This past week has been a virtual tennis match watching the evolution of the Greek bailout negotiations. No Deal, Deal, No Deal, Deal. However, despite the fallout that would likely come from a Greek "exit," the markets have largely managed to ignore the risk and hit an all-time high this week. Market valuations, bullish sentiment and complacency are all pushing higher as the focus remains on the ignition of the ECB's QE program as a stimulus for the markets. In fact, this is so much the case that the net percentage of managers overweight Eurozone equities is at the highest level on record.
"Using Bitcoin is an effete act of rebellion, a weak signifier of resistance like wearing a hoodie or getting a tattoo that’s well covered by your work clothes. Bitcoin is fashion, more than a fad but less than lasting." Strong words. Let’s dig in.
The global financial system desperately needs a big, bloody sovereign default - a profoundly disruptive financial event capable of shattering the current rotten regime of bank bailouts and central bank financial repression. Needless to say, Greece is just the ticket: A default on its crushing debt and exit from the Euro would stick a fork in it like no other. But don’t count on the Greeks.
From 'Armageddon' to 'Day After Tomorrow' to 'Independence Day', many have speculated as to the eventual demise of human life on the planet but - according to Dennis Pamlin of the Global Challenges Foundation, no scientists had "compiled a list of global risks with impacts that, for all practical purposes, can be called infinite,” until now. The following list of 12 possible ways that human civilization might end - ranked from least to most likely, come with a warning, "we don’t want to be accused of scaremongering but we want to get policy makers talking." We suspect Paul Krugman will be happy at the economic growth potential...
With the global economy sinking, and worries about it beginning to resound beyond just inconvenient bears, Paul Krugman has been leading the critique against what he sees is a disastrous and ignorant deformation against debt. Krugman is trying to argue that because government debt did not hinder private wealth creation we should use government debt to create private wealth. The cart is not even before the horse using this “logic”, as the cart and horse aren’t even on the same road. Paper wealth isn’t wealth, and government debt isn’t “free money.” There are consequences to both which their proponents never include in the “prospectus.”
In 1923 Hitler said, “Believe me, our misery will increase. The scoundrel will get by. But the decent, solid businessman who doesn’t speculate will be utterly crushed; first the little fellow on the bottom, but in the end the big fellow on top too. But the scoundrel and the swindler will remain, top and bottom. The reason: because the state itself has become the biggest swindler and crook. A robbers’ state!” Hitler wasn’t talking about hard money, he was talking about excessive money printing by a robber state. Krugman himself echoes these words, "It’s basically about revenue: when governments can’t either raise taxes or borrow to pay for their spending, they sometimes turn to the printing press." Out of control government that can’t borrow or tax enough to pay its bills? Zimbabwe, Iran, Venezuela... what country is next?
There is intense debate going on in the worlds of economics, politics, and finance as to whether we will, in 2015, experience the mother of all stock market crashes or whether, instead, we will float along ever higher on the happy cloud that has been making at least some people rich over the last few years (or whether, for a third possibility, we will just muddle along somewhere in the middle). Beyond the diatribes from the punditocracy, there is a mood – maybe it is idiosyncratic – but there’s the feeling that something dramatic is about to happen. I mean, a snowstorm hits and the local supermarket runs out of bread?! Are we all rehearsing for something here?
ZIRP in essence is deflationary in nature, it becomes a self-fulfilling, reinforcing slippery slope of “Monetary Extremism” and should be rejected at all costs!
Rather than be a problem, Syriza may well be a solution, if it plays its cards right, but that still leaves politicians and investors denominating Tsipras et al as a problem, if not a menace. The world’s major banks got rich off the back of the Greek population at large, and when their wagers got so absurd they collapsed, the banks saw to it that their losses were transferred to European -and American – taxpayers. And those taxpayers are now told to vent their anger at 'those cheating, lazy Greeks'. The Troika, the EU, the IMF, and the banks whose sock puppets they have chosen to be, are a predatory force that has come a long way towards wiping Greece off the map. And that’s what Syriza has set out to remediate. And for that, they deserve, and probably will need, our unmitigated support.
The latest corporate scam is to blame workers for the high unemployment rate. They say there is a skills gap. Even President Obama is in on the joke. The real skills gap is the other way around: too many skills for the low-wage menial jobs that pervade the labor market. The person who makes your coffee or your Big Mac might be able to design the next major bridge or write for The New York Times. Instead of high school kids cooking up your lunch, true professionals are behind the counter, and the future of the country is behind it too. The longer they stay there, the odds increase that America will take a permanent backseat in global power. In one short century, we have gone from superpower to super size me, a plutocracy, a nation that wasted its most valuable resource: the energy and innovation of its own people.
It’s important that we all, European or not, grasp how lacking in morality the entire system prevalent in the west, including the EU, has become. This shows in East Ukraine, where sheer propaganda has shaped opinions for at least a full year now. It’s not about what is real, it’s about what ‘leaders’ would like you to think and believe. And this same immorality has conquered Greece too; there may be no guns, but there are plenty victims. The EU is a disgrace, a predatory beast unleashed upon all corners of Europe that resist central control and, well, debt slavery really, if you live on the wrong side of the tracks. SYRIZA may be the last chance Europe has to right its wrongs, before fighting in the streets becomes an everyday reality.
we re-did Krugman’s chart for advanced countries with independent monetary policies. Lo and behold, Krugman’s spending-growth relationship collapses, as Sumner would have expected. This is not to say that austerity is good. But it does undermine the empirical basis for Krugman’s claim that reducing government spending lowers growth, and that increasing government spending raises growth, at least in countries that can use monetary policy as well as fiscal policy.
If Americans were honest with themselves they would acknowledge that the Republic is no more. We now live in a police state. If we do not recognize and resist this development, freedom and prosperity for all Americans will continue to deteriorate. All liberties in America today are under siege. Reality is now setting in for America and for that matter for most of the world. We should not be discouraged. Enlightenment is not nearly as difficult to achieve as it was before the breakthrough with Internet communications occurred. I smell progress.