Category Archives: Economics

Why “This Sucker Is Going Down”, by Charles Hugh Smith

SLL agrees with Charles Hugh Smith that no amount of free money and central bank machinations will save the global financial and economic systems once they start to fail. From Smith at oftwominds.com:

Once the contagion starts spreading, loose money won’t put the fires out.

As the nation’s political and economic leaders struggled to contain the 2008 financial meltdown, President George W. Bush famously summed the situation up: “If money doesn’t loosen up, this sucker will go down.”

Eleven years into the loose money recovery, this sucker is finally going downfor reasons that have little to do with tight money and everything to do with the inconvenient fact that none of the structural problems have been addressed, much less actually fixed.

We live in a bizarre world dominated by magical-thinking, a world in which the Federal Reserve creating more dollars out of thin air is supposedly the solution to everything, while all the knotty structural problems–unsupportable pensions and entitlements, unsustainable dependence on debt to fund everything from infrastructure to a new iPhone, a sickcare system that is bankrupting the nation, a higher education system that is looting an entire generation for diplomas with marginal market value, a runaway National Security State that burns trillions on unwinnable wars and lies about it–are left untouched because they’re, well, difficult, and it’s so much easier to say that looser money will solve everything.

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“It’s About To Get Very Bad” – Repo Market Legend Predicts Market Crash In Days, by Tyler Durden

The nice thing about the headline prediction is that we’ll know fairly soon if it’s correct or not. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

For the past decade, the name of Zoltan Pozsar has been among the most admired and respected on Wall Street: not only did the Hungarian lay the groundwork for our current understanding of the deposit-free shadow banking system – which has the often opaque and painfully complex short-term dollar funding and repo markets – at its core…

… but he was also instrumental during his tenure at both the US Treasury and the New York Fed in laying the foundations of the modern repo market, orchestrating the response to the global financial crisis and the ensuing policy debate (as virtually nobody at the Fed knew more about repo at the time than Pozsar), serving as point person on market developments for Fed, Treasury and White House officials throughout the crisis (yes, Kashkari was just the figurehead); playing the key role in building the TALF to backstop the ABS market, and advising the former head of the Fed’s Markets Desk, Brian Sack, on just how the NY Fed should implement its various market interventions without disrupting and breaking the most important market of all: the multi-trillion repo market.

In short, when Pozsar speaks (or as the case may be, writes), people listen (and read).

The Destruction of Civilization – Implications of Extreme Monetary Interventions, by Claudio Grass

Take interest rates to zero or negative, and you’ve rendered time worthless, at least in a monetary sense. That threatens one of the foundations of civilization. From Claudio Grass at lewrockewell.com:

When I was asked to write an article about the impact of negative interest rates and negative yielding bonds, I thought this is a chance to look at the topic from a broader perspective. There have been lots of articles speculating about the possible implications and focusing on their impact in the short run, but it’s not very often that an analysis looks a bit further into the future, trying to connect money and its effect on society itself.

Qui bono?

Let us begin with a basic question, that lies at the heart of this issue: Who profits from a loan that is guaranteed to pay back less than the amount borrowed? Obviously, it is the borrower and not the lender, which in our case is the government and those closely connected to it. Negative rates and negative yielding bonds, by definition favor the debtors and punish the savers. In addition, these policies are an affront to basic economic principles and to common sense too. They contradict all logical ideas about how money works and they have no basis and no precedent in any organic economic system. Thus, now, in addition to the hidden tax that is inflation, we also have another mechanism that redistributes wealth from the average citizen to those at the top of the pyramid.

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Fiat’s failings, gold and blockchains, by Alasdair Macleod

Alasdair Macleod is the best writer on monetary economics on the Internet. From Macleod at goldmoney.com:

The world stands on the edge of a cyclical downturn, exacerbated by trade tariffs initiated by America. We know what will happen: the major central banks will attempt to inflate their way out of the consequences. And those of us with an elementary grasp of economics should know why the policy will fail.

In addition to the monetary and debt inflation since the Lehman crisis, it is highly likely the major international currencies will suffer a catastrophic loss of purchasing power from a new round of monetary expansion, calling for a replacement of today’s fiat currency system with something more stable. The ultimate solution, unlikely to be adopted, is to reinstate gold as circulating money, and how gold works as money is outlined in this article.

Instead, central banks will struggle for fiat-based solutions, which are bound to face a similar fate with or without the blockchain technology being actively considered. The Asian and BRICS blocs have an opportunity to do something with gold. But will they take it?

Introduction

Central banks around the world are praying that there won’t be a recession, and if there is that a further monetary stimulus will ensure economic recovery. Their problem is Keynesian theory says it will work, but last time it didn’t. In fact, it has never worked beyond a temporary basis. The big surprise this time was the lack of officially recorded price inflation. But this is due to the system gaming the numbers, making it appear there has been some moderate growth when a proper deflator would confirm most Western economies have been contracting in real terms for the last ten years.

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Climate and the Money Trail, by F. William Engdahl

There’s a lot of green (money) in green (environmental politics). From F. William Engdahl at New Eastern Outlook via lewrockwell.com:

Climate. Now who wudda thought. The very mega-corporations and mega-billionaires behind the globalization of the world economy over recent decades, whose pursuit of shareholder value and cost reduction who have wreaked so much damage to our environment both in the industrial world and in the under-developed economies of Africa, Asia, Latin America, are the leading backers of the “grass roots” decarbonization movement from Sweden to Germany to the USA and beyond. Is it pangs of guilty conscience, or could it be a deeper agenda of the financialization of the very air we breathe and more?

Whatever one may believe about the dangers of CO2 and risks of global warming creating a global catastrophe of 1.5 to 2 degree Celsius average temperature rise in the next roughly 12 years, it is worth noting who is promoting the current flood of propaganda and climate activism.

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Time Machines & Species Failure, by Scott Galloway

Time is a nonrenewable resource. From Scott Galloway at medium.com:

Survival — the pursuit of more time — is the most basic instinct. Procreation is a distant number 2. But 1a, making the most of your time, is survival instinct coupled with capitalism. Communism was intended as a more noble system — economic parity that avoids the inequality bound to arise from capitalism. Only the reds failed to recognize we won’t wait in line for fish for the benefit of our comrades. A cocktail of self-interest, cooperation, the assembly line, brand, and the processor has yielded more stakeholder value, as measured by GDP, in the last 50 years than in the previous 2,000.

Religion created a lot of value — it made people feel immortal. Time post death is an asset you’d trade shame for. But the ranks of the faithful are thinning. The opium of the masses no longer provides the same high. Wealthier, more educated societies have turned their focus to time on earth.

Any company that creates more than $10 billion in shareholder value does one of two things: extend time (more time, saving time) or enhance time.

Every firm that has aspirations of creating billions in shareholder value must construct a time machine and be clear on the type of benefit —savings or enhancement. The first trillionaire will build a time machine for the healthcare industry. The T-Man, or woman, won’t reduce costs (this is where the analysts get it wrong), but give us millions of years back, in the pursuit of health, at the same or lesser cost.

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The Giant Debt-for-Equity Swap, by Colin Lloyd

The world’s debt load is by far its most threatening issue. From Colin Lloyd at aier.org:

Since the mid-1990s, the number of companies listed on US stock exchanges has been steadily shrinking. There are currently just over 4,000 companies listed, up from the 2012 low but way down from a peak of more than 8,000 in 1996. Europe has not been immune; only 84 companies have listed this year, the lowest in a decade and the lowest by deal value since 2013. European capital markets have always been less equity-centric than the US, but even here the number of listings has shrunk by 29 percent since 2000.

Source: World Bank, Financial Times

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