while almost all oligarchs are extremely wealthy (or have access to extreme wealth), not all people with extreme wealth are oligarchs. The term oligarch is reserved for those with extreme wealth who also want to control the political process, policy levers and most other aspects of the lives of the citizenry in a top-down tyrannical and undemocratic manner. They think they know best about pretty much everything, and believe unelected technocrats who share their worldview should be empowered so that they can unilaterally make all of society’s important decisions. The unwashed masses (plebs) in their minds are unnecessary distractions who must to be told what to do. Useless eaters who need to be brainwashed into worshipping the oligarch mindset, or turned into apathetic automatons incapable or unwilling to engage in critical thought. Either outcome is equally acceptable and equally encouraged. These oligarchs and the centralized institutions they control pose the greatest threat to humanity at this time.
Overall, CPI’s are used to index payments on over $10 trillion in liabilities. Any underestimation of CPI benefits the federal government at the expense of the taxpayer and amounts to a backdoor default on its financial obligations. Please understand this could be deliberate or the result of dubious econometric methods. Using a bad model is like using a random number generator as a compass. To get an idea of the sums of money involved, for every 1% of CPI underestimation the federal government saves $8.4 billion on social security payments alone. The lack of transparency regarding quality adjustments (and their perceived complexity) provides a perfect smoke-screen for covert debt management through CPI under-reporting.
Things just got much worse for Ukraine, which has been on life support by its "western allies" ever since the US State Department-coup early in the year. Because those same allies look like they may have had enough. According to Reuters, some in Brussels are disillusioned by the experience of helping Ukraine. EU generosity in waiving import duties and funding gas supplies from Russia may be being abused, they say. "Some in Ukraine's elite may be colluding with Russia, even as fighting in the east has begun to escalate again. "The Ukrainians are manipulating the EU," a senior EU official involved in negotiations told Reuters, saying the bloc was "waking up" to a need to better defend its own interests."
"The evil was not in bread and circuses, per se, but in the willingness of the people to sell their rights as free men for full bellies and the excitement of the games which would serve to distract them from the other human hungers which bread and circuses can never appease. The moral decay of the people was not caused by the doles and the games. These merely provided a measure of their degradation." The moral degeneration of the American populace, like the Roman people before them, happened slowly over time as they sold their liberty, freedom, and self-respect for full bellies, an endless array of modern day distractions, and promises from their highly educated rulers they would be taken care of and protected from all threats to their well-being, whether foreign, domestic, physical, mental, or social.
Meet the next piece of work...
Dr. Faber prudently advises clients not only to diversify among asset classes but to also to diversify within asset classes. We share this view. We advise our clients to hold gold and silver in various locations and in various forms but always in secure vaults and safe jurisdictions such as Singapore or Switzerland.
- The $9 Billion Witness: Meet JPMorgan Chase's Worst Nightmare (Matt Taibbi)
- Explains the midterm results: Optimism precedes job data (Reuters)
- EU Dream Ebbs Amid Weak Growth, Putin's Jets, 25 Years After Wall Came Down (BBG)
- SEC Probing Trading Activity at Apple Supplier GT Advanced (WSJ)
- Boehner touts bills to repeal Obamacare, build Keystone (Reuters)
- China Gold Buying Means Price Floor to Standard Chartered (BBG)
- High-Speed Ad Traders Profit by Arbitraging Your Eyeballs (BBG)
- Central Banks Can’t Be ‘Only Game in Town’ Boosting Economies (BBG) - less talking, more getting to work
Please don't claim anything changes if one party or the other is in the majority. Anyone clinging to that fantasy is delusional.
Being 2 for 2 in losses this week (The US Election and Time's "world's most powerful person), it appears President Obama has fallen back on his regulatory army to take the fight to Vladimir Putin. As WSJ reports, U.S. prosecutors have launched a money-laundering investigation of billionaire Gennady Timchenko - a member of Putin's inner circle. The allegations are that Timchenko (who was among the first Russian businessmen to be sanctioned by the U.S. following Russia’s intervention in Ukraine’s Crimea region) transferred funds linked to allegedly corrupt deals in Russia through the U.S. financial system. The probe is also examining whether any of Mr. Putin’s personal wealth is connected to allegedly illicit funds. Timchenko warned in August, "there are reasons to be seriously afraid of provocations from the U.S."
- LOL@Fundamentals: European Stocks Fall as Investors Seek Stimulus Clarity (BBG)
- Obama, Republicans sound conciliatory note but battles loom (Reuters)
- Firms drop Pimco funds from managed accounts (Reuters)
- Not All QE Is Created Equal as U.S. Outpunches ECB-BOJ (BBG)
- Ukraine Accuses Russia of Sending Troops as Truce Wobbles (BBG)
- Lenovo Slumps After Projecting China ‘Hypergrowth’ to End (BBG)
- Palo Alto Networks discovers new malware targeted at Apple devices (Reuters)
- IPO That Brought In $1 Billion in March Implodes in Denmark (BBG)
Economic data from China have generally been on the weak side of late, but not catastrophically so. And yet, apart from growing weakness in aggregated data, we also see more and more anecdotal evidence that the economy is deteriorating.
As the 'new' alternative political party - "We Can" - surges to the lead in polls in Spain, it appears extreme parties from around Europe are taking note. As KeepTalkingGreece reports, the Spanish branch of the neo-fascist Golden Dawn party has been officially registered as a political party in Spain. Between Catalan secession, record youth unemployment, and government corruption, throwing some right-wing extremists into the mix should 'help'.
"Capitalism is a system according to which capital is owned by private citizens, who in turn determine its price and flow by interacting with one another. Capitalism implies that private citizens get to keep most of the fruits of their labor or the profitability of their capital. Capitalism is neither a “state of nature” nor a primitive scrum. It can work (i.e., create value for owners and for society while being acceptable to the citizenry, including those without capital) only with appropriate rules of fairness and honesty, and workable standards of disclosure. To these factors must be added the ability for people, in a meritocratic way, to have a chance to participate in capitalism. The proper combination leads society to buy into the concept that the individual freedom to own property leads to the most efficient allocation of resources, which in turn results in the highest economic growth and prosperity. Capitalism is never perfect, but the closer society adheres to its general principles, the better it is for the population at large."
Watch Spain closely in the months ahead. It will be another canary in the coal mine for the entire Western world.
With French youth revolting, Spanish regions seeking secession, and GREXIT back on the cards, Europe's social unrest concerns are starting to rise once again to troubling levels. However, it is in Europe's poorest nation, Bulgaria that the message of dissatisfaction is loudest. As The BBC reports, a woman has set herself ablaze near the presidency building in the Bulgarian capital Sofia. There were six similar self-immolations in Bulgaria last year, amid anger over chronic poverty and alleged corruption.