Daily economics – inflation and more

The last couple of days have been pretty hot and it’s about to get even hotter, so far this summer is lining up to be pretty good. Here’s another edition of daily economics with an overview of some interesting articles and videos I spotted today (or in the last couple of days).

InflationUS presents Hyperinflation Nation. This half hour long documentary is about the dangers of hyperinflation, it’s an interesting compilation of video clips filled with lots of information. It’s hard to imagine hyperinflation taking place in the developed world, but some contrarian voices believe the gigantic amount of money printing may trigger such a doom scenario.

Bread and circuses: Madoff sentenced to 150 years in prison.

“In today’s regulatory environment, it’s virtually impossible to violate rules.” – Bernard Madoff, Oct. 20, 2007

Meanwhile, politicians are spending hundreds of billions in every major currency and passing bills over 1,000 pages long without even reading them. The latest example is the climate bill that was passed by U.S. Congress on Friday, a 300 page amendment was added to this already 900 pages long bill the night before the vote. I wonder whether there’s anyone who voted on this bill that had fully read it and understood what’s in it.

Swine flu isn’t that hot anymore as it was a couple of weeks ago, but according to the CDC infections have topped 1 million in the U.S. alone. Though, that’s still a lot less than the number of people that get infected by a regular flu every year.

On the positive side, reports by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Bank claim there is plenty of unused, fertile land available to grow more crops. The reports estimate 1.6 billion hectares could be added to the current 1.4 billion hectares of crop land in the world, with over half of the available land found in Africa and Latin America.

Is Google going too far? An article by MediaPost reports the search giant is experimenting with tying FICO scores to searchers, to offer advertisers the ability to target a specific type of consumer:

The strategy will enable the search engine to help advertisers target a specific type of consumer through display and text ads, according to Masha Korsunsky, Google’s senior industry marketing manager, financial services.

The project is one of two initiatives that Google recently explored to help advertisers reach “credit-worthy consumers” online. For both projects, Google partnered with Compete and the research firm’s 2 million U.S. consumers who opt into these types of projects.

“Let’s say we have an advertiser who wants to reach consumers with a high FICO score who applied for mortgages in the first quarter,” Korsunsky says. “We can provide the advertiser with a list of Web sites on our Google content network that index against this segment.”

Former ABN Amro banker found dead with gunshot wounds. Motives of the crime are unknown, but this case reminds me of the German pensioners who kidnapped and tortured their financial advisor after having lost their savings.

The VIX index (aka fear index) has fallen to 25.35 for the first time since the collapse of Lehman send a shockwave through the financial world.

Is China not as healthy as most believe? Telegraph writer Ambrose Evans-Pritchard claims China’s banks are an accident waiting to happen.

Another interesting tale is that the audit of the Royal Canadian Mint has been completed. Media report 17,500 troy ounces of gold appear to have been stolen. At current market prices this stash of precious metals is worth around $16.3 million.


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