As the capital markets from Shanghai to New York were melting down in ways hearkening back to the early days of the prior financial crisis - a period of time many would like to forget (or act) as if it never happened - the Nobel Laureate economist Paul Krugman decided it was time once again to weigh in with what will surely be viewed by the so-called “smart crowd” as a brilliant perspective on what ails the world: Not enough debt. He came out blazing with what seems the only bullet in his arsenal as a cure-all for what ever the ailment might be (e.g., debt.) as he argues this view in his latest: Debt Is Good.
What both Wall Street in general as well as the Federal Reserve has wrought is a market so adulterated, so anemic, and so mistrusted the euphemistic “money on the sidelines” has more in common with nursery rhymes than it does with anything reality based. There is no money on the sidelines. Nobody wants “in” to this market. Anyone with half a brain and a modicum of common sense wants out – and the outflow numbers show it still to be true.
When Warren Buffet put $5 billion in Berkshire Hathaway funds into Goldman Sachs the week after Lehman failed, amidst total turmoil and panic, it appeared from the outside a high risk bet. Buffet had long tried to portray himself as a folksy engine of traditional stability, investing only in things he could understand, so jumping into a wholesale run of chained liabilities may have seemed more than slightly out of character. We have no particular issue with Buffet making those investments, only the pretense of intentional mysticism that surrounds them. The reason the criticism of crony-capitalism sticks is because this was not Buffet's first intervention to "save" a famed institution on Wall Street. If Buffet's convention is to stick with "things you know" then he has been right there through the whole of the full-scale wholesale/eurodollar revolution.
Many activists are clamoring for a higher minimum wage. That's an admirable goal, but is that where the worst problem is? Even at the abysmally low wages of the present moment, we still have 938,000 people being turned away from McDonald's because there aren't enough McJobs. The real problem is the lack of meaningful work. In a world of machines and social alienation, meaningful work is as scarce as water in the drought-stricken California Central Valley.
And no, it certainly can not be characterized as doing God's work............................
It is human nature to follow fads, no matter how strange or cultish they may seem. Anything from Beanie Babies to cupcakes to even tech IPOs fall into this category, but, ConvergEx's Nick Colas asks, why do some of these trends manage to stick around while others die off? We might laugh now at bellbottoms and the so-called “grapefruit diet”, but at one point in time these were both fashionable – and profitable. So what does it take to make a fad last? Colas looks at a number of quirky trends past and present and importantly for market participants, finds lessons that extend directly to investor psychology and discipline. The bottom line is that we are sometimes blind to our own trading (and fashion) mistakes in the moment, but we are not preordained to make the same errors in perpetuity.
"A Scam Of Unmatchable Balls And Cruelty" - Matt Taibbi On Wall Street's "Triple-Fucking Of Ordinary People"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 09/27/2013 09:29 -0400
"This is the third act in an improbable triple-fucking of ordinary people that Wall Street is seeking to pull off as a shocker epilogue to the crisis era. Five years ago this fall, an epidemic of fraud and thievery in the financial-services industry triggered the collapse of our economy. The resultant loss of tax revenue plunged states everywhere into spiraling fiscal crises, and local governments suffered huge losses in their retirement portfolios – remember, these public pension funds were some of the most frequently targeted suckers upon whom Wall Street dumped its fraud-riddled mortgage-backed securities in the pre-crash years.... It's a scam of almost unmatchable balls and cruelty, accomplished with the aid of some singularly spineless politicians. And it hasn't happened overnight. This has been in the works for decades, and the fighting has been dirty all the way."
Over the last thirty some odd years, the world has seen an unprecedented level of economic growth and prosperity. That much is certain. However, things are not as they appear when the bullish rose-tinted glasses that most view the world through are removed.
And the issue is debt.
A world that deserves what's coming to it.
With the Comex futures prices becoming increasingly irrelevant, a Physical Gold price datasource for buyers of physical Gold
Buy PHYSICAL Gold. NOW: The Discount of a Lifetime: Or Why You Must Abandon the Fake Paper Gold MarketSubmitted by Gordon_Gekko on 04/17/2013 07:00 -0400
It's time to go in for the kill. Buy as much physical Gold as you can.
If you don’t collapse the system, the system will collapse you.
Defending the indefensible? In the past weeks, there has been a 'revival' of news related to high-profile inside trading cases. Insider trading is accurately pictured in that great movie called "Wall Street", by a famous line of Gordon Gekko to Bud Fox. Gordon said: "If you’re not inside, you are outside". Gordon was right. If only people understood that this is just a natural thing... It has nothing to do with ethics. Yes, we know that there is something in our argument that may not make sense to you... and we dare to guess that it is because you expect fairness when you invest your savings in a public security (i.e. a stock or a bond). But in all honesty…have you ever asked yourself why you expect fairness? We are not implying people should not trust those who issue or market these securities. But if they do, they should recognize that there is the risk that they may suffer a loss due to insider trading. Public securities, ceteris paribus, should trade at a discount to private securities, to compensate for the risk of lack of control and transparency. Yet, today, the opposite applies.
This cannot be the right course for us to take in the wake of such a widely recognized crisis. The lack of purposeful outrage is deafening. We cannot restore lasting stability to our economy and society unless we are willing to face up to what we did wrong, right it, and throw out the bums who put us there. Without that, the pattern of ever escalating crisis and interventionist, market-distorting solutions will surely lead to a bigger crisis still ahead... Perhaps the most important symbol of our failure to address reform are the pictures accompanying much of the coverage of Greg Smith’s letter, those of a power-posing Blankfein and Cohn, who without the Government’s accommodation might be striking a very different pose, indeed. You want to sign on to Mr. Smith’s army in joint distaste for Goldman’s lost culture? Please, be my guest. But more deserving of your enmity is the insidious co-option of the core premise of capitalism by a handful of people to ensure the banks’ undeserved survival, and their managers’ really nice lifestyle.
In the aftermath of the "Greg Smith" phenomenon, where now a variety of sources (for now of the terminated kind, but soon likely from those still on the payroll) have stepped up against the Wall Street and D.C. omerta, it is assured that we will see many more such pieces before the coolness factor of public employer humiliation. It is our hope that these lead to an actual improvement in America's criminal corporate culture (such as in "How a Whistleblower Halted JPMorgan Chase's Card Collections"), which is nowhere more prevalent than in the corner offices of Wall Street, long a place where "obfuscation" and "complexity" (recall that it was none other than the Fed telling us that "Liquidity requires symmetric information, which is easiest to achieve when everyone is ignorant") have been synonymous with legalized wealth transfer (after all, we now know that nobody ever read the fine print, and when the chips fell it was all the rating agencies' fault). Alas we are skeptical. But while we wait, here is a slightly lighter piece from the Globae and Mail's Tim Kiladze, who while not exposing anything new, shares with his readers just what the transition from "soulless banker" to a "less demanding, more fulfilling life" entails, and that it does, in the end, pay off. As Tim says - "The latter is a real option: I’m proof of it." Here is his story for all those 'wannabe Greg Smiths' who are on the fence about burning that bridge in perpetuity.