Despite the promise of increased transparency, if you felt that deciphering Fed policy (other than uber-dovish, lower-for-longer, willing-to-wait, BTFD) became more and more confusing as the last few years progressed, you would not be alone. In fact, the complexity of the Fed's statements (not just the wordcount which we have noted numerous times) has surged from "Secondary School" reading level throughout Greenspan's era to "Post-Grad" comprehension at the peak of Bernanke's reign. Yellen, so far, has reverted modestly. As The Economist notes, this increased baffle-em-with-bullshit "Fedspeak" complexity is very reminiscent of the George Orwell's 1984-esque "oldspeak" or "doublespeak" used to keep a quiescent public bemused.
Throughout history, in most cases of economic collapse the societies in question believed they were financially invincible just before their disastrous fall. Rarely does anyone see the edge of the cliff or even the bottom of the abyss before it has swallowed a nation whole. This lack of foresight, however, is not entirely the fault of the public. It is, rather, a consequence caused by the manipulation of the fundamental information available to the public by governments and social gatekeepers.
Because the masses in a democratic polity are deeply imbued with the ideology of egalitarianism and the myth of majority rule, the ruling elites who control and benefit from the state recognize the utmost importance of concealing its oligarchic and exploitative nature from the masses. Continual war making against foreign enemies is a perfect way to disguise the naked clash of interests between the taxpaying and tax-consuming classes.
Game over, man: the Fed won.
“On October 15th 2014, if only for a few short minutes, market forces broke out and the failure of central bankers was briefly evident... There is a very simple lesson that when the markets finally break through the manipulation they move to price in deflation and not inflation. This is key because it means financial repression has failed.” These days, you don’t tend to hear the words ‘failure’ and ‘central bankers’ in the same sentence (unless the topic happens to be Zimbabwe). But perhaps the omniscience and omnipotence of central bankers is somewhat overstated.
Japan’s aging population needs rising prices like a hole in the head. The more “successful” Mr. Kuroda becomes in forcing prices up, the less money people will have to spend and invest. The economy will weaken, not strengthen, as a result. The advantages the export sector currently enjoys are paid for by the entire rest of the economy. moreover, even this advantage is fleeting. It only exists as long as domestic prices have not yet fully adjusted to the fall in the currency’s value. If one could indeed debase oneself to prosperity, it would long ago have been demonstrated by someone. While money supply growth in Japan has remained tame so far, the “something for nothing” trick implied by the BoJ’s massive debt monetization scheme is destined to end in a catastrophe unless it is stopped in time. Once confidence actually falters, it will be too late.
After peaking in 1999 at 37%, the prosperity line has gradually declined since, and is now sitting at 34%. In between there was a housing boom and a global financial crash, both with noticeable effects on the line. That decline may not sound like much, but it will take years to rebuild all that wealth – assuming that the economy is moving in the right direction. And it was exactly at the bottom of the earnings scale that things got pretty bad. People earning less than $35,000 per year went from 31% at the turn of the century to 34% today, more or less matching the decline in percentage points at the top of the table. The new century brought a lot more discomfort to a growing number of Americans, fueling a lot of talk recently about income inequality in the country. Therefore, despite all the subsequent economic growth, large fiscal stimulus packages, unprecedented Federal Reserve intervention and booming capital markets, we could say that PROSPERITY IN AMERICA PEAKED IN 1999!
What an escort can teach you about business
With its latest "coverage" of the European economy, the Economist may have finally jumped the parrot.
Contrary to the opinion of Obama the Great, The One True Indispensable Chief of the NWO, the three principal threats we currently face are not Ebola, but QE-bola; not the locally disruptive Islamic State but the globally detrimental Interventionist State; and definitely not the Kremlin’s alleged (though highly disputable) revanchism being played out on Europe’s ‘fringe’ but the Kafkaesque reality of stifling and undeniable regulationism at work throughout its length and breadth. We might end by reminding the would-be wearer of the One Ring, as He lurks warily, watching the opinion polls from His lair in the White House, that in being so active in propagating each one of these genuinely existential threats to our common well-being, he will not so much ‘help light the world’ as help extinguish what little light there still remains to us poor, downtrodden masses.
Saudi Arabia wants to use lower oil prices to pressure Russia to change its stance on Syria, to antagonize Iran, and to force US shale gas out of the market, Pepe Escobar explains the possible blowback...
Those who got sick, and there were many, developed large, dark blisters that oozed pus and blood. Later came fever and bloody vomiting. Long before Ebola, there was the Black Death, which killed millions in the 14th century. And as with Ebola, nervous officials tried to keep the sick from entering their cities. Venetian authorities held ships at bay for 40 days - hence the word quarantine - to check for infections. Still, the disease ravaged the republic. Today countries are screening air passengers arriving from the places affected by Ebola. Will these efforts prove more effective?
With oil prices crashing, as various OPEC members (cough Saudi Arabia cough) turn the screws on each other, we thought (after showing the US domestic pain) the following chart from The Economist would provide more context for which nations are feeling the most (and least) pain...
This week has seen some market volatility (see VIX Chart) reminiscent of the functioning market from days of old. The markets are spooked, bad news is overtaking good news and bearish views are becoming vogue. We are seeing a titanic battle taking place between the various bull and bear camps and they are starting to unleash some serious firepower.
In terms of purchasing power, China now has the largest economy on the entire planet, but that is not the only area where China has surpassed the United States. China also accounts for more total global trade than the U.S. does, China consumes more energy than the U.S. does, and China now manufactures more goods than the U.S. does. In other words, the era of American economic dominance is rapidly ending.