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The Schizophrenia Tormenting Our Society & Economy

Look no further than the TV
Tuesday, October 7, 2014, 8:51 PM

What can popular television programs tell us about the zeitgeist (spirit of the age) of our culture and economy? 

It’s an interesting question, as all mass media both responds to and shapes our interpretations and explanations of changing times. It’s also an important question, as mass media trends crystallize and express new ways of understanding our era. » Read more

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Peak Prosperity

A National Failure to Save & Invest - Crash Course Chapter 16

Compounding the challenge of Too Much Debt
Friday, October 3, 2014, 6:08 PM

As detailed in earlier chapters, the US' debts and unfunded liabilities far exceed its assets. But making matters worse, the country is suffering from a prolonged failure to save and invest -- both at the personal and national level.

Being over-indebted and under-capitalized is a recipe for hardship as we move into the future, especially if economic growth is going to be harder to come by (which we forecast in the upcoming chapters on net energy). Each year we continue this deficit makes us less able to withstand systemic shocks (a 2008-style financial crisis, an energy shock, the outbreak of war), some number of which lie undoubtedly ahead at some point. » Read more

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Demographics - Crash Course Chapter 15

Age distribution is too lopsided to support entitlements
Friday, September 26, 2014, 5:21 PM

Our national demographic architecture no longer can afford the entitlement system we have. And that's even assuming entitlements were currently sufficiently funded. But as the last chapter showed, the existing programs are underfunded to the tune of $100-200 Trillion.  » Read more

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Ready Or Not...

The unsustainable status quo is ending
Thursday, September 25, 2014, 3:00 PM

If risk has been taken from where it belongs and instead shuffled onto central bank balance sheets, or allowed to be hidden by new and accommodating accounting tricks, has it really disappeared? In my world, risk is like energy: it can neither be created nor destroyed, only transformed or transferred. 

If reality no longer has a place at the table -- such as when policy makers act as if the all-too-temporary shale oil bonanza is now a new permanent constant -- then the discussions happening around that table are only accidentally useful, if ever, and always delusional. » Read more

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Assets & Liabilities - Crash Course Chapter 14

Why the US is deeply insolvent
Friday, September 19, 2014, 9:29 PM

Building on the previous chapter on the US' tremendous and exponentially-increasing debt, this chapter looks at the shocking shortfall between our nation's assets and its liabilities.

In short, America is deeply insolvent. We're just not admitting it yet. » Read more

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The Dollar May Remain Strong For Longer Than We Think

Why demand for it is higher than other fiat currencies
Tuesday, September 16, 2014, 9:50 PM

I have long been a dollar bull, not for any over-arching reasons based on inflation, deflation, rising geopolitical multi-polarity or any of the other issues that touch on the dollar’s valuation vis-à-vis other currencies. My analysis focuses on a few basics:  the dollar’s status as the global reserve currency, Triffin’s Paradox (a.k.a. Triffin’s Dilemma) and global capital flows into the dollar and dollar-denominated assets such as U.S. Treasury bonds. » Read more

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Peak Prosperity

Debt - Crash Course Chapter 13

There's just too damn much of it
Friday, September 12, 2014, 8:04 PM

The fundamental failing of today's global economy can be summarized simply: Too Much Debt

We have taken too much of it on, too fast, in too many markets around the world, to have any hope of making good on it. Not only does the math not work out, but also on a moral level » Read more

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Defying Gravity

The case for hedging against a market downturn
Tuesday, September 9, 2014, 11:05 PM

Today's markets exist in an Oz-like, fantasy world. For 5 years now, stock and bond prices have risen like Dorothy's balloon, without so much as a puff of downdraft to spoil the fun.

Everybody likes higher prices, so let's have them always go up! Forever!

Whether that can happen is a topic of current hot debate, though few think corrections have been permanently banished from the financial markets. » Read more

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Peak Prosperity

How Much Is A Trillion? - Crash Course Chapter 12

So big, humans really can't grasp it
Friday, September 5, 2014, 10:45 AM

One trillion is a big number. In this short video, we try to help you get a sense for just how big; but the reality is simply that the human brain can't really suitably comprehend magnitudes this large.

Which is why we should be concerned that the US' money supply has ballooned to over $12 trillion dollars over the past decade. And that its outstanding debts and liabilities are many multiples that amount. » Read more

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Where To From Here?

An analysis of the good, the bad & the ugly
Wednesday, September 3, 2014, 12:02 AM

The financial markets were certainly correct in dismissing that rather abysmal first quarter 2014 GDP print, no?  After all, the current 4.2% GDP growth snapback revision in Q2 is proof positive Q1 was just a one-off fluke. Right?

The fact is: for a good five years now, economic pundits have been both hoping for, and then repeatedly disappointed by, the US economy's inability to achieve "escape velocity”.

So what lies ahead for the US economy? And for the financial markets? Are things going to get better or worse from here? » Read more