Enter a comma separated list of user names.


Why This Better Work

Because if it doesn't, the aftermath looks terrifying
Friday, April 19, 2019, 7:01 PM

Executive Summary

  • China's critical role in keeping the party going (and why China is in a weaker position this time)
  • Despite current stock prices, the economic data is awful and fast getting worse
  • A recession is near-unavoidable at this point
  • What to do if you're not in the top 0.1%

If you have not yet read Part 1: It's 2016 All Over Again. Or Is It?, available free to all readers, please click here to read it first.

I know that it seems as if the US equity markets cannot ever go down and, truthfully, those indexes receive a ton of help from the Fed, the media, and from corporate buybacks. 

The trouble, as always, when it begins will not be detected in the large, successful companies first.  Amazon and APPL will be among the last to go down.

The trouble will start at the outside and work its way inwards.  This “outside in” phenomenon is pretty robust and it has not yet been repealed by the interventionistas at the Fed.

In the US we might look to the small cap stocks to give way first, and I think they have.  It's in that universe where we will find an outsized majority of the zombie companies. 

From a fundamental standpoint the small caps are a certified balance sheet mess.  Their net debt has been on a 40-degree, ruler-straight rise since 2010 even as their EBIDTA has risen at only a 10-degree trajectory.  The current gap is eye popping.

This is a huge increase in debt, and it makes these companies especially vulnerable to any economic downturn or rise in interest rates.

Accordingly, while all eyes are on the Nasdaq powering to a brand new all time high, the small caps in the Russell 2000 are definitely not making new highs and seem to be sneaking out the back door.

If you are looking for a place to short US equities at the index level, the small caps are the ... » Read more


Off The Cuff: Living With Integrity

It's time to choose a new direction
Friday, April 19, 2019, 11:14 AM

In this week's Off The Cuff podcast, Chris delivers a very personal message about how we each decide to live our lives.

A growing number of people are watching the "prosperity" around them -- record high asset prices, record-low unemployment, new technologies, etc -- and yet feeling that we're making the wrong trade-offs as a society. All that wealth is flowing into fewer and fewer pockets, ecosystems are faltering and an alarming number of species are dying off, depression rates (especially among the youth) are skyrocketing.

In short: there's more money flowing around than ever, and yet we and the planet are becoming sicker and unhappier.


From Chris' point of view, it comes down integrity. The modern human way of life lacks integrity as a guiding principle. For those of us who desire a better future, brining our actions into better alignment with our integrity is the path to true prosperity.

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


The Fed Is Dangerously Wrong

It's reaction to its failed policy? We just need to do more!
Wednesday, April 17, 2019, 10:21 AM

More voices are starting to join ours in criticizing the Fed.

More and more prominent people from the world of finance and politics are beginning to realize that the Fed’s actions have benefitted the few at the expense of the many.

The 0.01% has gained enormously, while the bottom 80% have lost ground. This deeply unfair outcome is increasingly becoming politicized, meaning that the Fed’s era of free reign to shovel ever more money to their Too Big To Fail bank owners and the ultra-wealthy is coming to a close. » Read more



Off The Cuff: The Current System Is A Servitude Trap

You need to escape it to prosper
Thursday, April 11, 2019, 11:43 AM

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

  • Our Current System Is A Servitude Trap
    • You need to escape it to prosper
  • The Rich Own The Assets & The Rest Own The Debt
    • Which is why its so hard to move up socio-economically these days
  • Asset Bubbles Pevert Opportunity
    • Big lifedesicsions become much more speculative
  • The Scary Side of Facebook/Google Media Monoply
    • Private industry & the government sharing our data

This was the podcast orginally planned to run last week, but we bumped it to rush to you the time-sensitve reveations from Art Berman regarding the Ghawar oil field depletion data.

In *this* podcast, Chris and Charles Hugh Smith pull back the veil covering the architecture underlying today's society, exposing how the system is designed to trap us all in servitude to the parties running it. From how we're eductated, to the options available to us with our jobs and our money, to how our own personal data is increasingly being used to manipulate us -- increasingly the only way to prosper in terms of wealth and well-being is to break from convention and operate outside of the system as much as possible.

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


Breaking Free

Escape the old system for a more meaningful life
Friday, April 5, 2019, 7:37 PM

Executive Summary

  • The importance of continuous learning and clarifying your Why?
  • Why personal integrity is your most valuable asset
  • Why our current challenges are actually a call to greatness
  • The key question is: How will you choose to answer it?

If you have not yet read Part 1: The Lab Rat That Survives Is The One Who Escapes Its Cage, available free to all readers, please click here to read it first.

There’s a generational breakdown occurring with increasing numbers of young people -- let’s define them as the under-30 crowd -- falling into despair, dismay and even outright demoralization over the state of the world.  Put bluntly, many of them see nothing to gain by preserving the status quo.

Conversely, the over 50 crowd has already paid into the system and desperately wants to preserve the status quo.  That’s where their retirement dreams exist.  With their finger now on the brass ring, it’s simply unthinkable to ponder that it could slip out of their grasp.

This demographic divide, between those with nothing to gain and those with everything to lose, grows wider every day.

Here’s a very typical comment from a Millennial that I ran across just this morning (4/5/19).  It’s a very common refrain these days:


There’s not much I can add to that besides to say, “You’re right!”  And, “Sorry.”

The very worst of it all is that the system into which the young are born ask them to perpetuate that same system by getting good grades, going into college student debt, and then working extra hard as tax donkeys and debt slaves for the rest of their lives.

As the above Millennial pointed out, it’s working in those (often pointless) jobs that is destroying the planet.  Might as well inject oneself daily with a cumulatively fatal poison.

The promises of the generations before them ring hollow.  The pension shave all been raided and hollowed out.  Forced payments into Medicare and Social Security are never going to be returned in kind and are merely last-ditch payments to provide some measure of cover for the boomers relying on them.  Embarrassingly poor infrastructure and massive piles of debt and underfunded liabilities are the true economic bequeathments of the prior generations to the next.

From Stephen Jenkinson we learned that every older person needs to be ready for the day when a younger person walks up to them and asks them two questions. “When did you know?”  and “What did you do about it?”

For a disturbingly large number of olders (not elders) the answer is “Know about what?” because they are too deeply stuck in the current narrative to even notice the damage being done, let alone mount an intelligent, thoughtful response to it all.

For the rest of us, we have to begin plotting our own path to breaking free from a self-destructive paradigm.

To start on that path, first you must...  (Please enroll to read more) » Read more



Off The Cuff: Twilight In The Desert Has Begun

An oil engineer's dark take on the Ghawar oil field decline
Friday, April 5, 2019, 12:16 PM

In this week's Off The Cuff podcast, Chris and Art Berman discuss:

  • Is the Ghawar oil field truly in decline?
  • If so, what are the implications?
  • What other important revelations does the Saudi Aramco prospectus contain?

In the light of the huge surprise contained in the recent Saudi Aramco prospectus, that Saudi Arabia's massive Ghawar "crown jewel" conventional oil field is in decline (currently at a maximum output of 3.8 million barrels per day vs the previous estimate of 5.8mbd), we rushed to interview seasoned petroleum geologist Art Berman on the news.

Is he as concerned about the revelation as we are?

Yes. In fact, he suspects the 3.8mbd is likely still an overly-exagerrated figure, and that the field's true max output is even lower.

In his estimation, the fiction the world has been telling itself -- that Peak Oil isn't real -- is about to be rudely disproven. The recent (and much more expensive) shale bonanza will prove to be a short-lived distraction, and we'll soon be face-to-face with the predicament of how to power the global economy with less net energy.

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


Huge News: The Ghawar Is In Decline!

The world's most productive oil field just shocked analysts
Tuesday, April 2, 2019, 4:11 PM

Really big news hit this morning. And today is April 2nd, so we can't dismiss this as an April-fools prank.

I explain it all with context below. But the summary is this: we're well on track for the oil supply shortage(s) and price spike(s) that I’ve been writing about for the past few years. It will all hit sometime between now and 2022 is my latest projected timeframe.

This will be a before-and-after story. Before the coming price spikes, so much seemed possible. After they hit, so much less will be. The transition from Easy to Hard is now fully underwaym and you need to be eyes wide open about the data. » Read more


The Path Forward

How to self-educate for success
Saturday, March 23, 2019, 1:39 AM

Executive Summary

  • Learning how to become rich requires 'unlearning' what we're taught in school
  • Clarifying the path forward
  • Recommended reading for getting started on the journey
  • Why investing in your continuing education is so critical at this juncture

If you have not yet read Part 1: The One True Thing, available free to all readers, please click here to read it first.

The good news in our civilization is that there’s no reason at all for you to remain parked in whatever slot you’ve been assigned or fallen into.  You can break free and either move up -- or even out of -- the pyramid.

But first you have to understand the beliefs that keep you where you are.

As I write this I'm on the Real Estate Radio Guys annual Summit At Sea event (March 14-24), surrounded by very successful entrepreneurs and investors. 

Two key themes of the conference are (1) learning how to be a successful real estate investor, and (2) unlearning all the unhelpful crap you were taught throughout your upbringing.

Learning the right things and unlearning the wrong things.  Education and beliefs. 

One of the more delightfully blunt faculty speakers at this event is Robert Kiyosaki (of Rich Dad, Poor Dad fame) who keeps drilling home the point that the education system is not designed to help you achieve financial freedom. Rather, it's designed to slot you into the most heavily-taxed layer of the pyramid, and then keep you there.

The “Employee” slot, no matter how well-compensated, is heavily taxed.  As soon as you break out of a poverty-level paycheck you quickly escalate towards an overall combined rate of taxation of about 40%.

What if you were to learn that there were other means of making money that will legally reduce your tax rates to 20%, or even to 0%?  Further, what if you learned that nearly all of the rich people are operating in these areas? 

It's true. And so we learn that....     (Enroll to read more) » Read more


Off The Cuff: Inflationary Pressures Are Rising

Wage growth, other factors, now pushing inflation higher
Tuesday, March 19, 2019, 7:47 PM

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

  • Powell's Non-Message
    • He's trying to be as boring as possible to keep the markets placid
  • Rising Inflation
    • We may quickly go from "too little" inflation to "too much"
  • Good Times?
    • Many of the metrics the Fed looks at are still green
  • The Boeing Crash & Energy
    • Why one is related to the other

Fresh off his own reaction to Jerome Powell's appearance on 60 Minutes, Chris sits down with Fed watcher Axel Merk to hear his seasoned perspective on the central bank's future moves:

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


Assume The Crash Position

Actions to take before the market breaks
Friday, March 15, 2019, 7:17 PM

Executive Summary

  • The latest outlook from our endorsed financial advisor, New Harbor Financial
  • My recent portfolio changes & the rationale behind them
  • 6 strategies for positioning your portfolio for the next market downturn
  • Deciding which strategies are most appropriate for you

If you have not yet read Part 1: Hair-Trigger Markets, available free to all readers, please click here to read it first.

As we take close note of the "coiling" of the markets, we supplement our own analysis with that of other experts we respect. Are they seeing similar signs of mounting risk?

New Harbor Financial is an independent financial advisory firm that manages investor capital using a philosophy that takes many of the key trends within The Crash Course into account. We asked them for an update on their current market outlook, and here's their response:

"The stock market, particularly in the US, is completely disconnected from reality.  It’s clear to us that the global economy has been slowing, and various data series point to a deceleration of global demand, starting in late 2018. For many years central banks have been able to create the illusion of growth by creating trillions of dollars out of thin air and throwing the money into the financial markets, with the primary objective of pushing asset prices higher.  It is becoming clear that not only did central banks fail to create sustainable growth, but by stealing growth from the future, they likely have made the situation even worse.

The recent sharp rally of approximately 20% from the December low is not unusual in the context of early bear markets.  In fact, a “last gasp” rally often occurs in the early stages of stock market declines.  This rally often lures unwitting investors in due to their fear of “being left behind”, and keeps complacent participants fully invested.

Stock valuations remain near the highest levels in all of history. Returns from these levels, particularly in the US markets, are likely to be pitiful, perhaps even negative, over the next decade.  Of course, market retreats to more reasonable levels make all the difference in reestablishing valuations that can support healthy subsequent returns.  At New Harbor, our portfolio for most clients has minimal net exposure to the stock market and a healthy percentage of short-term Treasury bills. While we can’t predict the exact path of stock market returns in the future, we believe it is imperative to hold a significant amount of cash to be able to take advantage of lower prices ahead.

Based on the data, we can’t stress enough how historically overvalued these markets are. While many professional investors acknowledge the data, and how extreme it is, all too often many of these investors will..." (Enroll to read more) » Read more