Everything else

They call it inflation.


Any thoughts ?


Below, find a little summary of the economic environment at this time, Dec. 12, 2022.


Parts mentioned below seem to belong to the US. Other parts (mostly here selected for place of residence) belong to Belgium. 


One could find the data to support the idea that present trends are global, but we'll set those aside until further along on this page.


Here are a few clips ...


Belgian CPI




To permit comparisons between countries of the EU, these data get "harmonized":


Harmonized ICP in the EU



Harmonised Belgium CPI



"Harmonized" or not, that last peak could be a bit concerning.




Macro-trends for Belgium look like this ...


from year 2000 to 2021:






The monthly report from Bloomberg's sounds like this ... (click to view) "Just the detail of things..."





A presentation of the gritty details for Belgium can be found at this link. StatBel is the government's data center.





Vladimir Putin




Maybe this is all just Vladimir Putin's fault ?


His country in 2021 had an inflation rate estimated at 6.7% up from 3.4% in 2020. Of course, Russia has had as high as 874% inflation in the last 28 years !

An overview of Russia can be found here, if you feel so inclined.


Here's how Putin spends his week (says the Washington Post). No, not very exciting.



Or maybe there's another explanation that carries one back to basic economic laws of supply and demand.


Here's one opinion about current inflation trends:


Ever-increasing DEMAND is driving inflation




How does a "pandemic effect" fit into this reality of "Personal Expenditure in Goods" ?


Were people so cooped up for so long that now, they regain their freedom by spending on anything and everything? And no one's going to make them stop ...


Maybe unrelated.



What is the current inflation rate in countries around the world?


"In 2021, the global inflation rate was 3.4 percent. In the European Union, it was 2.6 percent. For the United States, a year-over-year price increase of 4.7 percent was determined. Significantly higher values are expected worldwide for 2022."


That's in quotes since it comes from Clicking the link lets one see inflation rates country by country...

Even has an interactive map component to play with.


They feel that an inflation rate of "3.4%" for the world is in the "moderate" range.


And as some might expect, countries that are "inflation leaders" are also countries that seem to have other problems going on as well.


         Country                                                                            2020                  2021 


Inflation leaders


Zimbabwe seems to have calmed down a bit since the previous year ...


"The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe blamed the hyperinflation on economic sanctions imposed by the United States of America, the IMF, and the European Union. These sanctions affected the government of Zimbabwe, asset freezes and visa denials targeted at 200 specific Zimbabweans closely tied to the Mugabe regime."


Always nice to have someone else to blame. Sort of like recent events with cryptocurrency.


Belgium on their list came in at 0.7% in 2020, and 2.4% in 2021.



So, ...


What's a smart consumer going to do? Stop consuming ?


Bob Dylan: "When you ain't got nothin', you' got nothin' to lose."


(Or to spend).


Thanks Bob.


Other artists have of course been attracted to inflation as a subject for a song.


Have a listen and sing along with Sugar Daddy & the Gumbo Roux.

Ernest Jackson wrote the song in 1975 when that other period of inflation was putting on the big squeeze.


"...inflation is in the nation and it's about to put us all away."


Personally, I prefer B.B. King's "Inflation Blues" for its musical qualities.





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Nick has COVID-19

Hello all,


Last Thursday Oct., 13 Nick called me using FaceTime to say that he was feeling a bit under the weather and had tested positive for COVID-19.


This call came from Las Vegas. Nick was staying at the WYNN, where he had participated in a presentation of his NFT-related work. The timing of when his symptoms began suggested that he either caught it during the trip from NY to LV, or shortly before leaving New York.


He stayed at the WYNN another day or two then decided to move to a less expensive venue in Las Vegas (Four Seasons) and also since his room reservation was now up. 


Ultimately, he decided to fly back to New York, which he did, and arriving there yesterday, back in his apartment. He did another test for the virus, which was positive again, and that was

probably day 7 of his illness. Test positive = still capable of transmitting virus, so he's staying in his apartment as he should.


Overall, he is not too ill, and primarily has head cold symptoms and lost his sense of smell about 2 days ago. spO2 levels (pulse ox) acceptable.


So far so good or at least, not too bad, seems to be the case. I check in with him using FaceTime once or twice a day. Made some recommendations for a few things that he obtained from Amazon, and that he should receive tomorrow (Thursday).


If we were at the start of the pandemic, this would have evoked a bit more anxiety both here and in NY, but now everyone seems to be a pro at this.


We've had our 4th vaccine here, and happy to report that we have still succeeded in avoiding this up to this time.  



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"How did we get into this mess?"



Problem solving is often an exercise that displays differences in individual personality styles.


We are formed from early in our childhood, to witness, study, and incorporate problem solving.


Chimpanzees do this as well.


Here's an example from those earlier days ...


There may be several lessons to be learned in this little video.

(Watching full screen is best).




Walt Disney at his best, forming the hearts and minds of America.



And of course, problem solving began even before Walt was born.







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Trip to the USA - thinking in that direction


This is not the first trip back to the United States for Christiane or me.


But since it has been several years since the last session of travel in that direction,

some review of the process & planning seems indicated.


It is no longer simply packing a suitcase and getting on the plane before it takes off.


Some in our family are true experts at this process of moving around the globe.


Seeking their input and feedback seems more than convenient, and probably essential.


To begin, I have pasted on this page my current (March 9) outline to get this process underway.


All reactions to any of the the following line items are more than welcome.


Most recent trips of the past were for illnesses and funerals.

This trip for a son's wedding, promises to be a source of joy.


Trip process outline - 9 March, 2022



Even if WW-III is now underway, packing a gas mask may not yet be necessary.


Napoleon & Vladimir


"Birds of a feather, flock together."

(1545 - "The Rescuing of Romish Fox" - William Turner)

("Qui se ressemble, s'assemble.")


Packing a few surgical masks probably still is. I will also bring some material to do some

testing for SARS-CoV-2 should that become necessary.


Didn't need to bring those items when travelling on the Queen Mary.


"All things are difficult before they are easy." (Thomas Fuller)

For example, doing an appendectomy.



With a little luck, Nick will be able to take a few minutes off from his NFT market commentary activities to communicate a bit before our arrival for the Big Day.


So. Who has some travel essentials to share in pandemic year 2022?



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Kennedy, Khrushchev, Cuban Missile Crisis


And of course..., BRITT Shelters.


For those who can remember the early '60's, people got quite worked up over the

threat of nuclear war and annihilation.


The following brief TED talk by Brian Toon, seems to be reopening a door towards rediscovering today what that period felt like.


JFK and NK



Back then, as JFK won the game and Nikita K called back the missiles that were getting set up a few miles from Florida (about 90), the result had something of the feel of an Ivy League football game, rather than an escape from Armageddon. That battle is not only a Biblical battle between good and evil: it's the last battle ever.



Remember seeing U-2 images (Pilot: F. Gary Powers) on T.V.?



U2 images



So have a listen, and see if you find yourself moving away just a bit, from wherever you were just before Brian Toon's presentation.


Is it a coincidence that this topic is showing up now?


And who is (Owen) Brian Toon? Isn't he a climate scientist?


Have a listen ...






And as he said, this doesn't seem to leave one with a "warm and fuzzy feeling."



Not a BRITT Shelter


NOT a BRITT Shelter

(Much more spacious).





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