Some random items of interest:
- Kidnapping (Mexico) and Piracy (Somalia) would be slow growing activities without a global insurance industry to fuel them. Insurance coverage provides rapid high dollar payouts for seized people/ships, greased by expert negotiators (i.e. Controlled Risks Group) . A similar mechanism is now available for guerrilla/financial entrepreneurs that specialize in the destruction of governments (from the nation-state down to the municipal level). Credit default swaps, which played an important role (Magnetar, Paulson, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, etc.) in getting paid for gutting American households, are increasingly popular for betting on the bankruptcy of governments.
- The US creating autonomous local militias in Afghanistan to enable communities to defend themselves. This is a process that is central to what's called open source counterinsurgency. Naturally, the effort is being blocked by Karzai, who rightly sees it as a blow to Afghan sovereignty since "it runs counter to the goal of giving the state a monopoly of force" (which, by the way, is also the central tenet of US COIN doctrine). As with Iraq, this effort is being run as a grass roots effort by soldiers that see the benefit of using open source counter-insurgency rather than a defunct US COIN doctrine. Unfortunately, given the restrictions being placed on these efforts, it looks like the US defense establishment didn't learn anything from the unanticipated success of open source counter-insurgency in Iraq (it was the secret sauce of the "surge" and not the troop build-up).
- Club-K. A very cool new containerized weapon system from the Russian arms industry will soon be for sale. It's a relatively inexpensive system ($10-$20m) that puts 4 ground/sea launched cruise missiles into a standard 40 ft shipping container. Check out this advert on YouTube. One of the missile variants undergoing design is considered a "carrier killer."
- Kevin Carson has posted a great review of Daemon and Freedom at the P2P Foundation.
- The decimation of local governments in the US continues. NPR.
- Damon Vrabel (USMA/HBS) on the financial oligarchy.
- A hilarious business idea: an adwords network that allows people to slam companies that abuse them.
- S&P rates Greek bonds as junk. Sovereign defaults as far as the eye can see en route.