Guest Post: What Could Go Right?

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Charles Hugh-Smith of OfTwoMinds blog,

A number of macro-issues could "go the right way" in the coming months.

Correspondent David N. gently suggested I devote some effort to what could go right in the months ahead, and I think this is an excellent suggestion.

I notice that you are relentlessly negative in your outlook, and a wise sage once told me that this is a trap that many erudite people fall into--namely, being too negative about the future. Occasionally you have to force yourself to study the other side, the bullish "yin" to the bearish "yang". I think you and your readers would be well-served if you would devote some of your ruminations to what can possibly "go right."

Thank you, David, for presenting me with a positive challenge. I think David is right about the trap, though I suspect it is less a trap of negativity and more one of being pressed into stripping away the artifice and propaganda that obfuscates the real situation, depriving us of the first step toward solutions: accepting reality and setting aside fantasies.

This was the point of yesterday's entry, The Positive Power of Crisis (October 4, 2012).

Some of you may think I am being jocularly dismissive in my list, but I am quite serious. Nothing good can possibly come from artifice, propaganda, misdirection and simulacra "fixes." Something must break through the facade for good things to happen. OK, let's get started:

1. The global contraction could pick up momentum, crushing demand for oil. Recall that the price of oil is set on the margins, so modest fluctuations in supply and demand have outsized effects on price. Price drops when demand falls faster than supply, meaning that global exports of oil could decline but as long as demand declines even more sharply than supply, the price of oil could plummet.

The price of oil falling in half would be a great boon for consumers around the world, and as we will see below, it even has a silver lining for citizens of oil exporting nations. Using 2008 as a recent model, we can expect oil to fall to $35/barrel once demand craters. Below around $50/barrel, oil-dependent regimes such as Iran and Venezuela cannot fund their militaries, welfare states and bureaucracies. As a result they will implode.

2. Mideast tensions decline as the Syrian dictatorship collapses and an attack on Iran is shelved by the U.S. There are too many long-standing tensions and conflicts in the Mideast to hope for anything but relative calm, but relative calm would be conducive to a slow normalization of relations and modest but steady improvements in the lives of residents.

The collapse of the Baathist dictatorship in Syria would be a major positive, as the Syrian grip on Lebanon would loosen, Iran would lose its key regional ally, and the Syrian people would have a chance (not a guarantee, but an opportunity nonetheless) to establish a government that was less oppressive and more responsive to their aspirations.

Notice what happens when you combine 1) and 2): the Iranian dictatorship also falls. The Iranian people have long suffered under a repressive dictatorship, and its collapse would give them a chance (not a guarantee, but an opportunity nonetheless) to establish a government that was less oppressive and more responsive to their aspirations. (Ditto Venezuela.)

Iran is already suffering from hyper-inflation, more from gross mismanagement of the economy than from Western sanctions, though the sanctions provide an easy target for the failed regime. Street protests are spontaneously arising as people's already-limited wealth is completely and utterly destroyed by the regime's cronyism and incompetence.

Following the SOP (standard operating procedure) of all dictatorships, the Iranian regime is responding to the impoverishment of its citizens with police suppression. The collapse of oil prices will provide the last straw.

Although you won't read this in the mainstream media (MSM), the U.S. does not want Iran destroyed or crippled, as Shi'ite Iran provides an essential counterbalance to Sunni extremism. Those predicting an Israeli strike on Iran will be proven wrong, as the U.S. has nixed that as counterproductive to the Great Game.

Once traders finally "get it" that the Israeli war drums were largely domestic politics in action and the U.S. has ixnayed military action against Iran, the "war premium" currently priced into oil will dissipate.

As I have long suggested, a massive, sustained decline in oil is a "head-fake" in the bigger scheme of things, but in the near-term it will provide a catalyst for all sorts of incompetent, oppressive oil-dependent dictatorships to exit stage left, clearing the stage for more responsive and competent governments.

3. One nation exits the euro and the sun rises the following day on a healing Europe. It might be Greece, it might be Germany, it might be Spain, it might be Italy: all that matters is that somebody steps up and exits the euro and renounces all its debts, or in the case of Germany, renounces its promises to cover all the impaired private-bank debt that is crushing Europe.

Once people wake up and find the sun is shining despite the "disaster," they will realize the real disaster was trying to pay unpayable debts and promises and staying in the euro. Life will quickly get better once one brave and resolute set of leaders renounces unpayable debts and exits the euro. Other nations will quickly follow and the owners of bad debt will finally be handed the losses that are well and truly theirs to absorb.

Renounce and restructure: there is no other way forward. What could go right is one nation declares the truth, renounces unpayable debt and exits the euro and the iron stranglehold of the European Central Bank (ECB)/Troika.

4. The U.S. dollar continues strengthening, making imports cheaper for U.S. households. No nation ever became powerful with a weakening currency. Non-U.S. holders of capital are moving their capital into the U.S. at a rate of about $75 billion a month, roughly equivalent to the Fed's entire QE3 program. This is good news for households and the U.S. economy, despite the naysayers who claim the U.S. dollar's rise is some sort of catastrophe for America.

Yes, exports may be pressured, but they're going to be pressured by global recession anyway. A stronger dollar helps reprice money, debt and risk, all of which desperately need repricing.

5. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke takes one too many hits of Ibogaine and suffers an unprecedented bout of inexplicable honesty, declaring on national TV that the Fed is a ponzi scheme, he has no control over employment and the Fed exists to preserve the banks' wealth and power. The normally sedate Chairman apologizes to the American people for lying about the Fed's real agenda and its illusory power to fix a dysfunctional, corrupt, fraud-based neofeudal economy.

OK, I realize this is unlikely, but history is replete with unexpected eruptions of truth and honesty by an insider who finally sickens of all the lies, prevarications, half-truths, secret bailouts, pay-offs, bribes and cronyism that is the Status Quo in America's machinery of finance and governance. It won't be Ben, but perhaps someone in the Power Elite will finally value his/her integrity above cash and status and deliver the truth to the public.

It's a long shot, but we can always hope. Without truth, there is truly no hope.

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Gully Foyle's picture

"However, nothing good can possibly come from artifice, propaganda, misdirection and simulacra "fixes.""

Someone has never picked up drunk chicks.

Careless Whisper's picture

The Careless Whisper News Update & Threadjacking

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "I don't think that they're phony."  Jim Cramer, giving his opinion of today's unemployment numbers.

Bank Sends Repo-Man For Curt Schilling's Bloody Sock 

IBM'er Jumps, No Note

Ohio Poll Of Likely Voters: 50-50

Oracle CFO Demonstrates How Police Can Monitor Social Media In Real Time; Re-Enacts Chicago Police - NATO Sumit Response Team

Man Puches His Public Defender Lawyer In Court After Getting 15 Years For Marijuana (VIDEO)




Gully Foyle's picture

Man Puches His Public Defender Lawyer In Court After Getting 15 Years For Marijuana (VIDEO)

Hall said it was only the second time he had worked with Williamson, who was pleading to robbery, drug and assault charges, as he was just filling in for a colleague.


Just pot, right.

Like I said criminals who get caught deserve prison time. I imagine the majority of those innocent pot smokers in prison have files as long as my arm.


Careless Whisper's picture

I see the Corrections Corp Of America (CXW) stockholders are out in full force today. Very very bullish chart, so good for you.


Gully Foyle's picture

Careless Whisper

I gather you live in the hood and have zero issue with criminals.

Will you be inviting some over for dinner? How about to date your daughter or babysit the kids?

I don't think so.

You are just another hypocrite.

otto skorzeny's picture

and then morons like you bitch about taxes and the deficit.

Oh regional Indian's picture

What a two-faced article. All the middle east scenarios see regime change, Iran regime collapse....etc. etc...

Typical US centric view. Pathetic.

Foster some of your own regime change, armchair keyboard strategist.


CrazyCooter's picture

Wow, rough day at the office?



Oh regional Indian's picture

No cooter, just calling it as I see it.

CPL's picture

I read it in a sardonic tone.  Piece number 5 should have tipped you off.  The operational, societial, historical, infrastructure...all of it is so mind bogglingly complex and annoying that it will never happen.  The strong US dollar piece was funny as well.


To make any of the five points happen people would have to tell the truth and lose their shirts.   That won't happen without a fight even though their fight is against math now in a system they own.  Lies breed like flies, it is as exponential as the credit facilities that have been created by the same people.  What's worse is they are in fact lying to each other right now.  Everyone is attempting to avoid sticking a hair out of the corner they've painted themselves to.  So now it's the people bag holding all the equities playing chicken with one another.


First one that falls out of the circle they've painted themselves in and they'll all figure out the solution.  You have to build a bridge out of bodies to get to the door with what's available.

Oh regional Indian's picture

Trippy visual that.

But yes CPL, strange chattrer though in recent articles.

I think it basically bothers me how much virtual ink/voice is wasted on peripherals when the truth has been known for decades, or at since 1913. Or 1907 even.


RiverRoad's picture

When things get bad enough people do wake up as Colin Powell did when he wouldn't be their chump.  Just keep putting out the message; a lot of folks here on ZH are doing a pretty good job of it.

malikai's picture

Was that before or after his "mobile chemical/biological weapons factories" presentation?

otto skorzeny's picture

that video of that guy jacking that lawyer was priceless. I'm sure the public defender put up a defense worthy of Clarence Darrow. 15 years for pot? what a joke

Gully Foyle's picture

otto skorzeny

Because you were distracted by the pretty video and didn't bother to read the rest.

Hall said it was only the second time he had worked with Williamson, who was pleading to robbery, drug and assault charges, as he was just filling in for a colleague.


Just pot, right.

azzhatter's picture

Oh man, I had a dream I got that close to Bernanke. I also kicked him the nuts and got a two-fer, LIESman was blowing him

Lost Wages's picture

Who do you think has blown him more? Liesman or Joe Wiesenthal?

Slim's picture

@ Gully Foyle - I appreciate the Friday laugh.  Well done.

QE49er's picture

Obama better think about getting his own piss boy for his next term, he's going to need one.

azzhatter's picture

wasn't that Chris Matthews holding the bucket

BlackholeDivestment's picture

Attention Target Shopper(s)

...seeing that we all reach total failure in this fallen state, lol, and the unsustaining ''law'' of return is death, lol, in this case the piss boy will not help anyone whom has dialed 666-ADD-Debt ''Votes 2 Party'' Piss Boys R US, bla haa haa, and sealed their life as a just target. Blaa haa haa. That is what is known as a ''marked target'' QE49er, blaa haa haa, the golden calf that Chairsatan built. Blaa haa haa haa. In The Light of Truth, such darkness, shines bright, lol, and is overcome. The Drag Queen Bride of Christ just does not hold water and provides no Holy bucket. LMAO. The Red dress, lol, of Grievances, lol, is a ''dead'' give away, hee hee, under the Light of The Truth. Blaa haa haa haaa. That being said, and a fact, your offer defines not only persons, but, a nation and all the fallen nations, having aborted The Lord of the Harvest for a ride upon the merciless beast, like the drunken whore of Babylon, no longer in the saddle. This bucket has a black hole, sweet Prince, lol. You need another lover, not a hole in the head. LMAO. Stand fast, divest, and do no harm. Nothing will change the coming judgment about to render the Suicide Vampire Squid of the Great Wal Mart of China Target Shoppers.

...and now a song, from, as it were Lightening fallen, the weaving Spider from Mars, the apropos image of a man, that crazy straight to homosexual, back to straight again, Change artist himself,  the one and only Ziggy Stardust. 

P.S. ...depends on how you see The Word next to ''Changes'', in this case ''live'' is beyond a live recording, it defines life as the live eternal being without ''change''. The Truth is not a choice...

LoneStarHog's picture

The truth is like a 40ZZZZZ boob.  People can't handle the truth.

Dr. Engali's picture

"Iran is already suffering from hyper-inflation, more from gross mismanagement of the economy than from Western sanctions, though the sanctions provide an easy target for the failed regime."

"Are you kidding me with this crap? Iran's currency is fine then we start squeezing them with sanctions and Charle's wants to blame it on Iranian policies? What a bunch of tripe! He clearly has fallen into the propoganda machine.

Catch-22's picture

…they look for someone who has built somewhat of a good reputation, then present them with a big carrot or a big stick… et voila! Brand new “tool”.


I swear, there was a time you could listen to Roubini and so many others…



Skateboarder's picture

That #5... I love thought experiments!'s picture

As Norman Mailer said to Judge Julius Hoffman in the trial of "The Chicago 7 (or eight):  "The truth is meaningless without the nuances"

q99x2's picture

I hope the DHS sees the light and takes action on Bankster terrorism and political treason immediately. As the guy on Max Keiser says, "These pedophiles won't stop until they are locked up."

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

"It's a long shot, but we can always hope. Without truth, there is truly no hope."

I agree. However.......false hope chains us to impossible situations. Sometimes it is better to lose all hope in order to clear the mind of that which holds us back from making real and lasting changes, first within, then all around us.

cosmictrainwreck's picture

pretty clear for a guy with dissonance

W10321303's picture

Something might go right when the Narcissistic Sociopaths are in institutions getting their much needed intensive therapy....


New York Times Profile of London Whale Boss, Ina Drew, Camouflages Dimon’s Risk Management Failures

A New York Times profile of Ina Drew, the former head of the JP Morgan Chief Investment Office, almost certainly produced high fives in the bank’s corporate communications office. This piece is the best sort of PR you can get: it treats the trading losses as yesterday’s news, of interest only as point of entre into the downfall of a heretofore unknown but once hugely successful and personally appealing trading manager.

This feminized Horatio-Alger-gone-sour tale conveniently diverts attention away from more important, and still insufficiently recognized management failures at JP Morgan. The title, “The Woman Who Took the Fall for JPMorgan Chase,” tells readers that Drew was a victim, and lets one hope that it will deliver some answers as to who should be held accountable. But instead, this report is a heavy-on-personalities, light-on-technicalities account in the Sunday Magazine section, which means it will be more widely read than a typical business section story. And while author Susan Dominus paints a sympathetic picture of Drew, she also airbrushes the nature and severity of the events that ended her career. One encouraging sign is that a quick skim of comments shows that the majority don’t buy what Dominus is selling. They have little patience with fact that no one has been prosecuted, that Drew still is rich even after losing the bank billions, and that Jamie Dimon has gotten off scot free.

In addition, this article, like most press accounts, faithfully reports the JP Morgan claim that a recently-installed version of VaR was a culprit, in that it understated the risk the unit was taking. Former trading floor risk management personnel have suggested that this understatement of risk was likely a feature, not a bug,. The new VaR model no doubt was intended to show lower risk levels and convince regulators that JP Morgan was operating prudently when it was in fact piling on more risk. The problem is the traders didn’t yet understand how to operate this new souped up car and promptly smashed it into a wall.

Second, and more important, the CIO’s risk controls were grossly deficient. The article reports, as if it was perfectly normal, that Ina Drew hired her own risk manager, who also happened to be the brother-in-law of the chief risk officer for the bank. Many commentators have focused on the personal relationship (did Drew hire a relative so as to get better treatment from the corporate CRO?) and completely missed the far more basic operational failures. Risk management is a control function; having risk officers hired by and reporting to line managers makes it explicit that it is even more of a joke than it is at most banks. And this practice is consistent with other, stunning shortcomings

As former bank compliance officer and Occupy the SEC member Michael Crimmins wrote:

JPM was forced to disclose that it relied on its traders to provide honest and accurate valuations for its financial statement disclosures. That’s like putting the foxes in charge of not just the henhouse, but the entire farm. Much to its chagrin that was a costly choice….

That Stone Age policy has been extinct for a generation at every financial institution that signs a SOX internal controls certification. Oops, I’m wrong there. AIG relied on their trader marks too, but their external auditors finally had had enough and forced them to disclose ‘material weaknesses’ in internal controls. The stock dropped like a stone with that revelation.



apberusdisvet's picture

chas is buying the NWO/Hillary Syria propaganda.  Wake up Charlie, the rebels are all AQ backed, funded, and armed by MI-6 and the CIA.

Careless Whisper's picture

are you a crazy conspiracy theorist, or do you read the council on foreign relations web site?


Zap Powerz's picture

So long as the truth remains painful, and it will, the "positive things" that need to be done will never be done until the fascade breaks, shit blows up and people start killing each other over Ritz Crackers.

So, to me, a total collapse is the only right thing that can happen.

The big unzip's picture

Everything is going to be rainbows and unicorns.

s0lspot's picture

Bullshiter bullshitting the bullshited.

lolmao500's picture

Bernanke could slip in his shower and break his neck...

JuliaS's picture

For that he'd have to have a  spine.

matrix2012's picture

Having the news of sudden mass departures of the "globalist banking families" plus those hawkish, war monger operatives and those globalist think tanks from the Planet Earth will consitute extremely positive news for the mankind!

machinegear's picture

David's suggestion reminds me of the Spaceballs salute. A flip off followed by a smile and a wave.


LooseLee's picture

Facts in themselves are neither positive or negative. It is 'perception' that labels and categorizes it. Those who fear facts or need to cling to the status quo have a problem with facts that may jeapordize their situation. That is why people like David N want positive news or outlooks even when they would contradict the facts. People like him are full of fear mainly because they somehow benefit from the status quo and will be unable to cope when it collapses... The Status Quo Has Got To Go!

Wakanda's picture

Yeah Charles, things could go right, but I feel so much better when preparing for the worst.  Downright happy sometimes.

debtor of last resort's picture

Hey smiley, fuck off please. I'm waiting for doomsday. Burning multinationals, rising pm prices, youtube preppertalk by the fire, live from the BIS building. That kinda stuff.

matrix2012's picture

I sincerely hope that the Uncle Sam will miraculously change 180 degree... can the folks there really manage their lives without those ridiculously pathetic shows of the Red team vs Blue team affairs?  Can they free themselves completely from the corp fascism, MIC and the globalist tight grips on all aspects of their lives? Eradicate all the virulent parasites there?

She's used to be a blessed land of beauty, pleasance, abundance and peace and contributing a lot to humanity as well ...once upon a time before being totally taken over.


loveyajimbo's picture

Hey, Charlie... we all like to play with ourselves occasionally... but not in public... go back to being honest.

falak pema's picture

the core of the hubris is in DC. It has to change there. Even if the impulse comes from elsewhere. It has to reverberate on DC concrete and do what MLK did : I have a dream...

The words that can change the world. Dreams into reality and clash of civilization and war on terror go down the shute like the financialisation derivatives scam.

All it takes is ONE man, a strong one to say :

BASTA! I change the name of the game!

In DC!  

Go Tribe's picture

Just wondering how many people will have to die before all these good things come about.

forwardho's picture

Wow, It's like an entire article written by MDB. Think about it, have we ever seen Charlie and MDB in the same post???  Inquiring minds want to ponder this expose.