Sunday Open Thread – September 30, 2007

US Dollar September 2007

What I’m Thinking of Writing (and Podcasting) About Soon:

The Collapse of the US Dollar: 2007-08 Scenario: I think the chart above, showing the value of the $US against a basket of other currencies, is telling us that a collapse of the dollar is imminent. It’s time to lay out the scenario for what this will mean in the year and decade ahead. No I-told-you-so gloating: there will be no winners in this.

Birth Rates Rising Again: The Population Bomb Is Still Ignited: Some new data suggests that those who think population growth will stop on its own are dreaming in technicolour.

Why We Need a Public Persona: The journey to know yourself is the first step towards understanding how the world works and becoming truly yourself, which is necessary before you can make the world a little better. As de Mello said, this journey is mostly about getting rid of the everybody-else stuff that has become attached to us as part of our social conditioning, and getting rid of this stuff is perhaps what ee cummings meant when he said the hardest thing is to be nobody-but-yourself when the world is relentlessly trying to make you everybody-else. From birth, we pick up all this everybody-else stuff that clings to us and changes us, muddies us. We are rewarded by society for doing so. I find the ‘figments of reality’ thesis helpful in this hard work — realizing that our minds are nothing more than problem-detection systems evolved by the organs of our bodies for their purposes, not ‘ours’. That ‘we’ are, each ‘one’ of us, a collective, a complicity. What makes it so hard is that becoming nobody-but-yourself opens you up to accusations of being anti-social, weird, self-preoccupied, arrogant etc. So we end up, I think, having to adopt a public persona that is, to some extent, not genuine, not ‘us’ at all. That’s hard. How can we make this public persona as thin and transparent as possible?

Why are Gas Prices So Low?: Delayed until I have some clue as to what the answer might be. This has got me stumped.

Vignettes: Coming up soon, vignette #6.

Blog-Hosted Conversations: This week I’ll be publishing my narrated, edited interview of Chris Corrigan, which I recorded earlier this week, and recording a second interview on the same subject: “What is your model of a better way to live, and what capacities do we need to develop or re-learn to live that way?” Haven’t decided who the second interviewee will be, yet.

Possible Open Thread Question:

When the price of oil has risen 40% since May, why have gasoline prices gone down?

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2 Responses to Sunday Open Thread – September 30, 2007

  1. Janene says:

    Hi Dave –Looking at your question, I thought I would go look for a chart showing oil prices over the last year to see if i could see anything…. instead I found this on my first click:”Oil and other commodities denominated in dollars are actually falling in price in the eyes of foreign investors. That’s because the dollar has been sliding against other currencies since the Federal Reserve cut interest rates last week. The dollar fell further on Friday on expectations that the weak U.S. economy means another rate cut is coming.” from: it be that simple? Perhaps. Another possibility… time lag in the industry. Usually gas prices are several weeks to a couple months behind oil prices (except when they can get away with adjusting in ‘real’ time as if that were appropriate (when I was in the industry, gas prices always reflected oil increases in real time, and oil decreases in lag)– the politics may be making this less feasible to do)Third possibility? Political pressure at the highest levels… more of the thumb dragging, try and convince people everything is okay — combined with the outrageous profits of the last couple years making such pressure what’s that… three cents? :-)Janene

  2. Chaitanya says:

    Could it be that recent spike in oil prices is temporary ? Surely, the stock markets are acting this way. Earlier, the stock markets used to correct, when the oil prices are high. These days, they are simply not reacting to crude prices. Also, i read somewhere that lot of recent spike in oil is due to speculative fund buying. anyway, next few months should tell. If the oil prices are indeed to stay high, i suspect gas would follow soon, after the lag effect is gone.On the Dollar — purely looking from inflation point of view, i think Dollar is in a better position than other currencies. Everyone talks about inflation in US, but trust me, its nothing compared to what we have here in India. I continue to believe US dollar is a long term winner, and after next elections, will strengthen if better policies are followed. Everyone and their uncle is talking about collapse of the Dollar, i suspect that’s a sign that the bottom is near.anyway, i may well be wrong in the above.. but one thing is for sure. All markets seem to be in massive turmoil. Stock markets, crude, currencies, Gold, emerging markets. It seems like they are going out of control. It seems like we are approaching the breaking point of the system. Each Fed acts on its own country’s interests, but we have a *global* economy here. So we have an economy thats global, but decisions are made mostly on a national level. That seems broken.

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