International Economics

They Want to Buy Our Crappy Assets. Run For Your Lives!!!

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Sovereign wealth funds, this year's Dubai Ports World-style ooga-booga man of international finance, are the subject of an interesting Washington Post feature today.

The star of the piece is Bader al-Saad, a former Chase Manhattan and First National Bank of Chicago man who came to the Kuwait Investment Authority in 2003 and started remodeling the state-owned, oil-fed investment fund on the endowments of Harvard and Yale, which meant getting out of the Persian Gulf and looking for diversified opportunities abroad. And it turns out, with the U.S. dollar and American asset prices deflating, those opportunities began presenting themselves in these United States. Excerpt:

It was not Bader al-Saad's idea to buy huge chunks of Citigroup and Merrill Lynch.

It was early January and Saad … was in his office as usual, reviewing potential deals in Kuwait and elsewhere in the Persian Gulf region, when the banks asked him to invest, he recalled.

"They called us…. We receive calls on most transactions," said Saad, whose fund bought stakes of $3 billion in Citigroup and $2 billion in Merrill Lynch. […]

He said the next big purchases of assets in the United States may be in the real estate sector, which he expects will peak as an investment target—in other words, hit rock bottom—in the next few months. Saad said he also thinks U.S. telecommunications companies and more financial firms would make good investments.

"There are certain opportunities which do not come every day," he said. "We consider the recent crisis as creating some opportunities in certain sectors. I look at history, such as the savings-and-loan problem. It created golden opportunities."

But fear not—legislators are busy looking for ways to discourage global liquidity from washing in to cash-starved Washington. The EU and U.S.-backed International Monetary Fund are drawing up targeted regulations and extracting you-will-only-come-seeking-profit pledges from the scary foreigners. Future president Barack Obama vows to stop "transferring wealth to these countries." The Council of Foreign Relations has issued a jeremiad against the "New Financial Superpower" [PDF] who will bring us to our knees by, uh, selling the U.S. assets they have already bought? It's all very confusing.

Some thoughts from Marginal Revolutionary Tyler Cowen here. Science Correspondent Ron Bailey explained how foreign ownership is not a threat, but stupid legislation is back in March 2006. And Kenton E. Kelly explained how a bogus security panic is alienating an ally and endangering our country in February 2006.

NEXT: The News Media vs. the Innocent

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  1. If foreigners holding U$ can’t use them to invest in assets and create (or sustain) jobs, then what should they do with them? Who, in 1945, would have predicted the U$ would be used for toilet paper in the rest of the world?

  2. I predict problems if the USA doesn’t let people sometimes buy actual assets with those little pieces of paper with pictures of dead Americans on them.

    It may eventually become harder to trade these pieces of paper for manufactured goods and oil and stuff.

  3. That a pretty big misrepresentation of what Obama said.

    Obama said he did not have a problem with foreign investment in the United States as such, but said Washington had to “get our balance of payments in order” by, for example, crafting an energy policy that reduced American dependence on foreign oil.

    “If we are sending money to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, (and) the United Arab Emirates because of our inability to control our consumption of oil, then we’ve got to expect that we are over time transferring wealth to those countries,” he said.

    “That’s something I intend to stop as president.”

    The word “that” pretty clearly refers to “our inability to control our consumption of oil.”

  4. Hey, I have an idea!
    Maybe we should participate in the global economy!
    Or maybe we shouldn’t be trying our hardest to devalue our currency!

    Oh wait… no. They’re right. Teh evil foreign people want to steal “our” sovereignty, and it’s completely not the fault of our leaders in Washington that the current conditions exist.

  5. Ah, yes, this brings back memories of the nativist panic over Japan, Inc. buying up the U.S. (though in those days the dern ferners were paying premium prices rather then bargain basement).

  6. I agree with Reinmoose and Obama: the problem here isn’t that ferners are buying American stuff, but the conditions that led to that happening on such a large scale.

    It’s GOOD, given the problems they’re facing, that Citi and other troubled financial houses have found investors. They need ’em.

  7. We send all of that money to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia and they can’t eat it. A lot of that money comes back in the form of foreign investment, which is a very good thing. Further, when people buy US assets and US products as a result of the lower dollar, that helps with our balance of payments because money is flowing into the country which in turn helps to stabilize the dollar, which is another good thing.

    I really don’t see a downside to this. We buy oil from the middle east with our money and then use that oil to run our economy and create wealth and products which is then purchased by the people we bought the oil from with the money that we gave them. It is called international trade. It is a really amazing thing. The more of it the better off we are.

  8. I have yet to hear how Obama will stop “our inability to control our consumption of oil”. Many have issued similar platitudes for decades without any effect.

  9. The word “that” pretty clearly refers to “our inability to control our consumption of oil.”

    joe,
    Do you think Barack asserting that once endowed with executive powers, he will be able to “control our consumption of oil”, makes him less scary?

  10. Greasy foreigners are buying up America! At prices Americans won’t pay!

    Git a rope. Circle the wagons. Weep for us.

  11. we are over time transferring wealth to those countries

    Did Michelle write that for him?
    When is the next youtube Q&A? I want somebody to ask soon-to-be-President O to provide a concise explanation of the difference between “investment” and “expense.”

  12. Do you think Barack asserting that once endowed with executive powers, he will be able to “control our consumption of oil”, makes him less scary?

    Yes, Warren, I do.

    I think that is considerably less scary for a president to think that our dependence on oil is a problem, than to think that foreigners investing in our financial companies is a proble.

    Yes, I do. Absolutely.

  13. THEY TOOK UR JERBS ASSERTS!

  14. OK, looks like the consensus is “the American economy would not benefit at all if the money spent on foreign sources of energy was instead spent domestically.”

    I guess I just need to take Econ 101, because that looks like a pretty implausible statement to me.

  15. “I guess I just need to take Econ 101, because that looks like a pretty implausible statement to me.”

    Joe that depends. It is all about comparative advantage. Right now the middle east has a comparative advantage in producing oil. If tommorow we stopped buying our energy from the middle east and started getting it domesticlly that would not automatically be a good thing. If the energy cost more to produce here in the US than it does to import, we are worse off even though we are spending the money domesticly. Oil is just another product. The same logic that tells you we are worse off by preventing Americans from buying other goods overseas, tells you we are worse off preventing Americans from buying foreighn oil.

  16. There are a lot of things that the government could STOP doing that would reduce our consumption of oil, or at least make its allocation more efficient. Of course, that’s not what we’re going to get as a solution to our dependence on foreign oil. We’ll likely be told that the government SHOULD DO SOMETHING to make other sources of energy more competitive with foreign oil.

  17. joe,

    I think Warren meant that he was more disturbed by Obama’s thinking that the president actually has the power to do much about “control[ling] our consumption of oil”. On the surface, one could say that remark shows either (1) ignorance about or (2) contempt of the limits on executive authority.

    I don’t think it’s either, though I imagine Obama has the usual Democrat’s expansive view of government. No, candidates from both parties are notorious for talking about solving problems that presidents have little ability to directly address. The economy is one huge example of that, but there are many others.

    Bush the Younger talks about reducing our oil dependence, too, so talk is cheap.

  18. there are fears that their investments could turn political, that the funds could buy stakes in entities that could someday be used to compromise the security of the United States while furthering their national interests.

    Rick Wagoner is secretly working for the Kuwaitis! It’s all beginning to make sense…

  19. The Arabs were taking over in the 70s and the Japanese were taking over in the 80 and early 90s. Ho, hum. It’s the European menace we need to look out for. Denmark already has Greenland.

  20. Right, John, I understand how comparative advantage works.

    But that depends on a couple of assumptions, one of which is that our demand for petroleum must always remain steady or increase.

    If we can 1) develop domestic energy sources or 2) develop less energy-intensive ways to run our economy – and remember, that’s what Obama was talking about, getting our demand for oil under control – some amount of money being spent on foreign oil could be spent on something else.

    But, regardless, the main point here is that Obama did not, as a matter of fact, make a nativist argument against foreign investment in our financial firms. He pivoted away from that, and that is a very good thing.

  21. Joe,

    The day all of that becomes more profitable and advantagous over buying foreign oil, we will do that. The government really has nothing to do with it. Right now we are better off buying foreign oil. Someday, after someone develops fusion or effective solar or whatever, we won’t be. The worst thing we could do is try to force the issue before such technology is developed. And it will develop. The person who develops a cheaper alternative to oil will make Bill Gates look like a pauper.

  22. Wait a second. Obama did talk about the foreign investment being a matter of concern. It wasn’t just about oil dependence. He’s dancing around the issue a bit, so he can say he’s for and against it, but he avoided making a strong statement that we have little to fear from foreign investment.

  23. Pro Lib,

    our inability to control our consumption of oil is the phrase in question.

    I guess I’m reading that differently from Warren. I see that as a statement about our consumption patterns being “out of control,” in the common sense of that phrase, not about the government not having enough control of oil imports.

    Though I can see how the word choice could set off alarm bells among libertarians.

  24. No, I understand what you were saying, joe. I think you both make valid points. Libertarian or not, I find the tradition of presidential candidates promising things they know they can’t deliver annoying. No candidate is immune from that disease. I think even Paul talked about getting rid of things that he couldn’t get rid of without help from another branch. Not legally, anyway.

  25. John,

    The day all of that becomes more profitable and advantagous over buying foreign oil, we will do that.

    Right, and the ultimate disagreement comes down to whether the government should try to make that day come sooner.

    Pro Lib,

    he avoided making a strong statement that we have little to fear from foreign investment Yes, he did. When talking about the issue, he “avoided” making any statement at all about nativism, despite the political benefit that would accrue to him for doing so, and pivoted to a different issue. He’s not carrying your banner, but he ducked the chance to pick up Lou Dobbs’ banner when he had the chance. I think that’s a good sign.

  26. “The EU and U.S.-backed International Monetary Fund are drawing up targeted regulations and extracting you-will-only-come-seeking-profit pledges from the scary foreigners”

    Uh Huh.

    And while they’re at it they can apply those same regulations to CALPERS and other state and local government run pension funds that are nominally supposed to be run exclusively for the benefit of the the people who are (or will be) gettting retirement checks instead of being used as a vehicle for politically motivated managers to advance “social change” at the corporations the funds invest in.

    Ditto for union run pension plans and the gigantic new health-care funds that will be run by the UAW as the result of the recent deals made by GM, etc.

  27. joe,
    Just out of curiosity, how is the government going to make that day come sooner without affecting the price?
    Like I said, they could STOP doing things that cause us to consume oil inefficiently (farm subsidies, for example), but they won’t.

  28. Bush the Younger talks about reducing our oil dependence, too, so talk is cheap.

    From Nixon on, every president has. Reagan couldn’t do it. Clinton couldn’t do it. Ford, Carter, Bush the Elder likewise couldn’t do it.

    But Obama will.

    Do I have that right, joe?

  29. I suppose it is a good sign for nuclear power supporters that Sen. Obama has apparently reaped nearly $200K in donations from Exelon executives, the biggest operator of nuclear plants. Has Obama moved beyond his mushy
    “nuclear power deserves a place at the table” statements to something more concrete about letting the energy markets get on with cheaper, less polluting nuclear power?

  30. And since this will help the poor, struggling victims of the housing bubble by slowing the slide in home values or hastening their increase, shouldn’t compassionate, progressive thinkers be attracted to this like flies to honey?

  31. It’s the European menace we need to look out for. Denmark already has Greenland.

    PL, it’s worse than you thought…

    # Six European countries — France, Germany, Luxembourg (a financial center), the Netherlands, Switzerland and the UK – each hold U.S. investments worth over $100 billion dollars.
    # The UK’s $252 billion investment represents almost a fourth of total European investment in the United States.
    # Japan accounts for 80% of investment from the Asia-Pacific region, reaching around $177 billion.
    # Chinese direct investment in the U.S. is minimal, …that should change with Lenovo’s acquisition of IBM’s Personal Computing Division. Hong Kong investment in the U.S. totals $1.8 billion.
    # Israel is the largest investor from the Middle East, with some $4.1 billion in investments. Kuwait follows with $1.2 billion.
    # FDI from South America in the U.S. was greatest from Panama, with $11 billion in U.S. investments, probably because Panama is a financial hub.

    And it turns out Lonewacko was right!
    # Mexico is the second largest Latin American investor, with some $7.9 billion invested.

    All land for the NAFTA superhighway, no doubt! I’m so glad the scales have fallen from my eyes…

    source.

  32. Reinmoose,

    Let’s not get too far off topic. I’m sure there will be energy-issue threads.

  33. Has Obama moved beyond his mushy “nuclear power deserves a place at the table” statements to something more concrete about letting the energy markets get on with cheaper, less polluting nuclear power?

    I hope so. Only Nixon could go to China. Similarly, it may require a perceptive Democrat to face down the anti-nuclear luddites.

    But this is sort of off topic.

  34. joe,

    Well, I’m not sure. I tend to see Obama as trying to be all things to all people, which is why he seems to rarely take a clear position on specific issues. If he took a strong nativist position, he’d alienate too many voters. If he took a strong laissez faire position, he’d piss off too many voters within the party. Normally, that might not matter so much, but it’s still an open question about whether McCain still has that strong cachet with independents he’s had heretofore. If so, Obama is forced to take a middle course.

    I don’t entirely blame him for doing this, but I’m also not terribly impressed. At some point, he’s going to have to say where he really stands on some of these issues. At least he’s not totally inept at this, like his current opponent seems to be.

  35. Do I have that right, joe?

    Actually, no, you don’t, J sub.

    Carter took actions that could have moved us to a considerably better place in terms of our energy situation, and Reagan had to actively work to eliminate them in order to keep hid oil-industry supporters happy.

  36. Pro Lib,

    I don’t entirely blame him for doing this, but I’m also not terribly impressed.

    I can buy that. It’s a lot fairer than the assertion that Future president Barack Obama vows to stop “transferring wealth to these countries.”

  37. joe,

    Yes, I guess I agree–he wasn’t saying that in my opinion, either. Matt must pay the ultimate price!

  38. Carter took actions that could have moved us to a considerably better place in terms of our energy situation [my emphasis]

    Yeah, recesssions have a tendency to lower enrgy consumption. Not a policy I support though. Other than driving the economy into the turf, what did Carter and the Democrat congress do to reduce oil purchases abroad?

    Or is that could have, should have, would have?

  39. J sub D,

    Are you really not familiar with Carter’s conservation and alternative energy initiatives?

    They’re probably described on his Wikipedia page.

  40. P.S., J sub:

    Democrat is a noun. Democratic is an adjective.

  41. Carter took actions that could have moved us to a considerably better place in terms of our energy situation, and Reagan had to actively work to eliminate them in order to keep hid oil-industry supporters happy.

    This is true. I remember waiting in long lines, only on even numbered days, to get gasoline during the Carter administration. Reagan foolishly helped drive the price of oil way down, making it easy to get cheap gasoline.

    If only Reagan had stuck with Carter’s policies, nobody would using gasoline now.

  42. Dear stuartl,

    Jimmy Carter did not, in fact, make the United States a voting member of OPEC.

    Just clearing up what seems to be a point of confusion, since the gas shortages of the 70s were a consequence of OPEC screwing with their exports to us.

    love,

    joe

  43. What was this thread about again?

    Other than the Evil Democrats, I mean.

    Tube socks, or something? The Iranians buying tube socks?

  44. We have little to fear from foreign investment. I agree with that. Despite the Danish menace. They’re Vikings, you know.

  45. The gas shortages of the 70s were a consequence of OPEC screwing with their exports to us.

    You missed the key words the US overreacting to in between of and OPEC.

    Price controls and rationing are mechanisms designed to keep prices from rising — rising to the point where somebody else in the world just might sell their oil to us. Price controls and rationing are a recipe for shortages. OPEC embargoes are not.

  46. I agree with Reinmoose and Obama: the problem here isn’t that ferners are buying American stuff, but the conditions that led to that happening on such a large scale.

    What’s the problem here? We buy stuff from people overseas, they buy stuff from us. Isn’t this just foreign trade that enriches everyone?

    And how is this different from the “Yellow Peril” of the ’80s, when we are all supposed to be afraid of the Japanese (over)paying for American assets?

  47. One other thing:

    I also don’t understand how furriners holding US debt is supposed to be bad for us. The terms of the debt are the same regardless of who holds it – its not like they can foreclose on the government or demand early payment.

    If anything, holding a lot of someone’s debt gives you an interest in making sure they remain economically healthy; if they crater, you will feel some of the pain your own self.

  48. Except for the Danes, R C, except for the Danes.

  49. We need to make certain the Coast Guard is keeping a close watch on the horizon for bearded fiends in rowboats.

  50. R.C. Dean,

    My father made a great statement during the whole yellow scare of the 1980s. He said, it is better to owe someone a trillion than be owed a trillion. Basically the a variation on the old theme that if you owe the bank enough money you own the bank. I love it when recalictrent countries like China buy our debt. That gives them a direct stake in our success.

  51. RC Dean asks,

    What’s the problem here?

    Do you leave your windows open in the winter and crank up the heat, RC?

    No?

    Why not? What’s the problem here? You send your money to the fuel oil company, and they deliver you fuel oil. What could possibly be the problem with the free exchange of goods for money?

    Not really the point, is it?

  52. 55 mph- it’s not a good idea, it’s just the law.

  53. The folks who are squawking about us being dependent on foreign oil are the same ones who don’t want us to drill in ANWAR and the outercontintal shelf and utilitize the oil shale deposits in the western U.S. to increase our own supply of it. Or to use coal, which we have huge quantities of, to create synthetic gasoline. Or to build more nuclear power plants.

    When they stop being opposed to any effort to increase supply, then maybe I’ll believe they’re actually serious in their “concern” about foreign oil dependence.

  54. You mean, like, agitating for more solar and wind power?

  55. When they stop being opposed to any effort to increase supply, then maybe I’ll believe they’re actually serious in their “concern” about foreign oil dependence.

    If safe, clean and cheap hydrogen fusion was demostrated today, there are environmentalists who would be protesting before April got here. I’m an environmentalist, but jeez some in the movement are just irrational.

  56. Carter had some decent ideas, and some lousy ones. But the lousy ones (price controls, even/odd day fillups, etc.) were common in both parties at the time. Nixon was just as bad in that area as Carter was, possibly worse.

  57. You mean, like, agitating for more solar and wind power?

    Yep, that will solve our energy needs. It will allow Africa, southern Asia and the rest of the developing world to have living standards equal to the developed west.

    Is it ecomically competive? If so, it’ll happen. If not, it won’t. There’s a place for that stuff but it is hardly a panacea.

  58. Yes, I must agree. Solar and wind aren’t going to solve the world’s energy woes or replace even a significant percentage of our oil use. Not anytime soon.

    Fusion in 20 years! I swear it!

  59. Fusion is here, now!

    The containment vessel is the stumbling block.

  60. “You mean, like, agitating for more solar and wind power?”

    If solar and wind power are such great energy sources, then we don’t need any government mandates or subsidies for them to be developed.

  61. The day all of that becomes more profitable and advantagous over buying foreign oil, we will do that. The government really has nothing to do with it.

    This is utterly false, and is an example of the way certain Republican types refuse to see state intervention as state intervention when it’s doing something they want.

    The state subsidizes the oil economy in a myriad of ways. It had built up oil demand for more than a century by structuring the entire nation around the automobile. It heavily subsidizes oil exploration and development with tax incentives. Oil companies operating on US public lands receive absurdly favorable lease terms. And US foreign policy for the last half century has been conducted with an eye towards keeping oil prices low by installing and maintaining quasi-puppet regimes in oil-rich states.

    Remove all of that stuff, and recapture the sunk subsidy costs of the last century from the industry, and then we will have something approaching a free market in energy. Right now we don’t have a free market in energy so claims that the market will switch us to a new energy source in its own due time are specious.

  62. Fluffy,

    Yes, too many subsidies in energy. On the other hand, oil is taxed like crazy, too. Wonder how those numbers play out?

  63. Cheap, practical wind, solar, or fusion will not, in any way, reduce our consumption of oil. Because, you see, we use oil for transportation, and you can’t put a solar, wind, or fusion generator in a car, locomotive, or airplane. Even if electricity on the grid was free, gasoline from Saudi Arabia would still be superior to batteries for powering an automobile.

  64. Fluffy,

    You also want to consider the fact that oil is more expensive than it should be because of the US tromping around in the mideast. In a truly free market — one without US government conceit that it can control price and supply — oil would be much cheaper.

  65. J sub D,

    The statement I was replying to was stop being opposed to any effort to increase supply.

    I provided two examples of “the people complaining about foreign oil” not being opposed to “any effort to increase supply.”

    And, as a matter of fact, distributed solar and wind probably are the most plausible way to meet rural Africans’ – the majority of sub-Saharan Africans’ – pent-up energy demands right now.

    In addition, the development of large-scale alternative energy sources in the developed world will then reduce the demand on existing fossil-fuel sources, leaving more for those developing countries to meet their own growing energy demand, until large-scale alternatives become feasible there, too.

    Gil writes, If solar and wind power are such great energy sources, then we don’t need any government mandates or subsidies for them to be developed. That wasn’t the question. You said When they stop being opposed to any effort to increase supply, then maybe I’ll believe they’re actually serious in their “concern” about foreign oil dependence, and I met your standard of proof.

  66. WL,
    Even if electricity on the grid was free, gasoline from Saudi Arabia would still be superior to batteries for powering an automobile.

    For now. With better batteries, who knows? And that’s not even counting environmental externalities.

    And when I’m driving a my sail-car down the road at 15 mph, then who’ll be laughing, smart guy?

  67. Besides “everyone on the sidewalk and in other cars,” I mean.

  68. Carter took actions that could have moved us to a considerably better place in terms of our energy situation, and Reagan had to actively work to eliminate them in order to keep hid oil-industry supporters happy.

    Well, them, and the American people.

  69. joe,

    Some of your ilk have been unreasonable about energy alternatives, esp. nuclear. If we’re in imminent peril because we burn too many hydrocarbons, then we should be getting into nuclear power in a big way. It’s the only thing we could do in the relatively near term to address this issue.

    Fusion-powered, AI-controlled, flying cars. Now, dangit, now!

  70. True, Pro Lib, but I think the tide is turning.

    Nuke technology is much better now than in the 70s, and the importance of the global warming issue has changed the cost-benefit math.

    Some honchos at Greenpeace came out for nucular atom mills a couple years ago, IIRC. Gore and Obama have both touched that third-rail, too.

  71. “Gil writes

    “When they stop being opposed to any effort to increase supply, then maybe I’ll believe they’re actually serious in their “concern” about foreign oil dependence, and I met your standard of proof.

    Hardly, since the “suppply” I was referring to was primarily increased domestic fossil fuel supplies.

  72. Do you leave your windows open in the winter and crank up the heat, RC?

    No?

    You send your money to the fuel oil company, and they deliver you fuel oil. What could possibly be the problem with the free exchange of goods for money?

    Well, joe, if I’ve made the decision that I like fresh cool breezes to cut my stuffy central heating, and I’m willing to pay for the privilege, what is the problem with that?

    I mean, you still haven’t answered any of my questions about what is uniquely wrong with buying energy, as opposed to any other commodity, overseas, and then selling the people we bought it from other stuff?

    And, for your information, yes, I did have some windows open last week.

  73. I’m not sure about the tide, but I agree that some environmentalists have moved to a more consistent view of this issue. If global warming presents a short-term cataclysmic problem in your view, then you must support nuclear energy, as imperfect as it may be. Solar, wind, geothermal, and fusion can all remain on the table, but the immediate solution is nuclear.

    Paid for. . .just kidding.

  74. I mean, you still haven’t answered any of my questions about what is uniquely wrong with buying energy, as opposed to any other commodity, overseas, and then selling the people we bought it from other stuff?

    Nothing. That’s not the question.

    Stop playing dumb. It’s unbecoming.

  75. Pro Lib, if I was running for office, I’d use this line:

    It is essential that we get away from carbon-based energy sources over the next 20-30 years. I will work to ensure that we can meet our energy demand using clean, renewable sources like wind and solar to the maximum extend possible, but we will probably need to incorporate nuclear power into the mix as well.

  76. joe,

    If I were running for office, I’d say the following:

    We’ll develop fusion and matter-antimatter reactors. Send your money to support this Earth-saving initiative to Pro Libertate. . . .

  77. The universe runs on nuclear power. We should too.

  78. Foreign investment should be welcomed, of course. It is good for those who get jobs or otherwise make money because of the investment, and it is proof that America is an attractive place to invest in.

    If they can’t invest their dollars in America, the decline of the dollar’s value will accelerate.

    But there are issues. The trade deficit is unhealthy in its present size, and it reflects the baneful effects of government intervention and the huge cost of our militarism and imperialism.

    Sovereign Investment funds are also an issue. They are state agencies, and investment by Sovereign Funds is a form of “international socialism” made possible by the corporate form. Soon, pro-capitalists will be denouncing corporations, and socialists will be schizoid over the use of corporate structures by socialists states like China, Vietnam and Kuwait.

  79. “They are state agencies…”

    So is CALPERS, which screws around with the benficiary’s money for political ends.

  80. joe —

    The point is, solar and wind (and nuclear and geothermal) do nothing to increase the supply of energy available to vehicles. Since it is energy for vehicles where we are dependent on foreign supply, support for solar and wind doesn’t count as support for increasing the supply in the context of energy independence.

    Yes, things will change if and when batteries can handle the problem. But we’ve already got a whole high-tech industry providing huge demand for safe, high-energy-density batteries; billions in profits are already waiting for a breakthrough in battery technology.

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