What do you know? Outstanding U.S. consumer credit expanded $3.3 billion in October after eking out a $1.3 billion increase in September. This is the first back-to-back gain since just before Hank Paulson took out his bazooka in the summer of 2008.

Does this mean the credit contraction is over? Hell no.

First, the raw not seasonally adjusted data show a $700 million decline.

Once again, it was federally-supported credit (ie. student-backed loans) that accounted for all the increase last month ― a record $31.8 billion expansion. Commercial banks, securitized pools and finance companies posted huge declines ― to the point where excluding federal loans, consumer credit plunged $32.5 billion, to the lowest level since November 2004 (not to mention down a record 9% YoY). Over the past three months consumer credit outstanding net of federal student assisted loans has collapsed $76 billion — this degree of contraction is without precedent.

via Breakfast_with_Dave_120810.pdf


Global Economic Slowdown May Last Up to 8 Years

The world is entering a recession that may last up to eight years as the U.S. heads toward a “lost decade” similar to Japan’s slowdown in the 1990s, said Eisuke Sakakibara, formerly Japan’s top currency official.

Sakakibara became known as “Mr. Yen” during his 1997-1999 tenure at the Ministry of Finance for his efforts to influence the yen rate through verbal and actual intervention in the currency markets.

“The world is set for a long-term structural slump reminiscent of the 1870s” when average annual growth was about 1 percent, Sakakibara, who is a professor at Aoyama Gakuin University, said today at a conference in Tokyo. The slowdown may last three to four years, and depending on the circumstances, may drag on for seven to eight years, he said.

via Sakakibara Says Global Economic Slowdown May Last Up to 8 Years – BusinessWeek.

Dawkins refocuses on the beauty of nature/science

dawkins' newest book

Despite Dawkins’ reputation as an outspoken atheist, the vast majority of his published work concerns evolutionary biology. It’s good to see him return to this subject so joyfully in The Greatest Show on Earth. In a turn worthy of a Zen parable, by (at least temporarily) setting aside his inclination to beat the shit out of his opponents, he might have won a few people over, and by stepping out of the way, allowed the true beauty and wonder of the natural world to shine through


via Dawkins Attracts More Flies With Honey Than Vinegar.