Guest Post: Signs Of The Times

Tyler Durden's picture
Submitted by Nicholas Bucheleres of NJB Deflator blog,
Retail stores are so 20th century.  Really, between Starbucks, McDonald's, and Facebook, who has time to walk around the block, let alone read a book?  Never read a book before?  Don't worry; Fifty Shades of Grey is on audiobook, so you can live Tweet your favorite sex quotes.  Amazon's got you covered.
 
Amazon (white), $SPX (purple), Staples (green), Barnes & Noble (yellow), and Best Buy (blue) over 5 years.
 
Best Buy, Barnes & Noble, and the likes are closing stores and slashing jobs like its 1929 in order to prevent bankruptcy like the barely profitable Circuit City (Rest In Peace).  The 21st century consumer is clearly choosing to stay at home and shop for perfectly demanded goods, so that they can prevent even the smallest amount of sunlight from hitting the waxy rolls in their arms.
 
I always thought that the perfect competition model in micro-economics was mental masturbation, but I suppose this is a perfect example of its application: US retailers carry such similar products and offer such homogenous services that eventually there is not enough demand to go around and businesses fail.  What the micro-economics model I learned failed to incorporate was technological progress--Amazon.  We should have been taught that not only will some businesses fail while others enter the low-barrier market, but that if one single business can offer a better product than every other, then they will usurp the entire marketplace.  We are currently witnessing this take place.
 
It's a Fat-Kid World
 
With nearly every form of media that we consume quickly becoming digitized, it is no surprise that the analogs are rapidly being replaced by the digital.  Today's youth are especially drawn to digital platforms because most of them don't know how to read anyway, and the grease from their sausage-fingers can be quickly wiped off the screen of their iDevice. 
 
This is all great preparation for their high school years: Wake up in pool of own urine, pop Zoloft, drive to McDonald's to eat two sausage McMuffins and two hash browns, pop large dose Adderall, drive to school, wipe nose with shirt while Facebooking in class, more McDonald's, get a couple good hours in on the Xbox while popping more Adderall, Starbucks Mocha Frap extra Whip for dinner, Ambien to fall asleep, then repeat.
 
...but wait! College gets even better:  Fatso gets to do everything above, but he doesn't have to go to class!  Talk about the sweet life; big boy gets his student loan through Education Management Corp., who partners with our friends at Goldman Sachs.  They will get you a student loan with a snap of a finger so long as you attend one of their prestigious for-profit online higher-learning institutions.  No need to worry about repaying those student loans; you've got a college degree, bro!  After 8 years of daily speed-balling on amphetamine and tranquilizers, this McStudent will have such chemically induced confidence that taking a job without a college degree prerequisite will be beneath him. 
 
Next stop: government dole.  The New American Golden Boy will collect not one, but two weekly checks from the government.  First he will get the well-deserved unemployment check, and on top of that he will receive his disability check simply for being a fat-ass.  Oh yeah, and government/US taxpayers pick up the tab when he defaults on his student loans, because Goldman and Education Management Corp. are backstopped by Congress.   TARP2.0 will be of spectacular proportions.
 
$SPX (green), Goldman Sachs (blue), McDonald's (red), Apollo Group (purple), Teva Pharmaceuticals (yellow),  Starbucks (orange), Apple (sea-foam green?) since 1999.  
 
 Looks like our man is making a pretty good name for himself.  Every company that he and his friends and family touch has beat the S&P over the past 13 years. 
 
But let's be real here: these are not rational consumers making rational consumptions decisions.  This is the new America that is being engineered by corporations that force mindless individuals to become addicted to their products with zero regard for health implications.  We are witnessing consumption for capitalism's sake.  This is clearly not a sustainable form of economy if not for the health implications, then for the student and credit-card debt that this cycle is founded upon. 
 
Is There a Pill For That?
 
Rate of change of population (blue), rate of change of GDP (red), and unemployment rate (green) since 1970.  Black line is roughly 1999.
 The corporate benefits of the New United States of Pill Poppers was made clear above: all industries connected to the engineering of the new consumer have been wildly profitable since the arbitrary date of 1999 that I chose.  The economic implications are much more dire: the US population is contracting, GDP growth rate is falling, and unemployment has risen rapidly.  The corporate/economic effects could not be more stark, but everyone is too busy consuming to realize what is going on.
 
An economy is the aggregate of its consumers, and just like its consumers, this economy is structurally sick.  The monetary policy pill that central planners and investors have been high on since 2008 has caused the economy to build up such a tolerance that it is no longer effective unless taken in doses that will kill the patient.

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The Monkey's picture

Zero Hedge publishing fluff articles!  Now you are learning.

THIS IS A MARKET TOP - EITHER GET THE HELL OUT, OR SHORT SELL!

SPXU and FAZ.

ACP's picture

Actually, I wouldn't be surprised to see another flash crash. Perfect time to do it.

mick68's picture

 most of them don't know how to read anyway

old naughty's picture

Downfall of an Empire...

Obesity planned.

SheepDog-One's picture

'Sausage fingers'...lol

vast-dom's picture

uh.......it's really hard to get fat on Adderall....

 

read this: SHORT THE PLANET

roadsnbridges's picture

Which planet?  Please be specific.  Most gays are long Uranus.

vast-dom's picture

looks like there's some long gay pride tapestry coming out of ur unicorn Uranus already so you could infer which planet.

QuantumCat's picture

"Short the planet"... YEP, should have hitched a ride with the new Mars rover Curiosity, although I wouldn't be surprised if the rover is actually a Federal Reserve asset on a mission to find more borrowers.     

Zionist Jew's picture

The market couldn't be more bullish.  Rising hyperinflation raises all stocks.

MunX's picture

Nah this is the right shoulder of the rounded top. The market top was in 2001.

Dingleberry's picture

You forgot the chart on tattoo prevalence.

James_Cole's picture

Congrats to the author of this "article" worst POS yet posted on zh.

lolmao500's picture

Good. The bigger the leech, the faster this whole crooked system will collapse. That's what we want right? When it collapse, the purge can happen then the world can have 100 years of peace and prosperity...

AbelCatalyst's picture

When this thing cracks it ain't gonna be pretty... Careful what you wish for as it is highly likely you are not prepared for the storm about to land on our shores... Hunker down my friends... Hunker down!!

10mm's picture

I say crack motherfucker.Sooner the better.

nmewn's picture

Ghost written by AnAnus?

Dr. Engali's picture

That's funny. I kept looking for U. S. citizenism somewhere in this post.

krispkritter's picture

Could be. But I'm guessing he's 'plop-plop-plopping-up' on a dirt road somewhere.

Calling all UScitizenism-hater twats! Go for it!

Duke of Con Dao's picture

will I ever make a new segment in the You Didn't Build That series? will Walter White catch a bullet at series (Breaking Bad) end? 

You didn't Build that Oil Rig, James Dean. Someone else pumped that oil for you! says Obama

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2mFRJLxJ5KQ

0r

"You Didn't Build that Nazi Party Adolf. A hatecore band did it for you!" 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qeBkIt_NPXc

...

el Dukerino

 

lotsoffun's picture

drive nowhere.  they will be so fat - it's delivered by 'health care workers' employed by macd's that shove it into the guzzle, like geese in provence.  watch.

 

GernB's picture

Interesting. I foolishly thought consumers were in charge. That consumers were reluctant to part with their money because it took hard work to earn it. That consumers decided what companies made and thus corporations were slaves to the whims of the consumer. Apprently I was wrong. Apparently all us readers of Zero Hedge (unless you don't consider Zero Hedge readers people) are mindless, spineless, zombies who have no chouice but to buy the products the corporations hypnotize us into buying. We are powerless to resist.

IndicaTive's picture

"Ignorance is bliss."

 

-Cypher

defencev's picture

This "article" caught my attention not because it reveals something interesting or new but because it mostly correctly describes the destructive role of a socialist government but (for whatever reason) blames the corporations for the current miserable state of affairs. Total bullshit.

draghithebearslayer's picture

Consumers were in charge back in the days when ads read like user manuals, listing every bits of facts about how their product is superior to the next competing brand. Just search for vintage ads from early 20th century and see how unappealing they are! Advertising industry has since come a long way, and nowadays a typical ad is more akin to highly sophisticated mind-control technique than to a user manual.

Sure, I agree with what I think you're saying, that we aren't mindless hypnotized, powerless zombie slaves to the corporates, but when TV ads are generating wants and needs in consumers that weren't there in the first place if it weren't for those ads, I have to say the notion of consumers being in charge is questionable at best.

 

Herd Redirection Committee's picture

"The Century of the Self" and "The Power of Nightmares"

Now there's some "Must Watch TV".  Really.  It should be mandatory viewing!  But luckily for the oligarchy attention spans have been degraded so much people wouldn't even be able to make it through, never mind actually learn something by watching.

PatientZero's picture

lol U MAD, Amerifats?

Charles Bishop Weyland's picture

 Of course-- they're gorged on our blood.I heard their legs are going vestigial.

death_to_fed_tyranny's picture

Amazon should consider lobbyist pressure to legalize all drugs. Then you could click a button and get your fix with free super saving shipping. As a libertarian, I am all for it!

pavman's picture

Amazon should consider lobbyist pressure to legalize all drugs. Then you could click a button and get your fix with free super saving shipping. As a libertarian, I am all for it!

Then Amazon (or possibly Al Gore) can invent a a series of tubes that can deliver the drugs right to your house w/o the need for UPS.  Imagine it...and make it so!  Of course, there will be a couple of years of liability issues until they get that standard, unalterable legal form figured out that absolves them from all responsibility should someone buy too much at once and OD on it all in one shot...but hey, that's just recycling which would be totally green, right?

Obadiah's picture

Imagine this: 3-d personal drug printers, load the cable cos demarkation taps with with the base pschy chemicals  then pipe into home when they push the button.  Frekin sweeeet

monad's picture

The tubes that you are reading this on are already capable of inducing a state of hypnotic concentration with the capacity for euphoric arousal and mesmerizing fascination. Side effects may include catatonic withdrawal, social and gender disorientation, surreal perpectives, depending how crazy you were to begin with heightened or impaired judgement, loss of privacy, loss of liberty, and unusual behavior.

Not all psychedlic drugs are chemicals, or bad for you. Isn't this enough? You guys want more?

 

Al Gore did not build this!

Landrew's picture

Can I have the time back it took to read this?

Mercury's picture

Next stop: government dole.  The New American Golden Boy will collect not one, but two weekly checks from the government.  First he will get the well-deserved unemployment check, and on top of that he will receive his disability check simply for being a fat-ass.

Next stop: Remember to dance with the one who brung ya when you head to the polls in November.

For far too many entitlement space/time is little else but a virtual vote farm. Although I think the government is the egg here and the crap merchants are the chicken. When circumstances change the crap merchants will sell something else.

max2205's picture

No top in amzn yet. Look to short at a 500 PE

earleflorida's picture

the Amazone and iApple are both rooted in the osmosis world of techno'horticulturist aborigines dreamtime?

tis a good thing,...

q99x2's picture

During the revolution they'll need the fat and the nimble trigger fingers.

death_to_fed_tyranny's picture

If we are in a revolution, it is most likeley due to high food prices. Fat fingers equals fattened calves. Therefore a young nameless former gamer, with some barbecue sauce, paired with some beer makes a great sheeple roast. fafafafafa!

pavman's picture

During the revolution they'll need the fat and the nimble trigger fingers.

Esp. when they get those government jobs flying UAVs from their laptops while eating a muffin and drinking their morning latte at a Starbucks.

francis_sawyer's picture

You won't get no dessert til u clean up your plate... So EAT IT!

~~~

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZcJjMnHoIBI

Nothing To See Here's picture

What kind of idiot thinks that we are living in a capitalist economy?

ZeroHedge standards are being lowered it seems...

reader2010's picture

Give em EBT cards, let em eat GMOs, which will make em sick big time later. While iShit owners enjoy themselves now, the Big Pharma will win big in the end. Hey, don't forget to drink your milk and eat your animal protein every three hours.  

blindman's picture

http://aadivaahan.wordpress.com/2012/08/09/last-post/#comment-5622
Last Post…
August 9, 2012
"Greetings,
Hope you are well." ... v

old naughty's picture

best wishes to ORI,

and thanks for sharing.