Sundry stuff on a busy day – and a day when everyone is transfixed by world events.
First, my colleage at Dean’s Corner has offered a good guide to high tech ways to donate money to Japan relief. There are 10,000 people in Japan who haven’t eaten since Friday by the best estimation, and events are adding to the horror. If you want to help, these are some simple ways.
Second, the always thoughtful Kurt Cobb has a great essay everyone should read about the deflationary impact of high oil prices:
The logic is so simple it’s hard to understand why smart people with advanced degrees can’t see it. Commodities, particularly oil, pull money away from other sectors of the economy. When people are forced to choose between paying for heat and gasoline or paying the mortgage, they pay for heat and gasoline. Cars don’t budge without gasoline (unless you can afford an electric one) and most people need their cars to get to work. The heat can be turned off rather quickly by the utility company in comparison to the glacial pace of a mortgage foreclosure that can take many months and sometimes more than a year.
This situation is particularly problematic because it pulls money out of the financial sector. And, despite all the nonsense about the financial industry being on the mend, the industry is actually becoming more and more vulnerable by the day as it increases its exposure and leverage to financial and commodity markets. The speculative animal spirits of the banks, hedge funds and other large investors, buoyed by all the virtually free money available for borrowing and huge taxpayer-financed injections into zombie banks, may now be hurtling us toward another jaw-dropping financial catastrophe. As Hyman Minsky might put it, stability and prosperity lead to instability and crisis as market participants become more and more emboldened on the upswing creating the illusion that all is well. Then, when prices and credit expansion go beyond what the economy can sustain, a decline ensues that is often dramatic as confidence suddenly shifts to revulsion and fear.
It is a critical point, and Cobb is absolutely right – most people can’t see it. Do read the entire thing.
Finally, if you live in the greater Albany/Schenectady/Saratoga/Troy region or will be visiting there during the spring, our plant CSA, focusing on unusual edibles, permaculture plants, herbs, native plants and of course, the best heirloom garden vegetables is finally taking members. We’ll have drop offs around the region! Check out the details here, and join by sending me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org! Someday I’ll have a lovely online checkout system, but I’m a work in progress! You don’t have to join to get great plants for us, but the CSA members get the best deals and the first choice of varieties!
Ok, back to the seed mines!