The US Capital Markets Have Gone "Full Seinfeld"

Tyler Durden's picture

Yes, U.S. capital markets have officially gone "Full Seinfeld"; As ConvergEX's Nick Colas notes, Tuesday’s selloff over “Nothing” reversed higher Wednesday throuygh Friday for similarly non-specific reasons. So, today we will go a little further afield and talk about words and what they tell us about shifting societal priorities and norms. Wonder what the most commonly searched word might be on the Merriam-Webster website?  It is “Pragmatic”... which seems incredibly ironic given the total lack of pragmatism that appears to be shown in world markets.

Via ConvergEx's Nick Colas,

Merriam-Webster just added over 150 new words to its official English dictionary, for example.  Technological terms dominate the published list, including “Big data”, “crowdfunding”, “hashtag”, “gamification”, “selfie”, “tweep” and “social networking”.  New words in any language highlight innovation and societal relevance.  These examples are further proof that human interaction is changing at a very basic level.  Otherwise, why would we need so many new words to describe these shifts?

Consider the following facts about the constantly evolving state of the English language and society’s interest in accurate communication:

Google searches in the U.S. for the word “Dictionary” are down by over 60% since 2005.  Holdout states that still search for this staple of the 20th century librarian’s reference desk include California, Hawaii, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New York.


The same applies for searches in the United Kingdom for the term “OED”, or Oxford English Dictionary – down over 60% since the mid-2000s.   The Welsh seem to care the most about this most famous – and comprehensive – of all English language reference sources.  The Scottish and Northern Irish…  Not so much.


Both Merriam-Webster and the OED are fighting back, regularly publicizing new words as they add them to their publications.  On the British front, the Oxford English Dictionary folks added “Bestie” (a best friend), “beat boxer” and the verb “demo”.  That’s a pretty hip list, considering that the OED must have evidence that a word has been in wide public use for 10 years before it even considers adding it.  The Merriam-Webster people are more relaxed, and this week added 150 new words.


The most striking thing about the new MW words is just how tech-heavy they are: “Big Data”, “crowdfunding”, “hashtag” and “tweep”, just to name a few examples.  The last 2 show that Merriam-Webster doesn’t adhere to the 10 year rule of their British cousins, since Twitter was not even founded until 2006.  Oh, and do NOT look at the words added list to the OED while at work.  The Oxford English Dictionary is famously complete, so anything gets in as long as it fits the criteria of multiple points of printed usage.  That seems to include published missives that begin “I never thought I‘d be writing this…” There is a link to the March 2014 list at the end of this note if you must see for yourself.

Think of dictionary word additions as the linguistic equivalent of the inclusion of a stock into a widely followed index.  It means that word – or that company – has essentially arrived.  They are relevant not just in the moment, but as a part of society as whole right now and (hopefully) for a long time to come.  Merriam-Webster keeps a running list of user-submitted suggested words, but you can tell most of these aren’t going to make the cut.  A few examples, fresh from the website:

“Woot”: an exclamation of joy or excitement


“Bougie”: short for bourgeois – ostentatiously middle class


“Ginormous”: Extraordinarily large

To make it to the big leagues in the word game in the 21st century, you need that techie feel.  Consider new MW entrant “Gamification” – the process of turning a piece of work into a socially oriented web-enabled game.  Or “Social networking” – how that one got past the Merriam-Webster staff until now is a bit perplexing.  And there is even room for some new wine in old bottles.  “Catfish” no longer only means the thing you fry and eat on a Po Boy in New Orleans.  A catfish is now also someone who sets up a fake social networking profile for the purposes of deceiving others.  And who can forget the breakthrough narcissistic cell phone camera sensation of the last 12 months – the “Selfie”.  Yes, that made it into MW this year.

Of course, the rise of Internet search engines is doing to dictionaries what Mapquest did to Rand McNally and what Craigslist did to countless local newspapers.  Kill them.  When you read a word you don’t know, you don’t search for a dictionary any more than you look for a Thomas Guide when you are lost in Los Angeles.  Consider the following autofills from Google and how they point to an increasingly tech-centric world:

“What is…” The most commonly entered phrases in the U.S. to complete this query are: “My IP address”, “bitcoin”, “a charter shool”, “a thot”, and “Coachella”, in that order.    Technology again, at least for the two most commonly queried terms.  Coachella was over weeks ago, by the way.  And don’t ask about “Thot”.


“How do I…”  The most common autofills here are “Love thee” (sweet), “Get” or “Renew” a passport (summer vacation), “take a screen shot” and “delete my facebook account” (job interviews?).  Technology queries in the top 5 here as well.


Most Googled actors in April 2014: Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez, Ariana Grande, Demi Lovato, and Stephen Colbert.   In the age of the encyclopedia, most of these personalities would never have made the cut during their lifetimes or in the hereafter.  And the most Googled question of 2013 was “What is twerking?”  Enough said.

As a final thought: Merriam-Webster’s website has a thought-provoking feature: a list of the most searched words over the last 1 and 7 days as well as the last 4 months.  In that last category, the most searched word over the last 120 days is “Pragmatic”.  For the record, MW defines this as “Dealing with the problems that exist in a specific situation in a reasonable and logical way instead of depending on ideas and theories.”  It is heartening that website visitors want to know what that word means.  And a bit concerning that they have to look it up.

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Ham-bone's picture



For those 100% of economists wrongly calling for higher yields on bonds in ' and ponder...and realize why George's brilliance was to do the exact opposite of what logic dictates.

Why would 4 EU banking center nations accumulate nearly as much Treasury debt as China or far in excess of the Core EU and OPEC combined since '07??? Treasury accumulation seems to have radically changed since ’07, particularly interesting due to the collapsing yields and significantly lower US trade deficit.

’07-’14 net Treasury purchases vs. net trade surplus…

Banking EU 7-1 ratio ($700 B – $70 B)

EU 1-3.5 ($117 B – $380 B)

China 1-2.2 ($870 B – $2,000 B)

OPEC 1-6.5 ($135 B – $700 B)

BANKING EURO (Treasury holdings)

------------- Jan '00-------> '07 ------> Mar '14

Ireland ---------$5 B --->  $19 B  ---> $113 B

Belgium ------$28 B --->  $13 B  ---> $381 B

Switzerland  $18 B---->  $34 B  ---> $176 B

Luxembourg - $5 B-----> $60 B  ---> $145 B

TOTAL -------$56 B---->$126 B  ---> $815 B (650% increase from '07)


These nations ran a net trade surplus (almost entirely Ireland) w/ the US of approx. $10 B/yr since '07...$70 B net surplus.


CORE EURO (Treasury holdings)

-------- --------Jan '00---> '07 ------> Mar '14

Germany -->$54 B ---> $50 B ---> $67 B

Italy --------->$20 B ---> $14 B ---> $30 B

Netherland $13 B ----> $15 B ---> $37 B

France ---->$27 B ----> $10 B ---> $54 B

Spain ------>$20 B ----->  $5 B ---> $23 B

TOTAL --->$134 B ----> $94 B --->$211 B  (225% increase from '07)


These nations ran a net trade surplus with the US from $70 B/yr in '13 to $60 B/yr in '07...$380 B net surplus.


Compare this to China (Treasury holdings)

-------->Jan '00 ---> '07 ------>Mar '14

China --> $60 B  --->$400 B ---> $1.27 T (320% increase from '07)


China ran a trade surplus of $300 B/yr in '13 up from $250 B/yr in '07.  Stated otherwise...$1.95 T net surplus. 

Or compare to "oil exporters" (Treasury holdings)

'00 -----> '07 ------> '14

$45 B ---> $112 B ---> $247 B  (220% increase from '07)

OPEC ran a $100 B/yr trade surplus w/ the $700 B surplus.


or cast the net of interesting Treasury accumulation a little wider...


GLOBAL BANKING CENTERS (treasury holdings)

-- Jan '00---> '07 ------> Mar '14

“Carribean banking centers”

---------------$35 B —> $68 B -—> $312 B

UK --- -------$50 B —> $100 B —> $176 B

Switzerland $18 B ---> $34 B —-> $176 B

HK ----------- $39 B --->  $52 B —> $156 B

Singapore ---$30 B ---> $30 B —--> $91 B

Ireland ---------$5 B -—> $19 B —> $113 B

Belgium ------$28 B –--> $13 B —> $381 B

Luxemburg ----$5 B --–> $60 B —> $145 B

TOTAL -----  $210 B --> $376 B —> $1,550 T (410% increase from '07)


Nearly a $1.2 T increase in US Treasury debt ownership among these nations w/ minimal trade surplus… Or stated otherwise, the Fed / “Foreigners” now own $8 T of the $10 T public note/bond market…this means the float of domestically held notes/bonds rolling over plus lower new issuance is well less than Fed’s $25 B QE plus continued “foreign” demand…otherwise known as a short squeeze on the largest debt market in the world pushing yields lower an lower.

fyi - All raw data from TIC and Census...


Al Huxley's picture

So in essence, these countries, running a trade surplus with the US, lend America money to buy their stuff.  Which then means, the WEAKER the US economy gets, the lower interest rates go.  This is a powerful incentive to work less and borrow more - I'd say the end-game, the ideal situation, is 100% of the population on welfare of some form, 0 exports, 100% imports, and probably negative rates on debt. 


Wow, look how retarded all those old traditionalist 'building and selling is the key to prosperity' economists look in light of the discovery of this modern model.

NoDebt's picture

I just ran a quick spreadsheet..... yep.  That's pretty much it.

It's a good thing we are the world's largest exporter of what the world wants most- debt.  Without that we might have to give them real things in return.

Al Huxley's picture

Yeah, hopefully we don't run out.  Any idea what the debt reserve numbers are?

Ham-bone's picture

The combo of the Cayman islands and Belgium have soaked up over $600 B since ' increase of 845% and now own almost $700 B of US Treasury debt?!?

Obviously they love our debt and we need to ramp up the creation accordingly...why not sell $10 T now @ 0% since they supposedly can't get enough and only get more excited as the yields collapse.

Al Huxley's picture

Do you think the Belgians have enough coin to keep up their habit?  Or will we have to spot them a few bucks so they can continue to buy?

Ham-bone's picture

not a problem...didn't even mention these same EU nations are buying up equal or greater amounts of their own sovereign debts through LTRO to front run the eventual EU QE..they seem to know where they can get a few more dollars or euro's...

CH1's picture

The Belgians are most likely a front for....

You guessed it, The Fed.

Monetization, anyone?

NidStyles's picture

No joke, I'm still trying to figure out how the financial industry can get away with calling pieces of paper "capital", which goes strictly agains tthe traditional definition of the word. 

lakecity55's picture

"Today, Comrades, I can announce we have reached Full Soviet!"
---Backdoor Barry

buzzsaw99's picture

the costanza trade +1

One And Only's picture

Isn't the picture of this guy associated with the article known for Jurassic Park? He's the fat greedy thing taking a shit when the dinosaur eats him.

Don't think I remember him from Seinfeld. Other than that, I have no concerns.

lakecity55's picture

OMG you don't remeber Newman? He was my favorite character on Seinfeld.

One of the best stories was when Newman and Kramer were smuggling returnable bottles over state lines for the arbitrage $$ in deposits in a USPS truck.

Dr.Vannostrand's picture

The good old Michigan Deposit Bottle Scam

RafterManFMJ's picture

For a minor character, J Peterman always made me laugh o loud.

Warhead's picture

Come on, man. The guy that got eaten off the toilet was the lawyer. Nedry got his face spat in and eaten in a jeep. Newman was a mailman. Get it together, man.

Duc888's picture





....pretty soon we'll all just grunt at each other.

Duc888's picture

Buzzsaw99: the costanza trade +1


Jerry, it's not a lie if you believe it.

Spungo's picture

They're real and they're spectacular.

Kirk2NCC1701's picture

I knew it!  NEWMAN!

bonin006's picture

I've looked in his eyes. He's pure evil

yogibear's picture

"World's largest exporter of what the world wants most- debt. "

The US has become the roach infestation  of the world. Comsume and crap out debt.

Squid Viscous's picture

woot! who is Ariana Grande? is she an over-hyped talent-less Disney product like Demi Lovato? is she hot at least?

stant's picture

Guess that's why they shot kondratiev

lasvegaspersona's picture

In the world of what used to be called 'real' stuff...only 776 tons of gold left in GLD. and...who knows who that belongs to. Rumor has it not even 'authorized participants' can get physical for their 100,000 share owning clients..try it yourself and see...

I Write Code's picture

social networking?

A Interlocking Sow; A Cloistering Wonk; A Cloistering Know; A Wrecking Lotions; A Screwing Kiloton; A Crewing Kilotons; A Interlocks Owing; A Interlock Sowing; A Trickle Swooning; A Tickler Swooning; A Cloister Knowing; A Costlier Knowing; A Scooter Winkling; A Tricking Woolens; A Coiling Networks; A Rocking Towlines; A Corking Towlines; A Scooting Wrinkle; ... 

Me.Grimlock's picture

The Summer of George... er, recovery x5/6

Umh's picture

Wonder what the most commonly searched word might be on the Merriam-Webster website?  It is “Pragmatic”. That's really sad.

Martian Tourist's picture

I assume the connection with Seinfeld is that it's a "show about nothing", bit of an obscure reference

Took Red Pill's picture

but are you sponge worthy?