"In Regione Caecorum Res Est Luscus"

Tyler Durden's picture

Via Mark J. Grant, author of Out of the Bix,

“In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.”
[In regione caecorum rex est luscus.]
                       -Desiderius Erasmus
I have been following the Greek saga since January 2010. I have seen more mis-information, more lies, more deceit than I ever read about in some spy novel. This has all been coupled, of course, with more promises, more absolute guarantees that tax loopholes would be closed and revenue collected and more assurances of the sale of the nation’s assets. I think many of these people used to be under the care of Nurse Racthed and the Big Chief just never got them out and they ended up in politics.


Last Friday the stock market went up, some have speculated, based upon some new, new Greek deal. I am awaiting the outcome and I will not speculate this morning but the one thing I know, with certainty, is that unless someone or another forgives one heck of a lot of the accumulated loans that Greece couldn’t pay their debts without Zeus bringing down the crown jewels from Mt. Olympus. I suspect that the Troika will hand them more money because they are frightened of the consequences but I await the decision. It was rumored, over the weekend, that the Prime Minister of Greece was studying the old mythology and when asked why exclaimed, “I am looking for loopholes.”


We are in a time, a different time than in the recent past, when decisions will have to be made. The central banks have done everything from hand out money to provide “save the world” speeches but their day is now minimized because there is almost nothing left they can do. As an investor it is important to note the changing of the guard as the central banks’ influences wanes and the next moves center upon political will and national interests. If we regard America’s fiscal cliff or the pending decisions about Greece or the separatist movement in Spain or the lack of a budget for the European Union; it is all politically centered and the battlefields are rife with perhaps surprising decisions. In each of these four arenas the easy answers have now come and gone. The “can kicking” if you will is over. The road has found its way to the crossroads and new directions will have to be chosen and it is in the choosing where the risk resides.


The world has been flooded by the cash created by the central banks but that water is now receding.  Even with all of the cash created Europe is sinking deeper and deeper into a recession with China in a major slowdown and America a whisker away from being in a recession as well as affected by the global economy. The real numbers, the real liabilities are beginning to tell on Europe in serious ways and all of the made up numbers, the falsification by methodology of counting Europe’s debt to GDP ratios is coming to a head. Choosing not to count liabilities does not mean that they are not there and recession always spurs nationalism as it detracts equally from grander ideals.


We are in a “different moment” now than in the past several years and that is the point of my commentary today. Promises have come and gone, the central banks have supported the fiscal system as political decision making waned with indecision and the difficulties of the choices. Complacency took hold as a kind of “everything will be fine” mentality inundated the market places. Soon, in my opinion, everything will not be quite so fine as the politicians in America and Europe have to earn their salaries and the ramifications of many decisions are going to be unpleasant as they are released.
“When complacency reigns it is the smallest of sparks that often reignites the fire.”
                        -The Wizard

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TheCanimal's picture

The path of least resistance is more kicking the can down the road and more money printing.

LawsofPhysics's picture

Correct.  Can kicking can and will continue until the fiat is worthless and people still accept it in exchange for their labor, so we have quite a ways to go. Hedge accordingly.

ElvisDog's picture

Hah, I like how that phrase has inserted itself into pop culture (being a GoT fan).

French Frog's picture

"The “can kicking” if you will is over"

I fear that you haven't realised that 'practice makes perfect' and with years of training behind them, most politicians have become better at it than a few years ago. They can also start kicking a different can ....

odatruf's picture

Perhaps this different need only fly a different flag...


Treeplanter's picture

The can was kicked to the ice wall.  Meanwhile, a trebuchet was brought up to toss it over.  The can is still moving, kicked up and down various trails known only to the wildings and the ECB.  The Watch went to Davos to party.

NotApplicable's picture

Wow, someone believes this time is different?

Did history start today?


mind_imminst's picture

Ditto. Can-kicking will absolutely continue until there is a revolution of some sort, or the vast majority of the population is "enslaved", by which I mean they (the masses) have enough "bread-and-circuses" to remain pacified. I think politicians and central planners are making a bet on continued technological progress. Every year we get more GDP for less energy input. If this continues, then can kicking will continue. Bet on it.

SheepDog-One's picture

Can kicking CAN'T go on forever, and thats not the plan anyway they just want you to think it is.

odatruf's picture

That may be true, but on a long enough timeline it might as well be forever.


LawsofPhysics's picture

Hogwash. I'll believe it when I see it,Grant.  Clear the bad fucking debt and execute those who profitted from the fucking fraud.  Nothing changes until real consequences for bad behavior returns at all levels of society.  In the meantime, people will do whatever it takes to meet ends meet.  Hedge accordingly.

MachoMan's picture

A bit of a narrowing...  virtually everyone profitted from the fraud, albeit in different amounts and different ways...  this is, in part, why nothing has been done.  I'd narrow it to the people who actively and knowingly perpetrated the fraud... 

Of course, there is also the morality of confiscation to discuss...  knowing that virtually everyone has received some spoils from the printer.

LawsofPhysics's picture

"knowing that virtually everyone has received some spoils from the printer."


Bull fucking shit.  Inflation (as a direct result of printing) has destroyed many who were formerly in the middle class.  How in the fuck have they benefitted?

CPL's picture

The middle class is nothing but an abstract.  When a single human can out make in interest (even at 1%) in a day what a town of 20000 productive people can make in a year.


The scale is so far off that the crumbs that fall off the table of the owners of the printer is hardly even worth mentioning.  We've got MSM spouting about black friday TRAFFIC, not sales, people occupying the space in a store as the "good" news.  It's unbelievable anyone running the show would allow that garbage to be printed.


Smoke and mirrors.  Next week I expect to see articles about how breathing increases a countries GDP by recycling oxygen and offering plants the needed CO to photosynthesize sunlight and sugars.

LawsofPhysics's picture

It's all about perspective. Humanity itself is abstract from many perspectives.  So what, have faith, that which cannot be sustained, won't be.


Details matter by the way.  Plants fix CO2 into sugars using energy from captured photons of specific wavelengths, but they need or require a whole lot of other elements in the correct oxidation state in order to grow.  (CO or carbon monoxide is toxic to plants as well as you or I)

CPL's picture

(CO2>CO, shit my bad.  nickle for a beer next time)

odatruf's picture

Laws and Macho - I think this is the unspoken but central question people must face.

Cui bono?  As it ever was.

MachoMan's picture

Pension payments, retirement benefits, social security, medicare, medicaid, tax credits, welfare, SNAP cards, obama phones, guarantees for virtually every business given the guarantees at the top, make work programs, home equity loans, the ability to get a formal education, police and fire systems, you name it.  You act as though the printing press only benefits one particular class...  it does not.  That is not to say that the benefit is exactly equal, given among other things the cantillon effect staring us in the face, but everyone has benefitted to some extent.

Again, I'm simply asking you to narrow the scope of your thesis for accuracy.  The issue isn't that everyone has benefitted in some form or fashion, the issue is that some people are disproportionately benefitting in a punitive way.  (ignoring the fact that the entire concept is predicated upon the free lunch).

ElvisDog's picture

Totally agree, I'll believe the can-kicking is over when they can no longer kick the can. Until that point, they (the politicians) will keep trying to kick the can and up until now it has worked fabulously well for them. With Central Banks in complete control of the financial systems, stock markets, and interest rates, I see no evidence that the "moment of truth" is upon us.

MachoMan's picture

Once the can is incapable of being kicked, we'll be kicking up dirt instead and pretending there's still a can...  I can't fathom that normal people had any idea of the degree to which we can delude ourselves and willfully live in denial.  It's pretty incredible.

odatruf's picture

Macho, it is incredible.  I'd be stunned if I hadn't seen it too many times before.

And to Elvis' point: it isn't the sin of the central banks or politicians that is to blame. Not at the end of the day. That honor is on us all who enable it or are waiting for someone else to take a stand.

MachoMan's picture

Absolutely.  However, no one wants to be the lead gazelle to wade across the crocodile infested river to get to the greener pasture on the other side...  call it survival instinct if you will.

odatruf's picture

Survival instinct, game theory, prisoners dilemma, or tragedy of the commons. Any of those fit. But just like in those nature documentaries, the heard WILL stampede once that first brave (and most always doomed) first mover starts. A Great Migration of our own, if you will.

But who would be our brave gazelle or wildebeest? A fund manager? A banker? A CEO? A rogue trader?

MachoMan's picture

There have already been a few...  it's just that their sparks didn't catch fire.  The simple answer is that we have no idea how, when, or where it will come...  only that it will. 

There are a lot of banksters, military brass, politicians, and everyone on down the line trying to hedge both ways...  There are also some folks, like Bill Gross, who publicly routintely criticize the hand that feeds, but then promptly continue the charade like usual...  this, in and of itself, sets the sands in the hourglass to begin running out.  Credibility and perception are the key battleground, for once these go in earnest, the change will be rapid (compressed spring).  This is basically what the FED is spending untold amounts of currency to fight... [it's the only arrow in its quiver]

but then again, if we made trading decisions (life decisions) based purely upon fundamentals, then we'd all be broke.


fonzannoon's picture

Grant would not know it if he got hit in the head with a kicked can. Him and Graham Summers.

Tinky's picture

He and Graham Summers.

C'mon, you should know the ZH anthem by now:

Gold, Guns, and Proper Grammar

Jreb's picture

Yes. We may be ranting radicals by the estimation of many but we are not ignorant red necks.... should that be one word????

forwardho's picture

Well,.. then,.. ahem,... Boy the sun sure is bright today.

buzzsaw99's picture

It's different this time, LULZ LULZ LULZ

kito's picture

The “can kicking” if you will is over...........



fonzannoon's picture

Kito, Grant has made it clear you better buy those treasuries quickly because when the can stops being kicked that's where you want to be. Yup.

I wonder if he stares up at the sky every night looking for asteroids while screaming "IT'S COMING RIGHT AT US!" until he passes out.

kito's picture

guys like him fray my already frayed nerves............................

odatruf's picture

Would that be frontrunning the dread?


insanelysane's picture

I had a thought over the weekend that may have been brought on by too much turkey and too much alcohol but....

What if Consumer Confidence is really up?  What if consumers have adjusted to the "new normal" of poor employment numbers, inflation, non existent leadership from government?  I am starting to believe that consumers are confident that they can manage the current economic situation therefore confidence is up.  However, in the old days, increased consumer confidence meant increased spending.  I believe this has decoupled and that increased consumer confidence will not translate into an increase in spending.  There may be an increase due to inflation of prices but the number of widgets purchased is going to be flat at best.

GMadScientist's picture

Can you say "corporate revenue"?

Sure you can! (but that doesn't mean much if you can't back it up)

If the consumer is "confident" in anything, it's that they can get a better deal next year.

Snidley Whipsnae's picture

Why would 'consumer confidence' matter much if the consumers wages are stagnant?

Why would 'consumer confidence' rise if the consumers wages are stagnant?

Perhaps we have some manipulated numbers in consumer confidence?

odatruf's picture

Many consumers are confident that they will be able to slide some plastic, sign a slip of paper and walk out of the store with iShit even if their wages are stagnant.

fonzannoon's picture

Insanely if you carve off the large percentage of people who have completely fallen off the map, then for everyone else, it's possible confidence is up. That's the rub. The more people become convinced that things are better the more they will demand the fed start to normalize and start raising rates. That's why Bernanke was sweating his bald head off at his last speech. when he finished he downed a jug of water and almost stumbled off teh stage. He is trapped. If you do too good of a job convincing people that you saved their ass, eventually they will want thing to get back to normal. Eventually they will be curious why they need to keep pumping the recovered patient full of drugs. So my guess is some crisis pops up somewhere. Europe, ME...somewhere, that will cause us to go back into recession. But luckily we know how to fix it. Because it was ALMOST fixed before something broke again. This could go on for a while.

Dr. Engali's picture


  " Europe, ME...somewhere, that will cause us to go back into recession"

That's just it Fonz...we have never left the recession. The propoganda machine would like people to think so, but that just isn't the case.

fonzannoon's picture

First off good to see ya Doc, and Kito. Of course i agree about the recession. it's a depression. i am saying that even in a depression apparently you can convince the masses that a shit sandwich tastes good. who knew.

Dr. Engali's picture

It's good to see you too. I took a few days off from the Hedge over the weekend.....it was like going through withdrawals. I agree it's pretty amazing. People I talk to say."yeah it's bad ,but I guess it could be a lot worse". I am astounded at how people just accept it.

CPL's picture

The average person can't find their own country on an unmarked world map.


You have faith in that?  You might be correct though.  I've known lots of idiots in my life that mistake credit availability and debt as part of their lives.  I should mention that was also the case in Japan, until the idea you could not only inherit wealth from your parents, but also their debt. 


When it turns to that again, I'll be first in line to purchase a fleet of indentured servants, I need farm labour and I don't see Canada arguing too much with the US once it comes to that. 

So if slavery is fine with you, then slavery will become a norm.  Again.  Memories are short on the original terms and conditions of slavery.  There are the spoils of war slavery (like the African slave trade), but the majority of it was because people didn't manage their debts.  So they sold themselves and sold their offspring.

Greek and Roman history show that this further tore apart the employment situation for anyone that was a citizen and willing to work.  On top of their currency debasement (they made coins thinner and thinner.).  On top of their expansion and lack of maintenance of their core.  

q99x2's picture

Hell no the can kicking hasn't stopped. We have QE infinity and creative accounting and the Rockefellers and Rothschilds have more money to spend on Obamaphones and missles.

When the can kicking stops it will probably stop with an EMP and then we will know for sure.

TideFighter's picture

99.1% of the dollar lost value compared to the new 99.6% lost dollar value doesn't mean jack shit when

the lowest form of change you can give is still a penny. 

Snidley Whipsnae's picture

TPTB can continue this course until commodities priced in fiat currencies go balistic. As long as the central banks can control the commodities mkts with paper contracts, they will. Even so, slowly rising prices in PMs and all commodities show that the controllers cannot put a total lid on rising commodity prices. With wages remaining stagnant push will come to shove when the world consumers can no longer feed themselves with their incomes. We have already seen this outcome in some areas of the world... just not in America yet and primarily because of the SNAP program... nearly 50 million Americans are receiving SNAP cards. Politicians know one thing for sure... do not let the population get hungry if you want to keep your office and your head.

LawsofPhysics's picture

TPTB can continue this course until commodities priced in fiat currencies go balistic.


This has been what has happened in every single societal collapse throughout history, in most cases, war follows.

Hedge accordingly.

Aurora Ex Machina's picture

Ad Graecas literas totum animum applicui; statimque, ut pecuniam acceptero, Graecos primum autores, deinde vestes emam.


If you don't like the latin, how's about some Monty Python ~ the architect sketch; bleeding Masonic handshakes