Category Archives: Economics

The Making of a Market, by Eric Peters

Where does a state governor get the power to wave a wand and decree that by 2035, there will be no gas powered cars on the roads? From Eric Peters at ericpetersautos.com:

Well, the other shoes has dropped. We now know how a “market” for electric cars will be created.

It will be done by outlawing the market for cars that aren’t electric.

Having trouble selling Tab?

Forbid the sale of Coke and Pepsi!

California Governor (and Gesundheitsfuhrer) Gavin Newsome has simply decreed – via “executive order” – that anything that isn’t “zero emissions” (at the tailpipe) must be “phased out” by 2035. This means only electric cars since they are the only vehicles considered to be “zero “emissions” by the regs – no matter their elsewhere emissions – including the substantial carbon dioxide “emissions” produced by the utility plants that generate the electricity they run on.

Which there will be more of when the only cars permitted on California roads are electric. But never mind. It feels good – to the Gesundheitsguv – like the wearing of any old rag to “stop the spread” of a virus you haven’t got.

The effects will also be felt a lot sooner than fifteen years from now.

And not just in California, either.

The car companies are going to stop putting R&D money toward cars they can’t sell in California – the biggest market for cars in the country – and toward the ones they’ll be forced to sell.  

In other states, too. Because it’s likely at least some will follow California’s lead – having their own Gesundheitsguvs in charge.

Development of new non-electric cars nationally will stagnate.

The ones that remain in production will sell for more, to offset the costs of developing electric cars. The more states that force-electrify, the more expensive the non-electric car will become – until the goal is achieved of making the non-electric car at least as expensive as electric cars.

Continue reading→

 

David Stockman on the Economy’s Role in The Upcoming Presidential Election

Will the economy continue to float on a sea of debt through the election? Probably. From David Stockman at internationalman.com:

Presidential Election

International Man: Bill Clinton’s infamous phrase during the 1992 presidential election was “It’s the economy, stupid.” How important of a role do you think the economy and a continued rally in the stock market will play in the outcome of the presidential election?

David Stockman: Well, in the befuddled mind of Donald Trump, probably a considerable role as manifest in his campaign oratory. And since there are less than 50 days left, he might get away with his groundless boasting. That is, we seriously doubt that the great reckoning will commence before November 3, meaning that he will keep peddling the “but for COVID” canard, claiming that, before that, he single-handedly created the Greatest Economy Ever.

Actually, it’s the greatest BS story ever told. It rests on the utterly misleading circumstance that the Donald entered office in month #90 of what became the longest business cycle expansion in history (at 128 months in February).

Consequently, his “record” was artificially flattered by the low U-3 unemployment rates (3.5%) that naturally occur during the last 38 months of the cycle as the inventory of unused labor is finally exhausted. Of course, that’s also exactly what occurred during the final months of the 118-month expansion of the 1990s and the 106-month expansion of the 1960s, when Democrats happened to be incumbent in the Oval Office.

But when measured by something relevant, such as the average real GDP growth rate during his tenure, it turns out that the Donald’s cherished “score” is the very worst among all the presidential terms since 1948.

Continue reading

Global Debt Is Exploding At A Shocking Rate, by Tyler Durden

There is no way this will end well. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

The primary reason why the global financial system is on the verge of daily collapse, and is only held together with monetary superglue and central bank prayers thanks to now constant intervention of central banks, is because of debt. And, as BofA’s Barnaby Martin succinctly puts it, much more debt is coming since “the legacy of the COVID shock is debt, debt and more debt.” In short: use even more debt to “fix” a debt probem.

So in this world of explosive credit expansion coupled with tumbling economic output where helicopter money has become the norm, central banks – and specifically the ECB – are scaling their QE policies to monetize and absorb much of this debt (relieving the pressure on private investors to buy bonds), more debt “hotspots” mean more vulnerabilities for the global economy.

We won’t preach about the consequences of this debt binge which has catastrophic consequences – we do enough of that already – but below we lay out some of the more stunning facts of global debt levels at the end of Q1 2020 as compiled by the BIS, courtesy of Martin:

  • Global debt/GDP surged to an all-time high in Q1 ’20, with overall debt for the non-financial sector now worth 252% of global GDP. This is up from 241% at the end of 2019, the biggest quarterly jump ever according to BIS data.

  • The chart also confirms that central bank inflation targets are higher, much higher than the “”official 2%: to erase this debt, central banks needs inflation to be in the 10%+ range. Anything below that would require debt defaults instead of inflation to wipe away the debt… and that is unacceptable.

Continue reading→

The EU’s Drive toward Political Centralization Will Doom Its Economy, by Antonis Giannakopoulos

Political centralization in the grubby mitts of politicians and governments always dooms economies. From Antonis Giannakopoulos at mises.org:

In the wake of the economically disastrous covid-19 shutdowns, the political class has desperately tried to save the failing euro system. On July 21 European leaders agreed on what they called a “historic” deal. It was nothing more than a multitrillion euro stimulus package. However, it is more probable that the “recovery fund” will delay any chance of a much-needed economic restructuring taking place. What it will do is waste scarce resources and capital while setting Europe up for another financial and debt crisis. Another even more important issue is the dangerous path toward political centralization the EU is heading down as a result of the crisis. The European Parliament is very much dominated by procentralization forces and contains few individuals who defend the principles of decentralization and economic freedom while seeing with great concern the ever growing power of Brussels.

Has the social democratic project for the EU prevailed?

The Classical Liberal View: Economic Union, Political Decentralization

Even before the signing of the Treaty of Rome in 1957, which created the core institution that later became the EU, there have been tensions between the two paths that a European union should take. The tension is between the classical liberal vision and the social democratic vision. The liberal vision puts its primary focus on defending individual freedom and respecting property rights while promoting a European free trade zone with a robust free market. The treaty of Rome was a major victory for the liberals, as it was built on two basic principles: freedom of movement and the free circulation of goods, services, and financial capital. In short, the treaty aimed at the restoration of rights and values that had been lost during the early twentieth century as nationalism and socialism prevailed in the European Continent.

Continue reading

Don’t Steal This Book, by Matt Taibbi

Someone has written a purportedly serious defense of looting, called, oddly enough, In Defense of Looting. From Matt Taibbi at substack.com:

On “In Defense of Looting”

On Thursday, August 27th, the same day Donald Trump formally accepted the Republican nomination, National Public Radio aired an interview with Vicky Osterweil, author of a book called In Defense of Looting.

The white trans daughter of a science professor, Osterweil told a credulous NPR interviewer that looting was justified because it “strikes at the heart of property, of whiteness and of the police,” and also “provides people with an imaginative sense of freedom and pleasure.” She added riots reveal how “without police and without state oppression, we can have things for free.”

I was so sure the Osterweil book was satire — a clever comic doing a Marxist Andy Kaufman routine — that I bought it. It’s not a joke! In Defense of Looting is supposed to be the woke generation’s answer to Steal This Book, another anarchist instructional published in an epic period of unrest. But the differences between the books are profound.

Continue reading→

Sound Money Is Key to Defending Our Liberties, by Thorsten Polleit

If humanity is ever to be free, money must be private, with government having no role in it at all. From Thorsten Polleit at mises.org:

The title of this article epitomizes what the Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises (1881–1973) called the “sound money principle.” As Mises put it:

The sound-money principle has two aspects. It is affirmative in approving the market’s choice of a commonly used medium of exchange. It is negative in obstructing the government’s propensity to meddle with the currency system.1

And further:

It is impossible to grasp the meaning of the idea of sound money if one does not realise that it was devised as an instrument for the protection of civil liberties against despotic inroads on the part of governments. Ideologically it belongs in the same class with political constitutions and bills of right.2

Mises tells us that sound money is an indispensable line of defense of people’s liberties against the encroachment on the part of the state and that sound money is a kind of money that is not dictated by the state but is chosen by the people in the free marketplace. The world we find ourselves in is a rather different place. Our monies—be it the US dollar, the euro, the Chinese renminbi, the yen, or the Swiss franc—represent fiat currencies, monopolized by the state.

Fiat money is economically and socially destructive—with far-reaching and seriously harmful economic and societal consequences, effects that extend beyond what most people would imagine. Fiat money is inflationary; it benefits a few at the expense of many others; it causes boom-and-bust cycles; it leads to overindebtedness; it corrupts society’s morals; and it paves the way toward the almighty, all-powerful state, toward tyranny.

Continue reading

The Zombie Companies Are Coming, by Wolf Richter

Endless money for deeply indebted companies that have no prospect of making a profit is not a feature of capitalism. From Wolf Richter at wolfstreet.com:

By Wolf Richter. This is the transcript of my podcast last Sunday, THE WOLF STREET REPORT. You can listen to it on YouTube, and you can find it on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Podcasts,  iHeart Radio, and others.

Through the first half of August – which is normally a quiet period for the bond market in the US – a total of $56 billion in junk bonds and leveraged loans were issued by junk-rated companies, according to S&P Global. That was nearly 50% higher than the prior records for the same period in 2012 and 2016, and more than double the amount issued in the entire month of August last year.

The Fed’s announcement on March 23rd that it would start buying corporate bonds and bond ETFs set off a huge rally in the bond market, including in the junk-bond market.

The rally started before the Fed ever actually bought the first bond. And then the Fed hardly bought anything by Fed standards. Through the end of July, it bought just $12 billion in corporate bonds and bond ETFs, including a minuscule $1.1 billion in junk bond ETFs. It’s not even a rounding error on its $7-trillion mountain of assets.

But the announcement was enough to trigger the biggest junk-debt chase in the shortest amount of time the world has likely ever seen. And it kept the zombies walking, and it generated a whole new generation of zombies too.

Continue reading

A critique of modern socialism, by Alasdair Macleod

The welfare-warfare-regulatory-state model of socialism is the next model that will collapse. From Alasdair Macleod at goldmoney.com:

ocialism has moved on from the Marxist version of the state owning the means of production to one whereby production remains in the hands of individuals but are heavily regulated — echoing Mussolini’s fascist-socialist model.

But after nearly nine decades this model faces collapse, much like the Soviet collapse after sixty-seven years. This article explores the modern socialist model, updates the economic calculation problem identified by von Mises in 1920 and explains why it still fails in today’s socialism. And finally we predict the consequences for governments and their state-issued currencies.

Introduction

It is presidential election year in the United States. The choice is between the Republican’s or the Democrat’s socialism, the former being a milder version of the latter. A further difference is President Trump’s administration increasingly pays the government’s bills by socialising money, while great-uncle Joe wants to tax the rich even more (which in practice means not the rich but the middle and lower classes) as well as defoliating  the magic money tree.

In Britain, those of us who rejoiced at a free marketeer becoming Prime Minister with a strong electoral mandate have experienced a greater clampdown on personal freedom than imposed by any British government since post-war rationing. Admittedly, Covid-19 and its lockdowns were not foreseen, but will the British ever regain any of their hitherto restricted freedoms? And those of us with long memories are reflecting that the imposition of taxes — the socialising of our earnings — under the Conservatives is almost always more onerous than under Labour. It was not meant to be like that.

One way or the other, the establishment’s socialisation of our wealth, money and freedom “creeps in this petty pace day to day until the last syllable of recorded time”. Whether we like it or not, we are all socialists now. It is a fact of our lives, if not our inclinations. The destruction of our money and what wealth we have left is claimed to be for the common good, as opposed to capitalism, which the socialists tell us enriches the few and is deeply immoral. They, the socialists, have captured the moral high ground, leading us to their higher plain. They allege it is progress towards a better humanity. Their utopian view sees the end of social inequality as its final goal, and as Man progresses towards it the human race will discard capitalism and the class wars that go with it.

Continue reading

The Most Dangerous Period for Your Savings and Individual Freedom We’ve Ever Seen, by Chris MacIntosh

Will capital and opportunities shift to the East from the West? From Chris MacIntosh at internationalman.com:

Doug Casey’s Note: There aren’t too many newsletters that I can recommend wholeheartedly. Chris MacIntosh’s is one of the few. It covers the entire investment waterfront, it’s thoughtful and well-written.

Let me add I’m completely on the same page with Chris and his views. I urge you to read what he has to say.


International Man: I’d like to introduce Chris MacIntosh.

After working for many top-tier investment banks, Chris left the corporate world. He has since built and sold multiple million-dollar businesses, built a VC firm allocating $35m into early-stage ventures, and become a full-time trader.

He now manages money for clients of Glenorchy Capital; a macro focused hedge fund. Chris is the founder of Capitalist Exploits, with its flagship investment subscription letter called Insider.

Alright, let’s get into our discussion.

As countries destroy their national currencies, middle- and lower-class individuals will disproportionally be affected.

Are we seeing global destruction of private savings? What are the implications?

Chris MacIntosh: There’s a lot to unpack there.

What we’re seeing is the wholesale destruction of the middle class, certainly in Western democracies.

I think it’s by design.

We’re also seeing a wave of neo-Marxism taking place across the Western world, and they see it as an opportunity.

Continue reading

The Tyranny of Groupthink, by David Stockman

As SLL recently said, “Your first duty is to think for yourself.” A lot of people are about to find out why. From David Stockman at lewrockwell.com:

The broad market (S&P 500) is trading at the highest forward PE multiples since November 1999, but the financial press is rife with mendacious piffle claiming there is no bubble. For example, in celebration of Tuesday’s all-time high on the S&P 500, one James Mackintosh of the Wall Street Journal minced no words:

Except, the Everything Bubble is in the imagination of the many investors complaining about it. First, it isn’t everything. Second, it isn’t a bubble….

Right. Supposedly, the above statement is true because energy sector stock prices are in the tank, but the market is being rationally led by the tech giants where allegedly solid prospects for earnings growth are being rewarded with higher PE multiples owing to ultra-low interest rates.

…. Lower rates mean profits further in the future matter more to the share price, so companies with steady earnings no matter what the economy does are worth more. Those that are sensitive to the economy are worth less, because future earnings are expected to be hit. Growth stocks do incredibly well, because their future earnings are expected to be higher and, at least for those thought immune to economic weakness, worth more as well thanks to lower rates.

Apply this framework and there’s no bubble. U.S. stocks are more highly valued than in the past because they are dominated by big growth stocks, themselves justifiably more highly valued thanks to low rates.

Continue reading→