jul 21 09:37 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • This Is The Real Source Of Our Economic Problems [View article]
    Better wait until the election is over before delivering the wine and roses. If the American voters can reelect a man who started a war on the basis of a lie, and reject a man (Kerry) who left a soft job to serve in combat, then anything is possible.
    Jul 21 06:43 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • EVs, Batteries and Tales From The Valley of Death [View article]
    "The Valley of Death", John? Sounds to me like a string of restaurants in one of those wonderful valleys in German speaking Switzerland. Maybe I would have enough money to visit one of those restaurants if I wasn't too lazy to look into your bitching and griping about batteries and EVs and the like. To tell the truth, just now I don't see how the great grand-kids are going to get along without them.
    Jul 19 09:41 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • This Is The Real Source Of Our Economic Problems [View article]
    This article is a travesty of Econ 101 - unfortunately without any scientific value. Now, if one of the best economic teachers in the world - ME - had been asked, I would have said that the problems of the U.S. are basically due to two things: (1) The failure of the educational system in that country, and (2) the failure of voters to recognize what kind of world we now live in, and as a result to elect politicians like George W. Bush and Mr Obama.

    But even so, I find the article useful, and as a result I want to congratulate this author for making an effort to explain what has gone very wrong in the Big PX. At the university where I was a star in the economics faculty, mediocrities and parasites are now taking over - gradually and otherwise - and this article makes it clear that my university is not the only institution of higher learning suffering this handicap. As John Maynard (Lord) Keynes once said, "economics is an easy subject that is difficult". What he should have said was that 'economics is a very easy subject that some charlatans who are teaching the subject have made it impossible for their students to understand'..
    Jul 19 09:20 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Natural Gas: Movements Into Storage Suggest Glut Will Soon Disappear [View article]
    Interesting and perhaps valuable paper. I told myself on several occasions that I was going to leave natural gas to the other experts, but now I don't know. If only people would talk about nuclear as much as they do about gas. Then I could shine.
    Jul 18 10:38 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Natural Gas Liquids Are Following Natural Gas Off A Fracking Cliff [View article]
    This is a valuable article. The more people know about natural gas liquids the better.
    Jul 17 12:38 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • How Much Natural Gas Do We Have Left? [View article]
    Something is shocking here. That something is when the president of the U.S. calls his Energy Secretary, or energy adviser, and get an estimate of the natural gas in the U.S. that is ignorant or stupid or both.
    Jul 17 12:28 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Iran, Stimulus And Charts Could Push Oil Higher [View article]
    This is an interesting article, although I was NOT pleased to see the Wall Street Journal alluded to as a source of reliable energy information. Actually that publication is pathetic where energy matters are concerned, and the same has become true of the young 'Masters of the Universe' on Wall Street whose knowledge of energy issues is abysmal.
    Jul 4 09:25 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why We Don't Own China [View article]
    In his book 'Man's Fate', Andre Malraux concluded that a suicidal and unsuccessful attack by the Chinese on British sailors (or marines) in Shanghai in the l920s or 1930s was the beginning of a new China. That contention didn't make any sense at all to me. As far as I am concerned, the beginning of a new China came when the Chinese stopped the advance of the American army in Korea, and I lost my two best friends. Considering that the secret weapons of our Chinese friends were shovels, I found myself wondering what would happen when they had planes and tanks and the rest of it.

    They have those now, and more. In fact they have enough to defend themselves while they are following some of the advice of Chairman Mao: "War is ten percent fighting, ten percent resting, and eighty percent self-improvement " Where this self-improvement is concerned, I suspect that it includes ignoring most of the half-baked observations in this and similar articles.
    Jul 3 10:45 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • How To Profit From The Shale Gas Boom [View article]
    This is an interesting article, and I definitely intend to study it in detail.
    Of course, my policy has been to stay away from the subject of shale gas, because where lies and misunderstandings are concerned, it competes with nuclear. The difference is that many persons are completely and totally ignorant where nuclear is concerned, while the lies and misunderstandings associated with shale gas usually have to do with getting folks to buy or believe in something that will not deliver.
    Jun 29 08:39 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment