Charles Hugh Smith

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Off The Cuff: The Limits Of Financial Gimmickry

When it comes to real world problems, it solves nothing
Tuesday, August 23, 2016, 1:49 PM

In this week's Off The Cuff podcast, Chris and Charles Hugh Smith discuss:

  • From Flowers To Floods
    • How climate variability is impacting all of us
  • Not All Crises Are Equal
    • Some have fixes, some don't
  • Resilience Is Key To National Security
    • Regenerative regimes will win out over extractive ones
  • Incentives Matter
    • Without the right incentives, failure is inevitable

Click to listen to a sample of this Off the Cuff Podcast or Enroll today to access the full audio and other premium content today. » Read more

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The Great Market Tide Has Now Shifted To Risk-Off Assets

A global sea-change in risk appetite & sentiment
Friday, July 8, 2016, 3:03 PM

In the conventional investment perspective, risk-on assets (i.e. investments with higher risks and higher potential returns) such as stocks are on a see-saw with risk-off assets (investments with lower returns and lower risk, such as Treasury bonds). When risk appetites are high, institutional managers and speculators move money into stocks and high-yield junk bonds, and move money out of safe-haven assets such as gold and U.S. Treasuries.

But recently, markets are no longer following this convention. Safe haven assets such as precious metals and Treasuries are soaring at the same time that stock markets bounced strongly off the post-Brexit lows.

Risk-on assets (stocks) rising at the same time as safe-haven assets is akin to dogs marrying cats and living happily ever after. 

What the heck is going on? » Read more

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Investing For Crisis

The future of stocks, gold & safe havens
Friday, July 8, 2016, 3:03 PM

Executive Summary

  • Which coming developments we can predict with certainty
  • Why the next crisis won't be like 2008
  • Why what worked post-2008 won't work this time
  • Where stocks and gold are headed
  • Where to find safe haven for your investment capital

If you have not yet read The Great Market Tide Has Now Shifted To Risk-Off Assets, available free to all readers, please click here to read it first.

In Part 1, we reviewed the market’s risk-on, risk-off gyrations and laid out the case for long-term declines in confidence, political stability and profits.  What does this new era of uncertainty mean for individual investors?

What’s Predictable?

We can start by asking—is there anything we can predict with any certainty?

I think we can very confidently predict that future central bank monetary policies will fail to generate sustainable growth or fix what’s broken in the global financial system.

I think we can predict that uncertainty will only increase with time rather than decrease. This rise of uncertainty will predictably lower the attractiveness of risk-on assets, other than as short-term speculative bets after some central banker issues yet another “whatever it takes” proclamation.

It’s also a pretty good bet that if central banks and states continue expanding credit/money that isn’t matched by a corresponding expansion of goods and services, the purchasing power of those currencies will decline.

We can very confidently predict that the authorities will continue to do more of what has failed spectacularly until they are removed from power or the system breaks down.

We can predict with some confidence that issuing more debt will provide little productive results.

I also think we can hazard a guess that the next financial crisis will be of a different sort than the 2008-09 Global Financial Meltdown.

Just as generals prepare to fight the last war, with predictably dismal results (unless the exact same war is replayed, which rarely seems to happen), central bankers are fully prepared to stave off a crisis like the one in 2008: a financial crisis that emerges from leveraged bets going bad in money-center investment banks.

My basic presumption is... » Read more

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Off the Cuff: Things Are Toppy

Even the big players are starting to lose
Tuesday, June 21, 2016, 10:34 PM

Click to listen to a sample of this Off the Cuff Podcast or Enroll today to access the full audio and other premium content today. » Read more

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An Everyman's Guide To Understanding Cryptocurrencies

What are they exactly? Why consider owning them?
Friday, June 10, 2016, 5:51 PM

When an asset rises by almost 30% in a few weeks, it tends to attract attention.  Recently, that asset was bitcoin (BTC). The price of BTC in dollars rose from $454 on May 23 to $590 on June 6th.

When an asset doubles in a matter of months, it tends to attract attention.  The cryptocurrency Ether (part of the Ethereum platform) doubled from around $7 in April to roughly $14 in early June.

Are these cryptocurrencies mere fads? Or are they potentially game-changing alternatives to the conventional currencies such as the U.S. dollar, Chinese RMB, Japanese yen or European Union euro? » Read more

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Off The Cuff: The End Of Privilege?

Soon, we will all be in the same boat
Friday, May 27, 2016, 8:45 PM

In this week's Off The Cuff podcast, Chris and Charles Hugh Smith discuss:

  • Manipulating The Market To A New All-Time High
    • The case why we may see that soon
  • Falling Corporate Profits
    • Why a new high, if it happens, won't last for long
  • The Pension Time Bomb
    • Why all pension funds are dead men walking
  • The End Of The Protected Classes
    • Soon, we will all be in the same boat

Click to listen to a sample of this Off the Cuff Podcast or Enroll today to access the full audio and other premium content today. » Read more

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Which Countries Will Be Tomorrow's Winners & Losers?

Resources, capital flows & demographics will be key
Friday, May 13, 2016, 8:23 PM

The dictum “demographics is destiny” proposes that all the complexities of finance, society and politics are ultimately guided by demographics: the relative size of each generation, birth rates, death rates, etc.

Where does this lead? If geography and demographics have already defined which nations will be attractive to capital and most likely to accumulate productive capital in their domestic economy, and those nations that will struggle due to high costs and low rates of capital investment, in effect Nature (geography) and Culture (demographics) have already picked tomorrow’s winners and losers. » Read more

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Off The Cuff: We Need Money We Can Trust

A case for a new type of money system
Thursday, May 12, 2016, 9:49 PM

In this week's Off The Cuff podcast, Chris and Charles Hugh Smith discuss:

  • The Death Of The Status Quo
    • The establishment is in a doomed fight to keep change at bay
  • The Importance Of Free Pricing
    • When we can't trust the signals prices are sending us, we're blind
  • The Need For Sound Money
    • When money is manipulated, mal-investment ensues
  • The CLIME Model
    • Charles walks us through his proposal for a labor-backed currency system

Click to listen to a sample of this Off the Cuff Podcast or Enroll today to access the full audio and other premium content today. » Read more

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Why We're So Unhealthy

Our system makes & keeps us sick
Friday, April 29, 2016, 7:31 PM

I was fortunate to attend a permaculture conference, 'Better Soil, Better Food...A Better World' at Tara Firma Farms in Petaluma, California this past weekend that Adam Taggart (co-founder of Peak Prosperity) was responsible for producing. Joel Salatin (author of nine books, including Everything I Want To Do Is Illegal: War Stories from the Local Food Front and head farmer at Polyface Farms, Virginia), Paul Kaiser (Singing Frogs Farm, Sonoma, California), Toby Hemenway (author of Gaia's Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture, 2nd Edition), and Robb Wolf (author of The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet) were on hand to explain the connections between the way our food is grown, processed and distributed and our ill-health.

Though these connections are common sense—we all know about garbage in, garbage out—the linkage between our extractive, monoculture agriculture and all the other subsystems of food and health remains opaque to most Americans. » Read more

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Off The Cuff: The Folly Of Financialization

Its cures are worse than the diseases it tries to fix
Thursday, April 14, 2016, 12:22 PM

In this week's Off The Cuff podcast, Chris and Charles Hugh Smith discuss:

  • The Future Of Oil
    • Much more volatile prices lie ahead
  • The Folly Of Financialization
    • Central planners are creating cures worse than the diseases they're trying to fix
  • The Dollar Dilemma
    • The direction of dollar now hurts as many player as it helps
  • Return Of 'Race To The Bottom'
    • We risk a global currency war like that seen in the 1930's