Mainstream media censorship
You may recall that I recently wrote a rather scathing rebuke of an article posted over at MoneyVille, a site associated with the Toronto Star. You’ll recall that the article was written by a certain real estate lawyer who included some blatantly false information to support his claim that Canada’s real estate market is not in bubble territory.
After writing my response to the article, I posted a respectfully worded comment in the comment section of the story page, where I pointed out that the article contained some factual errors. I used my real name as my screen name and included a link to my rebuttal.
The interesting thing is that immediately after I posted my comment, the comments were closed on the article in question. Funny!
Not to be dissuaded, I again tried to post a comment under a different but equally misleading article from the same author. I pointed out the questionable logic of the statement he made in the article: “If you’re sitting on the fence wondering when or whether to buy a home in 2011, remember there’s never been a better time to buy a home than right now, with interest rates continuing at historic lows”. And I once again asked for a response to my rebuttal of his previous piece.
Once again my comment was censored out. Evidently we live in a society where our mainstream media allows ‘news stories’ from those set to benefit from the propagation of such ‘news’ while censoring strong criticisms of the factual content of their articles.
I’ve written about the inherent media bias before and about the fact that they must cater to their advertisers. Our mainstream media continues to lose credibility as people continue to turn to the uncensored thoughts of those in the blogosphere. It’s a sad state of affairs.
Also of note, I await a response from one Jay Bryan after I sent him the following email:
Dear Mr. Bryan
Your recent article, ‘No solid basis for scary speculation’, is riddled with
inaccuracies and very misleading and dangerous information. As a journalist,
you owe it to yourself and your readers to become more acquainted with the
topics you write about. I’ve highlighted a number of these factual errors in a
recent post on my website.
I trust your future articles will be more in line with the standards of your
profession rather than leaning heavily on hyperbole and anecdotes.
I’ll post any response I get. I don’t expect one.
China’s “freak economy”
Another tidbit about the biggest potential Black Swan out there. SocGen’s chief strategist Albert Edwards has once again issued a strong warning about the prospects of a China hard landing and persistent deflationary forces.
(Edwards) thinks there may still be another Japanese-style economic “lost decade” to endure. “Big structural bear markets take 19 years on average and have four recessions,” he says. “We’ve had two.”
Edwards is thus sticking to two eye-catching predictions. Stock markets will revisit their March 2009 lows (3512 for the FTSE 100). And, despite the hints in recent months of a return of inflation, gilt yields will fall below 2% (from 3.5% today) as deflationary forces reassert themselves. Oh, and for good measure, prepare for the hard landing in China and the crash in commodity prices.
Ridiculous? Well, remember that Edwards’ Ice Age call in 1996 has proved to be a winner: even if you include the stock market’s dotcom bubble years at the end of the 1990s, equities are still a long way behind bonds since 1996.
Remember, too, that Edwards’ forecasts were generally rubbished at the time. His dismissing of the supposed Asian Miracle in the mid-1990s as “Noddynomics” was resented – until the Asian currency crisis of 1998.
“The biggest risk to market valuations and to sentiment generally is a China hard landing,” he says. “In reality, China is a much more potentially volatile economy than people think.”
China is a “freak economy”; its investment-to-GDP ratio is off the scale in terms of size and endurance. “In development history, Korea is the only one that got close. It then collapsed. China is basing a growth model on the most unstable part of GDP.
But even the US, where monetary and fiscal stimuli have been greater, is “spewing money out but just kicking the can down the road for a bit”. He expects the public appetite for retrenchment to fade when recessions return. The middle classes have been “totally shafted” by a house price bubble that created the illusion of prosperity. “In the US, one in eight are on food stamps. Japan was a cohesive society that shared its pain collectively. That is not how it stacks up in the US, UK, Spain, Greece etc. You have a much more fractious environment to have a lost decade in. The ructions for society will be far worse.”
For some insight on how a slowdown in China would affect Canada, check out these posts: