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Off The Cuff: Toxic Policies Are Killing The Economy

Ruining our tomorrow to benefit an elite few today
Wednesday, October 11, 2017, 12:56 AM

In this week's Off The Cuff podcast, Chris and Wolf Richter discuss:

  • The Pricing Of Risk Is Kaput
    • Today's assets are priced at truly insane levels
  • As A Result, Safe Yields Are Non-Existent
    • Which is killing savers
  • The Masses Are Being Betrayed
    • Sacrificed for the benefit of a rarified few
  • The Housing Bubble 2.0 Appears Set To Pop
    • More data is showing a topping out

Wolf returns this week to discuss the toxic repercussions of today's gross mis-pricing of risk. It leads to increasingly dangerous mal-investment, elevating the heights from which prices will fall during a correction. The worst part about this is that this current Mother Of All Bubbles is a deliberate act of policy by the central planners, who are sacrificing the future of the many to benefit the today of an elite few:

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.


Fighting Back: A Call To Action

Making the switch from victim to hero
Friday, October 6, 2017, 7:36 PM

Executive Summary

  • Future Betrayal
  • Call To Action: The Positive Steps For Fighting Back
  • Becoming the change agent these times need

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

The Positive Responses – A Call To Action

It’s time folks. This whole enchilada is about to run off the rails. You know it, I know it, and especially “they” know it. The only people who don’t know this are so distracted by life’s insignificant details, and so hopelessly incurious, that they won’t have any clue until their own lives fall apart.

These people will experience the future as if they were blindfolded participants at a free-for-all boxing match. In other words

Until and unless we admit we have a problem, there will be no hope of repair or recovery. It doesn’t matter what the problem is – alcoholism, addiction, infidelity, lying, cheating, stealing – recovery begins by admitting that a problem exists.

Which means we need to talk about betrayal and the many ways we are being betrayed, and are even betraying ourselves. It won’t be an easy conversation to hold, but it’s entirely necessary.

The alternative is the equivalent of an Alcoholic Anonymous meeting that has decided to eliminate 11 of the steps and just go with one step; “Hey, in this meeting we just pretend nothing’s wrong and we keep on drinking.” Sadly, this exact one-step program is oversubscribed in many communities.

Until and unless that happens, you, we, all of us need to be prepared for more, not less, violence. We should expect more business-as-usual decisions not fewer. We should anticipate more distressed people doing increasingly desperate things, such as checking out via drug use and other addictive behaviors.

You may have overlooked or ignored betrayals - small or large - in your personal life that will now exert themselves to the front of your mind. You may lash out at your betrayers, be they at work, These will take over and shape your destiny, so our advice is that you should get out in front of them.

You will need additional tools to clear these out, manage them, and work with whatever other emotional stressors in your life so you can continue to move forward, grow, develop and have a happy and full life.

If you are ready to learn how to improve and strengthen your emotional capital then... » Read more



How To Defend Against An Unfair Re-Set Of The System

Hint: think like the 1%
Friday, September 29, 2017, 7:03 PM

Executive Summary

  • The source of leverage being used to manipulate us
  • The powers that be have a much weaker hand than we realize
  • The increase use of force to control the system will ultimately undermine it
  • What options are available to those who want to free themselves from this supression?

If you have not yet read Part 1: Upon The Next Crisis, The Rules Will Suddenly Change available free to all readers, please click here to read it first.

In Part 1 we surveyed the dynamics driving ever-expanding state control, the state’s priorities in crisis management (secure the state’s authority and the wealth/power of elites) and the authorities’ current preference for indirect control of the market.

Leverage and the Market as a Signifier

Markets are no longer markets—they are simulacra of markets, displaying the superficial appearance but not the dynamics and uncertainties of real markets, which have an unnerving tendency to veer away from the state-approved scripts of permanent, stable expansion.

Why have central banks and states (which includes blocs of nations such as the Eurozone with a centralized governing elite) chosen to cloak their control of markets?

The answer is has two parts:  1) central banks/states must leverage their intervention due to the monumental scale of global markets; owning assets worth hundreds of trillions of dollars is at best awkward in the current arrangement and at worst politically impossible.  

While financial leverage is a relatively straightforward tool, 2) the real leverage is exerting psychological control over the market by transforming market price action into a signifier (i.e. signaling mechanism) that persuades participants to... » Read more


Off The Cuff: It's About To Get A Lot More Unfair

When the next big crisis hits, the rules will get changed
Thursday, September 28, 2017, 7:29 PM

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

  • Driving Blind
    • The data we are depending on is uselessly distorted..
  • Underestimated Risk
    • we can't see how tenuous things are right now
  • Setting Up For A Fall
    • ...allowing valuations to get waayy ahead of fundamentals
  • A System Waiting For A Trigger
    • ...all that's needed is a reason for the system to implode on itself

This week Charles Hugh Smith returns to talk with Chris about the dangerous degree of distortion in today's world. Overvalued assets, ecological overshoot, over-leveraged economies, and increasingly antagonistic geopolitics -- these and other other imminent threats should have our leaders and our markets girding against risk. But instead, the dominant narrative being put forth is that all is great and getting better. Complacency is being sold to us -- even though, mathematically, the systems we depend on will experience tremendous shocks in the coming future.

When that happens, Charles predicts the current set of rules we live by will quickly be changed by the central state "for the public good". These changes, however, will protect those at the top -- the ones whose profligacy has run things of the rails -- while stripmining the wealth of the 99%.

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.


Crisis Preparation: What To Do

The key steps to take NOW, before the next crisis hits
Friday, September 22, 2017, 8:34 PM

Executive Summary

  • Why doing nothing is no longer an option
  • Our recommended steps to take for
    • Finances
    • Home
    • Personal Safety
    • Health
  • Plus: lots of links to related resources

If you have not yet read Part 1: When a Storm Approaches available free to all readers, please click here to read it first.

What To Do

Broken models and bad ideas eventually catch up with you. That day is coming. As to when, I clearly don’t know.

If there’s an outbreak of war with North Korea than that could easily precipitate the breakdown, especially if the conflict spreads across superpowers. That could happen at any time, so the lessons from the hurricanes is this; get ready now.

Barring some sort of kinetic follies, the farthest I can see things carrying on as they have is until 2019 or 2020 when the profound lack of investment in oil will show up as an oil supply shortfall that will result in much higher oil prices. Those higher prices will run smack into ~$250 trillion of global debt and ~4x that amount of un(der)funded liabilities. I covered that thesis in this report, which is worth a re-read (or a first read in case you haven’t already).

The global equity markets are floating along on a sea of liquidity which has allowed them to seriously depart from the underlying fundamentals and from any sense of risk. When neither fundamentals nor risk apply, you have a bubble on your hands.

Bubbles are always in search of a pin. None of us can predict what that pin might be, but it’s out there.

When the next downturn finally comes, it will be with the force of a hundred corrections denied. We’ll be falling from a much higher level of insanity and self-delusion. Once again we’ll discover that prosperity cannot be printed out of thin air. History doesn’t repeat, they say, but when it comes to bubbles it certainly does. They are always the same; they arise from too-easy credit.

Here’s what I think everybody should do, regardless of circumstances... » Read more



Off The Cuff: The Economy Is A Junkie

Dependent on hits of ever more debt -- until it dies
Thursday, September 21, 2017, 6:14 PM

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

  • Hey, Did We Just Declare War On North Korea?
    • Trump's UN speech stuns the world
  • Unpacking The Latest Fedspeak
    • Much more talk than action
  • The Junkie Economy
    • Dependent on hits of ever more debt until it dies
  • The High Cost Of Lacking Resilience
    • Harvy, Irma & Maria are teaching us a lesson in real-time

This week Chris and John tackle the latest Fed announcement. Yellen's talk of tightening/normalizing -- to borrow from common parlance -- is really a "nothingburger" until the world's other major central banks curtail their stimulus efforts.

The world economy is still receiving $125 billion in liquidity injections every month. This, of course, has destroyed the integrity of the markets and turned all investors into speculators -- as whatever the central banks decide to do next is the only thing that will matter to prices.

As we have been warning for years, this will all end badly once the central banks have either destroyed their respective zombie economies or their fiat currencies (if not both). 

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.

Off The Cuff: It's A Mad, Mad, Neo-Con World

Current policy is making the US more isolated
Monday, September 18, 2017, 5:36 PM

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

  • It's A Mad, Mad, Neo-Con World
    • US foreign policy is becoming increasingly reckless
  • The Beginning Of The End For The Petrodollar?
    • China is challenging the dominance of the dollar
  • Gold: The Oppressed
    • Perhaps the most suppressed asset in modern history?
  • Upcoming PP events
    • Come join us in New Orleans and/or Munich

Chris flies solo again this week to make sense of the many geo-political risks popping up as the long-time axis of global stability becomes more and more wobbily and destabilized. There is much in US policy that appears increasingly reckless, pitting America increasingly against the world's other major powers.

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.

Lev Kropotov/Shutterstock

Smart Strategies For Building & Managing Your Cash Savings

Options for protecting purchasing power
Friday, September 15, 2017, 7:47 PM

Executive Summary

  • Is it better to hold cash in savings/checking accounts, or securities accounts?
  • Where will the dollar likely from here?
  • What will likely happen with retirement accounts?
  • Ways to diversify your cash risk

If you have not yet read Part 1: The Cardinal Sin Of Investing: Permanent Impairment Of Capital available free to all readers, please click here to read it first.

The Role Of Cash In The Informal Economy

In stagnating formal economies burdened by over-regulation, high taxes and financialization, one of the few bright spots for employment and entrepreneurism is the informal or cash economy.  The more stultified and elite-dominated the economy, the larger and more vibrant the informal economy.  In some highly regulated, high-tax European nations, up to 30% of the economic activity is underground/cash.

The elimination of central bank currency will not eliminate the informal economy. Rather, the participants in this sector will adopt non-central bank issued forms of cash—precious metals, coins, other nations’ paper money, perhaps even digital currencies such as bitcoin or its gold-linked cousins (Bitgold, etc.)

Those with little income often do not have bank accounts, as the fees are costly. Eliminating cash will hit the poor who earn money in the informal economy especially hard. Though the poor are essentially powerless in our influence-is-auctioned-to-the-highest-bidder system, this could change once the working poor who benefit from the cash economy are pushed even deeper into poverty by the banning of cash.

That might spark... » Read more



WATCH NOW: Dangerous Markets Webinar

FREE to's premium subscribers
Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 11:14 AM


The live version of this webinar took place on Sep 13, 2017. It was excellent.

To purchase access to the replay video of the event for $25, click the blue button below:


Given that a month's subscription to is only $30, you may want to give serious consideration to enrolling instead. It's only $5 more, and gives you access to the webinar PLUS all of the premium analysis, webinars, reports, podcasts, alerts and events that has to offer. That's a pretty screaming value for an additional five bucks.

In this webinar, featured experts Grant Williams and Lance Roberts dove deep into the structural fragility of today's financial markets and the many reasons why economic growth will remain constrained for years to come.

The excessive build-up of debt in the system -- and the absolute dependence on its continued expansion to keep the economy from imploding -- is, of course, seen as the prime risk to future growth.

As Lance demonstrates here with several of his excellent charts, so much leverage has been taken on that its servicing is increasingly stealing capital that would otherwise go to savings, consumption and productive investment. Going forward, the demands of the debt service will simply result in less and less capital available left over to grow the economy:

As financial assets are (supposed to be) valued on future growth prospects, lower forecasted growth demands lower valuations. Grant calculates that, should the US see another decade of 2% average annual GDP growth (and it has averaged less than that over the past decade), stock prices should be roughly half of what they are today to be considered fairly valued:

And Lance builds further on this, explaining how this moribund growth, coupled with America's aging demographic trend, will simply savage the nation's (already troublesomely underfunded) pension and entitlement systems:

But there are a number of other destabilizing risks to fear beyond our terminal debt addiction. One that Grant believes is not getting enough attention right now is the de-dollarization trend becoming notably apparent across a number of America's strategic trading partners:

To watch the full 1.5 hours of this excellent webinar, purchase it by clicking on the blue button above. » Read more



How To Deal With Our Dangerous Markets And Failing Future

Now is the time for prudent action
Friday, September 8, 2017, 10:25 PM

Executive Summary

  • Controlled markets can't be controlled forever
  • Confidence is beginning to fail, even at the top
  • The leading indicators to monitor closely
  • The reason to get excited about gold & silver again

If you have not yet read Part 1: Who’s Going To Eat The Losses? available free to all readers, please click here to read it first.

As we recently covered in this week's special webinar, the geopolitical tensions across the world, alone, should have created some sort of ‘risk off’ response in the equity markets.  With China, Russia and North Korea all increasingly at odds with the US for a wide variety of reasons, it’s very hard to make a case that Everything is Awesome!

Instead, it’s very easy to make the case that the world is on the brink of a period of destructive trade wars, if not actual 'hot' wars. 

Again, that alone should be introducing some uncertainty, some ‘risk off’ behaviors by which we mean some sort of a selloff in equities. But that’s just not the case.

In fact, the current stock ramp-up is the second longest without even a 3% sell-off in all of US equity history.

It's my firm belief that these calm markets do not represent the collective wisdom of millions of independent traders and investors.  They are instead the result of both direct and indirect support of said markets by monetary authorities and their proxies. That is, the central banks and the big banks they actually represent and look out for. 

But this lack of volatility will have a very painful cost some day. No different than in a political crisis where an oppressed people finally rise up, the suppression of market volatility will spill over and... » Read more