Marc Faber: "Fed's Neo-Keynesian Clowns... Are Holding The World Hostage"

"There is nothing safe anymore, because the money-printing distorts all asset prices," is the uncomfortable response Marc Faber gives to Thai TV during this interview when asked for investment ideas. Faber explains how we got here "massive money-printing and ZIRP creates a huge pool of liquidity that does not flow evenly," as it washes from Nasdaq stocks to real estate to emerging markets and so on. Each time, "the bubble inflates and then is deflated as the capital (liquidity) floods out." The Fed, based on the doubling of interest rates since they began QE3 "has lost control of the bond market," Faber warns; adding that while he expects some "cosmetic tapering," the Fed members and other neo-Keynesian clowns will react to a "weakening US and global economy," and we will be a $150 billion QE by the end of next year, as the world is held hostage to US monetary policy.

Collateral Transformation: The Latest, Greatest Financial Weapon Of Mass Destruction

Back in 2002 Warren Buffet famously proclaimed that derivatives were ‘financial weapons of mass destruction’ (FWMDs). Time has proven this view to be correct. As The Amphora Report's John Butler notes, it is difficult to imagine that the US housing and general global credit bubble of 2004-07 could have formed without the widespread use of collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) and various other products of early 21st century financial engineering. But to paraphrase those who oppose gun control, "FWMDs don’t cause crises, people do." But then who, exactly, does? And why? And can so-called 'liquidity regulation' prevent the next crisis? To answer these questions, John takes a closer look at proposed liquidity regulation as a response to the growing use of 'collateral transformation' (a topic often discussed here): the latest, greatest FWMD in the arsenal.

Guest Post: Artificial Abundance, Moral Hazard And The Fed's Doomsday Machine

The Fed has created a Doomsday Machine. The Fed has nurtured moral hazard in every sector of the economy by unleashing an abundance of cheap credit and low interest mortgages; the implicit promise of "you can't lose because we have your back" has been extended from stocks to bonds (i.e. the explicit promise the Fed will keep rates near-zero forever) and real estate. An abundance based on the central bank spewing trillions of dollars of cheap credit and free money (quantitative easing) is artificial, and it has generated systemic moral hazard. This is a Doomsday Machine because the Fed cannot possibly backstop tens of trillions of dollars of bad bets on stocks, bonds and real estate. Its power is as illusory as the abundance it conjured. This loss of faith in key institutions cannot be fixed with more cheap credit or subsidized mortgages; delegitimization triggers a fatal decoherence in the entire Status Quo.

Guest Post: How Empires Fall

The imperial tree falls not because the challenges are too great but because the core of the tree has been weakened by the gradual loss of surplus, purpose, institutional effectiveness, intellectual vigor and productive investment. Comparing the American Empire with the Roman Empire in its terminal decline is a popular intellectual parlor game. The comparison is inexact on a number of fronts but despite the apparent difference, the two empires share the key characteristic of all enduring empires: they extract the cost of maintaining the empire from client states and/or allies. The mechanisms differ, but the results are the same: the empire's cost is distributed to those who benefit from its secure trade routes.

Guest Post: A Community-Based Alternative To The Welfare State

Two of the key characteristics of an empire in terminal decline are complacency and intellectual sclerosis, what we have termed a failure of imagination. (The others are military over-reach, chronic deficits, a parasitic Elite that is immune to what's left of the rule of law, weak leadership, mass dependence on the Central State and excessive consumption.) It is important to discuss alternatives before the Status Quo devolves and collapses, so we have an intellectual framework to guide healthier, more sustainable alternatives once the current system implodes.

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Still Raining in Japan

I argue that Abe is lucky, but now needs to be smart. I made a proposal a few years ago that Japan should return a quarter of its reserves to the Japanese people. The proposal is more compelling now than then. The objections by BOJ officials can be overcome by the Abe government. Reserves are for a rainy day and it is continuing to rain in Tokyo.

Guest Post: Why Stimulus Has Failed

Two fundamental beliefs have driven economic policy around the world in recent years. The first is that the world suffers from a shortage of aggregate demand relative to supply; the second is that monetary and fiscal stimulus will close the gap. Is it possible that the diagnosis is right, but that the remedy is wrong? That would explain why we have made little headway so far in restoring growth to pre-crisis levels. And it would also indicate that we must rethink our remedies. Policymakers initially resorted to government spending and low interest rates to boost demand. As government debt has ballooned and policy interest rates have hit rock bottom, central banks have focused on increasingly innovative policy to boost demand. Yet growth continues to be painfully slow. Why? What if the problem is the assumption that all demand is created equal? Put differently, the bust that follows years of a debt-fueled boom leaves behind an economy that supplies too much of the wrong kind of good relative to the changed demand.

He Who Deleverages Best: Presenting The 'Credit Intensity' Of Europe's GDP Growth

To evaluate the impact of private sector deleveraging on economic growth/GDP in the context of a rapidly releveraging sovereign, we present the following analysis from Citi which observes various European countries and analyzes the "credit intensity" of GDP growth, or in other words which country has preserved, or even grown its GDP even as its private sector has seen substantial deleveraging. The results are interesting and may present a framework for evaluation the winners and losers in Europe in the era of "great sovereign leveraging", permitting a reverse engineering of the success stories, and applying their lessons to the losers.

Assymmetric Secret Servicing Initiative: Obama's Colombia Visit Found To Subsidize Local Alternative Monogamy Market

Obama may not be the most successful president when it comes to creating jobs at home, but when success is measured by the number of blowjobs outsourced abroad, he may be truly second to none, as his visit to Colombia proves before it has officially begun. According to the AP, "A dozen Secret Service agents sent to Colombia to provide security for President Barack Obama at an international summit have been relieved of duty because of allegations of misconduct." Relieved here being a perfectly randomly selected verb. Because according to a tip received by The Associated Press "the misconduct involved prostitutes in Cartagena, Colombia, the site of the Summit of the Americas. A Secret Service spokesman did not dispute that allegation." Or, as Goldman would call it, an "Asymmetric (Secret) Servicing Initiative" where much more than just inside information is leasked. Unfortunately, while he may be far more successful in generating jobs in Latin America than domestically, even those jobs have proven to be quite transitory, just like virtually all quickie temp jobs "created or saved" in the US in the past several years. Furthermore, just like in the US, we doubt that the incremental wealth benefits will trickle down to the local population. After all, unlike in the US, endogenous Colombian liquidity may be abundant everywhere but certainly not at the central bank, which is far, far tighter at a rate of 5.25% (and rising), compared to extra loose central planners the "developed" world over.