en Guest Post: What Americans Celebrate On Thanksgiving Day <p><a href=""><em>Authored by Paul Craig Roberts,</em></a></p> <p><strong>When Americans celebrate Thanksgiving, they don&rsquo;t know what they are celebrating.</strong></p> <p>In American folklore, Thanksgiving is a holiday that originated in 1621 with the Pilgrims celebrating a good harvest. Some historians say that this event is poorly documented, and others believe that the Thanksgiving tradition travelled to the New World with the Pilgrims and Puritans who brought with them the English Days of Thanksgiving. Other historians think the Pilgrims associated their relief from hunger with their observance of the relief of the siege of Leiden.</p> <p>The Pilgrims&rsquo; Thanksgiving, if it happened, might not have been the first in the New World. Historians say the Virginia colonial charter declared a Day of Thanksgiving in 1619, and other historians say the first Thanksgiving was observed by the Spanish in Florida in 1565.</p> <p><strong>Apparently, the different English colonies and later American states each had their own day of Thanksgiving, if they had one. Abraham Lincoln tried to make Thanksgiving a national holiday in 1863, but the country was divided by the War of Northern Aggression.</strong></p> <p>Thanksgiving became a national holiday with the completion of the Reconstruction of the South after the War of Northern Aggression and the extermination of the Plains Indians by the Union generals in the 1870s. This taints Thanksgiving as a celebration of the preservation and expansion of the American Empire and accurately reflects the goal of the political forces behind Lincoln.</p> <p><strong>Today, Thanksgiving is simply known as &ldquo;Turkey Day&rdquo; and a time of retail sales. But as you eat your Thanksgiving meal, contemplate that what you are really celebrating is an Empire rooted in war crimes. If Lincoln had lost, and if there had been at that time a Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal, Lincoln, Grant, Sherman, and Sheridan would have been hung as war criminals.</strong></p> <p>Sheridan was probably the worst of the lot. His war crimes against the South, especially those he committed in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, must have been forgotten by Southerns who vote Republican, the Party of Lincoln and Sheridan. But Sheridan&rsquo;s crimes against the Indians were worse. He attacked the Indians in their winter quarters, destroying their food supplies, and sent professional hunters to exterminate the Buffalo, declaring: &ldquo;Let them kill until the buffalo is exterminated,&rdquo; thus depriving the Plains Indians of their main food source.</p> <p>Considering the enormity of the Republican Party&rsquo;s crimes against the South, it is a testament to the forgetfulness of people that Southerners vote Republican. Sheridan expressed well the Republican attitude toward the South, declaring on several occasions that &ldquo;if I owned Texas and Hell, I would rent Texas and live in Hell.&rdquo;</p> <p>In the 1870s when Democrats won elections in Louisiana, Sheridan, who had power over the state, declared the Democrats to be bandits who would be subjected to his military tribunals.</p> <p>Sheridan graduated near the bottom of his West Point Class, but his immorality and viciousness propelled him to the rank of Commanding General of the US Army. Today he would delight in the endless US bombings of women and children in seven countries.</p> <p><em><u><strong>Note: </strong></u>The War of Northern Aggression is the South&rsquo;s description for what those dedicated to preserving the Union called the Civil War. The South&rsquo;s term seems more correct. The Union forces invaded the South. A Civil War occurs when contending parties engage in violence for control of the government. But the Southern states were not contending for control of the US government; they exercised their right of self-determination and withdrew from the union into which they had voluntarily entered. It was an act of secession based in divergent economic interests between an export agricultural economy in the South and a rising industrial economy in the North in need of protective tariffs. The Southern secession was not an act of war for control over the government in Washington.</em></p> <p><em><strong>Unionists saw secession as a threat to empire.</strong> Another country could be a contender for the lands to the West. In his books, The Real Lincoln and Lincoln Unmasked, Thomas DiLorenzo makes a case that the War of Northern Aggression was waged in behalf of empire. He quotes Lincoln to the effect that he would preserve slavery if it would preserve the Union, and, if memory serves, DiLorenzo quotes Lincoln&rsquo;s generals advising him not to throw a bone to abolitionists by saying it was a war to end slavery or much of the Union army would desert.</em></p> <p><em><strong>Today Americans think of themselves as citizens of the United States. But in 1860 people thought of themselves as citizens of states.</strong> When Robert E. Lee was offered a top command in the Union army, he declined on the grounds that he could not draw his sword on his native state of Virginia. Lincoln used the war to establish the supremacy of the central government in Washington over the states to which the Constitution had given most functions of government.</em></p> <p><em><strong>The supremacy of the central government that Lincoln established advanced the forces of empire.</strong>The &ldquo;war to end slavery,&rdquo; like the Iraq war to protect America from &ldquo;Saddam Hussein&rsquo;s weapons of mass destruction,&rdquo; looks more like fictional cover for the employment of violence in pursuit of empire than a moral crusade.</em></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="588" height="409" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Florida Guest Post Iraq Turkey Fri, 28 Nov 2014 03:00:32 +0000 Tyler Durden 498349 at NaiL GuN SaM... <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="" width="680" height="1024" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> Fri, 28 Nov 2014 02:20:37 +0000 williambanzai7 498353 at Banking At The Box Office <p>While some are already neck deep in Black Friday-eve shopping, we hope more than a few will be relaxing at home <strong>watching a movie</strong>, dozing in a tryptophanic trance... we suggest the following in preparation for tomorrow's markets...</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="600" height="669" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Source: Deutsche Bank</em></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="943" height="1051" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Deutsche Bank Fri, 28 Nov 2014 02:10:32 +0000 Tyler Durden 498348 at Irrational Exuberance – Descriptive Superlatives Exhaustion Point Is Reached <p><a href=""><em>Submitted by Pater Tenebrarum via Acting-Man blog</em></a>,</p> <h3><u><strong>Positioning Indicators at new Extremes</strong></u></h3> <p>We are updating our suite of sentiment data again, mainly because it is so fascinating that a historically rarely seen bullish consensus has emerged &ndash; <em>after </em>a rally that has taken the SPX up by slightly over 210% from its low. Admittedly, a slew of such records has occurred in the course of the past year or so, and so far has not managed to derail the market in the slightest&ndash; in fact, since 2012, only a single correction has occurred that even deserves the designation &ldquo;correction&rdquo; (as opposed to &ldquo;barely noticeable dip&rdquo;).</p> <p>While a number of positioning and survey data show a bullish consensus that easily dwarfs anything that has been seen before, this consensus is not reflected in expressions of exuberance by the broader public. &ldquo;Anecdotal&rdquo; sentiment seems more cautious and skeptical than the quantitatively measurable kind. Most likely this is because the vast bulk of the middle class has been so thoroughly fleeced in the last two boom-bust sequences that it finds itself in dire straits in spite of the reemergence of major asset bubbles across a wide swathe of assets. This includes by the way an astonishing revival of the bubble in real estate prices &ndash; see e.g. this 330 square foot shack in San Francisco, which <a href="">recently sold for $765,000</a>:</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="expensive SF shack" class="aligncenter wp-image-34464" height="397" src="" width="600" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;">Yes, that tiny dark-brown thingy situated on a steep road sold for $765,000. The real estate bubble is back.</p> <p style="text-align: center;">(Photo credit: SFARMLS)</p> <p>Moreover, with the broad US money supply (TMS-2) having nearly doubled since 2008 and other major central banks inflating their money supply as well at breakneck speed, there has been more than enough &ldquo;tinder&rdquo; provided the world over to drive asset prices higher. This by the way makes a complete mockery of the constant refrain of central bankers that we are allegedly threatened by &ldquo;deflation&rdquo;. The inflationary effects of their monetary pumping are simply showing up in asset prices rather than consumer goods prices &ndash; <em>ceteris paribus</em>, a rapid inflation of the money supply <em>always</em> leads to prices rising<em> somewhere </em>in the economy.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h3><u><strong>Bubble Trouble</strong></u></h3> <p>There is of course a &ldquo;danger&rdquo; that this asset price bubble will burst rather spectacularly once monetary inflation slows down sufficiently (it will probably never be reversed again in our lifetime, but a slowdown is already underway). In light of the current rare extremes in positioning, sentiment and leverage, the eventual denouement of the current bubble should be a real doozy. Note that in every respect one can possibly think of &ndash; with the sole exception of household debt &ndash; systemic leverage is at new all time highs (not only in absolute terms, but relative to everything, including the size of the known universe), and is likewise positively dwarfing anything that has occurred before.</p> <p>Specifically relevant for financial markets are record highs in margin debt, record highs in hedge fund leverage, as well as record issuance of junk debt in recent years, which in turn has given rise to systemic leverage once again vastly increasing in the credit markets on the part of investors as well. To the latter point, note that financial engineering that is specifically aimed at enabling the taking of extremely leveraged positions is back with a vengeance as well &ndash; however, at the same time, the markets for the underlying debt instruments have become quite illiquid due to new banking regulations that hinder proprietary trading activities by banks (for a more detailed discussion of these topics see &ldquo;<a href="">A Dangerous Boom in Unsound Corporate Debt</a>&rdquo; and &ldquo;<a href="">Comforting Myths About High Yield Debt</a>&rdquo;).</p> <p>In light of all these considerations, it is truly remarkable how little concern there is. Even former skeptic Hugh Hendry is these days talking about the alleged &ldquo;omnipotence of central banks&rdquo; which money managers are forced to surrender to (this view strikes us actually as an example of the &ldquo;<a href="">potent directors fallacy</a>&rdquo; &ndash; see also <a href="">this comment by EWI</a> on the topic). While we certainly have some understanding for his perspective &ndash; after all, as a fund manager, he cannot afford to &ldquo;miss&rdquo; an asset boom, or he will soon be out of a job &ndash; we do think he may be underestimating the potential for a capsizing of the happy ship that could well happen in an unseemly hurry, for currently unanticipated reasons. With &ldquo;reasons&rdquo; we actually mean &ldquo;triggers&rdquo; &ndash; the <em>reasons</em> are already discernible and perfectly clear: we listed most of them above. All that is still needed is a trigger that alters the perceptions of a critical mass of observer-participants.</p> <p>In short, bubbles don&rsquo;t burst <em>because</em> of a &ldquo;black swan&rdquo;: rather the swan &ndash; often a combination of events that makes it impossible to identify a single trigger &ndash; is a diffuse trigger mechanism that sets into motion what is already preordained. It is the famous &ldquo;one grain too many&rdquo; that is put atop a giant sand pile &ndash; however, it is the sand pile that is the problem, not the one grain. This is also why precise timing of a bubble&rsquo;s demise is so difficult &ndash; it is unknowable what exactly will actually lead to the change in perceptions that ultimately provokes the unwinding of the leverage that has been built up.</p> <p>At some point down the road, a Zimbabwe or Venezuela type very rapid devaluation of money may emerge. In this case asset prices would become <em>solely</em> a function of monetary debasement. It is important though to keep in mind that things don&rsquo;t just move from the present state to the Venezuela type state from one day to the next &ndash; not to mention that it may not happen at all, if central banks in developed nations alter their policies in time. Assuming for argument&rsquo;s sake though that it <em>does</em> eventually happen, there will still be an interim phase during which monetary debasement will e.g. alter the perceptions of stock market investors regarding the multiples they should pay for corporate earnings. This is what happened e.g. in the 1970s: multiples contracted into single digit territory, because market participants decided that the future stream of earnings would be less valuable in real terms, and thus deserved a commensurate discount.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h3><u><strong>Sentiment Data</strong></u></h3> <p>Let us move on now to our suite of data. We have on purpose decided to follow a number of data points that relatively few people usually look at, in the hope that they may therefore be slightly more meaningful. Below we show three different views of Rydex data. The first chart shows the Rydex ratio in the form (bear+money market fund assets)/bull assets, as well as the disaggregated bear, MM fund and bull assets. It is noteworthy that the ratio of bears plus fence sitters to bulls has now also declined to a new all time low (the chart is inverted).</p> <p>The second chart shows a more detailed view of money market and bear assets, plus the &ldquo;pure&rdquo; bull/bear asset ratio. The latter has made a remarkable move in recent weeks &ndash; it has gone straight up without even the slightest correction, as assets deployed in bull funds have exploded higher. In terms of this data series it represents the most extreme expression of a bullish consensus ever.</p> <p>Next comes the leveraged bull/bear fund ratio, which compares assets in Rydex funds that employ leverage. Almost needless to say, it is at an all time high as well, but what is most remarkable about it is that it has spent more than a year in &ldquo;excessive optimism&rdquo; territory. This by the way goes to show that these data are <em>not very useful for timing purposes</em>. What they <em>are</em> useful for is this: the more time they spend in extreme territory, the more profound the move in the opposite direction is likely to be once it gets going.</p> <p>Similar considerations apply to the Investor&rsquo;s Intelligence survey and the mutual fund cash-to-assets ratio which come next. We show a very long term chart of the latter &ndash; what is noteworthy is the big difference in fund manager positioning and sentiment during the period beginning in 2000 compared to the secular bear market that lasted from 1968 to 1982. The latter was characterized by extreme fear and caution, while the period since the 2000 tech mania peak shows a remarkable degree of complacency (again, we think this is quite meaningful for the <em>long term</em> outlook).</p> <p>Lastly we also update the still growing divergences between junk debt ETFs and credit spreads versus the SPX.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="" target="_blank"><img alt="1-RYDEX-1" class="aligncenter wp-image-34457" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 623px;" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;">Rydex: the (bear + MM funds)/bull funds asset ratio has now also hit a new all time low. This was mainly due to a huge surge in bull assets (which have increased roughly by one third in the 6 weeks since the October correction low) &ndash; click to enlarge.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="" target="_blank"><img alt="2-RYDEX-2" class="aligncenter wp-image-34458" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 1062px;" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;">A closer look at money market funds, bear assets and the &ldquo;pure&rdquo; bull/bear asset ratio. The latter has just made a truly stunning move. Nothing comparable has ever happened before &ndash; click to enlarge.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="" target="_blank"><img alt="3-Rydex leveraged" class="aligncenter wp-image-34459" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 373px;" /></a><br />The leveraged Rydex bull/bear asset ratio &ndash; in &ldquo;extreme optimism&rdquo; territory for more than a year, and currently at a new all time high &ndash; click to enlarge.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="" target="_blank"><img alt="4-II-survey" class="aligncenter wp-image-34460" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 461px;" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;">The Investor&rsquo;s Intelligence survey. The bull/bear ratio has failed to return to the 27 year high hit earlier this year twice in succession, but the bear percentage has fallen back to 14.9% &ndash; only slightly above the all time low of 13.3% recorded earlier this year &ndash; click to enlarge.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="" target="_blank"><img alt="5-mutual fund cash" class="aligncenter wp-image-34462" src="" style="width: 599px; height: 375px;" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;">The mutual fund cash-to-assets ratio. Compare the secular bear market of 1968-1982 with the period since the year 2000 tech bubble peak. Fear and caution have been replaced by utter complacency. This is likely telling us something about what to expect in the long term &ndash; click to enlarge.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="" target="_blank"><img alt="6-JNK-SPX" class="aligncenter wp-image-34463" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 1062px;" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;">Junk debt (represented by the JNK ETF) compared to government debt and the SPX. Credit spreads are widening and the divergence with the stock market keeps growing &ndash; click to enlarge.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h3><u><strong>Conclusion &ndash; Real Wealth Undermined:</strong></u></h3> <p>As noted in the title to this post, in some respects we&rsquo;re in danger of running out of appropriate descriptive superlatives for the current bout of &ldquo;irrational exuberance&rdquo; (we&rsquo;re open for suggestions). The current asset bubble is in many respects reminiscent of the late 1990s tech bubble, but it also differs from it in a number of ways. <strong>One of the major differences is that the exuberance recorded in the data is largely confined to professional investors</strong>, while the broader public is still licking its wounds from the demise of the previous two asset bubbles and remains largely disengaged (although this has actually changed a bit this year).</p> <p><strong>A few additional remarks regarding the alleged &ldquo;omnipotence&rdquo; of central banks: </strong>monetary pumping certainly has the power to distort prices across the economy, which includes inflating the prices of titles to capital. However, at some point there will be a stark choice &ndash; either the pumping is abandoned voluntarily, or one risks the destruction of the underlying currency system.</p> <p>Moreover, there is another limiting factor in play, which doesn&rsquo;t get as much attention as it probably deserves.<strong> Monetary pumping merely <em>redistributes</em> existing real wealth (no additional wealth can be created by money printing) and falsifies economic calculation.</strong> This in turn distorts the economy&rsquo;s production structure and leads to capital consumption, thus the foundation of real wealth that allows the policy to seemingly &ldquo;work&rdquo; is consistently undermined. At some point, the economy&rsquo;s pool of real funding will be in grave trouble (in fact, there are a number of signs that this is already the case). Widespread recognition of such a development can lead to the demise of an asset bubble as well.</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="500" height="482" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Bear Market Black Swan Central Banks High Yield Hugh Hendry Hugh Hendry Irrational Exuberance Money Supply Real estate Rydex Fri, 28 Nov 2014 01:20:32 +0000 Tyler Durden 498347 at "Panicking" Ukrainians Face Soaring Prices, Warn "Inflation Is War" <p><a href="">With Ukraine, according to President Poroshenko, on the verge of World War III,</a> it appears the people of the divided nation face another all too familiar war... on their living standards. As Hyrvnia continues to collapse to record-er lows, <strong>Ukraine's Central Bank warns of further stress and FX (think USDollar or EUR) demand because the "population is in panic."</strong> With a 19.8% inflation rate last month and a 48% devaluation in the currency this year, <a href="">Bloomberg reports</a> the costs of imported goods from gasoline to fruit and from medicine to meat is soaring. One store-owner reflected that she "feels the hryvnia devaluation everywhere," and another noted "I can't imagine how people survive on a single pension. We can’t even go to the drug store. We try to use herbs instead." The Central bank expects inflation to keep rising (having previously <strong>peaked at 10,256% in 1993</strong> as the Soviet economy was dismantled). <strong><em>"Inflation is the same as the war," warns one analyst, "it may lead to protests if people blame the authorities for failing to conduct proper policies."</em></strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="" width="600" height="315" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href=""><em>As Bloomberg reports,</em></a></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>[Ukrainians] are cutting back because of this year’s 48 percent plunge in the hryvnia, a decline that’s eroded purchasing power. The inflation rate spiked to 19.8 percent last month as the currency’s slide boosted the costs of imported goods from gasoline to fruit.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>...</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Valentyna is thankful for the two pensions she and her husband share, even if <strong>Ukraine’s inflation shock means they’re no longer enough to buy medicine and meat.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“We have some potatoes, tomatoes and cucumbers from our dacha,” said the 72-year-old pensioner as she made her way through the city of Zhytomyr, a two-hour bus ride west of Kiev. “I can’t imagine how people survive on a single pension. We can’t even go to the drug store. We try to use herbs instead.”</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>...</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>“I watch the dollar rate all the time because for me it’s the best indicator of poverty,” said the 29-year-old mother of a son in first grade. “I buy less sweets and fruit because of the astronomical costs. We used to save some money. Now, we can’t save anything.”</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>It's gonna get worse...</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Inflation will probably speed up to 25 percent this year, compared with the 19 percent forecast earlier, central bank Governor Valeriya Gontareva said today.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Ukrainians are no strangers to inflation. <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Price growth peaked at 10,256 percent in 1993 as the Soviet economy was dismantled.</strong></span> Having subsided, the rate jumped to 31.3 percent in 2008, shortly before the hryvnia last sank.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>...</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>“I’m ready to tolerate the current economic situation as long as the war is on,”</strong> said Hanna Hryhoriyeva, 67, a teacher at a culinary college who backed the protests’ anti-corruption message. <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>“I won’t go onto the streets tomorrow because of inflation and the devaluation but my patience isn’t infinite.”</strong></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Others are less understanding.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Valya, a pensioner who declined to give her last name, said she’d just bought 2 kilograms (4.4 pounds) of grain that should last a month, along with potatoes and beetroot from the market. While she doesn’t drink alcohol or smoke, she can’t afford the bus to visit relatives’ graves in the Lviv region.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“Glory to Ukraine?” said Valya, 76, referring to a slogan of the street uprising<strong>. “Glory for what? Higher prices? The war? We’re just tolerating the authorities.”</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>And may end badly...</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>“Inflation is the same as the war,” Valchyshen said. “It may lead to protests if people blame the authorities for failing to conduct proper policies.”</strong></span></p> </blockquote> <p>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *</p> <p>Is it any wonder Poroshenko is talking up the war and hoping for more aid/loans from The West to subordinate his nation...</p> <p>And then this happens...</p> <ul> <li><strong>*MEDVEDEV, YATSENYUK TALKED ABOUT FINANCIAL-ECONOMY TIES</strong></li> <li>Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Thursday held a phone conversation with Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, the Russian government press service reported Thursday.</li> <li><strong>“Medvedev and Yatsenyuk discussed issues of financial-economic cooperation between the two countries,” the statement said.</strong></li> </ul> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="1267" height="666" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Purchasing Power Ukraine Fri, 28 Nov 2014 00:30:32 +0000 Tyler Durden 498346 at 5 Things To Ponder: Tryptophan Induced Coma <p><em>Submitted by Lance Roberts of STA Wealth Management,</em></p> <p><em>Since this is Thanksgiving, I want to offer my thanks to you for your readership over the past year. Your comments, suggestions, and debates have been a great source of education and affirmation for me. Thank you.</em></p> <p>As we prepare for the annual food fest, and post-Thanksgiving tryptophan-induced food coma; I thought this weekend&#39;s reading list should be a bit of a smorgasbord of interesting topics to stimulate your brain cells between naps and football.</p> <p><span>Have a happy and safe, if you are traveling, Thanksgiving holiday and many blessings to you and your families. </span></p> <hr /> <p><u><strong>1) Q3 GDP Upside Revision Was Nonsense</strong></u></p> <p><span>I have written for some time that the real economy has diverged from the governmental reports which have been subjected to mass torturing of the underlying data. The latest report on GDP was just the latest example of the impact of statistical data revisions and seasonal adjustments.</span></p> <p>The latest quarter was sharply boosted by an <strong>undisclosed Revision to Prior Quarter. </strong>The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) reported its second estimate of third-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) growth at 3.9%, up from initial reporting of 3.5%. This was against an unrevised 4.6% pace of second-quarter growth. Importantly, once the third estimate of any quarter is in place, the number is not revised again except for annual benchmark revisions.</p> <p>That restriction, however, does not apply to the GDP&rsquo;s accounting-equivalent counterpart, gross domestic income (GDI), <strong>which goes through three revisions</strong>. The majority of the latest headline growth in GDI was due to <strong>a sharp-downside revision to second-quarter growth</strong>, which is suggestive that second quarter GDP was also likely sharply slower than previously estimated.</p> <p><a class="highslide ageent-ru" href="" target="_blank" title="GDI-112614"><img alt="GDI-112614" class="i_want_img5" src="" style="height: 350px; width: 599px;" /></a></p> <p>This would correspond with much of the recent economic data such as industrial production, personal spending, and durable goods which have all been consistently weaker than estimated.</p> <p><u><strong>The Mystery Of Surging Q3 GDP - Americans Are $80 Billion &quot;Poorer&quot; </strong></u><a href="">via ZeroHedge</a></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&quot;The final major datapoint of the day was the Consumer Income and Spending data from the US Dept of Commerce&#39;s Bureau of Economic Analysis, the same outfit that yesterday shocked everyone with just how much better US GDP was. Well, today, we learned just where the offset came from. Because while on the surface, both income (+0.2%) and spending (+0.2%) missed expectations of a 0.4% and 0.3%, respectively.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>There are some rather massive variations between what the BEA reported a month ago, and what it reported today, as relates to all the data issued since March. To wit:</p> </blockquote> <p><a class="highslide ageent-ru" href="" target="_blank" title="Zero-hedge-DPI-112614"><img alt="Zero-hedge-DPI-112614" class="i_want_img5" src="" style="height: 352px; width: 600px;" /></a></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>Essentially, the just reported Disposable Personal Income print of $13.109 trillion as of the end of October, <strong>is where according to the old, unrevised data US household income was sometime in August. </strong>Whatever happened to two months of income? In order to <em>&#39;suggest&#39;</em> that the US economy had grown by a far greater than expected run-rate, the BEA was forced to revise away personal income, and &quot;assume&quot; these had instead been invested in the US economy, <strong>in the form of a surge of durable goods purchases.</strong>&quot;</p> </blockquote> <p>The problem with the assumption by the BEA that savings went into durable goods purchases is that just reported durable goods ex-transportation just collapsed by -0.9% in October. Core capital goods fell by 1.3% in October after falling 1.32% in September. As shown in the chart below, the decline in durable goods will likely be reflected by a downwardly revised Q3-GDP number next month.</p> <p><a class="highslide ageent-ru" href="" target="_blank" title="Durable-CoreCapital-Goods-112614"><img alt="Durable-CoreCapital-Goods-112614" class="i_want_img5" src="" style="height: 348px; width: 600px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><u><strong>2) 2015 Is Shaping Up To Be A Turkey </strong></u><a href="">by Paul Kasriel via The Econotrarian Blog</a></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&quot;If relatively robust growth in thin-air credit was a major factor accounting for 2014&rsquo;s bountiful U.S. economic harvest, as I believe it was, then 2015&rsquo;s &ldquo;harvest&rdquo; is likely to be considerably less bountiful. Growth in thin-air credit has already begun to decelerate and is on course to further decelerate in 2015. As mentioned above, the Fed curtailed its purchases of securities more aggressively than I had reckoned a year ago and ended its purchase program in October 2014. Although bank credit has grown considerably faster than I had anticipated, it is not fast enough to compensate for the slowdown in the growth of Fed thin-air credit.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Plotted in the chart below are actual and projected monthly observations of year-over-year percent changes in the sum of commercial bank credit and reserves held by these banks and other depository institutions at the Federal Reserve.</p> <p>But the dominant factor affecting the U.S. economy in 2015 will be below-normal growth in U.S. thin-air credit. So, as you gather your family around you on Thursday, November 27, to give thanks for our bountiful 2014 economic harvest, bear in mind that next year&rsquo;s harvest is likely to be a &#39;turkey&#39; in comparison.&quot;</p> </blockquote> <p><a class="highslide ageent-ru" href="" target="_blank" title="Econotrarian-112614"><img alt="Econotrarian-112614" class="i_want_img5" src="" style="width: 599px; height: 439px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span><u><strong>3) The Mistakes We Make And Why We Make Them</strong></u> <a href="">by Meir Statman via WSJ</a></span></p> <ul> <li><span>&nbsp;Goldman Sachs Is Faster Than You</span></li> <li>The Future Is Not The Past &amp; Hindsight Is Not Foresight</li> <li>Take The Pain Of Regret Today And Feel The Joy Of Pride Tomorrow</li> <li>Investment Success Stories Are Misleading</li> <li>Neither Fear Nor Exuberance Are Good Investment Guides</li> <li>Wealth Makes Us Happy, Wealth Increases Make Us Happier</li> <li>I&#39;ve Only Lost My Childrens Inheritance</li> <li>Dollar-Cost Averaging Is Not Rational</li> </ul> <p><strong><span style="color: #dc0000;">Also Read:</span> 7-Simple Things that Most Investors Don&#39;t Do </strong><a href="">by Ben Carlson via Wealth Of Common Sense</a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span><u><strong>4) Humorous: How Turkey&#39;s Predict Global Market Crashes</strong></u> <a href=";task=items.edit&amp;cid=2513">via Political Calculations</a></span></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><span>&quot;As you can see in our carefully calibrated chart above, whenever the value of the MSCI World index has exceeded the equivalent live weight of an average farm-raised turkey in the U.S., the index went on to either stagnate or crash. And in 2014, the value of the the MSCI World Stock Market Index has once again exceeded that key threshold, which can only mean one thing.... The climate for investors has changed, and it&#39;s time to sell!&quot;</span></p> </blockquote> <p><span><a class="highslide ageent-ru" href="" target="_blank" title="Political-Calc-Turkeys-112614"><img alt="Political-Calc-Turkeys-112614" class="i_want_img5" src="" style="height: 436px; width: 601px;" /></a></span></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><span>&quot;And if they try to tell you that doesn&#39;t make any real sense, you should hold firm and tell them that the correlation is really strong (the R&sup2; is 0.9616), which means that <strong>the science is settled and that they really shouldn&#39;t want to be some kind of climate change science denier.&quot;</strong></span></p> </blockquote> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span><u><strong>5) Another Year Of Christmas &quot;Cold Feet&quot;</strong></u> <a href="">by Jeffrey Snider via Alhambra Partners</a></span></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><span>&quot;The <a href="" target="_blank">current release from Gallup</a> shows exactly that, another collapse in spending plans, this year from $781 all the way down to just $720; an 8% drop. That wasn&rsquo;t all that much better than 2013, which saw an October/November drop from $786 down to that $704.&quot;</span></p> </blockquote> <p><span><a class="highslide ageent-ru" href="" target="_blank" title="Gallup-Spending-112614"><img alt="Gallup-Spending-112614" class="i_want_img5" height="320" src="" width="468" /></a></span></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><span>&quot;Instead, that optimism is cast directly against the sinking tide of the post-2012 slowdown that is not an anomaly but <a href="" target="_blank">a global trend</a> that does exist even <em>inside the US</em>. The fact that Brazil and China are in such desperate positions is not independent of a US recovery, but very much related, as shown by this persistent and persisting drag of consumption, to faltering US growth. That is unfortunately sharpened by price changes in 2014 which are more severe than both 2013 and what is being measured by official metrics. When revenue is expanding solely on price changes (or more dependent on prices), volume is thus axiomatically shrinking. To some that looks like recovery, but in the real global economy that is growing trouble.&quot;</span></p> </blockquote> <p><span><strong><span style="color: #dc0000;">After Pumpkin Pie Read:</span> Did The Fed Save Us From A &quot;Liquidity Trap?&quot; </strong><a href=";category=MarketCommentary&amp;newsletterid=1790&amp;menugroup=Home">by Comstock Partners</a></span></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><span>&quot;There have been a number of very sophisticated economists who recently made some presentations on the financial networks discussing just how effective the Federal Reserve was in being able to avoid a &ldquo;liquidity trap&rdquo;. One economist in particular used the avoidance of a &#39;liquidity trap&#39; a number of times as he praised the Fed.</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>This global deflationary environment has resulted in a Central Bank &ldquo;bubble&rdquo; that we believe will end badly both here and abroad! The reason for this difficult deflationary environment all over the world is explained very well in The Geneva report titled &quot;Deleveraging, What Deleveraging?&quot;&nbsp; It explains that,&nbsp;most believed that the 2008 crash (caused by the debt explosion) would result in deleveraging.&nbsp;But, instead, due mostly by government spending, worldwide debt grew rapidly. </span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span><strong>According to the report, global debt as a percentage of GDP has risen 36 percentage points since 2008, to a record 212%.&quot;</strong></span></p> </blockquote> <p><span><strong><span style="color: #dc0000;">After A Second Slice Of Pumpkin Pie Read:</span> Millenial Investors Shouldn&#39;t Trust The Market </strong><a href="">by Meb Faber</a></span></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&quot;Is that because Millenials are slacker morons? &nbsp;Or are they actually&nbsp;justified in their distrust?</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The article mentions the benefit of time to starting early as an investor, as well as the fact that the market has returned about 6.8% real per year since 1871 as a reason investors should stay the course with stocks <em>(since 1900 the number is 5.8% and worldwide closer to 5%)</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>But here&rsquo;s the problem &ndash; <strong>it greatly matters what you pay when you start.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>The problem is, of course, where we are now with a CAPE ratio of 26.5. &nbsp;I would argue Millenials are actually smarter than they look and that they are correct&nbsp;in avoiding stocks. &nbsp;That is depressing but is the unfortunate reality.&quot;</strong></p> </blockquote> <hr /> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div> <p style="text-align: center;">&quot;I celebrated Thanksgiving the old-fashioned way. I invited everyone in my neighborhood to my house, we had an enormous feast, then I killed them and took their land&rdquo; ? Jon Stewart</p> </blockquote> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="//" width="560"></iframe>Happy Thanksgiving!!</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="588" height="409" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Brazil China Federal Reserve Gallup Global Economy Goldman Sachs goldman sachs Gross Domestic Product Jon Stewart Personal Income Reality recovery Turkey Thu, 27 Nov 2014 23:50:32 +0000 Tyler Durden 498345 at Thankful For Inflation? Turkey Day Dinner Is Up 6,000% Since 1909 <p>While not hyperinflating, the <strong>slow and insidious diminishment</strong> of the fiat US Dollar&#39;s purchasing power <em>(and thus the living standards of lower- and middle-class Americans - who are not balls deep invested in the US stock &#39;market&#39;)</em> is nowhere more evident than in the soaring costs of Thanksgiving Day dinner during the Fed&#39;s 100 year reign...</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 450px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>In 1909... Thanksgiving Day Dinner cost $0.50...</strong></span></p> <p><a href=""><img height="916" src="" width="501" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href=""><strong>In 2014... Thanksgiving Day Dinner costs $30.00</strong></a></p> <p><a href=""><img height="629" src="" width="500" /></a></p> <p><u><strong>This works out at 3.98% annual inflation rate - almost double the Fed&#39;s proposed price stability optimum of 2%... over a century...</strong></u></p> <p>Be careful what inflation you wish for.</p> <p>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Of course these are hotel prices - the cost at home is considerably less:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>According to the American Farm Bureau Federation&#39;s (AFBF) latest price survey, the average cost of a classic Thanksgiving dinner for 10 people this year -- with all the fixings - will come to $49.41, or up 37 cents from last year.</p> </blockquote> <p>Suggesting labor costs have soared? But even eat-at-home Thanksgiving Day Dinner costs have soared since 1986...</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 374px;" /></a></p> <p>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *</p> <p>We are thankful for the increasing numbers of US citizens disillusioned with The Fed&#39;s grand theft...</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="835" height="751" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Purchasing Power Turkey Thu, 27 Nov 2014 22:50:32 +0000 Tyler Durden 498344 at "Gold Is A 6,000 Year Old Bubble" - Citi's Dutch Strategist Throws Up All Over Gold, Days After Dutch Gold Repatriation <p>Citigroup may have been unable to prevent the Netherlands from repatriating some 122 tons of "<em>a fiat commodity currency with insignificant intrinsic value</em>", or in the words of Ben Bernanke, "tradition", but it sure won't stop that erudite expert on the timing of Greece's exit from the Eurozone, Willem Buiter, from doing all in his power to throw up all over the "fiat currency" known as gold. So with Buiter no longer predicting with certainly just which month in <span style="text-decoration: line-through;">2010</span>, <span style="text-decoration: line-through;">2011</span>, 2012 Grexit will take place, here are his bullet points that make readers scratch their heads in wonder:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Gold is a fiat commodity currency (with insignificant intrinsic value).</strong></li> <li><strong>Bitcoin is a fiat virtual peer-to-peer currency (without intrinsic value).</strong></li> <li><strong>Gold and Bitcoin are costly to produce and store.</strong></li> <li><strong>Gold as an asset is equivalent to shiny Bitcoin.</strong></li> <li><strong>Central bank fiat paper currency and fiat electronic currency are socially superior to gold and Bitcoin as currencies and assets.</strong></li> <li><strong>There is no economic or financial case for a central bank to hold any single commodity, even if this commodity had intrinsic value.</strong></li> <li><strong>Forbidding a central bank from ever selling any gold it owns reduces the value of those gold holdings to zero</strong></li> </ul> <p>Scratching... because some may ask if gold is indeed such a worthless insignificant "fiat currency" (don't ask), then why just two months ago, <a href="">did Citibank rush </a>to be "reclassified as a spot Market Making Member of the London Bullion Market Association with effect from today, 25th September, 2014... In order to qualify as a LBMA Market Maker, a company must offer two-way quotations in both gold and silver to the other Market Makers throughout the London business day." Could it be that gold actually has some value to Citi, if nothing else than pocketing commissions from traders, now that the bank's rigging of everything from Libor, to FX to, drumroll, gold, is no longer possible? </p> <p>Here are some of the more amusing punchlines from Citi in its blitz-propaganda campaign aimed at the undecideds in the Swiss gold referendum:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>On November 30th, 2014, the Swiss will vote in a referendum on a popular initiative 'Save our Swiss gold' (henceforth the Gold Initiative). If the Gold Initiative passes three consequences follow: (1) the Swiss National Bank (the SNB) must hold 20% of its assets as gold, (2) the SNB has to repatriate the 30% of its official gold stock that is now held abroad by the Bank of England and Bank of Canada and has to physically hold all its gold in Switzerland, and (3) the SNB may never sell any gold again.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Figure 1 shows the total assets of the SNB, its gold reserves and its other foreign exchange reserves, the sum of foreign currency investments, the reserve position with the IMF and international payment instruments. There is a break in the series for the value of the gold holdings and for total assets: as of 2000, gold holdings have been priced at market value. Until 1999, they were valued at the official parity price of CHF 4,596 per kilogram.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="600" height="508" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>As can be seen from Figure 1, the balance sheet of the SNB has exploded in size since it began to lean against the appreciation of the Swiss Franc by active foreign exchange interventions early in 2009. Its balance sheet at the end of September 2014 stood at 522 bn Swiss Francs, about 83% of annual GDP. On that same date, the value of its gold reserves was about 39 bn Swiss Francs, about 7.5% of the value of its total assets. That represented 1,040 metric tonnes of gold, almost 129 grams (4.5 oz.) per capita. In 2000, the SNB held 2,500 tonnes of gold and it has also been the biggest national seller since.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>If the gold initiative passes, the SNB would have to purchase at least 1,733 metric tonnes of gold to meet the 20% threshold by 2019 (based on end-of September 2014 SNB balance sheet size and gold price). The world’s annual production of gold is around 2,500 metric tons.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The price of gold, like that of any asset price, is volatile. In nominal terms it has increased spectacularly over the more than 200-year period shown in Figure 2, and especially since the end of the gold peg of the US dollar in 1971. In real terms, the increase has been somewhat less spectacular, from $10.08 in 1971 (measured in 1913 dollars) to $59.89 in 2013. The real price of gold hit $73.60 in 1980 and $73.30 in 2012, underlining the volatility of the (real) gold price. Someone who invested in gold in 1971 and held onto it for 42 years, that is, till 2013, would have achieved an annual real rate of return of 4.3 percent - reasonable given the riskiness of the asset.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="600" height="475" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Item (2) on the Gold Initiative ballot makes little sense to us. Holding all one’s physical assets in one nation means ignoring the benefits of geographic diversification of ‘custodial risk’. Item (3) is quite extraordinary because it would make the SNB’s gold holdings worthless. Making it illegal to ever sell any of the gold the central bank has now or acquires in the future and enforcing this gold sale ban effectively would make the gold useless as an international reserve. <strong>The gold stock can never be used for foreign exchange market interventions and it cannot be used as collateral. The gold becomes useless as a store of value of any kind. The gold has no consumption value to the central bank. Its value is therefore zero</strong>.</p> </blockquote> <p>Apparently the Russian, the Germans and the Dutch never got this particular memo. Ukraine however sure did... </p> <p>Yet in an attempt to at least appear somewhat objective, Buiter devotes a few hundreds words to what he views is "The good news for gold bugs":</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Since gold is a fiat commodity currency, its value will be determined largely by its attractiveness relative to other fiat currencies – the fiat paper currencies issued by central banks. Gold should not be analyzed as one of a set of intrinsically valuable commodities (silver, iron, lead, zinc, platinum, aluminum, titanium etc. etc.) <strong>but as part of a set of intrinsically useless and valueless fiat currencies – the US dollar, the yen, the Yuan, the euro, sterling, the rupee, the rouble, Bitcoin etc. etc</strong>.). It is therefore in times that market participants are nervous about the future value of most other fiat currencies that gold will be most attractive.<strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Such a time is what we are going through now</strong>. Many systemically important central banks have expanded their base money stocks and balance sheets massively. The Fed has quadrupled the size of its balance sheet. The Bank of England has more than tripled the size of its balance sheet. Many central banks have bought vast amounts of public debt. In the UK, out of the initial £375 bn of quantitative easing, almost everything was spent on gilts. Over the past two years, the Fed added $1.7 trillion to its balance sheet (which is around $4.5 trillion as of end-October 2014) through large-scale asset purchases involving Treasuries and Agency MBS.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Although in most of the developed world low-flation or even deflation is the immediate threat, there is a medium and long-term threat of much higher inflation in all countries with enlarged central bank balance sheets and the prospect of large future fiscal deficits. The great advantage to investors of gold is that, although it is not intrinsically valuable, it is very costly to increase its stock. The tap can be opened at the drop of a hat for fiat paper and electronic currency. The tap produces never more than a trickle in the case of gold.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>So when fiscal profligacy threatens price stability in some of the main industrial countries (especially the US and the UK) because the central banks in these countries may be forced to monetize both the stock and large new net flows of public debt, the one fiat money whose quantity cannot be varied at will by a monetary authority will do well. We see that with gold&nbsp; today. We also see that, to a lesser degree, in the strength of the euro. The ECB is by far the most independent of the leading central banks. It also has a heavily asymmetric de-facto interpretation of price stability: inflation is unacceptable, deflation is OK.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>So until the risk of serious inflation is removed from the medium-term outlook for the US, the UK and other fiat currencies, gold could be a relatively attractive store of value despite the cost of storing it. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>This argument, however, assumes that if paper or electronic fiat money loses its value, gold will keep its value. That is an assumption and, as I shall argue in what follows, most likely an unwarranted assumption.</p> </blockquote> <p>That's the good news to "gold bugs." And now comes the propaganda.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>An economy with fiat money can have many different equilibria. To make the point as clearly and simply as possible, consider a stationary economy. Population, endowments, technology, government spending, taxes and preferences are all constant. The government budget is balanced. Prices are flexible. There is a constant stock of fiat money (which could be paper money, gold, Rai, pet rocks, or Bitcoin). This fiat money is perfectly durable and therefore can serve as a store of value. It pays no interest. Because this fiat money exists and is&nbsp; durable, it can, in principle, be a store of value – an asset. It is may help, but is not necessary for the argument that follows to assume that, should this fiat money have positive value, society has (informally/spontaneously/collectively) decided to use it as a medium of exchange or as means of payment. It could even be legal tender.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>With a bit of further work, it can be shown that such an economy will have an equilibrium with a positive, constant price of money (a constant general price level). Economists call this the fundamental equilibrium. This stationary economy will, however, also have many other (in fact infinitely many other) non-stationary equilibria, called (speculative) bubbles. They always have equilibria in which the value of money starts at a positive value but falls steadily towards zero – the general price level rises without bound even though the quantity of money is constant. The holders of money anticipate the future inflation and thereby reduce the real stock of money balances they want to hold. <strong>This further increases the actual and expected rate of inflation, and the real stock of money balances goes to zero: the general price level goes to infinity or the price of money goes to zero. In other words, the economy becomes Zimbabwe.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>What is often ignored is that this economy has an equilibrium that is even more ‘fundamental’ than the ‘fundamental’ equilibrium with a constant positive value of money. That is the equilibrium in which the price of money is zero in every period, not just in the long run (as with the speculative inflationary bubble equilibria). Remember, fiat money, including gold or Bitcoin, is intrinsically useless. <strong>It has value only because people believe it to have value.</strong> If everyone expects that money will have no value in the next period, it will have no value this period, because no-one will be willing to take receipt of money to carry it into the next period where it will be valueless. So fiat money with a zero value is always an (unfortunate) fundamental equilibrium.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>I would actually call it the only fundamental equilibrium. All other equilibria with a positive price of money – an asset with no intrinsic value – are benign (relatively speaking) bubbles. The constant price of money (constant general price level) equilibrium is also a bubble, based entirely on belief and trust <strong>– a beneficial bootstrap equilibrium, lifting itself by its hair, like the Baron von Münchhausen. </strong>In a world with multiple fiat moneys, the zero value of money equilibrium lurks for each of the fiat currencies, including gold and Bitcoin. In a classic paper, Kareken and Wallace (1984) have shown that even in the other (nice) fundamental equilibrium, in which each of these fiat currencies has a constant positive value, those constant&nbsp; positive values can be anything – there is exchange rate indeterminacy between the various fiat currencies. This holds for paper or electronic fiat money, gold and Bitcoin.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>So if gold has positive, albeit wildly fluctuating value, it is because we are in a benign bubble for gold. Likewise, Bitcoin’s positive value represents a benign Bitcoin bubble. The gold bubble is, of course, pretty impressive. Intrinsically useless gold has positive value. <strong>It has had positive value for nigh-on 6,000 years. That must make it the longest-lasting bubble in human history.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Yup, Citi just called gold a 6,000 year old bubble: just call it "tradition."</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Is there a possibility that, out of the blue, the market could produce a zero value for central bank-issued fiat paper and electronic money (base money)? Yes, if the prices of goods and services in terms of base money are freely flexible. <strong>Fortunately they are not. The world is Keynesian</strong>. Nobody understands the mysteries of the unit of account or numéraire, but for some reason in most societies and most of the time, central-bank issued fiat money or base money has been the unit of account for most contracts, and prices of goods and services in terms of this numéraire, are sticky - empirically and for reasons we don’t understand, but they undoubtedly involve limited computational capacity and other manifestations of bounded rationality. Nominal wage and price rigidities therefore rule out the zero price of base money equilibrium (notwithstanding the fundamental equilibrium at the end of a hyperinflation).</p> </blockquote> <p>He's right: the world is Keynesian. That explains why never in the history of mankind have all central banks had to coordinate all their efforts to inject trillions of liquidity in the system to keep it from collapsing on itself, and provide the required credit money for a world in which growth is only possible as long as inside or outside money is created de novo out of thin air. It also explains, why over the past decade, western finance has gone from bubble to burst to bigger buggle, to more explosive burst... until we now find ourselves in the ultimate bubble - one where all central banks have bet all in on inflating away a global debt load which guarantees the world a slow, miserable, deflationary collapse - in the words of Albert Edwards, an Ice Age - unless there is a dramatic surge in inflation (see: Japan). Perhaps as the only natural offset to this sheer Keynesian lunacy, gold's "6000 year old bubble" nature does not seem all that shocking after all... </p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>But other asset prices are not sticky in terms of the numéraire. There exists therefore an equilibrium in which the price of all other fiat moneys (including Bitcoin and gold) in terms of base money is zero. We are obviously not in an equilibrium in which the prices of gold and Bitcoin at zero. <strong>Does that mean that in the future also the value of gold and of Bitcoin will be (relatively stable) even if the central bank were to start running the printing presses at full speed, producing a hyperinflation in terms of base money prices</strong>? Not necessarily. Assume the initial prices of both gold and Bitcoin in terms of base money are positive and that the value of base money in terms of goods and services is positive. Once gold and Bitcoin have positive value in terms of base money today, their future value is determined by no-arbitrage relationships between these three fiat moneys – all of which don’t have any intrinsic value as consumer goods, intermediate goods or capital goods. No arbitrage means the absence of risk-free pure profits from buying and selling these three stores of value against each other. Since neither currency nor gold nor Bitcoin is interest-bearing, the exchange rate between currency, gold and Bitcoin should be expected to be constant over time. Any change in the currency price of Bitcoin and gold is therefore unanticipated. There must have been a lot of major&nbsp; surprises! <strong>The fact that the stocks of Gold and Bitcoin are finite does therefore not suffice to keep them safe from hyperinflationary base money issuance by the central bank.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>In other words, even if, and Buiter is quite close to suggesting that is the endgame here, there is hyperinflation at the end, even then gold may well be worthless. So... can we just use LBMA market maker Citigroup to sell it to Citigroup's prop desk? </p> <p>And now, the punchline. Here is Buiter's conclusion:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>I don’t want to argue with a 6,000-year old bubble.</strong> There have been hyperinflations with the value of central bank base money going to zero, but the price of gold has not followed that of paper money.<strong> Perhaps that was because, at the time, gold still&nbsp; had some intrinsic value as a productive input, even today retains intrinsic value as a consumer good</strong>. Even if we view gold as an intrinsically valued commodity, it would still be unsound to invest 20% of the central bank’s balance sheet in a single commodity. If the central bank is to invest in commodities, better to have abalanced portfolio of commodities or, more conveniently, a balanced portfolio of commodity ETFs or other derivatives.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Requiring a central bank to put 20 percent of its balance sheet in any single commodity, even if that commodity had meaningful intrinsic value, represents a highly unorthodox and risky investment strategy, in our view, regardless of whether one judges it by its likely future profitability or by its wider social benefits. We conjecture that the SNB is most concerned that the Gold Initiative might pass.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Even though I view gold as a pure bubble, that bubble may well be good for another 6,000 years. Its value may go from $1,200 per fine ounce to $1,500 or $5,000 for all I know. Investing a vast amount of money in something whose value is based on nothing more than a set of self-confirming beliefs will make for an exciting ride. Whether that is enough to impose it as a requirement on one’s central bank is another matter.</p> </blockquote> <p>Dear Willem, thank you for that valiant effort.After reading a few thousands words of empty propaganda we understand your "confusion": our advice, if you want to understand what gold really is, <a href="">read the following from Kyle Bass</a>:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>"Buying gold is just buying a put against the idiocy of the political cycle. It's That Simple"</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Because if there is a bubble that is even bigger and longer than the "<em>6000-year-old gold bubble</em>" it is that of human corruption, greed, and idiocy. And that doesn't even include the stupidity of those who don't grasp this simple truth. </p> <p>As for gold being a nearly worthless fiat currency, if you can perhaps first convince <em><strong>your homeland </strong></em>to return <a href="">those 122 tons of gold it just repatriated in secret </a>from the NY Fed in direct refuation of, well, <em><strong>everything you just said</strong></em> before you go ahead advising foreign nations what they should do, well that would be just swell. </p> <p>Finally, we are confident that upon reading the above JPMorgan will promptly recant and admit that what he really meant was "<a href="">gold is a 6,000 year old bubble and nothing else</a>"...</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="905" height="716" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Agency MBS Albert Edwards Bank of England Ben Bernanke Ben Bernanke Bitcoin Central Banks Citibank Citigroup Corruption ETC Eurozone Gilts Gold Bugs Hyperinflation Ice Age Japan Kyle Bass Kyle Bass LIBOR Netherlands Quantitative Easing Swiss Franc Swiss National Bank Switzerland Ukraine Volatility Willem Buiter Yen Yuan Thu, 27 Nov 2014 22:40:04 +0000 Tyler Durden 498330 at The 5th Amendment: Why A Law Professor Says "Don't Talk To Police" <p><em>Submitted by <a href="">Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog</a>,</em></p> <p>In my recent interview,&nbsp;<strong><a href="">&ldquo;Serfdom is the New Normal&rdquo; &ndash; Talkin&rsquo; Oligarch Blues with Perpetual Assets</a></strong>, I mentioned&nbsp;the dangers of talking to the police in light of the recent epidemic of shady<strong><a href=""> civil asset forfeitures</a></strong>. What many people fail to realize, is that you aren&rsquo;t obligated to have casual conversations with police when you have been pulled over. In fact, such conversations are often used solely to manufacture an excuse for further action against you. For example, take this excerpt from the recent Washington Post article,&nbsp;<a href="">Highway Seizure in Iowa Fuels Debate about Asset-Forfeiture Laws</a>:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em>Simmons said he was issuing a warning for the failure to signal. <strong>After handing over the paperwork, he said the stop was over. Then he asked the driver, Newmerzhycky, if he had &ldquo;time for just a couple quick questions.&rdquo;</strong></em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em><strong>Police who specialize in highway interdiction use casual conversations to avoid triggering legal questions about the length of stops. If the conversations are consensual, courts consider the added delay to be legal.</strong></em></p> </blockquote> <p>During a routine highway stop for a minor traffic violation, I can&rsquo;t think of a&nbsp;good reason why it would ever be in your interest to continue chatting with a cop.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em>Highway police are trained to use the chats as an opportunity to take stock of alleged &ldquo;indicators&rdquo; of criminal activity, including nervous speech patterns, a pulsing carotid artery and inconsistencies in stories. They are also trained to seek permission for warrantless searches.</em></p> </blockquote> <p>It&rsquo;s really sad that it has come to this. It would be much better to live in a society where people could have enough trust in police to chat casually with them. The more police engage in bad behavior, the less the public will want to engage.</p> <p>The trickier part about all of this, is that it isn&rsquo;t clear what a reasonable length for a stop is. Here&rsquo;s the Washington Post on the issue, from the article,&nbsp;<a href="">Waiting for the Dogs During Police Traffic Stops</a>:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em>Imagine a police officer pulls over a car for a routine traffic violation, such as speeding or driving with a broken taillight. During the stop, the officer develops a hunch that there may be drugs in the car. He contacts a local K-9 unit and requests a trained drug-sniffing dog; when the unit arrives, another officer will walk the dog around the car to see if it alerts to drugs inside. Although&nbsp;<a href="">the Supreme Court has held</a>&nbsp;that the use of the dog is not a search,&nbsp;<strong><a href=";vol=462&amp;invol=696">the length of a warrantless stop must be reasonable</a>. The officer can&rsquo;t delay the driver forever.</strong></em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>This raises a question of Fourth Amendment law that has led to a lot of lower court litigation: If the officer has no reasonable suspicion that drugs are in the car &mdash; that is, he only has a hunch &mdash; how long can the traffic stop be delayed before the dog arrives and checks out the car?</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Lower courts have generally answered the question by adopting a&nbsp;<a href="">de minimis&nbsp;</a>doctrine. Officers can extend the stop and wait for the dogs for ade minimis&nbsp;amount of time. But exactly how long is that?</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em><strong>Just yesterday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit held in&nbsp;<a href="">United States v. Rodriguez</a>&nbsp;that seven to eight minutes is&nbsp;de minimis.</strong> On the other hand, the Supreme Court of Nevada held a few months ago in&nbsp;<a href="">State v. Beckman</a>&nbsp;that nine minutes is too long.</em></p> </blockquote> <p>With all that in mind, I strongly suggest watching the following video with almost 5 million views of Law Professor James Duane, simply titled: Don&rsquo;t Talk to Police.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="//" width="480"></iframe></p> <p><em><strong>Disclaimer: </strong>I am not an attorney and obviously none of this should be taken as legal advice. It is meant to provide you with some information and you should do your own research (laws vary by state).</em></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="477" height="477" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Fail New Normal None Thu, 27 Nov 2014 22:00:32 +0000 Tyler Durden 498343 at Artist's Impression Of The First Thanksgiving <p>Presented with no comment...</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="600" height="395" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href=""><em>Source: Investors</em></a></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="789" height="520" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Thu, 27 Nov 2014 21:10:58 +0000 Tyler Durden 498342 at