Doing more of what’s failed for ten years will finally fail spectacularly.. It was a huge relief to see the charts of the Baltic Dry Index (BDI) and the U.S. retail sector ETF (RTH): both have soared to the moon, signaling that both the U.S. and global economies are booming: the BDI is widely regarded as … Read moreWhat a Relief that the U.S. and Global Economies Are Booming
All of America’s bubbles will pop, and sooner rather than later. Financial bubbles manifest three dynamics: the one we’re most familiar with is human greed, the desire to exploit a windfall and catch a work-free ride to riches. The second dynamic gets much less attention: financial manias arise when there is no other more productive, profitable use for … Read moreThe Inevitable Bursting of Our Bubble Economy
Either we root out every last source of rot by investigating, indicting and jailing every wrong-doer and everyone who conspired to protect the guilty in the Epstein case, or America will have sealed its final fall. When you discover rot in an apparently sound structure, the first question is: how far has the rot penetrated? If … Read moreHow Deep Is the Rot in America’s Institutions?
If these three charts reflect a “normal” “healthy” Bull market, then why are they so uncommon? The implicit narrative of the latest rally in stocks is that this is just another normal rally in the ongoing 10-year long Bull market. Nice, but do these three charts look “normal” to you? Let’s take a quick glance at … Read moreThese Are Not Signs of a Healthy Market
Any domino-like expanding crisis will unfold in a status quo lacking any coherent response. Longtime readers know I’ve often referenced The Fourth Turning, the book that makes the case for an 80-year cycle of existential crisis in U.S. history. The first crisis was the constitutional process (1781) following the end of the Revolutionary War, whether the states … Read moreWill Everything Change in 2020-2025 or Will Nothing Change?
What happens when these monstrous speculative bubbles pop? Let’s start by stipulating that if I’d taken a gummit job right out of college, I could have retired 19 years ago. Instead, I’ve been self-employed for most of the 49 years I’ve been working, and I’m still grinding it out at 65. By the standards of the … Read moreLabor Day Reflections on Retirement and Working for 49 Years
The Everything Bubble has topped out, and trying to push it higher for the next 14 months is a sure way to increase the damage next year. One of the more reliable truisms is that Americans vote their pocketbook: if their wallets are being thinned (by recession, stock market declines, high inflation/stagnant wages, etc.), they throw the … Read moreDear Trump Advisors: Prop the Market Up Now and Lose in 2020, or Let the Market Crash and Win in 2020
Having destroyed discipline, central banks have no way out of the corner they’ve painted us into. It was such a wonderful fantasy: just give a handful of bankers, financiers and corporations trillions of dollars at near-zero rates of interest, and this flood of credit and cash into the apex of the wealth-power pyramid would magically generate … Read moreThe Fantasy of Central Bank "Growth" Is Finally Imploding
Does anyone really think The Everything Bubble can just keep inflating forever? What do I mean by a profoundly shattering recession? I mean, a systemic, crushing recession that can’t be reversed with central bank magic, a recession that only deepens with time. The last real recession was roughly two generations ago in 1981; younger generations have no experience of … Read moreThe Benefits of a Profoundly Shattering Recession
This is a chart of an informal kleptocracy which cloaks itself in the faux finery of democracy and a (rigged) “market” economy. Back in the day, nations that didn’t qualify as either developed (First World) or developing (Second World) were by default Third World, impoverished, corrupt and what we now refer to as failed states–governments that were incapable of improving the … Read moreIs the U.S. Becoming a Third World Nation?
Whatever the Fed chooses to do, it’s already failed.. Wile E. Coyote has gotten a bad rap: in all fairness, his schemes are ingenious, if overly complicated, and it’s not his fault that the Acme detonator misfires or the Road Runner doesn’t respond as predicted. Every set-up to nail the Road Runner should work. That it fails and … Read moreOur Wile E. Coyote Federal Reserve
A third period of heightened volatility shouldn’t surprise us. Consider this chart of the SPX (S&P 500) over the past two years: take a look at the relative steepness of each of the red lines (rallies), the duration of each rally (purple lines), the blue boxes (volatile spots of bother) and the green line (market has … Read moreA Wobbling Stock Market
The idea that everything will be solved if we borrow a couple more trillion and give it away is the dominant paradigm. Here in the decay phase of Imperial Pretensions, The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity. It’s a line from Yeats’ poem The Second Coming, and it speaks to our current … Read moreThe Road to Hell Is Paved with Virtue-Signaling
Or perhaps “Epstein was an intelligence asset” is just a tissue-thin cover for a much more destructive reality: those at the top of the American state have no moral compass at all. Let’s start by stipulating that the Jeffrey Epstein story is so sordid and outlandish that it’s like a made-for-TV movie about the evil proprietor … Read moreWho Protected Epstein for Decades, and Why?
The “traditionalist” Neocons are going to have to decide to fish or cut bait. I’ve been writing about the fracturing Deep State for the past five years: Is the Deep State Fracturing into Disunity? (March 14, 2014) Is the Deep State at War–With Itself? (December 14, 2016) Epstein and the Explosive Crisis of the Deep State (July 15, … Read moreThe Internal War in the Deep State Claims Its High Profile Casualty: Jeffrey Epstein
Befuddled and blind, we wander toward the cliff without even seeing it, focusing on our little screens of entertainment and self-absorption. There are no physical barriers in the Gulag of the Mind–we imprison ourselves, and love our servitude. Indeed, we fear the world outside our internalized gulag, because we’ve absorbed the narrative that the gulag is secure … Read moreThe Gulag of the Mind
There are no guarantees, no matter how monumental the hubris and confidence. The American lifestyle and economy depend on a vast number of implicit guarantees— systemic forms of entitlement that we implicitly feel are our birthright. Chief among these implicit entitlements is the Federal Reserve can always “save the day”: the Fed has the tools to escape either … Read moreNothing Is Guaranteed
Small businesses on the precipice need only one small shove to go over the edge, and there won’t be replacements filling the fast-multiplying empty storefronts. As a generality, the average employee (including financial pundits) has no real experience or understanding of what it takes to start and operate a small business in the U.S. Government employees … Read moreMain Street Small Business on the Precipice
With these speculative and risk management skills accessible only to the wealthy, no wonder only the wealthy have gained purchasing power in the 21st century. Let’s start with an excerpt from a recent personal account by the insightful energy/systems analyst Ugo Bardi, who is Italian but writes his blog Cassandra’s Legacy in English: Becoming Poor in Italy. The Effects … Read moreWhy Is What Was Once Affordable to Many Now Only Affordable to the Wealthy?
All we’re doing is waiting for the fake “prosperity” to crumble, and the resulting loss of credibility and legitimacy will follow like night follows day. The citizenry of corrupt regimes ruled by self-serving elites tolerate this oppressive misrule for one reason and only one reason: increasing prosperity,which we can define as continual improvement in material … Read moreOnce "Prosperity" Falters, the Legitimacy of the Status Quo Evaporates
That we fall for the fakes and cons is understandable, given that’s all we have left in the public sphere. What do we mean when we say corporate media is fake? We mean it’s a carefully crafted con, a set of narratives, cherry-picked data and heavily massaged statistics (the unemployment rate, etc.) designed to instill … Read moreIt’s Not Just the News That’s Fake–Everything’s Fake
Even the most distracted, fragmented tribe of the peasantry eventually notices that they’re not in the top 1%, or the top 0.1%. Let’s posit that America will confront a Great Crisis in the next decade. This is the presumption of The Fourth Turning, a 4-generational cycle of 80 years that correlates rather neatly with the Great Crises … Read moreOur Ruling Elites Have No Idea How Much We Want to See Them All in Prison Jumpsuits
This is the fantasy: we can rebuild our entire global industrial society every generation or two forever. “Earthrise” is one of the most influential photographs ever published. Taken on the Apollo 8 mission in late December 1968 by astronaut Bill Anders, it captures Earth’s uniqueness, isolation and modest scale: a blue and white dot on a … Read moreThe Planetary Insanity of Eternal Economic Growth
“Borrowing our way out of debt” generates the three Ds of Doom: debt leads to default which ushers in Depression. Let’s start by defining Economic Depression: a Depression is a Recession that isn’t fixed by conventional fiscal and monetary stimulus. In other words, when a recession drags on despite massive fiscal and monetary stimulus being thrown into … Read moreThe Three Ds of Doom: Debt, Default, Depression
Since the battle is for the legitimacy of the state, it must be waged at least partially in the open. Speculations by outsiders must give Deep State insiders many opportunities to chuckle, “if only they knew.” We don’t know, of course, and public leaks are engineered to misdirect our attention from what’s actually going on or … Read moreEpstein and the Explosive Crisis of the Deep State
Convenience is the sales pitch, but the real goal is control in service of maximizing profits and extending state power. When every device in your life is connected to the Internet (the Internet of Things), your refrigerator will schedule an oil change for your car–or something like that–and it will be amazingly wunnerful. You’ll be able to … Read more"Alexa, How Do We Subvert Big Tech’s Orwellian Internet-of-Things Surveillance?"
You want to reduce CO2? Then trigger a global depression that reduces global consumption of everything by 50% and destroys 95% of the phantom wealth owned by the global elites trying to monetize the air. I recently asked What’s Left to Monetize?, and longtime correspondent Mark G. provided the answer: the air we breathe, via carbon taxes … Read morePredatory "Green Capitalism" Is Monetizing the Air, and It’s Going to Cost You
The more extreme the speculative euphoria, the greater the risks of a reversal. One sentence sums up the speculative euphoria gripping markets: January and June of this year are the only months in the last 150 which have seen all assets post a positive total return. (Zero Hedge) When every asset from bat guano to quatloos is … Read moreWhen Everything from Bat Guano to Quatloos Is Soaring, Speculative Euphoria Has Reached an Extreme
What’s left to monetize? It appears the answer is “very little.” Advertising has always monetized consumers’ time and attention, what we call engagement today. Newspapers and periodicals publish advertisements, radio/TV networks and stations air adverts, movie theaters run trailers/ads, billboards occupy our mental space while driving and websites and apps post adverts. The more media you consume, the more adverts … Read moreWhat’s Left to Monetize?
It boils down to two very simple principles: accredit the student, not the institution and teach every student how to rigorously learn on their own. Vested interests have every incentive to maintain the status quo: specifically, those who currently own the assets, income streams and power will continue to own the assets, income streams and power. To accomplish this, … Read moreVested Interests in Charge = Guaranteed Failure
If we consider the long term, it’s clear America’s economy and society have been declining for the average household for 50 years. What if the “prosperity” of the past 50 years is mostly a statistical mirage for the bottom 80% of households? What if whatever real gains (adjusted for real-world loss of purchasing power) accrued only … Read moreAmerica’s Concealed Crisis: Fifty Years of Economic Decline, 1969 to 2019
Here is the moral decay of America’s ruling elites boiled down to a single word. There are many reasons why Imperial Rome declined, but two primary causes that get relatively little attention are moral decay and soaring wealth inequality. The two are of course intimately connected: once the morals of the ruling Elites degrade, what’s mine is … Read moreFollowing in Rome’s Footsteps: Moral Decay, Rising Inequality
According to the BLS, inflation in the category of “New Vehicles” has been practically non-existent the past 21 years. Longtime readers know I’ve long turned a skeptical gaze at official calculations of inflation, offering real-world analyses such as The Burrito Index: Consumer Prices Have Soared 160% Since 2001 (August 1, 2016) and Burrito Index Update: Burrito Cost Triples, … Read moreNo, Autos Are Not "Cheaper Now"
Will bitcoin appear on this chart of global reserve currencies in the future? Could a non-state cryptocurrency like bitcoin become a global reserve currency? I first proposed the idea back in November 2013, long before bitcoin’s rise to $19,000, decline to $3,200, recent ascent to $13,000 and current retrace. The idea is intriguing on a number … Read moreCould a Cryptocurrency Become a Global Reserve Currency?
Insolvency isn’t restricted to private enterprise; governments go broke, too. One reason the economy is so much more precarious than advertised is inflation has pushed households and small businesses to the edge–and one engine of that inflation is local government. This is not to dump on local government, which is facing essentially unlimited demands from the … Read moreLocal Government Is an Engine of Inflation
The asymmetries are piling up and we’re cracking under the weight. Judging by the record-high stock market and the record-low unemployment rate, the “recovery” has reached new heights of prosperity. Academics and think-tankers viewing the global economy from 40,000 feet are brimming with policies to bring the remaining laggards into the booming economy. You can imagine … Read moreThe Human Cost of "Recovery": We’re Burning Out
Our society has a legal structure of self-rule and ownership of capital, but in reality it is a Neofeudal Oligarchy. The Inheritance of Rome: Illuminating the Dark Ages 400-1000 is not an easy, breezy read; its length and detail are daunting. The effort is well worth it, as the book helps us understand how the power structures … Read moreThe Lessons of Rome: Our Neofeudal Oligarchy
The rest of us eat our losses, either all at once or in bitter bites as we trudge through the financial wasteland left after bubbles burst. The news that the Federal Reserve Casino is giving away free gambling chips triggered a frenzied rush that trampled the bears, including poor Yogi: There’s just one catch to … Read moreThe Fed’s Casino Is Giving Away Free Gambling Chips (But Only to the Super-Rich)
The political moment when the “losers” connect their discontent and decline with central bankers is approaching. The Ruling Elites’ Chattering Classes still haven’t absorbed the key lesson of the 2016 U.S. presidential election: the percentage of the populace that’s becoming wealthier and more financially secure in the bloated, corrupt, self-serving Imperial status quo is declining and … Read moreDear Central Bankers: Prepare to be Swept Away in the Next Wave of Populism
The system is broken, and the managerial elite will keep it broken because it serves their interests to keep it broken. America’s managerial elite came to do good and stayed to do well–at the expense of everyone beneath them. Now that they’ve entrenched themselves at the top of the status quo, there’s no way to dislodge … Read moreAmerica’s Managerial Elite Has Failed, But We Can’t Get Rid of Them