Category Archive: Global Macro

Why Don’t the U.S. Dollar and Bitcoin Drop to Their Tangible Value, i.e. Zero?

I have covered the many reasons why the U.S. dollar (USD) has strengthened in dozens of posts over the past 5 years, (Could the U.S. Dollar Rise 50%?, January 12, 2011), and I described the positive dynamics of bitcoin last summer in An Everyman's...

Why Profits Are Faltering

Profits are faltering for structural reasons that are not easily resolved. The bedrock assumption of the Bull market is that corporate profits will keep rising indefinitely. Hiccups are allowed, but current stock market valuations are implicitly based...

We Can Only Afford One, So Choose Wisely: Social Security/Medicare, Cartel Cronyism or Inflation (a.k.a. Central Banking)

Here's the problem with central banks seeking higher inflation: costs go up but wages don't. It's easy to quantify the annual cost of Social Security/Medicare, and not so easy to calculate the cost of Cartel Cronyism and Central Bank-created...

Prosperity = Abundant Work + Low Cost of Living

If we seek a coherent context for the new year, we would do well to start with the foundations of widespread prosperity. While the economy is a vast, complex machine, the sources of widespread prosperity are not that complicated: abundant work and a...

Fragmentation and the De-Optimization of Centralization

Many observers decry the loss of national coherence and purpose, and the increasing fragmentation of the populace into "tribes" with their own loyalties, value systems and priorities. These observers look back on the national unity of World War II as...

Emerging Market: Week Ahead Preview

EM FX was a mixed bag over the past week. Dollar softness vs. the majors allowed some in EM to gain traction, with ZAR and PEN the biggest gainers since Christmas. On the other hand, ARS TRY, and INR were the biggest losers. With markets coming back...

Why I’m Hopeful

Readers often ask me to post something hopeful, and I understand why: doom-and-gloom gets tiresome. Human beings need hope just as they need oxygen, and the destruction of the Status Quo via over-reach and internal contradictions doesn't leave much to...

Ungovernable Nation, Ungovernable Economy

Yesterday I described the conditions that render the U.S. ungovernable. Here is a chart of why the U.S. economy will also be ungovernable. Longtime readers are acquainted with the S-curve model of expansion, maturity, stagnation and decline.

What Triggers Collapse?

A variety of forces will disrupt or obsolete existing modes of production and the social order. Though no one can foretell the future, it is self-evident that the status quo—dependent as it is on cheap oil and fast-expanding debt—is...

Will Tax Cuts and More Federal Borrowing/Spending Fix What’s Broken?

Charles Hugh Smith combines the best graphs on the declining wage share of GDP in this post. He answers the question if the tax cuts and more federal borrowing and spending can solve what is broken in the U.S. economy.

When Did Our Elites Become Self-Serving Parasites?

When did our financial and political elites become self-serving parasites? Some will answer that elites have always been self-serving parasites; as tempting as it may be to offer a blanket denunciation of elites, this overlooks the eras in which elites...

Fake News, Mass Hysteria and Induced Insanity

We've heard a lot about "fake news" from those whose master narratives are threatened by alternative sources and analyses. We've heard less about the master narratives being threatened.

A Tale of Two Housing Markets: Hot and Not So Hot

If we had to guess which areas will likely experience the smallest declines in prices and recover the soonest, which markets would you bet on?

Grab-Bag of Resolutions for 2017

Here's a grab-bag of resolutions with something for just about every persuasion. I resolve to never utter or write the word "Trump" in 2017. (Good luck with that...)

Crisis of Meaning = Crisis of Work

Allow me to connect two apparently unconnected dots. Dot #1: The last sugar plantation in Hawaii is closing down, ending more than a century of plantation life in the 50th state.

When Assets (Such as Real Estate) Become Liabilities

It will be the middle class that accepted the notion that "real estate is the foundation of family wealth" that will be stripmined by higher taxes on immobile assets such as real estate.

Emerging Market Preview for the Week Ahead

EM gained some limited traction as last week ended. However, renewed concerns about China could limit this bounce as President Xi signaled the possibility that growth could fall below the government’s 6.5% target.

The Washington Post: Useful-Idiot Shills for a Failed, Frantic Status Quo That Has Lost Control of the Narrative

Don't you think it fair and reasonable that anyone accusing me of being a shill for Russian propaganda ought to read my ten books in their entirety and identify the sections that support their slanderous accusation?

The Burrito Index: Consumer Prices Have Soared 160 percent Since 2001

In our household, we measure inflation with the Burrito Index: How much has the cost of a regular burrito at our favorite taco truck gone up? Since we keep detailed records of expenses (a necessity if you’re a self-employed free-lance writer).

Emerging Markets: What has Changed

China President Xi raised the possibility of sub-6.5% growth. Fitch moved the outlook on Indonesia’s BBB- rating from stable to positive. The Philippine central bank raised its 2017 inflation forecasts for 2017 and 2018.