“With every investment we get richer or wiser, never both...”
Ludwig von Mises once wrote, "No one can escape the influence of a prevailing ideology.” The images coming from Venezuela should serve as a potent reminder of how dangerous the ideas of men like Joseph Stiglitz are. Statism and economic interventionism must be rejected, in order for humanity to thrive.
The errors of Keynes have empowered sociopathic political classes all over the world and deprived the world of the economic progress we would otherwise have enjoyed. No amount of stimulus ever seems to be quite enough. And when the stimulus fails, the blinkered Keynesian establishment can only think to double down, never to question the policy itself. The Keynesians are pretending they have everything under control, but we know that’s a fantasy. Simply put, "Keynes must die so the economy may live."
"We learned one thing yesterday: the U.S. Federal Reserve is in the same position as the rest of us when it comes to forecasting the future path of economic growth. Nobody really “Knows” anything right now. Now, there’s enough doubt for everyone: markets, central banks, consumers, governments. Everyone. The best thing we can say about that: if markets accept that the Fed is no better informed than they are, maybe investors will devote more time to stock fundamentals and intrinsic value analysis."
"There is some truth to the phrase that the stock market has predicted nine of the last five recessions... but that is a much better track record than the consensus of economists. Every time the financial markets get volatile and messy like this it deserves attention because the markets are trying to tell us that there is a severe issue out there."
Yellen and her cohort have no clue, however, that all of their massive money printing never really left the canyons of Wall Street, but instead inflated the mother of all financial bubbles. So they are fixing to blow-up the joint for the third time this century. That was plain as day when our Keynesian school marm insisted that the Third Avenue credit fund failure this past week was a one-off event - a lone rotten apple in the barrel. Now that is the ultimate in cluelessness.
The US Federal Reserve orchestrated an artificial boom from 2001 to 2007 through artificially low interest rates and has resumed doing so once again. Entrepreneurs operating under faulty market signals created by the Federal Reserve malinvested hundreds of billions of dollars into capital intensive projects primarily in the housing sector. We paid for our boom with millions of destroyed jobs, wasted labor, and wasted resources. The Chinese Central Bank learned nothing from the Fed’s catastrophic experiment. They will reap the same rewards.
Assuming that after being wrong for 7 years about everything, economists are actually right about the market still having some discounting abilities left, what then is the market telegraphing? The answer, according to the Bank of America: the biggest surge in recessionary odds since 2011, which over the past few days have nearly hit a 50% probability of an economic slowdown.
At some point in the middle of the last century, economics of money shifted to economics of psychology. Abenomics is the perfect example of this faith-based policy. The Japanese economy, to any clear mind, took a huge turn for the worst under Abenomics yet its practitioners are still, somehow, given the final word on judging its performance, meaning that the mainstream still, somehow, subscribes to the religion.
Centrally issued money centralizes wealth and generates systemic inequality. This is equally true of all centrally issued currencies. But the inequity that is intrinsic to this system is politically, socially and financially destabilizing, and so this system is unsustainable.
And the answer is...
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.
As a new year begins, it is easy to consider that the prospects for freedom in America and in many other parts of the world to seem dim. After all, government continues to grow bigger and more intrusive, along with tax burdens that siphon off vast amounts of private wealth. Extrapolating these trends out for the foreseeable future, it would seem that the chances for winning liberty are highly unlikely. There is only one problem with this pessimistic forecast: the future is unpredictable and apparent trends do change.
Since this is the season for giving thanks in the US, we might give some consideration to the unsung heroes who have been underwriting a big chunk of our economic recovery of late. Actually, we literally owe our future to them - in more ways than one. Since there are no free lunches in economics (that we all must agree on), somebody has to pay for this. And it should be obvious by now who that will be: our children and grandchildren (and at this rate, probably their children and grandchildren too).
Financial markets are broken. Fundamental analysis and Modern Portfolio Theory are relics of the past. Investors used to care about maximizing a portfolio’s expected return for a given amount of targeted risk. Fed policies have led to (investor) herd behavior that has plunged market volatilities and manipulated asset prices and correlations to lofty levels. The allure of the Fed’s magic spell has lapsed investors into a soporific state of cognitive dissonance, with them focusing more on trying to justify valuations, rather than on the Upside Downside Capture Ratio. Markets have thus mutated into one of two possible combustible states. Either financial assets have all transcended into prodigious bubbles, or stocks and bonds are signifying two completely separate outcomes. Either possibility will have dangerous repercussions for the economy, and for portfolios and investors.