Friday, February 27, 2009

It's America's fault

Attached to the article Europe's Crisis: Much Bigger Than Subprime, Worse Than U.S., I see a lot of comments like this:
When travel abroad, don't tell people you are an american, you will get kill (sic).
Let's see. European banksters lent hundreds of billions to creaky, dying eastern European countries, with Austria's banks alone lending the equivalent of 70% of its GDP. It's America's fault.

Hundreds of thousands of Brits and French and Dutch and Germans bought overpriced, overbuilt villas and condos in Spain and Portugal with risky loans that were supplied by European banksters. Spain, a country with a much smaller population than the US, is now drowning under well over a million unsold new properties. Property values are crashing. It's America's fault.

After enormous run-ups, property values are crashing in Canada's western provinces, bankrupting Canadian investors who were evidently forced to speculate on housing by their southern neighbor. It's America's fault.

Hundreds of thousands of Europeans, wealthy Indians, and Middle-Eastern petro-thugs awash in cash funneled hundreds of billions into Dubai, creating the biggest real estate bubble the world has ever seen. Those fancy villas and overpriced condos will be worth 90% less in 5 years. It's America's fault.

Societies from Italy to Germany to Poland to Russia to Japan are collapsing because not only are their economies in decline, they refuse to reproduce and therefore can't support their rapidly-aging societies. It's America's fault.

To you anti-American wankers, enjoy your future. We'll still be here. Bruised, yes. But this time I don't know if Americans will want to bail you out yet again. I sure as hell don't want to.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Obama swings axe at US private student lenders

Good.
The U.S. college student loan business was reeling on Thursday from an unexpected proposal in President Barack Obama's 2010 federal budget to axe the giant federally guaranteed student loan program.
The student loan racket is the primary reason behind exploding higher ed costs, just as cheap and easy credit is the primary reason behind the housing bubble. Obama's proposal doesn't go far enough, though. There should be no lending for college costs, even from the feds. Graduating from college in debt is not the right way to start off your career and there have always been alternatives. Like, dunno, getting a job and working your way through school?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The crisis of credit

A great explanation of what happened.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Boomtown Katy

Within a 24-hour period, two readers sent me links to articles about the strength of the Katy and Houston real estate markets.

Reader Bob lives south of I-10 and says houses on his side of the freeway aren't moving, despite this article.
Katy is a "boomtown" based on spikes in new home construction and salaries from 2000 to 2008, according to a study by BusinessWeek, which ranked Katy as the second-fastest growing city in the nation.
The main upscale neighborhoods in the Houston metro area lie between downtown Houston and Katy, in the corridor south of I-10 and north of Westheimer/FM1093. Houston residents know what I am talking about. That narrow 30 mile x 8 mile corridor contains the trendy new "lofts" near downtown, expensive new condo towers in the Galleria area, River Oaks, Memorial, the Villages and Cinco Ranch. I think that Bob made a good decision long-term, even if right now sales are slow and values are stagnant. 100+ years of real estate history says so.

Me? I live north of I-10, the crappy side. It was a nice quiet place when we moved out here in 1995. It's still an OK place, no real problems. But property values have been flat since 2000. The houses on this side of the freeway are between $100k-$150k. Here's the thing: Long-time readers here have seen my videos and have seen the inventory and foreclosures from my bike tours. The new houses in these videos (1) (2) have all been sold, and this is AFTER the shady lending was stopped. I did a video update three weeks ago and didn't post it on YouTube because there's almost nothing on the market! In my subdivision of 900 houses there are two houses for sale and one foreclosure. That's it.

Meanwhile, reader Todd sent me an article from Builder Online, ranking the nation's best 15 housing markets.
1. Houston, Texas
2008 Total Building Permits: 42,697

They like to do things big in Houston. Now the metro area, home to nearly 5.8 million people, can lay claim to being the largest home building market in the country, with 42,697 building permits. The market is still benefiting from an influx of population and jobs and rebuilding in the wake of Hurricane Ike. Employment rose 2.2 percent last year, representing the addition of an incredible 57,000 jobs. Home building activity in Houston has only fallen 31 percent since 2005. Also, existing home prices actually rose in Houston last year, 2.8 percent, to $160,200, still a very affordable level.
Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. What I see on my bike rides is that construction has ground to a halt in Katy. Which is a good thing.

So... cheap houses north of I-10 move quickly, nicer houses in the I-10/Westheimer corridor are moving slowly. Did we get the subprime crap out of our system two years ago when I was seeing the problem, or is this the calm before storm? I don't know. I do know that the last time "boom town" was used to describe my neck of the woods it became "bust town" soon thereafter.

What the heck, here's the incredibly dull video, from January 31. Like I said, nothing to see.

I'll be glad to get the metal off my teeth so that I can speak normally again.

Monday, February 23, 2009

An apology and a retraction

I really screwed up the other day. A reader sent me the following:
Although frankly I find your blog somewhat tedious, my two roommates never miss it, and in fact, they like it so much, they’re always making off with my laptop to go read your blog-

Until they saw this:
Well, I like small dogs more than I like cats. I also like pet hamsters and pet millipedes more than I like cats. I like Sea Monkeys more than I like cats.
These are, I believe, your very words, and there is no point now I think, in trying to deny them- the damage being done. Needless to say they were stunned, for they had supposed your intellect matched the (according to them) amazingly high quality and trenchant applicability of your prose. However, (again, according to them) statements like the above render their earlier viewpoint demonstrably false, and they theorize that your earlier efforts must all be plagiarized and somehow in a brief careless moment you slipped and allowed your true nature to show forth. (Since their intellect is far greater than mine, I do not offer an opinion of my own, but can only suppose their speculations to be likely quite correct.) Happily, I got my laptop back in short order- but not before they made this, which they asked me to email to you.

I cannot thank you enough since, now that they are boycotting you site, I can pretty much have the laptop full time, and continue to follow Casey without interruption.
I feel just terrible about this. So to my feline readers, please accept the following apology and retraction: Meow meow meow meow, meow meow meow. Meow meow meow meow, meow meow meow!

We're all screwed. This is the greatest opportunity of our lifetime.

You know the news.
Feb. 23 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. stocks fell, sending the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index to a 12-year low, as concern that the deepening recession will erode earnings offset the government’s pledge to give more capital to banks.
I haven't lost a cent during this debacle and I want to preserve that record. I've said a few times recently that I am tempted to stick my toes in the water. Good thing I lack these.

Guess I'll settle for 1% interest for a while longer.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Hillary Clinton and Mike Huckabee play death metal


I like Mike Huckabee. He seems like a nice guy and he's not a horrible bass player. He'd be a great neighbor. I just don't think he'd make a good president.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

That's a big dog.

I am looking for a new dog. The kids and I miss our black Lab we had to put down in 2007. I've always been partial to black and yellow Labs, Irish Setters, Great Danes and Greyhounds. I don't like small dogs. Well, I like small dogs more than I like cats. I also like pet hamsters and pet millipedes more than I like cats. I like Sea Monkeys more than I like cats.

While doing some dog shopping tonight I spotted what must be the biggest dog I have ever seen.

I'd like to see the reaction on some would-be burglar's face when he sees THAT looking back at him. It would be a blast to have a Great Dane. They have a happy personality and scare the crap out of people even though they are big friendly dufus dogs. But I don't think it would be fair to a dog that size to live in a standard tract house with a 50'x50' back yard. Plus, there is a good chance such a dog could get bored while I'm at work and decide to scratch and chew its way out of the house. (A neighbor had a Great Dane called Oliver, and their house is a tiny one by modern standards, about 1400 square feet. Oliver seemed to be just fine.)

Greyhounds are very mellow; I am leaning in that direction. Bonus: Less shedding.

You think Americans are stupid?

American banksters are stupid and greedy but they can't hold a candle to their European and British counterparts.
GORDON BROWN wants to ban 100% mortgages as part of a blitz of initiatives designed to save the banking system — including a new bailout with a potential cost of £500 billion.
This is unbelievable. But it gets better.
Brown’s move to control home loans closes the door on an era that saw hundreds of thousands of house buyers taking advantage of mortgages of up to 125% as prices soared. All banks and building societies have now withdrawn 100% mortgages, but potential first-time buyers had hoped the deals would return.
More interesting reading from Stratfor:
Because of the sudden and massive recent expansion of credit, the European housing boom has been much more intense than even the American subprime-fueled boom. Property prices have been rising in most European countries at a much greater rate.
The graph comparing various countries is particularly sobering. I think the analysts who say global economic recovery is right around the corner are delusional.

Ron Paul fan club in action

Another example of why Ron Paul fans creep me out. Which reminds me, I wonder how that plan for the Ron Paul Compound out in West Texas is faring? There isn't much in the way of news.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Pickens' Boonedoggle and the peak oil fraud

A video I hacked together back in June 2008 about the "Peak Oil" fraud, yanked a week later after Hammer 1 fell and I went into hibernation. YouTube pulled my first try at re-posting it because I used a Phil Hendrie comedy bit as the soundtrack, so here it is with T. Boone Pickens touting his wind farm that requires US taxpayers to shell out billions to hook it up to the grid.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Obama Housing Grant: Never Repay!

Ol' Ben's getting some quality ads on his website.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Schadenfreude.

The greedy selfish tax dodgers are losing their money.
ST. JOHN'S, Antigua – Panicky depositors were turned away from Stanford International Bank and some of its Latin American affiliates Wednesday, unable to withdraw their money after U.S. regulators accused Texas financier R. Allen Stanford of perpetrating an $8 billion fraud against his companies' investors.

Some customers arrived in Antigua by private jet and were driven up the lushly landscaped driveway of the bank's headquarters, only to be told that all assets have been frozen pending an investigation by Antiguan banking regulators.
The little guy has had more than enough of his pound(s) of flesh removed. Go ahead, admit it. Aren't you experiencing the tiniest bit of schadenfreude?

Facebook scams

I am on Facebook and only allow my friends to see my profile stuff.

What I don't like is that Facebook is flooded by scam artists. For example, I keep getting "friend requests" from nubile 20-somethings I have never heard of who claim that they live in places like LA and NY and want to be my friend. Why would all of these nubiles want to be friends with me, a middle-aged dork in Texas?

If you click on the profiles of these young women you'll see their sexy photos and also see that they are "friends" with hundreds of middle-aged men from all parts of the world.

I am trying to guess the angle. I think that it's extortion. Once you are "friends" with the young lady (most likely "she" is a greasy guy who lifted the photos from some soft-pron site) they have access to whatever personal information you have posted. A quick look in an online phone lookup or some other public directory can be useful to find the sucker's wife if he hasn't posted her name.

Then, the e-mail to the sucker:
"Hey Jim, I know that your wife is Mary Ann, and your phone number is 222-222-2222. Wire me $1,000 by 12:00 tomorrow or I let your wife know that you are flirting with a nubile young woman on Facebook."
The key is to make the demand small enough that the victim can hide it from his spouse. If the scam artist moves quickly enough through the sucker's list, I bet they can clear a lot of money.

Small manufacturers are dying

With each passing day I am removing more and more companies from Peachtree, Salesforce.com and my backup Excel spreadsheets. Hundreds of thousands of small companies with good products are barely hanging on right now, yet DC pols are mostly concerned with the gigantic dinosaurs. Considering that most jobs and jobs creation are done at the small business level, I think these DC pols have their priorities out of wack.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Jay-Z is Shoeshineboy-Z

When a celebutard like Jay-Z began rapping about the joys of being paid in euros, it should have been a shoe-shine boy moment for people who study financial manias. Now it's coming out that European banksters are even bigger idiots than US banksters. How is that roll of euros you keep in your pocket treating you, Jay-Z?

Where not to park your car in Berlin

Here's a handy tool that helps you pinpoint areas in Berlin where you should avoid parking if you don't want your car torched. Besides an interactive map, it includes a running total of cars torched and the brands.

Theories here.

(Hat tip Axel_Bavaria)

Monday, February 16, 2009

Halliburton leaves Dubai, returns to Houston (part 2)

I few months back I jokingly said that Halliburton would move its headquarters back to Houston. In light of recent events I no longer think it's a joke. Here's why.

Many, if not most of these senior-level managers took the leap and bought super-expensive houses and condos when they left for Dubai 2 years ago, at the peak of the Dubai bubble. Dubai real estate is now cascading down a cliff, where I think it will crash down a full 90% from peak value.

Put yourself in the shoes of a Halliburton fatcat. The asset they bought via an onerous mortgage for, say, $2 million, is now worth two thirds what they paid. The value of that asset continues to bleed. In most of the world, the options for the Halliburton fatcats are civil in nature, at most involving foreclosure. But as we've learned over the past week, in Dubai they will stick your ass in jail if you welch on a debt. New York Times:
“I’m really scared of what could happen, because I bought property here,” said Sofia, who asked that her last name be withheld because she is still hunting for a new job. “If I can’t pay it off, I was told I could end up in debtors’ prison.”
These Halliburton fatcats have two options: They stop paying for these anchors around their necks and either flee or go to jail. Or they continue paying millions for a dead asset and stay in Dubai. Dunno about you, but if I was rich I'd cut my losses and move back home.

Deutsche World provides a glimpse. What you are seeing is a sea of empty skyscrapers and a population headed back home. The saddest part of this video is at 3:38 when we see the construction workers line up for the buses, knowing that they will be deported within weeks to Crapistan with no money and owing thousands to the violent predators they borrowed from to get to Dubai.



Future economic activity in Dubai will consist of movie making, as the ghost city of Dubai will make a splendid set for movies such as I Am Legend 2.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

An explosion of fire ants

Spring is here. The weather is spectacular. Time for gardening. Yippee!

So I have these stone rings around various trees and the mulch beds needed sprucing up. I removed the rocks and set them aside, pulled weeds, then used the weed whacker to make a nice clean line before laying the rocks back into place and laying down fresh mulch.

A group of kangaroos is called a mob. A group of ravens is called a murder. I know that a group of ants is called a colony, but I think that when you hit a large fire ant mound you didn't notice before with a weed whacker and hundreds of angry fire ants spray up into the air and land on exposed areas of your body it should be called an explosion.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Bitter Dubai speculators want something done!

Big trouble in Dubai, Inc.
Dubai Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) has denied receiving a letter signed by 300 real estate investors, developers and advocates expressing their concern over the fate of their investment in the Emirate of Dubai, commented the official news agency WAM.

In their letter, they demanded RERA to immediately act before prices in the real estate market crash, according to a report published by Zawya Dow Jones news website, which also blamed the RERA CEO of declining to comment on the issue.
Too late, failed speculators. Prices are already crashing and will continue to do so. A 25% decline in 6 months is quite an achievement, but remember my prediction.

Coraline

The kids dragged me to Coraline. I knew nothing about it and didn't know what to expect. More than a few of these recent movies for kids literally put me to sleep.

Coraline, on the other hand. Wow. I've never seen anything like it. And it's not CGI, these are all hand-built models filmed in stop-motion! The detail is stupendous, the story is engrossing, the music is great. There's sort of a Lewis Carroll meets the Stepford Wives vibe to Coraline, and it's not dumbed down for kids. I loved this movie.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Politicans will use "e-health" records to dig up dirt on their adversaries

One item buried in Porkulus that is receiving minimal press coverage:
What didn't come up during the president's first press conference was how one section of the convoluted legislation--it's approximately 800 pages total--is intended to radically reshape the nation's medical system by having the government establish computerized medical records that would follow each American from birth to death.

Billions will be handed to companies creating these databases. Billions will be handed to universities to incorporate patient databases "into the initial and ongoing training of health professionals." There's a mention of future "smart card functionality."

Yet nowhere in this 140-page portion of the legislation does the government anticipate that some Americans may not want their medical histories electronically stored, shared, and searchable. Although a single paragraph promises that data-sharing will "be voluntary," there's no obvious way to opt out.
Those considering running for office should be very careful about this. Famous bloggers who use their real names (Kos, Glenn Reynolds, etc.) should be concerned by this. Small-time bloggers who criticize crooked local politicians should be concerned by this. You think my concern is overblown? Need I remind you:
Government computers used to find information on Joe the Plumber
Investigators trying to determine whether access was illegal
Friday, October 24, 2008 8:57 PM

State and local officials are investigating if state and law-enforcement computer systems were illegally accessed when they were tapped for personal information about "Joe the Plumber."
Doctors have a sworn ethical obligation to safeguard medical records. They can get sued and lose their license for violations. Politicians and their lackeys who dig around government databases? They can use "private" government files to dig up dirt on people they don't like and as long as a pol higher up covers for them they do so with impunity. If they get caught? Big deal. They get fired and the next day they are hired by a lobbyist.

I guarantee you that there are escape clauses allowing for the current crap of DC pols to get out of this. Their future political adversaries, us bloggers, investigative reporters, everyone else, we're SOL.

Update: See what's happening in the UK.

(Woah! Instalanche! Thanks, Glenn.)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Scenic Katy

Rob Dawg did it again. He rubbed our noses in the vistas seen from his house. It's no that wonder coastal California real estate is at a premium. Why wouldn't you want to live there?

The guardhouse for the Igloo plant is what passes for scenery in Katy.

It's our own little slice of paradise here on the rice fields!

Time out on Porkulus

I didn't know this about the Stimulus Plan until Bloomberg published an article about it. We need a time out on Porkulus so we have the chance to honestly evaluate this mess. The fact that Porkulus is being rushed through without our consent tells me there is a LOT wrong with it.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

China's Burj Dubai

Like Dubai, China has many real estate white elephants. But few of these white elephants are as spectacular as the South China Mall. It is by far the world's largest mall, almost twice the size of the famous West Edmonton Mall. Opened in 2005, the South China Mall has almost 6.5 million square feet of leasable space. Just one small problem.
Much of the retail space remained empty, with 99.2 percent of the stores vacant.

Plan to Buy or rent a HOTEL in Dubai?

The desperate real estate agent from Dubai who found my name on a list of trade show attendees continues to send me his pitches.
Plan to buy or rent a hotel in Dubai?

We have it direct from the owner at best price for you.
New /Running 4 star hotel or hotel apartments available.
Medium size rooms from 80 to 140 .
Spacious outlets(for hotels)
Proven working status (for running).
Price? To reality.
Locations: Bur Dubai, Deira, Barsha, JLT etc.
If you think lowest market price is the best time to buy,
Do the deal now before the prices go up.

Note:
Genuine requirement buyers get the first opportunity of appointment with the seller. Contact us immediately.
We prefer to get mail to call for systematic professional way of handling. We appreciate and respect your time.

New Sony product hits the shelves


(fixed)

Monday, February 9, 2009

10 things I'd like to do before I croak

In no particular order:

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Katy real estate: Not much for sale

I started to put together a new lame real estate video from some footage I took this morning, but stopped after realizing that there was nothing to work with.

My route was identical to the one I took in September when I did this video. Those houses have all been sold. Judging from the cars in the driveways, it seems that this neighborhood has become a refuge for people from Florida and the Northeast. Construction has all but stopped. I counted only three houses still being built.

The situation in the older neighborhoods is the same. Unlike this time 2 years ago, very little is on the market. I saw one foreclosure and just a handful of For Sale signs. A neighbor and I have a theory: After Ike rumbled through and damaged so many houses, people are reluctant now to move after spending piles of money on repairs.

Here's a video from October 2007 showing how bad it was in this part of town. Instead of Hendrie, I re-mixed it using Enrico Caruso, singing 'A Vucchella'.


I'm not an opera fan, but it kinda works.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Surreality

We will witness things over the next year that are unimaginable right now. Most of you already know that.

I do have one request: I wish our elected leaders would put a stop to the Armageddon talk. How about projecting some confidence? You don't need to sugarcoat the situation, but confidence means a lot. I have been extremely bearish for the past 4 years, but I don't see Mad Max coming down the road. We'll still be here in 10 years, albeit much leaner.

Friday, February 6, 2009

T. Boone Pickens update

Boone Pickens has been on all of the local radio stations today, pimping his windfarms. He wants to get "stimulated." Boon sez oil at $75 by the end of the year, $150 by the end of 2010.

This past summer Boone said the days of $100/barrel were over. He was right, but not in the way he meant.

Destitute in Dubai

From Calculated Risk,
[F]aced with crippling debts as a result of their high living and Dubai’s fading fortunes, many expatriates are abandoning their cars at the airport and fleeing home rather than risk jail for defaulting on loans.
Imagine that. Ian from Birmingham got caught up in the housing mania and blew his nest egg in the Dubai desert. He can no longer feed his "investment," and if he steps foot there he risks arrest.

Betcha the hundreds of thousands of "guest" workers who built this ocean of empty skyscrapers and condo towers don't get unemployment bennies.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

They knew

I know I am beating a dead horse but I am sick of hearing DC pols claim that they never saw this catastrophe coming. It was no coincidence that they picked Bernanke, a "student" of the Great Depression.
Regarding the Great Depression. You're right, we did it. We're very sorry. But thanks to you, we won't do it again.
Still waiting for that helicopter drop. I think that solution is preferable to the abortion being crafted tonight. Wanna juice the economy immediately? Mail out the checks to us.

On another note, I have been reading Brad Setser's blog lately. There is a lot of good stuff there. The people who post comments there are smarter than me, so I learn stuff. It's like CR used to be, before the paranoia and "first" and "you are all dopes" nonsense.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Sayonara, Europe.

Not sayonara, France, Germany, Spain, Italy... sayonara, Europe. Europeans like to brag about their history while saying that Americans have none. (Europe has castles and old houses!) But with that history comes some serious baggage, and the baggage is being released after it's been hidden away the past 10 years.

What's going on in Europe right now is akin to Texas lawmakers requiring that purchases be made only from Texas companies, or Californians requiring that jobs be "protected and preserved" only for workers who currently live in California. This doesn't seem like the foundation for a sound currency to me.

Let's get crazy

As the collapse continues, I am watching a number of commentators I once respected lose their grip on reality. A guy whose name rhymes with Gas Pain springs to mind.

I wonder what causes this.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

4% mortgages

Besides the proposed $15,000 credit (yeah, I know it's actually a loan) for down payments, this ought to move a lot of houses.
McConnell said that the bill should do more to shore up the housing market, and that Republicans favored lowering the 30-year mortgage rate to 4%.
It won't shore up Bubbletopia (which still has another 30-40% to drop), but it would help sell a lot of houses here. You can easily get a nice new 4-bedroom house for under $150,000, and prices are starting to touch that level in former bubblezones. At 7% the monthly payment is $900/month for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage. At 4% it's $645/month. That's a huge difference for most families. Throwing in Texas property taxes and insurance, families would still be looking at less that $1,000/mo for a nice new house. This is getting to the "why rent?" point, even for a couple on Walmart wages.

I am not saying this is a good or bad plan, but those of us who have watched the collapse need to keep a realistic view of the situation.

Monday, February 2, 2009

China

I found out today that one of our widget designs has been reverse-engineered by a Chinese company and they are selling knock-offs for 1/10th the price in both China and India. I think that the suckers who buy these widgets will be unpleasantly surprised to find out that the real value of these widgets isn't the hardware components, it's the code that runs them. Business in India and China collapsed last year, before the financial meltdown, and now I know why.

What's amazing is that despite the bleats from the communist party that they will crack down on this, Chinese companies are still blatantly honest about the fact that they are engaging in theft and fraud on a massive scale.

I think trade wars suck and I am aware of the damage protectionism causes. But I also think it's time that we put a stop to China's damaging practices. If they want to dump our treasuries, fine. That isn't the basis for a sound trade policy anyway, and I don't think it's the powerful weapon Chinese leaders believe it is.

Update: Same problem, different country. Good thing Google bought the old DejaNews Usenet archives.

Jason Calacanis sighting

I was at a restaurant this past weekend and Jason Calacanis, founder of Mahalo, walked in. I am a tech geek and didn't want to bug him. He's MUCH shorter in person than you'd think.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Glowing Cities Under a Nighttime Sky

A guy on a nighttime flight from Amsterdam to San Francisco rigged up a stabilized mount and pointed his Nikon D300 out the window. Flickr doesn't allow me to post it here, so go watch it. Be sure to make it full screen. About 1800 miles compressed into less than a minute, from the Midwest and over the Rockies and Sierra Nevadas.

$20 laptop

I am scratching my head and wondering how this is possible.
India is planning to produce a laptop computer for the knockdown price of about $20 (€16, £14), having come up with the Tata Nano, the world’s cheapest car at about $2,000.

The project, backed by New Delhi, would considerably undercut the so-called “$100 laptop”, otherwise known as the Children’s Machine or XO, that was designed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology of the US.
On CEOWorld they say it will be a $10 laptop. Even without labor costs for assembly, the components alone add up to far more than $20.