All things have a beginning, a middle and and end.
And now, more than 3,480 days into the current bull market, the longest in history, we can say with high confidence we are very close to its end.
For manifold reasons that are multiplying fast. So many, in fact, that each of the key speakers at the recent Peak Prosperity/Contra Corner Summit in New York City had difficulty finding enough time to enumerate them all during the six-hour event.
David Stockman, President Reagan's budget head and former US Congressman, focused his warnings on the overconcentration of financialized (i.e., phony) profits in the world economy, which mask the steep decline in the production of tangible (i.e., real) value.
Among his long litany of examples of the sclerosis and fraud within today's economy, he explained how so much of today's euphoric stock prices are an artifact of the cheap credit made possible by the world's central banking cartel — enabling a massive LBO of our corporate industry.
Long story short: artificially low rates have been allowing corporate executives, for years, to buy back a huge percentage of their company's shares, enriching shareholders (most notably the execs themselves) in the immediate term, while saddling the underlying companies under tremendous leverage (1m:13s):
As long as stock prices stay high and rates stay low, no one cares; they're making too much money. But as rates rise and prices fall, these corporations will become crippled by their debt service requirements, be forced to lay off large swaths of their workforces, and quite possibly go out of business. Failures will ripple across the corporate landscape, sinking the US into prolonged recession.
As a society we'll be the poorer for it. And suffer the full brunt of the pain this collapse of malinvestment will bring.
But the fat cat execs? They'll simply retire to their mansions and enjoy their spoils.
Chris Martenson built on Stockman's evidence of the economy's vulnerability by showing how there simply won't be enough (net) energy in the coming decades to power the growth the world is counting on. To drive this point home, he explains how demand from China alone is on track to consume 100% of world oil exports by 2040 (1m:43s):
Following that, James Howard Kunstler tied it all together by warning that we — as a society that is sacrificing our long-term potential and resilience for convenience and the quick buck — are in great peril of inheriting the bankrupt future we deserve (2m:12s):
The trio took over an hour of "ask anything" Q&A from the audience, who primarily wanted to hear these experts' responses to How do you see all this playing out? and What steps should we be taking now?
Here's (part of) Stockman's explanation of why he predicts the Federal Reserve and other central banks will be unable to prevent the next market crash, which he sees coming soon (4m:57s):
The common theme amongst Stockman, Martenson and Kunstler? Use the precious time we have today to fully understand the trends in play, take prudent preparation in advance of the coming crisis, and develop trusted bonds within a like-minded community well-positioned to help its members through future adversity.
The above clips represent less than 10 minutes of the material covered in the 5+ hours of active presentation and discussion from last weekend's Peak Prosperity/Contra Corner NYC Summit. If you were unable to attend the Summit live, but would like to purchase the replay video of the full event, you can do so at the 'early bird' discount price of $275 by clicking here.