The Best of the Best of 2011 LIstomania

As we approach the new year, everyone and their brother are publishing best of 2011 top 10,20,50, gazillion stories. In the year of the click listomania proliferates and the end of the 2011 brings an enumeration epidemic. We've sifted through the muck and bring you the best of the best of the best collections for 2011.


Best Economic Photoshop

William Banzai7 came up with the top 40 best photoshopped visual commentary on the financial, economic and political events of 2011. Here's just a taste:

groupon ipo


Most Ridiculous Economic Policy of 2011

Economist Menzie Chinn went through the most Fantastical Pseudo Economics claims of 2011. What a surprise, most came from the GOP members of Congress.

One of the best things about being a blogger is being able to comment quickly on the most outrageous, nonsensical assertions presented in the guise of analysis. Here are my "ten best" (actually -- most hilariously deluded) excursions into the fantasy world from my postings to Econbrowser. The inspirations range from Speaker Boehner's math to the Heritage Foundation's simulations.

santorum hyperinflation

Chinn even marked when stupid claim was made, like the above CPI graph timeline when Rick Santorum and Ron Paul insisted hyperinflation is just around the corner. Both these guys are running for President.


Financial Time's Top 2011 Clicks

exploding watermelon
What people click on versus a best story are two different things. Case in point is the Financial Times top stories by clicks. Number #1? Exploding watermelons. Seems in China watermelons injected with forchlorfenuron to stimulate growth literally exploded and became toxic.


Politico's Top 10 Weird

Politico did a top 10 weirdest stories of 2011. So many to choose from they must have had a hard time whittling it down. What's #1? A conservative who wants to deny gays rights, yet wants to donate sperm to Lesbians on the side. I kid you not.

Bill Johnson is a former top economic development official in Alabama who mounted a long-shot gubernatorial campaign last year, touting his stance as a conservative Christian opposed to gay marriage. But that doesn’t mean he’s against same-sex couples having kids. In fact, he wants to help. A newspaper in New Zealand revealed that Johnson had been covertly donating sperm to lesbian couples there so he could bring children into the world.

Johnson, known online in sperm donation circles as “chchbill,” forgot one important detail in his quest to become a father: He didn’t tell his wife about his secret life. Bad move. She thought he was just working in New Zealand as a contractor. Johnson said he was confident she wouldn’t mind his baby-making project on the side. He was wrong.

Johnson, who is reported to have returned recently to the U.S., donated sperm to at least nine women, three of whom have become pregnant.


ZeroHedge's 11-11-11

Zerohedge has put together 11 charts for the end of 2011 of the past 11 years that will shock you. Here's one that again cautions and warns on going nuts over initial unemployment claims numbers.

initialun employment claims revisions 11 years


Top 10 Technology Blunders

This is pretty good, a top 10 stupid I.T. moments. #1? The Taliban trying to use tweeter to promote the evils of Western Technology. China getting busted for hacking is mentioned a lot too.


Economist's Top 10 2011 Charts

The Economist put together their top economic charts of 2011. Below is one scary graph of European bonds yearly percentage change.

european bonds percentage chg 2011


MSNBC Click Count

MSNBC also sees what people read versus what is news are two different things. Their top story by clicks is something about somebody leaving an ATM receipt showing a $100 million savings balance. Why the interest? Because $100 million stuffed in savings proves the funds are not making any money on interest. I kid you not. There is something from Malcolm X and the house slave in the fact this story received the most reads.

Wall Street tabloid Dealbreaker reported that a hedge-fund manager left his receipt at an ATM in the New York resort village of East Hampton after paying $2.75 to withdraw $400 from an account with a $100 million balance.

Interest on a savings account is less than one percent, meaning that the account holder is making virtually nothing on his pot of $100 million. He could get at least 3 percent in a Treasury account.


Forbes Top 10

Forbes has most of the top stories but coming in at #4 is the double dip recession prediction that didn't happen. Hey, you didn't hear us jump on that bandwagon did ya? Nope, we actually read the stats!


Vatican Does the Top 10

Even the Catholic Church is getting into the top 10 game.


Guardian's Top Business Stories

The Guardian has a top business stories of 2011 and what reigns supreme is the European financial crisis. We had something about this below too, but in terms of clicks, it was a dude. I guess pending Economic global collapse just doesn't drawn in the readers like it used to.

Larry Elliott's grim warning that "the system is ready to blow" struck a real chord. Writing in the wake of the August riots, our economics editor warned that only a new way of managing the global economy could prevent more mayhem in the markets and on the streets. It's well worth another read as we head towards what will undoubtedly be another tumultous year.


Lazy List WaPo

Washington Post top economic stories of 2011 and it too is dominated by the European debt crisis and the great debt ceiling raise debacle. Amazingly enough MF Global didn't make the cut.


Photos of 2011

Honorable mention goes to the Wall Street Journal's best photos of 2011. Many are not financial, but then, what kind of dramatic emotion can one illicit from a pie chart?

We'll be adding to our best of the best list as we find 'em. If you have a top 10, or economic year in review story, let us know in the comments, we'd like to add it.



Ron Paul's worried look

"Rick Santorum and Ron Paul insisted hyperinflation is just around the corner. Both these guys are running for President." -- Robert Oak

Sometimes I see pictures of the GOP candidates, mostly wearing goofy smiles (except for Buddy Roemer, who doesn't even get into the picture). But not Ron Paul, he looks worried. I used to think that was a plus for him, that he actually appreciates the prospects for the great majority of the US public. Then, recently, I heard a report on his personal investments (almost 100% in physical gold), and now I suspect he may just be worrying about his investment strategy based on the idea that the actual value of gold is (was throughout 2011) $5000/ounce or more. It's just that you can't actually sell it for much more than $1500 these days!

Then again, Ron Paul has a way of keeping the worried look but smiling bravely at the same time. It may just be that's he was practicing  general medicine for quite a few years before he got into politics.

There are a lot of Ron Paul fans who read EP

In comparison to Gingrich Ron Paul is a much better choice but to me, he's nuts. "Let the markets figure out health care" as if health is a commodity and this guy has a Medical degree, scary. Still he's managed to help get somewhere on a few things, like the Fed audit and he also would work with the far left, on some bills. I think when one has the far right and far left agreeing, and working together, that's a good sign.

Chinn did a great job here and is an inspiration. We should do some posts on politicians, their crazy rhetoric versus actual fact as well.

Ron Paul is appreciated

There are many Ron Paul fans everywhere. And for good reason. His contributions to the political scene are widely appreciated, especially this year. He even understands and supports the Constitution! I'm not so sure about his understanding of economics, although he has done a lot to inform the public about the Fed. He's a gold bug, though, if ever there was one.

A prediction not much discussed

There's a heavy rumor going around that 2012 will include notable push-back from major TNCs against egregious and growing hacking successes, all originating in China.

In 2011 and before, there has been no effective protection for intellectual property of any kind, including military technology -- not to mention personal privacy. Yes, it is heavily rumored that the NSC itself has been hacked!

The only solution probably is to "pull the plug" -- that is, disconnect from China at the hardware-connection (firewall) level. Unfortunately, for a country like the USA that cannot even manage to enact the Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Reform Act in 2011 or the DISCLOSE Act in 2010, any national policy support for such self-preservation is very unlikely. BTW: Thank you, Mr. Speaker John ("Wen Hu") Boehner - may your campaign coffers choke on gold!

Most probably, this story is already being underreported or ignored by corporate media, and certainly it can't be found on the radars monitoring what passes for political consciousness these days. (What? Anyone but the invisible Buddy Roemer discuss this in the primaries or in November? Not likely.)

I do not doubt that such people as Warren Buffet have been informed of the problem and take it into account in making investment decisions. I also have to believe that this problem is well-known to the new CIA director, David Petraus, as well as to the Pentagon's man on the NSC (General Douglas Lute), but whatever countermeasures they may be putting in place ... the public won't hear about them. And why should we? We have our own problems, and if CEOs and other rulers of the more-or-less Anglo-American TBTF financial world are so corrupted that they are willing to let all their eggs fall into the Beijing basket ... well, that's their business. They should be on notice, though, that they may not be able to call on the American public to play along with their game much longer, if now.

At least that's my opinion.

I am but an echo in this world ... with goodwill for all as we enter into 2012!

I never bet against China

simply because our government just let's China walk all over them on every single thing. Hacking, industrial espionage, stealing of IP, copyrights, the list goes on and on and nothing really happens.

Please do list other's "predictions" list. I think I'm the only one out there who believes Europe will not implode. I'm not saying it should not, just it seems somehow they manage to issue press releases over and over and push it under the rug. It should have imploded at least a year ago, why I said this.

So, my thing is "nothing dramatic happens", "muddle".

"Please do list other's

"Please do list other's "predictions" list. I think I'm the only one out there who believes Europe will not implode." -- Robert Oak


There's at least one reasonably qualified commentator who thinks that while the Euro zone will lose one or more member-countries, neither it nor the EU is set to implode. Implosion would be like scuttling the ship or the ship breaking up, but there's also such a thing as trimming the sails.

I may go even farther out on that limb. I can't defend my position with much, but I think that it's possible that only Greece will leave the Euro zone ... and maybe nobody will leave the EU.

It comes down to the importance of tourism in the economy of Greece and maybe some others. Plus, the Greek people -- at least in and around Athens -- have been under attack, as I understand it, from NATO forces (including US Navy troops), that is, the 'Blue Helmuts', for years now. It goes way back, even to 1946 ... or earlier. Greece is actually unique in that regard. But they are stuck within NATO because of their long-standing (to say the least) conflict with Turkey.

'Jesse' of Jesse's Café Américain (blogspot blog) has published a 2012 list of seven trends (along with seven summaries of 2011). Jesse is an American who lives in Paris, so he must have some grasp on what's happening over there. His webpage is fairly heavily traveled.


(Jesse is a moderate and rational goldbug type, so he isn't exactly a fan of the Euro. He also comes across as sincerely kind and religious in outlook, maybe even to the point of social democracy, so he can't fit comfortably into the full-blown goldbug religion. His interests tend toward a technical (chartist) analysis of markets, especially PM, with occasional focus on political factors and on summary economic trends -- maybe once a month, something like a very abbreviated review, as though drawn from EP, including some graphs, etc..)

(Jesse does pay attention to markets other than PM. He has been harshly critical of banking regulators and doesn't much care for what he considers to be the "Anglo-American" banking institution. He also includes an occasional foray into philosophy or social criticism. He's a blogger, and there's no advertising or even facility for donations -- selling books or a brokerage or otherwise -- although there is some art work just for fun. He does lay out his personal investment position on a regular basis, although not with any hype. The blog seems to be a hobby.)


Here's Jesse's take on the outlook for Europe  --

"The Eurozone will continue to struggle to find a balance between political and financial factors, and will evolve into a stronger union of fewer members." Jesse has a negative outlook for the UK.

Here's the gist of Jesse's outlook, excerpted from his 31 December blog --

1. Wall Street dropped some of its pretense to fairness and softer forms of fraud and resorted to overt theft as MF Global stole significant sums of money, bonds, and bullion assets directly from customer accounts, under the eyes of the regulators, and transferred the money to its global bankers who refused to give it back.

Trend: Theft by the financiers will continue and intensify. The victims will be vilified to blunt public reaction.

2. The Eurozone came under unremitting assault by the ratings agencies and their associated banks and hedge funds. The Euro is an inherently 'difficult' currency to manage and has always been more susceptible to broad swings in value. This is because it is an economic union without a comprehensive political and financial union.  ...

Trend: The Eurozone will continue to struggle to find a balance between political and financial factors, and will evolve into a stronger union of fewer members. ... The UK will be preoccupied by its own set of severe internal problems and regional unrest as austerity bites deeply. The UK will begin to act as more of an Anglo-American agent in the Eurozone. ...

3. The Federal Reserve is expanding its power as a monetary authority and regulator of the financial system in an extra-Constitutional manner. The Fed is determined to fight the deflationary forces of global trade and credit contraction by expanding its balance sheet. They have little fear of inflation. Hyperinflation is highly unlikely in the absence of an exogenous shock. Stagflation is the new normal disguised somewhat by government statistics.

Trend: The Fed will start a new program of 'nominal GDP targeting' without stated limits in size of activity, as it will be defined by the scope of its objectives. The bond bubble will continue particularly in the long end of the curve. It will falter and breakdown at some point, but this is not likely in the near term unless some external standard is imposed or exogenous force intervenes.

4. A currency war is well underway in the aftermath of the closing of the gold window and the erosion of the Bretton Woods agreement, into an uneasy floating exchange rate system ... This currency war manifests in currency devaluations and pegs in support of mercantilism, particularly in the developing countries. It is a form of neo-colonialism supported by the great multinational corporations.

Trend: Global trade will begin to come under greater political assault as the exchange rate mechanism fails to impose a reasonable balance on the flows of goods and capital. The SDR is the most likely replacement for the US dollar as the world migrates towards a dual currency regime with one currency for domestic only use and an international unit for the settlement of world trade. The composition of the SDR will be a major point of contention between the BRICs and the Anglo-Americans.

5. The US political process is dominated by Big Money, a system in which a small number of people choose the candidates which will be allowed on the final ballot despite great pretense of a selection process and primaries. ... This tends to continue to promote and support a status quo.

Trend: There may be a third party candidate, and perhaps one other fourth party of any real significance, but the end choice will be between Obama and Romney who are the corporate candidates. Strong voter dissatisfaction will cause minority parties to secede from the two major political parties, including at least one crypto-fascist movement and one progress movement. Watch for a rising current of racism, and attempts to make prejudice socially acceptable, and a growing class hatred. There will be major riots and demonstrations each summer from now until 2020 or a return to representative government.

6. As the global monetary regime continues its change, the US dollar continues to be stretched thinly. Despite all the odds and strong opposition from Western central banks and monetary authorities, gold has sustained an eleven year bull market.

Trend: Gold is in a bull market that will last until around 2020, or until the global monetary system reaches a sustainable equilibrium with a replacement for the US dollar as the reserve currency that is acceptable to the new economic powers. Silver and gold will continue to move with significant volatility as their prices increase. Bonds are the current asset bubble. At some point this may break as the housing market has done, and this will have a negative impact for gold if interest rates on the short end turn positive. This may not happen if inflation increases faster than interest rates rise.

7. China and Russia have replaced their command and control communist economies with command and control oligarchies. The power of China is the exploitation of labor, and of Russia, natural resources. Despite their calm outward appearance, there is significant turmoil beneath the surface, often regional in nature.

Trend: The governments of the world will continue to be shaken by the restructuring of the world economy. Change and calls for reform will most often be met by repression, often harsh. The world will continue to develop into three or four spheres of influence, with the greatest unrest and limited wars on the fringes of those spheres. The most frequent conflicts will be where Europe meets Asia, and Asia meets the subcontinent.

Well, I guess that's how it looks from Paris. I'm not so sure that Jesse has a real grasp of USA politics. I know that #Occupy is the progress movement, but I'm not sure who is the "cryto-fascist" movement unless it is almost the entirety of the federal political establishment -- most of the Executive branch, a strong bipartisan majority of Congress and a majority of the Supreme Court (not to mention most of corporate media). He's obviously unaware of Buddy Roemer, and probably of Ron Paul as well.