According to the WSJ, the Pentagon is offering "condolence payments" to the civilians injured and the families of those killed by a U.S. airstrike that destroyed a hospital near Kunduz, Afghanistan. Because, the thinking probably goes, human lives are like any other commodity and can be measured in reserve notes. However, what is more disturbing is that since the US prints the world's reserve currency, should Obama proceed to exterminate countless other "collaterally damaged" civilians, all that the US will need to do is print a few more million to wash its - and that of the "free and democratic world" - conscience, and all shall be well in all future cases.
“Capitalism is not primarily an incentive system but an information system.” Prices are the information. And the price of time itself is the single most valuable piece of information. Time, as we intuitively know, is money; they are two sides of the same coin. Mess with time and money, and you mess with everything else. Yet as with central planning in general, the central planning of either money, or time, cannot possibly work. Hayek warned the economics profession of precisely this in the 1970s. They didn’t listen, ensconced as they still remain within their interventionist Keynesian paradigm. Well that paradigm is about to be blown apart, time and money are about to return to the market, where they belong, and real, sustainable economic progress is about to restart once again.
The phrase “crossing the Rubicon” has stuck for more than 2,000 years, signifying a risky and dangerous point of no return. This week, the United States government crossed the Rubicon. In a fit of complete arrogance, a federal judge ruled that he has ‘jurisdiction’ over one of the biggest banks in mainland China, Bank of China (BOC), and demands that the bank turn over financial records to his court.
Forget Norway. Japan. Iceland. Switzerland. Or any of the other places around the world that are notorious for being painful on the wallet. Venezuela is now the most expensive country in the world, hands down. To give you an idea, the cost of a 15-minute taxi ride to the beach yesterday afternoon totaled an eye-popping $158.
"The data are positive for the probability of the yuan getting into the SDR basket. It shows that the so-called devaluation in August, which wasn’t massive in value, hasn’t driven people away from using the yuan."
"This is a monetary moment... we are looking at the beginning of the world’s reappraisal of the words and deeds of central bankers like Janet Yellen and Mario Draghi. You see monetary disorder manifested in super low interest rates, in the mispricing of credit broadly and you see it in the escalation of radical monetary nastrums that are floating out of the various central banks and established temples of thought: Negative real rates, negative nominal rates and the idea of helicopter money. So you need some hedge against things not going according to the script and that makes gold and gold mining equities terrifically interesting now."
"... this time we would see deeply negative interest rates in the US (and Europe). Sweden has led the way, dipping their toe below the water line with their current -0.35% policy rates but there will be more, much more along these lines. For if -0.35% is possible, why not - 3.5% or less? It goes without saying that deeply negative interest rates would be accompanied by a massively expanded QE4 in the US. The last seven years of exploding central bank balance sheets will seem like Bundesbank monetary austerity compared to what is to come."
And just like that Weimar 2.0 is born.
After 35 years of falling and now zero rates, the direction is only up for the cost of money, as is the cost to service debt, along with the burden to those who are most indebted (i.e. the U.S.). What should no longer be unthinkable is that the clock is ticking on America’s status as the holder of the reserve currency. If you still doubt this proposition, consider that China is in the process of setting up a third benchmark for oil, along with Brent and West Texas Intermediate, for trading oil futures contracts. And unlike the existing contracts, these will be traded in Renminbi. Who needs the dollar?
Most economists and financial analysts think that 'currency war' merely refers to the competitive devaluations that nations sometimes engage in to help boost their domestic economies, as they had done in the 1930's for example. This time the currency war is a much more profound confrontation of differing agendas revolving around the historically unusual role of the US dollar, based on nothing more than the will of the Federal Reserve and the 'full faith and credit' of the US, as the reserve currency for global central banks and international trade.
What can we expect to happen in our homeland when finally even the generally uninformed population also understands that governments they have elected for decades, and its Fed facilitator or controller, jointly have waged a century-long war on its citizens? The people of America cannot make a counter offensive similar to those of sovereign nations; however people are uniting in resistance to robber baron policies, as evidenced by the popularity of nonpoliticians currently in candidacy for the office of president. These troops will mass also, it just remains to be seen what form their eventual counter offensive will be. The established order will be challenged.
Perception is everything in contemporary economics and the Fed is the center of perception; the medium has become the message. The truth is more this: the Fed no longer reacts to the waxing and waning of animal spirit-led demand. In the current monetary regime it exists to create and maintain animal spirits with a secular policy centered on ever-expanding credit, but it is very aware that admitting it’s centrality would defeat its purpose.
We’re seeing a shift in the world’s dominant superpower at the exact same time there’s a shift in the global financial system, and reserve currency, and game-changing technology. And even more trends that we haven’t even discussed. The convergence of all of these trends at the same moment is the MEGA-trend. The last time this happened was... never.
Who would have thought that decades of ZIRP, an aborted attempt to hike rates over a decade ago, and the annual monetization of well over 10% of sovereign debt would lead to a toxic debt spiral, regardless of how many "Abenomics" arrows one throws at it? Apparently Standard and Poors just had its a-ha subprime flashbulb moment and moments ago, a little over 4 years after it downgraded the US from its legendary AAA-rating which led to angry phone calls from Tim Geithner and a painful US government lawsuit, downgraded Japan from AA- to A+. The reason: rising doubt Abenomics is working.