In much of the world, small countries are hoping to retain their independence, whilst portions of larger countries are trying to establish their independence. Understandably, they're meeting with resistance, as it's usually the areas that are the net-contributors to the larger economy that seek independence, whilst the areas that are the net-recipients wish to take the conglomerate approach (and to continue to eat their neighbour's lunch). This is evident even in the US, where those states that are net-contributors are experiencing the same frustration as Venetians and are making noises about secession. And, although no major changes have taken place recently, early rumblings can be heard all over the world.
While many have pointed out that the Middle-East/Far-East are drifting to a more "Orwellian" world and the West is a more "Huxleyan" environ, the merger of the two dystopias is seemingly growing each day. As The Guardian previously noted, Huxley's dystopia is a totalitarian society, ruled by a supposedly benevolent dictatorship whose subjects have been programmed to enjoy their subjugation through conditioning and the use of a narcotic drug - the rulers of Brave New World have solved the problem of making people love their servitude. On the Orwellian front, we are doing rather well – as the revelations of Edward Snowden have recently underlined. We have constructed an architecture of state surveillance that would make Orwell gasp. The most striking parallel of course is that both men foresaw the future as totalitarian rather than democratic and free. Both Big Brother’s world and the Brave New World are ruled by authoritarian elites of a basically socialist/communist nature, whose only real purpose is the maintenance of their own power and privileges.
Today, far too many people put all their faith in deceitful politicians and bankers to tell them the truth and consequently are dreadfully misinformed.
"Hello there citizen! I hope you are enjoying your day. I also hope you are enjoying your freedom from oppression that our kind, benevolent government provides. As a former lead bureaucrat in the Obama Administration, let me assure you, Washington is working around the clock to protect you and add fulfillment to your life..."
NSA Whistleblower Says: "This Is Just One Of The Ways To Make Controlling People Possible. Standard KGB/Stasi Tactics."
By accusing someone else of being responsible for my emotional outbursts I am in essence avoiding responsibility for my own actions. By blaming others for my ‘State of Mind’ I’m assigning myself to the ‘role’ of victim status.
2014 is upon us. For a person who graduated from Georgia Tech in 1961, a year in which the class ring showed the same date right side up or upside down, the 21st century was a science fiction concept associated with Stanley Kubrick's 1968 film, "2001: A Space Odyssey." To us George Orwell's 1984 seemed so far in the future we would never get there. Now it is 30 years in the past. Did we get there in Orwell's sense? In terms of surveillance technology, we are far beyond Orwell's imagination. In terms of the unaccountability of government, we exceptional and indispensable people now live a 1984 existence. In America today people with power are no longer accountable. This means citizens have become subjects, an indication of social collapse.
The latest overnight meltup which has pushed the DJIA and S&P to new implied record opens has been driven by, what else, the falling Yen, which after tumbling to fresh new 5 year lows following the release of the BOJ minutes (which said nothing new), has sent both the Nikkei higher by 1%, to post-2008 highs of 16,174, while the S&P, up about 5 points just shy of 1840, and has only three trading days in which it should close the gap to the central banks' price target of 1900 as we first showed in April. In the absence of any actual newsflow (we now live in a world in which both good and bad news are P/E multiple beneficial, just continue keeping an eye on the EURJPY and the USDJPY - these are the only two signals tht matter for the market.
I normally write about gold and economics, but Edward Snowden has brought to the attention of America—and the whole world—a different issue.
Out of curiosity, we searched for the term “gold” in English language books starting in 1776. As one would expect back in the 18th and 19th centuries when gold was actually considered money, the instances of the word ‘gold’ favored prevalently in English language books at the time. The trend continued into the early part of the 20th century. But then something interesting happened in the mid-1930s. The use of the word ‘gold’ in English language books reached its peak… and began a steep, multi-decade decline. The last 10 years though, have seen that trend begin to shift...
A decision by the FHFA requiring the GSEs to finally release detailed information on loans they acquired and guaranteed uncovers an ugly truth about the GSEs that many should be aware of (as we noted the exuberance here). The release was only required on 35 million fully-amortizing, full documentation, 30-year fixed rate mortgages, which means as JPMorgan's Michael Cembalest notes the underwriting histories on another 20-30 million loans (e.g., the riskier ones) remain a mystery (and likely will forever). As Cembalest concludes, some people made up their minds on all the factors causing the housing crisis in 2009, and others in 2011. As long as new information keeps coming out, it seems premature to close the book on it, he adds, first, the private sector descent into underwriting hell took place well after the multi-trillion dollar GSE balance sheets had gone there first; and second, there are many reasons to wonder how bad the former would have been had the latter not preceded it.
Fingers of Instability
Ian Buruma: “The truth can be brutal, and makes life uncomfortable. So one looks the other way.”