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Guest Post: In Praise of Flexibility

Tyler Durden's picture


Submitted by Charles Hugh Smith from Of Two Minds

In Praise of Flexibility

This time may well be different, but not in a positive way.

Despite the unprecedented nature of the current financial/fiscal/debt crises globally, a remarkable number of observers evince great confidence in their diagnoses and predictions. Given the unpredictability of the many colliding dynamics, one has to wonder if their confidence is misplaced, or perhaps unduly derived from the intrinsically false precision of their models.

To mention just one example of dozens, if not hundreds, John Mauldin quoted London-based UBS analysts in his weekly E-Letter (free, and always interesting). The analysts peg the risk of a breakup of the European Union as "close to zero probability."

In my view, presented here many times, most recently in Why the Eurozone and the Euro Are Both Doomed (June 23, 2011), their "zero probability" is awfully confident about a complex situation that has no recent precedent--the Eurozone's inherent contradictions and the immensity of its debt and political black holes are truly unprecedented.

The analysts go on to estimate the potential losses per person in a breakup:

We estimate that a weak Euro country leaving the Euro would incur a cost of around €9,500 to €11,500 per person in the exiting country during the first year. That cost would then probably amount to €3,000 to €4,000 per person per year over subsequent years. That equates to a range of 40% to 50% of GDP in the first year.

The number of assumptions behind this analytic exercise is as remarkable as the false precision of its predictions. What if the "weak" nation (their phrase, not mine) exiting the Union chose to assert its sovereignty and renounce the debts owed to the big European banks? What if its imports were aligned (by broad-based national consensus) with its exports? What if the people of that "weak" nation peacefully retired their parasitic financial Elites and bankers from power?

Even assuming their prepostrous estimates of losses were even close to reality, did they factor into their model the "value" to the "weak" nation's citizenry of freeing themselves from the jackboot of E.U. "integration," the code-word for the sacrifice of national autonomy and permanent servitude to the big European banks? Perhaps the citizens would gladly choose the "payment" of 10,000 euros in the present rather than pay 10,000 euros over time to the "too big to fail" German and French banks--a payment for which they receive nothing.

At least with a voluntary impoverishment, they win their freedom. The UBS analysts place zero value on autonomy and freedom, and a very high (and unstated) value on impoverishing the "weak" nations to preserve the financial Status Quo--what Zero Hedge rightly labels "Prevention of Harm to The Status Quo (TM)."

Meanwhile, to strengthen their implicit case for gradual impoverishment of "weak" nations via permanent servitude to German and French bankers (and a few Americans of course), the UBS analysts peg the cost of being bailed out to a modest 1,000 euros:

In comparison, the cost of bailing out Greece, Ireland and Portugal entirely in the wake of the default of those countries would be a little over €1,000 per person, in a single hit.

Notice how the UBS analysts carefully limited their calculations to the small economies. What are the costs to bailing out Italy and Spain? We can guess the number would be considerably higher, and thus less favorable to the "bail out the banks is the solution" scenario outlined by the UBS analysts.

Rather than strike a confident pose supported by estimates plucked from the air, we would be better served by a humility based on appreciation of ambiguity, contingency and the unknowable. What we do know is that assets have been misallocated on a grand, unprecedented scale globally, and that "moral hazard" has been introduced on an equally grand scale by Central Bank and Central State backstops, bailouts and guarantees of limitless liquidity.

We also know that the euro experiment is unsustainable, and the two choices universally offered by financial pundits--further integration (i.e. sacrifice of sovereignty), where officials from Brussels or elsewhere would assume collection of Greek property taxes, etc., in order to more effectviely stripmine the "weak" nations to serve the bondholders and masters of the big banks, or dissolution.

Perhaps there are future possibilities we cannot yet imagine. If so, it would be wise to not overestimate what is predictable, and wise not to evince a level of certitude that is impossible in a rapidly evolving, highly dynamic cauldron of festering risk and bubbling volatility.

In other words, let us speak in praise of flexibility, and avoid the siren songs of false precision and certitude. Let us confess that the situation globally and in Europe is unprecedented and thus intrinsically unpredictable; predictions based on the past or models plucked from the ether may prove to be not just inaccurate, but disastrously misleading to all those who put store in them.

A flexible outlook avoids the temptations of zealotry, which in these times often takes the form of stating what is "impossible" (i.e. near-zero probability) and what cannot possibly happen--even if it has already happened.

The only realistic prediction that can be made about the next few months is that events will be unpredictable. What we see, think and believe as near-certainties now may be undermined by events and new data. The greatest assets going forward may well prove to be flexibility, adaptability, humility and openness to low probability events suddenly transpiring despite previous estimates of their relative impossibility.


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Sun, 09/11/2011 - 21:23 | 1658162 oogs66
oogs66's picture

flexibility is key...false precision and certitude do work both ways....occassionally we get too bearish here and see no solutions or even useful attempts at solutions

Sun, 09/11/2011 - 22:57 | 1658353 Taku
Taku's picture

Speaking of flexibility, ANY "G-anything" meeting of ministers needs to be done via phone. Video conference, perhaps? Stop flying these guys on tax-payer dollars to the resort of the week.

Sun, 09/11/2011 - 22:51 | 1658356 Michael
Michael's picture

Does this mean my prediction for complete and total worldwide economic collapse on October 10th and 11th 2011 is a bit too optimistic?

Mon, 09/12/2011 - 00:39 | 1658559 topcallingtroll
topcallingtroll's picture

Michael you didnt predict it. You are the cause of it. The one who will make it happen. Remember?

Mon, 09/12/2011 - 02:30 | 1658667 Michael
Michael's picture

Please people. What you will see in the near term coming days in the markets is not the big one. You will have to wait till next month for that.

Mon, 09/12/2011 - 02:49 | 1658690 Michael
Michael's picture

Who were the last men in Congress who coined money for the US and regulated the value thereof before 1913 according to;

Article 1 - The Legislative Branch
Section 8 - Powers of Congress

I want names.

Bueller, Bueller? Anyone?

Mon, 09/12/2011 - 03:58 | 1658753 Michael
Michael's picture

I thought this would be a nice read fron the original, ;


04/18/11 Tampa, Florida – “9% Unemployment Rate is a Statistical Lie” is a pretty catchy title, and being the kind of vicious little rat that I am, and who suspects treachery and betrayal at every turn, I naturally take a look at it to confirm my worst suspicions.

The bad news is that it is, indeed, scary stuff! The article is by Greg Hunter of, who writes that John Williams of has calculated that “If unemployment was computed the way BLS did it prior to 1994, the true unemployment rate would be 22.2%.”

And while the prospect of more than a fifth of the workforce being idle is scary enough, inflation in consumer prices is even scarier, particularly to the aforementioned 1-in-5 unemployed. And while Michael Pento at Euro Pacific Capital does not mention the unemployed or their plight as concerns dealing with inflation in prices, he says, “In current economic analysis, inflation is largely in the eye of the beholder, and depending on how you choose to look, very different stories emerge.”

Sun, 09/11/2011 - 22:54 | 1658368 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

Flexibility... Another piece of US cheap propaganda.

Certitude: one is sure. In this US driven world, sovereignty is not acknowledged to the weak, the weak exist to be extorted.

This US propagandist ignores this certitude and plays it as if a weak nation could get its sovereignty acknowledged in this US world order.

As if there was flexibility on this matter...

So no, Greece could not assert its sovereignty. If they try, there will be drastic paybacks for them to suffer.

That is the way it is in this US world order.

Sun, 09/11/2011 - 23:30 | 1658435 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

Greece would suffer a lot from that move. Certitude.

They rely on oil imports to live. The US in this world order commands in what oil is traded. No compliance with US decisions over this point calls for military retaliation.

How much of oil would the Greek currency buy in case of a default, write off of debt? How much of it would the US allow it to be?

Would depend on how much US citizens are angered by the Greek move and how much they could benefit from starving the Greek of oil.

Made me laugh. This guy speaks about flexibility when the general trends are well known.

US citizens are expansionist and we are at the beginning of a world scale crisis in the capability of expansion.

Expansionists since they exist have always managed expansion crisis in the same manner.

It is written on the walls. The only question hanging is who is who, who is a member of the gang and who is not.

Will Greece be given the boot? Or not? One thing is sure, Greeks do not want to be given the boot. As your typical US citizen gang member would not.

Sun, 09/11/2011 - 23:59 | 1658481 xtop23
xtop23's picture

 Im sure Russia would be more than willing to trade oil for some greek Au , Assuming they have any left.

 That would also more than likely result in yet another occupation of some sort ( under the guise of the UN and for purely humanitarian reasons of course ) and US marines growing fat on gyros.

Mon, 09/12/2011 - 00:36 | 1658554 topcallingtroll
topcallingtroll's picture

The greeks could default and assert their autonomy but there is no free lunch. They cant have their cake and eat it too. If they are willing to take back control of their country they will have to tighten their belts a little. If they want oil they have to produce something of value to exchange for oil, either directly or indirectly.

What will end is the lazy greek way of living off subsidy and OPM. They will be forced to grow up and work for their oil, not endlessly pyramid german loans for it.

Sun, 09/11/2011 - 23:09 | 1658164 Spirit Of Truth
Spirit Of Truth's picture

I deeply pray my own certitude is way off the mark, because, if not, it's almost time to get out of Dodge.  In terms of seasonality, the "Fall" hasn't even begun yet:

This isn't just Europe, folks.  The EU's troubles are but some of the probabilistic particulars in a tidal wave of mass fear and despair that's been centuries in the making. (So, at least, the Elliott Wave Principle suggests.)  Wave patterns in mass mood are primary, actual humans affairs are secondary.  These are "rhythms of energy" unfolding to efficiently (ugh!) do the work of creation and destruction, growth and decay IMHO.  Heck, it might even be a dirty bomb that drives markets lower next:

These are probabilitic particulars that we collectively experience (measure) from an underlying deterministic wave function. (Wave-particle duality on the human scale.  The underlying story, the entire four-dimensional "image" of our universe, is already written for "God" IMHO: Dow 12K & The Anomalous Motion Of The Planets)

Where we are now is at the epic turning point in man's misled SELF-CONFIDENCE. This "false faith" is subject to an inevitable upset revealing the true Author of HIStory. Tis' all about a global "conversion".


Mon, 09/12/2011 - 00:37 | 1658544 Michael
Michael's picture

I understand your concern.

"Being There" Movie Trailer starring Peter Sellers and Shirley MacLaine

Mon, 09/12/2011 - 00:30 | 1658548 Caviar Emptor
Caviar Emptor's picture

You could be right. Man's self confidence is never more than a veneer. 

Mon, 09/12/2011 - 06:34 | 1658829 Snidley Whipsnae
Snidley Whipsnae's picture

Spirit of Truth...

Few individuals recieve new data, evaluate it, and adjust their perceptions accordingly...

Most of us recognize that we should adjust our thinking as new data becomes available, the problem is that it is human nature to resist change. In fact, change is right up there with death on the list of things that people fear the most.

It's almost a national sport in America to proclaim anyone that changes their views when new data is received as 'wishy washy' or 'waffling' on a given subject. When in reality those that evaluate new data and introduce new thinking should be held up as a good example of a logical human being.

Is there anything logical about a hide bound person?

"Faced with the choice between changing one's mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof." 
John Kenneth Galbraith 

Sun, 09/11/2011 - 21:24 | 1658166 nmewn
nmewn's picture

"What if the "weak" nation (their phrase, not mine) exiting the Union chose to assert its sovereignty and renounce the debts owed to the big European banks? What if its imports were aligned (by broad-based national consensus) with its exports? What if the people of that "weak" nation peacefully retired their parasitic financial Elites and bankers from power?"

What revolutionary idea ;-)

Sun, 09/11/2011 - 22:56 | 1658371 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

Not revolutionary, suicidal.

In this US world order, nations that are weak are not acknowledged as sovereign. They are to be farmed or extorted, as per US citizen natural behaviour.

Mon, 09/12/2011 - 00:30 | 1658546 topcallingtroll
topcallingtroll's picture

It has always been so even before america.
It is the natural order that rights are not granted. They must be vigilantly defended.

If you cant defend your rights as an individual or a country someone will come along and take them away from you.

Mon, 09/12/2011 - 02:58 | 1658703 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

The US citizens capacity to vomit garbage is unmatched.

Before the US, the notion of rights was fussy. Before the US, nobody attached the notion of rights to human beings and they were not unalienable.

And the most important, rights are nothing natural. The natural order acknowledges no rights.

But it is the natural order that there are strong and weak.

If one civilization wants to build rights then something must be done so that the strong acknowledges the right of the weak.

Might be too hard to admit for someone who thinks that exponentials are linear functions though...

Mon, 09/12/2011 - 09:29 | 1659261 falak pema
falak pema's picture

the new frontier : liberating the wives of trolls on the lol...while you lol away, speedy gonzales from across the border...

Sun, 09/11/2011 - 23:03 | 1658385 snowball777
snowball777's picture

If they could align their imports thus, they wouldn't be weak.

Sun, 09/11/2011 - 23:22 | 1658418 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

Just kicking the can... If indeed they are not weak, they are strong so...

This author just ignored a capital point in the US world order: if they are weak, they can not assert their sovereignty. Sovereignty of the weak is not recognized in this US world order.

It pushes that little certitude under the rug with no sublety, trying to get it out of the way by underlining not his words and stuff. Cheap conjuror tricks.

If horses had horns...

Mon, 09/12/2011 - 00:26 | 1658534 topcallingtroll
topcallingtroll's picture

Weakness is for losers and socialists, not for real men, nor real countries. Your country doesnt deserve recognition if your people cant man up.

Recognition must be earned, nwo or old world order. It is not given away for free.

Mon, 09/12/2011 - 03:00 | 1658709 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

If that so, how does it comes so many US citizens are whining about their elite?

The US elite is strong, whining US citizens are weak, end of the story.

I dont give one month before the comment poster breaks his own shallow commitment. How? Because he is a US citizen.

And the US citizen nature is eternal.

Mon, 09/12/2011 - 00:43 | 1658567 topcallingtroll
topcallingtroll's picture


You are only free if you live within your means. Otherwise someone owns you.

Mon, 09/12/2011 - 03:04 | 1658713 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

Comical. I havent read this comment before posting the previous one.

I dont have to wait one month.

By own shallow postulate, no, one is not only free if one lives within ones means.

One is free if one can get one's freedom acknowledged by others. So one can be free and not living within one's means.

If one lives in one's means and another stronger want to enslave one, well, it is done.

US citizens can not stand on their feet, US citizenism is such a mass of drivel, it has destroyed intellectual processes. It is not possible to think within the US citizenism's framework.

Sun, 09/11/2011 - 21:24 | 1658167 Seize Mars
Seize Mars's picture

I just read this article three times. I still can't figure out what it is saying.

Sun, 09/11/2011 - 21:26 | 1658175 maxmad
maxmad's picture

sounds like Greece is getting the belt!

Sun, 09/11/2011 - 21:31 | 1658186 malikai
malikai's picture


Sun, 09/11/2011 - 21:46 | 1658233 defencev
defencev's picture

Precisely. If someone has nothing to say, why he just shut up? Guys, there are very few people in public domain who have the vision to make predictions. Even these rare and precious people are just more frequently right than wrong. The vast majority of so called forecasters are just produce pure garbage (and you need to be careful to distinguisn between just idiots and charlatans who try to sell you their BS). It is not accidental that the very same group of jerks try to demean any kind of science. These are F...cking illiterate, stupid, miserable idiots....

Sun, 09/11/2011 - 22:27 | 1658303 Snidley Whipsnae
Snidley Whipsnae's picture

"I just read this article three times. I still can't figure out what it is saying."

Stay loose...

Mon, 09/12/2011 - 01:52 | 1658639 Roger Knights
Roger Knights's picture

"I just read this article three times. I still can't figure out what it is saying."


1. Just because the numbers don't add up to justify an exit from the eurozone doesn't mean it won't happen anyway.

2. It's possible to add those numbers up differently.

Sun, 09/11/2011 - 21:24 | 1658170 ISEEIT
ISEEIT's picture

To conserve.

It is WTF time.

Sun, 09/11/2011 - 21:25 | 1658173 zorba THE GREEK
zorba THE GREEK's picture

I'll buy that.

Sun, 09/11/2011 - 21:31 | 1658183 ISEEIT
ISEEIT's picture

If you do, make sure you 'buy' it short but with a crazy high ceiling.

Sun, 09/11/2011 - 21:32 | 1658188 caerus
caerus's picture

i'm all for ex could put both legs behind her head...wait, what?

Mon, 09/12/2011 - 05:43 | 1658788 rufusbird
rufusbird's picture

Yes, but can she do it while she is standing on her hands?

Mon, 09/12/2011 - 09:25 | 1659249 falak pema
falak pema's picture

the view from the grand canyon must be awesome at sun up.

Sun, 09/11/2011 - 21:37 | 1658194 slewie the pi-rat
slewie the pi-rat's picture

neither one of chs's "minds" is functional after what he's been putting out for his "readers" the last few months.  one side sez stf up!  the other sez you stf up you shitforbrained moron! 

so he's trying to do what one amateur (yet highly effective) "psychologist" suggested well over 1/2 a century ago:  "move his brains"

if you think "like a bowel movement?" you are 100% correct

hopefully, chs will remain constipated for the next year and spare us his "ideas" which i must say, are quite entertaining...


Sun, 09/11/2011 - 21:41 | 1658215 gwar5
gwar5's picture


Mon, 09/12/2011 - 05:58 | 1658799 slewie the pi-rat
slewie the pi-rat's picture

hey, gwar!

i shldn't be so tuff on chs. 

i read everything tyler puts up from him, and mauldin, too, whom i get offa goldSeek every sunday and whom i believe when he sez he has over a million "friends" whom he has garnered thru his writings over the years. [wow! 3 whom's in 1 sentence!] and, like chs, i questioned his call on the EU, too, but john m. is a way more "establishment" than i and prob'ly chs, too, it seems 

he (j.m.) has been a perennial fan of "muddling thru" or as we usta call it in poli sci:  disjointed incrementalism

recently, he's not so confident of muddling thru the ongoing, ever-increasing "muddles", tho, and has been homest enuf to say so if i understand him correctly.  i haven't read his new book "end game" which is doing quite well in sales; at least he has seemed pleased

the problem i have w/ mauldin is that i don't believe he has come to terms w/ the thesis that our goobermint has been "captured"

i'm not sure chs has, either, altho here he speaks if the eurozone & (paste)  the jackboot of E.U. "integration," the code-word for the sacrifice of national autonomy and permanent servitude to the big European banks (end paste), and the idea of "moral hazard" he does not (dare?) to call out the banksters and the corpo-fascist elite criminal conspiracies and tell people they better wake the fuk up and try to stop the juggernaut(s) of the NWO

these two gentlemen do not seem to grok that the chaos in which we find ourselves is almost certainly by design and that even tho people are not generally very fuking happy or optimistic, less than 10% (can't prove that #) are able to break free of the propaganda prison of "ideas" and less than 10% of those are able to perceive their own conditioning to be "normal" even if they can see the propaganda

most "psychology" is an effort to adjust to the "normal".  there is also psychology which attempts to adjust to the "real" but almost everyone is so confused about "nature & nurture" that they can't even get started

so, we have green and red arrows, trolls, adbot-trolls, a fabulous publisher, and, from what i gather, abt 98.6% of this here fight club just wants to get along, make friends, and hasn't yet realized that t.d. actually requires them to throw their tv's out the damned window and see if they can make it w/out the fuking things...

Sun, 09/11/2011 - 23:48 | 1658467 X.inf.capt
X.inf.capt's picture

hey pi-rat, thank you those questions earlier. i did respond. again, thank you again for your service.... it maycome in handy sooner than we think......fair winds....

Mon, 09/12/2011 - 00:53 | 1658583 slewie the pi-rat
slewie the pi-rat's picture

hey, thxz, dai wi 03!

if you're referring to where you posted the stuff abt what yu were doing w/ the homeless vets and the food bank, i'll try to go back & find it, ok?  if other, pls advise

glad you didn't take offense and t.y. for the t.y. and ditto 2 you

Mon, 09/12/2011 - 01:04 | 1658598 X.inf.capt
X.inf.capt's picture

yep, thats the one. no prisoners!!!

Mon, 09/12/2011 - 05:52 | 1658795 slewie the pi-rat
slewie the pi-rat's picture

i found it, X!

thxz for the personal stuff

fyi, i wasn't 11b;  went to MP skool outa basic, but when i got "stationed" stateside, i had too much education and had also tested extremely well.  i was shy of 23 y.o. when drafted, but had completed my MBA, and when da boyz read my 214 they set me up pretty nicely in a fun job trying to control a shitload of this, that and and the do-re-mi with a set of books i kept by hand ('69)

i was ED from that day till i ets'd outa VN, where i was also quite autonomous and free, and travelled constantly, mostly in the delta, b/c nobody else liked it down there, it seemed. i worked directly for a bird man and was required to report directly to an 06 when i went in and out of many and varied commands all over the country, whenever my 6 wanted one guy to do something, rather than a "team".  everyboldy else worked in groups but i never got very good grades @ "works well w/ others", even as a child.  my first "job" in country i lit up a captain who was my "team leader" when i refused to carry his luggage to the chopper in the pouring rain as midnight approached, and the next day, i met the col (06) for the first time.  we chatted. the 03 wanted my sp5 rank and slewie court-martialed and the 06 wanted 1 independent "trouble shooter" & thought i might just do.  when he went home, my new 6 accepted the situ, so after a coupla weeks learning certain "ropes" from an e7, i worked alone, with a great security clearance and orders allowing me to be anywhere, anytime, with any weapons.  after the second week, i never carried any weapons.  ever. i was too fuked up all the time to risk it, and i never really wanted to shoot anybody, anyhow.  still don't.  my tour was like travelling w/ the grateful dead, only slewie was the travelling band, plus whoever i ran into who wanted to boogie, which was damned near everybody

so i just did my job, came home, and kept partying.  i quit drinking 2X for over a year, but didn't like being sober that much, but finally got past that in the late '80s, almost 25 years ago.  i quit smoking weed too, for 11 years, but went onto a new love, fried potatoes, and gained 50 lbs!  from 6'1" 190 to 240 and finally decided to try the chronic again and see if i started losing weight.  it worked! 

now i ride a bike 50-80 miles a week, partly b/c my old tercel overheats and has been parked since feb, since who knows why?  i'm starting to figure out how to figure out how to figure out how to fix the fuking thing, but any vehicle past 1980 is practically incomprehensible to me.  and many others, as it turns out 

this evening as i was out enjoying a fab sunset and the harvest moon rising, i'm stopped at a light and a guy in a white p'up toots his horn and rolls down his window.  i figure he's gonna ask directions or something.  he says, "how old are you?"  "why?" "well," he sez, "i've got a buddy who is 50 and he won't ride a bicycle b/c he says he's too old, so i was wondering how old you were."   "65"  "hey! good for you!"

and as the sun set slowly in the west, the light changed and i beat him off the line so bad i was well across the street before he went flying past me, with the fuker floored, and i had the thought: i wonder wtf is gonna happen, next?

Mon, 09/12/2011 - 09:24 | 1659243 falak pema
falak pema's picture

you'll turn 66 and head for route 66! Good riddance to a pesty rat...

Mon, 09/12/2011 - 09:33 | 1659275 X.inf.capt
X.inf.capt's picture

m.p.'s are cool, never had any problems with 'em when i was in.

glad to here your not drinking or smokin'' ' i havent drank since since i was 19. was addicted to ouzo and redheaded girls, well, gave up the ouzo.

all i can say about the bad times 'down range', it came down to this, we did our jobs, in the 'storm' i found out about war, i didnt like it, but i still did my job. when i came back, transfered to the NG, 160th inf reg. 40th ID. in cali.  thinkin' they wouldnt send us back (it was still pretty hot then) and still had to finish obligation from SMP in rotc. well, we got activated for the L.A. riots...that was not cool, but man, it was i know what the ptb will do to stay in power....anyways, back on subject......we did our jobs, we didnt like it, but we did it anyways, and thats why im proud of serving.

fair winds, pi-rat

Sun, 09/11/2011 - 21:38 | 1658204 gwar5
gwar5's picture

Everybody should go to a Gander Mountain store, or any other Outdoor Store. Look at what they have and figure out how the whole camping thing works. Seriously, they have some pretty cool stuff these days. At least you'll know in your head what is possible and it'll be a load off your mind. You can be homeless and still live like a King (of the road).


Those LED headlamps are the bomb! I use them in Nicaragua at night anyway because electricity is so uncertain.


Sun, 09/11/2011 - 22:21 | 1658273 X.inf.capt
X.inf.capt's picture

one of our local army surplus dealers just got a big rush on field gear. people got nervous when those national guard soldiers got ambushed in that IHOP about 30miles south of here. this is not good.....

Mon, 09/12/2011 - 00:20 | 1658532 topcallingtroll
topcallingtroll's picture

I am seriously thinking nicaragua is the up and coming place.

Cheap. Fairly safe if you speak Spanish and know the culture. Great place for a landowner to live like a feudal lord and hot chicks for almost free.

I like the old fashioned latin america where everyone knew their place and a rich landowner was respected and defended provided he took good care of his serfs and was loyal to them.

Maybe I can get the best of both worlds, old and new latin america, by getting in on the ground floor in nicaragua.

Mon, 09/12/2011 - 02:24 | 1658663 WeekendAtBernankes
WeekendAtBernankes's picture

How do you reconcile your inclination towards feudalism with the libertarian views you espouse below?

Mon, 09/12/2011 - 03:06 | 1658715 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture


He is a US citizen. And conciliating opposites is no issue for US citizens because they ignore the issues attached to conciliating opposites.

Ignoring an issue is solving an issue in this US driven world.

Mon, 09/12/2011 - 13:42 | 1660183 WeekendAtBernankes
WeekendAtBernankes's picture

Your behavior is too funny.  A decent troll, if a little obvious.  Do you keep a table of talking points next to your monitor or do you just have Europe's biggest boner for the U.S.?  You kind of remind me of one of those evangelical type charlatans who rail against gays as the source of all evil and then slink off in the night for some man-on-man butt lovin'.  (Since you seem to have trouble seeing your own hypocrisy, I guess I should tell you that I'm pointing it out.)

Sun, 09/11/2011 - 21:40 | 1658211 TradingJoe
TradingJoe's picture

Expect the Unexpectedly Expectations to be Unexpectedly suspect :))) and Buy PMs the Physical ones please and you'll be just fine!
It's not the Great Reset... Yet! But still good enough to SHORT THE SHIT OUT OF THIS "UNEXPECTEDLY WELL KNOWN OUTCOME"!!!

Sun, 09/11/2011 - 22:54 | 1658369 X.inf.capt
X.inf.capt's picture

you are right, joe. may i humbly also add to that list anything that is a portable, tangible asset. plus a post collapse skill or 2......

Sun, 09/11/2011 - 21:49 | 1658236 disabledvet
disabledvet's picture

the only historical parallel which significantly is somewhat recent is the Russian debt default. The only problem is the EU is such an order of magnitude beyond anything anyone can possibly comprehend that "this requires various security protocols" first. the good news is we're good at that part. the bad news is there is nothing predictable once the EU has collapsed which by definition has begun given Finland's demand for collateral.

Sun, 09/11/2011 - 21:51 | 1658243 MBOB
MBOB's picture

Reminds me of an ante bellum Southern senatorial speech. 

The ideology behind America's confederate secession movement is being recycled, this time with a better chance of success.


Sun, 09/11/2011 - 22:00 | 1658258 tip e. canoe
tip e. canoe's picture

humility, as in freely giving proper credit when & where credit is due.

p.s. clif says hi too.

Sun, 09/11/2011 - 22:01 | 1658261 ISEEIT
ISEEIT's picture

The guy has been a bit off. Still consider his material some of the best though. Lets be real. NOBODY can honestly make sense of this. When honesty seems odd, we might really be in the rabbit hole don't ya think?

My opinion is that Charles hugh Smith is a 'sensitive'. He likely produces much of his work through 'feeling' what is true (or not).

Laugh your ass off but I will be happy to stand my ground defending senses that are not promoted as real. Not trusting ourselves is a MAJOR human weakness.

Mine too.

Mon, 09/12/2011 - 00:52 | 1658581 Prometheus418
Prometheus418's picture


"My opinion is that Charles hugh Smith is a 'sensitive'. He likely produces much of his work through 'feeling' what is true (or not).

Laugh your ass off but I will be happy to stand my ground defending senses that are not promoted as real. Not trusting ourselves is a MAJOR human weakness.

Mine too."

This sentiment is no less useful than chart reading, in reality- and may even be more useful in the long run.  Without publicly endorsing or lecturing on the efficacy of occult science, there is no doubt whatsoever that TPTB use it as a yardstick for their own actions.  You can call it whatever you like, psychology, demonology, Luciferianism, etc... but it's there like an undercurrent, and those who can trace the patterns can have a little edge.

That's not to say that any of it is what people think it is, or that it is foolproof.  In another life, I took many initiations into many of the groups that are often demonized here.  Personally, I got tired of attitudes of most of the people involved in these cabals, and really did not have the elitist mentality that seemed to be required (and in the lower ranks, those elitist attitudes are so absurd as to be slightly retarded,) so I bowed out and went back to being "regular folk."  But before that happened, I was party to many strange and very interesting things- nothing like what you might see in a movie, but enough to make a person wonder.

Anyhow, it doesn't matter whether you personally believe in any of it or not- the people who pull the strings do, and that is the important thing if you want to have a window into what their motives are.  There have been lots of people working towards a nexus point for years, calling for a shift in Aeons.  None of them know what it is, or why they want it- just that they do.  The hippie types call for an age of Aquarius, whatever the hell that means, and the more "serious" types are looking for an age of Horus.  

" Let him come through the first ordeal, & it will be to him as silver.

Through the second, gold.

Through the third, stones of precious water.

Through the fourth, ultimate sparks of the intimate fire.

Yet to all it shall seem beautiful. Its enemies who say not so, are mere liars.

There is success.

I am the Hawk-Headed Lord of Silence & of Strength; my nemyss shrouds the night-blue sky.

Hail! ye twin warriors about the pillars of the world! for your time is nigh at hand.

I am the Lord of the Double Wand of Power; the wand of the Force of Coph Nia--but my left hand is empty, for I have crushed an Universe; & nought remains."

All of these ideas are veiled allegories, and tend to be trotted out when the people who control things are looking for a new Messiah to rise.  If you consider that religions are one of the most effective methods to keep a population in check, it's not surprising that they may be looking for something more than a new kind of iPad to keep a handle on their power.  

Anyhow, that was long-winded, but it's worthy of consideration, for those of you who have made a habit of dismissing it.



Sun, 09/11/2011 - 22:09 | 1658270 Segestan
Segestan's picture

"The only realistic prediction that can be made about the next few months is that events will be unpredictable. What we see, think and believe as near-certainties now may be undermined by events and new data. The greatest assets going forward may well prove to be flexibility, adaptability, humility and openness to low probability events suddenly transpiring despite previous estimates of their relative impossibility"....end.


 " The movement of events is often as wayward and incomprehensible as the course of human thought; and this is why we ascribe to chance whatever belies our calculations"

 Pericles 432BC........ before the defeat of Athens and his untimely death.

 Perhaps Mr Smith , like Pericles should write his words in stone to preserve them for the ages?

Sun, 09/11/2011 - 22:25 | 1658298 max2205
max2205's picture

Here's one. China is down 3% tonight. near 10,000. What if China crashes. Bonds crash. Repo freezes. Moneymarkets freeze and haircut. AND then the Eurozone collapses? That would be a mark in the history books. N

Sun, 09/11/2011 - 23:35 | 1658449 X.inf.capt
X.inf.capt's picture

BRING IT. im tired of waiting.......everyday it doesnt happen, charlie gets stronger.......

Sun, 09/11/2011 - 22:29 | 1658311 sasebo
sasebo's picture

The only thing I'm 100% sure of is that all these fat fuckers at Wal-Mart had better get ready to do some manual labor or else. No more free lunch. 100%.

Sun, 09/11/2011 - 23:40 | 1658457 X.inf.capt
X.inf.capt's picture

and those hover rounds dont go very fast either, at least ive got a cane, pretty good withit too since i got that coldsteelvideo........

Mon, 09/12/2011 - 00:08 | 1658507 Dingleberry
Dingleberry's picture

No shit. Wally world must have an obesity minimum to get in the fucker.  EVERYONE that shops (or works) in that shit hole is a FAT BASTARD.  

Sun, 09/11/2011 - 22:46 | 1658319 AUD
AUD's picture

In other words, let us speak in praise of flexibility, and avoid the siren songs of false precision and certitude.

Au contraire, I think it is quite certain that the yield curve will continue to flatten, or at least that will be the trend.

I've said it before, I'll say it again, profits on bonds must be given. Obviously there is a limit to bond profits, the whole curve cannot go, & then continue to go, negative.

Sun, 09/11/2011 - 23:23 | 1658420 adr
adr's picture

What we see is the failure of consolidation. The failure of merging all into one. The fact the what the street likes to call diversification is actually the exact opposite. Diversification is actually the concentration of power, not the spreading of it.

Central planning and the reliance of others is what detroyed all the great empires of history. As power consolidates tose who run the show further lose the ability to see outside their immediate world. Their isolation from reality and stranglehold on power dooms the mass population that could have existed on its own had it not been for the power elite robbing them of the ability to fend for themselves through regulation and taxation.

America was founded on the idea that small groups of free men could decide their own destiny and that a cetral government only existed to provide protection from outside enemies and to resolve disputes between the small groups. It was not to be the right of a small group to tell the masses how they should live.

The problem is history has not been kind to that ideal. History tells us there are those that have either a divine right to power or a right to wealth by birth. Those people do not like the idae that wealth and power is the right of anyone with the drive andability to attain it. That what you build is yours and no other man has a right to it.

History tells us empires build to excess and a point of immense corruption and ignorance which leads to their downfall. No one can argue the excess of the wealthy today, no person can argue against corruption that pervades every seat of authority, and it is impossible to argue against the leve of ignorance to reality we see in our leaders

We were told America would fail as the ink dried on the founding documents. We were told that it was our duty to fight against corruption and burn the American government to the ground if it ever lost its way. That it was our job as citizens to protect the constitution. But we have become to lazy and ignorant as a nation. No just as the small band of rebels who sent a letter to the King declaring that all men were free from tyranny, including the ignorant and lazy. It doesn't take an entire nation to declare freedom, only a small group who have decided that they have had enough. The time has already come.

Sun, 09/11/2011 - 23:38 | 1658455 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

Again, US fabled past.

No just as the small band of rebels who sent a letter to the King declaring that all men were free from tyranny, including the ignorant and lazy. It doesn't take an entire nation to declare freedom, only a small group who have decided that they have had enough. The time has already come.


Made me laugh. The whole comment is unbelievable when you read it.

So here, we have the statement that a small group in the US chose the path for the rest (who are, in a typical US citizen fashion, belittled), that is the first point.

Previously, we had this:

America was founded on the idea that small groups of free men could decide their own destiny and that a cetral government only existed to provide protection from outside enemies and to resolve disputes between the small groups. It was not to be the right of a small group to tell the masses how they should live.

So what about that small group of rebels who dictated the mass how they should live?

and not over;

As power consolidates tose who run the show further lose the ability to see outside their immediate world. Their isolation from reality and stranglehold on power dooms the mass population that could have existed on its own had it not been for the power elite robbing them of the ability to fend for themselves through regulation and taxation.

US citizens are isolated from reality as shown by the comment. They can not even write a verbose comment with three or four ideas with it, without issuing massive contradictions, classifying the piece in what US citizens do the best: US cheap propaganda.

Mon, 09/12/2011 - 00:12 | 1658516 topcallingtroll
topcallingtroll's picture

As a libertarian I like the idea of limited government. If we had kept to our original principles of low taxation and a weak central government with virtually zero taxing authority we would not have to concern ourselves with abuse of power.

A weak, poor government is no threat to free men. Consolidation of power in a way that separates the rulers from the ruled cannot occurr in a weak, poor government that has no power.

I agree with our founding fathers. I would prefer to suffer from too much liberty than too little.

If freedom be a cold wind then let it fucking blow.

Mon, 09/12/2011 - 00:25 | 1658537 AUD
AUD's picture

Yet from previous posts, you seem to think the credit of an unlimited government is a good place to roll your net worth.

Kind of fucked up.

Mon, 09/12/2011 - 00:47 | 1658576 topcallingtroll
topcallingtroll's picture

Temporarily kind sir. Temporarily.

I didnt fashion this current monstrosity, but I do have to make the best decisions I can and live with the consequences.

I sold gold too soon, but cash is a decent temporary refuge at times.

Mon, 09/12/2011 - 00:57 | 1658589 Caviar Emptor
Caviar Emptor's picture

Small government died in the flames of ww2. THat's when liberal democracy as a viable cocnept perished. Fascist and comunist dictators proved them too vunerable. It's to the credit of democracies that they were able to pull it together and defend themselves from total annihilation and enslavement. But they quickly realized that the only way to fight monolithic states was with strong central government. Sorry. No longer a luxury any country can afford if it treasures its freedoms. 

Mon, 09/12/2011 - 03:13 | 1658719 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

Small government has never existed in this US world order.

The US government has always been as big as it is possible. Starting from scratch.

US citizens measure the size of their government as they measure the rest: if it is transparent to them, then it does not exist.

No harm from the US government, then it does not exist. When their government was mainly busy bullying and destroying others, then it was transparent to them, it did not exist.

Now that the exterior is collapsing, the US government has less and less targets and has to redirect its efforts inwards, bullying US citizens who were not used to being bullied (while they felt indifferent to US citizens usual suspects)

History shows that US citizens have met stateless societies. History has also shown that they have destroyed those societies because they were lacking a powerful state.

The story about small government is so US citizenish. Fabled past.

Mon, 09/12/2011 - 09:20 | 1658956 falak pema
falak pema's picture

I like some of what you say, but at inception the US was not a large government concept, quite the contrary. What GAVE it a large governance horizon was Napoleon's decision to sell  to his "friend" Jefferson the Louisiana territory for a song in 1802. Napo wanted to concentrate on Continental play as HE knew, after his Egyptian caper, that France could never match the British navy. Its colonial ambitions abroad were thus stymied as showed his pitiful meandering return from Egypt to France in 1798. For a man who wanted to move FAST, to mark his age, with his global, modernistic vision (from his hubristic perspective), he had to make quick choices. So he sold the Lousiana territory and it made the 13 state pygmy ex-colony into a Nation with a geographical base bigger than most European nation states! So this geographic quirk would feed the subsequent politics of the USA. Sometimes fate, destiny, other people's decisions, have a huge impact on the fate of nations.

Life is not pure determinism...thank God or nature for that!

Mon, 09/12/2011 - 02:16 | 1658658 WeekendAtBernankes
WeekendAtBernankes's picture

What's got you so butthurt? You mad brah? Jelly? I picture you as an angsty, ugly teenager without many friends, just a lot of passing acquaintances to condescend. You mock this guy's post but you haven't offered a single original idea in this whole thread. Just a bunch of bitching. So what is it crybaby? Umad or just jelly?

Mon, 09/12/2011 - 03:19 | 1658728 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

You pictured me wrong. Unsurprising from a US citizen.

Condescending? Nope. I let that part to US citizens. Cause? because they are incredibly better at it than me.

Just as I let them produce cheap propaganda.

Original idea? But of course. That is why it is cheap propaganda. You dont have to produce any original idea to expose it. That is why it is so cheap.

Propaganda has this over facts: it is cheaper to produce propaganda than to establish facts.

Facts have this over propaganda: once established, they last while propaganda needs constant renewal.

US citizens love to depict themselves as innovators. Figure what? For some parts, they have been unable to produce any new propaganda for more than one hundred years. Using facts established one hundred years ago is more than enough to debunk their propaganda.

Mon, 09/12/2011 - 13:38 | 1660170 WeekendAtBernankes
WeekendAtBernankes's picture

lol Okay buddy

Mon, 09/12/2011 - 00:05 | 1658498 topcallingtroll
topcallingtroll's picture

Zealotry in the defense of individual liberty is no vice.

Self rightously living on OPM and thinking you are entitled to it is no virtue.

Dogmatic people on both sides are gonna end up crashing the system. The socialists wont compromise and accept half a loaf, therefore they are at risk of losing every last crumb of OPM.

Unreasonableness gets the tea party what they want, limited government, one way or another.

It would be unreasonable for the tea party to compromise!

Mon, 09/12/2011 - 01:02 | 1658593 ceilidh_trail
ceilidh_trail's picture

For better or worse, I covered my shorts on Friday. I don't think these guys are gonna let things melt. I guess we'll see, but may start to reenter equities soon. Only current long is oil and a bit of TBT, but I view even that as a defensive play... Flexibility is never a bad thing. If I where braver, maybe short VXX- I'm not smart enough to actually have a good handle on direction, so, the fence is not a bad place to watch things from until it's time for me to catch another wave-either direction... 

Mon, 09/12/2011 - 01:29 | 1658602 Miles Kendig
Miles Kendig's picture

The situation in the EMU has moved from simply frayed about the fringe to thinly threadbare throughout.  This rolling shit soup sandwich has been about a policy imperative of "ringfencing" rather than resolution.  To add injury to insult this policy has been horrendously implemented throughout.  Whatever happens I would be surprised to see officials of the EMU/EU improve their performance in any capacity, especially in the skill set most used in recent years, dissimulation.  It's beginning to look like conditions are changing from a shitty situation to a veritable black blizzard of a shit storm.

Too bad Rahm isn't COS anymore or the whole country would hear the echo of; Those fucking, fucked up, motherfucking, fuckin fucks ....

Mon, 09/12/2011 - 01:16 | 1658608 Drag Racer
Drag Racer's picture

is this considered flexing???

Yields on Greek two-year notes rose 1.93 percentage points to 57 percent on Sept. 9, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Credit-default swaps to insure the country’s five- year bonds and to speculate on government securities jumped 475 basis points to a record 3,500 basis points, according to CMA. The contracts are the highest in the world and more than three times the 1,134 basis points on Portugal’s debt.

Mon, 09/12/2011 - 01:27 | 1658616 nowhereman
nowhereman's picture

No this is flexing .....

Jamie thinks banking rules are unAmerican.

Mon, 09/12/2011 - 01:32 | 1658621 Drag Racer
Drag Racer's picture

he should change his name to demon

Mon, 09/12/2011 - 01:40 | 1658629 Reven
Reven's picture

This is one of the most intelligent posts I've seen in quite a while.  We would all be wise to adopt a little more humility and apply it generously to our thesis.  I regard FOFOA as the pinnacle of knowledge on all things gold, but recent events show that even he and his other friends can be wrong.  FOFOA saw the EURO as the blueprint of the emerging Freegold system.  But now, look how events have taken a dramatic twist and turn from the future world they envisioned.  More twists and turns are no doubt coming, capable of fooling even the greatest minds.

Mon, 09/12/2011 - 02:15 | 1658656 i-dog
i-dog's picture

What a load of shit: "We can't predict what will happen" ... Duuuh, really!?! That's why, in the market, there is a buyer for every seller ... each is predicting a different future.

I used to like CHS, but his last two pieces just smack of propaganda (for what, I don't know ... and can't be bothered thinking about it).

Mon, 09/12/2011 - 19:02 | 1661731 malek
malek's picture

Try to not get your preconceptions in the way: While the previous (two?) pieces by CHS were really more like propaganda, this one is more in the style I learned to like of him.
The analytic estimates he cites are really an example of idiocy, when I originally first read them I squirmed.

Always remember: It is not the strongest species that survive, but the ones most responsive to change.
And one thing is certain, changes we will get.

Mon, 09/12/2011 - 02:35 | 1658669 Hephasteus
Hephasteus's picture

A country leaving the euro incurring a cost denominated in the euro.

Anybody dumping apple is going to incur a 50 percent loss in iTunes.

Mon, 09/12/2011 - 02:46 | 1658683 Grand Supercycle
Grand Supercycle's picture

My long term indicators continue to warn of significant USD strength and AUD / NZD / EUR etc weakness and these signals have increased since 2009.

Unfortunately the March 2009 equity lows eventually will be breached.

Updated SP500 monthly chart at blog.

Mon, 09/12/2011 - 03:20 | 1658729 digalert
digalert's picture



The only remaining true analysis:

Never believe anything until it's been officially denied

Tue, 09/13/2011 - 22:04 | 1666006 moxia19
moxia19's picture

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