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Tuberider

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  1. Maybe the next stock bubble will be in companies engaged 'sustainable' or 'alternative' energy production, i.e wind, biofuel, SASOL type oil-for-coal etc. If oil stays this high, or even above 50usd a barrel surely it must only be a matter of time before capital pours into the alternatives ? Any thoughts on this ?
  2. Colleague of mine just told me he has bought a two bedroom BTL flat from a developer in Bournemouth for 95k with no deposit. The deal was done 'through a mate' - an intermediary - who arranged the mortgage and 'absolutely gaurantees' tenants once the building is completed. He also gets a cashback sum of 4k. I am not familiar with the ins-and-outs of this sort of thing but it sounds extremly dubious. I have tried to explain the risks, but the guy is like a bloody Hari Krishna, bleating on about how property never looses and now is the time to buy before everything shoots up again due to dropping interest rates. It seems that there are quite a few suckers still dancing round this particular ring, chins thrust out asking for a good left uppercut to the jaw.
  3. Strangely enough, Todd is of mixed American-Jewish lineage.
  4. The Americans are clearly on their way out. Their society is in decay, their population has been gorged on fast food and lies and it is only a matter of time before they leave Iraq with their tail between their legs like they did in Vietnam.
  5. I think what he said was that there will be a sort of levelling off, where no one nation or federation of nations has global dominance but power is distributed between five or six key players. I have the book, and very interesting it is too. While I do not agree with all of his conclusions, his analysis is sound and i would not be suprised if we see the USA rapidly lose its status as sole superpower over the next 15-20 years. The cracks have been there for some time now and will only deepen. If they go gung-ho into Iran to protect the petrodollar then i reckon it's all over.
  6. The Conceited Empire A historian credited with predicting the downfall of the Soviet Union in the 1970s now says that the US has been on its way out for the last decade. By Martin A. Senn and Felix Lautenschlager Translated by Andreas Artz The power and influence of the United States is being overestimated, claims French historian and demographer Emmanuel Todd. "There will be no American Empire." "The world is too large and dynamic to be controlled by one power." According to Todd, whose 1976 book predicted the fall of the Soviet Union, there is no question: the decline of America the Superpower has already begun. Emmanuel Todd compares the US to 16th century Spain, arguing that US economic power is being undermined by the decline of its industrial base and its increased dependence on other countries to feed its consumption.The power and influence of the United States is being overestimated, claims French historian and demographer Emmanuel Todd. This article was originally published in Neue Zuricher Zeitung (The New Zuricher, Sunday morning). * * * NZZ: Mr. Todd, you write that America is economically, militarily, and ideologically too weak to actually control the world. This would gladden many anti-Americans. But how is this anything but the wishful thinking of an intellectual who is the product of the French US critical tradition? ET: This is neither wishful thinking nor anti-Americanism. Why would I have been so prominently criticised by the left? The French career anti-American paper "Le Monde diplomatique", was the only major paper that remained conspicuously silent on my book. The over-estimation of America is fundamental to these people. It is on this topic that they agree with the American ultra-conservatives: the former to demonize, the latter to aggrandize. NZZ: You on the other hand can be accused of underestimating the United States. ET: On the contrary, the US is still the most powerful nation in the world today, but there are many indicators that they are about to relinquish their position as solitary superpower. In my 1976 book, La chute finale (Before the Fall: The End of Soviet Domination), I based my prediction of the fall of the Soviet Union on the relevant indicators of the time. An analysis of current demographic, cultural, military, economic, and ideological factors leads me to conclude that the remaining pole of the former bipolar world order will not remain alone in its position. The world has become too large and complex to accept the predominance of one power. There will not be an American Empire. NZZ: Nevertheless, if others are to believed, this empire has already been long in existence. "Get Used to It" was a recent headline in the New York Times Weekend Magazine. ET: That is very interesting. Now that the concept no longer corresponds to reality, it becomes commonplace. While there actually was a basis in reality, there was scarcely a mention of the concept. NZZ: Then you are of the opinion that there was an American empire at one point? ET: The American hegemony from the end of WW II into the late 1980s in military, economic, and ideological terms definitely had imperial qualities. In 1945 fully half the manufactured goods in the world originated in the US. And although there was a communist bloc in Eurasia, East Germany, and North Korea, the strong American military, the navy and air force, exercised strategic control over the rest of the globe, with the support and understanding of many allies, whose common goal was the fight against communism. Although communism had some dispersed support among intellectuals, workers, and peasant groups, the power and influence of the US was by and large with the agreement of a majority throughout the world. It was a benevolent empire. The Marshall Plan was an exemplary political and economic strategy. America was, for decades, a 'good' superpower. NZZ: And now it is a bad one? ET: It has, above all, become a weak one. The US no longer has the might to control the large strategic players, primarily Germany and Japan. Their industrial capacity is clearly smaller than that of Europe and approximately equal to that of Japan. With twice the population, this is no great accomplishment. Their trade deficit meanwhile, is in the order of $500 billion per year. Their military potential is nevertheless still the largest by far, but is declining and consistently over estimated. The use of military bases is dependant on the good will of their allies, many of which are not as willing as before. The theatrical military activism against inconsequential rogue states that we are currently witnessing plays out against this backdrop. It is a sign of weakness, not of strength. But weakness makes for unpredictability. The US is about to become a problem for the world, where we have previously been accustomed to seeing a solution in them. NZZ: Assuming you are right: how did this budding empire slide so quickly into decline? ET: A rift has been developing, slowly at first and then more quickly, between the US and their various geo-political areas of interest. During the early 1970's a deficit in the balance of trade began to open. The US assumed the role of consumer and the rest of the world took on the role of producer, in this increasingly unbalanced global process. The balance of trade went from a deficit of $100 billion in 1990 to $500 billion annually at present. This deficit has been financed through capital flowing into the US. Eventually the same effect experienced by the Spanish in 16th and 17th centuries will come to bear. As gold from the New World flooded in, the Spanish succumbed to decreasing productivity. They consumed and dissipated, lived high and beyond their means and fell into economic and technological arrears. NZZ: But America is still the leading example of economic and technological competence. ET: When I speak of the economy, then I mean the industrial core and the associated technological cutting edge, not the anemic New Economy. It is in the core industrial sphere that the US is falling dramatically behind. European investors lost billions in the US during the nineties, but the US economy lost an entire decade. As recently as 1990 the US was still exporting $35 billion more in advanced technology than it was importing. Now the balance of trade is negative even in this field. The US is far behind in mobile communications technology. The Finnish Nokia is four times the size of Motorola. More than half the communications satellites are being launched with European Ariane rockets. Airbus is about to surpass Boeing -- the most important transportation medium for personnel traffic in the modern global economy is about to be manufactured primarily in Europe. These are the things that are ultimately important. These are by far more vital and decisive factors than a war against Iraq. NZZ: Are you saying they are waging the wrong war in the wrong place? ET: The US leadership doesn't know anymore where to turn. They know that they are monetarily dependant on the rest of the world, and they are afraid of becoming inconsequential. There are no more Nazis and Communists. While a demographic, democratic, and politically stabilizing world recognizes that it is increasingly less dependant on the US, America is discovering that it is increasingly dependant on the rest of the world. That is the reason for the rush into military action and adventures. It is classic. NZZ: Classic? ET: The only remaining superiority is military. This is classic for a crumbling system. The final glory is militarism. The fall of the Soviet Union took place in an identical context. Their economy was in decline, and their leadership grew fearful. Their military apparatus gained in size and stature and the Russians embarked on adventures to forget their economic shortcomings. The parallels in the US are obvious. The process has significantly accelerated in the past few months. NZZ: Where do you see the indicators of these developments? ET: In European politics and in the weakness of the dollar. In my book I postulated an increasing commonality between France and Germany. In the meantime the positions adopted by the German Chancellor Schroeder and the French President Chirac in opposition to Bush have substantiated my "Historian's Theory". The unexpected, immediate, and strong response from US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld took aim at "old Europe". It is, in fact, the new Europe that instills fear in him. NZZ: In the meantime, however, eight European states have come out in support of the US. ET: The significant occurrence was in Germany. The US can only maintain its position as sole superpower so long as it can maintain control over Germany and Japan, both of which are huge creditors of the USA. Therefore the historical significance cannot be over estimated, that a German chancellor could win an election on a "no to the war in Iraq", in effect a no to the United States. NZZ: What about the weak dollar? ET: As a historian, the dollar represents a "mentality indicator" to me. It reflects the awareness of international trade and business leaders of the realities of the American economy. The weakness of the dollar is indicative of their assessment that the situation is much worse than is openly acknowledged. The fact is that troops destined for the war in Iraq, which has been represented as a simple mission, are still not totally prepared. After a year of back and forth, the diplomatic heavyweights of France and Germany are trying to prevent this war, and the balance of the allies are participating mostly verbally, not financially. There is an immense risk in engaging in a war on the opposite side of the globe while fettered by a $500 billion trade deficit, a weak dollar and supported only by friends who are unwilling to share the costs. NZZ: You write that in the future there will be three, perhaps four strong polarities, of which the most influential will be Europe. Are you counting on an emerging European Superpower? ET: One of the working propositions of my book, After the Empire is that the concept of military control of the globe no longer makes any sense. In relation to the military, there will be a balance of power in the future. There is still a nuclear balance of power between the US and Russia. The notion that sections of the globe can be controlled through military might is passé, because it is unrealistic. You can destroy regimes and bomb their infrastructure, as the Americans have done in Afghanistan, but the populations -- including those in the developing world -- have become educated and literate enough to eliminate any possibility of re-colonization. The only power that ultimately counts today is economic power. NZZ: Do you believe that Europe has the "right stuff" economically for superpower status? ET: Why not? It is often said that the Europeans are somewhat naïve and passive. They are accused of having neglected their military. But when you understand that military might is no longer the true power, and when you see that presently the Americans no longer possess the economic means to maintain their military apparatus, then you must conclude that the Europeans have done the right thing. They have placed their reliance on their economy. They have introduced the Euro. Their industrial policies are coherent and substantial. Airbus is only one example. Europe is well armed. NZZ: For what is Europe "armed"? ET: For the conflict that is just beginning between the Americans who want a war in Iraq, and the Europeans who in effect don't want a war. Iraq, being close to Europe, is a supplier of oil to Europe as well as Japan. Nevertheless, they can afford to buy their oil with the money they earn from their industrial exports. They are economically strong enough to not have to control Iraq with military intervention. The US on the other hand, as a consequence of their massive trade deficit, barely has the means to pay for their oil consumption. That is why it is vital to exercise military control over this region on the other side of the globe. On the surface this appears to be a question of "war or no war", but in fact it is most likely a question of whose sphere of influence will Iraq fall under, Europe or America? NZZ: Who will win this battle of the spheres of influence? ET: Most apparent is how clumsy the US has been to date, and how far they have moved away from any notion of universality. They don't see the world as it really is anymore. They are failing in any balanced and fair approach to their allies. All of this reminds me of Germany under Wilhelm II. The US is losing allies steadily. One gets the impression that an office somewhere in Washington has been tasked with the duty to daily prepare a scheme to develop new enemies for the US. NZZ: Is it conceivable that Europe will one day attain the position America has enjoyed? ET: There will never be another single super power. In addition to the US, Europe, and Japan, Russia will rise again to prominence. China, despite their presently weak technology, will soon join the fray. Nevertheless, the traditional superpowers are all stagnating. But the developing world is fast gaining. And that is cause for some hope. * * * Emmanuel Todd is a 52 year-old Historian and Political Scientist at the National Institute for Demographics in Paris. His research examines the rise and fall of peoples and cultures over the course of thousands of years. His newest publication predicts the fall of the United States as the sole superpower: Aprés l'Empire: Essaie sur la décomposition du systéme Américain (available in English from Columbia University Press in February 2004). Todd attracted attention with a similar work in 1976, when he predicted the fall of the Soviet Union based on indicators such as increasing infant mortality rates: La chute final: Essais sur la décomposition de la sphére Soviétique. Todd studied Political Science at the Institut de Etudes Politiques in Paris and completed his Doctor Thesis in Historical Sciences at Cambridge.
  7. I'm inclined to agree with Frugalista on this. I like to think that the crazy binge of the last ten years will end and the economy will go south, but it wont be the end of the world. On the other hand, the Peak Oil pundits seem very convincing and they could well be right. It wouldnt be a bad idea to brush off your copy of John Seymour and learn to be self-sufficient. Grow a veggie garden, stock up on baking soda and seeds and learn basic carpentry and construction skills. I think the best place to be in a Mad-Max scenario would be a meditteranean island, which luckily is where i happen to be now. 1) The climate is mild, so no need for oil to heat or cool you home provided it has been properly contructed. You might suffer a bit during the worst of the summer heatwaves but the winter is a cinch. 2) People are still enagaged in agriculture/fishing/animal husbandry and the knowledge is widely available. We make our own cheese, grow lots of stuff in window boxes and catch octopus. 3) Small distance, meaning less fuel for travelling. 4) People are hot tempered and hot blooded. They don't take any sort of [email protected] from the government lightly, and will not be pushed into a police-type state without a hard fight. On the othe hand, this is also a negative as tempers could flare up more easily during hard times. Many people also have shotguns and automatic rifles at home, so this could get tricky. 5) Small mountain villages still exist where some kind of agrarian community can be established by like-minded people. Land is still cheap in said villages as everyone has moved to the city ins earch of better wages and living standards. I could go on. I reckon there will be a scramble for these sorts of places if the Peak Oil SHTF.
  8. Wow sounds uncannily like my own plan. I am grappling with the same dilemma myself, I guess the core issue is one of selling the overpriced property for more than you know it is worth on the next up cycle. I think no. After all, people try and sell you overpriced stuff everyday, it is up to you to discern wether it is worth it or not.
  9. Mate good luck to you I left my council estate in London on a rainy day in 1997, I started off with a year surfing in the americas and ended up in Cyprus, where my parents are from. I can honestly say I havn't looked back since. Why would you spend your life cramped up in a dirty, violent and expensive city, where people get stabbed to death on the bus for no good reason. Life here is not perfect, but it IS damn beautiful most of the time.
  10. Depends on which one. On average: 120-130k for a two bedroom 'villa' (concrete box with small garden) Three bedroom 'villas' all sold, when I called earlier this year the agent told me they were coming in at around 145k 160k - 200k for four bedroom concrete box, price varies depending on Sqm and size of garden. Don't forget that the title deeds are not available and will not be either for the next 2-3 years. Land registry office works very slowly out here. There are also several blocks or flats being built in the Athanasiou Mesogios compley. A two bedroom flat at around 120sqm and right across the road from the beach goes for 250k. Thats Cyprus pounds, so read 300k sterling. Problem is (and as anyone who knows Limassol will tell you) the road you have to cross is a dual carrigeway and very busy at all times of day and night with people screaming up and down at high speeds. Strangely, this road does not appear on their artist's impression : http://www.cyprus-home.com/properties_messogios.html Things have gone mad out here, i'm telling you. It's gotta end in tears.
  11. When I was a kid my mum used to scare me by telling me that if I was bad then Maggie Thatcher would come and take me away. To this day I still have nightmares of the doorbell ringing and seeing the Iron Lady perched on my doorstep with a brown sack ready to bundle me into the car.
  12. Hi guys Thanks for the replies, There are two new developments behind the seafront mcdonalds in Limassol which have been sitting empty since last February. One is an Athanasiou development and consists of 20 houses, the other is a GP Lazarou job and consists of about a dozen. A total of only six of these has been marked as 'reserved' but i see no signs of activity. The Tryfonas Hills complex in Ayios Tychonas, Limassol is only a third sold, no further sales since last spring. There are many for 'for sale' and 'to rent' signs appearing in Limassol which leads me to believe that the market is now saturated. No downward pressure on prices has appeared here yet as my fellow cypriots are an optimistic bunch and believe they can defy the laws of demand and supply (as they tried to do with the huge stock market bubble here in the late 90's) but i think the end is nigh for us as the Brit buyers seem to have all dried up and we locals cannot afford these crazy prices If anyone is in or from Cyprus it would be nice to hear from you, i feel like a lone voice in the wilderness out here
  13. Hi everyone My, my this place has changed. I made a few posts in the early days (when it was in the old format... seems there were a lot more bulls back then too - whatever happened to that Minty bloke and the other one with the castle ?) but then I sort of lost interest in it after last summer when the first signs of the crash materialized. So, to the point: I am in Cyprus and I firmly believe that we are also experiencing a house price bubble on my little island, however everyone here thinks I'm mad and that prices here will never fall. I have noticed a lot of new developments sitting unsold and empty for 6 months or more (if anyone is in Cyprus I would be glad to tell you where - maybe you can get a bargain) and the price of my own property had more than DOUBLED in the last 3 years. The problem is, I cannot find any hard evidence which would point towards a crash. I have seen some lacklustre pieces in various publications but nothing overtly bearish. The most recent piece in the Cyprus Mail was bordering on a joke: -quote: House prices looks set to continue their rise By Jean Christou (archive article - Wednesday, July 20, 2005) THERE is not likely to be any let up in the rise in house prices in Cyprus for the foreseeable future, but experts yesterday ruled out any notion of a bubble. In June 2005, house prices rose 1.1 per cent over May, according to the BuySell index, the only one published on the island. The June increase brought house prices to an accumulated 3.6 per cent rise for the first half of 2005, with the BuySell Index rising to 110.7 and the average home price to £86.218. “In some countries prices go in cycles and in some others they go up or not,” said Stelios Platis Director of S.Platis Economic Research, which has just published 60-page analysis on the Cyprus property market, which was commissioned by BuySell. Platis said before the BuySell monthly index was formulated, there was no clue as to the property market in Cyprus. He said it was also widely used abroad as in indicator as to the state of the market in Cyprus. “Whether there is a bubble or not depends on the country and how the financial system of that country works. My opinion is that the chances of a bubble in the Cyprus property market is very small,” Platis said at a news conference yesterday to present the findings of the research. The study analysed the key factors that that have led to a rise in prices, and also the factors that negatively affect the market. It concluded that liberalisation of the financial sector and a decrease in interest rates led to easier borrowing, an increased demand for higher quality housing and also for second homes. Platis said that between 1992 and 2001 the population increased by some 90,000, while at the same time the number of people per household declined from 3.23 in 1992 to 3.06 in 2001 and the percentage of owner-occupation increased from 63.8 per cent to 68.2 per cent. “The inability of the existing housing stock and the construction industry to meet the increased demand led in the short run to house-price increases,” said Platis. “The construction frenzy recorded in the period following interest-rate liberalisation could therefore be explained by the existence of demand that had not been satisfied earlier by the previously existing supply. The inability of the supply side to meet demand for specific locational characteristics may also have led to an increase of the prices of such locational characteristics.” He also said the increase of land value and construction costs had contributed to the increase of house prices in the long run. “The size of the profit margin for developers (the difference between house prices and construction cost) is decisive in whether new houses are constructed and therefore determines the level of supply of housing in the medium term,” he added. Platis said the stock market bubble also turned the attention of Cypriots back to property as an investment, something that contributed to increased demand and increased house prices, as did EU accession. Negative effects on the market included the stabilisation or marginal decrease of per-head disposable income of Cypriots during 2001-2002 and the interest-rate increase of 100 basis points by the Central Bank of Cyprus in April 2004. “This development contributed to an increase in the cost of financing, restricting demand for housing loans and consequently for housing, thus affecting prices negatively,” Platis said. “Additionally, the directive issued by the Central Bank of Cyprus to the commercial banks, instructing them to grant housing loans of up to a maximum of 70 per cent of the value of a house, may have contributed to the decrease of demand in 2003, since it limited the number of eligible persons.” Referring to the second home market, Platis said that special circumstances such as oversupply of second homes, relatively high prices and an increase of interest rates in the UK, may have caused a demand decrease – with negative or stabilizing effect on prices – especially after the developments in the Cyprus problem from April 2004 and the opening of the Green Line a year earlier. “Today, and most particularly from February onwards, the Cyprus housing market is believed to be in a phase of price recovery – a tendency which is expected to continue,” Platis said. “The examination of the current conditions on the Cyprus housing market, based on the study’s conclusions, leads us authors to assume that house prices will probably continue to rise.” -unquote Is it not ridiculous that the only house price data available for the whole island comes from BuySell, the biggest estate agent here ? I sent the following letter to the paper but they did not publish it or reply: -Quote: Dear Sirs I found your recent article on house prices (Wednesday 20th July) to be biased and selective on many counts. It is also quite ridiculous (and amusing) to see that the research quoted in the article is sponsored by BuySell, the biggest real estate agent on the island and obviously a corporation which has a vested interest in having people believe that house prices will continue to rise. Such scaremongering is clearly generated in order to induce panic buying and thus stave off the real estate collapse which is clearly looming. The answers are very simple. Real incomes have not increased significantly on the island, in fact we have less disposable income then before as the cost of living has risen and will continue to rise as a result of higher energy costs in the oil and gas markets. Therefore the rise in house prices is merely fuelled by speculation and sentiment, as was the rise in stock prices during the CSE bubble of the late 90's. As any economist worth his salt will tell you, sentiment in markets can change very quickly. Locals simply cannot keep up with the massive rise in house prices on their incomes, so it follows naturally that they will come to a point where they simply refuse to buy, or will buy at a very high level of exposure which leaves them vulnerable to panic selling when things get tough. It could be argued that UK buyers will continue to prop up the market, but the British real estate bubble has already burst and the recent small price falls we have seen will gather steam over the next few years. Few will be willing to risk purchasing a home abroad when equity on their main residence in the UK is slowly slipping downwards. Once the crash in the UK market gathers steam, Cyprus will shortly follow suit. Finally, the argument that lower interest rates will drive prices higher is also questionable. If we study the case of Japan we will see massive house price falls over the past fifteen years since the Japanese housing bubble burst in the early 90's. Interestingly, Japanese interest rates are at 0.10 percent and have been for some time now with no upward effects on prices at all. For more on the global house market bubble, I would steer interested readers towards excellent grassroots sites such as www.housepricecrash.co.uk and advise them to leave the BuySell propaganda well alone. It can all only end in tears. Unquote - Anyone in Cyprus who can help me out with this seemingly Herculean task ? I would appreciate any pointers, Best regards to all,
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