The Solution: The Promise of New Energy Systems & Beyond Oil
Evaporates the Problem: The ill designed "Corporism: The Systemic Disease that Destroys Civilization."
Mild shock and disbelief barely registered in the nation of the most productive, overworked, underpaid, underinsured, vacation deprived, low paid slave/workers in the world, as they watched their bridges fall down, while their taxes, gas and energy costs continued skyrocketing to uncharted realms, as the masses stagnated in unmovable traffic, and government departments threatened to close due to lack of funds - On the bright side, the worldwide corporate 2% greedy guts, individually, had aplenty, more wealth than 30 nations combined, apiece.... irrelevant to who is paying for their errors (as in subprime loans).
As common sense in science is lost with the continued stagnation of our energy base and deep troubling theoretical foundational issues in physics, so too, Civilization's Survival Parameters fly out of sight, out of mind, along with the values and morals inherent within new scientific understanding which new energy systems would reveal. Scientific Stagnation bodes an ill wind to evolution, sustainability, and survival as "cycles of humiliation, dumbing us down, violence, and Unrestrained Corporate Greed prompting resource wars with nuclear finality" join hands with global warming and ecological imbalance to precipitate the historical "rise and fall of civilization" - a Tsunami accelerating toward us with a far more spectacular event than the legends and myths of 'Atlantis and Lemuria"........ had more people known that Energy from Corn (or going backwards to a dimwitted concept of radioactive nuclear power application ) sounded a wee bit kindergartenish and senile for the twenty first century......the Future may have had a chance.
What Created This Monster?
By NELSON D. SCHWARTZ and JULIE CRESWELL
LIKE Noah building his ark as thunderheads gathered, Bill Gross has spent the last two years anticipating the flood that swamped Bear Stearns about 10 days ago. As manager of the world’s biggest bond fund and custodian of nearly a trillion dollars in assets, Mr. Gross amassed a cash hoard of $50 billion in case trading partners suddenly demanded payment from his firm, Pimco.
And every day for the last three weeks he has convened meetings in a war room in Pimco’s headquarters in Newport Beach, Calif., “to make sure the ark doesn’t have any leaks,” Mr. Gross said. “We come in every day at 3:30 a.m. and leave at 6 p.m. I’m not used to setting my alarm for 2:45 a.m., but these are extraordinary times.”
Even though Mr. Gross, 63, is a market veteran who has lived through the collapse of other banks and brokerage firms, the 1987 stock market crash, and the near meltdown of the Long-Term Capital Management hedge fund a decade ago, he says the current crisis feels different — in both size and significance.
The Federal Reserve not only taken has action unprecedented since the Great Depression — by lending money directly to major investment banks — but also has put taxpayers on the hook for billions of dollars in questionable trades these same bankers made when the good times were rolling.
“Bear Stearns has made it obvious that things have gone too far,” says Mr. Gross, who plans to use some of his cash to bargain-shop. “The investment community has morphed into something beyond banks and something beyond regulation. We call it the shadow banking system.”
It is the private trading of complex instruments that lurk in the financial shadows that worries regulators and Wall Street and that have created stresses in the broader economy. Economic downturns and panics have occurred before, of course. Few, however, have posed such a serious threat to the entire financial system that regulators have responded as if they were confronting a potential epidemic.
As Congress and Republican and Democratic presidential administrations pushed for financial deregulation over the last decade, the biggest banks and brokerage firms created a dizzying array of innovative products that experts now acknowledge are hard to understand and even harder to value.
On Wall Street, of course, what you don’t see can hurt you. In the past decade, there has been an explosion in complex derivative instruments, such as collateralized debt obligations and credit default swaps, which were intended primarily to transfer risk.
These products are virtually hidden from investors, analysts and regulators, even though they have emerged as one of Wall Street’s most outsized profit engines. They don’t trade openly on public exchanges, and financial services firms disclose few details about them.
Used judiciously, derivatives can limit the damage from financial miscues and uncertainty, greasing the wheels of commerce. Used unwisely — when greed and the urge to gamble with borrowed money overtake sensible risk-taking — derivatives can become Wall Street’s version of nitroglycerin.
Bear Stearns’s vast portfolio of these instruments was among the main reasons for the bank’s collapse, but derivatives are buried in the accounts of just about every Wall Street firm, as well as major commercial banks like Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase. What’s more, these exotic investments have been exported all over the globe, causing losses in places as distant from Wall Street as a small Norwegian town north of the Arctic Circle.
With Bear Stearns forced into a sale and the entire financial system still under the threat of further losses, Wall Street executives, regulators and politicians are scrambling to figure out just what went wrong and how it can be fixed.
But because the forces that have collided in recent weeks were set in motion long before the subprime mortgage mess first made news last year, solutions won’t come easily or quickly, analysts say.
In fact, while home loans to risky borrowers were among the first to go bad, analysts say that the crisis didn’t stem from the housing market alone and that it certainly won’t end there.
“The problem has been spreading its wings and taking in markets very far afield from mortgages,” says Alan S. Blinder, former vice chairman of the Federal Reserve and now an economics professor at Princeton. “It’s a failure at a lot of levels. It’s hard .. full text