March 26, 2008
Materialism is Hot
The present situation index, which looks at current conditions, slumped from 104.0 in February to 89.2 in March, its lowest reading since December 1973 when it registered 45.2 amid the Arab oil embargo and Watergate scandal, the Board said.
And a great 20 minute video about why consumerism does not work (or at least why and how many parts of it are broken).
February 28, 2008
Flooding the Printing Presses With $100 Bills
Maybe write about how the banks and credit card companies rewrote the consumer bankruptcy laws to exclude flooding as an "excuse" for filing bankruptcy right before New Orleans flooded. Then write about how the government had to debase the value of the currency to keep those banks afloat after the greedy banks made a bunch of dumb investments.
Actually that might be in poor taste.
November 27, 2007
Subprime & Consumer Credit ... How Long Will it Last?
The Bank of England commissioned a study which explained that subprime mortgages are a rather small part of the economy as a whole. As long as your not foreclosed on it is easy to call the issue trivial.
Early reports were that black Friday went well, which is surprising given the silent inflation occurring in the US. How long will consumer credit scores stay afloat? Or are credit cards the next subprime mortgage?
You can see the decay of the middle and lower class just by looking at the growth of payday loan businesses. Even Warren Buffet admits that the tax code is rigged to help the rich at the expense of the poor:
The taxation system has tilted toward the rich and away from the middle class in the last 10 years. It is dramatic and I don't think it is appreciated. And I think it should be addressed.
November 10, 2007
The Economy is Great...Trust Me
The bankruptcy law rewrite helped increase foreclosures, which (along with shady credit ratings and subprime mortgages) caused a breakdown of structured finance.
Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernake is worried about slowing growth AND rising inflation. One would suppose that an annualized growth rate of M3 of over 14% is not the solution to any problems, and might cause some.
I love when Frank posts on economic stuff.
September 29, 2007
Alan Greenspan Admits the Federal Reserve's Dirty Little Lie
``The presumption that we were fully independent and have full discretion was false,'' Greenspan said in an interview published by the newspaper on Sept. 16. Raising rates faster and sooner would not have been acceptable ``to the political establishment,'' Greenspan said.
July 3, 2007
Working in a Market Controlled by Private Capital Consolidation & Leverage
The ascendance and dominance of capital vs. labor. Add a billion or so potential workers to the global labor force, blend in a technology S curve acceleration, combine these with deregulation, lower taxes, and free trade, and you have a recipe for accelerating returns to capital and diminishing returns to labor.
More people competing for the same capital will drive down wages. Yet another reason to go out and work for yourself...after the first year or two, if you have no debt and leave meagerly, you have far greater stability than any employer can provide.
And the capital is getting leveraged far more aggressively:
The abundant liquidity of today’s financial marketplace may be another way of describing the ability of private agents – be they hedge funds, private equity, or simply old-fashioned banks – to create credit on their own given satisfactory reserve levels which are now more than ample. Unwillingness to employ increased margin requirements by the Fed during the NASDAQ bubble, and near 0% margin downpayments accepted by mortgage bankers during the housing bubble, give evidence to the diminishing influence of CBs and the growing influence of private agents in the credit creation process. Obviously the ultimate cost of money as determined by CBs is critical in reining in unlimited credit creation, but if the price to Wall Street is far less onerous than the cost to Main Street, there may be limits as to how far CBs can raise rates and therefore control inflation
Many of those leveraged bets are simply interested in quick flips...which means a willingness to do things like destroying the longterm value of an asset if it gives the perception of greater short term value...which will make labor markets even less stable.
Link via John K.
May 7, 2007
Consuming Mindless Consumption
From the NYT
Consumer spending in the United States, which is still on the rise, accounts for an astonishing 20 percent of the global economy. ...
Consumer spending hasn’t fallen for a single quarter since the fourth quarter of 1991. And while there are factors affecting domestic consumer spending — higher interest rates, lower housing prices, higher gas prices — the indefatigable American spenders show few signs of letting up.
And while they mindlessly consume, robots are being trained to trade the companies they buy from:
Quants seek to strip human emotions such as fear and greed out of investing. Today, their brand of computer-guided trading has reached levels undreamed of a decade ago. A third of all U.S. stock trades in 2006 were driven by automatic programs, or algorithms, according to Boston-based consulting firm Aite Group LLC. By 2010, that figure will reach 50 percent, according to Aite.
And while the hedge funds are betting with bots, Buffet wants up to 4 people to take his place, and thinks the price of a CEO is rarely too much if they perform:
"Compensation sins are generally of minor importance compared to the sin of having someone mediocre running a huge company," Buffett said.
Links snagged from my favorite investment blog.
April 21, 2007
Its All for Sale
In an article about Gregory Nickerson, Harpers notes how the US tax code is for sale:
Supporters of the American Jobs Creation Act had argued that with all their tax savings, the companies that benefited would rush out and hire lots of new workers. But it didn't turn out that way. “One thing is clear,” Business Week reported in August of 2005. “The money piling in from abroad as the result of the Jobs Creation Act has done little to actually spur hiring. In fact, six of the 10 companies repatriating the biggest totals are axing workers in the U.S. They include HP [Hewlett Packard], which announced July 19 that it would cut its head count by 14,500 in the U.S.”
The absurdity of the $140 billion corporate tax break titled the American Jobs Creation Act is not just that it had the exact opposite effect of its name, the true absurdity stems from the fact that it lobbyists only had to pay politicians about $50,000 to push the bogus bill through congress.
December 31, 2006
Where's the Beef?
There is a reason God created cloning
December 26, 2006
If you care at all about humanity please watch that video, send that link to a dozen friends, blog it, and get involved in whatever offline demonstrations you can to help destroy the fradulent federal reserve.
I believe fiat currencies can work, as noted in the Money Masters, but outside of the belief that a currency needs to be backed by something I believe Freedom to Fascism is one of the best videos about the Federal Reserve in existance.
December 4, 2006
If You Were an International Banker...
If you were an international banker perhaps you would realize that a world with limited fear would likely be a world where the most absolute wealth was created, but there are a few major issues which prevent the bankers from wanting the maximum amount of absolute wealth creation:
- wartime spending tends to be quite excessive, perhaps almost without regard to the value of the underlying currency (and the lives destroyed during and after the wars)
- that debt, being financed through arbitrary authority systems which force the government to borrow money from people who create it from nothing, allow those who control the printing of money to accumulate wealth and power
- if the minds of most men were controlled more by hopes and dreams than debt and fears it would be harder to exploit most men, and thus it would be harder to get them to buy into arbitrary value systems, and extract wealth and power from them
- when you have more money than you know what to do with, and really do just about no real work to maintain your position, RELATIVE wealth matters much than absolute wealth
- by cycling currency supply and interest rates bankers can create false hope and crush it, buying up over-invested bankrupt properties and ideas for pennies on the dollar
Before 1913 there was no such thing as income tax. It was only created to allow the Federal Reserve (created the same year as a private for profit company) to suck wealth from the citizens for providing no real value in return. Not long after the creation of the Federal Reserve did the Great Depression occur. And I think you would have to be a naive idiot to think of them as nothing more than a coincidence. And now war time debt and military spending account for over half of all US federal discretionary spending.
And what is even more absurd is that under the current system the debt can't be paid off, and that if the government printed its own money there would be no debt.
Some people say that the government can't be trusted to maintain the value of its currency, but if they can't be trusted to maintain the value of that then what the hell are they doing trying to legislate moral values? How do they have any credibility at all?
Given that money is just paper that is printed in quantities that come and go to provide for certain agendas (the accumulation of wealth and power), how long would you prop up any given country before pulling the rug out from it and moving onto the next?
I wouldn't be surprised if the Euro was the default world reserve currency inside of 10 years. And if it is, the US economy is going to go to shit.
It matters not to a rich international banker which country is doing well. They trade the power of the countries and cut up political systems like a child trades baseball cards. And when a player retires so does their value. It happened to Russia and will happen to the US soon enough. So long as there is change it is easy to accumulate power and wealth on the way up AND on the way down.
How is it possible that almost nobody cares or talks about this issue? Maybe because most people usually think what they are told to. And maybe rich international bankers have significant stakes in the most powerful media companies.
So sure it is the terrorists, the christians, the druggies, the bums, the unemployed, the elderly, the new generation, the muslims, the jews, the immigrants, the niggers, the gays, the chinks, the rednecks, the arrogant racist white men who write posts like this one, and a host of other people that are destroying society.
Or maybe it is the framework which requires us to be occupied by a sense of hate toward some group without legitimate reason. I told my mom that my girlfriend was asian, and my mom said that it was fine as long as she wasn't Japanese. What is that?
Why is everyone in debt? Because we allow ourselves to buy into arbitrary value systems. But one day we will get out of debt. If we don't destroy ourselves first.
December 2, 2006
Another Example of Why Central Privatized Banks Need Destroyed
So a friend of mine started a business in the middle of 2004. They paid taxes in 2004 for $x. Because they were new at business and had yet to build up a client base x was not a large number.
Today that friend got a letter in the mail telling them that 120x was being frozen in their bank account to pay for 2004 taxes. The reasoning is because
- H&R Block screwed up my friend's SSN when doing their taxes that year and the government did not notice that
- the government just assumed that my friend was making as much as the average person in my friend's field with a decade of experience, in spite of their newness to the field
Think how shady that is. No questions, just a large cash freeze. If people can just freeze your assets based on the assumption of wrongdoing without any proof on any level is their any value to those assets?
And if that is not screwed up enough, imagine that income taxes never existed until the Federal Reserve (a private for profit bank) destroyed the economic stability of the world under the guise helping control interest.
Many centralized authorities are based on fraud and are not needed to stabilize markets.
My passions include staying healthy and happy and helping others. But right at the top of the list is going to be spreading awareness of the fraud which is the Federal Reserve, and doing everything within my power to lead to the demise of that sleazy organization.
November 19, 2006
Accepting (and Enjoying?) Wealth Stratification
So I grew up not well to do, was below the poverty line for most of my military career, was suicidally depressed by the time I rose above that, and then took a few years to get out of debt because I invested sooooooo heavily in learning (partly due to being passionate and partly due to depression and me realizing that knowledge is the root of happiness).
A while ago I wrote a post about the concept of deserving wealth, which went something like this
So a friend of mine, who lived in many ways a similar path, but is far older and wiser, recently told me that it can be hard for people who were traditionally poor to accept that they deserve and should live an active healthy and full life.
I can think of many occasions when things were going well for me that I ended up doing dumb self destructive things.
Recently I was flown out for an interesting high paying consulting position. They flew me out business class, and even had a person holding up my name at the airport. The hotel they put me up in was a 5 star hotel with private villas. I then got to talk to some deans at schools about creating college courses. Quite amazing, considering that I have never went to college and only began learning my subject less than 4 years ago.
I just got back to the sweet hotel, had an amazing meal, and then turned on comedy central, where the comedian on tv is one who personally insulted me last time I was in NYC. I of course loved that :)
Right now I feel I am getting more than I deserve, but it is an irrelevant and quite dumb worldview. To feel anything is deserved is at best presumptuous, depressing, and / or self destructive. Who helped set up your expectations? Why did they guide you in that way? How do they benefit from that guidance or behavior?
When you view the world in terms of do I deserve what I have it only sets you up for disappointment.
- If you are doing worse than you feel you deserve then you would not appreciate what you have.
- If you are doing better than you feel you deserve then you might isolate yourself from your environment or set yourself up for self destructive behavior that puts your experience more in-line with what you feel you deserve.
The mind is limitless, so viewing the world through expectations needs to be taken with a grain of salt. I guess the point is, that no matter what you experience in life the key to being happy is to appreciate the additional perspective and opportunity each situation offers you.
I wrote that about 6 months ago, and great things have only happened at a faster and faster rate since then.
But I still sorta grew to resent money because how many people struggle with it and knowing that it doesn't make you happy (directly at least). All money is is a form of stored labor or a proxy for certain TYPES of opportunity.
I think there are three reasons we treat making money as different: the misleading model of wealth we learn as children; the disreputable way in which, till recently, most fortunes were accumulated; and the worry that great variations in income are somehow bad for society. As far as I can tell, the first is mistaken, the second outdated, and the third empirically false. Could it be that, in a modern democracy, variation in income is actually a sign of health?
You get paid by doing or making something people want, and those who make more money are often simply better at doing what people want.
With the rise of the middle class, wealth stopped being a zero-sum game. Jobs and Wozniak didn't have to make us poor to make themselves rich. Quite the opposite: they created things that made our lives materially richer. They had to, or we wouldn't have paid for them.
So if you can read markets well enough to influence them and people reward you for it, there really is no reason to feel seeds of insecurity / guilt / self-doubt / wrongdoing / etc. etc. etc. just because you are successful.
If you follow your passions you should be successful and you should help others do both. Wealth is just a rough proxy for how much you helped other people, and a means and freedom to be able to leverage yourself to be able to do more of it going forward.
Value based systems are such a hard thing for me to conquer because I have been changing so fast and had so many screwed up value systems baked into my core view of the world for so many years of my life.
Thanks a ton for that link John :)
Now I have to finish updating my ebook so I can go hang out with Giovanna. I need to view my ebook not as something preventing me from seeing Giovanna, but something that enables that opportunity...which it sorta does on multiple levels since it funded all my other income streams and she found me by buying my ebook :)
November 11, 2006
How Does the Stock Market Outperform Inflation?
So some people speculate or have the insider info necessary to outperform the stock market. But many types of investments are based on paralleling the performance of the stock market (or at least some large part of it).
I believe that the returns on stocks roughly are 4x the rate of inflation, but also wealth has been consolidating at an increasingly fast rate. My question is, to you the lone economist who reads this blog, should you chose to answer it, outside of the margins capital can make from loans how does the whole market outperform the rate of inflation? And would that growth be possible without constantly increasingly wealth stratification?
October 31, 2006
Money as an Arbitrary Value System...
How can a government that can't even maintain the value of its own currency (without outsourcing that job to scamming rich international bankers) try to legislate moral values?
October 25, 2006
Wealth, Prosperity, & Inequality
Curiously, the reflections on poverty are rarely, if ever, related to the reflections on wealth. Yet wealth and poverty are intrinsically linked, as if they were two sides of the same coin. ... Proposing to reduce global poverty without touching the structures of global wealth is quickly becomes a meaningless task. ... Poverty can only be abolished by way of transforming the very political, economic, cultural and military structures in place to perpetuate it. ... There are also military structures in place to safeguard the system from acts of defiance or resistance to this modern-day, post-colonial pillage.
And they quote Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations:
“Wherever there is great property, there is great inequality. For one very rich man, there must be at least five hundred of the poor, and the affluence of the few supposes the indigence of the many. [. . .] It is only under the shelter of the civil magistrate [read, the police] that the owner of that valuable property, which is acquired by the labor of many years, or perhaps of many successive generations, can sleep a single night in security."
That is one of the largest reasons I wanted (and to some extent still want) to move to another country. As I have become more successful I feel exceptionally guilty paying taxes on bogus national debt to arbitrary privatized for profit central banks that not only rob this country, but have sophisticated schemes which make the poorest countries poorer year after year after year.
And that guilt feels even worse after experiencing the military lifestyle (which should have likely lead to my death, and I don't know how I got past it) and knowing how intertwined the military is in the wealth consolidation scheme.
It gets even more bothersome every time I think about it.
And to quote a Carl Sandburg poem from The People, Yes which I quoted before:
I pledge my allegiance,
say the munitions makers and the international bankers,
I pledge my allegiance to this flag, that flag,
any flag at all, of any country anywhere
paying its bills and meeting interest on loans,
one and indivisible,
coming through with cash in payment as stipulated
with liberty and justice for all,
say the munitions makers and the international bankers
I realize part of the reason I have been successful was innovation and investment associated with the military-industrial complex fraud, but it scares me to think that some people in power think we can have endless growth, and that we are so willing to externalize our own faults when we are trying to control others...to be the most powerful nation in the world you think we would be a bit more just in our actions, but becoming powerful is often the result of being unjust.
Even within the United States wealth consolidation is speeding up:
Since the late 1970s wealth inequality, while stabilizing or increasing slightly in other industrialized nations, has increased sharply and dramatically in the United States. While it is no secret that such a trend is taking place, it is rare to see a TV news program announce that the top 1% of the U.S. population now owns about a third of the wealth in the country. Discussion of this trend takes place, for the most part, behind closed doors.
And the endless growth and wealth consolidation can only continue as long as you can make the average person believe in equality and think that the world is an endless resource. To do so will require more and more mind control manipulation unless something reverses the course of wealth and power consolidation.
September 3, 2006
The Washington Post recently offered an advertorial for the IMF, which helps tell you how to think about the IMF
The IMF is not out of the woods: In the absence of crises it is lending less, which puts a strain on its budget. But the IMF is worth preserving, even if perhaps in a new form. The world has few competent global institutions that can help manage global problems, and it would be careless to lose one of them.
Does the International Monetary Fund actually make worldwide economic markets more stable? The Wikipedia article on the IMF is doubtful:
Overall the IMF success record is limited. While it was created to help stabilize the global economy, since 1980 over 100 countries have experienced a banking collapse that reduced GDP by four percent or more, far more than at any previous time in history.
In How the IMF Sank Argentina we get a view of the IMF that reminds us why it still exists
AS Argentina's government was resigning in the face of full-scale riots and protests from every sector of society, a BBC-TV reporter asked me whether this economic and political meltdown would change the way people saw the International Monetary Fund. I wanted to say yes, but I had to tell him: "It really depends on how the media reports it."
So far it looks as if the IMF is getting off easy, again. The Fund and the World Bank -- the world's two most powerful financial institutions -- learned an important lesson from their brief spate of bad publicity during the Asian economic crisis a few years ago. They have become masters of the art of "spinning" the news.
Even when there is no news or controvercy, they are still busy spinning away, reminding the world of how important they are and why we need them.
As one learns more about investment, publishing, and business models; while also increasing their own exposure, it gets quite hard to trust much of the media.
May 27, 2006
Teaching and Pseudoscience
I have read or watch books and DVDs of various levels of quality and depth. Many scientists claim that pseudo-scientists ruin the field for real scientists, but many real scientists format their works and findings in a way that most people can not understand it.
As long as there is a market for desiring information and the people creating it leave it inaccessible to most there will be a group of people who make of living translating it.
I struggle quite a bit with balancing teaching vs learning vs profit vs accessibility of information vs quality of information. It is hard to find a good balance with it all. That is part of the reason I have tried more to pick up on subtle but generalistic trends...so that content does not become dated and factually incorrect as quick as it otherwise might.
March 8, 2006
Leading Economic Indicators
Later this month, Iran will inaugurate its much-anticipated oil bourse, whereby it will begin accepting payment for its oil in Euros, instead of in USD.
this post sponsored by The Big Buy...actually they didn't really sponsor it, but I like most of their rant flicks
January 9, 2006
The Scam of Market Security
So thinking about it I realize that most people who are wealthy are more wealthy than they deserve to be...ie: the game is rigged and most people above a certain threshold have more value than they created.
I am starting to create new content channels in a wide spectrum and feel weird knowing that in many cases I am absolutely creating no value with what I am doing. The shit I will be supporting will be people buying in on things that may not be worthwhile, but are sold as being pure and good by society in general.
Insurance: a necessity? Maybe. To some. But there is a company making money and paying employees. Obviously typically less is returned than brought in or the companies would cease to exist. But then what about the stock market? Generally, shady.
I guess at the end of the day people pay for happiness, they pay for the illusion of security, and they pay for dreams they will most likely never reach.
I have done really wasteful shit like hard drugs. I have also done really shameful shit like drive drunk. Right now I am still living a bit wrecklessly in that I am not taking care of my social physical or mental health, but typing feels good :)
I have put efforts into diversifying risk profiles and income streams, but I guess it doesn't really make me all that happy, and when I slightly modified some of the things I was doing on my site (say less negativity and writing at a lower level) my income prettymuch doubled.
There is a sucker in most every investment exchange and the best way to build value is to learn and share. Most things I have done that I thought were shortcuts really didn't save me much in the lines of time, energy, attention, or happiness. In fact most of them robbed those from me. I still think I am going to try my newest venture for no less than a few months just to so I am not stuck wondering what might have happened.
I really wish I could be more committed to some of the things I do, but it is hard knowingly polluting the world's information base after I am past self sustaining when there are people out there starving and having bombs dropped on them courtesy my tax dollars to the US government, which needs to keep defense stocks growing or it hurts the stupid fucking economy.
The things I have overspent on:
- my bed
- my chair - coming soon
- isolation (unfortunate regret will come in the near future no doubt)
- patterns and a fear of change
- not being willing to change my ways or worldview to prove I am right...and unfortunatly I seem to have enough drive to pull it off
January 8, 2006
October 14, 2005
Will the Recession Stop the War
I think Bush and co are going to have to stop bleeding the country or they soon will bankrupt it:
- Consumer sentiment falls unexpectedly
- economists warn on housing market (due in part to rising interest rates)
- Dollar Erases Gains as Traders Say Refco Freeze Forces Selling (part of that story is also the widening trade deficit)
- U.S. consumer prices shot up an unexpectedly large 1.2 percent last month, the biggest gain in more than 25 years
- US industrial production fell 1.3% in September as hurricanes Katrina and Rita and a strike at aircraft producer Boeing dented output, the Federal Reserve said today. It was the largest monthly drop since 1982 and worse than the 0.4% decline expected by private economists.
September 14, 2005
Media Aims to Undermine Science?
It is my hypothesis that in their choice of stories, and the way they cover them, the media create a parody of science, for their own means.Don't dumb me down
The situation will be even more interesting as we all learn to realize that we can chose a self reinforcing scientific media diet which reinforces our worldviews. The fact is typically it is more economically viable for media to be blatently biased than it is for it to tell the truth.
Truth is boring & usually not as remarkable as an embelishment we make up. Citations = $$$
August 18, 2005
Death of Language
Throughout time there have been many native tongues through which language has been spoken (no shit, eh). Communication, connectivity, and outsourcing have never been as easy or cheap as they are now.
Certainly those who understand multiple languages will be able to make good money translating through those inefficiencies, but longterm will the number of languages dwindle to only a few? The language barriers are market inefficiencies, which may benefit the local merchants, but commerce drives everything, and you have to imagine that learning a second more frequently used language is going to become easier and easier as technology spreads.
Due to cultural considerations I think many people will want to hold on to their root languages, but many people will take up English as a second language.
Learning a second language and effectively communicating with it is like viewing life through a second lense. I wonder how greatly those of us who really only rely on one language are missing out of some of life’s most interesting situations due to laziness or forced market efficiency, and what might be lost if language eventually consolidates worldwide to where people only use one or two.
August 6, 2005
Stocks hit By Higher Wage Data
Higher waged workers = inflation = corporate profits dwindling. anything that does not consolidate wealth is evil.
June 7, 2005
It's Official: Virtual Replaces Actual
Things which are physical:
General Motors (GM) Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner, speaking at GM's annual shareholder meeting in Delaware on Tuesday, said the struggling automaker will cut at least 25,000 jobs by 2008 and close additional assembly and component plants in an effort to reach annual savings of about $2.5 billion. source
Sure, many manufacturing jobs are getting hit by outsourcing and many new created jobs are service based, but conceptual and idea based jobs are the place to be.
What do you want to do? Unsure? How about you search Google. Their $80 billion dollar market capitalization is greater than Ford + GM + Ford + GM.
Those who understand social networks and psychology who can create ideas worthy of citation will be in for a windfall of profits. The average American is in for a windfall of hurt.
This is not some elitist bullshit statement that I am smarter or better possitioned than others, but more of a statement of recognition of just how fucked I am if I do not keep learning quickly and working hard at creating ideas.
Those who lead networks get extra coverage, which cuts both ways. Many market positions are still available, but if you do a good job with it and get an early lead it is hard for others to catch up unless you get lazy, slopy, or are inauthentic from the start.
June 6, 2005
The Fall of Europe, er the Fall of the Euro
A leading Blairite cabinet minister made the admission last night as the European Union descended into deeper turmoil, with doubts surfacing over the future of the single currency.
Mr Blair, who will seek to shift the focus of his administration on to poverty in the Third World this week during talks with President Bush, has told his closest allies: "Africa is worth fighting for. Europe, in its present form, is not."
About a week or two ago I spoke with a friend who said the Euro probably would not be dissolved, but it is looking bleaker by the day.
For the last few years the Euro has had a strong run on the Dollar, but that combined with a variety of economies all trying to fall under the Euro umbrella has caused slowed economic growth and rising unemployment in the most established countries using the Euro (such as France and Germany).
another quote from the article
Last night, John Redwood, the leading eurosceptic Tory MP, said: "You can't have a single currency without a single government. They are in a mess because they have only done half of it and they are now discovering in a painful way what that means."
With the US fed raising interest rates to stop escalating real estate prices oil has sagged and the Dollar has surged. The bleak future of the Euro has caused the Dollar to gain about 10% on it in the last 3 months.
I do not pay as much attention to economics as many do, but for an extended period of time there were talks that the Euro would replace the Dollar as the stable currency which commodities such as oil would trade in, but I can't see that happening anytime soon.
It is almost as if we pushed our own economic hardships outward by letting our currency free fall because we knew that it would share the hurt and likely undermine the stability of competing political systems. Had our Dollar not fallen so far the unemployment rates in some of the more developed European countries may not have got as high as they are.