Monday, April 29, 2013

Can Natural Gas Save Lebanon? Nah.

No one doubts that laws of natural science; such as gravity and entropy, the second law of thermodynamics; are universal. The same logic leads us to believe also that many characteristics that could be viewed as intrinsic are non negotiable and non alienable. Thomas Jefferson might have expressed the above sentiment the best when he declared that rights should be viewed as “derived from the laws of nature and not as the gift of their chief magistrate”.

Economics, by and large, is also a field that operates subject to universal principals that do not depend on race, geography or political structure of the state under consideration. Excess supply of any commodity or service, all other things being equal will lead to a decrease in the price being asked for such a good. By the same token whenever the sovereign increases money supply then the monetary unit would tend to lose part of its purchasing power irrespective whether one is dealing with Dinars, Rupees or Dollars. All the above is simple, clear and is held to be true by all. Given the universality of such believes then how can one explain the irrational idea that Lebanon is exceptional, at least when it is viewed through the prism of national debt. It is only logical that when a large number of countries violate a particular standard and each of them gets punished for it then one is to expect that any state that is to violate such a metric would be doing so at its own risk. Lebanon has the fourth highest Debt/GDP ratio in the world, if one is to discount St Kitts and Antigua. Only Japan, Zimbabwe and Greece have a higher Debt/GDP ratio while each of the countries that had met major challenges arising from their debt had a lighter debt burden than Lebanon (Italy, Portugal, Iceland, Ireland, Spain and France).

And yet we carry on as if there is no problem, as if we are exceptional, as if we can defy the laws of gravity. The lack of attention to such a major challenge is disheartening. Even the Ministry of Finance does not bother to publish updated information about this crucial issue; there most recent figures are as of December 2010, only two and a half years behind the times. Since Lebanon seems to have escaped the fate of other countries with high sovereign debt so far it is only fair to speculate about the factors that have led to this. The most common reasons given are the following:
  1. Lebanon is a small economy and so its economic problems do not attract as much attention as larger states.
  2. Lebanon’s geopolitical location in a sensitive part of the world encourages many states to lend a helpful hand and many others to pretend that nothing is amiss.
  3. The almost 290 tons of Gold held by the central bank are valued at about $15 billion.
  4. A constant in flow of funds from the Lebanese working all over the world.
  5. The potential income from the off shore natural gas deposits.

What might be surprising, even shocking to many is that none of the above is a reason to rejoice, not even the potential income from natural gas if and when it is discovered and commercialized. A rough but realistic estimate of the potential revenue from natural gas will be under a billion dollars per year when the interest on the debt service is over $4 billion. Israel has just concluded selling 30% of its Leviathan field to an Australian company for $1.25 billion. Yes natural gas will help but it is not the panacea that it is hyped up to be. (Note the childish ads that say”Now that we have fossils we can build an army”). That would be such a waste.
But even if one is to dismiss all of the above and to observe the findings of the study that has become the gold standard for dealing with deficits, national debt and economic growth by Rogof and Rheinhart. They have shown very clearly that for over 300 years economic growth of an economy becomes highly constrained by its national debt especially when that debt gets to be about 9—95percent of the GDP. Lebanon’s is over 140 and will go higher as the rate of growth of the economy is less than the interest rate to service the debt.

The economic challenges on the horizon are challenging and unless we face them head on instead of putting our head in the sand the future will be very grim indeed, socially, politically and economically.

  • Debt Consolidations
  • Consolidate Debt
  • Health insurance reform
  • Runnings
  • Government


Anonymous said...

Fastidious respond in return of this matter with
real arguments and explaining everything on the topic of that.

Also visit my web-site ... easy diets That work

Anonymous said...

It's important to know exactly how song sounds great after a given song. Make it a indicate add to a person's collection regularly.

Here is my page ...

Anonymous said...

The messages can also be highly personalized as per the requirement
of the users.

my web blog :: imprezy integracyjne

Anonymous said...

Proceeding from in head of the mike to behind these producer's desk would be a smooth transition. Typically give a kid songs that are way too difficult for that person to learn.

My web page :: agencja detektywistyczna

Anonymous said...

Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and
wanted to say that I have really enjoyed browsing your
blog posts. After all I'll be subscribing to your rss feed and I hope you write again very soon!

Also visit my page; ミュウミュウ財布

Anonymous said...

Farm tours in Kerala are ultimate trips from the hubbub of city residing.

Also visit my page ... agencje ochrony

Anonymous said...

It only wishes internet connection while sending SMS
speech to the .

My homepage :: adwokat łódź

Anonymous said...

The sound on the creek's small waterfall is amplified from glass. You might to help help to forestall climate change solar panel technology is a means to use.

my homepage: adwokat warszawa

Anonymous said...

Management careers depend on the success of the people
they manage. Adjectives that I would unquestionably use are repetitive,
sloppy, and bland.

Take a look at my blog post: adwokat warszawa

Anonymous said...

Does your blog have a contact page? I'm having trouble locating it but, I'd like to
shoot you an e-mail. I've got some ideas for your blog you might be interested in hearing. Either way, great website and I look forward to seeing it improve over time.

Also visit my website :: chloe バッグ

Anonymous said...

All these exotic plantations make for an tremendous retreat in Kerala.
Historical Town Seal Beach resort on Main Street is where early flair
meets our own beach.

Also visit my web site; organizacja wczasów

Anonymous said...

I drop a comment each time I especially enjoy a post on a blog
or if I have something to add to the discussion. Usually it is a result of the passion displayed in the post I read.
And after this post "Can Natural Gas Save Lebanon? Nah.".
I was actually moved enough to post a thought :) I do have a few questions for you if you don't mind. Could it be just me or does it seem like a few of the remarks look as if they are left by brain dead individuals? :-P And, if you are posting at other online social sites, I would like to follow anything fresh you have to post. Would you make a list all of all your communal pages like your twitter feed, Facebook page or linkedin profile?

My website ... miu miu 財布

Anonymous said...

There is a vast level of information online * information written by
way of experts. Cause to hire a lawyer is if your spouse does so first.

Look into my website: organizacja wczasów

Anonymous said...

Over these methods sweat is considered to be secreted out which may clears the toxic elements on the
body. Pumpkin has the highest content of organic sodium.

Visit my blog post - szamba betonowe

Anonymous said...

Everyone was singing and dance like crazy. Most differences get at the same time respected
and horned in the websites.

My blog - organizacja wczasów

Anonymous said...

Test cases at times bring in some sort of standardization to the testing procedure.
It provides two to be able to deploy the software package.

My blog: szambo

Anonymous said...

You can get one particular books from a few of the MMA professionals.
Your customer loves you to have an interactive interest in their success.

Feel free to visit my site ... szamba

Anonymous said...

Transfer by the sector the place your family character is,
in the house your mind. Employee training helps you
to meet the required standard.

my page ... szambo

Anonymous said...

Many pains are mostly due to incredibly low blood circulation.
A single cheerful, healthy local climate at work will definitely prove to turn into a productive one.

my web site tłumaczenia czeski Katowice


Free Blog Counter