Friday, June 29, 2012

Iran's Oil Exports Down 20-30 %; Export Land Model, Maybe?

Iran has publicly acknowledged that its oil exports are down between 20 and 30 percent.  The article notes that it is due to the upcoming sanctions being placed upon it by the European Union.  But I immediately thought of the Export-Land Model, which is a model that shows a marked decrease in oil exports when a nation that exports oil experiences both a peak in its oil production and an increase in its domestic oil production.  In other words, a country will use more and more of its oil for domestic consumption rather than exporting it.  An official for the Iranian oil company even admits it in the article; "It was 20 to 30 percent we reduce regarding to our export; some of the reduction is shifting for the refinery internally."   

This New York Times graph from 2007 is of several countries, including Iran, whose oil consumption had shot up due to a booming economy.  Of course, this means a lesser supply of oil for importers, including Europeans and us.  

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Giant Fed Scam that Most People Don't Understand

For someone who is economically illiterate like myself, it always helps to have an article like this one that makes its case in a very simple way.  This pretty short article outlines how we are all scammed by the Federal Reserve.  Like the other factors that lie behind the conditions of this country, and indeed, the world, such as peak oil and climate change, the financial situation does not appear to be sustainable (indeed, won't be in the long term), but has a tenacious ability to ensure that "business as usual" continues on an indefinite basis.  We may think to ourselves that it will fall apart, but for the near-term anyway, it keeps on going.

Anyway, read the article and you will come away with at least two basic points on why our debt has spiraled as badly out of control as it has.  My only points of contention with the article is the assumption behind it, that somehow the government can do a better job of managing our debt and the money supply than the Fed has. Yes, our own Constitution gives the Congress the power to coin money and regulate its value, and that power has been usurped by the Federal Reserve, an unaccountable, private corporation.  But would our government have done a better job?  I'm not sure that it would.  Throughout history, you can find examples of governments debasing their own currencies for one reason or another.  And keeping the value of our currency pegged to a commodity (such as gold) results in big variations in the supply of money.  So, upon reading what I just wrote, the point of contention that I have may seem like a pretty major one, but I still agree with the article's main argument that the Fed has done a bad job with managing the money supply, or a good job (depending on who you are and where you stand).

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Some Neat Widgets That I Found

Hopefully, I will be able to overhaul the blog to some extent in the near future.  I just added a couple of cool widgets that list, second-by-second, the energy consumption and the energy production of the planet.  The former is organized by sources of energy that are being extracted, and the latter is grouped by the top energy users amongst countries.  Some of my favorite links are dead or no longer useful, and some script on the page needs to be fixed.  I am hoping to sit down and do some work in the next week or so.  Some organization will also be nice too.