The Pandemic Is Accelerating the Breakdown That Began a Decade Ago

The feedback loop has reversed: by saving more, people will spend, borrow and speculate less, draining the fuel from any broadbased expansion. In eras of confidence and certainty, people save less and spend more freely. When we’re confident that good times are not only here but will continue, we not only […]

Helicopter Money: Short-Term Relief Won’t Cure our Financial Disease

The collateral supporting the global mountain of debt is crumbling as speculative bubbles deflate. A great many freebies are being tossed in the Helicopter Money basket. That households experiencing declines in income need immediate support is obvious, as is the need to throw credit lifelines to small businesses. But beyond […]

The System Will Not Return to “Normal,” and That’s Good; We Can Do Better

Essential home lockdown reading. The pandemic is revealing to all what many of us have known for a long time: the status quo was designed to fail and so its failure was not just predictable but inevitable. We’ve propped up a dysfunctional, wasteful and unsustainable system by pouring trillions of dollars in […]

The Global Repricing of Assets Can’t Be Stopped

All bubbles pop, period. The financial elites are pushing a narrative that asset prices, sales and profits will all return to January 2020 levels as soon as the Covid-19 pandemic fades. Get real, baby. Nothing is going back to January 2020 levels. Rather than the “V-shaped recovery” expected by Goldman Sachs […]

Covid-19 Helicopter Money: Go Big Now or Go Home

This is why it’s imperative to go big now, and make plans to sustain the most vulnerable households and small employers not for two weeks but for six months–or however long proves necessary. That governments around the world will be forced to distribute “helicopter money” to keep their people fed […]

The Covid-19 Dominoes Fall: The World Is Insolvent

Subtract their immense debts and they have negative net worth, and therefore the market value of their stock is zero. To understand why the financial dominoes toppled by the Covid-19 pandemic lead to global insolvency, let’s start with a household example. The point of this exercise is to distinguish between the market […]

I’m Looking for Ten Readers Willing to Pony Up $1 for the Crazy-Valuable Content Here

I only rattle the begging bowl once a year, and this is it. OK, I get it: money’s tight. The bets that Tesla was going to soar above $1,000 and keep going have turned to dust. 401K accounts have been hit hard and the level of uncertainty about the future is […]

Goodbye to All That: The Demise of Globalization and Imperial Pretensions

The decline phase of the S-Curve is just beginning. Globalization and Imperial Pretensions have been decaying for years; now the tide has turned definitively against them. The Covid-19 pandemic didn’t cause the demise of globalization and Imperial Pretensions; it merely pushed the rickety structures over the edge. It’s human nature to reckon the […]

And Then Came the Lawsuits: Pandemic in a Litigious Society

This is the upside of hyper-litigiousness: prevention is prioritized as the most effective means of limiting future liability. Never mind prevention or vaccines; the big question is “who can we sue after this blows over to rake in millions of dollars?” Yes, this is pathetic, tragic, perverse and evil, but that’s […]

What the Fed Can Do: Print and Buy, Buy, Buy

Everyone with a pension fund or 401K invested in stocks better hope the Fed becomes the buyer of last resort, and soon. Much has been written about what the Federal Reserve cannot do: it can’t stop the Covid-19 pandemic or reverse the economic damage unleashed by the pandemic. But let’s not […]

The Gathering Storm: Could Covid-19 Overwhelm Us in the Months Ahead?

Either the science is wrong and the complacent will be proven correct, or the science is correct and the complacent will be wrong. The present disconnect between the science of Covid-19 and the status quo’s complacency is truly crazy-making, as we face a binary situation: either the science is correct and […]

Could China’s Overlapping Crises Spiral Out of Control?

Threats, propaganda and the Orwellian dissolution of social trust cannot stop a withdrawal from the status quo. Longtime readers know I’ve had an active interest in what differentiates empires/nations that survive crises and those that collapse. There is a lively academic literature on this topic, and it boils down to three […]

Did Covid-19 Just Pop All the Global Financial Bubbles?

Once confidence and certainty are lost, the willingness to expand debt and leverage collapses. Even though the first-order effects of the Covid-19 pandemic are still impossible to predict, it’s already possible to ask: did the pandemic pop all the global financial bubbles? The reason we can ask this question is the […]

The Limits of Force: A Bayonet in the Back Will Not Restore China’s Economy

Force cannot restore legitimacy, trust or confidence, nor can it magically erase the consequences of a still-unfolding national trauma. The Chinese authorities threatening to punish workers who refuse to return to work are getting a lesson in the limits of force in an unprecedented national trauma: a bayonet in the back […]

Could the Covid-19 Pandemic Collapse the U.S. Healthcare System?

Disregard these second-order effects at your own peril. A great many systems that are assumed to be robust are actually fragile. Exhibit #1 is the global financial system, of course, but Exhibit #2 may well be the healthcare system globally and in the U.S. Observers have noted that the number of […]

The Economic Cataclysm Ahead

The economic storm hasn’t passed; the false calm is only the eye of the financial hurricane. To understand the economic cataclysm ahead, do the math. Those expecting the Covid-19 pandemic to leave the U.S. economy untouched are implicitly making these preposterously unlikely claims: 1. China will resume full pre-pandemic production and shipping […]

How Many Cases of Covid-19 Will It Take For You to Decide Not to Frequent Public Places?

As empty streets and shelves attest, people taking charge of risk has dire economic consequences. How many cases of Covid-19 in your community will it take for you to decide not to frequent public places such as cafes, restaurants, theaters, concerts, etc? How many cases in your community will it take for you […]

No, The Fed Will Not “Save the Market”–Here’s Why

The greater the excesses, speculative euphoria and moral hazard, the greater the reversal. A very convenient conviction is rising in the panicked financial netherworld that the Federal Reserve and its fellow dark lords will “save the market” from COVID-19 collapse. They won’t. I already explained why in The Fed Has Created a […]

When Will We Admit Covid-19 Is Unstoppable and Global Depression Is Inevitable?

Given the exquisite precariousness of the global financial system and economy, hopes for a brief and mild downturn are wildly unrealistic. If we asked a panel of epidemiologists to imagine a virus optimized for rapid spread globally and high lethality, they’d likely include these characteristics: 1. Highly contagious, with an […]

When Bubbles Pop, Only the First Sellers Escape Being Bagholders

Hapless bagholders have two options: buy the dip and be destroyed, or hang on hoping for a reversal and be destroyed. One often overlooked characteristic of the current stock market bubble is the extremely small exit for sellers trying to avoid becoming hapless bagholders. Bubbles always present small exits because once […]