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Off The Cuff: Between A Rock & A Hard Place

No good options left for the economy
Friday, October 21, 2016, 3:06 AM

In this week's Off The Cuff podcast, John Rubino and I discuss:

  • The Politics Of Paucity
    • Why our current leaders are singularly ill-equipped to deal with de-growth
  • Rate Hike/Fake Hike
    • Is future central bank tightening a fantasy story?
  • Destination Hyperinflation
    • It's the safest bet (in the long term)
  • Prospect Theory
    • The pain of losses outweighs the pleasure of gains

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


Opportunity In Crisis

Be one of those who prospers from the coming change
Friday, October 14, 2016, 6:33 PM

Executive Summary

  • The systemic markers that precede collapse
  • The approaching end of our current 'unlimited growth' paradigm
  • Is a collapse inevitable? Or can we evolve gracefully to a new model?
  • The opportunity within the coming change

If you have not yet read Part 1: What Triggers Collapse? available free to all readers, please click here to read it first.

What Triggers Collapse?

Many authors (Jared Diamond, Joseph Tainter, Thomas Homer-Dixon, David Hackett Fischer,   Michael Grant and Peter Turchin, to name a few) have delved into the question of why civilizations decay and fail.  The question of how nations/empires endure gets considerably less attention, but economic/social adaptability, the resilience of shared purpose/social cohesion, social mobility, the ability to generate reliable surpluses, secure trade routes, a professional army and navy to defend borders and trade routes, a merit-based a professional bureaucracy to collect taxes and oversee commerce, a stable form of money and competent leadership all play critical roles.

But history is replete with examples of nation-states and empires that possess all these positive attributes that still decay and collapse once critical supplies of energy and food fail, or invaders conquer essential territories or trade routes.

Can we generalize the dynamics that weaken a nation/empire to the point where collapse cannot be staved off?

The authors listed above have highlighted the following systemic dynamics... » Read more


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Off The Cuff: Topping Markets

To avoid a fall, we'll need a bigger stimulus program...
Friday, October 14, 2016, 11:48 AM

In this week's Off The Cuff podcast, Chris and Mish Shedlock discuss:

  • The Rush To War
    • Tensions with Russia continue to mount
  • Odds Of A Fed Hike Rising?
    • Even if the Fed wants to, can it?
  • Recession Warning Signs
    • It's getting harder to argue we're not already in one
  • Topping Markets
    • To keep them elevated, we're going to need a bigger stimulus package...

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 Second Presidential Debate

The demonization of Russia shifts into high gear
Monday, October 10, 2016, 10:00 PM

Look, I know that there are no great choices this time for the next President of the United States. Yet many people have decided which issues matter the most to them when the time comes to cast their vote, and I fully support each person’s chosen personal priorities.

It turns out, to my great surprise, I am a single issue voter this election. I’ve never been a single issue voter before. Usually I'm of the mind that it's a complex world, and many factors need to be weighted and balanced.

So, what’s my single issue? » Read more



Off The Cuff: The Drums Of War

US & Russia relations are deteriorating rapidly
Thursday, October 6, 2016, 12:16 PM

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

  • The Drums Of War
    • Relations between the US and Russia are deteriorating quickly
  • The Evil Empire
    • Have we become it?
  • Propaganda & Perception
    • The lie we're being sold doesn't match what our eyes see
  • Elite Privilege
    • A dangerous force defending the status quo

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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Off The Cuff: Death By Status Quo

The establishment has become the enemy
Friday, September 30, 2016, 12:56 PM

In this week's Off The Cuff podcast, Chris and John Rubino discuss:

  • Debate Debrief
    • A Rorschach test for the nation
  • Death By Status Quo
    • The establishment is feeding itself on everyone else's future
  • Higher Oil Prices On The Horizon?
    • The turn back up may be nigh
  • Deutsche Bank Debacle
    • How bad could it get?

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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Boomers vs Millennials

Society is pitting their interests increasingly at odds
Tuesday, September 27, 2016, 1:38 PM

In this week's Off The Cuff podcast, Chris and Becca Martenson discuss:

  • Boomers Have Everything To Lose
    • They cling to status quo to deliver promises made in the past
  • Millennials See Nothing To Gain
    • The future they're being asked to inherit appears bereft of value
  • Bridging The Generation Gap
    • How to replace strife with support
  • The Importance Of Mentoring
    • An age-old model need perhaps more now than ever


Prepare For The Global Deflationary Deluge

The 2008 crisis was just a warm-up
Friday, September 23, 2016, 5:23 PM

Executive Summary

  • Why the debt market is the powder keg that will blow things sky-high
  • The most dangerous asset bubbles to watch and avoid
  • The implications of a collapse in the bond market
  • Where will money then go?

If you have not yet read Part 1: Hell To Pay available free to all readers, please click here to read it first.

Economic Deformations

The big problem with central bank policies, besides driving the largest wealth and income gaps in all of recorded history, is that they’ve massively deformed the financial and economic landscape. 

Too-cheap money has distorted just about everything, and has badly warped corporate incentives. There’s literally no place one can look and not find an economic or financial distortion.  “Gains” (such as they are) have gone to holders of financial assets, and corporations have opted to buy back their own shares and to not re-invest in property, plant, equipment or people. 

All of this will work right up until the day it doesn’t. And then we'll experience a financial and economic crisis likely to be the largest we ever live through.

And these distortions are not only everywhere, but they are all at record levels.  As in never higher in human history. 

Just looking at the corporate data alone ought to scare the pants of off every investor on the planet. As the chart below makes clear... » Read more


Off The Cuff: Making Sense Of The FOMC Decision

The likely impacts of this week's Fed and BOJ (in)actions
Wednesday, September 21, 2016, 11:33 PM

In this week's Off The Cuff podcast, Chris and Axel Merk discuss:

  • Fed In A Box
    • At this point, stalling is Yellen's only option
  • Boneheaded BOJ
    • Now trying to undue the damage of its recent NIRP policies
  • Blind To Bubbles
    • Central banks are unwilling to admit they're the cause of the problem, not the solution
  • Bad Policies
    • Capitalism is getting destroyed (and a bad rap) by central banks run amok

In the wake of the closely-watched announcements by the BOJ and the Federal Reserve, Chris and Axel sit down in this meaty discussion to pick through the particulars of what this week's announcement mean. In a world where everything hangs on the decisions of an elite few central banks, this is one of the more important podcasts we've released in a while. » Read more


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The Keys To Prosperity

How to work the macro trends to your favor
Friday, September 9, 2016, 8:26 PM

Executive Summary

  • What are the big systemic trends that will impact our personal prosperity?
  • Realizing why the future will have less of everything
  • Strategies for thriving with less
  • The importance of owning & managing capital

If you have not yet read Part 1: If Everything's Doing So Great, How Come I’m Not? available free to all readers, please click here to read it first.

In Part 1, we asked 30 questions as a means of assessing whether individuals and households are doing better or worse than they were 10 years ago (2007) and 16 years ago (in 2000)—before the dot-com meltdown recession and the Global Financial Meltdown recession of 2008-09.

Identifying Systemic Trends

These questions attempt to sort out generalized decay that affects everyone—declines in purchasing power, quality of goods and services, etc.—from declines in individual/household health, well-being and financial security.

The questions also attempt to sharpen our awareness of systemic trends: are our prospects brightening or dimming? Are government services improving or declining as our taxes increase?

General trends manifest in different ways in each community/region.  For example, the city and county of San Francisco is booming, with strong growth of population (866,000 residents), jobs, rents, housing valuations and tax revenues. Yet even as the city and county of San Francisco’s annual budget swells to an incomprehensible $9.6 billion—larger than the budgets of many U.S. state governments, and four times the annual budget of the city and county of Honolulu, with 998,000 residents—the homeless problem in San Francisco becomes ever more intractable, intrusive and disruptive, despite tens of millions of dollars devoted specifically to improving the options available to the homeless.

This is an example of larger trends that manifest in one way or another in the majority of communities: increasing costs and complexity, diminishing returns on money spent, frustration by taxpayers receiving unsatisfactory services as tax revenues increase, and problems that continue to worsen regardless of how much money is thrown at them.

There are many causal factors driving these trends of decay, rising costs and diminishing returns: a state-cartel system of regulatory capture that enforces cartels and limits competition; rising complexity of regulations that result in reduced productivity and higher costs; a “vetocracy” (Francis Fukuyama’s term) in which special interests can veto any measure with their political clout that impinges on their wealth and power; central bank monetary policies that enrich the wealthy and strip interest income from everyone else; and government manipulation of statistics and markets to manage perceptions—in effect, ignore your lying eyes and believe us: everything’s going great!

Then there's the shadowy monster in the room... » Read more