Blog

Enter a comma separated list of user names.
Blog

jaddingt/Shutterstock

Ebola!

How worried should you be?
Wednesday, October 15, 2014, 8:35 AM

What Ebola reminds us of is that when a true pandemic arrives it will travel much faster than those in the past (thanks to air travel being an order of magnitude faster than dawning recognition) and that our complex, highly leveraged, just-in-time global economy is utterly unprepared for even a minor glitch in the flow of goods let alone the virtual lockdown that a true pandemic would require.

A small amount of preparing can make you much less vulnerable should (when?) that comes to pass. » Read more

Blog

Gravity Returns - The Market Drops Nearly 5% in 3 Days

Years-long trends are finally breaking
Monday, October 13, 2014, 6:14 PM

A month ago, in an analysis titled Defying Gravity, I wrote about the unsustainable state of the stock market's high prices.

In it, I noted how the stock market had risen for an aberrantly-long time time without a correction, and that it hadn't even tested its 200-daily moving average price once since the beginning of 2012: » Read more

Blog

MarcelClemens/Shutterstock

Understanding Asset Bubbles - Crash Course Chapter 17

Why they form & how they pop
Friday, October 10, 2014, 6:21 PM

Through the long sweep of history, the bursting of asset bubbles has nearly always been traumatic.  Social, political and economic upheavals have a bad habit of following asset bubbles, while wealth destruction is a guaranteed feature. » Read more

Blog

Alvaro German Vilela/Shutterstock

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

Blog

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

Blog

Ljupco Smokovski/Shutterstock

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

Blog

soft_light/Shutterstock

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

Blog

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

Blog

Aperture51/Shutterstock

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

Blog

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