- A tendency to examine too few alternatives; A lack of critical assessment of each other’s ideas;
- A high degree of selectivity in information gathering; A lack of contingency plans;
- Poor decisions are often rationalised; The group has an illusion of invulnerability and shared morality;
- True feelings and beliefs are suppressed; An illusion of unanimity is maintained;
- Mind guards (essentially information sentinels) may be appointed to protect the group from negative information.
Having painted themselves into an impossible corner of junk Keynesian economics, they are now clueless about how to get out. So its time to recognize that there has been a monetary regime change. The Fed might well have been your friend since March 2009 or even for the last several decades. But stranded on the zero bound and smothered by a $22 trillion collective balance sheet, the central banks of the world are now fast becoming your fiend.
Many have forecast the creation of a new monetary system by which governments and banks gain total control over all monetary transactions. On the surface of it, this may seem an impossible goal, as it would be so all-encompassing and would eliminate economic freedom entirely. Surely, it would not be tolerated. However, we believe that it’s not only relatively easy to create, but it will be sold in such a way that the public will see it as an absolute panacea to their economic woes. Only those who are far-sighted will understand its level of destruction in advance of its implementation.
"My humble thesis tonight is that the entire 20th Century was a giant mistake. And that you can put the blame for this monumental error squarely on Thomas Woodrow Wilson - a megalomaniacal madman who was the very worst President in American history... well, except for the last two."
Fast forward to today when we are about to learn that Newton's third law of Keynesian economics states that every boom, has an equal and opposite bust. Which brings us to Texas, the one state that more than any other, has benefited over the past 5 years from the Shale miracle. And now with crude sinking by the day, it is time to unwind all those gains, and give back all those jobs. Did we mention: highly compensated, very well-paying jobs, not the restaurant, clerical, waiter, retail, part-time minimum-wage jobs the "recovery" has been flooded with. Here is JPM's Michael Feroli explaining why Houston suddenly has a very big problem.
What was truly notable in Weidmann's statement is his open jab at the stupidity of Keynesian economics itself. To wit from Bloomberg: ECB Governing Council member Jens Weidmann says at event in Berlin that consumer prices in euro area “are strongly influenced by the energy prices, which are at the moment experiencing a positive supply shock.” The punchline: "There’s a stimulant effect coming from the energy prices - it’s like a mini stimulus package." But wait a minute, isn't deflation under Keynesian voodoonomics, the biggest bogeyman imaginable? It turns out deflation is only bad when it impacts... the S&P 500.
Long ago, Keynes himself pointed out, perhaps inadvertently, the profound difference between GDP and wealth. If we merely want a higher GDP print - which measures spending, not wealth - governments should handout spoons so that millions of citizens can dig holes and millions more refill them. It would appear that the statesmen of Brussels are fixing to try the modern day equivalent of just that.
"As a father, I want to raise responsible adults, which is why my wife and I will not be heading to the polls this election. Previously, I would have seen this stance as many people do: as an irresponsible act. Both Democrats and Republicans support militarism, taxation, spying on us, inflation, redistribution of wealth, Keynesian economics and corporatism once they get in office. My children need not to identify with this group of sociopaths, so to vote would be a bad example for them." Simply put, The lesser of two evils is still evil.
In less than the time it takes for a chrysalis to release one of life’s remarkable transformations, many once called “capitalists” woke to find the world they once new changed into something only dreamed or told in folklore. In this new fairytale land there must certainly be a pot of gold at the end of every “rainbow.” However, one would be mistaken. For one must remember this is a “Keynesian Shangri-la” and gold here is useless. Today, at the end of these self propagated rainbows lies a Central Bank ready and willing to print as much money as one needs to see those vivid colors so plainly; only the term Technicolor® seems appropriate as a descriptor. “Markets right themselves with pain… That’s Capitalism. Back room manipulation to avoid pain only increases the severity of the pain to be felt down the road.”
FOMC stops buying securities in the open market and the world falls apart, right? WOW. Are you folk’s economists, traders, or just a bit naive?
And then there is BusinessWeek, which quite to the contrary, is urging its readers in its cover story, ignore common sense, and do more of the same that has led the world to dead economic end it finds itself in currently. In fact, it is, in the words of NYT's Binyamin Appelbaum, calling the world governments to become the slaves of a defunct economist. And spend, spend, spend, preferably on credit. Because, supposedly, this time the resulting crash from yet another debt-funded binge will be... different?
"While monetary weapons can be a good first step to remedying an economic crisis, they are clearly not enough on a standalone basis to return an economy to stability and growth. My concern is that there has been an almost total academic capture of the mechanism of the Fed and other central banks around the world by neo-Keynesian thinking and hence policymaking, while the executive and legislative branches of the government have turned a blind eye to the necessary reforms. So while the plan has thus far worked brilliantly for Wall Street, what central bankers have succeeded in doing is preventing, or at least postponing, the hard choices and legislative actions necessary by our politicians to fully implement a sustainable and prosperous future for our children—and theirs...Today I view the world as “risk-uncertain,” and in these instances I recommend the armored vehicle."
This may be excessively optimistic on my part, but there seems to be a slow change in the way the world thinks about reserve currencies. For a long time it was widely accepted that reserve currency status granted the provider of the currency substantial economic benefits. For much of my career I pretty much accepted the consensus, but as one starts to think more seriously about the components of the balance of payments, it is clear Keynes wad right in his call for a hybrid currency when he recognized that once the reserve currency was no longer constrained by gold convertibility, the world needed an alternative way to prevent destabilizing imbalances from developing. On the heels of Treasury Economist Kenneth Austin and former-Obama chief economist Jared Bernstein discussing the end of the USD as a reserve currency, Michael Pettis summarizes 10 reasons the USD's reserve status has become an 'exorbitant burden'.
"...what was once a privilege is now a burden, undermining job growth, pumping up budget and trade deficits and inflating financial bubbles. To get the American economy on track, the government needs to drop its commitment to maintaining the dollar’s reserve-currency status...The privilege of having the world’s reserve currency is one America can no longer afford."
- former Chief Economist and Economic Adviser to Vice President Joe Biden, executive director of the White House Task Force on the Middle Class, and a member of President Obama’s economic team.
Financial markets are complex in normal times. When government is actively supporting them, they only become more so and more dangerous. If today’s financial markets were rated like movies, they would be rated “R” (perhaps, “X”). Whether the “R” stands for risky or restricted is immaterial.