Archive for the ‘Middle East’ Category

Notes From Underground: There is now a surplus of fertilizer post G-20 meeting

February 20, 2011

The breaking news during the weekend was the growing unrest in Middle Eastern nations as the contagion of TAHRIR SQUARE has created a desire for change in the autocracies dominating many Arab governments. Libya is the newest hotspot and protests against the Qaddafi regime has been met by state violence. Bahrain has also seen increased political unrest as the SHIITE majority is pushing for a greater say in how the small emirate is governed.

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Notes From Underground: The revolution will not be televised*

February 14, 2011

As I was inundated with the news out of the Middle East it was simple to recall the song by Gil Scott-Heron. The talking heads were mesmerized by their apparent influence in helping to spark the “PLAZA FIRE.” This is a nice kumbaya moment to believe that the Twitter generation can overcome autocratic rulers by messaging. However, I think it creates a great deal of danger for those with their bodies in the squares. I am a believer in the need to remove the sclerotic autocrats from power but Egypt was not one of those moments. The military that has run the political machinery in Egypt is still intact and pulling all the strings. It is certainly a feel-good moment for those involved but until real change occurs it is nothing more than rearranging the chairs.

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Notes From Underground: Hello? Central Casting, we need experts in market and political hieroglyphics–STAT

January 30, 2011

All eyes have turned to Egypt as the political situation has caught the world’s financial markets off guard. The turmoil in Tunisia was merely a blip on the radar screen but the significance of Egypt is an entirely different matter. So much capital has been thrust at maintaining the status quo in Egypt that many financial analysts have been lulled into a pre-Minsky complacency: Stability breeds a false sense of comfort. The emerging markets have been the repository of the Bernanke QE2 program as low rates have led to the search for higher yields and let potential risk be damned or rather rationalized away by dusting off the models of Long Term Capital Management.

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