Many readers would consider this a simple question and perhaps even an obsolete one.
Shigemitsu Kongo formed his construction company Kongo Gumi in 578 AD. This company lasted over 1,400 years. They survived countless political crises, wars, and natural disasters. They survived the Meiji Restoration in the 1800s, a period in which the government set out to eradicate Buddhism from Japan, and hence, the temple building industry. They even survived two atomic bombs. What Kongo Gumi couldn’t survive was debt.
We already suspected in mid 2013 (worrying about the market far too early as it has turned out in hindsight) that there were parallels to what happened in the late 1990s bull market, specifically near its end in the year 2000. However, in the meantime, even more such parallels have become noticeable.
The political class has completely disrupted the American structure of production, made American workers uncompetitive, snuffed the life out of entrepreneurs, and burdened the entire nation with a debt obligation the size of Jupiter. The US economy is not the strongest and most durable in the world — it is an unskilled thirty-two-year-old waiter crashing at his parent’s place and trying to pay down an $80,000 international relations degree.
We are hostage to a dysfunctional monetary system, run by people who don’t understand how it works in the first place. No wonder the global economy is in the doldrums, and finance markets are having dyspeptic attacks.
Back then I was a true believer, trusting that the government was a force for good "making the world safe for democracy..." But that night it all changed.
The idea that you can fix bad debt with more debt is as prevalent as the idea that the US economy can be binge hiring while careening into recession. What’s truly sad is that those two mistakes are really, at root, the same. The road ahead to real recovery and sustainable growth starts with “unlearning” monetarism. It is a huge task.
The Great Depression was the most severe economic depression ever experienced by the Western world. It was during this troubled time that the world’s most famous case of deflation also happened. The resulting aftermath was so bad that economic policy since has been chiefly designed to prevent deflation at all costs.
As much as economists talk about the independence that the Fed holds from Congress, remittances represent a strong link. In fact, since they enable federal spending they create a form of quasi-fiscal policy for the Fed to use, in addition to its more common monetary policy options. Without Fed remittances, retirees might see their monthly check cut by about 12 percent.
After last week's relatively quiet, on macro data if not central bank news, week the newsflow picks up with the usual global PMI survey to start, and end the week with the US January payrolls report.
The time for more insanity has come... It is the Keynesian mantra: the fact that the policies recommended by Keynesians and monetarists, i.e., deficit spending and money printing, routinely fail to bring about the desired results is not seen as proof that they simply don’t work. It is regarded as evidence that there hasn’t been enough spending and printing yet.
What’s a Keynesian monetary quack to do when the economy and markets fail to remain “on message” within a few weeks of grandiose declarations that this time, printing truckloads of money has somehow “worked”, in defiance of centuries of experience, and in blatant violation of sound theory? In the weeks since the largely meaningless December rate hike, numerous armchair central planners, many of whom seem to be pining for even more monetary insanity than the actual planners, have begun to berate the Fed for inadvertently summoning that great bugaboo of modern-day money cranks, the “ghost of 1937”.
Brazil’s current crisis is nothing but an outcome of government’s meddling with the market. The scenario of the country’s economy is indeed scary, but we have reason to believe that Brazil’s intellectual situation is going through a new and promising change. It may be true, as Lord Keynes said, that “in the long run we are all dead,” but if we are to get out of this terrible crisis, to prosper and to enjoy a constant improvement in our standard of living, “it is high time to transform the country’s state capitalism into a free market system.”
We may not yet have final confirmation that a recession is imminent, but so far nothing suggests that the danger has receded.
Contrary to those blaming the Fed for causing stocks to fall by “raising rates” (which Joe Salerno reflects on here) we want to stress the fact that, in raising rates, the most that the Fed could do is unravel previously made mistakes. In other words, there is nothing praiseworthy in the first place about artificially propped up stock market levels. We have no interest in lauding the longevity of the bubble, because the bubble is the enemy of the healthy economy. The collapsing equity markets reveal where bubbles were formed and that our alleged prosperity is an illusion. And this is precisely what former Dallas Fed Chairman Richard Fisher stated in a conversation on CNBC last week when he confessed: “We frontloaded a tremendous market rally to create a wealth effect.”