Once again the corporatocracy wins as the so-called "Trojan horse" Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement has been finalized. As WSJ reports, the U.S., Japan and 10 countries around the Pacific reached a historic accord Monday to lower trade barriers to goods and services and set commercial rules of the road for two-fifths of the global economy, officials said.
It’s no coincidence that consumer sentiment stumbled at the same time that the stock market plunged. Coming back from Summer vacations, households saw:
- The deepest drop in 401K wealth in years
- The most prolonged drop in years
It has been a shock because investors have been conditioned to ignore the dips; or better still, to buy the foolish dips (BTFD) because time-after-time the dips reverse within a few weeks and the market plows onward and upward. In July last year, the market tumbled 3% and then fully recovered within four weeks.
- Asia shares rally, but on track for worst quarterly loss in four years (Reuters)
- Global Rally Shows Relief at End of $11 Trillion Stocks Meltdown (BBG)
- Glencore Extends Rebound as Turmoil Shows Signs of Easing (BBG)
- Putin wins parliamentary backing for air strikes in Syria (Reuters)
- China Cuts Minimum Home Down Payment for First-Time Buyers (BBG)
- German Unemployment Unexpectedly Rises in Sign of Economic Risks (BBG)
- Japan Industrial Output Slide Hints at Recession (WSJ)
Absent some entirely magical economic developments, Janet Yellen looks set to be an unlucky Fed chairman. There is a growing risk that the fabric of the financial system may start to unravel during her tenure. Today’s investors are not exactly a lucky generation. Assuming they’ve survived two precipitous declines in stock markets in the course of a decade, they’re now faced with overpriced stocks, overpriced bonds, overpriced everything.
The best position for a tyrant or tyrants to be in, at least while consolidating power, is tyranny by proxy. That is to say, the most dangerous tyrants are those the people do not recognize: the tyrants who hide behind scarecrows and puppets and faceless organizations. The worst position for the common citizen to be in is a false sense of security and understanding, operating on the assumption that tyrants do not exist or that potential tyrants are really just greedy fools acting independently from one another. Being the clever tyrants that they are, the members of the central banking cult hope you are too stupid or too biased to grasp the concept of conspiracy. If you cannot identify the agenda, you can do nothing to interfere with the agenda.
If you have ever felt that in addition to being a quasi cargo cult (which in the case of central planners borders on religious dogma) rather than an actual science, not to mention far more destructive, economics was purposefully obtuse and opaque, meant to sound sophisticated and generally "baffle with bullshit" when in reality it was hollow, often contradictory and sometimes meaningless by design, then the following confession by David Hakes, professor of economics at the University of Northern Iowa is for you. In it the economist explains how he was turned down when he wrote articles that could easily be understood by a broad audience. So he made them more difficult to understand and got published immediately.
Have you ever wondered how much money Russians spend on alcohol and tobacco compared to the rest of the world? Or how much households in Saudi Arabia allocate to recreation? The following cahrt from The Economist shows how much people in households around the world allocate to different expenses such as food, housing, recreation, transportation, and education.
Rousseff - hand-picked by Lula da Silva to succeed him - appears to be caught up in da Silva's backdraft. Opposition parties also claim she violated Brazil's fiscal responsibility law when she doctored government accounts to allow more public spending prior to the October election last year. Rousseff in turn described the attempt to use Brazil's economic crisis as an opportunity to seize power a modern day coup.
"Instead of acting via bond markets and banking sector, why shouldn’t public sector bypass markets altogether and inject stimulus directly into the ‘blood stream’?... CBs directly monetizing Government spending and funding projects would do the same. Whilst ultimately it would lead to stagflation (UK, 70s) or deflation (China, today), it could provide strong initial boost to generate impression of recovery and sustainable business cycle... What is probability of the above policy shift? Low over next six months; very high over the longer term."
The gold market seems to have bifurcated: one market for largely paper speculation and high leverage, and another for the purchase and distribution of actual physical bullion. This is a problem because the attitude towards gold among the status quo in the West has become rigidly dogmatic, supported by years of lazy thinking and a determined the campaign of ridicule and propaganda to try and extend the unsustainable. There is going to be a reconciliation of attitudes and realities at some point, and like vast tectonic plates unable to move but building greater and greater pressure, the longer that the status quo and their courtiers try to maintain their modern aristocracy, the more dramatic that change may be when it finally comes.
How did our financial system weaken to the point where a quarter of a percent increase in rates is more than it can handle?
Late last year, Paul Krugman took a field trip to Japan to observe Keynesian insanity prowling around in its natural habitat. While he was there, he gave Prime Minister Shinzo Abe some sage advice which can be roughly summarized as follows: "Abenomics is working so why would you screw it up by getting fiscally responsible all of the sudden?" Nine months later, Japan is still a deflationary deathtrap and Krugman is "really, really worried"...
If one considers that the next major interest rate manipulation by the Fed appears to hinge on a notoriously unreliable report about a lagging economic indicator, it should immediately become clear on what a flimsy foundation modern central economic planning rests. How much more ridiculous can it possibly get? Incidentally, it also serves to demonstrate how far off the reservation economists have veered in their desperate and laughable attempts to transform economics into a discipline akin to the natural sciences.
The REAL RISK currently is not missing some of the upside if the bull market does begin to resume, but rather catching the downside if this correction turns into a full-fledged bear.