Author Archives: Charles Hugh Smith

America 2018: Dicier by the Day

If we look beneath the cheery chatter of the financial media and the tiresomely repetitive Russian collusion narrative (that’s unraveling as the Ministry of Propaganda’s machinations are exposed), we find that America in 2018 is dicier by the day. The more you know … Continue reading

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The Next Recession Will Be Devastatingly Non-Linear

Linear correlations are intuitive: if GDP declines 2% in the next recession, and employment declines 2%, we get it: the scale and size of the decline aligns. In a linear correlation, we’d expect sales to drop by about 2%, businesses closing … Continue reading

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Our Economy Is Failing Our Society

One of the most unrecognized dynamics of our era is the structural dependence of our society on our economy. One set of pundits, politicos and academics wring their hands over the fragmenting of civil society (the rise of disintegrative, divisive forces and the decay … Continue reading

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Sustainability Boils Down to Scale

Several conversations I had at the recent Peak Prosperity conference in Sonoma, CA sparked an insight into why societies and economies thrive or fail: It All Boils Down to Scale. In a conversation with a Peak Prosperity member who goes by MemeMonkey, … Continue reading

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A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Market Complacency / Euphoria

A relatively reliable measure of complacency/euphoria in the stock market just hit levels last seen in late January, just before stocks reversed in a massive meltdown, surprising all the complacent/euphoric Bulls. The measure is the put-call ratio in equities. Since this … Continue reading

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How Safe Are We? Our Blindness to Systemic Dangers

If you’ve bought a new vehicle recently, you may have noticed some “safety features” that strike many as Nanny State over-reach. You can’t change radio stations, for example, if the vehicle is in reverse. Who knows who or what you’ll run … Continue reading

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Before You Tell Me What You “Know,” Tell Me Your Sources

When someone says they “know” what’s happening on the ground in Syria, how can we assess the validity of their claim to knowledge, i.e. their claim to “know” “facts” or (gasp) “truth”? When someone says they “know” the U.S. economy is … Continue reading

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Kafka’s Nightmare Emerges: China’s “Social Credit Score”

China is rapidly building out a Total Surveillance State on a scale that far surpasses any government surveillance program in the West. The scope of this surveillance is so broad and pervasive that it borders on science fiction: Life Inside China’s … Continue reading

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The Cosby Status Quo: A Facade of Wholesomeness Masks Feudal Exploitation

The conviction of Bill Cosby for sexual exploitation/assault serves as a useful metaphor for our entire status quo, which projects a wholesome PR facade (free market capitalism, win-win, democracy, meritocracy, anyone can grow up to win American Idol, etc.) which … Continue reading

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The Blowback Against Facebook, Google and Amazon Is Just Beginning

Blow-out earnings from Facebook and Amazon have cheered Wall Street, but institutional owners might want to focus not just on blow-out earnings but rising blowback against the tech superpowers (Facebook, Google and Amazon). The blowback is social and political: people are starting to … Continue reading

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How Far Down the Big Data/’Psychographic Microtargeting’ Rabbit Hole Do You Want to Go?

Maybe you’ve seen a notice like this when you log into your Facebook account: did you read it carefully? Please read the one I received: Protecting Your Information We understand the importance of keeping your data safe, because we sell it … Continue reading

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Connecting the Dots of Big Data, Soaring Corporate Profits and Trade Wars

Let’s connect the dots between these two comments from longtime correspondents: the first is on the model of collecting and selling data (Big Data), and the second on trade: GFB: “If I had a lot of money, would I want to … Continue reading

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Our Strange Attraction to Self-Destructive Behaviors, Choices and Incentives

The gravitational pull of self-destructive behaviors, choices and incentives is scale-invariant, meaning that we can discern the strange attraction to self-destruction in the entire scale of human experience, from individuals to families to groups to entire societies. The proliferation of … Continue reading

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Why Trade Wars Ignite and Why They’re Spreading

What ignites trade wars? The oft-cited sources include unfair trade practices and big trade deficits. But since these have been in place for decades, they don’t explain why trade wars are igniting now. To truly understand why trade wars are igniting … Continue reading

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Were Trade Wars Inevitable?

Were trade wars inevitable? The answer is yes, due to the imbalances and distortions generated by financialization and central bank stimulus. Gordon Long and I peel the trade-war onion in a new video program, Were Trade Wars Inevitable? (27:48) Let’s stipulate right off … Continue reading

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The Plunge Protection Team Is Playing for All the Marbles

The current stocks/bonds game is for all the marbles, by which I mean the status quo now depends on valuations and interest rates remaining near their current levels for the system to function. If interest rates soar and/or stocks plummet, the … Continue reading

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Why Systems Fail

Systems fail for a wide range of reasons, but I’d like to focus on two that are easy to understand but hard to pin down. 1. Systems are accretions of structures and modifications laid down over time.Each layer adds complexity … Continue reading

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What If All the Cheap Stuff Goes Away?

One of the books I just finished reading is The Fate of Rome: Climate, Disease, and the End of an Empire. The thesis of the book is fascinating to those of us interested in the rise and fall of empires: Rome expanded … Continue reading

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15 Years of War: To Whose Benefit?

Setting aside the 12 years of “no fly zone” air combat operations above Iraq from 1991 to 2003, the U.S. has been at war for almost 17 years in Afghanistan and 15 years in Iraq. (If the word “war” is too … Continue reading

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Should Facebook and Google Pay Users When They Sell Data Collected from Users?

It’s not exactly news that Facebook, Google and other “free” services reap billions of dollars in profits by selling data mined/collected from their millions of users. As we know, If you’re not paying for it, you’re not the customer; you’re the product … Continue reading

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Solutions Only Arise Outside the Status Quo

Correspondent Dan F. asked me to reprint some posts on solutions to the systemic problems I’ve outlined for years, most recently in How Much Longer Can We Get Away With It? and Checking In on the Four Intersecting Cycles. I appreciate the request, … Continue reading

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Is Profit-Maximizing Data-Mining Undermining Democracy?

As many of you know, oftwominds.com was falsely labeled propaganda by thepropaganda operation known as ProporNot back in 2016. The Washington Postsaw fit to promote ProporNot’s propaganda operation because it aligned with the newspaper’s view that any site that wasn’t pro-status quo was propaganda; the possibility of … Continue reading

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How Much Longer Can We Get Away With It?

This chart of “debt securities and loans”–i.e. total debt in the U.S. economy–is also a chart of the creation and distribution of new money, as the issuance of new debt is the mechanism in our financial system for creating (or “emitting” … Continue reading

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Checking In on the Four Intersecting Cycles

Correspondent James D. recently asked for an update on the four intersecting cycles I’ve been writing about for the past 10 years. Here’s the chart I prepared back in 2008 of four long-term cycles: 1. Generational (political/social) 2. Price inflation/wage stagnation … Continue reading

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There is No “Free Trade”–There Is Only the Darwinian Game of Trade

Stripped of lofty-sounding abstractions such as comparative advantage, trade boils down to four Darwinian goals: 1. Find foreign markets to absorb excess production, i.e. where excess production can be dumped. 2. Extract foreign resources at low prices. 3. Deny geopolitical rivals … Continue reading

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Forget “Free Trade”–It’s All About Capital Flows

Defenders and critics of “free trade” and globalization tend to present the issue as either/or: it’s inherently good or bad. In the real world, it’s not that simple. The confusion starts with defining free trade (and by extension, globalization). In the … Continue reading

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The Death of Buy and Hold: We’re All Traders Now

The conventional wisdom of financial advisors–to save money and invest it in stocks and bonds “for the long haul”–a “buy and hold” strategy that has functioned as the default setting of financial planning for the past 60 years–may well be … Continue reading

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Should Facebook, Google and Twitter Be Public Utilities?

My longtime friend GFB recently suggested I revisit my position on RussiaGate, the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 US election. I have been dismissive of the investigation because the idea that a pinprick of Facebook advertising ($100,000) could … Continue reading

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Never Mind Volatility: Systemic Risk Is Rising

One of the greatest con jobs of the past 9 years is the status quo’s equivalence of risk and volatility: risk = volatility: so if volatility is low, then risk is low. Wrong: volatility once reflected specific short-term aspects of risk, but measures … Continue reading

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Career Advice to 20-Somethings: Create Value as a Mobile Creative

Establishing a satisfying career is difficult in today’s economy, doubly so for those who find life within hierarchical institutions (corporate America and government) unrewarding, and triply so for those burdened with student loan debt and college educations/diplomas of uncertain market … Continue reading

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Venezuela’s New Cryptocurrency: Just Another Form of Control Fraud

The broke and broken country of Venezuela appears to be the first nation-state to issue a cryptocurrency token (the petro) as a means of escaping the financial black hole that’s consuming its economy: Maduro Launches Oil-Backed Crypto “For The Welfare Of … Continue reading

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The End of (Artificial) Stability

There is nothing natural about the stability of the past 9 years. The bullish trends in risk assets are artificial constructs of central bank/state policies. As these policies are reduced or lose their effectiveness, the era of artificial stability is coming … Continue reading

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Russian Meddling: Gagging on the Irony

The irony of the Deep State’s obsessive focus on “Russian meddling” in the precious bodily fluids of our hallowed democracy is so overwhelming that it’s gagging. The irony is a noxious confluence of putid hypocrisy and a comically abject terror at … Continue reading

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The Ghosts of 1968

1968 was a tumultuous year globally and domestically. The Prague Spring in Czechoslovakia–a very mild form of political and cultural liberalization within the Soviet bloc–was brutally crushed by the military forces of the Soviet Union. The general strikes and student protests … Continue reading

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Before You “Buy the Dip,” Look at This One Chart

There’s a place for fancy technical interpretations, but sometimes a basic chart tells us quite a lot. Here is a basic chart of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the DJIA. It displays basic information: price candlesticks, volume, the 50-week and 200-week … Continue reading

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Is the 9-Year Long Dead Cat Bounce Finally Ending?

The term dead cat bounce is market lingo for a “recovery” after markets decline due to fundamental reversals. Markets tend to bounce back after sharp declines as participants (human and digital) who have been trained to “buy the dips” once again buy the … Continue reading

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Political Correctness Serves the Ruling Elite

The Ruling Elites loves political correctness, for it serves the Elite so well. What is political correctness? Political correctness is the public pressure to conform to “progressive” speech acts by uttering the expected code words and phrases in public. Note that no actual action is … Continue reading

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The Rowboat (Wages) and the Yacht (Assets)

The reason why the status quo has failed and is fragmenting is displayed in these three charts of wages, employment and assets: wage earners (labor) are in a rowboat trying to catch the yacht of those who own assets (capital). Here … Continue reading

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Rising Social Disorder Is Inevitable: Here’s Why

We are in a very peculiar point in history. On the one hand, we’re reassured that all is well because Every One of the World’s Big Economies Is Now Growing. (NY Times) Yet at the same time, we read that “Something Is Very … Continue reading

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Can We Finally Have an Honest Discussion about the Opioid Crisis?

The opioid epidemic is generating a lot of media coverage and hand-wringing, but few if any solutions, and this is predictable: if you don’t face up to the causes, then you can’t solve the problem. America is steadfastly avoiding looking at … Continue reading

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Central Banks: From Coordination to Competition

The mere mention of “central banks” will likely turn off many readers who understandably have little interest in convoluted policies and arcane mumbo-jumbo, but bear with me for a few paragraphs while I make the case for something to happen in … Continue reading

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The Fascinating Psychology of Blowoff Tops

The psychology of blowoff tops in asset bubbles is fascinating: let’s start with the first requirement of a move qualifying as a blowoff top, which is the vast majority of participants deny the move is a blowoff top. Exhibit 1: a chart … Continue reading

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Social Change Will Upend the Status Quo

The core narrative of the Status Quo is that nothing fundamental needs to be changed: all the problems can be solved with more “free money” (borrowed from the future at low rates of interest) and a few policy tweaks such as … Continue reading

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It’s Not About Democracy: Control Fraud Is the Core of our Political System

If we strip away the pretense of democracy, what is the core of our political System? Answer: control fraud, which I define as those with control/ power in centralized institutions enriching themselves at the expense of the citizenry by selectively modifying what’s … Continue reading

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The Hidden-in-Plain-Sight Mechanism of the Super-Wealthy: Money-Laundering 2.0

We all know the rich are getting richer, and the super-rich are getting super-richer. This reality is illustrated in the chart of income gains, the vast majority of which have flowed to the top .01%–not the top 1%, or the top … Continue reading

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Is One Reason Why the Status Quo Disdains Bitcoin Is the “Wrong People Are Getting Rich”?

The psychology of money, wealth and speculative manias is endlessly fascinating. Most of what’s written on these subjects focus on the process of building wealth as if it were a quasi-science rather than a psychologically driven process. Only speculative manias attract … Continue reading

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“Wealth Effect” = Widening Wealth Inequality

One of the core goals of the Federal Reserve’s monetary policies of the past 9 years is to generate the “wealth effect”: by pushing the valuations of stocks and bonds higher, American households will feel wealthier, and hence be more willing … Continue reading

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Christmas 2017: Why I’m Hopeful

Readers often ask me to post something hopeful, and I understand why: doom-and-gloom gets tiresome. Human beings need hope just as they need oxygen, and the destruction of the Status Quo via over-reach and internal contradictions doesn’t leave much to be … Continue reading

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Santa’s Stock Market Rally: Tears of Joy, Or Just Tears?

Everyone who believes risk has disappeared has fallen for the con. Judging by this year’s version of Santa Claus’s reliable year-end stock market rally, risk has vanished, not just in stocks but in bonds, junk bonds, housing, commercial real estate, … Continue reading

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Un-Merry Christmas: The Perverse Incentives to Over-Consume and Over-Spend

Few topics are off-limits nowadays: the personal and private are now splashed everywhere for all to see. One topic is still taboo: the holiday’s perverse incentives to over-consume and over-spend,lest our economy implode. This topic is taboo because it strikes at the … Continue reading

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Regulating Cryptocurrencies–and Why It Matters

There’s a great deal of confusion right now about the regulation of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin. Many observers seem to confuse “regulation” and “banning bitcoin,” as if regulation amounts to outlawing bitcoin. Further confusing things is the regulation of cryptocurrency exchanges, … Continue reading

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Have We Reached Peak NFL?

OK, I get it: pro football is so popular because it’s one of the last refuges of modern life that hasn’t been ruined by politics. Oops, scratch that. But we shouldn’t pin the decline of pro football’s popularity (as measured by … Continue reading

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Could Central Banks Dump Gold in Favor of Bitcoin?

Exhibit One: here’s your typical central bank, creating trillions of units of currency every year, backed by nothing but trust in the authority of the government, created at the whim of a handful of people in a room and distributed … Continue reading

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Three Bubbles/Strikes and You’re Out

The conventional investment wisdom holds that central banks will never let markets decline. This is an interesting belief, given that two previous asset bubbles based on central bank “easy money” both imploded, impoverishing believers in central bank omnipotence. So perhaps we … Continue reading

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Marx, Robotics and the Collapse of Profits

Yesterday I discussed how robots only do work that’s profitable, as any enterprise buying, programming and maintaining robots to do unprofitable work will soon be out of business. What few observers seem to grasp is that automation goes through two distinct … Continue reading

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What Is Money? (Yes, We’re Talking About Bitcoin)

What is money? We all assume we know, because money is a commonplace feature of everyday life. Money is what we earn and exchange for goods and services. Everyone thinks the money they’re familiar with is the only possible system of … Continue reading

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A Radical Critique of Universal Basic Income

Readers have been asking me what I thought of Universal Basic Income (UBI) as the solution to the systemic problem of jobs being replaced by automation.To answer this question, I realized I had to start by taking a fresh look … Continue reading

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The Cost Basis of our Economy is Spiraling Out of Control

If we had to choose one “big picture” reason why the vast majority of households are losing ground, it would either be the stagnation of income or the spiraling out of control cost basis of our economy, that is, the essential foundational … Continue reading

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Stock Market 2018: The Tao vs. Central Banks

I will be the first to admit that invoking the woo-woo of the Tao as the reason to expect a reversal of the stock market in 2018 smacks of Bearish desperation. With everything coming up roses in much of the global … Continue reading

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Did Anyone Do Even a Minimal Check on the Sensationalist Bitcoin Electrical Consumption Story?

Let’s start with a primer on how to write a sensationalist story that can be passed off as “journalism:” 1. Locate credible-sounding data that can be de-contextualized, i.e. sensationalized. 2. Present the data as “fact” rather than data that requires … Continue reading

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My Crazy $17,000 Target for Bitcoin Is Looking Less Crazy

I think we can all agree that bitcoin (BTC) is “interesting.” One of the primary reason that bitcoin (and cryptocurrency in general) is interesting is that nobody knows what will happen going forward. Unknowns and big swings up and down are characteristics … Continue reading

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The Problem Isn’t Populism: the Problem Is the Status Quo Has Failed

The corporate/billionaires’ media would have us believe that the crisis we face is populism, a code word for every ugly manifestation of fascism known to humanity. By invoking populism as the cause of our distemper, the mainstream media is implicitly suggesting that the … Continue reading

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Addictions: Social Media & Mobile Phones Fall From Grace

For everyone who remembers the Early Days of social media and mobile phones, it’s been quite a ride from My Space and awkward texting on tiny screens to the current alarm over the addictive nature of social media and mobile telephony. The … Continue reading

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Beware the Marginal Buyer, Borrower and Renter

When times are good, the impact of the marginal buyer, borrower and renter on the market is often overlooked. By “marginal” I mean buyers, borrowers and renters who have to stretch their finances to the maximum to afford the purchase, loan … Continue reading

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Our National Madness

The nation has lost its common sense, its soul and its sanity. Can we summarize the source of this remarkably pervasive madness? Our efforts are now focused not on solving core problems but on covering up core problems, as if covering up … Continue reading

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Want Widespread Prosperity? Radically Lower Costs

It’s easy to go down the wormhole of complexity when it comes to figuring out why our economy is stagnating for the bottom 80% of households. But it’s actually not that complicated: the primary driver of stagnation, decline of small business … Continue reading

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The Demise of Dissent: Why the Web Is Becoming Homogenized

We’ve all heard that the problem with the web is fake news, i.e. unsubstantiated or erroneous content that’s designed to mislead or sow confusion. The problem isn’t just fake news–it’s the homogenization of the web, that is, the elimination or marginalization of independent … Continue reading

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The Superhero Complex: Are We Incapable of Saving Ourselves?

It’s been widely noted that the U.S. film industry ably functions as a pro-global hegemony propaganda machine: even when the plot features evil rogue elements at work in a global-hegemony agency (Pentagon, CIA, NSA, etc.), the competence of the agency is … Continue reading

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Is This Why Productivity Has Tanked and Wealth Inequality Has Soared?

One of the enduring mysteries in conventional economics (along with why wages for the bottom 95% have stagnated) is the recent decline in productivity gains (see chart). Since gains in productivity are the ultimate source of higher wages, these issues are … Continue reading

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Mideast Turmoil: Follow the Oil, Follow the Money

While there are numerous dynamics at work in the turmoil roiling Saudi Arabia and by extension, the Mideast, one way to cut to the chase is to follow the oil, follow the money. Correspondent B.D. recently posited a factor that has been … Continue reading

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Forget the Bogus Republican “Reform”: Here’s What Real Tax Reform Would Look Like

As has been widely noted, the Republicans’ proposed “tax reform” is not only just more BAU (business as usual, i.e. cut taxes for the wealthy), it’s also not real reform. At best, it’s just another iteration of D.C. policy tweaks packaged for PR … Continue reading

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The Fetid Swamp of Tax Reform

To understand the U.S. tax code and the endless charade of tax reform, we have to start with four distasteful realities: 1. Ours is not a representational democracy, it’s a political auction in which wealth casts the votes that count. Those seeking political … Continue reading

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Where are Europe’s Fault Lines?

Correspondent Mark G. and I have long discussed the potential relevancy of old boundaries, alliances and structures in Europe’s future alignments.Examples include the Holy Roman Empire and the Hanseatic League, among others. In the long view, Europe has cycled between periods of consolidation … Continue reading

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Our Culture of Rape

Stripped of pretense, ours is a culture of rape. Apologists for the system that spawned this culture of rape claim that this violence is the work of a few scattered sociopaths. The apologists are wrong: The system generates a culture of rape. … Continue reading

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How Will Bitcoin React in a Financial Crisis Like 2008?

Whenever I raise the topic of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, I feel like an agnostic in the 30 Years War between Catholics and Protestants. There is precious little neutral ground in the crypto-is-a-bubble battle; one side is absolutely confident that bitcoin and the other … Continue reading

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The Big Reversal: Inflation and Higher Interest Rates Are Coming Our Way

According to the conventional economic forecast, interest rates will stay near-zero essentially forever due to slow growth. And since growth is slow, inflation will also remain neutral. This forecast is little more than an extension of the trends of the past … Continue reading

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Let’s Clear Up One Confusion About Bitcoin

One of the most common comments I hear from bitcoin skeptics goes something like this: Bitcoin isn’t real money until I can buy a cup of coffee with it. In other words, bitcoin fails the first of the two core tests … Continue reading

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What’s Driving Social Discord: Russian Social Media Meddling or Soaring Wealth/Power Inequality?

There are two competing explanatory narratives battling for mind-share in the U.S.: 1. The nation’s social discord is the direct result of Russian social media meddling– what I call the Boris and Natasha Narrative of evil Russian masterminds controlling a vast conspiracy of social … Continue reading

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Why Is Bitcoin a Big Deal?

Why is bitcoin considered such a big deal? Why has it grabbed so much mind-share, and why is it skyrocketing? And why is the cryptocurrency sector going bonkers? The short answer is that cryptocurrency is the first major innovation in money … Continue reading

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Japan Just Killed the “Bitcoin Will Be Banned” Meme

One of the most durable claims of cryptocurrency skeptics is that “governments will ban bitcoin once it threatens their fiat currency or their control.” Ben Bernanke recently gave voice to this claim as if it was received wisdom. Sorry, crypto-skeptics: Japan … Continue reading

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Observations on Wealth-Income Inequality (from Federal Reserve Reports)

To those of us nutty enough to pore over dozens of pages of data on wealth and income in the U.S., the Federal Reserve’s quarterly Z.1 reports and annual Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF) are treasure troves, as are I.R.S. … Continue reading

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Where To Invest When (Almost) Everything’s in a Bubble

Now that almost every asset class is in a bubble, the question of where to invest one’s capital has become particularly vexing. The ashes of wealth consumed by the 2008-09 Global Financial Meltdown are still warm, at least to those who … Continue reading

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Stagnation Nation: Middle Class Wealth Is Locked Up in Housing and Retirement Funds

One of my points in Why Governments Will Not Ban Bitcoin was to highlight how few families had the financial wherewithal to invest in bitcoin or an alternative hedge such as precious metals. The limitation on middle class wealth isn’t just the total … Continue reading

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How Much of our Discord Is the Result of the “Engagement” Advert Revenue Model of Social Media?

Few would deny that social discord is rising. The proposed causes range from wealth/income inequality to the rise of polarizing political ideologies and the Trump presidency. A few commentators are starting to question the role of social media in this dynamic, … Continue reading

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Why Governments Will Not Ban Bitcoin

To really understand an asset, we have to examine not just the asset itself but who owns it, and who can afford to own it. These attributes will illuminate thepolitical and financial power wielded by the owners of the asset class. And … Continue reading

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Which Rotten Fruit Falls First?

To those of us who understand the entire status quo is rotten and corrupt to its core, the confidence of each ideological camp that their side will emerge unscathed by investigation is a source of amusement. The fake-progressives (fake because these … Continue reading

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GDP Is Bogus: Here’s Why

The rot eating away at our society and economy is typically papered over with bogus statistics that “prove” everything’s getting better every day in every way. The prime “proof” of rising prosperity is the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which never fails … Continue reading

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Fraud, Exploitation and Collusion: America’s Pharmaceutical Industry

America’s Pharmaceutical industry takes pride of place in this week’s theme ofThe Rot Within, as the industry has raised fraud, exploitation and collusion to systemic perfection. What other industry can routinely kill hundreds of thousands of Americans and suffer no … Continue reading

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The United States of Weinstein: Complicity, Greed and Corruption Is the Status Quo

The sordid story of Harvey Weinstein is being presented as an aberration. It is not an aberration; it is merely a high-profile example of how the status quo functions in the USA, a.k.a. The United States of Weinstein, in which complicity, … Continue reading

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The Fading Scent of the American Dream

It’s been 10 years since I devoted a week to the theme of The Rot Within(September 17, 2007). Back in 2007, I listed 16 systemic sources of rot in our society, politics and economy; none have been fixed. Instead, the gaping … Continue reading

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The Endgame of Financialization: Stealth Nationalization

As you no doubt know, central banks don’t actually print money and toss it out of helicopters; they create a digital liability and use this new currency to buy assets such as bonds and stocks. Central banks have found that they … Continue reading

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Are You Better Off Than You Were 17 Years Ago?

If we use gross domestic product (GDP) as a broad measure of prosperity, we are 160% better off than we were in 1980 and 35% better off than we were in 2000. Other common metrics such as per capita (per person) … Continue reading

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About Those “Hedonic Adjustments” to Inflation: Ignoring the Systemic Decline in Quality, Utility, Durability and Service

One of the more mysterious aspects of the official inflation rate is the hedonic quality adjustments that the Bureau of Labor Statistics makes to the components of the Consumer Price Index (CPI). The basic idea is that when innovations improve the utility … Continue reading

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Our Protected, Predatory Oligarchy: Dirty Secrets, Dirty Lies

The revelations coming to light about Hollywood Oligarch Harvey Weinstein perfectly capture the true nature of our status quo: a rotten-to-the-core, predatory, exploitive oligarchy of dirty secrets and dirty lies protected by an army of self-serving sycophants, servile toadies on … Continue reading

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The Consent of the Conned

My theme this week is The Great Unraveling, by which I mean the unraveling of our social-political-economic system of hierarchical, centralized power. Let’s start by looking at how the basis of governance has transmogrified from consent of the governed to consent of the conned. In … Continue reading

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Migration of the Tax Donkeys

A Great Migration of the Tax Donkeys is underway, still very much under the radar of the mainstream media and conventional economists. If you are confident no such migration of those who pay the bulk of the taxes could ever … Continue reading

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Be Careful What You Wish For: Inflation Is Much Higher Than Advertised

It’s not exactly a secret that real-world inflation is a lot higher than the official rates–the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and Personal Consumption Expenditures PCE). As many observers have pointed out, there are two primary flaws in the official measures of … Continue reading

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What Few Expect: Inflation Will Surge, Destabilizing the Status Quo

If there is any economic truism that is accepted by virtually everyone, it’s that inflation is low and will stay low into the foreseeable future. The reasons are numerous: technology is deflationary, globalization is deflationary, central banks will keep interest rates … Continue reading

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What If the Tax Donkeys Rebel?

Since federal income taxes are in the spotlight, let’s ask a question that rarely (if ever) makes it into the public discussion: what if the tax donkeys who pay most of the tax rebel? There are several likely reasons why this question … Continue reading

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Stagnation Is Not Just the New Normal–It’s Official Policy

Although our leadership is too polite to say it out loud, they’ve embraced stagnation as the new quasi-official policy. The reason is tragi-comically obvious: any real reform would threaten the income streams gushing into untouchably powerful self-serving elites and fiefdoms. In … Continue reading

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This Chart Defines the 21st Century Economy

One chart defines the 21st century economy and thus its socio-political system: the chart of soaring wealth/income inequality. This chart doesn’t show a modest widening in the gap between the super-wealthy (top 1/10th of 1%) and everyone else: there is … Continue reading

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Our Crazy-Making, Profiteering Education-Career Maze

So let’s say we want to set up a system to help students choose a career that fits their aptitudes and interests. What would we do? How about: 1. Give them zero (or superficial) aptitude and career-related tests. 2. Provide a … Continue reading

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You Can Only Choose One: Cheap Oil or a Weak Dollar

Glance at this chart of the trade-weighted U.S. dollar, and note the swing highs and lows in the price of oil per barrel around each peak and trough. You can look up historical inflation-adjusted prices of oil in USD on this … Continue reading

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The Demise of the Dollar: Don’t Hold Your Breath

The demise of the U.S. dollar has been a staple of the financial media for decades. The latest buzzword making the rounds is de-dollarization, which describes the move away from USD in global payments. De-dollarization is often equated with the demise of the … Continue reading

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Loving Our Debt-Serfdom: Our Neofeudal Status Quo

I have often used the words neoliberal, neocolonial and neofeudal to describe our socio-economic-political status quo. Here are my shorthand descriptions of each term: 1. Neoliberal: the commoditization / financialization of every asset, input (such as labor) and output of the economy; the … Continue reading

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Financialization and The Destruction of the Real Economy

Financialization is destroying the real economy, but few in power seem to notice or care. The reason why is painfully obvious: those in power are reaping vast fortunes from the engines of financialization–for example, former President Obama:Obama Goes From White House … Continue reading

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What Is Real Wealth?

What is real wealth? Money, right? Currency, gold, quatloos, you name it.Money is real wealth because you can use it to buy whatever you want. I would argue money in any form is only the means to acquire real wealth, which … Continue reading

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Dear Jamie Dimon: Predict the Crash that Takes Down Your Produces-Nothing, Parasitic Bank and We’ll Listen to your Bitcoin “Prediction”

Dear Jamie Dimon: quick quiz: which words/phrases are associated with you and your employer, J.P. Morgan? Looting, pillage, rapacious, exploitive, only saved from collapse by massive intervention by the Federal Reserve, the source of rising wealth inequality, crony capitalism, privatized profits-socialized … Continue reading

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Yes, This Time It Is Different: But Not in Good Ways

The rallying cry of Permanent Bulls is this time it’s different. That’s absolutely true, but it isn’t bullish–it’s terrifically, terribly bearish. Why is this time it’s differentbearish going forward? The basic answer is that nothing that is structurally broken has actually been fixed, and … Continue reading

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Housing Bubble Symmetry: Look Out Below

There are two attractive delusions that are ever-present in financial markets:One is this time it’s different, because of unique conditions that have never ever manifested before in the history of the world, and the second is there are no cycles, they are … Continue reading

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The Real Reason Wages Have Stagnated: Our Economy is Optimized for Financialization

The Achilles Heel of our socio-economic system is the secular stagnation of earned income, i.e. wages and salaries. Stagnating wages undermine every aspect of our economy: consumption, credit, taxation and perhaps most importantly, the unspoken social contract that the benefits of productivity and … Continue reading

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The Insanity of Pushing Inflation Higher When Wages Can’t Rise

The official policy goal of the Federal Reserve and other central banks is to generate 3% inflation annually. Put another way: the central banks want to lower the purchasing power of their currencies by 33% every decade. In other words, those … Continue reading

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Is the High Cost of Housing Crushing Wages?

A provocative essay, Don’t Blame the Robots, makes the bold claim that “Housing Prices and Market Power Explain Wage Stagnation.” (Foreign Affairs) In other words, the stagnation of the bottom 95% of wages isn’t caused by automation or offshoring, but by the … Continue reading

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The Trouble with Asset Bubbles: If You Stop Pumping, They Pop

The trouble with inflating asset bubbles is that you have to keep inflating them or they pop. Unfortunately for the bubble-blowing central banks, asset bubbles are a double-bind: you cannot inflate assets forever. At some unpredictable point, the risk and moral … Continue reading

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Bitcoin, Sour Grapes and the Institutional Herd

If I had a bitcoin for every time some pundit declared bitcoin is a bubble, I’d be a billionaire. There are three problems with opining that bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are bubblicious: 1. Everything is in a bubble now: stocks, bonds, housing, heck, … Continue reading

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Why We’re Doomed: Stagnant Wages

Despite all the happy talk about “recovery” and higher growth, wages have gone nowhere since 2000–and for the bottom 20% of workers, they’ve gone nowhere since the 1970s. Gross domestic product (GDP) has risen smartly since 2000, but the share … Continue reading

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Systemic Uncertainty, Meet Fragility

Life is inherently uncertain, but systems that were once considered certainties have increasingly become uncertain. Social Security is one example; recent polls reflect widespread doubts among Millennials and Gen-Xers that there will be any Social Security benefits left for them by … Continue reading

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The 5 Steps to World Domination

World Domination–it has a nice ring, doesn’t it? Here’s how to achieve it in 5 steps: 1. Turn everything into a commodity that can be traded on the global market:land, leases on land, options to purchase land, houses, buildings, rooms … Continue reading

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Have We Lost the Ability to Adapt to Rapidly Changing Circumstances?

Successful adaptation requires a willingness to accept the risks of experimentation, innovation, flexibility and failure. The idea that the pace of change in technology, the economy and society is accelerating is increasingly self-evident. That this acceleration exceeds our built-in ability to … Continue reading

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Are We Fiddling While Rome Burns?

It turns out Nero wasn’t fiddling as Rome burned–he was 60 km away at the time. Did Nero Really Fiddle While Rome Burned? The story has become short-hand for making light of a catastrophe, either out of self-interest (one theory had … Continue reading

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Beware the “The Cultural Civil War” Narrative: You’re Being Played

Remember the “Russians hacked our election!” hysteria–or have you already forgotten? That entire narrative collapsed under a deluge of factual evidence that the Democratic National Committee (DNC) data release was an insider job, and a compelling lack of evidence of any … Continue reading

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Are Profit and Healthcare Incompatible?

As I have been noting for a decade, the broken U.S. healthcare system will bankrupt the nation all by itself. We all know the basic facts: the system delivers uneven results in terms of improving health and life expectancy while costing … Continue reading

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Are We Already in Recession?

How shocked would you be if it was announced that the U.S. had just entered a recession, that is, a period in which gross domestic product (GDP) declines (when adjusted for inflation) for two or more quarters? Would you really … Continue reading

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What the Mainstream Doesn’t Get about Bitcoin

I’ve been writing about cryptocurrencies and bitcoin for many years. For example: Could Bitcoin Become a Global Reserve Currency? (November 7, 2013) I am an interested observer, not an expert. As an observer, it seems to me that the mainstream–media, financial punditry, etc.–as … Continue reading

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Powerlessness and Consumerism

There is perhaps no better metric of class in America than personal power–what is known as agency: the power to influence or transform one’s circumstances in a a self-directed manner. Those with agency have power, those without agency (or very limited agency) … Continue reading

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Is Another Oil Head-Fake Brewing?

The dramatic declines in the costs of oil production will be boosting supply at the very moment that demand is falling. Over the past decade I’ve addressed what I call Head-Fakes in the cost of oil/fossil fuel: even though we know the cost … Continue reading

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Why We’re So Risk-Averse: “We Can’t Take That Chance”

You’ve probably noticed how risk-averse Hollywood has become: the big summer movies are all extensions of existing franchises–mixing up the superheroes in new combinations, or remaking hit films from the past–all safe bets. The trend to “playing it safe” is not … Continue reading

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6 Key Questions about RussiaGate

The claims that Russia meddled in the 2016 U.S. election are now known as RussiaGate, in a loose reference to the Watergate scandal of the early 1970s. In the U.S., the issue has been poisoned by profound partisanship: those who … Continue reading

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Meanwhile, Somewhere in the Pentagon…

As North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong Un declares that “The Entire US Territory Is Now Within Our ICBM Range”, somewhere in the Pentagon, operational plans to neutralize North Korean nuclear and long-range missile capabilities are being refined. There are undoubtedly … Continue reading

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We Need a Social Economy, Not a Hyper-Financialized Economy

We all know what a hyper-financialized economy looks like–we live in one:central banks create credit/money out of thin air and distribute it to the already-wealthy, who use the nearly free money to buy back corporate shares, enriching themselves while creating zero jobs. … Continue reading

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There Is Only One Empire: Finance

There’s an entire sub-industry in journalism devoted to the idea that China is poised to replace the U.S. as the “global empire” / hegemon. This notion of global empire being something like a baton that gets passed from nation-state to nation-state … Continue reading

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In the Footsteps of Rome: Is Renewal Possible?

Is renewal / recovery from systemic decline possible? The history of the Roman Empire is a potentially insightful place to start looking for answers. As long-time readers know, I’ve been studying both the Western and Eastern (Byzantine) Roman Empires over the … Continue reading

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When We Can No Longer Tell the Truth…

When we can no longer tell the truth because the truth will bring the whole rotten, fragile status quo down in a heap of broken promises and lies, we’ve reached the perfection of dysfunction. You know the one essential guideline to … Continue reading

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The Death Spiral of Financialization

The primary driver of our economy–financialization–is in a death spiral. Financialization substitutes expansion of interest, leverage and speculation for real-world expansion of goods, services and wages. Financial “wealth” created by leveraging more debt on a base of real-world collateral that doesn’t actually … Continue reading

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Why 2017 Is Like 1969

A deeply polarizing new president, a disastrously misguided official narrativethat the political Establishment doggedly supports despite a damning lack of evidence, and an economy teetering on the edge of recession–and worse. Sound familiar? Welcome to 1969 redux. The similarities between the … Continue reading

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Earth’s Economy Glorifies Waste, Exploitation, Debt, Expediency and Magical Thinking

How would extraterrestrial anthropologists characterize Earth’s dominant socio-economic system? It’s not difficult to imagine their dismaying report: “Earth’s economy glorifies waste. Its economists rejoice when a product is disposed as waste and replaced with a new product. This waste is perversely … Continue reading

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Our Financial Buffers Are Thinning

While buffer has a specific meaning in chemistry, I am using the word in the broad sense of a reserve resource that absorbs the initial destructive impacts of crises or system overloads. Marshland along a sea coast is a buffer against destructive storm … Continue reading

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What’s the Safest Investment in Troubled Times?

What’s the safest investment as the global economy enters increasingly risky, troubled times? I’ve reviewed hundreds of academic papers, investment reports and newsletters and researched long-term strategies and backtests and reached one conclusion. I won’t keep you in suspense: it’s bat … Continue reading

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Our Political Parties Are Obsolete

History informs us that once something is obsolete, it can disappear far faster than anyone expected. While we generally think of obsoleted technologies vanishing, social and political systems can become obsolete as well. Should a poor soul who entered a deep … Continue reading

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We’re Fragmenting Because our Experience of the Economy Is Fragmenting

You’ve probably seen some version of this chart of average household income in America before. (You may have seen charts of median household income as well; here’s an article on the difference between the two methods of measurement: American families are learning the difference … Continue reading

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A 4th of July Remembrance: Independence Arises from Self-Reliance

What is visible on July 4th is the overwhelming consumerism of an American holiday: the over-hyped sales campaigns, the overdulgences of the table, and the obligatory displays of fireworks. But beneath this celebratory surface run questions about American identity and the … Continue reading

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The Real Cause of the Opioid Epidemic: Scarcity of Jobs and Positive Social Roles

We all know there is a scourge of addiction and premature death plaguing the nation, a scourge that is killing thousands and ruining millions of lives: the deaths resulting from the opioid epidemic (largely the result of “legal” synthetic narcotics) are … Continue reading

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If We Don’t Change the Way Money Is Created, Rising Inequality and Social Disorder Are Inevitable

Everyone who wants to reduce wealth and income inequality with more regulations and taxes is missing the key dynamic: central banks’ monopoly on creating and issuing money widens wealth inequality, as those with access to newly issued money can always outbid the … Continue reading

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The Over-Criminalization of American Life

While the corporate media devotes itself to sports, entertainment, dining out and the latest political kerfuffle, America has become the Over-Criminalization Capital of the World. The proliferation of laws and administrative regulations, federal, state and local, that carry criminal penalties has … Continue reading

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Automation’s Destruction of Jobs: You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet

Automation–networked robotics, software and processes–has already had a major impact on jobs. As this chart from my colleague Gordon T. Long illustrates, the rise of Internet technologies is reflected in the steady, long-term decline of the labor force participation rate– … Continue reading

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We’re in a Boiling-Point Crisis of Exploitive Elites

Many of us have written about cycles in the past decade: Kondratieff economic cycles, business/credit cycles, the Strauss–Howe generational theory (an existential national crisis arises every four generations, as described in their book The Fourth Turning), and long-wave cycles of … Continue reading

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The Dead Giveaways of Imperial Decline

Identifying the tell-tale signs of Imperial decay and decline is a bit of a parlor game. The hubris of an increasingly incestuous and out-of-touch leadership, dismaying extremes of wealth inequality, self-serving, avaricious Elites, rising dependency of the lower classes on … Continue reading

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Projecting the Price of Bitcoin

I’ve taken the liberty of preparing a projection of bitcoin’s price action going forward: You see the primary dynamic is continued skepticism from the mainstream, which owns essentially no cryptocurrency and conventionally views bitcoin and its peers as fads, scams … Continue reading

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How Debt-Asset Bubbles Implode: The Supernova Model of Financial Collapse

When debt-asset bubbles expand at rates far above the expansion of earnings and real-world productive wealth, their collapse is inevitable. The Supernova model of financial collapse is one way to understand this. As I noted yesterday in Will the Crazy … Continue reading

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Is Your Cost of Living Rising? Why the Elites Aren’t Worried About Inflation

In our household, we measure real-world inflation with the Burrito Index: How much has the cost of a regular burrito at our favorite taco truck gone up? The cost of a regular burrito from our local taco truck has gone … Continue reading

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Inflation Isn’t Evenly Distributed: The Protected Are Fine, the Unprotected Are Impoverished Debt-Serfs

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) measure of inflation is bogus on a number of fronts, a reality I’ve covered a number of times: though the heavily gamed official CPI is under 2% for the past four years, the real rate … Continue reading

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Does the World End in Fire or Ice? Thoughts on Japan and the Inflation/Deflation Debate

Do we implode in a deflationary death spiral (ice) or in an inflationary death spiral (fire)? Debating the question has been a popular parlor game for years, with Eric Janszen’s 1999 Ka-Poom Deflation/Inflation Theory often anchoring the discussion. I invite … Continue reading

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TINA’s Legacy: Free Money, Bread and Circuses and Collapse

Every conventional “solution” to the systemic ills of our economy and society boils down to some version of free money: Universal Basic Income (UBI) schemes– free money for everyone, funded by borrowing from future taxpayers (robots, people, Martians, any fantasy … Continue reading

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The Soft Underbelly of Scandinavian “High-Tax Happy-Capitalism”

A media mini-industry touts Scandinavia’s “happiness” as the result of its high-tax, generous welfare state-capitalism. This mini-industry conveniently fails to report the soft underbelly of Scandinavia’s “High-Tax Happy-Capitalism”: The high-tax, generous welfare model is just as dependent on unsustainable credit … Continue reading

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Why We’re Fragmenting: The Status Quo Is Disintegrating

I confess to being amused by the mainstream media’s implicit view that everything would be peachy if only Trump wasn’t president. Memo to MSM: the nation is fragmenting for reasons that have nothing to do with who’s president, or indeed, … Continue reading

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State of Denial: The Economy No Longer Works As It Did in the Past

If there is one reality that is denied or obscured by the Status Quo, it is that the economy no longer works as it did in the past. This is the fundamental economic context of our current slide into political-social … Continue reading

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Globalization and the Rural-Urban Divide

Many pundits have commented on the remarkable asymmetry of counties won by the Democratic Party (blue counties) and in 2016 and those won by Republican Party (red counties): the Democrats won big in heavily urban counties and the Republicans won … Continue reading

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Mao and the Middle Class: What’s the Source of Political Power?

The decline of middle class wealth and income is not just an economic trend–it translates directly to a decline in political power. Chairman Mao famously noted that “Political power grows out of the barrel of gun,”, but this is only … Continue reading

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How Higher Education Became an Obscenely Profitable Racket That Enriches the Few at the Expense of the Many (Student Debt-Serfs)

“Legal” rackets have two essential components: a public-relations “cover” that obscures the racket and the mechanism that extracts the wealth from the “marks.” The Higher Education Racket qualifies on both counts: 1. The PR cover is “you all need a … Continue reading

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What’s Killing the Middle Class? (Part 1)

We all know the middle class that actually owns capital and wields political influence is shrinking. As I noted last week in Redefining the Middle Class: It Isn’t What You Earn and Owe, It’s What You Own That Generates Income, … Continue reading

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There Is One Way Out of Debt-Serfdom: Fanatic Frugality

If we accept that our financial system is nothing but a wealth-transfer mechanism from the productive elements of our economy to parasitic, neofeudal rentier-cartels and self-serving state fiefdoms, that raises a question: what do we do about it? The typical … Continue reading

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The Elites Have Destroyed the Status Quo’s Ability to Self-Correct

For any system to endure, it must maintain a built-in capacity to self-correct: that is, it must generate accurate informational feedback about dangerous asymmetries and auto-correct with behavioral feedback. This is true of ecosystems and enterprises as well as political/social … Continue reading

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International Workers’ Day: Profitable Work Will Be Automated, The Rest Will Be Left to Us

What’s abundant and what’s scarce? The question matters because as economist Michael Spence (among others) has noted, value and profits flow to what’s scarce.What’s in over-supply has little to no scarcity value and hence little to no profitability. What’s abundant … Continue reading

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Are We (Collectively) Depressed?

Psychoanalysis teaches that one cause of depression is repressed anger. The rising tide of collective anger is visible in many places: road rage, violent street clashes between groups seething for a fight, the destruction of friendships for holding the “incorrect” … Continue reading

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Are We Really that Divided?

If there is any statement about politics in America that qualifies as as a truism accepted by virtually everyone, left, right or independent, it’s that America is a deeply divided nation. But is this really true? Like everyone else, I … Continue reading

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Housing’s Echo Bubble Now Exceeds the 2006-07 Bubble Peak

A funny thing often occurs after a mania-fueled asset bubble pops: an echo-bubble inflates a few years later, as monetary authorities and all the institutions that depend on rising asset valuations go all-in to reflate the crushed asset class. Take … Continue reading

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Who Will Live in the Suburbs if Millennials Favor Cities?

Longtime readers know I follow the work of urbanist Richard Florida, whose recent book was the topic of Are Cities the Incubators of Decentralized Solutions?(March 14, 2017). Florida’s thesis–that urban zones are the primary incubators of technological and economic growth–is … Continue reading

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Marx, Orwell and State-Cartel Socialism

OK, so our collective eyes start glazing over when we see Marx and Orwell in the subject line, but refill your beverage and stay with me on this. We’re going to explore the premise that what’s called “socialism”–yes, Scandinavian-style socialism … Continue reading

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Our Intellectual Bankruptcy: The “Religion” of Economics, UBI and Medicare For All

Here we stand on the precipice, and all we have in our kit is a collection of delusional magical thinking that we label “solutions.” We are not just morally and financially bankrupt, we’re intellectually bankrupt as well. Here are three … Continue reading

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The Left’s Descent to Fascism

History often surprises us with unexpected ironies. For the past century, the slide to fascism could be found on the Right (conservative, populist, nationalist political parties). But now it’s the Left that’s descending into fascism, and few seem to even … Continue reading

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What’s Your Plan B?

We all have a Plan A–continue living just like we’re living now. Some of us have a Plan B in case Plan A doesn’t work out, and the reasons for a Plan B break out into three general categories: 1. … Continue reading

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The U.S. and China: Why the Sudden Convergence on North Korea?

In the past, China resisted U.S. saber-rattling against North Korea. Now China is threatening North Korea with military action. What’s going on? Why the sudden convergence of U.S.-China threats of military force against North Korea? China Threatens To Bomb North … Continue reading

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Millennials Are Homesteading, Buying Affordable Homes, Building Community

While it’s certainly good sport to mock “snowflakes,” not all Millennials are snowflakes. Many are homesteading, buying affordable homes and building communities that get stuff done. I discuss these trends with Drew Sample, who is living them in Ohio. ( … Continue reading

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Millennials Are Abandoning the Postwar Engines of Growth: Suburbs and Autos

If anything defined the postwar economy between 1946 and 1999, it was the exodus of the middle class from cities to suburbs and the glorification of what Jim Kunstler calls Happy Motoring: freeways, cars and trucks, ten lanes of private … Continue reading

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Who’s Playing The Long Game–and What’s Their Game Plan?

When we speak of The Long Game, we speak of national/alliance policies that continue on regardless of what political party or individual is in office. The Long Game is always about the basics of national survival: control of and access … Continue reading

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About that Bug-Out Hideaway….

A flurry of recent headlines has highlighted the financial elites’ interest in secure retreats (a.k.a. bug-out locations) should the trucks stop rolling. That those with the most money and access to expertise are preparing safe havens has moved the conversation … Continue reading

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Why Is the State in Our Bedrooms and Living Rooms as Well as Our Bank Accounts?

A limited government is concerned with proscribing the exploitation of citizens by elites and criminals. A Totalitarian State seeks control of everything–including what goes on in the bedrooms, living rooms and minds of its citizens. A recent conversation with my … Continue reading

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Is Your “Democracy” Actually a Totalitarian State? Take this Quick Quiz

Is your “democracy” (or republic) actually a Totalitarian State? That is, is it a “democracy” or “republic” in name only? To find out, take this quick quiz. 1. Does your government (federal, state and local) seize citizens’ assets without due … Continue reading

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Uncertainty and the Humility of Forecasting an Unknowable Future

Certainty and uncertainty come in a variety of flavors. “Certainty” seems rather definite, but lurking beneath certainty is the more scientifically verifiable notion of probability: the probability of outcomes can be high enough to qualify as certain and low enough … Continue reading

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Fed Reportedly “Tired of Waiting for Inflation,” Plans to Give Every Household $1 Million in Cash

The Federal Reserve has been trying to boost the official inflation rate for eight long years, and apparently patience with current policies is finally wearing thin.Rumor has it that the Fed is readying a new “nuclear option”: distributing $1 million … Continue reading

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Do the Roots of Rising Inequality Go All the Way Back to the 1980s?

I presented this chart of rising wealth inequality a number of times over the past year. Do you notice something peculiar about the inflection points in the 1980s? Correspondent W.S. noted that the inflection point for the top .1% (late … Continue reading

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“Trickle Down” Has Failed; Wealth and Income Have “Trickled Up” to the Top .5%

Over the past 20 years, central banks have run a gigantic real-world experiment called “trickle-down.” The basic idea is Keynesian (i.e. the mystical and comically wrong-headed cargo-cult that has entranced the economics profession for decades): monetary stimulus (lowering interest rates … Continue reading

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When the “Solutions” Become the Problems

We are living in an interesting but by no means unique dynamic in which the solutions to problems such as slow growth and inequality have become the problems. This is a dynamic I have often discussed in various contexts. In … Continue reading

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The Overlapping Crises Are Coming, Regardless of Who’s in Power

Commentators seem split into three camps: those who see Trump as a manifestation of smouldering social/economic ills, those who see Trump and his supporters as the cause of those ills, and those who see Trump as both manifestation and cause … Continue reading

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Forget ObamaCare, RyanCare, and any Future ReformCare–the Healthcare System Is Completely Broken

As with many other complex, opaque systems in the U.S., only those toiling in the murky depths of the healthcare system know just how broken the entire system is. Only those dealing daily with the perverse incentives, the Kafkaesque procedures, … Continue reading

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The Deep State’s Dominant Narratives and Authority Are Crumbling

As this chart from Google Trends illustrates, interest in the Deep State has increased dramatically in 2017. The term/topic has clearly moved from the specialist realm to the mainstream. I’ve been writing about the Deep State, and specifically, the fractures … Continue reading

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The Divided Deep State is a Symptom, Not the Disease

I’ve been writing about the divided Deep State for a number of years, most recently in The Conflict within the Deep State Just Broke into Open Warfare. The topic appears to be one of widespread interest, as this essay drew … Continue reading

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Our Hopelessly Dysfunctional Democracy

Democracy in America has become a hollow shell. The conventional markers of democracy–elections and elected representatives–exist, but they are mere facades; the mechanisms of setting the course of the nation are corrupt, and the power lies outside the public’s reach. … Continue reading

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Dear America: Better Read the Fine Print on Your Credit Card Statement

You know those disclosures on your credit card statements? That it will take 27 years to pay off your balance if you only make the minimum payment each month, and so on? You might not be aware of it, but … Continue reading

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Don’t You Hate Spammy, Sensationalist Click-Bait Like this?

We’re inundated with spammy sensationalist click-bait. You know what I mean–the little boxes containing eye-candy photos and headlines such as “you won’t believe how badly these stars have aged,” “7 tricks to losing weight during Thanksgiving,” “These children of celebs … Continue reading

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When Money Is “Free,” Discipline Evaporates; When Discipline Evaporates, Decisions Are Disastrous

Whatever is free is squandered. When water is free, it’s freely wasted. When electricity is free, there’s no motivation to use it wisely. The same principle holds true for money. If money is free, or nearly free, there is no … Continue reading

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Now That Everyone’s Been Pushed into Risky Assets…

If we had to summarize what’s happened in eight years of “recovery,” we could start with this: everyone’s been pushed into risky assets while being told risk has been transformed from something to avoid (by buying risk-off assets) to something … Continue reading

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Why Fragmentation Is the Solution, Not the Problem

The fragmentation of political consensus (i.e. the consent of the citizenry) is presented by the Powers That Be and their media servants as being a disaster.The implicit fear is real enough: how can we rule the entire nation-empire if it … Continue reading

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Are Cities the Incubators of Decentralized Solutions?

In yesterday’s entry, I suggested that rather than bemoan the inevitable failure of centralized “fixes,” let’s turn our efforts to the real solutions: decentralized, networked, localized. To commentators such as Richard Florida, decentralized, networked, localized describes cities. He describes the … Continue reading

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Solutions Abound–on the Local Level

Those looking for centralized solutions to healthcare, jobs and other “macro-problems” will suffer inevitable disappointment. The era in which further centralization provided the “solution” has passed: additional centralization (Medicare for All, No Child Left Behind, federal job training, Universal Basic … Continue reading

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The Conflict within the Deep State Just Broke into Open Warfare

When do the unlimited powers of the Intelligence/Security agencies threaten America’s domestic and global national interests? The CIA and its political enablers claim the agency’s essentially unlimited powers, partially revealed by Wikileak’s Vault 7, pose no threat to America’s interests, … Continue reading

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Why I Have to Agree with Tim Geithner on This

Many of us disagree with the bloviated, self-congratulatory notion that the Federal Reserve and the U.S. Treasury saved the U.S. economy, capitalism and everything else in 2008-09 up to and including the Central Bank of Mars and the bat guano … Continue reading

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It’s What’s Happening Beneath the Surface That Matters: Moral Decay and Rising Inequality

With the media’s hyperactive three-ring circus blasting 24/7, it’s easy to forget that everything consequential is happening beneath the surface, out of sight and largely out of mind. What’s going on beneath the surface is structural and systemic–for example, the … Continue reading

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Why Is the Cost of Living so Unaffordable?

The mainstream narrative is “the problem is low wages.” Actually, the problem is the soaring cost of living. If essentials such as healthcare, housing, higher education and government services were as cheap as they once were, a wage of $10 … Continue reading

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The Illusion of Progress

The core narrative of politics everywhere is progress, i.e. “moving forward.” If progress isn’t being made, politicos and the system are failing. In the past, “progressive” movements sought to advance both social and economic opportunities for marginalized groups. For a … Continue reading

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Dear President Trump: If You Want to Lower Healthcare Costs and Stem the Opiate Death Spiral, Legalize Marijuana

If there is anything the left and right, progressives and conservatives, and everyone in between can agree on, it’s ending the counter-productive, destructive “war on drugs” that has generated crime and violence, a “we’re number one in Gulags” prison complex … Continue reading

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Virtue-Signaling the Decline of the Empire

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, the … Continue reading

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Those Systems That Aren’t Busy Being Born Are Busy Dying

One way to understand the rising sense of disintegration and discord around the globe is to realize that those systems that aren’t busy being born are busy dying–and virtually none of our primary systems are busy being born. The line … Continue reading

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How Do We Design a DeGrowth Economy?

I’ve written about DeGrowth for many years, including Degrowth, Anti-Consumerism and Peak Consumption (May 9, 2013), Degrowth Solutions: Half-Farmer, Half-X (July 19, 2014) and And the Next Big Thing Is … Degrowth? (April 7, 2014) These are the basic concepts … Continue reading

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The Problem with Gold-Backed Currencies

There is something intuitively appealing about the idea of a gold-backed currency –money backed by the tangible value of gold, i.e. “the gold standard.” Instead of intrinsically worthless paper money (fiat currency), gold-backed money would have real, enduring value–it would … Continue reading

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The Criminalization of Financial Independence

Just as the “war on drugs” criminalized and destroyed large swaths of African-American and Latino communities, the “war on cash” will further criminalize the few remaining avenues to financial independence and freedom. The introduction of “entitlement” welfare in the 1960s … Continue reading

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Over-Regulation Has Criminalized the Practice of Medicine

The average person has little exposure to the criminalization of everyday enterprise in America via over-regulation and outsized penalties for even accidental violations of rules and regulations. One field that continues to be burdened with excessive/counter-productive regulations and outsized penalties … Continue reading

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There’s a Difference: Fake News and Junk News

The mainstream media continues peddling its “fake news” narrative like a desperate pusher whose junkies are dying from his toxic dope. It’s slowly dawning on the media-consuming public that the MSM is the primary purveyor of “fake news”– self-referential narratives … Continue reading

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This Is How the Status Quo Unravels

The politics of the past 70 years was all about horsetrading who got what share of the growing pie: the “pie” being cheap energy, government revenues and consumption, sales and profits. Horsetrading over a growing pie is basically fun. There’s … Continue reading

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Political Consensus Is Splintering into Class Wars

In years past, we spoke of class war between the haves and the have-nots. It’s no longer that simple. Now the traditional political consensus is splintering into multiple class wars between overlapping camps of the protected and the unprotected, those … Continue reading

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While Elites Played Empire, America Fell Apart

Our extraordinary misallocation of national treasure and political power has set a banquet of consequences that few are willing to face, much less address head-on. If we had to sum up this vast misallocation, we might start by characterizing it … Continue reading

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Japan, Inc.: Optimized to 1960, Stumbling in the 21st Century

When everything’s going great, nobody questions the nation’s core institutions:they must be doing a great job because everything’s going great. The temptation to extend positive expansion to the moon is ever-present. Take Japan’s “boost phase” of credit, banking and corporate … Continue reading

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Loving Our Servitude in America’s Plantation Economy

One of the themes I’ve been addressing since 2008 is the neocolonial-plantation structure of the U.S. economy. The old models of colonial exploitation that optimized plantations worked by cheap imported labor (or situated in peripheral nations with plenty of cheap … Continue reading

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The Colonization of Local-Business Main Street by Corporate America

An insightful correspondent recently remarked on the striking transition of American neighborhoods from commercial districts dominated by locally owned businesses to streets lined with look-alike outlets of Corporate America. This transition is so obvious that few even comment on it, … Continue reading

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The Nitty-Gritty of Financial Independence: The Self-Employed Mobile Creative

Pundits love to talk about entrepreneurism and community, but only in the abstract. Few if any actually explain how to become self-employed or build a community, because the conventional mainstream pundit has never hired a single person with his/her own … Continue reading

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Expropriation and Impoverishment: “Capitalist” Greece and “Socialist” Venezuela

Yesterday I noted that not all assets will make it through the inevitable financial re-set. ( Which Assets Are Most Likely to Survive the Inevitable “System Re-Set”?) Those that are easy to expropriate will be expropriated, and those assets vulnerable … Continue reading

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Which Assets Are Most Likely to Survive the Inevitable “System Re-Set”?

Longtime correspondent C.A. recently asked a question every American household should be asking: which assets are most likely to survive the “system re-set” that is now inevitable? It’s a question of great import because not all assets are equal in … Continue reading

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The Central Banks Face Unwelcome Realities: Their Policies Boosted Wealth Inequality and Failed to Generate “Growth”

Take a quick glance at these charts of the Federal Reserve balance sheet and bank credit in the U.S. Notice what happened to bank credit after the Fed “tapered” and stopped expanding its balance sheet? Bank credit exploded higher: Now … Continue reading

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The Central Banks Pull Back: Now It’s Up to Fiscal Policy to “Save the World”

Have you noticed that the breathless anticipation of the next central bank “save” has diminished? Remember when the financial media was in a tizzy of excitement, speculating on what new central bank expansion would send the global markets higher in … Continue reading

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The Triumph of the Technocrats

Those who don’t yet understand our centrally-planned cartel-state system will benefit from reading How Democrats Killed Their Populist Soul (The Atlantic). I’ve presented related analyses in three recent essays: The Protected, Privileged Establishment vs. The Working Class The Collapse of … Continue reading

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The Fix-Nothing Farce of Symbolic Politics

Much of what passes for politics these days is symbolic. Anyone who studies the issue of illegal immigration concludes that the solution lies not in building $10 billion walls but in changing the incentive structure of citizenship, legal and illegal … Continue reading

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Why Our System Is Broken: Cheap Credit Is King

Cheap credit–newly issued money that can be borrowed at low rates of interest–is presented as the savior of our economic system, but in reality, it’s why our system is broken. The conventional economic pitch goes like this: cheap credit enables … Continue reading

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What Would a Labor-Centered Economy Look Like?

Let’s spend a moment deconstructing the word “capitalism.” Note it contains the word Capital. So far so good. Obviously the key concept here is capital. So what is “capital”? It turns out there are multiple kinds of capital. The most … Continue reading

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The Most Important Civil Rights Issue Trump Could Solve with an Executive Order: End the “War on Drugs” Gulag

President Trump has a golden opportunity to strike a major blow for civil rights with a single executive order: end the failed “War on Drugs” and shut down America’s drug-war gulag. None of the previous three presidents expended any political … Continue reading

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Want to Bring Back Jobs? It’s Impossible Unless We Fix these Four Things

If there is any goal that might attract support from across the political spectrum, it’s creating more fulltime jobs in the U.S. But this laudable goal is dead-on-arrival (DOA) unless we first fix these four things. Why is job growth … Continue reading

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The Protected, Privileged Establishment vs. The Working Class

As noted yesterday in The Collapse of the Left, the working class has finally awakened to the Left’s betrayal and abandonment of labor in favor of the protected privileges of the elitist Establishment. I also described the Left’s Great Con: … Continue reading

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The Collapse of the Left

The source of the angry angst rippling through the Democratic Party’s progressive camp is not President Trump–it’s the complete collapse of the Left globally. To understand this collapse, we turn (once again) to Marx’s profound understanding of the state and … Continue reading

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25 Years of Neocon-Neoliberalism: Great for the Top 5%, A Disaster for Everyone Else

One unexamined narrative I keep hearing is: “OK, so neocon-neoliberalism was less than ideal, but Trump could be much worse.” Let’s start by asking: would Syrian civilians agree with this assessment? The basic idea in the “OK, so neocon-neoliberalism was … Continue reading

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Does a Rogue Deep State Have Trump’s Back?

Suddenly everybody is referring to the Deep State, typically without offering much of a definition. The general definition is the unelected government that continues making and implementing policy regardless of who is in elected office. I have been writing about … Continue reading

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Trump as Lightning Rod–Not Just for Disaffected Progressives, But For Panicked Insiders

Political agnostics who are skeptical about Big Government “solutions,” left or right, view the current hullabaloo about the Trump presidency with some detachment. What’s remarkable to us is the extremism, not just of those bitter about Clinton’s loss, but by … Continue reading

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Will Our Grandchildren Wonder Why We Didn’t Build a Renewable Power Grid When It Was Still Affordable?

Anyone seeking clarity on the energy picture a decade or two out is to be forgiven for finding a thoroughly confusing divide. On the one hand, we have reassuring projections from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) that assume current … Continue reading

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What’s Truly Progressive?

We know what fake-Progressives support: neocon-neoliberal policies and narratives that enable elite privilege, power and Imperial pretensions. So what’s truly progressive? We can start with four things: 1. Focus on developing skills that build capital, not on issuing costly credentials … Continue reading

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The Path to $10,000 Bitcoin

As my colleague Davefairtex observed recently, the paint isn’t quite dry on bitcoin and the expanding host of other cryptocurrencies. Initial enthusiasm for the latest cryptocurrency that’s going to eat bitcoin’s lunch generates outsized returns for early investors, but as … Continue reading

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Dear Self-Proclaimed “Progressives”: as Apologists for the Neocon-Neoliberal Empire, You Are as Evil as the Empire You’ve Enabled

Dear Self-Proclaimed “Progressive”: I love you, man, but it has become necessary to intervene in your self-destruction. Your ideological blinders and apologies for the Establishment’s Neocon-Neoliberal Empire are not just destroying your credibility, they’re destroying the nation and everywhere the … Continue reading

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We Can Only Afford One, So Choose Wisely: Social Security/Medicare, Cartel Cronyism or Inflation (Central Banking)

It’s easy to quantify the annual cost of Social Security/Medicare, and not so easy to calculate the cost of Cartel Cronyism and Central Bank-created inflation.Cartel cronyism is a hidden tax on the entire economy, as is Central Bank-created inflation. That … Continue reading

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Trump Aims to Cut the Neocon Deep State Off at the Knees

I have long held that America’s Deep State–the unelected National Security State often referred to as the Shadow Government–is not a unified monolith but a deeply divided ecosystem in which the dominant Neocon-Neoliberal Oligarchy is being challenged by elements which … Continue reading

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Why Profits Are Faltering

The bedrock assumption of the Bull market is that corporate profits will keep rising indefinitely. Hiccups are allowed, but current stock market valuations are implicitly based on profits expanding. The fly in the ointment here is corporate profits have been … Continue reading

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Prosperity = Abundant Work + Low Cost of Living

If we seek a coherent context for the new year, we would do well to start with the foundations of widespread prosperity. While the economy is a vast, complex machine, the sources of widespread prosperity are not that complicated: abundant … Continue reading

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Fragmentation and the De-Optimization of Centralization

Many observers decry the loss of national coherence and purpose, and the increasing fragmentation of the populace into “tribes” with their own loyalties, value systems and priorities. These observers look back on the national unity of World War II as … Continue reading

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Fake News, Mass Hysteria and Induced Insanity

We’ve heard a lot about “fake news” from those whose master narratives are threatened by alternative sources and analyses. We’ve heard less about the master narratives being threatened: the fomenting of mass hysteria, which turns the populace into an easily … Continue reading

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A Tale of Two Housing Markets: Hot and Not So Hot

Though housing statistics such as average sales price are typically lumped into one national number, this is extremely misleading: there are two completely different housing markets in the U.S. One is hot, one is not so hot. Just as importantly, … Continue reading

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Grab-Bag of Resolutions for 2017

Here’s a grab-bag of resolutions with something for just about every persuasion. 1. I resolve to never utter or write the word “Trump” in 2017. (Good luck with that…) 2. Having watched bitcoin rise from $250 (or perhaps from $25 … Continue reading

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When Assets (Such as Real Estate) Become Liabilities

Correspondent Joel M. submitted an article that struck me as a harbinger of the future: In Greece, Property Is Debt: “At law courts throughout Greece, people are lining up to file papers renouncing their inheritance. Not necessarily because some feckless … Continue reading

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Why I’m Hopeful

Why am I hopeful? the Status Quo is devolving, and a better way of living lies just beyond the corrupt, wasteful, ruinous consumerist debt/financial tyranny we now inhabit. Readers often ask me to post something hopeful, and I understand why: … Continue reading

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Crisis of Meaning = Crisis of Work

Allow me to connect two apparently unconnected dots. Dot #1: The last sugar plantation in Hawaii is closing down, ending more than a century of plantation life in the 50th state. Dot #2: a new study found that Nearly 95% … Continue reading

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Why the Massive Expansion of “Money” Hasn’t Trickled Down to “The Rest of Us”

There are numerous debates about money: what it is, how we measure it, and so on. In recognition of these debates, I’m referring to “money” in quotes to designate that I’m using the Federal Reserve’s measure of money stock (MZM). … Continue reading

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Will Tax Cuts and More Federal Borrowing/Spending Fix What’s Broken?

Not to rain on the new administration’s parade, but one question needs to be asked of any new administration: will tax cuts and more federal borrowing/ spending fix what’s broken in the U.S./global economy? The short answer: if tax cuts … Continue reading

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What Have the “Experts” Gotten Right? In the Real Economy, They’re 0 for 5

The mainstream media continually hypes the authority of “experts,” i.e. people with a stack of credentials from top institutions. But does the mainstream media ever check on whether the “experts” got anything right? Let’s compare the “experts” (conventional PhD economists) … Continue reading

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Are You a Deplorable? Take This Quiz to Find Out

Are you a Deplorable? The answer might surprise you. Take this short quiz to find out. 1. If you agree with this characterization of American Elites: “The self-satisfied cosmopolitan culture that sprang up among the affluent 20% or so of … Continue reading

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Recovering America’s History of Progressive Populism

There is only one narrative in the mainstream media about populism: it destroys democracy and leads straight to fascism. This is an ignorant and false narrative. Here’s a typical example of the mainstream anguish that the elites’ preferred narratives are … Continue reading

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Why the Democrats Can’t Let Go of Losing

The Democratic Party has become everything it once was against. Let’s get one thing straight right at the start: criticizing the Democratic Party and its ruling elites is not the same as “supporting Trump.” The either-or accusation is a classic … Continue reading

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U.S. Census Bureau, I.R.S. and St. Louis Federal Reserve Added to Washington Post’s list of “Russian Propaganda” Websites

In case you missed it, The Washington Post’s criminally careless publishing of “fake news” about purported “Russian propaganda” created a backlash–and the Post’s attorney-approved bleating to sidestep responsibility for publishing “fake news” failed to calm the waters. Here’s The Washington … Continue reading

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Populism in America: “Follow the Money”

One of the most disturbing failures of the mainstream media in this election cycle was its complete lack of historical context for Trump’s brand of populism.If you consumed the mainstream media’s coverage of the campaign and election, you noted their … Continue reading

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Our “Gaslight” Financial System

The terms gaslight and gaslighting are entering the political media lexicon, with partisans of both parties accusing the other side’s candidate of gaslighting in the presidential election. The terms refers to the 1944 film Gaslight in which Charles Boyer subtly … Continue reading

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A Disintegrative Winter: The Debt and Anti-Status Quo Super-Cycle Has Turned

How would you describe the social mood of the nation and world? Would anti-Establishment, anti-status quo, and anti-globalization be a good start? How about choking on fast-rising debt? Would stagnant growth, stagnant wages be a fair description? Or how about … Continue reading

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Beyond Income Inequality

Judging by the mainstream media, the most pressing problems facing capitalism are 1) income inequality, the basis of Thomas Piketty’s bestsellerCapital in the Twenty First Century, and 2) the failure of laissez-faire markets to regulate their excesses, a common critique … Continue reading

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The Corporate Media’s Gulag of the Mind

One of the most remarkable ironies of The Washington Post’s recent evidence-free fabrication of purported “Russian propaganda” websites (including this site) is how closely it mimics the worst excesses of the USSR’s Stalinist era. Those unfamiliar with the Stalinist era’s … Continue reading

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The Engine of Inequality: Privilege

We all know wealth/income inequality is soaring. I’ve published many entries on this topic (please see the three charts below as a refresher), and it’s clear there are multiple sources of rising inequality: globalization and technology, which concentrate gains in … Continue reading

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The Washington Post: Useful-Idiot Shills for a Failed, Frantic Status Quo That Has Lost Control of the Narrative

I was amused to find my site listed on the now-infamous list of purportedly Russian-controlled propaganda sites cited by The Washington Post. I find it amusing because I invite anyone to search my 3,600-page archive of published material over the … Continue reading

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Why Is the US Dollar Rising?

On October 3rd I asked Is the U.S. Dollar Set to Soar? It seems the answer was yes. Here’s the weekly chart of the USD I posted on October 3rd: And here’s the current weekly chart of the USD: Note … Continue reading

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Why Reshore Manufacturing? It’s the Only Way to Avoid Defective Pirated Parts

There are two basic arguments against bringing manufacturing that was transferred overseas (offshored) back to America (reshoring): 1. It’s too costly 2. The supply chain is now in China/Asia and it’s not possible to source the parts needed to bring … Continue reading

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The Age of Disintegration: Political Disunity and Elites At War

Historian Michael Grant identified profound political disunity in the ruling elite as a key cause of the dissolution of the Roman Empire. Grant described this dynamic in his excellent account The Fall of the Roman Empire. The chapter titles of … Continue reading

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The Pressing Problem Nobody Dares Discuss

The list of pundits jostling for air time to add their two cents to discussions of hot-button issues such as immigration is endless. The airwaves and social media are overflowing with people wanting to comment on hot-button social issues, but … Continue reading

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Now Is the Winter of our Discontent: Our Era of Rising Discord

Mao Zedong supposedly said, “There is great disorder under the Heavens and the situation is excellent.” For those seeking to replace the existing social and economic order, chaos is a good first step. Those with a stake in the system … Continue reading

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The New Nobility Uses Political Correctness to Fragment the Precariats

I have long held that our economy is, stripped of propaganda, nothing but an updated version of feudalism, i.e. neofeudal: a vast class of precarious laborers (i.e. precariats–precarious proletariats) who own little to no wealth-producing capital ruled by a New … Continue reading

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Fearmongering Propaganda Is Immensely Profitable–and Distracting

Let’s start by asking: if Trump had lost and his supporters had angrily taken to the streets, destroying private property and threatening police officers while proclaiming “not my president,” would the mainstream media have characterized the rioters differently than it … Continue reading

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Seven Suggestions for President-Elect Trump

Though I am just another powerless peon, I’d like to offer seven suggestions to President-Elect Trump and his transition team: 1. Make sure your administration is as diverse as America. No single act will give your enemies more ammo than … Continue reading

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Who Lost: A Biased Media, Pundits, Pollsters, Political Parties, Warmongers, the Corporatocracy, Pay-to-Play Grifters, Neoliberals

Sometimes who lost is more important than who won. Let’s review who lost the election: 1. Let’s start with the Corporatocracy, which expected to once again wield unlimited influence by funding political campaigns with millions of dollars in contributions and … Continue reading

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The Source of our Rage: The Ruling Elite Is Protected from the Consequences of its Dominance

There are many sources of rage: injustice, the destruction of truth, powerlessness. But if we had to identify the one key source of non-elite rage that cuts across all age, ethnicity, gender and regional boundaries, it is this: The Ruling … Continue reading

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Now That the Presidential-Election Side Show Is Finally Ending…

Though it has been billed as the main event for months, the presidential election has always been a side show–or from one point of view, a freak show. As I write this on Monday, I have no idea who will … Continue reading

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America’s Ruling Elite Has Failed and Deserves to Be Fired

America’s Ruling Elite is freaking out because a significant percentage of the American public is trying to fire them. The Ruling Elite has failed and deserves to be fired, and deep down, they know it–and this awareness of their self-serving … Continue reading

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“Nothing Good Can Come of This Election”–and That’s Good

The overwhelming consensus of the punditry across the political spectrum is that “Nothing Good Can Come of This Election”–and that’s a very good thing.The handwringing goes like this: The country is deeply divided by schisms that cannot be bridged, every … Continue reading

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Hillary Is The Perfection of a Corrupt System

Let’s set aside Hillary Clinton as an individual and consider her as the perfection of a corrupt political system. As I noted yesterday, Politics As Usual Is Dead, and Hillary Clinton is the ultimate product of the political system that … Continue reading

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Politics As Usual Is Dead

Hillary and Trump are symptoms of a fatal condition: politics as it has been practiced for 70 years is dead. As my friend G.F.B. observed, the key development was not the nomination of insider-Hillary or outsider-Trump–it was the enormous success … Continue reading

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Hillary and the Ghosts of Watergate

The parallels between Hillary Clinton and Richard Nixon are not legal–they are political: specifically, how can a leader crippled by scandal and cover-ups govern? In even blunter terms: how can a crippled politico deliver the goods to the special interests … Continue reading

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These Blast Points on Hillary’s Campaign… Only The Deep State Is So Precise

Back in August, I asked Could the Deep State Be Sabotaging Hillary? I think we now have a definitive answer: “These blast points on Hillary’s campaign… too accurate for the Mainstream Media. Only the forces of the Imperial Deep State … Continue reading

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The Disaster of Inflation–For the Bottom 95%

Central banks are obsessed with boosting inflation, but the “why inflation is good” arguments make no sense for households being ravaged by inflation. The basic argument is that inflation makes it easier for debtors to service their debts. But this … Continue reading

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Our Landfill Economy

Correspondent Bart D. (Australia) captured the entire global economy in three words: The Landfill Economy. Stuff is manufactured, energy is consumed shipping it somewhere, consumers buy it and shortly thereafter it ends up as garbage in the landfill. This is … Continue reading

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Don’t Diss the Dark Ages

Once dissed as The Dark Ages, the Medieval Era is more properly viewed as a successful adaptation to the challenges of the post-Western Roman Empire era. The decline of the Western Roman Empire was the result of a constellation of … Continue reading

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The Secrets of Self-Employment: Overhead and Capital Accumulation

So how can someone earning $15 an hour as an employee get ahead? The short answer is: they can’t. One worker earning $15/hour will struggle to get ahead, which I define as building capital that generates an income stream. A … Continue reading

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Two Sets of Solutions as the Status Quo Crumbles

Two charts illustrate Why Our Status Quo Failed and Is Beyond Reform: this chart of the S-Curve of financialization, leverage, debt, central planning, regulatory capture and globalization–that is, the engines of modern “growth”–depicts the inevitable stagnation and decline of these … Continue reading

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The Ruling Elite Has Lost the Consent of the Governed

Every ruling Elite needs the consent of the governed: even autocracies, dictatorships and corporatocracies ultimately rule with the consent, however grudging, of the governed. The American ruling Elite has lost the consent of the governed. This reality is being masked … Continue reading

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What Happens When the Electricity Is Off for Three Days?

One of the hidden realities of modern life is its fragility. For example, few people are aware of the precariousness of the supply chain that refills gasoline/petrol stations around the world every few days. A new book, When Trucks Stop … Continue reading

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QE/ZIRP Is Crushing the Global Supply Chain, Product Quality and Profits

We all know the quality of many globally sourced products has nosedived in the past few years. I addressed this in Inflation Hidden in Plain Sight (August 2, 2016): not only is inflation (i.e. getting less quantity for your money … Continue reading

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Ending a Taking Economy and Creating a Giving Economy Part 2

There no longer seems to be a rational alignment between economic cost and value. This means questioning so-called conventional wisdom and critically considering whether or not to own property or even to go to college. Here are some examples: • … Continue reading

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Ending a Taking Economy and Creating a Giving Economy (Part 1)

Ending a Taking Economy and Creating a Giving Economy: Confronting the Zero Interest Rate Policy (ZIRP) and Taking Effective Action by Zeus Yiamouyiannis (guest essay) Introduction The world can no longer afford a taking economy, where “make a killing” is … Continue reading

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Where Will All the Money Go When All Three Market Bubbles Pop?

Everyone who’s not paid to be in denial knows stocks, bonds and real estate are in bubbles of one sort or another. Real estate is either an echo bubble or a bubble that exceeds the previous bubble, depending on how … Continue reading

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Please Assume Crash Positions

You know how to get into crash positions, correct? Here’s your guide: Very few punters expect a real downturn here in stocks. The reasons for confidence are many: the Fed has our back, buy the dip has worked great and … Continue reading

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Ungovernable Nation, Ungovernable Economy

Yesterday I described the conditions that render the U.S. ungovernable. Here is a chart of why the U.S. economy will also be ungovernable. Longtime readers are acquainted with the S-curve model of expansion, maturity, stagnation and decline. This is why … Continue reading

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USA 2017-2020: An Ungovernable Nation?

Regardless of who wins the presidency, a much larger question looms: will the U.S. be ungovernable 2017-2020? There are multiple sources of the question. One is of course the remarkable unpopularity of the two candidates for the presidency. For all … Continue reading

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This Is How Quiet Fascism Works

So my little-visited Wikipedia entry was minding its own business, not bothering anyone, until I dared to criticize the Clinton Foundation. The next day, my Wikipedia entry was taken out and shot by a mysterious “editor.” It was just coincidence, … Continue reading

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Sorry, Central Banks: Risk and Volatility Cannot be Extinguished

The unspoken claim of central bank policy is that risk can be extinguished by intervention/manipulation: once the Fed has your back, i.e. is supporting the market, risk disappears, and the easy profits flow to those who buy the dips with … Continue reading

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The “Nuclear Options:” Oil Pinned Below $30/barrel, US Dollar Rising

The “nuclear option” is the extreme-measures button you push when conventional approaches have failed and you’re facing certain defeat. In terms of upsetting the global economy’s precarious balance, there are two nuclear options short of actual nuclear war: pinning oil to … Continue reading

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It’s Time We Crush the Putrid Roach Motels of Philanthro-Crony-Capitalism, Starting with the Clinton Foundation

Granted, the fantasy of philanthrocapitalism is appealing: take a bunch of fabulously successful entrepreneurial billionaires, grant their foundations tax-free status, and then unleash them on the world as philanthropists who will solve problems by applying the incentives of capitalism. While … Continue reading

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When Did Our Elites Become Self-Serving Parasites?

When did our financial and political elites become self-serving parasites? Some will answer that elites have always been self-serving parasites; as tempting as it may be to offer a blanket denunciation of elites, this overlooks the eras in which elites … Continue reading

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Is the U.S. Dollar Set to Soar?

Hating the U.S. dollar offers the same rewards as hating a dominant sports team: it feels righteous to root for the underdogs, but it’s generally unwise to let that enthusiasm become the basis of one’s bets. Personally, I favor the … Continue reading

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How Do We Create Value When Knowledge Is Almost Free?

How do we create value in an economy that is increasingly dependent on knowledge? The answer is complicated by the reality that knowledge is increasingly digital and “unownable” and therefore almost free. Financialization as a substitute for creating value has … Continue reading

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New Poll Puts Mayor of Cormorant, Minnesota Ahead of Hillary and Trump

A new national poll has found that 54% of potential voters favor the mayor of Cormorant, Minnesota over either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. The poll surveyed a spectrum of potential voters and has a statistical margin of error of … Continue reading

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You Want to Fix the Economy? Then First Fix Healthcare

What is blindingly obvious to employers but apparently invisible to the average zero-business-experience mainstream pundit is this: if you want to fix the economy, you must first fix healthcare. If you want to pinpoint a primary reason why U.S. enterprises … Continue reading

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Are The ‘Invisible Americans’ the Key Players in This Election?

For the bottom 90% of American households, the “prosperity” of the “recovery” since 2009 is a bright shining lie. The phrase is from a history of the Vietnam War, A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam. … Continue reading

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Trump, Trade and Taxes

Donald Trump has made trade agreements a central issue in this presidential election, declaring trade treaties such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) as unfair and subject to cancellation or renegotiation. Setting aside the issue of whether presidents … Continue reading

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Why the Deep State Is Dumping Hillary

Are you open to a somewhat unconventional perspective on this election? If so, read on. If you’re absolutely confident you know all there is know about this election (good vs evil, Democrat vs. Republican, etc.), well then let’s compare notes … Continue reading

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What If We’re in a Depression But Don’t Know It?

Just for the sake of argument, let’s ask: what if we’re in a Depression but don’t know it? How could we possibly be in a Depression and not know it, you ask? Well, there are several ways we could be … Continue reading

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Why the Coming Wave of Defaults Will Be Devastating

In an economy based on borrowing, i.e. credit a.k.a. debt, loan defaults and deleveraging (reducing leverage and debt loads) matter. Consider this chart of total credit in the U.S. Note that the relatively tiny decline in total credit in 2008 … Continue reading

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The Three Stages of Empire

Though Edward Luttwak’s The Grand Strategy of the Roman Empire: From the First Century CE to the Third is not specifically on the rise and fall of empires, it does sketch out the three stages of Empire. Here is the … Continue reading

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The ZIRP/NIRP Gods and their PhD Priesthood Have Failed

Let’s start with a simple chart of the Fed Funds Rate, which the Federal Reserve has pinned near zero for years. This Zero Rate Interest Policy (ZIRP) is the god the PhD economists in the Fed and other central banks … Continue reading

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Fun with Fake Statistics: The 5% “Increase” in Median Household Income Is Pure Illusion

Supporters of the status quo nearly wet their pants with joy when the Census Bureau reported that real (adjusted for inflation) median household income rose 5.2% between 2014 and 2015. Too bad it was completely bogus: the supposed increase in … Continue reading

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On the Process of Awakening

There is a tremendous amount of pain in our society. There are many sources of this pain: the emotional desertification of dysfunctional families, the knowledge that we don’t fit in and never will, a widening disconnect between the narratives we’re … Continue reading

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How About Presenting the Facts and Letting Voters Decide Who’s “Fit to Serve”?

Here’s a radical idea: how about presenting the facts and letting voters decide who is “fit to serve”? Consider the context of this presidential election and the judgment call as to who is “fit to serve”: 1. Americans’ Trust in … Continue reading

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The Mainstream Media Bet the Farm on Hillary–and Lost

The mainstream media bet the farm on Hillary Clinton, confident that their dismissal of every skeptical inquiry as a “conspiracy” would guarantee her victory. It now appears they have lost their bet. Let’s do something radical and be honest for … Continue reading

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What’s the Real Unemployment Rate? That’s the Wrong Question

As the status quo narratives and metrics lose their explanatory value, defenders of the status quo frantically leap into attack mode, declaring any skeptical inquiry as a “conspiracy” or “hoax.” A recent example can be found in that high-brow defender … Continue reading

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It’s Time to Bring Back Bernie

Hillary’s bid for the presidency is no longer defensible; it’s time to bring back Bernie Sanders as the Democratic nominee. The issue isn’t Hillary Clinton’s health per se; what is indefensible is her response to legitimate questions of the American … Continue reading

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Control What You Can

One of the aphorisms to live by here at Of Two Minds is control what you can.We don’t control the erosion of our money from inflation, the state’s vast criminalization machinery, the nation’s foreign policies or the central bank’s free … Continue reading

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Our Selfie Society Is Incompatible with Democracy

Each individual’s liberty to do whatever you want, be whatever you want, go wherever you want, etc. (within the legal boundaries set by the state) is the core of the American Dream. The individual’s civil liberties and right to the … Continue reading

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Identity Politics = Totalitarianism

Identity politics are the core of every totalitarian state. Identity politics were the beating heart of Nazism, and the core strategy of the USSR’s liquidation of kulaks and other groups identified as enemies of the state. Identity politics eliminate the … Continue reading

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Our Impoverished, Pathological Society

If asked what’s intrinsic to human happiness, most people in consumer societies will offer up answers such as money, status, a nice house, etc. But as Sebastian Junger observes in his book Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging, what’s actually intrinsic … Continue reading

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Labor Day Summary: Wage Earners Have Taken a Beating

Let’s honor Labor Day by reviewing what’s happened to wage-earners in the eight years since central banks “saved the financial system” with free money for financiers: wage-earners have taken a beating and been dumped in a ditch.It’s really very simple: … Continue reading

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The High Cost of Honesty in a Sea of Low-Cost BS

Longtime correspondent Michael M. recently recommended this long-form article  The Market For Lemons, The Market For Bullshit, And The Great Cascading Credence Crash Of 2016. The article discusses the soaring market for self-serving narratives, rigged statistics like the jobs report … Continue reading

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The “Secret Sauce” of the Byzantine Empire: Stable Currency, Social Mobility

One of my reading projects over the past year is to learn more about empires:how they are established, why they endure and why they crumble. To this end, I’ve recently read seven books on a wide variety of empires. The … Continue reading

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Dear Millennials: If You Want to Escape Minimum Wage Debt-Serfdom…

Let’s start with the sobering reality that the Millennial generation faces economic challenges that are unique to this era: sky-high student loan debt, soaring costs for basics such as rent and healthcare, a stagnant neofeudal crony-cartel economy and an intellectually … Continue reading

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Central Banks = Welfare for the Wealthy

The fact that central banks provide welfare for the wealthy is now entering the mainstream. The fact that all central bank policies since 2008 have dramatically increased wealth and income inequality is now grudgingly being accepted as reality by mainstream … Continue reading

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China’s Great Divide: A New Cultural Revolution?

In Asia, it’s generally seen as unpatriotic to criticize one’s country in public, even if you disagree with its direction and leadership. The cultural norm is to maintain the “face” of one’s country by hiding its ills from outsiders. This … Continue reading

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What Can We Say About a System that Criminalizes a Safe Painkiller (0 Deaths) and Promotes Big Pharma Opiates that Have Killed 165,000 Americans?

Set your mindset to objective and come with me to the little-known but plucky nation of Lower Slobovia. The residents of Lower Slobovia have two choices when they are suffering from chronic pain: 1. A natural, non-addictive medication that they … Continue reading

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The Stock Market 2015-2016: Ugly Chopfest with an Equally Ugly Megaphone

It’s interesting to take a longer-term view of the S&P 500 (SPX). Looking at a 10-year chart, the decline from almost 1,600 to 667 in the Global Financial Meltdown of 2007-2009 doesn’t look like that big a deal, given the … Continue reading

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What Are the Odds that the 2020-2022 Olympics Will Be Cancelled?

In the modern era (1896-present), the Olympics have only been cancelled in wartime: 1916 (World War I), 1940 and 1944 (World War II). But world war is not the only circumstance that could derail the Olympics; a global crisis in … Continue reading

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Our Society Is Sick, Our Economy Exploitive and our Politics Corrupt

In noting that our society is sick, our economy exploitive and our politics corrupt, I’m not saying anything you didn’t already know. Everyone who isn’t being paid to deny the obvious in public (while fuming helplessly about the phony cheerleading … Continue reading

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What the Fed Hasn’t Fixed (and Actually Made Worse)

The Federal Reserve claims its monetary interventions saved America from economic ruin in 2009, and have bolstered growth ever since. Don’t hurt yourself patting your own backs, Fed governors past and present: it’s bad enough that the Fed can’t fix … Continue reading

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It’s Time to Abolish the DEA and America’s “War on Drugs” Gulag

It’s difficult to pick the most destructive of America’s many senseless, futile and tragically needless wars, but the “War on Drugs” is near the top of the list.Prohibition of mind-altering substances has not just failed–it has failed spectacularly, and generated … Continue reading

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The Odds of a Global Food Crisis Are Rising

Given the current abundance of food globally, confidence in permanent food surpluses and low grain prices is high. Few worry that the present abundance of food could be temporary. But the global food supply is more fragile than we might … Continue reading

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The Deep State’s Catch-22

Catch-22 (from the 1961 novel set in World War II Catch-22) has several shades of meaning (bureaucratic absurdity, for example), but at heart it is a self-referential paradox: you must be insane to be excused from flying your mission, but … Continue reading

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Here’s Why Wages Have Stagnated–and Will Continue to Stagnate

Mainstream economists are mystified why wages/salaries are still stagnant after 7+ years of growth / “recovery.” The conventional view is that wages should be rising as the labor market tightens (i.e. the unemployment rate is low) and demand for workers … Continue reading

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The Ultimate Long Game: Autarky and Resilience

In my recent essay Could the Deep State Be Sabotaging Hillary? I wrote: “An increasingly powerful sector of the Deep State views the neo-con agenda as a disaster for American interests, and is far more focused on the Long Game … Continue reading

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The More the Establishment Freaks Out Over Trump, the More Attractive He Becomes

The Establishment is freaking out about Donald Trump for one reason: they didn’t pick him. The Establishment is freaking out because the natural order of things is that we pick the presidential candidates and we run the country to serve … Continue reading

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Could the Deep State Be Sabotaging Hillary?

Few would dispute that Hillary Clinton is the Establishment’s candidate. It’s widely accepted that the Establishment hews to a neoconservative (neo-con) foreign policy that is fully supported by America’s Deep State, i.e. the centers of state power that don’t change … Continue reading

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If “Everybody Knows the Economy’s Doing Better,” What Is That Information Worth?

One investment truism holds that information known to everyone has no value.The reason is that there’s no trading edge in information everyone knows. Trading edges result from information asymmetry, when a limited set of traders has information that is unavailable … Continue reading

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Could Inflation Break the Back of the Status Quo?

That inflation and interest rates will remain near-zero for a generation is accepted as “obvious” by virtually the entire mainstream media. The reasons for this are equally “obvious”: central banks have the power to suppress interest rates indefinitely by creating … Continue reading

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What Happens When Rampant Asset Inflation Ends?

Yesterday I explained why Revealing the Real Rate of Inflation Would Crash the System. If asset inflation ceases, the net result would be the same: systemic collapse. Why is this so? In effect, central banks and states have masked the … Continue reading

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Revealing the Real Rate of Inflation Would Crash the System

This week, I’ve noted that Consumer Prices Have Soared 160% Since 2001 while under-the-radar declines in value, quantity and quality are forms of Inflation Hidden in Plain Sight. What would happen if the real rate of inflation was revealed? The entire status … Continue reading

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Inflation Hidden in Plain Sight

Yesterday, I showed how Consumer Prices Have Soared 160% Since 2001 for everything from burritos to healthcare. This enormous loss of purchasing power is not reflected in the official measure of inflation, which claims inflation is subdued (1% or so … Continue reading

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Social Fragmentation Suits the Powers That Be

Ours is an Age of Fracture (the 2011 book by Daniel Rodgers) in which “earlier notions of history and society that stressed solidity, collective institutions, and social circumstances gave way to a more individualized human nature that emphasized choice, agency, … Continue reading

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Will Any Future POTUS Matter (Other Than Launching More Wars)?

We are already experiencing the powerlessness of POTUS. We all know the POTUS (President of the United States) has the power as Commander-in-Chief to engage the nation in senseless, costly, needless wars.We also know the POTUS has a media-saturated bully … Continue reading

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A Psychiatric Diagnosis of the U.S. Market: Schizophrenic Disconnect From Reality

If you think a delusional market is healthy, it’s time for a psychiatric exam. What diagnosis would an experienced psychiatrist offer when presented with the bizarre behavior of the U.S. stock market? We assume that the wild mood swings of … Continue reading

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Why Real Reform Is Impossible: We Can’t Believe the Mighty Titanic Could Actually Sink

Why did passengers remain on the Titanic even as its bow sank deeper into the ice-cold Atlantic? They believed the experts and authorities because they wanted to believe the ship was “unsinkable.” And why did they want to believe the … Continue reading

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Could This Rally Be a Head-Fake?

Let’s say you wanted to engineer a stock market rally that triggered every technical “buy” signal and wiped out those who are short the market–what would you do? First, you’d engineer a new all-time high to signal “all clear for … Continue reading

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Globalization’s Few Winners and Many Losers

I often write about the Tyranny of Price, the rarely examined assumption that lower prices are all that matters. Thanks to the Tyranny of Price, the quality of many goods has plummeted.Obsolescence is either planned or the result of inferior … Continue reading

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We’ve Entered an Era of Rising Instability and Uncertainty

That we have entered an era of rising instability and uncertainty is self-evident.There will always be areas of instability in any era, but instability and uncertainty are now the norm globally. There is a template for global instability, one that … Continue reading

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“Helicopter Money” Won’t Fix What’s Broken

The mere mention of helicopter money has intoxicated global stock markets, which have soared on the rumor of Japanese helicopter money. But as I explained in Why Helicopter Money Won’t Push Stocks Higher, central banks funding fiscal spending (i.e. helicopter … Continue reading

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What If the Consensus on Small-Scale Toolmaking and Agriculture Is Wrong?

In the consensus view, agriculture is only profitable on a mega-farm corporate scale, and tool-making has been offshored because it’s unprofitable to manufacture stuff in the U.S. But what if both of these “obvious” consensus opinions are flat-out wrong? What … Continue reading

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Why Helicopter Money Won’t Push Stocks Higher

The possibility that Japan might launch helicopter money stimulus sent global stock markets soaring in a paroxysm of pleasurable anticipation. But exactly what is helicopter money and what connection does it have to stock valuations, if any? Broadly speaking, helicopter … Continue reading

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The Unintended Consequences of the $15/Hour Minimum Wage

For many, the most direct way of increasing the income of low-wage workers is to raise the minimum wage significantly. Many high-cost states have already passed legislation to raise the minimum wage to $15/hour. Despite the official claims that inflation … Continue reading

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A Precarious State

That the global economy is in a precarious state seems self-evident. Take your pick of the systemic risks: debt bubble and slowdown in China, banking/political crisis in Europe, negative interest rates and stagnation in Japan, ongoing meltdown in emerging markets and … Continue reading

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Neofeudalism and Peasants with Pitchforks: Corporate Power Destroys Democracy

In the original version of feudalism, peasants armed with pitchforks knew where to go for redress or regime change: the feudal lord’s castle on the hill. Though you won’t find this in conventional narratives of the Middle Ages, peasant revolts … Continue reading

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Governments Change, the Corporatocracy Endures

One little-remarked consequence of the central banks’ policies of near-zero interest rates and quantitative easing is the unrivaled dominance of mobile global capital, i.e. the Corporatocracy. The source of corporate political power is the ability to borrow essentially unlimited sums … Continue reading

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Brexit and the Crisis of Capitalism

Thousands of commentaries have been issued about Brexit in the past week.I’ve written four myself. Most discuss Brexit as the result of immigration issues, class war, political theater, a reaction against the European Union’s bureaucratic power, sovereignty, etc. Other essays … Continue reading

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Brexit, a Step in the Right Direction: The Optimistic View

In the conventional narrative, Brexit is about immigration, escaping the EU’s bureaucrats of Brussels, class war or political theater. It may be about all of these, but beneath these surface issues lies a deeper dynamic: a recognition that the entire … Continue reading

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Understanding Brexit: The Powerless Press Their Thumb in the Eye of the Power Elite

The premier strategy for retaining power is to give the powerless a carefully managed illusion of decision-making and autonomy. Having a say over one’s life and choices is called agency, and it is the illusion of agency that makes democracy such … Continue reading

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Please Don’t Pop My Bubble!

One person’s bubble is another person’s “fair market value.” What is clearly an outrageously overvalued asset perched at nosebleed levels of central-bank fueled speculative euphoria is to the owner an asset at “fair market value.” But beneath the euphoric confidence … Continue reading

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Where Are the Jobs? Mostly In Big Cities

It’s well known that millions of the jobs counted in employment statistics are part-time or low-paying “gig economy” self-employment. Over 9 million self-employed workers make less than $10,000 per year, and 5.5 million earn less than $5,000 per year. Granted, … Continue reading

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What Does It take to Be Upper Middle Class?

What does it take to be upper middle class? According to one analyst, the answer is: at least $100,000 a year for a family of three. The Growing Size and Incomes of the Upper Middle Class (Urban Institute). The paper … Continue reading

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If You Want More Jobs and More Job Stability, Disrupt More, Not Less

Two recent studies reflect the ongoing rapid transformation of the U.S. economy: The New Map of Economic Growth and Recovery (eig.org) The U.S. Labor Market Is Far More Stable Than People Think (itif.org) I’ve addressed the dynamic mix of technical … Continue reading

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How Many Law Schools Need to Close? Plenty

America is in the opening stages of a massive surplus of over-credentialed workers. The default setting for 50 years has been: if you want a secure upper-middle class salary, get a law degree, MBA, PhD or other graduate-level professional degree. … Continue reading

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Japan: A Future of Stagnation

One of our longtime friends in Japan just sold the family business. The writing was on the wall, and had been for the past decade: fewer customers, with less money, and no end of competition for the shrinking pool of … Continue reading

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The Disaster of De-industrialization

By now, we all know what’s happening in Venezuela: hyperinflation, empty stores, a regime in denial. The Trajectory of Venezuelan Hyperinflation Looks Frighteningly Familiar… (Zero Hedge) My contacts in Venezuela tell me that merely posting the black market exchange rate … Continue reading

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Pity the Poor Central Bankers: Playing Masters of the Universe Is No Longer Fun

Ah, the good old days, when a simple, completely empty promise to do whatever it takes could move the world. It was fun being a central banker back in the good old days–back then playing Master of the Universe was … Continue reading

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Work Won’t Be Scarce–It’s Paid Work That Will Be Scarce

All the media chatter about work disappearing due to automation fails to draw the critical distinction between useful but unpaid work and profitable work.Since value (and profits/wages) flow to what’s scarce, what matters is not the decline of useful work–there’s … Continue reading

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Why Nothing Progresses (Except Dissatisfaction): Institutionalized Powerlessness

Most people working within dysfunctional institutions do their best to keep the institution operating, and they naturally resent their institution being labeled dysfunctional, as it calls into question the value of their work. Their role in the institution is the … Continue reading

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Pity Poor China: There’s No Easy Fix to the S-Curve

The fundamental context of China’s economy is that it has traced out an S-Curve–as did previous fast-developing nations such as Japan and South Korea. Gordon Long and I discuss why there’s no easy fix to the S-Curve in our new … Continue reading

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Bernanke Blew It Big-Time: He Should Have Raised Rates Three Years Ago

It is now painfully obvious that Ben Bernanke blew it big-time by not raising rates three years ago when the economy and markets enjoyed tailwinds. The former Federal Reserve chairperson, who has claimed the mantle of savior of the global … Continue reading

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Is the Market Rational After All?

For the past decade, attempts to explain the psychology of markets have been dominated by behavioral economics: rather than being rational actors as presumed in classical economic models, humans are often profoundly irrational and prone to cognitive distortions and errors … Continue reading

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The Structure of Collapse: 2016-2019

The end-state of unsustainable systems is collapse. Though collapse may appear to be sudden and chaotic, we can discern key structures that guide the processes of collapse. Though the subject is complex enough to justify an entire shelf of books, … Continue reading

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It’s Time to Ditch 4 Years of Costly College for Directed Apprenticeships

Short, intense directed apprenticeships that teach students how to learn on their own to mastery are the future of higher education. So it turns out sitting in a chair for four years doesn’t deliver mastery in anything but the acquisition … Continue reading

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The Five Stages of Central Bankers’ Failure

Central bankers are now in the denial and anger stages of Kubler-Ross’s famed stages of loss: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Central bankers are in denial that all their trillions of dollars, euros, yen and yuan have completely and … Continue reading

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Here’s Why All Pension Funds Are Doomed, Doomed, Doomed

It’s no secret that virtually every pension fund is dead man walking, doomed by central banks’ imposition of low yields on safe investments, i.e. Zero Interest Rate Policy (ZIRP). Given that both The Economist and The Wall Street Journal have … Continue reading

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The Anger of the Unprivileged Is Rising Globally

The righteous disgust with the status quo that spawned the broad-based campaigns of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump is not unique to the U.S.Globally, those disenfranchised by the status quo–the unprivileged, or in Peggy Noonan’s phrase, the unprotected— are starting … Continue reading

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The Choice For Venezuela Is Stark: Either Print Money and Fail or Establish Sound Money (USD to the Rescue?)

Let’s start our analysis of Venezuela’s economic plight with two exhibits: Exhibit A is a chart of the market (free) exchange rate of the Venezuelan Bolivar and the U.S. dollar (USD), and Exhibit B is a chart of the USD. … Continue reading

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The War on Cash Is a War on Your Freedom to Opt Out

I’ve covered the war on cash i.e. the proposed elimination of cash, a number of times, for example, The War On Cash: Officially Sanctioned Theft (June 13, 2015) Our first question should be: just how big a share of our … Continue reading

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We’re in the Eye of a Global Financial Hurricane

The Keynesian gods have failed, and as a result we’re in the eye of a global financial hurricane. The Keynesian god of growth has failed. The Keynesian god of borrowing from the future to fund today’s consumption has failed. The … Continue reading

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What’s Your Monthly Grocery Bill? Ours Is $218

If you want to start a food fight, ask people about their monthly grocery bill–what the USDA calls food at home, as opposed to meals purchased outside the home. Some people will have no idea what their real grocery/food at … Continue reading

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Fed Up with the Fed

Is anyone else fed up with the Federal Reserve? To paraphrase Irving Fisher’s famous quote about the stock market just before it crashed in 1929, we’ve reached a permanently high plateau of Fed mismanagement, Fed worship and Fed failure. The … Continue reading

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Are Property Taxes a “Wealth Tax” on the (Mostly) Non-Wealthy?

In my recent entry Dear Homeowner: If You’re Paying $260,000 in Property Taxes Over 20 Years, What Exactly Do You “Own”?, I questioned the consequences of high property taxes. Some readers wondered if I was saying all property taxes should … Continue reading

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A Nation of Housing Haves and Have-Nots

Everyone who follows the statistics of rising income and wealth inequality knows we’re becoming a nation of haves and have-nots. What’s not being discussed is the role of housing. Let’s start by recalling that for the vast majority of bottom-95% … Continue reading

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The Destabilizing Consequences of Globalization

It is not possible to coherently discuss the “New Normal” economy without discussing financialization–the substitution of credit expansion and speculation for productive investments in the real economy–and its sibling: globalization. Globalization is the result of the neoliberal push to lower … Continue reading

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Dear Homeowner: If You’re Paying $260,000 in Property Taxes Over 20 Years, What Exactly Do You “Own”?

We’re constantly told ours is an ownership society in which owning a home is the foundation of household wealth. The concept of ownership may appear straightforward, but consider these questions: 1. If the house is mortgaged, what does the homeowner … Continue reading

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The Coming War of Central Banks

History has shifted, and we’re leaving the era of central bank convergence and entering the era of central bank divergence, i.e. open conflict. In the good old days circa 2009-2014, central banks acted in concert to flood the global banking … Continue reading

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We Need a Complete System Overhaul: 5 Charts That Blow Up the Status Quo

In an auto-mechanic analogy, the Powers That be are assuring us those grinding noises under the hood and the black smoke chugging out of the tailpipe are no big deal and can be fixed with a minor tuneup. They’re wrong; … Continue reading

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The Meaning of a Multicultural America: 323,341,000 Individuals

Multiculturalism is often an excuse for identity politics: the (politically useful) notion that every member of an ethnic or religious group “should” support policies A,B & C and vote for candidates X, Y and Z based solely on their membership … Continue reading

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No Wonder We’re Poorer: Wages’ Share of GDP Has Fallen for 46 Years

The majority of American households feel poorer because they are poorer. Real (i.e. adjusted for inflation) median household income has declined for decades, and income gains are concentrated in the top 5%: Even more devastating, wages’ share of GDP has … Continue reading

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One Chart Says It All

Sometimes one chart captures the fundamental reality of the economy: for example, this chart of money velocity and the civilian-population ratio. (thank you, Joseph Y. for posting it on my Facebook feed.) When the blue line is up, more of … Continue reading

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Eight “New Normal” Charts That Are Insanely Abnormal–and Dangerous

Anyone questioning the sustainability and rightness of The New Normal is immediately attacked by the mainstream-media defenders of the crumbling status quo. Not only is everything that broke in 2008 fixed, everything’s going great globally, and anyone who dares question … Continue reading

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Either Reverse All the Perverse Incentives or the System Will Implode

I hope it’s not a great shock to discover all the incentives in our status quo are perverse: those who rig the financial system while creating zero real value, jobs, goods or services reap all the big profits; those who … Continue reading

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Is the World Getting Crazier, But We No Longer Notice?

If we step back and look at what’s happened since the Global Financial Crisis of 2008-09, it’s easy to see that the global leadership has chosen to do more of what’s failed spectacularly. Since the Global Financial Meltdown, central bankers … Continue reading

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Why Real Reform Is Now Impossible

It’s difficult for well-meaning pundits to abandon the fantasy that meaningful reform is possible. Indeed, a critical function of the punditry and corporate media is to foster the fantasy that the status quo could be reformed if only we all … Continue reading

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America’s Entitled (and Doomed) Upper Middle Class

Two recent articles describe America’s entitled (and doomed) upper middle class: the top 5% of households with incomes above $206,500 annually and individuals with incomes of $160,000 or higher annually. (source: Historical Income Tables: Households Census.gov)  The first describes how … Continue reading

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Lessons from Japan: Decades of Decay, Unavoidable Collapse

Japan’s fiscal and monetary extremes are in the news again: this time it’s the Bank of Japan’s extraordinarily large ownership of Japanese stocks, a policy intended to boost “investor sentiment” and prop up sagging equity valuations: The Tokyo Whale Is … Continue reading

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The Status Quo Has Failed and Is Beyond Reform

That the status quo–the current pyramid of wealth and power dominated by the few at the top–has failed is self-evident, but we can’t bear to talk about it.This is not just the result of a corporate media that serves up … Continue reading

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How Can Older Workers Compete in an Economy That Values Youth?

Workers of all ages are caught in a vise. Older workers need to keep working longer in an economy which values younger workers (and their cheaper healthcare premiums). Younger workers are caught in the vice of “you don’t have enough … Continue reading

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How Systems Break: First They Slow Down

The reality that cannot be spoken is that all the financial systems we believe are permanent are actually on borrowed time. One way we can judge this decline of resilience is to look at how long it takes systems to … Continue reading

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Which Narrative Will Win Out: Bulls or Bears?

The tug of war between Bull and Bear has rarely been so clearly matched–and the stakes have rarely been so high. Bulls are confident that central banks have their back in 2016. After all,whatever it takes has successfully pushed equities … Continue reading

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The Lesson of Empires: Once Privilege Limits Social Mobility, Collapse Is Inevitable

The next few years will strip away the illusions of “growth” and reveal which dominates our society and economy: privilege or social mobility. Among the many lessons of empires is one shared by virtually every empire:once the privileged few limit … Continue reading

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What Is the Minimum Investment Needed to Achieve Social Mobility?

Long-time correspondent Bart D. (Australia) posed a profound question: what is the minimum investment (in time, money and effort) needed to ensure one’s children have social mobility, i.e. a cultural/social passport to upper-middle class opportunities? This chart illustrates why the … Continue reading

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The Entire Status Quo Is a Fraud

This can’t be said politely: the entire status quo in America is a fraud.  The financial system is a fraud. The political system is a fraud. National Defense is a fraud. The healthcare system is a fraud. Higher education is … Continue reading

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The Root of Rising Inequality: Our “Lawnmower” Economy (hint: we’re the lawn)

After decades of denial, the mainstream has finally conceded that rising income and wealth inequality is a problem–not just economically, but politically, for as we all know wealth buys political influence/favors, and as we’ll see below, the federal government enables … Continue reading

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FX Crisis Brewing: Japan Needs a Stronger Dollar, China Wants a Weaker Dollar: The Fed Can’t Please Both

Foreign exchange (FX) is a zero-sum game: if one currency weakens, another must strengthen. Since the value of a currency is relative to other currencies, all currencies can’t weaken together: at least one currency must strengthen as others weaken. That … Continue reading

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The Network Effect, Jobs and Entrepreneurial Vitality

We have all experienced The Network Effect: the more people who start using a service, the more valuable that service becomes to every user. Examples include the telephone, the Internet, and social media sites. Each new user is only seeking … Continue reading

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The Panama Papers: This Is the Consequence of Centralized Money and Power

If we don’t change the way money is created and distributed, we will never change anything. This is the core message of my book A Radically Beneficial World: Automation, Technology and Creating Jobs for All. The Panama Papers offer damning … Continue reading

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Triffin’s Paradox Revisited: Crunch-Time for the U.S. Dollar and the Global Economy

While all eyes on fixated on global stock markets as the measure of “prosperity” and “growth” (or is it hubris?), the larger force at work beneath the dovish cooing of central bankers is foreign exchange: the relative value of nations’ … Continue reading

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The Future of Money

To say that the future of money is blockchain-based crypto-currencies and payment platforms is to state the obvious nowadays. If this wasn’t the case, then why are Goldman Sachs et al. (i.e. the global too big to fail banks) rushing … Continue reading

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Higher Education Is Morally and Financially Bankrupt

A system that piles debt on students in exchange for a marginal or even zero-return on their investment is morally and financially bankrupt. Every once in a while you run across an insider’s narrative of a corrupt, morally bankrupt sector … Continue reading

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How Many Tech Startups Are Empty Shells?

It’s widely accepted that most tech startups will fail. Perhaps the core business proposition didn’t pan out, or the execution was flawed, or the initial success foundered on poor management, or another startup scaled up fast enough to suck up … Continue reading

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Why the Corporate Media Hates Sanders (and Has a Love/Hate Thing with Trump)

Everyone who isn’t willfully blind knows that the Corporate (mainstream) Media doesn’t give the same coverage to Bernie Sanders as it does to his opponent, Hillary Clinton. Bernie’s rallies go unmentioned, his victories are given short shrift and his personal … Continue reading

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The Managerial/ Professional Class Is Burning Out

If you work for Corporate America in a managerial or professional capacity, you know all about burnout, because you see it all around you or are experiencing it yourself. Readers describe what they are seeing in the top ranks of … Continue reading

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What Killed the Middle Class?

Everyone knows the middle class is fading fast. I’ve covered this issue in depth for years, for example: Honey, I Shrunk the Middle Class: Perhaps 1/3 of Households Qualify (December 28, 2015) and What Does It Take To Be Middle … Continue reading

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Recipe for Collapse: Rising Military and Social Welfare Spending

Whatever you think of former Fed chair Alan Greenspan, he is one of the few public voices identifying runaway entitlement costs as a structural threat to the economy and nation. We can summarize Greenspan’s comments very succinctly:there is no free … Continue reading

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“Free” Trade, Jobs and Income Inequality: It’s Not As Easy As We Might Think

Globalization (a.k.a. “free” trade) has become an election issue for two reasons: many voters blame “free” trade with China and other nations for job losses in the U.S. and rising income inequality as globalization’s “winners” in the U.S. outpace its … Continue reading

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If Hillary Isn’t Indicted, the Rule of Law and the Republic Are Dead

To paraphrase Ernest Hemingway: How did you lose your Republic? Two ways, gradually and then suddenly. The Romans experienced this when their Republic was extinguished by Empire. The erosion of the Republic was gradual: slowly but surely, the lower classes’ … Continue reading

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How to Escape the Purgatory of Minimum Wage/Part-Time Jobs

Readers responded positively to my recent essay on the emerging economy and jobs: A Teachable Moment: to the Young Person Who Complained About Her Job/Pay at Yelp and Was Promptly Fired Many young people are stuck in the purgatory of … Continue reading

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Wait a Minute–Who’s Fascist?

The core belief of the Establishment is the central state should run everything. If you’re an Establishment insider, the mainstream media will give you plenty of column inches and airtime to label Donald Trump a “dangerous” fascist: for example, Democratic … Continue reading

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Why Our Financial System Is Like the Titanic

The “unsinkable” global financial system is rushing headlong toward its encounter with the iceberg. Why did the Titanic sink, despite being considered unsinkable? The conventional answer is the design of its watertight compartments was flawed: the watertight bulkheads were limited … Continue reading

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Cheap Oil, the U.S. Dollar and the Deep State

That oil fell off a cliff once the U.S. dollar (USD) began its liftoff in mid-2014 is, well, interesting. Causation, correlation or coincidence? There are a variety of opinions on this, as there should be. What we do know is … Continue reading

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A Profitless Recession

The basic idea of a balance sheet recession (attributed to Richard Koo) has been well-publicized: when the liability (debt) side of household and business ledgers reach danger heights, stakeholders respond by reducing debt and increasing savings rather than increasing spending … Continue reading

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What If There Are No More Googles, Facebooks or AirBnBs?

It’s an article of quasi-religious faith in tech circles that a few of the hundreds of start-ups touting their “disruptive” potential will blossom into super-profitable giants like Google and Facebook, or fast-growing companies like AirBnB that may not yet have … Continue reading

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A Teachable Moment: to the Young Person Who Complained About Her Job/Pay at Yelp and Was Promptly Fired

This open letter from a young customer support employee of Yelp in San Francisco to her CEO has garnered a variety of comments that display a common bifurcation: some are sympathetic to her struggle to get by in a very … Continue reading

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When Currency Pegs Break, Global Dominoes Fall

The U.S. dollar has risen by more than 35% against other major trading currencies since mid-2014: If all currencies floated freely on the global foreign exchange (FX) market, this dramatic rise would have easily predictable consequences: everything other nations import … Continue reading

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What the Pundits Don’t Get About Trump

The typical bourgeois mainstream media pundit is confused and alarmed by Donald Trump’s ascendancy. The typical pundit is a member of the petit bourgeois who has zero contact with the working class in America, other than saying “hello” to his/her … Continue reading

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Think Another Crash Is “Impossible”? Think Again

If there are limits on what we can know of the future–and clearly there are–this sets limits on our ability to quantify and mitigate risk. Longtime correspondent Lew G. submitted this thought-provoking riff on the system’s intrinsic capacity for cascading … Continue reading

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Why the Chinese Yuan Will Lose 30% of its Value

The U.S. dollar (USD) has gained over 35% against major currencies since 2011. China’s government has pegged its currency, the yuan (renminbi) to the USD for many years. Until mid-2005, the yuan was pegged at about 8.3 to the dollar. … Continue reading

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If Zero Interest Rates Fixed What’s Broken, We’d Be in Paradise

The fundamental premise of global central bank policy is simple: whatever’s broken in the economy can be fixed with zero interest rates (ZIRP). And the linear extension of this premise is equally simple: if ZIRP hasn’t fixed what’s broken, then … Continue reading

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2016: The Year Wishful Thinking Fails

If we collectively choose wishful thinking, catastrophic consequences are guaranteed. Wishful thinking has been an integral driver of the “recovery” 2009-2015: asset bubbles aren’t bubbles, central bank policies are brilliantly successful, unemployment has dropped to levels of full employment, and … Continue reading

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Why NIRP (Negative Interest Rates) Will Fail Miserably

What NIRP communicates is: this sucker’s going down, so sell everything and hoard your cash and precious metals. The last hurrah of central banks is the negative interest rate policy–NIRP. The basic idea of NIRP is to punish savers so … Continue reading

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If You Want To Be Wealthy, Don’t Focus on Owning a House–Build a Business

One truism of investing is to follow the lead of those who are building wealth.This chart reveals the foundation of the wealth of the top 1% and the next 9%; business equity, i.e. ownership of enterprises. Compare the assets boxed … Continue reading

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The Increasingly Fragile Upper-Middle Class

Since the top 10% takes home 50% of all household income, it follows that this top slice has most of the discretionary cash, i.e. net income left after taxes, servicing debt and paying for essentials such as food, utilities and … Continue reading

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The Chart of Doom: When Private Credit Stops Expanding…

Few question the importance of private credit in the global economy. When households and businesses are borrowing to expand production and buy homes, vehicles, etc., the economy expands smartly. When private credit shrinks–that is, as businesses and households stop borrowing … Continue reading

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The Opaque Process of Collapse

When I write about the demise of unsustainable systems, readers often ask me to describe the collapse I see as inevitable. This is a tough assignment, as there are as many kinds of collapse as there are systems: fragile ones … Continue reading

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Why We Won’t Have a “Lehman Moment” in the 2016 Crash

One way to lose a war is to focus on preparing to fight the last war. Preparing to fight the last war is a characteristic of losing generals, militaries and nations. The same is true of finance and economies. General … Continue reading

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The Global Economy Could Fall Farther and Faster Than Pundits Expect

The core narrative of central bank/cartel capitalism is centralized agencies have the power to limit downturns and extend credit-based “good times” almost indefinitely. The centralized power bag of tricks includes fiscal policies such as deficit spending to boost “aggregate demand” … Continue reading

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Stupor Bowl 2016

When I use the phrase Stupor Bowl, I refer not to the upcoming Super Bowl or the crazy mid-winter bicycle free-for-all in Minneapolis, but to the economic game of watching the Bear’s Recession Offense crush the Unicorn-believing Bulls. Let’s follow … Continue reading

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Be Your Own Medicine

I recently saw a slogan that encapsulated what’s wrong with the U.S. healthcare system: Be Your Own Medicine. To Be Your Own Medicine is the essence of prevention, and a way of taking full ownership of one’s health, body, mind, … Continue reading

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What’s Eroding the Middle Class?

I have devoted many blog posts to the erosion of the middle class, for the specific reason that when the middle class–the layers of the economy between the Power Elites and landless laborers/state dependents–erodes away, the nation/empire is destabilized and … Continue reading

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The China Syndrome: The Coming Global Financial Meltdown

The 1979 film The China Syndrome took its name from the darkly humorous notion that a nuclear reactor meltdown in the U.S. would burn straight through the Earth to China. (wikipedia: The China Syndrome) In today’s world, the financial meltdown in … Continue reading

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2016 Theme #5: The Systemic Failure of High Finance

A number of systemic, structural forces are intersecting in 2016. One is the failure of high finance to fix the global economy’s systemic problems. The operative conceit of the past 7 years has been that high finance can fix whatever’s … Continue reading

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2016 Theme #4: The End-Game of Debt-Fueled “Growth”

A number of systemic, structural forces are intersecting in 2016. One is the end-game of debt-fueled “growth.” We can summarize the official “solution” to the Global Financial Meltdown of 2008 in one line: borrow and blow trillions–of yen, yuan, dollars, … Continue reading

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2016 Theme #3: The Rise of Independent (non-state) Crypto-Currencies

A number of systemic, structural forces are intersecting in 2016. One is the rise of non-state, non-central-bank-issued crypto-currencies. We all know money is created and distributed by governments and central banks. The reason is simple: control the money and you … Continue reading

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2016 Theme: The Hollow Shell of Democracy

A number of systemic, structural forces are intersecting in 2016. One is the hollowing out of democracy globally. Democracy has three distinct states of being: formal, in actual practice and informal. Nations that claim the mantle of democracy typically mix … Continue reading

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The Global Health Crisis Will Crush the Global Economy

Though evidence of a looming global healthcare crisis is plainly visible, few seem to realize the consequences will be catastrophic to individuals, households and national economies. Here is a list—by no means exhaustive—of major health issues threatening hundreds of millions … Continue reading

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The Cultural Contradictions That Have Crippled the Great American Middle Class

Conventional explorations of why the middle class is shrinking focus on economic issues such as the decline of unions and manufacturing, the increasing premiums paid to the highest-paid workers and the rising costs of higher education and healthcare. All of … Continue reading

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If You Want to Limit the Power of the Super-Wealthy, Stop Using their Money

Many well-meaning people want to limit the wealth and power of the super-wealthy, i.e. the Financial Aristocracy/Oligarchy. (For more on the modern class structure, please see America’s Nine Classes: The New Class Hierarchy.) Reformers have suggested everything from a global … Continue reading

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Honey, I Shrunk the Middle Class: Perhaps 1/3 of Households Qualify

The Pew Research Center’s recent report The American Middle Class Is Losing Ground: No longer the majority and falling behind financially made a media splash, as it reported that less than 50% of adults are members of the Great American … Continue reading

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If We Don’t Change the Way Money Is Created and Distributed, We Change Nothing

Many well-intended people want to reform the status quo for all sorts of worthy reasons: to reduce wealth inequality, restore democracy, create good-paying jobs, and so on. All these goals are laudable, but if we don’t change the way money … Continue reading

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The Most Profitable Work Will Be Automated: The Rest Will Be Left to Us

What’s abundant and what’s scarce? The question matters because as economist Michael Spence (among others) has noted, value and profits flow to what’s scarce.What’s in over-supply has little to no scarcity value and hence little to no profitability. What’s abundant … Continue reading

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The World of Work Has Changed, and It’s Never Going Back to the “Good Old Days”

The world of work has changed, and the rate of change is increasing. Despite the hopes of those who want to turn back the clock to the golden era of high-paying, low-skilled manufacturing jobs and an abundance of secure service-sector … Continue reading

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Central Banks Have Pushed the Middle Class Down into Neofeudal Serfdom

In traditional feudal systems, serfs were the landless peasantry who worked the land of their feudal lords in exchange for protection. In our present-day neofeudal system, serfdom has a different definition: present-day serfs own little or no productive capital and have … Continue reading

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The Devil’s Holiday Letter: 2015

Through means I am unable to disclose, I have obtained a copy of the Devil’s Christmas letter. Yes, Satan too sends a Yule letter, and no, I was not on his mailing list. I think Satan’s Holiday cheer should give … Continue reading

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Our “Star Wars” Economy: The Fed-Farce Awakens

It’s not just a movie, it’s real life: the Fed-Farce awakens. Now that the Federal Reserve has finally voted to “restore order to the galaxy” with a tiny .25% rate increase, the true measure of our travesty of a mockery … Continue reading

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Money Velocity Is Crashing–Here’s Why

That the velocity of money has been crashing while the money supply has been exploding doesn’t seem to bother the mainstream pundits. There is always a fancy-footwork explanation of why whatever is crashing no longer matters. Take a look at … Continue reading

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There’s No Upside Left

There’s no upside left–not just in the real economy, but in jobs, politics or policy tweaks. Yes, there will be huge relief rallies in the stock market–relief that the Fed is still omnipotent, that the Fed didn’t destroy the world … Continue reading

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Why Has the Labor Participation Rate Plunged?

Why has the percentage of the population that’s in the work force declined so dramatically? It’s a question many have asked, and Gordon T. Long and I attempt to answer in our most recent video program The Participation Rate Mystery–Solved. … Continue reading

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Is Oil Close to a Tradable Bottom?

By all accounts, the world is awash with oil: production remains high while demand is softening along with the global economy. This has led many observers to forecast further declines in oil from the current price (in USD) of around … Continue reading

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The Flaws in Basic Income for Everyone

Finland made the news recently by proposing a pilot program of guaranteed income for all, also known as Universal Basic Income: Desperate Finland Set To Unleash Helicopter Money Drop To All Citizens. The goal is two-fold: by providing every household … Continue reading

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The Death-Spiral of American Entrepreneurism

The self-congratulatory rah-rah about American entrepreneurism rings hollow,as the evidence is conclusive: entrepreneurship, new businesses and the source of new businesses, self-employment, are all declining. Two recent articles describe the trend: American Entrepreneurship Is Actually Vanishing. Here’s Why (Inc) American … Continue reading

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The “American Dream” is Over–and Voters Know It

Despite a ceaseless propaganda campaign declaring all is well with the U.S. economy, the Status Quo is fragile–and voters know it. Not only do they know the economy–and their financial security–is one crisis away from meltdown, they’re also fed up … Continue reading