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Ferdinand E. Banks  

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  • Natural Gas - The Good And The Bad [View article]
    This is a useful article, and well worth thinking about. So many lies and misunderstandings are circulating about this subject that I try to stay away from it, but maybe - just maybe - it deserves my precious attention.
    Jun 11, 2012. 01:06 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The U.S. Economy Sitting On The Threshold Of A New Golden Age, Part 1 [View article]
    I would never call you a fool, Chuck, because you might be a lot worse. Might. The U.S. produced several miracles that I was almost old enough to take part in, by which I mean the construction of the largest and most efficient navy and air force in the world, to include training the people to operate them. That was during WW2.

    I was in the US Army later and worked as an engineer for the US Navy for a year after that, but that was a different US. I cant imagine, nor do I believe, that at that time the American people would REELECT as president a man who started a war on the basis of a lie, while rejecting a man - John Kerry - who left a soft job to become a Swift Boat commander (or something).

    That aint the US I knew - the US where, when I went into the army, was informed that "you men play sports, well now you are on a team that has never lost". On a team that has never lost mind you. I wonder what they would think about an expression like that in Hollywood, or how it would sound on one of those rotten US TV serials that flood the...the something.
    Jun 10, 2012. 10:25 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Today In Commodities: A Turning Point [View article]
    The 'Grecian' gentlemen, to use a George W. Bushism, thinks that oil is heading to ten bucks.

    Interesting. When I was in the US Army, I spent a few leaves in Vienna, and studied a little German there after my discharge. I don't know what is happening in that city these days, but the only way oil will reach ten dollars is that the OPEC management spend as much time in the 'Orientale' and the surrounding neighborhood as I did.

    Let me tell you how I see things. OPEC made a trillion last year, and they want the same amount this year. If they are smart though they will take it easy on adjusting their quotas - and I think that they are smart. Also, they probably sell most of their oil at Brent prices, and so if they don't get their trillion this year, so what. They will do all right. Half of those countries have all the money they need anyway, as I said to one of my students, after which she stopped talking to me.
    Jun 9, 2012. 10:25 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • The Best Thing Warren Buffett Has Said All Year [View article]
    I believe that somewhere in my international finance textbook I say that some statistical index of volatility is useful - useful - when having to provide a measure of risk/uncertainty. My non-academic econometric work was initially with copper and oil prices, and if I remember correctly, I was completely and totally satisfied that I was right.

    I prefer a chrystal ball or coin or op-eds to econometrics these days, but I would have no trouble giving this article a passing grade. But it would NOT receive an A. As for that quotation of Mr Buffet, I would take the name of its author into consideration and it also would receive a passing grade - the lowest possible.
    Jun 8, 2012. 09:34 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Bernanke Gives Few Hints [View article]
    Well, I'm a Democrat, and I would have taught from the Macro book of Bernanke if the ignoramuses who sometimes have the authority to choose textbooks had given me the chance, but as far as I am concerned, that gentleman is hopeless. A few years ago someone asked him about the future oil price, and he said that according to prices in the (oil) futures market, there was nothing to worry about.

    I knew then that the future was going to be as bad as the past: Bush, Helicopter Ben, and Obama. What did Uncle Sam do to deserve that trio - as well as those other 'close' economics advisers that Obama rounded up to share their wisdom with him.
    Jun 8, 2012. 09:20 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Jim Rogers: Buy Commodities Now, Or You'll Hate Yourself Later [View article]
    The main problem in 2008 was the presence of George Bush in the White House, but aside from that the price of oil was the real bad news. I don't like being an optimist where oil is concerned, but I think that all may be well on that front. The OPEC people are as smart as I am...where oil is concerned I mean...and they have nothing to gain by encouraging or allowing an oil price run up at the present time.

    Once Mr Obama has returned to the great South Side of Chicago, and Mr Romney has a DC address, I think that it might be possible to provide some good news for the home folks. And although I don't like giving free advice, I hope that Mr R dispenses with the services of Dr Chu and everyone in the USDOE with that scholar's frame of mind.
    Jun 8, 2012. 09:10 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Obesity Race: Update, Part 1 [View article]
    Exercise and dieting - or better exercise and careful eating - don't function because they are not practiced the way they should be practiced. These days people are told that exercise and dieting don't work, and so they refrain - and when they refrain from 'medicines' of the type mentioned above as well they become obese.

    I was walking down Michigan Avenue in Chicago a century or so ago, and a man that I had known in the army walked up to me and pronounced me repusive because unknowingly I had put on a lot of weight. Exercising morning and night, and eating just bananas for lunch, gave gave me the 'line' I wanted and needed in a month or so. And had I been invited to any parties in that city - which never happened - I would have brought a smile to the face of my host.
    Jun 6, 2012. 10:03 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Global Economic Descent Continues [View article]
    Right on, Jack. If Kerry had handled those swift boat lies the way that you and I WOULD have done, we might be looking at a brighter future.

    I just don't get it. Kerry had a soft job that he gave up for a swift boat gig. THAT BY ITSELF MADE HIM A HERO. The voters in the Big PX don't seem to know on which side their bread is buttered.
    Jun 4, 2012. 08:24 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Global Economic Descent Continues [View article]
    What's the problem? The voters are just getting what they asked for. Instead of putting John Kerry in the White House, the voters in the US installed George W. Bush, which meant that they gave themselves Mr Obama. I am and have always been a Democrat, with one exception, but Obama is incompetent - though not so incompetent as Mr George.

    One more thing. A lot of countries are in trouble, and may or may not be able to get back on their feet, but if I remember correctly, one country that was able to perform miracles during the last century was the United States of America. They did it before and they can do it again...if they lay off the lies and misunderstandings.
    Jun 3, 2012. 08:48 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Japan's Mysterious Economy [View article]
    Kunst, he has no point. Japan attacked us on Dec 7, 1041, and Hitler went nuts and declared war on us on Dec 11 of the same year.

    'Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition', as one of those great WW2 songs went. But let's be clear on something: I have nothing against the Japanese for declaring war - that sort of thing takes place all the time - but not the abuse of American prisoners that took place during the war. As for the Germans, if the US had produced a suitable main battle tank, which should have been a piece of cake, the war would have been over 6 months earlier.
    May 30, 2012. 02:29 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Japan's Mysterious Economy [View article]
    Somebody thinks that the Chinese and Japanese cannot do what has been done in Silicon Valley. Maybe they don't want to. Maybe they consider a large part of American culture junk, although to be truthful, much of it is worse than junk.

    I won't claim that I was particularly impressed by some of the students I lectured to in Hong Kong, nor the people who sold dope to the gentlemen in my platoon in Kobe, but the Chinese can do anything we Americans can, unfortunately. Moreover, the same will probably be true of the Japanese when they discover what might happen to them and their economy if they don't stop horsing around.

    And deepValueLover, the Japanese were sick and tired of us after 6 months, and so were the Germans, but if I remember correctly, they declared war on us, and not the other way around.
    May 29, 2012. 10:47 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • GDP Per Barrel Of Oil Consumed: Which Countries Are Executing Efficiently? [View article]
    I agree with Mark Anthony: the correct variable is almost certainly energy rather than oil. But I don't know how much help that is: when I was teaching econometrics, I never felt an urge to do the statistical/econometric work alluded to in this article.

    However where the comment of Bob Johnson is concerned, I have spent a lot of time and money flying to Paris, and I am absolutely certain that the jazz clubs of Paris have contributed greatly to my productivity.
    May 29, 2012. 10:18 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Japan's Mysterious Economy [View article]
    That's right - most westerners don't have a clue about what is going on in the Japanese economy. When I taught finance I told my students that Japan was a country that could do no wrong.

    I spent a couple of years there, mostly in an infantry regiment, and stationed for a while in Yokohoma and Kobe. Somehow I got the impression that it was a fourth world country. Later, when I started making the conference scene, I was there a few times, and came away thinking that the Japanese had all the answers. Certainly, where energy was concerned, they had a lot of them.

    Well, macroeconomically they don't have all of them, but unlike some of the other commentators, I don't see why they can't make a strong comeback. After all, 60 years ago they thought that they were going to teach Uncle Sam a lesson. That kind of arrogance might pay of in the kind of future that I visualize - a future in which there are too many rather than too few immigrants.
    May 28, 2012. 10:04 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Staying Committed To Europe - Even If It Is In Cash [View article]
    "An ignorance of the social, political and economic forces..." and so on and so forth. What about cultural 'forces'. Add those and Mr 't' is absolutely and totally correct when calling the EUROZONE "artificial", although stupid is the word that I usually use.
    May 27, 2012. 09:07 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • A Surprising And Promising Trend In The U.S. Economy: Sharply Declining Oil Imports [View article]
    An excellent, provocative and very informative article. It deserves close study. Many thanks.
    May 26, 2012. 03:07 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
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