When I was younger, my parents would tell me not to take any wooden nickels. I always wondered what that meant. Are there actual people out there trying to pass off wooden currency? Would I really be tempted to accept this fake money? What kind of monster is prowling the streets looking to swindle ten-year-olds out of five cents?
Just before the financial crisis, peak oil was a hot topic. The theory was that demand for oil had permanently outstripped supply and that the commodity would only increase in value going forward as supplies dwindled. Talking heads raced to plant the highest price target as it shot up to over $130/bbl. There was a steep drop, then stabilization around $90/bbl. As is par for the course, those who get paid to predict things they cannot possibly predict based a long term outlook on the extreme short term history – $90 oil forever. The shale revolution initiated a massive paradigm shift as OPEC handed the world’s production reigns to the US. The price of oil went down as demand was still diminished from the financial crisis and due to the removal of some degree of political risk in the oil supply away from the Middle East. All of a sudden, though, wells where…
The silver lining in the European financial crisis is how the names of the various countries involved lend themselves so well to plays on words. Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece, and Spain were collectively PIIGS. Greece has had the highest profile of all the PIIGS, but I’m not sure if that’s because they are truly in deeper trouble than the others or if it’s more due to marketing. A possible Greek break from the Eurozone has been dubbed the Grexit. That’s catchier than Spanic (Spanish Panic) or Quitaly. Mohamed El-Erian is worried about a Greek economic accident – a Graccident. I guess the only way to stand out from the other eight talking heads that are all brainstorming doomsday scenarios on live TV is to create a strong apocalyptic brand. Although maybe things will get better – a Grecovery? Photo by Denis Bocquet