Category Archive: 5.) Charles Hugh Smith

The Future of What’s Called “Capitalism”

The psychotic instability will resolve itself when the illusory officially sanctioned "capitalism" implodes. Whatever definition of capitalism you use, the current system isn't it so let's call it "capitalism" in quotes to indicate it's called "capitalism" but isn't actually classical capitalism.

Read More »

Calling Things by Their Real Names

One does not need money to convey one's thoughts, but what money does allow is the drowning out of speech of those without money by those with a lot of money. In last week's explanation of why the Federal Reserve is evil, I invoked the principle of calling things by their real names, a concept that drew an insightful commentary from longtime correspondent Chad D.:

Read More »

Instability Rising: Why 2020 Will Be Different

In 2020, increasing monetary and fiscal stimulus will be the equivalent of spraying gasoline on a fire to extinguish it. Economically, the 11 years since the Global Financial Crisis of 2008-09 have been one relatively coherent era of modest growth, rising wealth/income inequality and coordinated central bank stimulus every time a crisis threatened to disrupt the domestic or global economy.

Read More »

Just a Friendly Heads-Up, Bulls: The Fed Just Slashed its Balance Sheet

Perhaps even PhD economists notice that manic-mania bubbles always burst--always. Just a friendly heads-up to all the Bulls bowing and murmuring prayers to the Golden Idol of the Federal Reserve: the Fed just slashed its balance sheet--yes, reduced its assets. After panic-printing $410 billion in a few months, a $24 billion decline isn't much, but it does suggest the Fed might finally be worrying about the reckless, insane bubble it inflated:

Read More »

The Fed Can’t Reverse the Decline of Financialization and Globalization

The global economy and financial system are both running on the last toxic fumes of financialization and globalization. For two generations, globalization and financialization have been the two engines of global growth and soaring assets. Globalization can mean many things, but its beating heart is the arbitraging of the labor of the powerless, and commodity, environmental and tax costs by the powerful to increase their profits and wealth.

Read More »

Is This “The Top”?

Parabolic moves end when the confidence that the parabolic move can't end becomes the consensus. The consensus seems to be that the stock market is on its way to much higher levels, and soon. The near-term targets for the S&P 500 (SPX, currently around 3,235) range from 3,500 to 4,000, with longer-term targets reaching "the sky's the limit."

Read More »

The Two Charts You Need to Ignore or Rationalize Away in 2020 (Unless You’re a Bear)

If you believe you've front-run the herd, you're now in mid-air along with the rest of the herd that has thundered off the cliff. We're awash in financial charts, but only a few crystallize an entire year. Here are the two charts that sum up everything you need to know about the stock market in 2020.

Read More »

The Fed’s “Not-QE” and the $33 Trillion Stock Market in Three Charts

One day the stock market 'falcon' will no longer hear the Fed 'falconer', and the Pavlovian magical thinking will break down as the market goes bidless. The past decade has shown that when the Federal Reserve creates trillions of dollars out of thin air (QE), U.S. stocks rise accordingly. The correlation is very nearly perfect.

Read More »

The Hour Is Getting Late

After 11 years of "the Fed is the market" expansion, the Fed has now reduced its bloated balance sheet by 6.7%. This is normal, right? So here we are in Year 11 of the longest economic expansion/ stock market bubble in recent history, and by any measure, the hour is getting late, to quote Mr. Dylan: So let us not talk falsely nowthe hour is getting lateBob Dylan, "All Along the Watchtower"

Read More »

Is Social Media the New Tobacco?

If we set out to design a highly addictive platform that optimized the most toxic, destructive aspects of human nature, we'd eventually come up with social media.

Read More »

Welcome to the Era of Intensifying Chaos and New Weapons of Conflict

Geopolitics has moved from a slow-moving, relatively predictable chess match to rapidly evolving 3-D chess in which the rules keep changing in unpredictable ways. A declining standard of living in the developed world, declining growth for the developed world and geopolitical jockeying for control of resources make for a highly combustible mix awaiting a spark: welcome to the era of intensifying chaos and the rapid advance of new weapons of conflict...

Read More »

Our Fragmentation Accelerates

As our fragmentation accelerates, shared economic interests are ignored in favor of divisive warring camps that share no common interests. That our society and economy are fragmenting is self-evident. This fragmentation is accelerating rapidly, as middle ground vanishes and competing camps harden their positions to solidify the loyalty of the "tribe." 

Read More »

Skyrocketing Costs Will Pop All the Bubbles

The reckoning is coming, and everyone who counted on "eternal growth of borrowing" to stave off the reckoning is in for a big surprise. We've used a simple trick to keep the status quo from imploding for the past 11 years: borrow whatever it takes to keep paying the skyrocketing costs for housing, healthcare, college, childcare, government, permanent wars and so on.

Read More »

OK Boomer, OK Fed

Eventually the younger generations will connect all the economic injustices implicit in 'OK Boomer' with the Fed. Much of the cluelessness and economic inequality behind the OK Boomer meme is the result of Federal Reserve policies that have favored those who already own the assets (Boomers) that the Fed has relentlessly pumped higher, to the extreme disadvantage of younger generations who were not given the opportunity to buy assets cheap and ride...

Read More »

The “Trade Deal”: A Pathetic Parody, Credibility Squandered

Anyone who thinks this bogus "deal" has resolved any of the issues or uncertainties deserves to be fired immediately. Here's a late-night TV parody of a trade deal: The agreement won't be signed by both parties, though each might sign their own version of it, and the terms of the deal will never ever be revealed to the public, which includes everyone doing any business in the nations doing the "deal."

Read More »

A “Market” That Needs $1 Trillion in Panic-Money-Printing by the Fed to Stave Off Implosion Is Not a Market

It was all fun and games enriching the super-wealthy but now the karmic cost of the Fed's manipulation and propaganda is about to come due. A "market" that needs $1 trillion in panic-money-printing by the Fed to stave off a karmic-overdue implosion is not a market: a legitimate market enables price discovery. What is price discovery?

Read More »

Why “This Sucker Is Going Down”

Once the contagion starts spreading, loose money won't put the fires out. As the nation's political and economic leaders struggled to contain the 2008 financial meltdown, President George W. Bush famously summed the situation up: "If money doesn't loosen up, this sucker will go down."Eleven years into the loose money recovery, this sucker is finally going down for reasons that have little to do with tight money and everything to do with the...

Read More »

The Taxonomy of Collapse

The higher up the wealth-power pyramid the observer is, the more prone they are to a magical-thinking belief that the empire is forever, even as it is crumbling around them. How great nations and empires arise, mature, decay and collapse has long been of interest for a self-evident reason: if we can discern a template or process, we can predict when the great nations and empires of today will slide into the dustbin of history.

Read More »

Costs Are Spiraling Out of Control

And how do we pay for these spiraling out of control costs? By borrowing more, of course. If we had to choose one "big picture" reason why the vast majority of households are losing ground, it would be: the costs of essentials are spiraling out of control. I've often covered the dynamics of stagnating income for the bottom 90%, and real-world inflation, i.e. a decline in purchasing power.

Read More »

Crunchtime: When Events Outrun Plan B

Not only will events outrun Plan B, they'll also outrun Plans C and D. We all know what Plan B is: our pre-planned response to the emergence of risk. Plan B is for risks that can be anticipated, regular but unpredictable events such tornadoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, etc. In the human sphere, risks that can be anticipated include temporary loss of a job, stock market down turns, recession, disruption of energy supplies, etc.

Read More »