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Showing posts from March, 2008

Essay written in November 2007 - note how things have changed

Hi all

We are witnessing world history and who knows what effect this will have on our businesses. I thought you might be interested in the following:

Gold is almost at R5,500 an ounce with the Rand pretty stable and currently R6.48 to the US Dollar. Gold is currently $838.35 an ounce (up 2% so far today) = R5,432 an ounce. Silver is currently $15.87 (up 8% so far today- but been trailing gold somewhat lately) = R102.84. Both all time highs in Rands.

USDX (US$ Index, a measure of the US $ in terms of 5 other major currencies, eg Yen, Pound, Euro, etc) still plummeting after following through its 30 year baseline at 80 (currently 75.324) in September when Bernanke (the Governor of the USA Reserve Bank, called the "Fed" (Federal Reserve) over there) dropped interest rates because of the sub-prime problems and record housing foreclosures in the USA. For the first time in many years internal politics superceded external politics.

We are almost at gold's (nominal) all time high a…

Sub prime crisis; renewables; the price we pay; what you can do

Dear friends

For those of you who don't know, the sub prime crisis is where banks and other financial institutions lent money to people with bad credit records or people who couldn't otherwise get loans. These loans were then "securitised", i.e. packaged as triple A rate loans and then sold off to other investors. How does this happen? Well lets suppose you are the bank. You lend money to someone who can't pay or who might not be able to pay. You lend R1 million. You then take all these loans and put them into a big loan of R1 billion which you then sell to another investor. OK, it's not a loan from your point of view. It's a BOND because you are asking someone else to lend you the money so that you can lend it to the person who can't afford the repayments. The other investor sees that you are selling GOOD DEBT because YOU (the bank) have a good credit rating! The small print says that you will only pay interest on this debt if your customers…

Repair Yourself / Repair Jacob

To my dear long term friends and new visitors, who hopefully will become long term friends:

In 2004, I created a group of people called the Tikkun Jacob Forum because I hypothesised that each of us need repair and that our oldest book, the Bible, could lead us to this repair.

Tikkun means repair. In the Bible Jacob becomes (is renamed) Israel (Genesis 32 vs 29). Jacob is renamed Israel by God after he strives to find God. I believe that we are all on an iterative path from Jacob to Israel, ie I move from Jacob to Israel in my understanding and then seek to enhance this understanding by moving from Jacob to Israel again and again in a process of rebirth or enlightenment or in my way of life or in my behaviour. I liken this to an Olympic athlete who achieves his best place of 4th in a race, but is satisfied with this place knowing that it is his personal best and he can do better. Even when the athlete achieves Gold, he can still do better, and so he tries to find other ways of bette…