For those of you still reading this community I've got some news and opinion pieces to cite regarding the EU, which is unlikely to survive past the end of this year. Greece remains days or a week away from Default, with Italy in the same position. I just learned that France is very heavily invested in both (double what Germany put in) so their collapse would also topple France, and Portugal and Spain were counting on French bailouts. The money is going everywhere that was a bad risk in the first place. I used to think the nonsense of investing in overpriced homes here in the PRK was nuts (which is why I still rent an apartment instead of being underwater on a mortgage for a place in Stockton or Tracy which are both longish drives from the Bay Area jobs and completely dependent on cheap oil to afford it) but the EU nations seem to have taken the crazy and emphasized it into a really bad one. Conservatives in the UK are demanding a referendum on EU membership per Treaty of Lisbon guarantees, since the whole EU is playing chicken with their national economies. If they stay in the EU, they will get forced to bail out bad economies that will almost certainly default anyway. Greece is NOT going to get better or recover without tourism, which is their sole economic value, and nobody wants to go to Greece when the students are rioting and there's crime because all the tourist money went away. Self reinforcing problem that gets worse and makes itself worse every point of the way. They've got no exports but olive oil and the population are effete snobs who don't speak the Lingua Franca because they're living in the past, which is why people go there in the first place: to stare at the achievements from two millenia ago. That's not helping them now, is it? The Bull Market is also doing a great job of reinforcing the negatives, as market after market reminds the world that the stock markets reflect the real economies and realization that everything is a house of cards means they keep going down. The US stock market hit 11,300, down 2% again. I sometimes wonder if the 2% bounce that's going on in the market is going to end up dropping the market down to a more rational stock value range. The old school rule of "never buy or own a stock with a Price to Earnings P/E ratio of more than 14" should be taken as gospel. During the heyday of the Dot.com bubble, there were stocks with 259 P/E ratios. They crashed, btw.
The EU has some big problems. Its possible it will muddle through disingenuous plague-like bankruptcy/defaults and drag the whole EU down with it into general poverty and Depression if the member nations opt to decline bailing out. Its not in the best interests of stronger nations, of which the UK is NOT. The UK got their money from cheap oil in the North Sea. Otherwise they'd still be stuck in Thatcherism's malaise of high unemployment, high crime, and despair. It wasn't fun Top Gear till Cheap Oil, after all, back in 1997. The oil money funded all the banking excesses which lead to million dollar supercars like the Veyron, which is fantastic as an engineering marvel but not an actual serious commuter vehicle or anything but a collectors item. The world needs poverty vehicles now: Tuktuks, Scooters, 3-wheeled trucks, auto-rickshaws. That's our present and future. Not 243 mph supercars, as fun as they are.