The Bubble Economy’s Credit-Asset Death Spiral, by Charles Hugh Smith

It was a lot more fun on the way up than it will be on the way down. From Charles Hugh Smith at oftwominds.com:

Who believed that central banks’ financial perpetual motion machine was anything more than trickery designed to generate phantom wealth?

Central banks seem to have perfected the ideal financial perpetual motion machine: as credit expands, money pours into risk assets, which shoot higher under the pressure of expanding demand for assets that yield either hefty returns (junk bonds) or hefty capital gains as the soaring assets suck in more capital chasing returns.

As assets soar in value, they serve as collateral for more credit. Higher valuations = more collateral to borrow against. This open spigot of additional credit sluices capital right back into the assets that are climbing in value, pushing them higher–which then creates even more collateral to support even more credit.

This self-reinforcing feedback of expanding credit feeding expanding valuations feeding expanding collateral which then feeds expanding credit has no apparent end. Modest houses once worth $100,000 are now worth $1,000,000, and nobody’s complaining except those priced out of the infinite spiral of prices and credit.

For those priced out of traditional assets, there’s NFTs, meme stocks and short-duration options. The credit-asset bubble-economy casino has a gaming table for everyone’s budget and desire to “make it big” via speculation, since the traditional ladders to middle-class security have all been splintered.

This financial perpetual motion machine distorts traditional incentives. Why bother renting a house bought for speculative gains? Renters are problematic, better to just let it sit empty and rack up huge capital gains.

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