During the last 20 years of the Soviet Union, everyone knew the system wasn’t working, but as no one could imagine any alternative, politicians and citizens were resigned to pretending that it was. Eventually this pretending was accepted as normal and the fake reality thus created was accepted as real, an effect which Yurchak termed “hypernormalisation.” Looking at events over the past few years, one wonders if our own society is experiencing the same phenomenon.
For most people, the term “4GW” will conjure visions of a new and improved data service for their mobile devices. For members of the military and intelligence community, 4GW means something entirely different: Fourth-Generation Warfare, a form of warfare where the lines between civilians and combatants, political and military goals, and even the weapons to be used in fighting the war are blurred. Smudged to the point where even identifying the warring parties is difficult.
We can now close the book on what happened to all those tankers full of oil off the Iranian coast, because according to Reuters capitalizing on the recent run up in oil prices, Iran has sold more than 13 million barrels of oil held in "offshore storage."
European shares fell modestly, Asian equities declined for the first day in three, and US equity futures were unchanged before the December U.S. nonfarm payrolls report. China’s offshore yuan fell the most in a year to pare a record weekly rally, while Mexico’s peso climbed after the central bank sold dollars. Oil was trading lower in early trading.
One day after Exxon announced it would sever ties with its former CEO and Chairman, Rex Tillerson, who is slated to become Trump's secretary of state, in the process awarding him $182 million in deferred shares (presumably tax-free), today Tillerson disclosed assets worth as much as $400 million in an ethics filing that showed investments across more than a dozen nations.
Asian stocks rose, led by Hong Kong, while European shares and U.S. equity-index futures are little changed. Euro, yen climb as the dollar posted an unexpected loss following some serious fireworks out of China, which intervened in funding market to crush offshore Yuan shorts.
Today, the only thing keeping a lid on financial calamity is epic amounts of artisanal money. Deregulating an inherently corrupt and coddled banking industry, already floating on said capital assistance, would inevitably cause another crisis during Trump’s first term.
After incorrectly predicting virtually every "surprise" for 2016 one year ago, the bulls better beware because in Byron Wien's list of "ten surprises" for 2017, the 83-year-old Blackstoner has turned decidedly bullish this time, and expects the S&P to surge to 2,500 while the US economy grows at a brisk 3%. With that, he may have just doomed any hope for a non-recession in 2017.