The Demise of the Dollar: Don’t Hold Your Breath

So let’s look at currency flows, reserves and debt. The demise of the U.S. dollar has been a staple of the financial media for decades. The latest buzzword making the rounds is de-dollarization, which describes the move away from USD in global payments. De-dollarization is often equated with the demise of the dollar, […]

Loving Our Debt-Serfdom: Our Neofeudal Status Quo

Democracy (i.e. political influence) and ownership of productive assets are the exclusive domains of the New Aristocracy. I have often used the words neoliberal, neocolonial and neofeudal to describe our socio-economic-political status quo. Here are my shorthand descriptions of each term: 1. Neoliberal: the commoditization / financialization of every asset, input (such as […]

Financialization and The Destruction of the Real Economy

Strip an economy of capital, productive incentives, talent and yes, ethics, and what are we left with? An economy spiraling toward an inevitable collapse. Financialization is destroying the real economy, but few in power seem to notice or care. The reason why is painfully obvious: those in power are reaping vast […]

What Is Real Wealth?

As for acquiring capital–the most important types of capital don’t require much money. What is real wealth? Money, right? Currency, gold, quatloos, you name it. Money is real wealth because you can use it to buy whatever you want. I would argue money in any form is only the means to acquire […]

Are Facebook and Google the New Colonial Powers?

To qualify as colonial powers, Facebook and Google must effectively limit the choices and power of users, and punish or coerce those who question or resist their power. I was struck by a phrase from a recent essay on advertising and social media,You Are the Product: As Taplin points out, that […]

Hey Advertisers: The Data-Mining Emperor Has No Clothes

When a big advertiser pulls its online adverts and its sales remain unchanged, that tells everyone who’s paying attention something important. It’s an article of widespread faith that data-mining enables advertisers buying online adverts to target consumers with laser-like precision. Vast warehouses of servers grind through billions of records of consumer […]

Dear Jamie Dimon: Predict the Crash that Takes Down Your Produces-Nothing, Parasitic Bank and We’ll Listen to your Bitcoin “Prediction”

This is the begging-for-the-overthrow-of-a-corrupt-status-quo economy we have thanks to the Federal Reserve giving the J.P. Morgans and Jamie Dimons of the world the means to skim and scam the bottom 95%. Dear Jamie Dimon: quick quiz: which words/phrases are associated with you and your employer, J.P. Morgan? Looting, pillage, rapacious, exploitive, […]

Yes, This Time It Is Different: But Not in Good Ways

Yes, this time it’s different: all the foundations of a healthy economy are crumbling into quicksand. The rallying cry of Permanent Bulls is this time it’s different. That’s absolutely true, but it isn’t bullish–it’s terrifically, terribly bearish. Why is this time it’s different bearish going forward? The basic answer is that nothing that is structurally broken […]

Housing Bubble Symmetry: Look Out Below

Housing markets are one itsy-bitsy recession away from a collapse in domestic and foreign demand by marginal buyers. There are two attractive delusions that are ever-present in financial markets:One is this time it’s different, because of unique conditions that have never ever manifested before in the history of the world, and […]

On Repairing/Rebuilding 100,000+ Damaged Houses

Almost lost in all the dollar estimates of property damage is the human loss, suffering and stress. I am not an expert in repairing flood damage, or in dealing with insurance companies, FEMA or all the other pieces that will go into homeowners getting the funding needed to repair or […]

Is the High Cost of Housing Crushing Wages?

The authors’ thesis doesn’t explain the 47-year downtrend of labor’s share of the economy. A provocative essay, Don’t Blame the Robots, makes the bold claim that “Housing Prices and Market Power Explain Wage Stagnation.” (Foreign Affairs) In other words, the stagnation of the bottom 95% of wages isn’t caused by automation or […]

The Real Reason Wages Have Stagnated: Our Economy is Optimized for Financialization

Labor’s share of the national income is in freefall as a direct result of the optimization of financialization. The Achilles Heel of our socio-economic system is the secular stagnation of earned income, i.e. wages and salaries. Stagnating wages undermine every aspect of our economy: consumption, credit, taxation and perhaps most importantly, […]

The Insanity of Pushing Inflation Higher When Wages Can’t Rise

In an economy in which wages for 95% of households are stagnant for structural reasons, pushing inflation higher is destabilizing. The official policy goal of the Federal Reserve and other central banks is to generate 3% inflation annually. Put another way: the central banks want to lower the purchasing power of […]

The Trouble with Asset Bubbles: If You Stop Pumping, They Pop

The idea that authorities can massage their pumping to keep asset bubbles inflated at a permanently high plateau is currently being tested. The trouble with inflating asset bubbles is that you have to keep inflating them or they pop. Unfortunately for the bubble-blowing central banks, asset bubbles are a double-bind: you […]

Bitcoin, Sour Grapes and the Institutional Herd

The point is institutional ownership of bitcoin is in the very early stages. If I had a bitcoin for every time some pundit declared bitcoin is a bubble, I’d be a billionaire. There are three problems with opining that bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are bubblicious: 1. Everything is in a bubble now: stocks, […]

Why We’re Doomed: Stagnant Wages

The point is the present system cannot endure. Despite all the happy talk about “recovery” and higher growth, wages have gone nowhere since 2000–and for the bottom 20% of workers, they’ve gone nowhere since the 1970s. Gross domestic product (GDP) has risen smartly since 2000, but the share of GDP […]

Why Wages Have Lost Ground in the 21st Century

The problem with stagnant wages is our socio-economic system requires ever-higher incomes to function. One of the enduring mysteries for conventional economists is why wages aren’t rising for the bottom 95% even as unemployment is low and hiring remains robust. According to classical economics, the limited supply of available workers combined […]

Systemic Uncertainty, Meet Fragility

That’s the problem with fragility: everything looks fine on the surface until a crisis applies pressure. Then the whole rickety contraption collapses in a heap.. Life is inherently uncertain, but systems that were once considered certainties have increasingly become uncertain. Social Security is one example; recent polls reflect widespread doubts among […]

The 5 Steps to World Domination

You don’t need an army to achieve World Domination; all you need is enough cheap credit to buy up everything that generates the highest value and/or income. World Domination–it has a nice ring, doesn’t it? Here’s how to achieve it in 5 steps: 1. Turn everything into a commodity that […]

Ideology as Addiction

Solutions abound, but they aren’t one size fits all ideologies. It isn’t just coincidental that ideology shares so many dynamics with addiction. Though ideology is a faith-belief dynamic rather than a chemical process, both require constant reinforcement/renewal and both demand a painful withdrawal procedure of those who decide to free themselves […]