Purchasing Power

Could Armenia Be The Next Ukraine?

When Konstantin Kosachyov, the head of the Russian Federation Council's International Relations Committee, said the protests in Armenia against a 16.7 percent power price hike follow a color revolution scenario sponsored by Western powers, many commentators rushed to compare the crisis in Yerevan with the 2014 protests in Kyiv that toppled the pro-Russian president, Victor Yanukovych. However, the street protests in Armenia have more to do with the overall economic situation in the country than with proxy clashes between foreign countries.

The Fed’s Fatal Flaw: Gold And The Predictable Endgame

When and what will break the chains on gold by those seemingly omnipotent forces that so assuredly keep its price in check? In essence, the belief is (and I expect for most honest and impartial analysts this is true) that because there is potentially significant downside risk to a global monetary system built upon a currency to which gold represents the proverbial kryptonite (we’ll discuss why), there are checks in place within the system, to ensure that kryptonite doesn’t become too potent. The architects of the existing system would have been foolish not to implement checks on gold.

The War On Cash: Officially Sanctioned Theft

While the benefits to banks and governments of banning physical cash are self-evident, there are downsides to the real economy and to household resilience. Why are governments suddenly acting as if cash money is a bad thing that must be severely limited or eliminated?

The Fallacies Of GDP

The common error of confusing growth with progress goes largely unnoticed, though it permeates all macroeconomic analysis. There is no better example of this mistake than the fallacies behind the interpretation of Gross Domestic Product.

How To "Measure" Risk

While investor behavior hasn't sunk to the depths seen just before the crisis, Oaktree Capital's Howard marks warns, in many ways it has entered the zone of imprudence. "Today I feel it's important to pay more attention to loss prevention than to the pursuit of gain... Although I have no idea what could make the day of reckoning come sooner rather than later, I don’t think it’s too early to take today’s carefree market conditions into consideration. What I do know is that those conditions are creating a degree of risk for which there is no commensurate risk premium."

Blurred Lines: Where Finance Ends And The Real Economy Begins

We should not even want to rebuild the world as it was in the decade of the 2000’s because it was so unbelievably unstable, a fact revealed persistently in the nearly eight years since that peak. Economists and central bankers treated the Panic of 2008 and the Great Recession as if it were a temporary interruption in an otherwise healthy system, a cyclical problem that over time heals on its own. Most of them still, to this day, hold the same view and the world’s economy and financial system is paying the costs of doing so. The eurodollar economy is falling apart and no amount of orthodoxy can reverse it because the eurodollar economy is orthodoxy.

California Set For A 10-Cent Gas Tax Hike

Legislation has been in introduced in the California state Senate that would increase the state’s approximately 47 cents-per-gallon gas tax by 10 cents.  The new California fuel levy, which would be the state's first increase since 1994, will be collected on top of an 18.4-cents-per-gallon federal gas tax that is charged to all drivers in the nation to fill the federal government’s transportation funding coffers. 

 

"If It Looks Like A Duck" - The Man In The Moon: Part 2

During “normal times” – an economic growth phase accompanied or generated by rising systemic leverage – central banks have incentive to promote nominal growth and inflation, which make banking systems profitable and their free-spending political overseers happy. In such times, commercial banks have fiduciary responsibilities to shareholders to constantly increase their market values, which they do by expanding their balance sheets.  Now that economies are highly leveraged, extinguishing debt would require banks to reduce the sizes of their loan books, which would shrink their market values. Thus, it seems economic policy makers never have incentive to promote debt extinguishment in the banking system, regardless of economic conditions or prospects.

Will A Robot Steal Your Job?

Will a robot steal your job? It turns out that the answer depends on the prevailing macroeconomic conditions much more than people think.

Euro-sclerosis

There appears to be little or nothing in the monetarists' handbook to enable them to assess the risk of a loss of confidence in the purchasing power of a paper currency. Furthermore, since today's macroeconomists have chosen to deny Say's Law, otherwise known as the laws of the markets, they have little hope of grasping the more subtle aspects of the role of money in price formation. It would appear that this potentially important issue is being ignored at a time when the Eurozone faces growing systemic risks that could ultimately challenge the euro's validity as money.