News and Notes

I’ve run across a couple of interesting stories in the last few days that readers should be aware of.

– In early 2006 the Federal Reserve got rid of reporting on M3, the total amount of US dollars in circulation worldwide, whether electronic, printed, or otherwise accounted for. The offical reason was that the Fed claimed it wasn’t a very accurate or relevant figure to track, while some economists and conspiracy theorists believed that this was a precursor to the Fed starting to inject massive ammounts of liquidity into the markets to keep the dollar afloat and the US government open for business. Several sites have reconstructed M3 based on other stats, and what do the numbers show? Why, they show that overall M3 is up 11.5 percent this year. In other words, the good folks over at the Fed have created $11.50 out of thin air for each $100 in circulation worldwide.

What happens when they dilute the puchasing power of money this way? Inflation happens. Have you noticed your bills for food, power and taxes rising faster than your wages? When costs are rising by 8-10% a year, and your savings account is earning a whopping 1.5% interest, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out you’re shooting yourself in the foot. Likewise, at an 11.5% inflationary rate, is it any wonder why Wall Street punishes corporations that fail to keep profits rising faster than that? Expect more of the same next year, and every year after that until the dollar finally crumbles under the pressure. The best investment I can see is in acquiring necessary tools and equipment now while prices are still low.

– CNN is reporting that a new ice island has been formed in the Arctic Ocean where a large piece of the ice shelf attached to Ellesmere Island has snapped off. An ice sheet the size of 100,000 football fields (or around 41 square miles) became a new ice island in about an hour one day in late 2005, according to scientists in both Canada and the USA. The experts are warning about this being another sign of climate change and thresholds being crossed, etc. I still don’t expect the US to do anything serious about it until we personally are devastated. That seems to be the way of things.

– Speaking of climate change, 2006 was the third-warmest year on record for Minnesota. It’s late December and the ground still isn’t frozen here in the great brown north.

– “One day in the not too distant future I believe that gold and silver will be great investments; almost as good as a stockpile of baked beans.”

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5 Responses to News and Notes

  1. Beo says:

    It’s 12/29 in SE Wisconsin and I just spent the afternoon taking root cuttings from my Comfrey plants. That is not right! The only upside is that I feel more confident planting Zone 5 plants here next spring…

    My easy answer to offset inflation is to cut household purchasing by 10% annually.
    Beo’s version of the Target slogan: Grow more. Buy less.

    “The greatest revolution of our generation is the discovery that human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives” -William James

  2. meowblog says:

    I hear you… I put some more spoiled vegetables in the composter, and it appears to still be cranking away slowly. Zone 5 should work fine where you’re at, especially if you take advantage of the warmer microclimates at your site, I’d think. I’m looking at Zone 4 stuff myself.

    Those of us who can cut our spending by 10% and still get by will be fine for a while. Every year there will be more and more people who will slip into poverty thanks to the hidden tax of inflation, though. Like you, I plan on growing more and buying less over time. Right now, though, I have a number of things I need to buy to get several projects going (hand tools, seeds, etc.), and I plan on buying those things now to take advantage of whatever strength the dollar still has right now.

  3. Hey Beo, are you using the Comfrey as fertilizer? This your first season with it?

    Meow-Bar, the compost won’t do much until temps are consistently in the 50s or 60s—April or May here in Madison, usually later up dere in da cities. Be sure you start mixing in dry carbon matter like leaves or straw. Otherwise it’ll start to stink. Check out the Rodale Book of Composting, by far the best composting I’ve read to date.

  4. I meant to say, the best book on the subject of composting I’ve read to date…

  5. meowblog says:

    I’m not expecting the compost to start doing much of anything right now, I was just amazed I could still turn the pile over, and it appears that the veggies are continuing to break down very, very slowly.

    Several of the permaculture books I have discuss composting to one degree or another. I think I will pick up a book dealing with that topic specifically sooner or later. My pile right now is mostly grass clippings with some rotted produce. I’ll add dead perennial brown matter and other stuff in the spring when I clear the beds.

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