The “March Against Monsanto” in 52 countries, an unapproved strain of its genetically modified wheat growing on its own in Oregon, cancelled wheat export orders…. A rough week for Monsanto. Now it threw in the towel in Europe where its deep pockets and mastery of lobbying had failed: “It’s counterproductive to fight against windmills,” it explained.
“Yes, the industry is in collapse mode, but it is not all bad, it is just a healthy shakeup needed in a maturing industry,” an insider wrote in an email. Then he offered what he called “a slightly less gloomy take on the industry and with 50% more silver lining as well.”
The solar-panel price war waged by state-subsidized Chinese companies killed a slew of manufacturers worldwide. Now, much of solar-panel manufacturing takes place in China. To stay alive, they cut costs – and corners. Defects are ballooning. And “cheap” solar panels suddenly get very expensive. A cruel twist for an already threatened industry.
The good old days are back. Those days when money grew on trees: home prices jumped 10.9% year over year, based on data through March 2013. The usual suspects: Phoenix soared 22.5%, San Francisco 22.2%, Las Vegas 20.6%. You can’t lose money in real estate. I’m already hearing it again.
The confidence of consumers in France is catching up with the economic situation in their country, where the state sector, which dominates the land with 56% of the economic activity, has been hobbled by budget woes, and where the private sector, which is struggling with an inscrutable labor code and slack demand, is suffocating under a pile of new taxes.
Stability in the Japanese government bond market is “extremely desirable,” said Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda in a sign of just how frazzled he was after the turmoil and craziness that his over-the-edge experimental monetary policy has unleashed. But as stability eludes him, he might resort to ever more desperate measures to just hang on.
Like so many debacles in the EU, it started with the unelected European Commission. It’s immune to voters, but not to lobbyists and corporations. Under the guise of “consumer protection” or some other harmless moniker, it generates zany laws that tend to benefit large corporations. But last week, it went too far, even for Europeans.
No one accused Apple of having violated US tax laws. The Senate hearings merely exposed how Apple is dodging income taxes by doing what multinationals do: taking advantage of handouts and loopholes that Congress hands them. Now it turns out that much of the discussion was based on a fairytale.
The issue of inflation is complex everywhere. Official rates are disputed. People can’t reconcile them with what they see at the store. There are different formulas, resulting in different rates, and everyone picks and chooses what suits their needs. But nowhere is the issue as “complex,” infested with lies, and shrouded in obscurity as in Argentina. But 34.9%?
The solar-panel industry, once fattened by taxpayer subsidies and false hopes, has been in a death spiral around the world. In the US, a slew of photovoltaic standouts like Solyndra went under, taking billions of subsidies and investor capital with them. In Germany, it has been just as brutal. Even large companies are licking their wounds.