Peak Stupidity: Argentina Fines Walmart For Violating "Fair Price" Pact, Urges Citizens To Denounce "Evil" RetailersSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 02/16/2014 21:29 -0400
We take certain liberties with the title: we realize that since one is dealing with human individuals, particularly human individuals stuck in an insolvent, soon to re-default nation, stupidity can never peak per se, as the next day will without doubt bring some peak-er instance of even more profound idiocy. However, at this particular moment, this may be it. What happened is that on Friday, Argentina fined supermarket chains including Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, and Carrefour for "failing to maintain adequate stocks of price-controlled goods." This happened after the country shocked everyone in late January by devaluing the peso by 18 percent, effectively wiping out the purchasing power of its population by the same amount and forcing a mad scramble by the population into retail outlets, such as Wal-Mart, where the people were desperate to convert their increasingly more worthless pieces of paper for tangible goods resulting in a "run on the Wal-Mart" and depleting store shelves of virtually all goods, price-controlled or otherwise.
While the only fun-durr-mentals that matter appear to be global central bank liquidity injections (and thus the level of leverage entrusted to the JPY carry trade), the crowd is swayed by truthisms and "common knowledge" memes that recovery is here, that things are improving, that earnings are 'solid', that markets are still cheap, and that historical analogs are different this time. However, with monetary policy at a turning point, we also appear (fundamentally and technically) to be at "the inflection point from self-reinforcing speculation to fragile instability."
They have promised more than they can possibly deliver, so a lot of their promises are going to be broken before we see the end of this current bust that began in 2000. And that outcome of broken promises describes the huge task that we all face. There will be a day of reckoning. There always is when an economy and governments take on more debt than is prudent, and the world is far beyond that point. So everyone needs to plan and prepare for that day of reckoning. We can't predict when it is coming, but we know from monetary history that busts follow booms, and more to the point, that currencies collapse when governments make promises that they cannot possibly fulfill. Their central banks print the currency the government wants to spend until the currency eventually collapses, which is a key point of The Money Bubble. The world has lost sight of what money What today is considered to be money is only a money substitute circulating in place of money. J.P. Morgan had it right when in testimony before the US Congress in 1912 he said: "Money is gold, nothing else." Because we have lost sight of this wisdom, a "money bubble" has been created. And it will pop. Bubbles always do.
The winner of a currency war is the country that ends up with the most gold.
When it comes to complex systems and unintended consequences, the key phrase is "be careful what you wish for." A lot of people are remarkably certain that their understanding of how systems will respond in the future is correct. Alan Greenspan was certain there was no housing bubble in 2007, for example (or he did a great job acting certain). Some are certain the U.S. stock market is going to crash this year, while others are equally certain that stocks will continue lofting higher on central bank tailwinds. Being wrong about the way systems responded in the past doesn't seem to deter people from being certain about the future. Complex systems don't act in the linear way our minds tend to work.
The 'cash on the sidelines' myth has more lives than a cat. No matter how often the logical fallacy underlying it is pointed out, Wall Street continues to propagate it. Nevertheless, money and credit are of course extremely important factors in the analysis of asset markets. The below provides what are hopefully a few useful pointers as to which data one should keep an eye on in this context.
Today, the pundits are a-buzz making sense of the latest jobs report. But most of us care more about the state of one particular job: our own. How relevant is this latest bit of data to that? Not very. So, to better understand the trends in the work environment most likely impact our own paychecks, it will help to look at another bellwether similar to our fuzzy groundhog friend: AOL. AOL, a once-important pioneer in the transition to the 'digital economy', is once again showing us where the future of work is headed. Unfortunately, like the health of AOL's business over the past decade, it's not a pretty picture. As we've transitioned to an economy in which corporate profitability -- and thereby, stock prices -- is THE metric for success, the employer-employee relationship has become much more superficial than in past generations; and the encroachment of automation remove income options for those temporarily out of work, but it's increasingly limiting the options for the large pool of unskilled labor with few other alternatives
Even before the new myRA program was announced, there had been whispers about the need for the US government to assume some risk for US retirement accounts. That's code for forced conversion of private retirement assets into government bonds. As bad as it is to deceive naïve Americans into trading their hard-earned retirement savings for garbage (i.e., Treasury securities), the myRA program potentially represents something far worse... the first step toward the nationalization of existing private retirement accounts.
Abenomics Disaster: Japan Regular Wages Fall For 19 Consecutive Months; Real Wages Drop To 16 Year LowSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 02/05/2014 09:09 -0400
For the past year Abenomics has gotten the "get out of a jail free" card because while the plunging yen was crushing Japanese purchasing power, and sending nominal regular wages ever lower, at least the stock market was higher so (some of the) locals could delude themselves they are getting richer, if only on paper. However, following the most recent 10% correction in the Nikkei which may soon become an all out rout if the 101 level in the USDJPY doesn't hold (and then 100, and so on), all Japan suddenly has left, is the shock of soaring food and energy prices, and the hangover of declining wages that refuse to stop dropping. Case in point, last night the Japan labor ministry reported that monthly wages excluding overtime and bonus payments fell 0.2 percent in December from a year earlier to 241,525 yen on average per worker, a series of declines which has now stretched to 19 consecutive months.
This past week we read some very diverse articles, which, hopefully, will stimulate your grey matter over the weekend as you indulge in melted artifical cheese, processed fillers, and copious amounts of artificial colorings and flavors during the Super Bowl showdown (assuming you did not order any of the party packs). With everybody hoping that someone else is going to pull them out of the quicksand - who is left to do the pulling?
After the blistering final Q3 GDP print of 4.1% (to be revised far lower eventually), the preliminary Q4 GDP number had only one way to go, down - and sure enough it dropped to the expected 3.2% (well below Joe LaVorgna's 4.0% forecast), capping 2013 GDPat 1.9%, down solidly from the 2.8% growth recorded in 2012. "Assume a recovery..."
One of the greatest lies of the modern financial system (and that’s really saying something) is about inflation. The puppet masters who control the system have managed to convince people that deflation = bad, and inflation = necessary evil. Perhaps the even bigger lie is that of the actual inflation statistics. They tell us that there’s no inflation… or minimal inflation. But these figures are massively understated. And you don’t have to look hard for proof.
Nouriel Roubini, Davos Speakers, Kyle Bass, Larry Edelson, Charles Nenner, James Dines, Jim Rogers, Marc Faber, Jim Rickards and Martin Armstrong Warn of Wider War
Have we all bought into gang-mentality?
And sure enough, less than 24 hours later, here comes the now well-known Icahn Tweet-pump
Since tweeting about our large position in $AAPL on Aug 13, when the stock was 468 per share, we’ve kept buying shares of this ‘no brainer.’
— Carl Icahn (@Carl_C_Icahn) January 22, 2014