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Guest Post: We've Dug A Pretty Damn Big Hole For Ourselves

Tyler Durden's picture


Submitted by James H. Kunstler via Peak Prosperity,

The diminishing returns of technology are insidious, and they are ever with us. By this I mean the slow erosion of the quality of life, despite the impression that technological wonders only make our lives better.

We've Become a Society of Self-Deluded Children

The most obvious example is what happened to the telephone over the past thirty years. We computerized every phone system in America to “improve communications.”  The net effect is that after all that time and expense (billions of capital investment), it is now nearly impossible to get a live human being on the phone, whether you are calling a Fortune 500 corporation, a non-profit charity, or your best friend. Has that improved communication? What you get instead are robots that waste big chunks of your time forcing you to listen to complex call-routing menus – often ending in futility.

Companies and institutions assume that they benefit from the “efficiency” of not having to pay gangs of human receptionists. But they only succeed in annoying their customers and clients, who are treated as pests to be avoided. In effect, phone systems became firewalls, not communication enhancers.

Add to that the more recent phenomenon of cell phones and smart phones, which, for all their charms, 1) don’t work in all locations, 2) drop calls frequently, 3) have lousy sound quality, 4) feature time delays that make people talk over each other constantly, 5) erode real-time social relations with distracting apps and web features, and 6) possibly harm people’s brains by constantly rinsing them in microwaves.

A larger issue of technology’s effect on culture is the erosion of a shared sense of what is going on in the world based on reality. Increasingly and insidiously, the consensus about how the world operates is based on things that constitute unreal cultural constructions, especially TV shows, the daily Web-flow, computer games, and pseudo-informational memes based on gossip, make-believe, and wishes. The self-referential nature of this process, by the way, is what generates the cultural mood of irony, especially among young people, who are the most thoroughly and immersively hostage to a cognitive field of rapidly degenerating show-biz artifacts that become more ridiculous with each iteration, self-reference, or mutation – until daily life seems like little more than a continuous Gong Show of implausible made-up spectacle. You might end up thinking that Federal Reserve Chair Khloe Kardashian is releasing a new cologne which can be used as an alternative fuel one hundred times more powerful than gasoline and exported worldwide to reduce the trade deficit, save Social Security, and make America energy-independent.

This is a time in history when it’s hard to take anything seriously, including our fate.

There remains, however, an age-old relationship between reality and truth, and societies that allow them to become divorced run the risk of collapse. That happens to be exactly the predicament of the USA these days, and hence it is not such a marginal view to anticipate a bug-on-the-windshield moment for a society that has made self-delusion its baseline normal zeitgeist.

It’s especially remarkable that a nation with fairly deep traditions of free thought and speech, with durable institutions for purveying them (a free press), should sleepwalk into a captivity of pervasive, systematic, institutionalized lying and fraud. The people of Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia suffered under such regimes at gunpoint, with boots on their necks, but in the USA of Bush and now Obama, we have conveyed ourselves to very similar circumstances willingly, like little children skipping through the gates of Disney World, with gleeful disregard for the consequences.

The Hard Truth of the Hole We Dug

For instance there is the current story of our collective financial situation, what the reality-based (and hence widely ridiculed) commentator David Stockman refers to as “the leveraged buyout of America.” The story we get is that the wise hands at the Federal Reserve are engineering an “economic recovery” from some kind of mystifying banking accident that occurred in 2008. The exact nature of the “mess” (as President Obama and others term it) cannot be explained, but it had something to do with rising and then falling house prices, and banks that lent money (i.e., gave mortgages) to unfortunate people who paid too much. The banks then got bailed out by the government in order to “save” the country from a re-run of the 1930s Great Depression.

No doubt, even superficial consideration of this fable makes people’s heads hurt. It’s easier to tune into Here Comes Honey Boo Boo and kick back with a 40 oz. King Cobra malt liquor than puzzle through the latest minutes released by the Federal Open Markets Committee. (Indeed, a truly rational person might learn more from reading the spilled entrails of a Jersey Giant chicken.) Here’s what actually happened to this country leading up to the fiasco of 2008:

Highly paid banking lobbyists (including former federal regulators and elected officials) bought enough influence over lawmakers to get rid of the Glass-Steagall Act, a Great-Depression-vintage law that required the separation of commercial banking (checking and savings accounts plus mortgage and business lending) from speculative investment banking. That allowed large banks to combine their operations and, among other things, turn loans into “innovative financial products” (bonds constructed out of massive quantities of non-performing mortgages and other loans), which they pawned off far and wide on “muppet” clients, including big institutional investors such as pension funds.

The big banks retained pieces (tranches) of these innovative products (called collateralized debt obligations, or CDOs), which they bought insurance on (credit-default swaps, or CDSs), since they were guaranteed to fail and thus generate insurance payouts, covering the costs of the whole racket for the banks. However, the insurers (for instance, AIG) did not really expect to have to pay out, weren’t prepared, and didn’t have the scratch to cover their obligations when the payouts were triggered. These daisy-chained counterparty obligations between financial institutions threatened a systemic cascading bankruptcy of all of them (massive counterparty failure). The then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson (former CEO of Goldman Sachs) importuned the U.S. Congress to bail out these banks, which they reluctantly did. And ever since then, the Federal Reserve and its handmaiden “too big to fail” banks have been running an array of scams aimed at concealing the worsening bankruptcy of American society and its government.

Expensive Energy Complicates Things Further

These calamities of capital mis-management occurred in tandem with trouble in the energy sector of the economy. The shorthand for the trouble was encapsulated in the term “Peak Oil.” For practical purposes, it should have been called “Peak Cheap Oil,” because these years in the mid-2000s marked the end of oil that was affordable under the terms of how American society was set up to run.

At every level of American society – and for Europe and Japan as well – the end of cheap, affordable oil had rather dire implications for all the common operations of life in advanced societies: food production, transportation, commerce, and especially finance. Finance – the management of a society’s accumulated wealth – was the most abstract of these systems and the one most easily upset by the implications of Peak Cheap Oil. The reason was that oil happened to be the “master resource” for generating economic growth and Peak Cheap Oil provoked a particular problem with money: Without continued growth of 3 to 5 percent a year, not enough new wealth could be generated to cover the interest on loans in the financial system. In effect, the whole system of interest became impaired, and without interest you couldn’t have the normal operations of banking.

It was pretty elementary. But the American public was not disposed to understand it, because everything in the U.S. economy worked on revolving credit, including the issuance of money itself (which was loaned into existence by the banks), and the public was addicted to debt. Loaning money into existence, of course, implied the creation of ever more debt, which came burdened with interest payments. It was not a casual coincidence, by the way, that the greatest orgy of debt creation in human history occurred in the very years leading up to Peak Cheap Oil, roughly 1990 to 2005, when relatively cheap oil use reached its zenith. So, by the time Peak Cheap Oil actually hit, the debt burden in American society was crushing at every level: household, business, and government.

Additionally, the problem of Peak Cheap Oil suggested to anyone paying attention that the debt bust was a permanent predicament. It had no remedy other than writing off losses, and, pretty soon, vivid economic contraction. Sometimes the terms “depression” and “recession” were used to describe the evolving situation, but the word “contraction” was more accurate, because a permanent contraction of industrial technological civilization had commenced. The reality of it was too scary for most people to process, especially people with political power. Really, anybody running things in American society – businesses, news media, college economics departments – could not face the implications of a contracting industrial economy. The words “recession” and “depression” were reassuring in the sense that they depicted low phases of a cycle that was sure to turn up eventually in the form of “recovery.”

Lesson Not Learned

Hence “recovery” became the shibboleth constantly invoked by people running things after the crisis of 2008. Unfortunately, no such recovery was underway. It was papered over by the twin Federal Reserve policies of quantitative easing and financial repression – a combination of the nation’s central bank loaning vast new amounts of money into existence at ultra-low interest rates (hardly any interest to pay back) and creating steady monetary inflation to reduce the burden of existing debt by shrinking the dollar value of the debt. The program was a racket in the sense that it was fundamentally dishonest. And it enlisted its handmaiden too-big-to-fail banks (a.k.a. “primary dealers”) into several levels of the racket:

  1. as middlemen purveying U.S. Treasury bonds to the Fed for commissions and fees
  2. as recipients of a bottomless cascade of near-zero interest loans that could be rolled into securities paying a bit more interest, therefore providing a steady creaming-off of profit in what is known as a “carry trade”

Meanwhile, all kinds of games were being played by the government from the simple misreporting of basic economic statistics, to the misrepresentation of revenues and expenditures, and known-to-be-false projections of future indexes. The basic operating system in the USA had moved from the rule of law to pervasive accounting fraud. The U.S. congress was not only deadlocked between two extreme positions on the left-to-right gradient, but both major parties were wholly bought off by their sponsor-contributors, including the shadow army of lobbyists with no political stance other than service-for-pay from the officeholders they shoveled money to. Business played games to stoke the recovery myth, too, like the “channel stuffing” rampant in the car industry, in which new cars were jammed into the dealer lots (delivered on credit) beyond any reasonable expectation of actual sales, but were recorded on the balance sheets of the automakers as sales nonetheless. Voila! Car sales are up this month! After 2011, this was joined by a campaign to provide sub-prime auto loans on the same order as the trash mortgages that had gotten the banks in so much trouble a few years earlier. The practice continues today, along with securitization of trash car loans into asset-backed securities. A similar racket goes on with college loans, which have come to eclipse even credit-card debt in sheer volume.

Plan B? There's No Plan A!

Now, the presumed purpose of these shenanigans from the point of view of the Federal Reserve and the White House was to keep the financial system stable and afloat, and therefore to keep “normal” American daily life going. Unfortunately, it was based on the unreal assumption that the financial norms of, say, 2006 could be ginned back up again, and this premise was just inconsistent with the reality of a post-Peak-Cheap-Oil world. Unfortunately, there was no organized counter-view to this wishful thinking anywhere within the boundaries of the political establishment. Nobody in power or in charge of anything could present a road map of where to lead this society from here – “here” being a realm of hopeless futility. The nation has been mired in this quandary for years and has been hung out to dry with the very feeble guidance from mainstream opinion-makers and leaders that nothing else really matters as long as the stock markets are going up.

At this point, any sane person reading this is asking: How the heck do we get out of this mess?

In Part II: Fixing the Mess We've Made, we look at the largest trends society will need to comply with as the unsustainable economic, financial, and resource pursuits described above collide with reality. Yes, the impact will be painful, as will be the transition to a new, more maintainable way of life. But those who intelligently re-align their lifestyles today, in advance, will experience much less disruption – in fact, thriving is a real option.

So the smart move here is to understand these defining trends, determine where you can best position yourself to take advantage of them, and start taking steps to do so now. Of all your current assets, none is more valuable then time. Don't waste it waiting for direction from above. If it ever does arrive, it will be much too late to be of use. 


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Tue, 04/23/2013 - 15:09 | 3489650 Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture

well... as Obama would say...


Tue, 04/23/2013 - 15:10 | 3489655 fightthepower
fightthepower's picture

So we're fucking fucked?

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 15:13 | 3489660 SilverIsKing
SilverIsKing's picture

Yeah, we are.

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 15:15 | 3489668 flacon
flacon's picture

Keynes believed digging holes was stimulatory. 

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 15:17 | 3489675 krispkritter
krispkritter's picture

At least it was shovel-ready... How much shit could a shithead shovel if a shithead could shovel shit? Politician and shithead are interchangeable.

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 15:22 | 3489692 Aguadulce
Aguadulce's picture

I'm appalled that the author chose King Cobra over O.E.

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 15:24 | 3489704 Joe Davola
Joe Davola's picture

What's your dirt doin' in Boss Kean's hole?

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 15:31 | 3489729 James_Cole
James_Cole's picture

The net effect is that after all that time and expense (billions of capital investment), it is now nearly impossible to get a live human being on the phone, whether you are calling a Fortune 500 corporation, a non-profit charity, or your best friend. Has that improved communication? 

Conflating so many issues. This has nothing to do with efficiency, it's about passing costs to the consumer. Instead of paying for extra operators a business has made the decision to have the consumer pay with their time.

Like in IKEA where instead of paying to have the furniture built, the consumer gets to spend their time ($) building it themselves. 

The ideal is to remove as much paid labour from the equation as possible and pass it on to the consumer as 'invisible' costs. 

Not efficient at all. 


Tue, 04/23/2013 - 15:56 | 3489886 Stack Trace
Stack Trace's picture

Thank you for your comment. Maybe the author didn't feel like doing all the work to explain this concept and hoped someone else like you would do the real work for him. ;-)

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 16:33 | 3490067 francis_sawyer
francis_sawyer's picture

Keep digging...


When you get to China, do what Forrest Gump would do & start digging backwards [for no particular reason]...

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 17:13 | 3490242 Manthong
Manthong's picture

Maybe some more digging would be helpful here..


Wed, 04/24/2013 - 04:04 | 3491887 StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

I see what you did there.  :>D

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 16:14 | 3489973 Joe Davola
Joe Davola's picture

Then there's the part where you have to use your labor to pay them at the self-checkout.

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 16:25 | 3490023 aerojet
aerojet's picture

I'm not sure what IKEA sells is equivalent to furniture, it is more of a facsimile, perhaps an analogy would be how fast food is food, of a sort.  I still like IKEA, and have some stuff from there, and the knock-down aspect of it is a feature for a lot of people.  I think they serve a niche and do it pretty well. 


I do think you're on track with the removal of paid labor concept, I'm not sure IKEA is really a good example of that trend, however.  I simply blame it all on MBAs and their groupthink of "one less pickle in the jar" and the "you'll be gone, I'll be gone" type mentality. 

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 16:36 | 3490086 ATM
ATM's picture

He's not conflating issues at all. His point is that in the effort to improve communication many compainies have gone the route of adding confusing technological barriers to actual communication.

It's like saying I've added 600lbs of fuel saving devices to my car in the hopes of improving gas mileage. Yet, companies everyday make basically the same decisions.

BTW, my company has live operators. I tell potential customers that when they call us a miracle will happen. Somebody will answer the phone.

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 18:42 | 3490599 Stuck on Zero
Stuck on Zero's picture

401ks, IRAs, Keoghs, 1040s, W4s, HSAs...  It goes on an on. The government is making life impossibly difficult.  My wife and I spend 500 hours a year working with this crap.  A Tainter collapse is inevitable.


Tue, 04/23/2013 - 19:55 | 3490864 Matt
Matt's picture

The author is saying that the situation is the result of the diminishing returns of technology. The problem is not the technology, but the application of that technology.

The companies are choosing to transfer costs, in the form of time, to the consumer. While the technology enables this behavior, the technology does not cause this behavior.

The author, perhaps, does not understand, or for the sake of this article, chooses to ignore the pressures of globalization that push companies to constantly lower operating costs to try to compete with lower cost competitors. Better to blame technology.

The author also lements that people get information from the Internet and alternative sources, instead of the good old days before television, when people got their understanding of the world from their neighbours and the world around them. That his article is on the Internet makes this even more humoress.

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 15:29 | 3489724 Urban Redneck
Urban Redneck's picture

How about Mickey's Fine Malt Liquor, in honor of Boston's Finest Mick Thugs digging a deeper grave for American Civil Rights.  They sure as fuck don't deserve a real beer since they don't a real job of protecting and serving and the citizens.

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 16:39 | 3490097 ATM
ATM's picture

Their slogan has nothing to do with their eral job description. "Protect and Serve" is marketing at it's finest.

My favorite Malt Liquor is Schlitz. We used to drink it at the brewery when I was in high school.

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 16:50 | 3490151 Alpha Monkey
Alpha Monkey's picture

Now that's not fair.  They certainly do protect and serve.... the established power structure.  Bankster guard swine.

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 21:00 | 3491095 Buckaroo Banzai
Buckaroo Banzai's picture

Haffenreffer Private Stock. It's the malt liquor with the imported taste!

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 16:39 | 3490103 Panafrican Funk...
Panafrican Funktron Robot's picture

The function of the crash can be summarized as follows:

1.  Stock market crashed in 99/00.

2.  Fed funds slashed to near zero.

3.  In 2005-06, fed funds ramped to 5%

4.  Crash 2.0 

5.  Fed funds back to near zero, forever.

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 19:59 | 3490873 Matt
Matt's picture

Rising commodity prices, and the choice not to regulate derivatives or shield the commercial banking system from them, are pretty big contributors.

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 16:10 | 3489946 Jonas Parker
Jonas Parker's picture

The only "shovel-ready project" in the history of Obama's administration was Ted Kennedy...

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 15:17 | 3489676 Major Major Major
Major Major Major's picture

A guy stopped at a local gas station, and after filling his tank, paid the bill and bought a soft drink. He stood by his car to drink his cola and watched a couple of men working along the road.

One man would dig a hole two or three feet deep and then move on. Then the other man would come along behind him and fill in the hole. While one was digging a new hole, the other was 25 feet behind, filling in the hole. The men worked right past the guy with the soft drink and went on down the road.

"I can't stand this," said the man tossing the can into a trash container and heading down the road toward the men. "Hold it, hold it," he said to the men. "Can you tell me what's going on here, with all this digging and refilling?"

"Well, we work for the government and we're just doing our job," one of the men said.

"But one of you is digging a hole and the other fills it up. You're not accomplishing anything. Aren't you wasting the taxpayers' money?"

"You don't understand, mister," one of the men said, leaning on his shovel and wiping his brow. "Normally there are three of us: me, Elmer and Leroy. I dig the hole, Elmer sticks in the tree and Leroy, here, puts the dirt back. Now just because Elmer's sick, that doesn't mean that Leroy and me can't work!"

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 15:33 | 3489743 oldschool
oldschool's picture

Union work rules, doncha know?

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 15:34 | 3489752 RichardENixon
RichardENixon's picture

Elmer was furloughed due to the sequester.

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 16:47 | 3490143 Alpha Monkey
Alpha Monkey's picture

While banksters got $85 Bil.

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 16:00 | 3489898 lunaticfringe
lunaticfringe's picture

What asshole junked this comment? Oh yea, the tree planter. 

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 15:20 | 3489688 falak pema
falak pema's picture

it is provided you bury the dead bodies; the TBTF cabal, not the live ones the young and vibrant! 

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 17:15 | 3490249 InTheLandOfTheBlind
InTheLandOfTheBlind's picture

my girlfriend keeps asking this of me... sorry honey, i am bored

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 15:41 | 3489804 The Heart
The Heart's picture

"So we're fucking fucked?"

Like, living in the last days of Pompeii, fecked.


Tue, 04/23/2013 - 17:01 | 3490187 new guy
new guy's picture

I fucking fucked the fuck out of a fucking girl last night and she said it was the best fucking fucking she had  all fucking week.

There i've done it. I used it as a noun, a verb and an adjective all in the same sentence. I bet you guys wish you were as fucking cool as me!

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 15:20 | 3489687 Jekyll_n_Hyde_Island
Jekyll_n_Hyde_Island's picture

What's the matter? Why would no one want a 1.4% gain on 10 year t-bonds?

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 17:18 | 3489690 Urban Redneck
Urban Redneck's picture

Actually, I think that picture is of a hole that was dug by a number of gold bugs who did not have proper paperwork granting permission from the government of Ghana to dig a hole - so the military came in with bulldozers and other industrial equipment and buried them alive, which conveniently killed some of those gold bugs ...

an appropriate metaphor.

EDIT: searchable RSS archiving can be a wonderful thing...

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 18:48 | 3490622 TuPhat
TuPhat's picture

It looks like a colonoscopy to me.

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 15:28 | 3489718 DoChenRollingBearing
DoChenRollingBearing's picture

Keeping too much money in the bank may not be a good answer either.  The Mercenary Geologist says that they are laughing at you...

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 15:32 | 3489738 DosZap
DosZap's picture

well... as Obama would say...


No he would say many others DUG THAT HOLE, YOU did not dig that hole.

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 16:09 | 3489941 DoChenRollingBearing
DoChenRollingBearing's picture

Speak for yourself!  I dug TFH!

LOL...  :)

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 17:33 | 3490287 Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture

it was actually a sarc....

you didn't do the good things....
but whatever went wrong... you did it.

capeesh? :)

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 17:36 | 3490299 Tango in the Blight
Tango in the Blight's picture


Tue, 04/23/2013 - 15:12 | 3489663 useless_fact
useless_fact's picture

Catfish have over 27,000 taste buds. Humans have around 7,000.

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 15:13 | 3489667 Bastiat
Bastiat's picture

Is that pic from a colonoscopy?

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 18:49 | 3490626 TuPhat
TuPhat's picture

Exactly.  sorry that I replied above before I saw your comment.

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 18:49 | 3490632 TuPhat
TuPhat's picture

Exactly.  sorry that I replied above before I saw your comment.

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 15:16 | 3489671 Turin Turambar
Turin Turambar's picture
We've Dug A Pretty Damn Big Hole For Ourselves


You can kiss my arse.  I haven't dug anything for anybody.  I am doing all that I can to limit the confiscation of my property by the mob.  I haven't obligated or stolen from anybody dumbarse.

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 15:18 | 3489681 Dollar Bill Hiccup
Dollar Bill Hiccup's picture

So Barry O was right ... YOU didn't dig that HOLE !

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 15:22 | 3489691 NotApplicable
NotApplicable's picture

So... you're also a non-voter, right? Or do you choose to sanctify it by wearing a little sticker?

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 15:29 | 3489723 Turin Turambar
Turin Turambar's picture

Duh, I'm smart enough to not rubber stamp my own plundering.

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 15:21 | 3489695 Professorlocknload
Professorlocknload's picture

But, if you enroll, in part two you can find out the secret of the universe.

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 18:04 | 3490430 Creepy Lurker
Creepy Lurker's picture

His part two's are always the same. You must give up your vehicle and move to an inner city that has been gentrified so you can walk everywhere you go, and become a vegetarian.

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 15:15 | 3489674 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

A self deluded population will seek to remain self deluded.

<The problem was, and remains, within.>

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 15:18 | 3489679 Dollar Bill Hiccup
Dollar Bill Hiccup's picture

Nice article. The Gong Show was a classic. The Unknown Comic!

There's not much thought given to self reference in socio / political / economic systems.

It's all about the statistical mapping of relationships and correlations etc.

Statistical correlations are not self aware, but peopled systems are.

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 15:30 | 3489722 Fishthatlived
Fishthatlived's picture

Love the Unknown Comic...even have an autographed pic from Vegas!

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 15:18 | 3489683 css1971
css1971's picture

It's simple. Save yourself. The others cannot be saved, they don't want to be saved. They wouldn't want to be saved even if they found out it was possible to be saved.

They want their juicy steak.

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 16:44 | 3490125 Alpha Monkey
Alpha Monkey's picture

I want a juicy steak.  But I also want some more awareness in my daily life.

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 15:19 | 3489684 yogibear
yogibear's picture

Some Kids used to believe if you  dug a hole through the earth you would end up in China.

Maybe it's what the Fed believes.

The China syndrome.

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 15:20 | 3489685 Debugas
Debugas's picture

realizing what we have done is one thing.

More importantly is to understand WHY WE DID IT ?

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 15:28 | 3489714 RichardENixon
RichardENixon's picture

It's a big game of musical chairs. Everyone thinks they'll get the last chair before the music stops. They don't realize the real players are quietly slipping out the side door.

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 16:44 | 3490127 ATM
ATM's picture

No everybody wants free beer.Humans by nature are lazy. Why exert effort for something that's free? I want a free house, free food, free health care a free phone, car, college education you name it!

Someone else can pay for it, someone who can better afford to pay the costs. You know those rich people who aren't paying their fair share. They should pay!

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 15:21 | 3489696 AgShaman
AgShaman's picture

We can no longer afford to feed our "Soylents"

(Please make your way to the nearest Warren Buffet railway to neverland)

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 15:24 | 3489705 Yen Cross
Yen Cross's picture

    Is that Bernanke, Blankfein and Dimon playing '3 card Monte' in the bottom of that hole?

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 15:25 | 3489708 ziggy59
ziggy59's picture

These idiots must have read a fortune cookie that says: keep digging.... You hit bottom eventually

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 15:28 | 3489713 yogibear
yogibear's picture

"Please make your way to the nearest Warren Buffet railway"

To be hauled off to the processing camps. 

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 15:28 | 3489719 JLee2027
JLee2027's picture

Recovery = Endsieg (Final Victory)

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 15:30 | 3489720 MayIMommaDogFac...
MayIMommaDogFace2theBananaPatch's picture

until daily life seems like little more than a continuous Gong Show of implausible made-up spectacle

I thought it was just me.

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 15:34 | 3489742 RichardENixon
RichardENixon's picture

Actually, I recall the Gong Show as a bastion of sanity compared to what I see going on all around me these days.

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 18:47 | 3490623 WillyGroper
WillyGroper's picture

If memory serves, there was a judge named J.P. Morgan on the Gong Show.

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 21:13 | 3491133 Buckaroo Banzai
Buckaroo Banzai's picture

Jaye P. Morgan, actually.

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 15:36 | 3489760 Common_Cents22
Common_Cents22's picture

The big big dig.

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 15:37 | 3489763 q99x2
q99x2's picture

People don't want money they want to do what they want to especially if they had to pay some technician or sales company to implement costly technologies.

These are some of the adverse side effects of intelligence. The contemplation of death is another.

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 15:37 | 3489765 rsnoble
rsnoble's picture

I scanned this article in .56 seconds and can summarize it, as many of you already have, we're fucked.

This might be news for some but im pretty well aware of how fucked we are going to get which really sucks because my ass is tight.

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 18:00 | 3490415 Abi Normal
Abi Normal's picture

Pucker up baby, the new parade of the rectally challenged!

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 15:38 | 3489767 100pcDredge
100pcDredge's picture

Forget reality... it doesn't exist! Most of the spacetimes... so... we all must put the printer *on*, at home at the fed, everywhere... and buy stuff.

I say we all... print for the father- and motherland! Just to make it today. And tomorrow, everybody goes back to work, ok? We ALL has to give one salary away, one day... each month... + 1 free salad, for the bankers... or else... we're doomed... and nobody will make it... so print-on! Faster... FASTER! And uh... we ah.... ok, never mind.

Lets get to the platnum coin... make it... so - immediately! It's out only chance to survive now, as a species... you know.

And... collect as much diamonds and gold as you can find!! All of you people! Then... destroy 50% of it, nuke it or dump it a Fukushim... get rid of it! So we can once more make it, today - just to ehm... survive. Let's do it!

PrintUP! Hoard gold and diamonds and destroy half of it! Then after that we burn 90% of the money and every thing will be fine once more... I promise. Oh and get rid of the stock, it stinks... I mean it's panick crap, you saw that today, didn't you? So, think what would happen if some guy programmed his superfast HFT computer erroninonanonous.... think it about it... everything would be gone... at once, and with the wind... some guys would probably buy EVERYTHING ever just for one buck... and that won't help... so dump this stockwaste, before uh... something like the above happens... until then: buy stock! Faster! Buy IT!! And... sell it... just in time....

But first: let's print 10 trillion a year (just to kickstart ehm econmy... and make the platnum coin... just make it... they (the buyers) will come... as they always do.... then we sell it for 3 billion... maybe to the Chinese... or the Japanese... they have to buy everyhting from the US anyway... and with the Abenomcis they can! Can't they? So... what's the problem?


Tue, 04/23/2013 - 16:04 | 3489927 Jekyll_n_Hyde_Island
Jekyll_n_Hyde_Island's picture

What on God's green earth is above me?  Gradually forming a hypothesis of drunkeness, language barrier and garden variety mental instablity.

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 18:02 | 3490424 Abi Normal
Abi Normal's picture

When it all comes crashing down, I am going to go after catlytic converters, plenty of platinum in them thar pipes!  Problem is going to be finding hydrocloric acid and liquid nitrogen...

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 15:39 | 3489789 DUNTHAT
DUNTHAT's picture

Have you seen the latest Chicago Fed Activity Index, etc.???

Explains why Ben is not attending the Fed's Annual Praise and Worship Service at Jackson Hole.

Questions like,  "With all that printing, this is the best you can do ?????

More at

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 15:42 | 3489801 Towgunner
Towgunner's picture

Hey, good post. I like the intro, speaks to the level of systemic malinvestment now in place in our system. Between the "wow" factor and our apparent passage through "singularity", economics will hopefully prevail, in that, eventually this whole thing implodes, explodes. If "they' didn't meddle in our markets, economy, society etc could we all be in a much better place? I think, overwhelmingly, yes. The evolution of technology and with emphasis, specifically, the malinvestment in technology is very scary. You have to wonder, whereas technology today literally invites a George Jetson existence, perhaps not flying cars just yet, instead we get longer work days with less pay, debt-based indentured servitude and a police state control grid that sees and tracks everything. Nice to know the NSA is building or built an enormous repository of all of our emails etc. Moreover, nice to know that singularity has taken RC technology and turned it into autonomous drones...and soon insect sized drones.

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 15:55 | 3489874 richard007
richard007's picture

Actually, there is a plan.

Yahweh has a plan and a purpose for the USA.

Unfortunitly, it is a Biblical disaster which Starts with Iran

and becomes an Economic Depresion.

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 15:55 | 3489887 Theos
Theos's picture

no no no dig UP stupid!

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 16:00 | 3489906 lunaticfringe
lunaticfringe's picture

Thankfully all is right in the ZH world today. Please Tyler, do not run another blog on the bombers. I can't take it.

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 16:03 | 3489915 Straw Dog
Straw Dog's picture

Excellent article. Great explanations/theses. Especially liked:

The words “recession” and “depression” were reassuring in the sense that they depicted low phases of a cycle that was sure to turn up eventually in the form of “recovery.

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 18:07 | 3490444 Abi Normal
Abi Normal's picture

Depends on how far down the rabbit hole we go my friend!  With all the low-info folks out there, it could take a while to 'recover', not to mention all the billions of rounds of JHP and thousands of MRAPS...could get down right fugly!

Wed, 04/24/2013 - 13:49 | 3493578 Trampy
Trampy's picture


Tue, 04/23/2013 - 16:05 | 3489925 sschu
sschu's picture

From 1 Corinthians 1

18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written:

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
    the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”[c]

20 Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?

True now more than ever.


Tue, 04/23/2013 - 18:11 | 3490458 Abi Normal
Abi Normal's picture

Amen, Brother!  For only through Jesus Christ shall you enter the Kingdom of Heaven!  Know me, believe in me, repent and be saved in my name - Christ Jesus


I know I will suffer a few down arrows, but it is my belief, and will take it to the grave.  Judge not, for ye shall be judged a thousand times over.

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 18:32 | 3490557 forwardho
forwardho's picture

We all have but one life to live. We don't get to choose which reality we live that life in.

Take and give the most from today, we all have but one life to live.

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 19:27 | 3490782 sschu
sschu's picture

It is so interesting that something written 2,000 years ago is so appropriate and true today!

We think we are so smart and wise, but the ways of the world are so predictable in the direction they take us.

Satan is about to have his party, for a while at least.


Tue, 04/23/2013 - 16:07 | 3489934 Bob Sacamano
Bob Sacamano's picture

What is this guy talking about?  The problems with phone technology are material to our undoing?  Wow.   Maybe he should go back to his land line for some peace and sanity.

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 16:07 | 3489936 youngman
youngman's picture

I think with Obamacare kicking in next year...and the Immigration bill adding million to the dole....that QE will be increased and go on forever....1 trillion goes to 2 trillion a year....and the world will start to shun the US Dollar....

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 16:46 | 3490130 negative rates
negative rates's picture

No they wont, they will shun the people who spent the 700 Trillion dollars. We were supposed to pay that money back, but hot stuff went over board and now we are broke. This won't end well now will it?

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 16:11 | 3489957 Bryan
Bryan's picture

Thank you, Mr. Kunstler, for so eloquently explaining what I have been struggling to tell the low-information people for 5 years now.

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 16:28 | 3490047 1C3-N1N3
1C3-N1N3's picture

Average American life has been reduced to a steady stream of cheap treats.

And when those run out, they will be replaced with costly fistfights.

And by "fistfights" I mean "all-out war."

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 16:28 | 3490049 venturen
venturen's picture

Who's we...the government "workers" on their $200k pension?

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 16:31 | 3490054 aerojet
aerojet's picture

I bet part II is something you have to pay to read, but if you do, you still won't have a "what can we do?" type of plan, it will be all bullshit!

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 16:34 | 3490064 TwoHoot
TwoHoot's picture

Old Kunstler - one of those that is usually very wrong or very right. No middle ground (or consistency) for him. This time he got it very right.

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 16:39 | 3490100 Alpha Monkey
Alpha Monkey's picture
We've Become a Society of Self-Deluded Children

Was there a time when this wasn't the case?  As far as I can see, not much has changed in say... 8000 years, except as you point out, our technological capability to do all the things we did in the past, quicker, more efficiently and in greater quantity.  Wars - yep, 8K years and counting.  Poverty - yep, 8K years and counting.  Murder/Rape/Theft/Prejudice - yep, 8K years and counting. Nothing new under the sun... yet.

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 16:55 | 3490168 tbd108
tbd108's picture

What you mean "we" white man?

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 16:57 | 3490179 What you talkin...
What you talkin about Willis's picture

"You might end up thinking that Federal Reserve Chair Khloe Kardashian is releasing a new cologne which can be used as an alternative fuel one hundred times more powerful than gasoline and exported worldwide to reduce the trade deficit, save Social Security, and make America energy-independent."


Jim Maybe the "creamy Nugget center" has been located in Kim Kardashinas Vag all this time?  If that what you are infering? Is there reason to rejoice and load up the hopium bong?

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 17:05 | 3490209 negative rates
negative rates's picture

Perhaps, blood is thicker than water.

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 17:26 | 3490270 Abi Normal
Abi Normal's picture

What's this about communications?  You mean you actually use those rectangular devices to call people and talk to them?  Damn, all this time I thought they were cameras, flashlights and calculators...imagine my embarrasement!?

As to digging holes, I believe the CB's have bored through the earth by now, and seeing the other side have declared 'ALLS CLEAR'...When in fact, they have just ruined the planet on an unimaginable scale!

I tell ya, when this trillion pound house of cards fall, there will be a lot of FLAT EARTHERS laying around saying 'I've been played'.  What was that card game again, Cowboy Roundup or was it 52 Card Pickup...yeah, there will be a lot of picking up of the pieces all right.

Just can't imagine why these truly smart crooks can't see the endgame?  If they do then they are much worse than crooks, may they be bound in chains for a 1,000 years!!!  This AP Tweet has showed me one thing though, they tested the waters for the actual EVENT, even though they blame it on the Iranians, I can't help but think they are saying -- OK, here is what we do when all else fails.  This propping up period, as I see it, is just buying time for the Military Complex to gear up, and the robber barons to figure out how they can steal as much wealth as possible before letting the thing go down.  The CB's have not exhausted all bullets yet, but they are scraping the bottom of the barrel, they know the jig is almost up.  Snails could crawl faster than the growth we now see around the world, and all the money in circulation and in vaults and in casinos will make for an interesting, yet devastating, next year!  No amount of charts and analysis can be used to map these uncharted waters, but one thing is crystal clear, the Captain at the helm is not named Kirk! Out!

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 17:28 | 3490273 enloe creek
enloe creek's picture

good article, but I'm reading it thinking yadayadayada  collapse, chaos turmoil right around the corner,  just fricking get it on then while I have some wherewithall to  try to get by.

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 17:32 | 3490283 Radical Marijuana
Radical Marijuana's picture

Excellent article.

The way I think about the "damn big hole we have dug ourselves into" is that there is an almost infinite tunnel of deceits, in which each pit is inside of another deeper pit. Of course, the majority of people have been conditioned to not understand that, and to not want to understand that.

While Peak Cheap Oil is the dominant background factor within our current civilization, one can generalize to say that LIFE IS FIRE.

Life is a process which transforms its fuels: oxygen, and whatever combines with that. On Earth, almost all of the sources of that energy which can go through the entropic pumps of various combustion processes comes from the Sun. Peak Cheap Oil was the relatively recent and rapid discovery of how to use vast stored supplies of energy, to burn as fast as possible.

Of course, that luxury allowed unprecedented runaway growth of the human population and all related human activities. There was temporarily a very different kind of human and industrial ecology made possible. However, there continues to be the same chronic political problems inherent in the nature of life. Since life is a fire, that can spark more fires, life ALWAYS has the potential to burn its fuel, at rates which then put a damper on those fires.

Given the broad sweep of history, it should be easy to understand the mathematics of exponential growth. It does not take long for the ability of life to reproduce to grow to the point where there is not enough fuel to keep it growing. Any period of time when that is possible usually does not last long, compared to the much longer periods of time when ecologies develop to cope with the real environmental limits regarding the sources of fuel to feed fires, which can spark more fires, and even more fires, IF that is possible for them to do. Such combustion conflagrations are innate features of the nature of life, and those generate chronic political problems.

Thus, we are currently inside of the situation where exponential growth has overshot what could be sustainable, and therefore, it looks extremely probable that there is going to be some serious series of extinguishments of various living fires, which were able to be sparked up in the recent past. (Of course, all of that is inside of the bigger environmental picture, which can trump anything we think might happen in the human world by anything BIGGER.)

From a sublime point of view, life is the flow of energy, and so, life is one with all energy. However, we relatively subtract various toroidal vortices of that flow, by imagining an axis through them. (I.e., human beings are tubes of flesh, through which flows energy (including the extremely concentrated forms of energy as matter.) After we have relatively subtracted any living systems from their environment, then they must have energy from outside of their defined boundaries to keep them burning.

To take energy across those defined boundaries, by basic English definition of words, is robbery. Thus, the two basic concepts which explain energy systems are SUBTRACTION and ROBBERY, and those are therefore the basic concepts which include all human activities, and social organizations.

Human beings, as defined biological entropy pumps, necessarily operate as robbers in their environments, which can reproduce more robbers. The most extreme form of robbery is murder. Therefore, the most basic controls are the death controls. That is, AFTER one has any living fire, that can spark more living fires, THEN the death controls that put those fires out become the central controls over everything else.

Thus, the damn big hole that we have dug ourselves into is the overall murder systems, which backs up the money systems, or the death controls which back up the debt controls.

It is true that most people have been conditioned to become Zombie Sheeple, or Self-Deluded Children, and it is certainly true that there is nothing proven on the horizon of history to be able to replace abundant cheap oil, that can continue to be discovered and developed at an exponential rate, like it was possible to do during the 20th Century. (There are plenty of creative alternatives, and perhaps some game changing breakthrough energy technologies, BUT they all have the same basic political problems with respect to Alternative Energies & Society Adapted to Them?)

However, I do NOT agree that the Neolithic style of civilization has not learned lessons from its history, although I believe that those social habits are now utterly insane, they are still well-established. Furthermore, I think it is plainly obvious that there IS a Plan B, which is a continuation of the real Plan A.

The money system is backed by the murder system. Plan A was to grow a globalized social pyramid, as much as possible. Plan B is to collapse that, as necessary. Both are attempted to be controlled by the Vicious Wolves, at the top of the social pyramid systems, who are the ruling classes over the large groups of Zombie Sheeple. It appears to me to be plainly obvious that these two plans blend into each other. I think it is quite clear that the ruling classes have prepared their Plan B, which is to start more genocidal wars, and impose democidal martial law. That IS their real solution to the serious problems, which were correctly reviewed in this article above.

Furthermore, to again return to the image of the infinite tunnels of deceits, as our Bizarro Mirror World reflects back at itself, we ARE in deep holes, which ARE inside of ever deeper holes! There are no other genuine solutions than some other kinds of murder systems operating death controls. The are no other genuine solutions, but to do what the ruling classes did, except to do that better than they have, or would.

Given that there IS any life, which a fire that can spark more fires, then putting fires out becomes the thing to think about and do, in order to keep other fires able to burn. History HAS been doing that, through the layers of selection pressures which fashioned civilizations based on organized systems of lies, operating organized robberies, which have developed to become legalized lies, backed by legalized violence. The self-deluded children, or Zombie Sheeple, have been conditioned to not understand that, and to not want to understand that, while the Vicious Wolves have routinely fleeced them, and set them up to be slaughtered. However, it is WRONG to blame the ruling classes for the EXISTENCE of these problems, because they made some choice to be evil. They have merely developed expedient sets of solutions to chronic political problems, which benefited them.

THE ONLY THEORETICAL SOLUTIONS TO CHRONIC POLITICAL PROBLEMS ARE DEATH CONTROLS. Our current financial systems are the symbolic manifestation of those processes, which have worked themselves through, during human history. Therefore, it ALREADY exists, as the currently combined money/murder systems. Those are developing through their real Plan A, towards their real Plan B. The only realistic solutions must be better ways to implement Plan B.

The preferred solutions to the problems that there MUST continue to evolve human ecologies, and industrial ecologies, along with some natural ecologies, are to go through radical paradigm shifts in political science, and especially in oldest and best developed of the social sciences, which was warfare. The monetary system was always within militarism. A real radical revolution in the monetary systems requires similar things happen in the military systems. Every possible breakthrough towards new sources of alternative energy generation continue to demand that we resolve the chronic political problems.

At the present time, those problems are profoundly difficult and dangerous, because the vast majority of people do not understand them, since they do not want to understand them, while the ruling classes that do, somewhat, understand those problems have old-fashioned social pyramid system ideas about how to continue to resolve those problems, and their solutions depend upon continuing to be able to operate their death and debt controls through the maximum possible deceits, which continue to fool enough of the people.

ALL of this, including the Peak Cheap Energy phase, is driven by creative breakthrough in basic science, enabling technologies. THAT is now what is ever more imperative to happen through our social sciences, which primarily means through our militarism. There are no other theoretical solutions to the limits of exponential growth than some system of death controls. Those will probably go through cycles of collapse into chaos, until some new systems of dynamic equilibria might emerge ... Theoretically, we MIGHT be able to understand that, and with higher consciousness catalyze those processes. HOWEVER, the biggest obstacles to that are the current systems made up of Zombie Sheeple, who do not understand, because they do not want to understand, and the Vicious Wolves, who want to be able to make sure that the Sheeple do not want to understand the real situations.

Thus, human history looks like it is going to become one hell of a rocket propelled roller coaster ride, while the period of Peak Cheap Oil, was just the first big hill up, until we reach some tipping point, where the exponential ride UP, starts to seriously go DOWN. As long as the overall total human population number continues going UP, we are not there yet ... however, it appears clear that we are probably getting closer to that tipping point, where the total number of human beings starts going DOWN ...

The phenomena of the political economy, with its growth, or depression, reflect the potential for the same things, only much more so, working through the human ecology correlations of those. The combined money/murder systems can never be decoupled. However, we might be able to understand that better, and therefore, evolve a better human ecology, within better industrial and natural ecologies ???

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 18:26 | 3490526 forwardho
forwardho's picture

It is not so complicated. Bacteria in a petri dish will multiply at an exponential rate until the food source is depleted. Low population/high population/crash to to low population. We as a species have used the stored solar energy contained in oil to grow our population at a rate which is non-sustainable without access to a new source. There is no new source. Look to simple biological systems to see our future.

Wed, 04/24/2013 - 12:15 | 3493219 Trampy
Trampy's picture

Rats faced with increasingly crowded conditions or with hunger become increasingly aggressive and eventually violent towards each other.


Tue, 04/23/2013 - 18:14 | 3490478 Decimus Lunius ...
Decimus Lunius Luvenalis's picture

For fuck's sake, all you what was needed was "We've become a society of self-deluded children."  Although, I disagree with the "become" part because self-delusion is a hallmark of humanity.  We've made up everything from gods to the concept of wealth to laws for thousands of years.  To quote a ZH tweet; "If everybody lies, same as nobody lying." We made all of this shit up except death which is why the government keeps a monopoly on delivering it I think. As far as being children, I do think that is a more recent phenomenon perfectly exemplified by our governments and central banks all the way down to little league baseball where everything is structured so as to prevent any unpleasantness.  Slack private demand begets stimulus.  Real price discovery begets QE#.  Poverty begets subsidized housing and Obama phones.  Everybody gets a trophy.

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 18:15 | 3490488 freedommusic
freedommusic's picture

Let us not forget hiding currency debasement flooding trillions of computer digits into existence to cover these bad bets. Best way to hide this criminal act is to crash the value (conveniently measured in USD) of commodities which are the historical measures of inflation, using these imaginary digits as financial weapons called naked shorts.

  Oil, gold, silver, [insert anything of tangible value here]  ...

Indicators of inflation - POOF CRASHED. All while driving up the stock market like some financial ark of salvation that is pretending to be a "leading indicator" of fiscal health as Greenspan touted only weeks ago.

It's all just a giant pile of stinking ........

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 18:27 | 3490527 dadichris
dadichris's picture

Fortunately, software will replace accountants so they'll be out of a job soon.  Same goes for Pharmacists and Doctors.  Robotic surgery is coming too. 

Hopefully, software to replace economists and central bankers won't be far behind. 

I'd love to meet Bernanke some day and be able to say, "Now that everything you've worked for your entire life can be performed as well or better by a machine, how do you keep yourself busy Doc?"  LOL

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 18:26 | 3490533 markovchainey
markovchainey's picture

"It’s especially remarkable that a nation with fairly deep traditions of free thought and speech, with durable institutions for purveying them (a free press)"

Used to be traditions...but nothing like that has been practiced in 30+ years. Same with this "free press" thing...what the hell is that?

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 18:28 | 3490540 Zolko
Zolko's picture

How the heck do we get out of this mess ?

- debt repudiation, to begin with

- put the banksters on trial

- construct a society that can live on less energy, much less energy on the long term

- construct a monetary system (or let it emerge alone) that doesn't rely on interest and debt

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 18:58 | 3490678 polo007
polo007's picture

Road to Homeownership in Canada Ain't What It Used to Be Says Gen Y - TD Canada Trust

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 18:58 | 3490679 Fix It Again Timmy
Fix It Again Timmy's picture

The 1% are Whole, the 99% are in a very deep hole....

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 19:20 | 3490764 polo007
polo007's picture

According to PI Financial:

Gold and Silver Prices Unravel – Expect prices to trend sideways for remainder of 2013

Updating our 2013 estimates: Going into 2013, we had a fairly bullish thesis and outlook for the precious metals market for the coming year, forecasting that gold would average $1,800/oz and silver $36/oz, respectively. Q1/13 performed reasonably well with an average price of $1,631/oz for gold, about 9% less than our estimate. However, as a result of the recent sharp decline in spot metal pricing and more tempered economic outlook, we have reduced our 2013 price estimates for both gold and silver. We expect that gold will trade within a narrow band in the $1,400 - $1,500/oz range over the remainder of 2013.

Therefore, we are reducing out 2013 price outlook for gold to $1,500/oz, which is equal to our unchanged long term outlook. We are also lowering our silver forecast to $27/oz, which is below the historical gold to silver ratio of 58:1, but leaves upside for the more volatile metal should we see stronger economic activity or an increased appetite for precious metals emerge in the future.

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 20:22 | 3490941 SKY85hawk
SKY85hawk's picture

Remember 1969 thru 1981?

Recall the politician's responses.

It was a time of Stagflation and economic contraction.

The 'Bob Hope" generation entered their 'spend less-save more' life stage.  OUR Parents!

It should be clear that the baby-boom is now in the same life-stage.

Not one Politician will admit they are helpless to restart Economic Growth! 

They will wait this thing out, just like before.


We must demand cuts in wasteful/stupid Government spending, to match cuts in government revenue.

There are lots of things that America does right.  But, something has to change in the way politicians buy votes with 'favors'!

Wed, 04/24/2013 - 15:09 | 3493615 Trampy
Trampy's picture

"During the last century and until 1907, language was becoming, like so much else, the servant of economic interest.  To minimize the shock to confidence, businessmen and bankers had started to explain that any current economic setback was not really a panic, only a crisis. ... [despite suggesting the] ... ultimate capitalist crisis -- [of] Marx. ...  Accordingly, men offered reassurance by explaining that it was not a crisis, only a depression.  A very soft word. [emphasis added]  Then the Great Depression asssociated the most frightful of economic misfortunes with that term, and economic semanticists now explained that no depression was in prospect, at most only a recession.  In the 1950s, when there was a modest setback, economists and political officials were united in denying that it was a recession -- only a sidewise movement or a rolling readjustment.  Mr. Herbert Stein, the amiable man whose difficult honor it was to serve as the economic voice of Richard Nixon, would have referred to the panic of 1893 as a growth correction."

J. K. Galbraith, 1975. Money: Whence it Came, Where it Went, p. 103.

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