The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those who speak it. ... In a time of deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act. George Orwell

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

External debt of Ireland falls to €1.61 trillion

According to todays' Irish Times article.  Population of the Republic of Ireland is 4.5M.

Quote:

Ireland’s external debt continued to fall, standing at €1.61 trillion at the end of December 2009, a decrease of €26 billion compared with the end of September. The figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) include general government, the monetary authority, financial and non-financial corporations and households.    ... Credit institutions and money market funds had debt of €661 billion at the end of last year, a fall of close to €30 billion compared to three months earlier, and a decline of €107 billion compared to a year earlier.  However, general Government foreign borrowing rose €2 billion to €75 billion between the end of September and December 31st 2009 as new long-term debt securities were issued, off-setting redemptions in short-term securities. Compared to a year earlier, it was €17 billion higher.  Intra-group borrowing and fluctuating exchange rates accounted for a rise in direct investment debt liabilities of €10 billion to €210 billion.
My comments:

It will take 31 years to pay back 1.6Teu at that rate providing that Irish institutions and households find enough assets to pay all that.   There are many questions,  I am curious as to who the creditors are?  British? Germans?    Why did they lent so much to a country with no assets other than property they were lending for?    If most of that was backed up by property, that is clearly under water now, since the 50% property price drop in 2007-2009.  How could an island nation of 4.5M people own 1.6Teu worth of properties to back that all up?   How long (maturity) are those liabilities?  Does Ireland really own that much in backup assets or is most of that 1.6Teu really unsupported by anything other than a promise to pay it back?  That would be roughly 1Meu per family/household!     Iceland's case springs to my mind.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

High plasma AGE and platelet hyperaggregability in vegans

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More deficiencies have been shown (than just B12,A,D3,K2,EPA,DHA) to be inherent in vegan diets. Taurine supplementation may be necessary for some vegans. Taurine is amino-acid not present in plants, and can only be obtained from animal produce.

1) Sub-optimal taurine status may promote platelet hyperaggregability in vegetarians.

Quote:

Plasma taurine levels are lower, and urinary taurine excretion is substantially lower, in vegetarians than in omnivores. Platelets are rich in taurine, which functions physiologically to dampen the calcium influx evoked by aggregating agonists--thereby down-regulating platelet aggregation. Supplemental intakes of taurine as low as 400 mg daily have been reported to markedly decrease the sensitivity of platelets to aggregating agonists ex vivo.

2) The low-AGE content of low-fat vegan diets could benefit diabetics - though concurrent taurine supplementation may be needed to minimize endogenous AGE production.

Quote:

Nonetheless, the plasma AGE content of healthy vegetarians has been reported to be higher than that of omnivores - suggesting that something about vegetarian diets may promote endogenous AGE production. Some researchers have proposed that the relatively high-fructose content of vegetarian diets may explain this phenomenon, but there so far is no clinical evidence that normal intakes of fructose have an important impact on AGE production. An alternative or additional possibility is that the relatively poor taurine status of vegetarians up-regulates the physiological role of myeloperoxidase-derived oxidants in the generation of AGEs - in which case, taurine supplementation might be expected to suppress elevated AGE production in vegetarians.


3) A taurine-supplemented vegan diet may blunt the contribution of neutrophil activation to acute coronary events.

Quote:

Taurine has anti-atherosclerotic activity in animal models, possibly reflecting a role for macrophage-derived myeloperoxidase in the atherogenic process. Taurine also has platelet-stabilizing and anti-hypertensive effects that presumably could reduce coronary risk.
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Sunday, March 7, 2010

Vegetarian Bantu have worse CHD markers than non-vegetarian!

I could not resist re-posting this pearl (thanks Peter):


Lancet. 1996 Sep 21;348(9030):784-8. "Blood pressure and atherogenic lipoprotein profiles of fish-diet and vegetarian villagers in Tanzania: the Lugalawa study."

Quote:
INTERPRETATION: In these villagers, consumption of freshwater fish (300-600 g daily) was associated with raised plasma concentrations of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, lower blood pressure, and lower plasma lipid concentrations.
 Heretic's translation:
   Vegetarianism sucks.
 

Saturday, March 6, 2010

overvalued currency is government's fault

Dozent wrote:

Please note the fact that when currency is overvalued everything is expensive, is totally counter-intuitive. When the currency is very strong the imports should be cheap. Like the $30 microwaves. But it applies to so few products it is not even funny.

Exactly! That's what misled me too. It is very counter-intuitive! A simple minded false logic would dictate that a country with overvalued, too strong currency like Ireland in the 1980-ties and 90-ties, should have been flooded with cheap food and cheap industrial good from abroad.

The truth is that it does not work like that at all! The primary factor missing from the logic which in fact CAUSES the currency to REMAIN overvalued is the government! I did not understand it but it is the most important: - Irish government made possible for the Punt to REMAIN overvalued for so long, indefinitely because they simply blocked the cheap import through import and excise duties and siphoned off the excessive cash through punitive income tax!. Had Irish gov not done that everybody would have simply bought computers, would ate only imported food and the currency would have collapsed within 3 months!

Food was too expensive in Ireland because imports were heavily taxed and farmers had to recoup their overvalued labor costs with appropriate pricing, where as the consumers had no choice.

There is one manipulation necessary to drive a currency high above par value (for example pushing bond yields up) and there are other necessary conditions that must be manipulated by centralized government in order for the currency to remain overvalued rather than correcting immediately through trade imbalance. Actually Americans accomplished the second part (preventing overvalued dollar from collapsing) not by taxation and customs like the Irish gov (they couldn't tax outside of the US borders!) , but by managing to sustain the permanent trade imbalance - by balancing the real trade of goods and service with fake printed papers that the other countries like China treated as if these were real goods with value! (*)

Under normal free market system a poorer less developed and less industrialized country like Ireland (or Portugal - another prime victim of Dr. Salazar's monetary manipulation theory) could not have possibly maintained an overvalued currency at al! Irish Punt would have been worth not 2$ in the 80-ties, but 1$ and living expenses in Ireland would have been LOWER , not higher than in W.Germany! As it should have been, as it is in Poland right now. That's why Polish economy is not doing worse but better than German, French or Swedish in spite of the different levels of development.

Stan

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*) We know that the US$ will probably collapse only when the trade imbalance balance will rectify itself using real goods and services that real people really need in real life, that have real value priced on the real market! As long as China, Japan and EU buy US Bills and Bonds, the US$ will have to remain overvalued!