The world’s super-rich have taken advantage of lax tax rules to siphon off at least $21 trillion, and possibly as much as $32tn, from their home countries and hide it abroad – a sum larger than the entire American economy. What we need is fundamental systemic change. This means truly restructuring the entire financial system, from Central Bank power, to Wall Street funding both political parties, to lengthy jail sentences for financial criminals. If we do that, oligarchs won’t be able to parasitically amass billions so easily in the first place.
Here we now call market deflation by the sobriquet “volatility”, as in “major market indices suffered from volatility today, down almost one-half of one percent”, where a down day is treated as something akin to the common cold, a temporary illness with symptoms that we can shrug off with an aspirin or two. You can’t be in favor of volatility, surely. It’s a bad thing, almost on a par with littering. No, we want good things and good words, like “wealth effect” and “accommodation” and “stability” and “price appreciation”. As President Snow says in reference to The Hunger Games version of a political utility, “may the odds be always in your favor”. Who doesn’t want that?
You know your true level of inflation. You know it’s not 0.1%. You know it’s somewhere between 4% and 10%. You know your government is lying to you. You know the captured corporate media perpetuates the lies. You know those in control of the government must lie to keep their Ponzi scheme going. You know they are just following the Edward Bernays playbook: “The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society." They want you to believe it’s for your own good. Do you think it’s for your own good?
Everyone seems to be focusing on Greece these days – a country so indebted that it needs even more loans to repay just a fraction of its gigantic credits. Clearly this is unsustainable and something has to give. Even the IMF agrees. But what about the other Southern European countries? Actually, Portugal’s financial situation is looking particularly shaky, and any hiccups could have serious cross-border repercussions from Madrid all the way to Berlin.
Western countries are increasingly displaying symptoms of instability as described by Nassim Taleb, the author of the The Black Swan, ever since the publication of an essay written with Gregory Treverton entitled “The Calm Before the Storm.” The wider public and the press seem unjustifiably complacent at this time. It seems likely that the seemingly unending “recovery” is simply the calm before the storm.
The Chinese economy is in an obvious deepening swoon and the median company on the Shanghai exchange had a PE ratio of 60X before the recent break. But no matter. Not only does everything financial race the skyscrapers to the sky in the land of red capitalism, but valuation upside is apparently whatever the comrades in Beijing want it to be. Says Goldman’s chief stock tout for China,“It’s not in a bubble yet.”. Why? Because “China’s government has a lot of tools to support the market.”
After Bridgewater, and Goldman Sachs, today it is SocGen's turn, which overnight advised clients that with "US set to unwind QE", now is the time to "increase cash" and "reduce risk." This is how SocGen advises its clients to be positioned ahead of the end of QE...
Our current money system began in 1971. It survived consumer price inflation of almost 14% a year in 1980. But Paul Volcker was already on the job, raising interest rates to bring inflation under control. And it survived the “credit crunch” of 2008-09. Ben Bernanke dropped the price of credit to almost zero, by slashing short-term interest rates and buying trillions of dollars of government bonds. But the next crisis could be very different…
The system is corrupt… and dangerously dysfunctional. But why does no one say so? Opinion makers such as Paul Krugman and Larry Summers misunderstand intentionally. But who speaks for the next three decades? Everyone wants more credit, more inflation, more bubbles, more subsidies, and more special privileges. Who’s on the other side of the trade?
The Shanghai Composite is on the verge of 5,000 and has more than doubled in the past year but this may just be the beginning. The reason: if the Chinese stock bubble bursts, that will be the beginning of the end of the greatest con game in history.
With a global population of 7.3 billion this works out out at over $27,200 of debt for every man, woman and child alive today.
The results of the latest FOMC meeting confirm that most of the media and investor communities don't get the joke on Fed policy since the crisis. No change in '15
American banks have largely gained from low interest rates, British banks have suffered losses as a result and in the Eurozone they have been hugely detrimental to banks’ profitability. The ones who have undoubtedly lost out were those quintessential Keynesian villains: the savers. The medicine prescribed by the central banks to correct their “bad” ways has cost them billions. And given that yields have continued to go down since McKinsey's report was published, their misery has only increased. More high fives from Keynes! And yet, even within those groups the impact has been uneven. Who in the household segment is suffering the most because of ultra-low interest rates? The retirees, of course.
"China has a $28 trillion problem. That’s the country’s total government, corporate and household debt load as of mid-2014... equal to 282 percent of the country’s total annual economic output," Bloomberg notes, adding that efforts to deleverage this massive debt burden aren't compatible with the measures Beijing needs to take to boost economic growth. But if you thought the debt problem was bad now, it's going to get worse because as Reuters notes, China is about to activate the ABS machine.
The entire global financial system resembles a colossal spiral of debt. Just about all economic activity involves the flow of credit in some way, and so the only way to have “economic growth” is to introduce even more debt into the system. Unfortunately, any system based on debt is going to break down eventually, and there are signs that it is starting to happen once again.