Waiting For Godot

Tyler Durden's picture

From Mark Grant author of Out of the Box


We shall never know the precise moment that it happened but somewhere around World War I would be about right. Everything had been crawling in this direction for a while and then the silent sparks flew and the connection was made and will never be severed again. The financial world had become integrated so that what happens one place in the world affects the rest of the world and the improvements in technology that have happened since this time has only moved the financial institutions in the world ever closer. News is almost immediate and the communication of it is instantaneous and to hold any other view borders on the edge of holding conversations with the Easter Bunny. Consequently when I hear some of the puffy eyed on TV claiming that America has decoupled from the goings on in Europe I become amused and wonder where this poor fellow has been hiding out on the planet. I always think of East Borneo but one is never sure. There is NO decoupling and there has not been any in ninety years and that is the truth of it. There are variations and it is all a matter of focus really and the American equity market is notoriously myopic and if the immediate news of some event in Europe is ignored it will only be for a moment as the effects of each and every event careen around the planet in a variety of ways reminiscent of some out of control eight ball on the pool table.

China is slowing down, part of it is just cyclical but it is slowing down and I expect anemic growth in the third and fourth quarters of this year. Europe is a mess, both politically and economically, and the entire Continent is in recession with the exception of Germany which is about to join its brethren in the outhouse.  To think that this will not affect America is a mad dash to see Cinderella and her Godmother so please allow me to drag you back from this excursion. Now look, I do not run around calling for Armageddon and “end of the world” scenarios. Yes, it is true, some brandish this sword but I do not. I honestly think we are in for some tough times over the next two years and that the world will be in a very unpleasant recession mostly generated out of Europe as they have played the Great Game quite badly but, as I told one Italian newspaper yesterday, we are not going to enter Dante’s Inferno either though we may hang around the gates for a while.

The Days of Wine and Roses

With the dismissal of Mr. Sarkozy and his regime by the French people the politics in Europe took a decided turn into a more combative sport. The poor and wounded nations beg, Ms. Lagarde, ever a femme de France, pleads for Eurobonds, more ECB bond buying and further bailouts for the troubled banks all across the Continent which the countries of the European Union could not afford even if they wanted to and which Germany, in any event, will block so that their coming recession will not be even worse than what is likely to be forthcoming. When America ran into the wall in 2008/2009 the country, with assets of 125% of all of our major banks, strained and labored behind the plow to bail them out but it got done and, regardless of the downgrades by Moodys yesterday, they are now in much better shape than they were during the financial crisis and light years ahead of the large European banks where we find Credit Agricole levered sixty-six to one and Deutsche Bank levered sixty-four to one. I fear we are about to see a repeat of what happened in Iceland and in Ireland where the banks overcame their sovereign nations. The problem is that the European banks are three hundred percent (300%) larger than the assets of the nations in the EU-17 and if one, just one, of the big international European banks roll under the skids of the bankruptcy bus then “woe is me” won’t cover it. The days of wine and roses have ended now in Europe and I fear the porridge will be cold and deficient in nutrients. Now some of you may not agree with my synopsis but I quote the famed economist Miss Holly Golightly:

“Tough beans buddy, 'cause that's the way it's gonna be.”


                              -Breakfast at Tiffany’s

The Continuing Antics

From one perspective, and one that I choose to take with some frequency, Europe is rather amusing. Many of the impoverished or those who enjoy wearing their tailcoats in Brussels rush about like those filling the stateroom in some Marx Brothers movie. Not enough room of course and pleas and commands to move over but all to no avail. The only person that matters is the rather austere lady in the corner that instinctively frowns at all who comes near and so controls the space that is left for everyone else. Those without present their cases, unfold schematics of grand plans, promise more unbelievable cures than any Medicine Man could ever dream up and describe magical castles floating in the air all in an attempt to get the one lady that is still clutching her purse to open it and allow everyone to dine at the Four Seasons. She has done it before, she might do it again but she is mindful of what is in her purse and knows that the bankroll has slimmed by its former use. Besides she has children to feed at home and they will come first; make no mistake about this because any other such notion that you may have will lead you down Alice’s rabbit hole.

“You're willing to pay him a thousand dollars a night just for singing? Why, you can get a phonograph record of Minnie the Moocher for 75 cents. And for a buck and a quarter, you can get Minnie.”


                                      -The Marx Brothers, A Night at the Opera

Waiting For Godot

One truism about life is that everything is fine right up to the moment when it is not. We do not need a “Lehman Moment” to get to the “when it is not” moment. My good friend, the noted economist Paul McCulley, is the grand touter of the “Minsky Moment” and I must ask him soon to give us all a working definition of a “Lehman Moment” which none of us will understand but it is worth a shot. Now think back about the “moments” that we have had; Greece blowing up at the Parthenon, Ireland finding her bags of gold had turned to lead, Portugal running out of empanadas and now Spain fighting windmills of her own design as the Prime Minister decrees the country’s “walk of shame” a “great victory for Europe.” With this kind of reasoning it is no wonder, no wonder at all, why Europe is in such trouble. The inmates have taken over the asylum and Nurse Ratchet has fled. So you do not have to wait for Godot so he can give you a working definition of “folly;” Europe is providing the answer day by day.

In the next days Greece will present her magic tricks at court and while the Dukes and Barons cheer in the wings it will be up to the Red Queen, this would be the bearer of the Holstein emblem, to decide if the tricks performed are worth the cost. There is a very good chance of the hand wave of dismissal here and then the theatrical event of the season, “Off with their Heads,” will begin. Then the savant of Madrid will be allowed in to show his wares claiming they are all of silk but coarse wool is closer to the truth. The money, if it comes, will be provided by the EFSF by the way because the ESM is not yet in existence. Then the plan is to transfer the loan to the ESM which will be senior to the holders of the Spanish sovereign debt. So this morning you must rush out and by the debt of Spain. You love to be subjugated; you delight in the masochism of the whip. Losing money is what you live for and why you breathe. Oh no; this is not you? Well then; maybe better not.

You can't teach an old dog new tricks, but you can't teach a stupid dog old tricks either.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
GeneMarchbanks's picture

Worst. Article. Ever.

Jack Sheet's picture

Current posts on Europe are like nags. You ride around on them until you are tired of them, then you tie them to a tree and f**k 'em

(courtesy Laurence Durrell)


GetZeeGold's picture



I thought they just shot horses.


falak pema's picture

he must have been nagged into thinking she was Justine! 

Apostate2's picture

Ahh, that tiresome old sexual turnstyle..we too will pass....

moraymint's picture

Yup.  I think he might be misreading the odds on Armageddon coming our way.

Race Car Driver's picture

> Worst. Article. Ever.


Or at least poorly titled - it has nothing to do with Godot and I doubt the author ever read it.

falak pema's picture

he got the "waiting for" part right.

No Euros please we're British's picture

Oh, I don't know, I thought that some of the metaphysical imagery was really particularly effective.

bigwavedave's picture

Kalimantan is actually quite a rocking place these days. You should get out more often

GetZeeGold's picture



The Days of Wine and Roses


.......have been replaced by bread and circuses.

FLUSA.com's picture

Just remember...these people in power volunteer for jury duty just for the opportunity to screw someone.  Once you realize that the rest is easy....

covert's picture

karl marx's dreams are coming true, global communism.


GeneMarchbanks's picture

Yay! You missed the part when we say "Yay"

BTW, Marx didn't dream, he was quiet sober. I think you meant Greenspan. Yeah, Allan<--- Dreamer.

GetZeeGold's picture



When do we get to the part where we have to kill millions of people because they won't go along with it?


GeneMarchbanks's picture

Previously and presently. But certainly I understand your confusion since today it goes under other names unrelated to Marx.

You'll get communism either way. This time it won't be Marxist.

Lebensphilosoph's picture

Marx wan an habitual drunkard who squandered his father's money on booze while his children starved. You're right about him not dreaming though. His lifeless system of dialectical materialism has nothing of the character of dreams about it, unless it is the cold black hell of a fevered delirium: it is pure intellectual invention.

Ghordius's picture

well, what Marx saw was a society where even children had to work to sustain the families for over 12 hours a day in miserable and sometimes dangerous conditions without any insurance, health insurance and pensions and tried to think out a solution, which, in his opinion, could only work at first in Germany

interestingly, one "solution" to Marx's problem came from the Socialists, which was to raise wages by erecting tariff barriers, something the British Empire thought was anathema and the USA did as a matter of course

the other was from the Conservatives - the bismarkian "pay-as-you-go" pension scheme that Tyler hates so much

every age has it's critics and it's proposed solutions

meanwhile, could you explain your comment here 2550142 better? I'm still not sure what you mean...

Lebensphilosoph's picture

well, what Marx saw was a society where even children had to work to sustain the families for over 12 hours a day in miserable and sometimes dangerous conditions without any insurance, health insurance and pensions and tried to think out a solution, which, in his opinion, could only work at first in Germany

Oh give us a break. Marx the humanitarian! Marx's criminal neglect of his own children lays bare the absurdity of what you are implying. His motivation was nothing other than the same implacable racial hatred, ever incensed by the stubborn insistence of reality to refuse to conform with his own Talmudic fantasies, that motivated every other genitally-mutilated lunatic from Feud to Boas to set about the destruction of Europe's traditional societies in typical rabbinical fashion.


GeneMarchbanks's picture

My my we got ourselves a bad-ass. Colorful prose... check, weird nonsensical references... check, historicism... doublecheck.

Got ourselves a 'tard. Congratulations.

falak pema's picture

intolerance garbed is manic english nostalgia, a man for no seasons, a man whose own polarisation makes him impervious to see anything else except his own perception of his past national exceptionalism. Darjeeling tea in colonial hats. I'll say this, the Brits did cede their ill gained wealth with bad grace but not too much violence, except in Mao Mao Kenya and in white surpremist Rhodesia, which turned sour when Harold Wilson pulled the plug. Not like the French. 

Not a bad lot the englishman, I'll concede their moderation except when binged, just sooo nondescript; like stale beer and fish n chips. And they never learnt to play football like the europeans, let alone the Brazilians. 

Apostate2's picture

I spit on his grave everyday on my morning walk. I will give him a twofer tomorrow. Have to bugger off for awhile due to the clown circus coming to town. Ways of escape. Make double deposits when I return.

blindman's picture

Germany, Underground Reich, And The Current Financial Crisis


OttoMBMP's picture

What have they done to the US educational system.

GetZeeGold's picture



Who cares......slap a union label on it and ship it out the door.


Here's your obligatory degree and participation trophy Johnny......good luck.


unununium's picture

Judging by Mark Grant's prescience and literary flair, they've done something quite right.

Lebensphilosoph's picture

My, yes, he's a regular Oscar Wilde, isn't he? Isn't he just?


Would someone teach this Yank what a hyphen is.

Lebensphilosoph's picture

The concept of an educational system: there's your problem right there.

blindman's picture

they made it dull where it should be
brilliant and arrogant where it should
be humble. abstract where it should be
concrete and sequential where it should
be spontaneous. also, they folded it into
a state run chest and sank it to the depths
of the ocean of ignorance and conformity, for money.
they financialised it. we financialised it.
we financialised our selves for the lender's
piece of the action hoping to one day ....
to the point where we can no longer tell the
difference between sport and work, entertainment
and education, thoughtlessness and thoughtfulness.
the motives in this life have been made cheap
and subject to excessive leverage.
the system gave up asking questions
and loaded up on providing answers
that were neither proved or consistent
with local reality. it has always been a
public-private experiment that abhors
meaningful introspection and analysis,
money driven.
i experienced the system myself so you
should probably take that into consideration.
i doubt there is a great difference between
the usa system and other systems; human systems
are inherently mutable works in progress and the education system is correlated to the other social and
economic systems, there a source of tragedy.
fear based learning produces psychopaths,
that might be it?
what do you think?
ps. why ask me? i know very little about it,
ran from it mostly, but i think the curriculum
probably needs to be based on the the stages
of development found in the class and on the spot
allowing for tremendous variability and divergence.
there, that almost sounded like something an education
professional might say?

blindman's picture

here is the mentality that represents
the system of education you question.

falak pema's picture

...The days of wine and roses have ended now in Europe and I fear the porridge will be cold and deficient in nutrients... 

Why be selective in your reasoning. Holly Golightly was a first world icon as played by Audrey out of Hepburn. 

Your 'one eyed jack' play of Euro mayhem comes up short on intravenous financial contagion in the whole junkie "funny money" community. You can do better than that if you really tried. 

carefreemanjoe's picture

Stunning cunts - cunning stunts? = Greeks?

Peter Pan's picture

It is clear that the world lacks real leaders with any true understanding of how money works. I think that our distant forefathers also battled with the concept of money, the ups and downs of economies, crooks, wars etc and this is why they made their minds up thousands of years ago that gold and silver were the standard par excellence for the basis of all exchange.

The world has yet to see a viable, stable and sustainable medium of exchange to replace precious metals.

And let me tell you a secret..........it never will find a viable alternative.......hence we are waiting for Godot.



Oldballplayer's picture

Do they realize that Godot never showed up?

ZeroAvatar's picture

Neither did .dotgov.  Therein lies the real Tragicomedy.

pufferfish's picture

Superb, wonderful writing. I'm a sucker for metaphor. Fantastic illustration in text.

JackT's picture

A couple of years of close but not armageddon will most certainly have the same effect as armageddon on the majority of people. 

Nels's picture

strained and labored behind the plow to bail them out but it got done and, regardless of the downgrades by Moodys yesterday, they are now in much better shape than they were

Maybe the banks are in good shape (if Reggie is totally wrong), but the costs to the rest of us haven't been totally tallied yet.  Private and public pensions were funded for an 8% return (when the public pensions were funded at all), but they aren't getting it.  So the can was simply kicked from the banks to the pensions.  The last shoe hasn't hit the floor yet.

adnan202's picture

This is just the information I am finding everywhere.Me and VW Passat my friend were arguing about an issue similar to this! Now I know that I was mazda cars right.Thanks for the information you post. I just subscribe your blog. This is a nice blog.

serema's picture

You cheap evening dresses can pick out from a wide collection of reasonably priced white celebration dresses from our online shop. Nothing at all is difficulty, in case you check out our cheap bridesmaid dresses web site to select your get together cheap bridesmaid dresses. Mainly because we are going to put together every thing for you.Once you head to your friend wedding,