“And we have to improve our image,” said Masatoshi Kumagai, one of the bosses of the Japanese yakuza, in an interview with French reporters. Yakuza are on decline, he said, and if they don’t change their business model, they might cease to exist.
An earthquake struck Tokyo around noon on September 1, 1923, while people were cooking lunch over open fires: Over 100,000 people burned to death in the city “built of wood and paper.” Now, September 1 is “Disaster Prevention Day.” And it’s time to go shopping for foldable helmets.
Consumer confidence fell off a cliff and hit levels not seen since April 2009, and yet, consumers spent with abandon and made up the difference by piling on debt, at least for now. What gives?
We want you to prop up the stock market. Everybody knows it’s a Ponzi scheme that will collapse without your support. You don’t want us to end up like Bernie Madoff’s clients. No, Ben, we love Ponzi schemes. We get in early and get out before they collapse. That’s why we’re rich. The bad thing is that they sometimes collapse before we can get out. But you’ve bailed us out twice in the last couple of years….
Birthday surprise for her husband: a woman and five friends dug a deep hole on a beach in Ishikawa Prefecture, put mattresses at the bottom, covered the hole with a plastic sheet, and sprinkled sand on it. Her husband would fall in and everyone would have a grand old time. The outcome was tragic. And they didn’t even have the required permit.
Awful economic data and corporate announcements confirm: orders are plummeting, the dreaded inventory correction is here, and a recession is now guaranteed. In our already miserable economy, this is going to be a rough ride. Fasten your seatbelt.
Marine Le Pen, president of the Front National and one of the top contenders in the 2012 presidential election, said the unspeakable. And the media printed it. And now word is out.
The Bundesbank lashes out at the ECB for its decision to print money and buy crappy bonds of eurozone countries that lived high on the hog for years but are crumbling under a pile of debt. This puts it on collision course with the German industrialists that got rich off those countries. Angela Merkel is caught in between.
The run-up of the Swiss franc entailed a stock-market crash, gigantic hits to wealth invested overseas, and big losses in Swiss pension funds. Companies are reeling. Layoffs and a recession are next. The Swiss National Bank (SNB) flooded the market with francs, intervened in the currency markets, and forced real interest rates into negative territory. Without much success.
We really don’t need this. First it was rumors, now it has been announced in an earnings call. Two harmless sounding words: inventory correction. In a healthy economy, it causes a run-of-the-mill business cycle recession. In our economy, it can get ugly. Watch out, second half.