There Is Only One Empire: Finance

Any nation-state that meets these four requirements is fully exposed to a global loss of faith in its economy, debt, balance of payments and currency. There’s an entire sub-industry in journalism devoted to the idea that China is poised to replace the U.S. as the “global empire” / hegemon. This notion […]

In the Footsteps of Rome: Is Renewal Possible?

Once the shared memories of these values are lost, the Empire ceases to exist; there is nothing left to reform or renew. Is renewal / recovery from systemic decline possible? The history of the Roman Empire is a potentially insightful place to start looking for answers. As long-time readers know, I’ve […]

When We Can No Longer Tell the Truth…

Lies, half-truths and cover-ups are all manifestations of fatal weakness. When we can no longer tell the truth because the truth will bring the whole rotten, fragile status quo down in a heap of broken promises and lies, we’ve reached the perfection of dysfunction. You know the one essential guideline to […]

The Death Spiral of Financialization

Each new policy destroys another level of prudent fiscal/financial discipline. The primary driver of our economy–financialization–is in a death spiral. Financialization substitutes expansion of interest, leverage and speculation for real-world expansion of goods, services and wages. Financial “wealth” created by leveraging more debt on a base of real-world collateral that doesn’t actually […]

The Over-Quantification of Life

The idea that all endeavors can be distilled down to statistics has put us in the Over-Quantification Box. Correspondent Chad D. recently submitted a thought-provoking commentary on the Over-Quantification of Life: “I think you could constructively explore the over-QUANTIFICATION of the US. Or we could call it the Wal-Martization of […]

Why 2017 Is Like 1969

1969-2017: and here we are again, in so many ways. A deeply polarizing new president, a disastrously misguided official narrative that the political Establishment doggedly supports despite a damning lack of evidence, and an economy teetering on the edge of recession–and worse. Sound familiar? Welcome to 1969 redux. The similarities between the […]

Earth’s Economy Glorifies Waste, Exploitation, Debt, Expediency and Magical Thinking

Humanity appears to default to magical thinking when faced with untenable situations that demand systemic change. How would extraterrestrial anthropologists characterize Earth’s dominant socio-economic system? It’s not difficult to imagine their dismaying report: “Earth’s economy glorifies waste. Its economists rejoice when a product is disposed as waste and replaced with a […]

We Do These Things Because They’re Easy: Our All-Consuming Dependence on Debt

A world in which “we do these things because they’re easy” has one end-state: collapse. On September 12, 1962, President John F. Kennedy gave a famous speech announcing the national goal of going to the moon by the end of the decade. (JFK’s speech on going to the moon.) In a […]

Our Financial Buffers Are Thinning

The fragility of our financial buffers will only be revealed when they fail in the next crisis. While buffer has a specific meaning in chemistry, I am using the word in the broad sense of a reserve resource that absorbs the initial destructive impacts of crises or system overloads. Marshland along a sea […]

The “News” Is Content-Free

We’re “your” trustworthy news source, even though we’re all owned by six corporations or billionaires with political agendas. The “news” has loomed large in The News–a classic self-referential loop in which the media itself becomes its own content. While the controversy over what constitutes “fake news” and “real news” has itself […]

What’s the Safest Investment in Troubled Times?

An investment that can be gutted by financial rules changing overnight is not safe. What’s the safest investment as the global economy enters increasingly risky, troubled times? I’ve reviewed hundreds of academic papers, investment reports and newsletters and researched long-term strategies and backtests and reached one conclusion. I won’t keep you […]

We Need a New American (Social) Revolution

The solution is a new decentralized way of living that bypasses the chokepoints of centralized political and financial power. I’m going to tell a story here using charts–a story that leads to one conclusion: we need a New American Social Revolution–a peaceful revolution that transforms our understanding of the corrupt, […]

Our Political Parties Are Obsolete

When the parties do finally implode, the general mood will be: good riddance. History informs us that once something is obsolete, it can disappear far faster than anyone expected. While we generally think of obsoleted technologies vanishing, social and political systems can become obsolete as well. Should a poor soul who […]

We’re in a Boiling-Point Crisis of Exploitive Elites

The “fixes” to the stagnation of postwar Capitalism in the 1970s were financialization, globalism, and the sustained expansion of debt–all have run out of steam. Many of us have written about cycles in the past decade: Kondratieff economic cycles, business/credit cycles, the Strauss–Howe generational theory (an existential national crisis arises every four generations, […]

Can We See a Bubble If We’re Inside the Bubble?

We want this time to be different so badly, we can almost taste it. If you visit San Francisco, you will find it difficult to walk more than a few blocks in central S.F. without encountering a major construction project. It seems that every decrepit low-rise building in the city has […]

When the System Thwarts Sincere, Hard-Working People, the System Has Failed

The net result is the organization fails its mission even as it adds employees and expands its budget and regulatory powers. One of the most painfully visible symptoms of profound failure is the way our systems now thwart and frustrate sincere, hard-working people who labor within them. If you work within […]

The Dead Giveaways of Imperial Decline

Nothing is as permanent as we imagine–especially super-complex, super-costly, super-asymmetric and super-debt-dependent state/financial systems. Identifying the tell-tale signs of Imperial decay and decline is a bit of a parlor game. The hubris of an increasingly incestuous and out-of-touch leadership, dismaying extremes of wealth inequality, self-serving, avaricious Elites, rising dependency of the […]

We’ve Lost All Sense of the Common Good

The only way to rebuild a Common Good is to radically decentralize political, financial and media concentrations of ownership and power. The theory of American civics is that the competitive process of every group advocating for its narrow self-interests will magically generate the Common Good, that is, a political and social […]