Tag Archive: capital consumption

Obvious Capital Consumption, Report 28 Jul

We have spilled many electrons on the topic of capital consumption. Still, this is a very abstract topic and we think many people still struggle to picture what it means. Thus, the inspiration for this week’s essay. Suppose a young man, Early Enterprise, inherits a car from his grandfather. Early decides to drive for Uber to earn a living. Being enterprising, he is up at dawn and drives all day.

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The Fake Economy, Report 21 Jul

Folks in the liberty movement often say that the economy is fake. But this does not persuade anyone. It’s just preaching to the choir! We hope that this series on GDP provides more effective ammunition to argue with the Left-Right-Wall-Street-Main-Street-Capitalists-Socialists.

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More Squeeze, Less Juice, Report 7 Jul

We have been writing on the flaws in GDP: that it is no measure of the economy, because it looks only at cash and not the balance sheet, and that there are positive feedback loops. “OK, Mr. Smarty Pants,” you’re thinking (yes, we know you’re thinking this), “if GDP is not a good measure of the economy, then what is?!”

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What Gets Measures Gets Improved, Report 23 June

Let’s start with Frederic Bastiat’s 170-year old parable of the broken window. A shopkeeper has a broken window. The shopkeeper is, of course, upset at the loss of six francs (0.06oz gold, or about $75). Bastiat discusses a then-popular facile argument: the glass guy is making money (to which all we can say is, “plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose”).

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Debt and Profit in Russell 2000 Firms

This week, the Supply and Demand Report featured a graph of debt vs profitability in the Russell 2000. Here’s the graph again: This graph shows a theme that we, and practically no one else(!) have been discussing for years. It is the diminishing marginal utility of debt. In this case, more and more debt is required to add what looks like less and less profit (we don’t have the raw data, only the graphic).

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Is Capital Creation Beating Capital Consumption? Report 3 Mar

We have written numerous articles about capital consumption. Our monetary system has a falling interest rate, which causes both capital churn and conversion of one party’s wealth into another’s income. It also has too-low interest, which encourages borrowing to consume (which, as everyone knows, adds to Gross Domestic Product—GDP).

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Who Knows the Right Interest Rate, Report 3 Feb 2019

On January 6, we wrote the Surest Way to Overthrow Capitalism. We said: “In a future article, we will expand on why these two statements are true principles: (1) there is no way a central planner could set the right rate, even if he knew and (2) only a free market can know the right rate.” Today’s article is part I that promised article.

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Modern Monetary Theory: A Cargo Cult, Report 20 Jan 2019

Newly elected Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez recently said that Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) absolutely needed to be “a larger part of our conversation.” Her comment shines a spotlight on MMT. So what is it? According to Wikipedia, it is: “a macroeconomic theory that describes the currency as a public monopoly and unemployment as the evidence that a currency monopolist is restricting the supply of the financial assets needed to pay taxes...

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The Prodigal Parent, Report 9 Dec 2018

The Baby Boom generation may be the first generation to leave less to their children than they inherited. Or to leave nothing at all. We hear lots—often from Baby Boomers—about the propensities of their children’s generation. The millennials don’t have good jobs, don’t save, don’t buy houses in the same proportions as their parents, etc.

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The Toxic Stew, Report 7 Oct 2018

Last week, we shined a spotlight on a crack in the monetary system that few people outside of Switzerland (and not many inside either) were aware of. There is permanent gold backwardation measured in Swiss francs. Everyone knows that the Swiss franc has a negative interest rate, but so far as we know, Keith is the only one who predicted this would lead to its collapse (and he was quite early, having written that in January 2015).

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Why Are Wages So Low, Report 23 Sep 2018

Last week, we talked about the capital consumed by Netflix—$8 billion to produce 700 shows. They’re spending more than two thirds of their gross revenue generating content. And this content has so little value, that a quarter of their audience would stop watching if Netflix adds ads (sorry, we couldn’t resist a little fun with the English language).

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Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Avocado Toast, Report 16 Sep 2018

For about ten bucks a month, Netflix will give you all the movies you can watch, plus tons of TV show series and other programs, such as one-off science documentaries. They don’t offer all movies, merely more than you can watch. Oh, and there are no commercials. They don’t just give you old BBC reruns, which you know they can get for a pittance.

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Why the Fed Denied the Narrow Bank, Report 9 Sep 2018

It’s not every day that a clear example showing the horrors of central planning comes along—the doublethink, the distortions, and the perverse incentives. It’s not every year that such an example occurs for monetary central planning. One came to the national attention this week. A company called TNB applied for a Master Account with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

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Why Am I Fighting for the Gold Standard?

Life is good. They could not have imagined what we have now, back in the dark ages. So I have never understood why people prep for a return to the dark ages. The only thing I can think of is that they don’t really picture what life is like. 14 hours a day of back-breaking labor to eke out a subsistence living. Subject to the risks of rain, sun, and insects.

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The Wealth Effect, Report 24 Jun 2018

Keith Weiner’s weekly look on Gold. Gold and silver prices, Gold-Silver Price Ratio, Gold basis and co-basis and the dollar price, Silver basis and co-basis and the dollar price.

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Retail Snails

Second Half Recovery Dented by “Resurgent Consumer”. We normally don’t comment in real time on individual economic data releases. Generally we believe it makes more sense to occasionally look at a bigger picture overview, once at least some of the inevitable revisions have been made. The update we posted last week (“US Economy, Something is Not Right”) is an example.

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