Central bankers should not be treated as wise oracles whose guidance is desperately needed. Instead, we should throw off the tyranny of the PhD’s and embrace the decentralization of power that is desperately needed to allow civilization to thrive. Brexit would be a great way to start.
England’s upcoming vote on June 23rd may be the first of several votes that reveal the deep flaws embedded in the European Union. In particular, Europe’s undercapitalized and overleveraged banks are dangerously exposed to rising political unrest.
They made their way in dribs and drabs. Hundreds of displaced bankers, shuffling up Suffolk Lane to All Bar One and along Upper Thames Street toward the Folly, the only pubs in the City of London open that early on an overcast Tuesday morning. One group of traders was threatened with dismissal after being caught on closed-circuit TV stealing candy from a vending machine.The shell-shocked men and women sipping pints and consoling each other had become part of a growing population. Faced with a toxic blend of zero-interest rates, stiffer capital requirements and a collapse in trading revenue, banks have announced large cuts to their European operations in recent months.
Goldman Sachs attracted more than a quarter of a million applications from students and graduates for jobs this summer, "suggesting fears of a ‘brain drain’ in the sector may be exaggerated as banks introduce more employee-friendly policies." The number of applications from students and graduates globally have risen more than 40% since 2012, the paper adds. This means there is greater demand to get a job at Goldman than there is even in China where recently 1.2 million job candidates applied for 19,000 much-desired govermment positions.
This could not have come at a more perfect time, with the Fed once again flip-flopping about raising rates. After appearing to wipe rate hikes off the table earlier this year, the Fed put them back on the table, perhaps as soon as June, according to the Fed minutes. A coterie of Fed heads was paraded in front of the media today and yesterday to make sure everyone got that point, pending further flip-flopping. Drowned out by this hullabaloo, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve released its delinquency and charge-off data for all commercial banks in the first quarter – very sobering data.
The current rash of cautious ignorant optimism is so very reminiscent of the period right after Bear Stearns in 2008. Ben Bernanke as late as June 2008: "The risk that the economy has entered a substantial downturn appears to have diminished over the past month or so." Janet Yellen said, “the strong incoming data on spending eased my fears that we are in or are approaching a recession regime” before expressing confidence in rate hikes starting in December 2008! The mainstream takes the absence of further liquidation as if there will be no more liquidations when in fact the likelihood of more of them only rises the more they are artificially “contained.”