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I Just Added To My Short Position

Keeping you updated on my portfolio positioning
Wednesday, August 16, 2017, 2:01 PM

Last year, I detailed out my personal investments in the report How My Portfolio Is Positioned Right Now. It turned out to be one of our most popular articles over the past few years.

In it, I mentioned that I'll do my best to update our subscribers when I make a material change to my portfolio allocation.

Well, I just did. » Read more

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Joining The Quiet Revolution

Together, we're going to lead the way
Friday, August 11, 2017, 10:08 PM

Executive Summary

  • Knowing, Doing & Being
  • Preparing for and embracing de-growth
  • Getting your perspective straight
  • Ways to participate

If you have not yet read Part 1: Signs Of Distress available free to all readers, please click here to read it first.

How We Fix This

At Peak Prosperity our model for squaring up to reality and taking action has three components.

Knowing – refers to gathering the best and most complete data and letting it tell the tale. Often this is hard work, mainly because much if it is ‘not happy data’ and sometimes leads to grief, such as when I view the decline in butterfly populations.

Doing – once armed with the data that says “DO SOMETHING!” we figure you should probably do something. The Eight Forms Of Capital framework in Prosper! lays out a great starting point for anyone. Stepping through each form of capital not only makes you more resilient for any future that might arrive, but happier, more well connected, and healthier today. It’s a win-win and that’s why we like it. Of course Adam and I live what we preach, so there’s nothing in there that we are not following ourselves.

Being – nothing that we do will matter in the end of we humans do not find a new way to be on this planet with each other. We need to be able to tame our egos to the point that we can finally know when to say “enough!” because we know that more stuff isn’t where our happiness and contentment come from. Further we need to remember that are a part of not apart from nature. Reconnecting to the natural world is a huge and important part of being alive and content. Mastering being allows us to experience lives of amazing abundance, in part by being grateful for what we do have rather than consumed by what we do not have.

Once we are on the path of aligning ourselves and our actions with the reality of the world we become... » Read more

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Off The Cuff: The Path Forward

Deep down, we know what to do. Chris goes solo again.
Friday, August 11, 2017, 2:14 PM

In this week's Off The Cuff podcast, Chris talks about:

  • Our Ecological Budget Is In The Red
    • Our short-sightedness is dooming us
  • Our Economic Budget Is In Similar Danger
    • Again, we are living way above our means
  • Politically, We're Stumbling Badly, Too
    • North Korea, Russia, Syria, domestically...the list is long
  • We Can Do Better
    • There are plenty of better models out there, if we look for them

Recording from vacation on a small island in Maine with no power, this is different than our standard Off The Cuff. Chris takes time to reflect on the repercussions of our poor policy choices and how those are manifesting in the world. What makes our mistakes so regrettable in his eyes is that there are clear ways to do things better -- we don't need new magical solutions to appear; there are models that work right on the table, ready for use; if only we're bold enough to embrace change.

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.
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The War On Gold Intensifies

The UK takes further steps to demonize bullion
Tuesday, August 8, 2017, 1:27 PM

The War on Cash is now spreading to gold.  The Powers That Be want to assure that you have no escape hatches, no means of avoiding the financial and economic pain they are about to visit upon you and yours.

They hate gold because it represents a vote against them every time someone chooses gold over their own poorly-managed fiat currency.  They hate cash to the extent that real cash (i.e., physical banknotes) held outside of the banking system might allow you to avoid having your savings stolen during an overnight application of new banking rules (e..g, a bail-in) that would transfer your wealth into whatever financial hole your idiot bank executives had managed to dig for themselves.

These ridiculous moves tell me that we're nearing the end-stage of this long-running farce.  Too many years of stimulating borrowing above and beyond any reasonable expectation of ever paying those debts back have now driven the system to a terminal stage. » Read more

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Off The Cuff: A Dependable Crash Indicator Is Now Flashing

RV sales are signalling signs of a blow-off top
Thursday, August 3, 2017, 10:36 PM

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

  • Trade Wars
    • Suddenly arising with Russia and China
  • Modern Monetary Theory
    • A delusion that dates back to the days of John Law
  • A Great Crash Indicator
    • RV sales are sending a warning sign
  • Risky Real Estate
    • Private equity will sell fast when times get bad

Chris and John discuss the looming trade wars with Russia and China, the long-term implications of the worldwide credit binge, and the indicators that will presage a systemic correction. John shares his assessment of one of his most trusted crash indicators, RV sales:

This is a typical cycle for RVs. It’s a big toy and people are cocky now because they’ve been working for a little while. They have extremely easy credit. Interest rates are incredibly low. If you’ve got a decent credit score you can buy an RV for 2 or 3% interest and a lot of people are taking advantage of that, just as they spent the last three or four years taking advantage of incredibly cheap car loan terms, and running, basically, an auto sales bubble. They’ve kind of shifted to RVs now, which is yet another sign that the cycle is nearing an end.

This "recovery" is 8 years old now. The typical recovery is 6 years. So we already have an expansion that’s a couple of years longer than normal. It’s actually the third longest since World War II. Which means that, everything else being equal, we should be pretty close to the end of this cycle and ready for a downturn. And now you’ve got indicators like RV sales going just parabolic, indicating that, at least in that little section of the market, money is incredibly easy and buyers are euphoric. And that’s also a sign that things are nearing the end. There are lots of other signs, but that’s one.

Every time there’s a bubble in an asset class, there’s always a new reason for it that appears to explain it. But historically the explanation never holds. The cycle still reasserts itself at some point. And things go back to normal. And I suspect that’ll be the case with RVs at some point.

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.
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Off The Cuff: The Pin To Pop This Bubble?

Political instability is becoming a top risk
Thursday, July 27, 2017, 1:55 PM

In this week's Off The Cuff podcast, Chris and Dave Fairtex discuss:

  • Whither These Markets Goest From Here?
    • Lots of scary data, but Dr. Copper is feeling lucky
  • Revisiting The Ka-POOM Theory
    • Might we avoid the Ka and go directly to POOM?
  • The Impact of Artificial Intelligence
    • It surely a game changer. But how?
  • Gold
    • Are the recent moves just a head-fake?

Dave Fairtex, PeakProsperity.com's precious metals daily analyst from Singapore, joins Chris this week to opine on a wide range of topics from the markets, to AI, to the refugee crisis in Europe. The two spend time talking about where the catalyst for a market correction is most likely to come from. And while there is a plethora of candidates, Dave sees political risk as topping the list:

My sense is that I think the central planners have the monetary thing wired. Let’s take the ECB. They have figured out a way to make it so that strictly monetary issues don’t cause problems anymore.

So what that leaves us with is political problems. That’s why I'm looking at what’s happening here, with the migrants in Europe and all the rest of it.Trump was an indicator that the central banks have the money stuff nailed down, but they don’t have the political movements fully under control.

So the longer-term stuff about screwing the savers and all the rest of it – that stuff they can’t control. I don’t know; maybe money printing works until the political situation changes. That’s where I’m leaning right now. 

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.
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Off The Cuff: The Unsinkable(?) Market

No data is too bad enough to stop its rise
Friday, July 21, 2017, 2:06 AM

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

  • The Unsinkable Market
    • No data is bad enough to stop its rise
  • The Disappearance Of Volatility
    • Gone, but for how long?
  • Failing Pension Plans
    • A truly massive crisis in the making
  • Cash, Gold & Bitcoin
    • The only places for capital to find safety?

During these doldrum days of summer, where no matter the news, today's "unsinkable" markets continue to march ever upwards, Mish shares his thoughts on what will finally cause asset prices to tank.

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.
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A Better Model For Predicting What Happens Next

Only by understanding clearly can we avoid the carnage ahead
Friday, July 14, 2017, 11:39 PM

Executive Summary

  • The dangerous shortcomings of the world's dominant 'Neoclassical' economic models
  • The predictive advantage of understanding the Overton Window
  • The alternative (and very likely better) models of Keen and Minsky
  • The critical improvement to ALL models of tying economics to energy/resources

If you have not yet read Part 1: Bad Models Result In Terrible Outcomes available free to all readers, please click here to read it first.

So let’s see if we can understand the model errors for the central banks.  Again this is important because if they’ve got it wrong, then we all will pay a very heavy price -- with Venezuela, Argentina, and Zimbabwe all providing vivid examples of what happens when the social contract of money is ruined.  

To begin, the current crop of monetary practitioners at the world’s central banks are all devotees and advocates of the neoclassical branch of economics.  It’s an odd dogma for them to hold because its track record at explaining or predicting what has either happened or might yet happen is utterly dismal.

As Steve Keen explains:

[Economics as understood by the central bankers] has always been grounded in the beliefs that (a) capitalism is inherently stable, (b) that the financial sector can be ignored—yes that’s right, ignored—when doing macroeconomics, and (c) that the Great Depression was an anomaly that can also be ignored, because it can only have been caused either by an exogenous shock or bad government policy, both of which cannot be predicted in advance.

(Source)

The main flaw in the neoclassical approach to economics is that it completely ignores, or rather assumes away, any and all trends in debt creation.  In this bizarrely incomplete system of thinking, the financial system is considered to be, essentially, a self-correcting zero-sum entity (that balances itself out nicely with a little help now and then). 

So such things as carefully tracking GDP increase per new unit of debt, overall indebtedness ratios and understanding that crises are bred from complacency are of no practical concern to a neoclassical economist, such as those fully occupying the halls of power currently.

One way to understand the dogma that infects the central banking halls of power lies in what Jim Kunstler recently surfaced in a piece he wrote on the Overton Window, which, importantly... » Read more

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Off The Cuff: The Schizophrenic Fed

Rates are going higher. No they aren't. Yes they are. No...
Friday, July 14, 2017, 12:59 PM

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

  • No Rate Hike After All?
    • Yellen sings a dovish tune this week
  • Wait, Wasn't The Fed Just Warning It Would Tighten?
    • Yep. It was talking tough up until now
  • Why Can't The Fed Make Up It's Mind?
    • Because it's in a box. Jawboning is all it can do at this point
  • The Next Fed Head
    • A complete transformation may be in store soon

Chris and Axel unpack the latest guidance from the Fed issued this week. For those listening, the Fed's inconsistency is understandably infuriating. One week it's warning about tightening ahead, the next it's telling folks rates are just fine where they are.

Axel, who has more inside access to current & past Fed officials than anyone we know, feels that the Fed is simply trying to walk a tightrope it knows will one day snap. At this point, it's trapped. It needs to normalize rates, but doing so will crash the markets. So it's using the only tool it has -- confusion -- to keep the system fooled that everything is under control. Of course, one day the ruse will be discovered. But until then, the Fed will obfuscate, vacillate, prevaricate -- whatever it can do to keep the status quo in place for one more day...

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.
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The Time Thief

How the Fed steals from tomorrow (and today, too)
Wednesday, July 12, 2017, 10:14 PM

Recently, the Federal Reserve has been on a mission to boost stock prices and make sure that no financial crises ever happen again.

They’ve been doing this by explicitly propping up financial markets (and, I believe, suppressing others) in ways that enrich the speculator class generally, and the big banks specifically. » Read more