With Bernanke’s term due to expire in January, Jim Rogers warns Mineweb that the Fed-head will be remembered as “the guy who set the stage for the demise of the Central Bank in America. We’ve had three central banks in America. The first two disappeared. This one’s going to disappear too in the next decade.” With precious metals, bonds, and stock markets obsessing over Fed actions, Rogers says, in the next 10 years or so, “People will realise that these guys have led us down a terrible path,” and collapse is “not a possibility,” he adds, “it’s a probability.”
“100 years ago you could not have named the head of most central banks in the world,” Rogers told Mineweb. “Now they’re all rockstars.” Gold and equity markets have increasingly been locked in Fed-watch mode in 2013, obsessing over when or whether chairman Ben Bernanke would taper the bank’s vast bond buying scheme.
Rogers however, an ardent free-marketeer, says the market’s narrow focus on the Fed reflects the bank’s rising and now extreme interference in global markets, propelling the likes of Bernanke in the US and Mario Draghi in Europe to near household name status.
“Everybody knows them,” he says, “but that’s only a phenomenon of the last 20 years, when central banks have been pumping money into the markets and everybody’s singing hallelujah.”
With Bernanke’s term due to expire in January, Rogers says he will be remembered as “the guy who set the stage for the demise of the Central Bank in America. We’ve had three central banks in America. The first two disappeared. This one’s going to disappear too in the next decade.”
“It’s not a possibility,” he adds, “it’s a probability. People will realise that these guys have led us down a terrible path. The Fed balance sheet has increased by 500 per cent in the last 5 years and a lot of it’s garbage.”
Unlike the wider market, Rogers does not set great store by the Fed’s decision shortly before Christmas to taper its bond buying measures from $85bn per month to $75bn. The announcement put pressure on gold and drove US equities to a new all-time high, in what Rogers views as a relief rally.
“The US went up because people said, ‘Now it’s done, we don’t have to worry anymore.’ But somewhere along the line, markets are going to start suffering. They’ll taper until the markets start hurting and then they’ll panic and loosen up again. They’ve got themselves in a terrible box.”
“It’ll turn into a bubble or a very inflated situation, but eventually the markets will say, we’re not going to take your garbage anymore, whether it’s treasury bonds or currency.” Inflation, Rogers says, has only been kept in check in the US by the country’s shale gas discovery, putting a “dampener” on energy prices.
Whist Rogers views mass money printing as untenable, in the short term, he expects equities to turn parabolic, rather than collapse.
“The Japanese Central Bank has said that it will print unlimited amounts of money,” he says. “That’s their word and they’re doing it. When people look back 20 years from now they’ll say that’s what killed Japan, but in the meantime, all the staggering, unlimited amounts of money have got to go somewhere and it’s going to go into Japanese shares.”
Rogers prefers gold over gold mining shares and divisible coins over bullion, but says “there’s nothing in precious metals that I’m tempted to buy at the moment.”Indian import tariffs he views as the single biggest drag on the gold market currently.
“They’ve got a huge balance of trade deficit and the three largest parts are oil, gold and cooking oil. They cannot do anything about oil or cooking oil, so they’re attacking gold, blaming their problems on gold. Gold has not caused their problems, gold is a symptom of their problems, but politicians are pretty simple-minded people and they look for the easy answer.”
For early 2014, Rogers is therefore long inflatable equities and neutral on gold, but longer term, he expects to short junk and government bonds and is ultra bullish on gold. “Gold will become one of the only refuges around,” he says.
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Anyone have an application they recommend for a one-time-pad cypher they like?
Surely the best news of 2014. Tomorrow isn’t soon enough. I wonder what the Powers that Be have in mind now? Bar codes on the forehead or microchips?
adventure Lost count how many times I have sung the praises of the Indian people for owning gold. Not long ago I had a business meeting with a fellow from India, he lamented stories of how families will sell their gold when tough times arise and went into detail about the workings of their system. Banks hate not holding your money ALL of the time……..makes them scheme all the more. If Amerikans would sniff the coffee and store wealth in gold, we could tell the banksters to fuck off.
My mother taught me the importance of gold in times of crisis in India, when she had to mortage her jewelery for an important family need. The banks wouldnt take our home as a guarantee when all we wanted was 2k USD – but took my mothers gold. Thank you Zerohedge community for sharing so many amazing educational essays / artciles and the comments from the community to make people aware of the REALITY.
Jim Cramer – 2007
Credit creation is not a substitute for declining employment and resources. This is going to be a long trend.
“Everybody knows them,”
Everybody hates them and wants to see them do prison time for their crimes.
I like Jim Rogers for running on a tread mill.
I’m back up to over 8 miles non-stop at the beach. Thanks to my pre-Obamacare medical treatment. Got that taken care of just in the nick of time.
Lots of pilot whales out there today.
Question: Is the Fed operating illegally without a charter? How far would we get trying to operate a bank here in the USSA without a charter?
Why do you guys always talk about “LEGAL”,
The MILITARY is exempt from all CIVILIAN LAW, they have their own courts, the NSA has been off-budget running a black-budget for years, and post 1970’s they too, got unlimited FIAT (USD).
LEGAL don’t have a fucking to do with anything post 1970’s.
Might makes Right, the USA is backed by a GUN (nuke), that’s all you need to rule the world is FEAR.
Mr Rogers offers the world a sanitized feel-good, bring back the old day grandpa approach to viewing reality, perhaps this is why MSM brings Mr. Magoo to the BOOB-TUBE?
The major banking families wrote the Fed’s charter in 1913.
Nodebt I know the history. The charter ended in December, so is it illegal for them to operate past that time?
Be careful with the word ‘illegal’. If you can substitute the word ‘unconstitutional’ you’re on firmer footing. And in that respect, I’m not sure if it EVER was. So why would the expiration of a charter make it more or less so?
Rogers has been saying this daily since the 1970’s and it hasn’t happened ( death of FED ), someday of course Rogers will be right, but Rogers will be long dead.
Here’s what is going to happen next.
The NSA is going to admit there was a COUP back in 1950, that the USA has been operating by special Military Power ever since Eisenhower.
That the NSA will now take over the FED’s job of creating FIAT, aka USD.
The FED will remain, but it will be just a bunch of friendly faces (Yellen in a Thong ), but the real USD, and the real budgets in the USA will be decided by the NSA (MIL).
The USA will continue too, but only as a dog and pony show, and the courts, they can fuck the civilians to death, as MIL has their own courts.
This is the new world order, and yep you’ll get Hillary Clinton president, and she can fuck with the civilians all she wants, and the MIL don’t give a shit, as long as they can control the world.
Wow all the RED, I love Rogers, … so it can’t be that, … I said the USA is operating under SPECIAL MILITARY Powers, .. yep going back to JFK years, I thought everybody knew this?
So why the RED?
The NSA has been unbridled for 70 years, and now rules the world, is this news to you? Not to me I was there all along for the ride.
Truth hurts? You have to deal with reality, and if you want to be ‘free’ get the fuck out of the USA. Pure and Fucking Simple.
“…Rogers will be long dead.” You assume he will soon die. And you assume Zero Hedgers and their kindered spirits will do nothing. You are full of shit.
Rogers is over 70, he is NOT immortal, unlike you.
I have already said,… the US army delta force was murdered when they stood up and objected ( 1990’s post WACO), and in recent years the Navy Seals (2012+) were murdered when they spoke up.
Now you tell me that the virtual keyboard army aka ZH is going to accomplish what DELTA&SEAL failed? To restore America?
I think not.
The USA is the BOILED-FROG the MIL took over in the 1950’s, its now 60+ years complete, there is no returning to a civilian government in the USA.
Denial, or imagining uptopia will never help you, nor will BTC.
The world is full of benevolent country’s that have said FUCK-YOU to the USA HEGEMONY, find one and enjoy life.
I like how the most common argument against collapse is that “people have been thinking this for 40 years”. Well, some people are ahead of their time.
Also, I am not sure Rogers has been one of those until lately.
Soul Glow, I have been reading your stuff, you are one of the few humans here, not a bot, and not a troll.
Please define ‘collapse’,
IMHO the collapse happened in the 1970’s, when they took the USD off of gold, after that the USA went full retard MILITARY, and the rest is history. ‘Collapse’ in all of history is slow motion, civilization to ghost-town,
The USD started its decline in the 1980’s, and then for 30 years everything that could be stolen ( tangibles ) were stolen, now nothing is left to steal in the USA.
Rogers is invited to come on TV and he likes to talk, and ‘collapse’ sadly sell’s, is it probable FUCK-NO, but it all depends what ‘collapse’ means to you.
I’ll define collapse, If my family has no food to eat, the world has collapsed, if my neighbor has no food, then ALARM bells go off.
All human suffering is relative, even during the great depression while +20% were hungry, the other 80% were fat and happy.
COLLAPSE is situational, in no way will everyone suffer, the only people who will suffer is those in the USA that are not prepared,
If you are a student of Rogers or Faber, then you would know they both advocate leaving the civil war, before the shooting starts.
NOW your turn, define ‘collapse’.
Presumably you are posting from Colorado.
You got a problem with Colorado comrade??
He said he left the country in a post above this one, so…yeah.
Apparently nuance isn’t your strong suit.
It’s time to re-coin our own fiat currency. Let the multi-national bag holders drown in their own debt obligations.
Absolutely not. It’s .gov that’s going under the bus, not the Fed. Hell, the Fed even has their own troops now and regional offices all over the country. They ain’t going anywhere.
Funny you guys LOVE Rogers, but he lives in Singapore, and never sets foot in the USA.
You guy’s say that people who have left the USA should shut their mouth, but you worship every word from Rogers?
I love Rogers, he like myself voted with our feet long ago, and Rogers say’s “LEARN TO SPEAK CHINESE”, … I taught myself Chinese some 30+ years ago,
Everything Rogers says is true, but if anybody else but Rogers say’s it, h is an idiot. Why is that?
This article is Bullshit, the NSA/CIA rules the world, and they control the FIAT-USD and always have created all they want, that’s why there were able to dump ‘containers’ of $100 bills in IRAQ to BUY friends,
The US-MIL (NSA) run’s America.
The civilian government gets to FUCK the people, and me and Rogers don’t like to be fucked, so we left the USA.
If any of you were smart, you would do the same.
No thanks. I’d rather fight the battle on my home turf. All those American-friendly places may prove to be decidedly less so if the dollar collapses, and the world economy along with it. Here’s hoping you’ve laid roots deep enough where you are now to make it though a situation like that.
All major “developed” economies are in roughly the same predicament. When it gets time for the dollar to take an ass-whipping, they all will. ALL of them.
Paradigm shift to true value is what’s occuring.
BTC real value? I have a virtual bridge to sell you.
Perhaps in Asia people have always respected only GOLD in the hand, nobody on in ASIA buy’s paper-gold (ETF/ETN), but the USA is clearly heading into a virtual 24/7, …
I would say just the opposite, that the USA has permanently left the tangibile to the intangible.
YES, oh YES
Oh Brilliant Yes, oh …..
“It is not the responsibility of the Federal Reserve – nor would it be appropriate – to protect lenders and investors from the consequences of their financial decisions.”
Ben shalom bernank
Can we have a revolution now, I’m getting sleepy.
Unprecedented Total Chinese Gold Demand 2013
Over 2500 tons!!!
58579 55195 66517 85251 31629 80649 7355 4534 72302 74504 75324 27474 72418 12004 67076 93764 8567 4037 89362 67106 90403 29322 53954 9516 35602 95115 30523 74772 42842 24024 12293 54435 92544 73332 74618 66121 58115 26171 54272 48043 1562 39763 31240 96242 45193 98740 3122 20348 89430 78604 52528 74011 38930 89514 80026 73627 28187 4988 34666 50471 53045 23413 11808 27691 16317 56145 68542 42731 76872 65946 94391 30076 56688 10638 27713 60975 97658 39042 60162 31115 95430 49336 74791 83874 37476 772 21734 64311 26061 75900 41938 83573 91615 63292 59295 70689 54300 1997 81024 83847 65481 20791 89007 69637 14154 7504 99722 27094 27919 22886 32823 94455 98319 7706 50617 49235 37123 33975 70114 89279 22862 20811 23686 56668 24673 61703 11964 28637 84625 40708 27700 57487 53102 75674 39222 61129 71861 6881 23072 75754 76478 78418 67563 75621 64437 89024 62017 17087 3644 27 69270 377 78212 58847 39424 40167 13979 60581 23170 59804 82667 95394 75879 52289 25224 23080 68364 42383 3358 50695 55906 8352 25174 4494 8419 97399 36828 7025 66060 94639 83784 35953 90669 76122 99664 31996 84224 60383 4558 90650 65712 57722 50956 62580 9307 19965 19284 5511 57412 18373 17955 94343 20560 92229 72124 98969 27250 16907 40684 26445 54122 35409 94105 39918 22645 90846 47992 24410 67714 51516 51005 36774 63541 28206 49925 49418 14335 54208 49286 79429 8884 13062 5 88124 88955 74957 95226 30956 44661 16662 97359 11251 37573 98831 38215 68712 20180 42863 38697 17865 86271 5064 96894 63253 35922 88575 58655 11023 33269 37868 23524 90882 91469 17667 92376 71817 70782 21040 33805 61508 67206 97968 35406 79559 44412 71510 95092 59828 22916 44394 46431 11164 43644 64285 31105 59370 19863 49107 45315 64490 62297 53769 70690 85702 67382 81086 85676 26397 50383 30916
Are those your serial numbers of your gold/silver bullion?
cicada2014 sez: keep wearing that insect shirt
My hex is a little rusty. Care to translate?
It is a dialect of Bearingish.
It means: “Hey, NSA, catch that and paint it green!”
OK, super. Could you now translate your translation?
My understanding that quotation came from am American POW held by the Chicoms during the Korean War. He was being interrogated. He farted and told them to catch that and paint it green.
Actually that latter set comes from here:
Never heard that one before. Hope it’s true. Worth a chuckle.
Should we expect your future posts to be in hex as well? (Which would be highly annoying and only slightly badass)
I only ask so I can decide if I need to prepare myself with the appropriate translation tools.
I just heard that years ago, I don’t know if it’s true re the POW and green…
Re future posts, naah! Just having fun.
Short and succint this time <– Type exactly that
^—- is the output
Just having fun here is all.
“Gold will become one of the only refuges around,” he says.
Self reliant Family-survival and weaponized multi-strategic, multi-offensive/defensive compounds.
Get Prepared/Stay Prepared
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An oil leak at the site of the Hibernia offshore platform on the Grand Banks off the coast of Newfoundland has resulted in a significant downturn in oil production.
Workers reported a small leak on Dec. 18. Hibernia management company officials said it happened in a valve that is part of the rig’s offloading system. Only 10 litres of crude oil spilled at the time, and no oil sheens were spotted on the water at that time.
However, on Dec. 27, oil was discovered in the ocean once again, and a further investigation revealed the valve was leaking. The small sheen was rapidly dispersed by heavy seas, and by Jan. 3, it was no longer visible.
As a result of what was observed, Hibernia has shut down the transfer of oil to tankers, and the company says it has “significantly” cut back oil production.
Crews have been arranged to fix the leaking valve as soon as the weather permits.
» Plumes of mysterious steam rise from crippled nuclear reactor at Fukushima Alex Jones’ Infowars: There’s a war on for your mind!
AFP Photo / TEPCO
Fresh plumes of most probably radioactive steam have been detected rising from the reactor 3 building at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, said the facility’s operator company.
The steam has been detected by surveillance cameras and appeared to be coming from the fifth floor of the mostly-destroyed building housing crippled reactor 3, according to Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO), the plant’s operator.
The steam was first spotted on December 19 for a short period of time, then again on December 24, 25, 27, according to a report TEPCO published on its website.
The company, responsible for the cleanup of the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl, has not explained the source of the steam or the reason it is rising from the reactor building. High levels of radiation have complicated entry into the building and further inspection of the situation.
Three of the plant’s reactors suffered a nuclear meltdown in March 2011 after the Great East Japan Earthquake and resulting tsunami hit the region. The plant is comprised of six separate water boiling reactors. At the time of the earthquake, reactor number 4 had been de-fueled and reactors 5 and 6 were in cold shutdown for planned maintenance, thereby managing to avoid meltdowns.
Unlike the other five reactors, reactor 3 ran on mixed core containing both uranium fuel and mixed uranium and plutonium oxide, or MOX nuclear fuel. The Reactor 3 fuel storage pond still houses an estimated 89 tons of the plutonium-based MOX nuclear fuel composed of 514 fuel rods.
In a similar incident, small amounts of steam escaped from the reactor 3 building in July 2013, Asahi Shimbun reported. However it was unclear where the steam came from. TEPCO said that radiation levels did not change, adding that the steam could have been caused by rain that found its way to the primary containment of the reactor, and because this vessel was still hot, the water evaporated. On 23 July the steam was seen again coming out of the fifth floor just above the reactor containment, the Japanese newspaper reported.
In November, TEPCO, responsible for the decommissioning of the plant, began the highly risky removal of over 1,500 potentially damaged nuclear fuel rods from reactor 4. The reactor is the most unstable part of the plant as it was offline at the time of the 2011 catastrophe and its core didn’t go into meltdown. Instead, hydrogen explosions blew the roof off the building and severely damaged the structure.One of the most dangerous operations attempted in nuclear history was a success as a total of 22 assemblies containing 50 to 70 fuel rods have been transported to a new storage pool. While the extraction of the fuel rods is a significant challenge for TEPCO, a more complex task of removing the cores of the stricken reactors is yet to come.
This article was posted: Wednesday, January 1, 2014 at 2:59 pm
- Tepco Drills Hole in Fukushima Reactor – Finds Nuclear Fuel Has Gone Missing
- Reduced Pressure at Fukushima Reactor Indicates Possible Leakage
- Fukushima Reactors a Raging Nuclear Inferno
- All THREE damaged nuclear reactors now in ‘meltdown’
- Fuel Removal From Fukushima’s Reactor 4 Threatens ‘Apocalyptic’ Scenario
|Phnom Penh, Cambodia – As hundreds of heavily-armed military police began moving in to quell protesting garment workers Friday morning, Neang Davin looked on nervously.
“Last night I didn’t join anything, I was just driving my motorbike and stopped to watch. The police arrived, they didn’t ask anything, they just went in and began beating us,” said Davin, leaning on a bamboo stick for support. “Even though we ran into the market, we weren’t confronting them; they just went in and started beating us. They hit me on the back with a baton.”
Clashes between police and protesters that began after midnight Friday on the outskirts of Phnom Penh escalated Saturday morning leaving at least four shot dead and 23 seriously injured.
While the government lay the blame at the feet of protesters who pushed back security forces with rocks, Molotov cocktails and homemade weapons, none of those injured were police, admitted Military Police Spokesman Kheng Tito.
Instead, it was striking workers and bystanders who bore the brunt of an unusually harsh retaliation by police who appear to have grown weary of peacefully breaking up the protests that have roiled Phnom Penh for the past week.
Garment worker woes
On December 24, workers began striking en masse after the government announced it would be raising the minimum wage from $80 a month to $95 – an offer that fell far short of unions call for $160 a month. By the time the Ministry of Labour caved a week later and agreed to an extra $5 a month boost, the genie was out of the bottle. Years of chronic underpayment and poor working conditions had pushed at least half of the nation’s estimated 600,000 workers into the streets.
Separately, at the behest of the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia, some 80 percent of factories voluntarily shut their gates fearing violence; a move that has sent a $5bn industry into a near standstill.
“The unions cannot control [the situation] at this moment,” said Khun Tharo, a programme officer with Solidarity Centre, an American labour rights group. “It’s going to affect the industry as a whole.”
Garments account for Cambodia’s largest export industry. Brands like H&M, Puma, Adidas, Nike, the Gap and Walmart source from Cambodia, which set up its garment industry in the late 1990s to employ a unique UN-monitoring system that was meant to ensure factories were unusually well-run.
Instead, conditions and real wages have plummeted over the past decade, leading to mounting desperation among workers for whom 72 hour work-weeks are not unusual. After elections in July saw the poorest showing yet for Cambodia’s strong-arm prime minister, garment workers have grown increasingly vocal in their call for higher wages.
“In terms of the general level of unrest, we haven’t seen anything like this in Cambodia for over 15 years, since anti-government protests in 1998. But the protests we are seeing now appear larger, and broader in terms of the issues of concern and those taking part,” said Amnesty International Cambodia researcher Rupert Abbott.
While those demonstrations for the most part have been nonviolent, increasing pushback by authorities has amped up protesters, said Thun Saray, president of local rights group Adhoc.
“When they started to organise demonstrations, they used nonviolent ways but the armed forces came and used violence against the protesters, that’s what made them angry,” he said.
On Thursday, soldiers from an elite battalion of the armed forces moved in on a demonstration that took place outside a factory from which the Gap, Old Navy, and Banana Republic sources. In addition to beating an unknown number of workers, they arrested 15 people – including five monks and the leader of the informal sector union. The monks were released, but ten were sent to court today and face charges of inciting violence, said Saray.
As night fell, said Saray, there were reports that police would be going in to clear the street – which had taken on the look of a battleground by mid-afternoon.
“They plan to continue to crack down tonight, try to clean up the street of Veng Sreng because the protesters may try to demonstrate on the street…that’s why we’re concerned about more violence.”
Ek Tha, a government spokesman, said escalating violence came only after authorities were “provoked.”
“Local authorities did their best to protect the interest of the private and public property. As far as I understand, there were some troublemakers who provoked the problems, so the authority need to take law and order in place to safeguard the private and public property,” he said.
But Abbott said the use of such force flew in the face of international rights standards.
“If an assembly turns violent, as appears to have been the case today in Cambodia, security forces should use only such force as is strictly necessary and to the extent required for the performance of their duty. They may use firearms only when less dangerous means are not practicable and only to the minimum extent necessary for defence against an imminent threat of death or serious injury.”
Among those injured was 23-year-old Kieng Sinak, who was being treated at a local hospital for a piece of shrapnel that had pierced his eye.
A doctor told family members his eye would not recover.
“We are so poor, I don’t know how we can spend the money for surgery,” said his brother-in-law Roeun Sayeth.
Like many garment workers, Sinak’s rice-farming family relies on his scanty wages to support a number of members.
“He sends money every month, he supports three of his siblings and his parents,” said Sayeth.
“I’m not sure he will recover enough after surgery to be able to return to work,” said his cousin Chor Sokley.
A few hundred metres away from Sinak’s room, family members of those shot dead gathered outside the hospital’s mortuary for news of their relatives.
Blinking back tears, the sister-in-law of deceased Yean Rithy said she was unsure how his wife and two-year-old child would fare.
Like many others, she was aghast at suggestions the protesters were to blame.
“The protesters just have empty hands. The police have guns. So how could they be at fault?”
|The Iraqi prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki has vowed to eliminate “all terrorist groups” from Anbar province as a security source conceded the government had lost control of the town of Fallujah to al-Qaeda linked fighters.
Maliki, speaking on state television on Saturday, said his government would end “fitna”, or disunity, in the province and would “not back down until we end all terrorist groups and save our people in Anbar”.
His comments came after a senior Iraqi security official told the AFP news agency that the government had lost control of Fallujah to fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
Videos showed ISIL fighters in control of the main Fallujah highway, and officials and witnesses inside the town told the Reuters news agency that ISIL was in control of nothern and northeastern parts of the town.
The ISIL has been tightening its grip in the Sunni-dominated desert province, near the Syrian border, in recent months in its effort to create an Islamic state across the Iraqi-Syrian borders.
In Ramadi, the other main city in Anbar, local tribesmen and the Iraqi security forces have worked together to counter the ISIL.
But in Fallujah, the Iraqi army has been prevented from entering by local Sunni tribesmen who, despite not supporting al-Qaeda fighters, are opposed to the Shia dominated government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
Imran Khan, Al Jazeera’s Iraq correspondent, said: “The Iraqi army is on the outskirts of the town, negotiating with tribal leaders to go and fight the ISIL. They need cooperation from the leaders to go in and root out the militants.
“The military had a base just outside, from where they were shelling the city. They have withdrawn from that base and the tribal leaders have moved in, claiming a victory, but it isn’t clear yet from the army if it was rather a tactical withdrawal.”
More than 100 people were killed on Friday during fighting in Fallujah and Ramadi, one of the worst days since violence flared when Iraqi police broke up a Sunni protest camp in Anbar on Monday.
The escalating tension shows the civil war in Syria, where mostly Sunni rebels are battling President Bashar al-Assad, who is backed by Shia Iran, is spilling over to other countries such as Iraq, threatening delicate sectarian balances.
Primed for the Globalization Death Blow
All In At Dow Casino (Yes, again)
I will be the first to admit, that exactly five years ago near the depths of the post-Lehman collapse, I would have said that the probability of new stock market highs in five years was zero. Yet here we are, new stock market highs, new highs in margin debt, new highs in risky loans, new housing bubbles, new IPO speculation, new highs in global debt levels, new high in billionaires. It’s unbelievable. After the 1929 crash my grandparents’ generation never touched debt or stocks again in their entire lifetime. All of which means that this current generation didn’t learn one thing from 2008. Therefore what comes next will teach these amoral dumbfucks a lesson that they will never, ever, ever, forget.
If being wealthy was the same as pretending to be wealthy then people who care about reality would have a little less to complain about. But pretending is a poor way for a society to negotiate its way through history. It makes for accumulating distortions which eventually undermine the society’s ability to function, especially when the pretending is about money, which is society’s operating system.
The distortion that even simple people care about is that the gap between the rich and the poor is as plain, vast, and grotesque as at any time in our history — except perhaps during slavery times in Dixieland, when many of the poor did not even own their existence. We’ve had plenty of reminders of that in pop culture the last couple of years, including Quentin Tarantino’s fiercely stupid movie Django Unchained and the more recent melodrama 12 Years a Slave. But you have to wonder what young adults weighed down by unpayable college debt think when they go to see them, because without a rebellion that millennial generation will not own their own lives either. They must know it, but they must not know what to do about it.
The pretense and distortions start at the top of American life with a President who broadcasts the message that some kind of “recovery” has occurred in the economic affairs of the country. Either he just wants the public feel better, or he is misled by the people and agencies in his own government, or perhaps he just lies to keep the lid on. To truly recover from the dislocations of 2008, we would have to make a consensual decision to start behaving differently in the process of adapting to the new circumstances that the arc of history is presenting to us. We’d have to decide to leave behind the economy of financialization, suburban sprawl, car dependency, Wal-Mart consumerism, and prepare for a different way of inhabiting North America.
The dislocations of 2008 when the banking system nearly imploded were Nature’s way of telling us that dishonesty has consequences. The immediate dishonesty of that day was the racket in securitizing worthless mortgages — promises to pay large sums of money over long periods of time. The promises were false and the collateral was janky. It got so bad and ran so far and deep that it essentially destroyed the mechanism of credit creation as it had been known until then, and it has not been repaired.
Since then, we have pretended to repair the operations of credit by falsely substituting bank bailouts and Federal Reserve “quantitative easing” (QE) or digital money-printing for plain dealing in borrowed money between honest brokers at the local level. The unfortunate consequence is that in the process we have distorted — and possibly destroyed — the value of our money and the various things denominated in it, especially securities, bonds, stocks and other money-like paper.
The crash of the mortgage racket occurred not just because of swindling and fraud among bankers; in fact, that was only a nasty symptom of something larger: peak oil. I know that many people have come to disbelieve in the idea of peak oil, but that is only another mode of playing pretend. Peak oil, which essentially arrived in 2006, undermined the basic conditions of credit creation in an advanced techno-industrial society dependent on increasing supplies of fossil fuels. Most people, including practically all credentialed economists, fail to understand this. There is a fundamental relationship between ever-increasing energy supplies > economic growth > and credit-based money (or “money,” if you will). When the energy inputs flatten out or decrease, growth stops, wealth is no longer generated, old loans can’t be repaid, and new loans can’t be generated honestly, i.e. with the expectation of repayment. That has been our predicament since 2008 and nothing has changed. We are pretending to compensate by issuing new unpayable debt to pay the interest on our old accumulated debt. This pretense can only go on so long before our economic relations reflect the basic dishonesty of it. Reality is a harsh mistress.
In the meantime, we amuse ourselves with fairy tales about “the shale oil revolution” and “the manufacturing renaissance.” 2014 could be the year that the forces of Nature compel our attention and give us a reason to stop all this pretending. I’ll address this question in next week’s annual yearly forecast.
When it comes to setting the prevailing economist groupthink, nobody does it better than the economists at JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs. Which is why the following chart of projected 2014 GDP growth by quarter in the Developed and Emerging World from JPM, explains succinctly just where the groupthink now expects marginal global growth will come from (Mexico, South Africa, Korea, UK, Italy?). We show it just because the economist consensus is always wrong when it comes to the important inflection points (see ECB rate cut decision, Taper off decision, Taper on, the great financial crisis, “subprime is contained”, etc).
So for those curious to know what most likely will not happen in the new year, this chart’s for you.