Wolf Richter

Greece ‘Finds’ Treasure, Stays Solvent For Another Month

None of the financial shenanigans that the Greek government engages in on a routine basis, as shocking as they used to be, surprise anyone anymore … until there’s something that surprises everyone.

The Ugly World Of Auto Sales

The media giddily reported the September auto sales numbers—though there was little to be giddy about. They were still 20% lower than September 2006. Toyota and Honda got slammed, but don’t blame post-earthquake inventory shortages. They have been resolved. It’s a shift in the market.

Prying Into the Brain

A dream—or nightmare—yields to scientific progress: quantitative models recreate thoughts, and brain signals control mechanical devices. Yet, the brain is an unreliable organ that makes up for shortcomings in data with profuse creativity. It’s going to be a wild ride. And Google and Facebook will have a field day.

Japan is Running Out Of Butter

And now they blame it on the weather! Particularly the record heat that suffocated the country during the summer of 2010. Turns out, dairy cows are less fertile when it’s too hot, and that set in motion a chain reaction.

Deflation In Japan and its Chances in the US

Deflation phobia broke out again. Fed governor Bullard grumbled about inflation expectations being too low and threatened to print more money, while deflationistas paint the Japanese “deflation spiral” as sheer horror. So here is my experience with that horror.

Alas, in one category, deflation has hounded us for 10 years.

Reform Rebellion In Greece

Another avalanche of demands and plans to bail out Greece rolls over the Eurozone, but Greek society is digging in its heels. The prime minister talks a good game with foreign leaders when he promises reforms, but his own ministries just pulled the rug out from under him.

Inflation As Solution: Hosing The Middle Class

The FOMC’s often and clearly stated policy of creating sufficient inflation has been effective: up 36% from January 2000. But there are victims: the middle class and ultimately the economy.

France Simmers In Its Own Juices, Germany Frets

“We’re not doing this for the Greeks, but for us,” said Angela Merkel amidst a cacophony of doomsday scenarios. It’s all about propping up German banks and exporters. For the French, however, the European debt crisis doesn’t seem to exist.

Tokyo Tidbit: Pandemic Honesty At The Street Level

A worker was sorting garbage at a garbage disposal facility, when he found a bag with 10,000-yen bills. He promptly took it to the police. When they got through counting, they had about ¥10,000,000 ($131,000) stacked in front of them. Alas, the honest worker won’t ever get any of it.

Obama to EU: Get Your S__t Together; Got An Election Next Year

The White House is lobbying European governments to shut up and do something. No more disputes in public. No more disagreements over fundamental issues. The world is collapsing, and it’s time to act boldly. Hank Paulson’s extortion racket is back.