This post was originally published on this siteSince 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 … Read moreEpstein and the Explosive Crisis of the Deep State
This post was originally published on this siteConvenience 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 … Read more"Alexa, How Do We Subvert Big Tech’s Orwellian Internet-of-Things Surveillance?"
This post was originally published on this siteYou 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 … Read morePredatory "Green Capitalism" Is Monetizing the Air, and It’s Going to Cost You
This post was originally published on this siteThe 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 … Read moreWhen Everything from Bat Guano to Quatloos Is Soaring, Speculative Euphoria Has Reached an Extreme
This post was originally published on this siteWhat’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 … Read moreWhat’s Left to Monetize?
This post was originally published on this siteIt 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, … Read moreVested Interests in Charge = Guaranteed Failure
This post was originally published on this siteIf 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 … Read moreAmerica’s Concealed Crisis: Fifty Years of Economic Decline, 1969 to 2019
This post was originally published on this siteHere 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 … Read moreFollowing in Rome’s Footsteps: Moral Decay, Rising Inequality
This post was originally published on this siteAccording 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, … Read moreNo, Autos Are Not "Cheaper Now"
This post was originally published on this siteWill 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. … Read moreCould a Cryptocurrency Become a Global Reserve Currency?
This post was originally published on this siteInsolvency 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 … Read moreLocal Government Is an Engine of Inflation
This post was originally published on this siteThe 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 … Read moreThe Human Cost of "Recovery": We’re Burning Out
This post was originally published on this siteOur 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 … Read moreThe Lessons of Rome: Our Neofeudal Oligarchy
This post was originally published on this siteThe 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 … Read moreThe Fed’s Casino Is Giving Away Free Gambling Chips (But Only to the Super-Rich)
This post was originally published on this siteThe 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, … Read moreDear Central Bankers: Prepare to be Swept Away in the Next Wave of Populism
This post was originally published on this siteThe 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 … Read moreAmerica’s Managerial Elite Has Failed, But We Can’t Get Rid of Them
This post was originally published on this siteAll asset “wealth” in credit-asset bubble dependent economies is contingent and ephemeral. A funny thing happens to “wealth” in a bubble economy: it only remains “wealth” if the owner sells at the top of the bubble and invests the proceeds in an asset which isn’t losing purchasing power. Transferring … Read moreHow Much of Your "Wealth" Is Hostage to Bubbles and Impossible Promises?
This post was originally published on this siteIf we look at these charts, it looks like only the top 10%, or perhaps the top 20% at best, might qualify as “middle class” by the metrics described below. The conventional definition of working class is based on income and education:the working class household earns between $30,000 and $69,000 … Read moreMisplaced Pride: Most of the "Middle Class" Is Actually Working Class
This post was originally published on this siteIt’s difficult not to see signs of this same trajectory in the U.S. since the fall of the Soviet Empire in 1990. A recent comment by my friend and colleague Davefairtex on the Roman Empire’s self-destructive civil wars that precipitated the Western Empire’s decline and fall made me … Read moreThe Self-Destructive Trajectory of Overly Successful Empires
This post was originally published on this siteHerds get spooked and run. That’s the crash scenario in a nutshell. We have all been trained by a decade of central bank saves to expect any stock market swoon will soon be reversed by central bank sweet talk and/or rate cuts. As a result of such ever-present central … Read moreA Stock Market Crash Scenario
This post was originally published on this siteRecent research supports the idea that this under-the-radar migration is already under way. The decline of rural regions and small towns is a global phenomenon, and the causes are many but boil down to two primary dynamics: 1. Cities and megalopolises (aggregations of cities, suburbs and exurbs) attract … Read moreWhat Would It Take to Spark a Rural/Small-Town Revival?
This post was originally published on this siteThere are two other trends that don’t attract quite the media attention that soaring profits do. Is the decade-long tech bubble finally popping? Tech bulls are overlooking the fundamental reality that the drivers of Big tech’s phenomenal growth–financialization and expansion into mobile telephony– are both losing momentum. A third … Read moreIs the Tech Bubble Bursting?
This post was originally published on this sitePolitics as practiced in a bygone era of stability no longer offers any solutions to these profound disruptions. I recently read a fascinating history of the social, political and economic context of the American Revolution: The Radicalism of the American Revolution by Gordon Wood. What is particularly striking is the … Read moreA Quiet Revolution Is Brewing
This post was originally published on this siteAs a society, we are ill-prepared for the end of “politics is the solution.” It’s fun to be a politician when there’s plenty of tax revenues and borrowed money to distribute, and when the goodies get bipartisan support. An economy that’s expanding all household incomes more or less equally … Read moreWhy Being a Politician Is No Longer Fun
This post was originally published on this siteThat nothing is truly “free” will be another lesson of the S-Curve. I often refer to the S-Curve because Nature so often tracks this curve of ignition, rapid expansion, stagnation and decline. One lesson of the S-Curve is that the human bias to keep doing more of what worked … Read moreLesson of the S-Curve: Doing More of What’s Failed Will Fail Spectacularly
This post was originally published on this siteIf you want to identify tomorrow’s superpowers, overlay maps of fresh water, energy, grain/cereal surpluses and arable land. The status quo measures wealth with “money,” but “money” is not what’s valuable. “Money” (in quotes because the global economy operates on intrinsically valueless fiat currencies being “money”) is wealth only … Read moreForget "Money": What Will Matter Are Water, Energy, Soil and Food–and a Shared National Purpose
This post was originally published on this siteThe food-exporting superpowers are easy to identify. As my esteemed colleague Michael Snyder chronicled in a recent Zero Hedge post, world agricultural production is under assault from extreme weather and diseases such as African swine fever. Floods & Drought Devastate Crops All Over The Planet; Is A Global Food Crisis Be Coming? … Read moreSuperbugs and the Ultimate Economic Weapon: Food
This post was originally published on this siteIf China wants superpower status, it will have to issue its currency in size and let the global FX market discover its price. Quick history quiz: in all of recorded history, how many superpowers pegged their currency to the currency of a rival superpower? Put another way: how many … Read moreChina’s Insurmountable Global Weakness: Its Currency
This post was originally published on this siteDeflation eats credit-dependent, mass-consumption economies alive from the inside. While AI (artificial intelligence) garners the headlines, the next wave of disruptive technologies extend far beyond AI: as the chart of technologies rapidly being adopted shows, this wave includes new materials and processes as well as the “usual suspects” of … Read moreTechnology Is Not Just Disruptive, It’s Disastrously Deflationary
This post was originally published on this siteIf you want to understand how the economy is being transformed, look at the intersection of Big Tech, financialization and the central state. The two dynamics transforming the economy–technology and financialization–are intertwined yet widely viewed as unrelated. Critics and proponents of each largely ignore the other dynamic: critics of institutionalized … Read moreTwo Intertwined Dynamics Are Transforming the Economy: Technology and Financialization
This post was originally published on this siteNormalizing and institutionalizing fraud undermines the foundations of the economy and the financial system. I am indebted to Manoj Samanta (twitter: @flation_debate) for the insightful concept the commoditization of fraud. The first step in the commoditization of fraud is to normalize fraud as Business as Usual (BAU) to the point that it’s no longer … Read moreThe Normalization and Institutionalization of Fraud
This post was originally published on this siteThe real heresy here is the American economy is now rigged for downward mobility. In the conventional narrative, one’s economic class is overshadowed by one’s political belief structure: liberal, conservative, libertarian, etc. In terms of economic class, the conventional narrative divides people into their ideological beliefs about economic ideologies: … Read moreDownward Mobility Matters More Than Liberal-Conservative Labels
This post was originally published on this siteThe net result is we have an economy that’s supposedly expanding smartly while our well-being and financial security are collapsing. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and other metrics of economic activity don’t measure either broad-based prosperity or well-being. Elites skimming financialization profits by expanding corporate debt and issuing more loans … Read moreThe Economy Has Fundamentally Changed in the 21st Century–and Not for the Better
This post was originally published on this siteThe economic and financial stresses will exceed the workforce’s carrying capacity in the next recession. A number of recent surveys reflect a widespread sense of financial stress and symptoms of poor health in America’s workers, particularly the younger generations. There’s no real mystery as to the cause of this … Read moreBurnout Nation
This post was originally published on this siteThe world appears to be tiring of globalization and hegemons, and that trend may doom the Belt & Road to irrelevancy. The conventional narrative holds that China’s Belt & Road Initiative is cementing China’s global superpower status. There’s an alternative narrative, however: it’s a decade too late. From this … Read moreIs China’s Belt & Road a Decade Too Late?
This post was originally published on this siteOur expectations have continued ever higher even as the pie is shrinking.. Let’s see if we can tie together four social dynamics: the elite college admissions scandal, the decline in social mobility, the rising sense of entitlement and the unrealistically ‘great expectations’ of many Americans. As many have noted, … Read moreUnrealistically Great Expectations
This post was originally published on this siteThe good news is renewal becomes possible when the entire rotten status quo collapses in a putrid heap. There are two basic pathways to systemic collapse: external shocks or internal decay. The two are not mutually exclusive, of course; it can be argued that the most common path is … Read moreThe Great Unraveling Begins: Distraction, Lies, Infighting, Betrayal
This post was originally published on this siteThere are many historical models in which the spending/investing of wealthy families drives the expansion of local economies. The increase in farm debt while farm income declines is putting unbearable financial pressure on American farmers, who must be differentiated from giant agri-business corporations. This is placing immense pressure on … Read moreWhat Would It Take to Spark a Rural/Small-Town Revival?
This post was originally published on this siteChina has expanded its domestic debt to fund its growth, much of which qualifies as malinvestment, creating financial vulnerabilities its government is anxious to mask. As I noted in Trade Deal Follies: The U.S. Has Embraced the World’s Worst Negotiating Tactics (April 8, 2019), the trade deal was a Nothing-Burger … Read moreGood Riddance to a "Nothing-Burger" Trade Deal
This post was originally published on this siteNow look at the middle quintiles–the middle class: their income has gone nowhere in the past decade. These two charts of average incomes of U.S. households by quintile (bottom 20%, middle 60% (20%+20%+20%) and top 20%) have both good news and bad news. (Charts are from the non-partisan Congressional … Read moreIncome Inequality and the Decline of the Middle Class in Two Charts
This post was originally published on this siteIronically, their ample compensation allows them to avoid the poor-quality services they’ve designed for everyone below them. If we define middle class by the security of household income and what that income can buy rather than by an income level, what do we conclude? We have little choice but to conclude the middle class is … Read moreThe Accelerating Decay of the Middle Class
This post was originally published on this siteIt’s the list of workarounds – always growing, never shrinking – that’s telling us the true story of inflation in America. Today I’m publishing a guest post by writer Bill Rice, Jr., on “real inflation,”which as everyone knows far exceeds the “official” inflation rate of 2%. Bill and … Read more‘Workarounds’ Galore: How Real Americans Deal with ‘Real’ Inflation
This post was originally published on this siteWorking hard and doing what you’re told is no longer yielding the promised American Dream of security, agency and liberty. Volume One of Fernand Braudel’s oft-recommended (by me) trilogy Civilization & Capitalism, 15th to 18th Century is titled The Structures of Everyday Life. The book describes how life slowly became better … Read moreThe Erosion of Everyday Life
This post was originally published on this siteNo super-wealthy individual or household is going to pay billions in additional taxes when $10 to $20 million will purchase political adjustments. The 2020 election cycle has begun, and a popular campaign promise is “free everything” paid for by new taxes on the super-wealthy. Who doesn’t like free stuff? Who … Read moreThere Are Two Little Problems with "Taxing the Rich" to Pay for "Free Everything"
This post was originally published on this siteBoth new households and new businesses are in secular decline. Goosing the stock market and GDP doesn’t change this reality. Everyone wants every cycle of expansion to last forever, but alas every cycle ends. The growth cycle that began in 2009 is finally coming to an end. The signs … Read moreThis Is the End of the Cycle
This post was originally published on this sitePeople love their big paychecks, but they also value their sanity. One of the most astonishing manifestations of disconnected-from-reality hubris is public authorities’ sublime confidence that employers and entrepreneurs will continue starting and operating enterprises no matter how difficult and costly it becomes to keep the doors open, much … Read morePush Them Hard Enough and the Productive Class Will Opt Out of Servitude
This post was originally published on this siteWhen the 4% who generate the jobs and tax revenues have had enough and leave, the effects quickly impact the 64%. At the end of any trend, everyone’s a true believer: this trend is so enduring, so broad-based, so based on unchanging fundamentals that it will never ever reverse. … Read moreThe Feedback Loop of Doom: When Mobile Creatives and Capital Abandon Unaffordable, Dysfunctional Cities
This post was originally published on this siteGiven that the economy is now totally and completely dependent on inflating asset bubbles, it makes no sense to invest for the long-term. Beneath the endlessly hyped expansion in gross domestic product (GDP) of the past two decades, the economy has changed dramatically. The American Dream boils down to social … Read moreIf "Getting Ahead" Depends on Asset Bubbles, It’s Not "Getting Ahead," It’s Gambling
This post was originally published on this siteThe forced flight from unaffordable and dysfunctional urban regions is as yet a trickle, but watch what happens when a recession causes widespread layoffs in high-wage sectors. For hundreds of years, rural poverty has driven people to urban areas: cities offer paying work and abundant opportunities to get ahead, … Read moreAmerica’s Forced Financial Flight: Fleeing Unaffordable and Dysfunctional Cities
This post was originally published on this siteThere is a name for this institutionalized, commoditized fraud: moral decay. Moral decay is an interesting phenomenon: we spot it easily in our partisan-politics opponents and BAU (business as usual) government/private-sector dealings (are those $3,000 Pentagon hammers now $5,000 each or $10,000 each? It’s hard to keep current…), and we’re suitably … Read moreHow Empires Fall: Moral Decay