credit bubble



Understanding Asset Bubbles - Crash Course Chapter 17

Why they form & how they pop
Friday, October 10, 2014, 7:21 PM

Through the long sweep of history, the bursting of asset bubbles has nearly always been traumatic.  Social, political and economic upheavals have a bad habit of following asset bubbles, while wealth destruction is a guaranteed feature. » Read more


This chapter of the new Crash Course series has not yet been made available to the public.

Each week over the rest of 2014, in sequential order, a new chapter will be made publicly available (we've currently published up to Chapter 15)

If you don't want to wait, you can:






Off the Cuff: The Turning of the Tide?

Are we witnessing the beginning of a secular reversal?
Thursday, May 23, 2013, 12:17 PM

In this week's Off the Cuff podcast, Chris and Charles discuss:

  • Bubbles Everywhere
    • How worried should we be?
  • Shaky Sovereigns
    • Will Japan or Europe stumble first? (looks like Japan)
  • Gold's Gilded Future
    • Down for all the wrong reasons
  • Cui bono?
    • Who is reaping the gains of the current market monkeying?

This is a must-listen Off the Cuff episode given the events of the past 24 hours. » Read more


Europe is Drowning Under Too Much Government

Its banks are being increasingly propped up by the U.S.
Monday, March 4, 2013, 3:52 PM

The Christmas and New Year's break, when Europe shuts down and stops thinking, is now well and truly over, and we are reawakening to the same old problems: Greece, Spain, Cyprus, Portugal, Italy, France…all with their hands out for money from Germany, Holland, Finland, and Austria.

The holiday from the banking crisis, which was the result of the determination of the ECB to put a lid on it, is also over, with yields on the supplicant countries’ debt rising again.

However, joining the bad news list is the United Kingdom. Ominously, the pound is sliding in the foreign exchange markets, providing a very tricky background for Chancellor Osborne’s budget on March 20th. I shall examine the UK’s position later, but first let’s update ourselves on developments in the Eurozone.

The reality is that all the problems of the Eurozone are still with us, despite the fall in bond yields and their modest subsequent recovery. There is now the likelihood that we are about to enter the final phase of the end of the Eurozone experiment, with far wider consequences. So we need to pick up the story where we left off. » Read more


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Along the continuum of irrational financial behavior, it can be tricky to tell the difference between a bubble, a mania, and mere touch of exuberance. A bubble is reserved for the height of folly, and history is rich with folly.

So how would we know that we’re in an ‘asset bubble’? What do they look like and what can we expect when one bursts? The Fed famously likes to claim that you can’t spot one until it bursts. But actually you can, and the definition is pretty simple.

Bubbles used to happen once every generation or so, because it took time to forget the pain from the damage. Today we are facing the bursting of a second major asset bubble, housing, spaced less than ten years from the bursting of the dot-com bubble. This is simply astounding and thoroughly unprecedented. It is the largest bubble in all of history and will probably be the most destructive. And it is happening right now.


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Massive change is upon us. To understand the nature of this change, we need to understand the three “E”s – the Economy, Energy, and the Environment - which is where we’ll spend the rest of our time in the Crash Course.

The first “E” is the economy, which is the lens through which the Crash Course looks at everything, specifically exponential money, the first-ever collapse of a global credit binge, an aging population, and a national failure to save.

The second “E” is energy. We will explore what Peak Oil implies for an economic system that is based on continual expansion.

The third “E”, the environment, will be exerting its own unknowable but certainly significant economic burdens due to shrinking resources and other systemic pressures while the other two “E”s are clamoring for your money and attention.