Everything We Assume Is Permanent Is Actually Fragile

Masking the rot and fragility is not the same thing as strength or permanence. The great irony of the past 75 years of expanding consumption is the belief that all these decades of success prove the system is rock-solid and future success is thus guaranteed.The irony lies in the systemic […]

Everything is Staged

All the staging is a means to an end, and everyone in America is nothing more than a means to an end: close the sale so the few can continue exploiting the many. You know how realtors stage a house to increase its marketability: first, they remove all evidence that […]

The New Tyranny Few Even Recognize

Clearly, the Fed reckons the public is foolish enough to believe the Fed’s money will actually be “free.” It’s pretty much universally recognized that authorities use crises to impose “emergency powers” that become permanent. This erosion of civil and economic liberties is always sold as “necessary for your own good.” […]

Will the Stock Market Be Dragged to the Guillotine?

The Fed’s rigged-casino stock market will be dragged to the guillotine by one route or another. The belief that the Federal Reserve and its rigged-casino stock market are permanent and forever is touchingly naive. Never mind the existential crises just ahead; the financial “industry” (heh) projects unending returns of 7% […]

The “Titanic” Analogy You Haven’t Heard: Passively Accepting Oblivion

Whether we realize it or not, we’re responding with passive acceptance of oblivion. You’ve undoubtedly heard rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic as an analogy for the futility of approving policy tweaks to address systemic crises. I’ve used the Titanic as an anology to explain the fragility of our […]

Why We’re Doomed: Our Delusional Faith in Incremental Change

Better not to risk any radical evolution that might fail, and so failure is thus assured. When times are good, modest reforms are all that’s needed to maintain the ship’s course.By “good times,” I mean eras of rising prosperity which generate bigger budgets, profits, tax revenues, paychecks, etc., eras characterized […]

Our Simulacrum Economy

In the hyper-real casino, everyone has access to the terrors of losing, but only a few know the joys of the rigged games that guarantee a few big winners by design. Readers once routinely chastised me for over-using simulacrum to describe our economy and society. The problem is this word […]

How We Institutionalized Incompetence

And so we face the ultimate irony: ‘bailing-out-everything’ destroys the entire rotten system. You’ve probably noticed things no longer work as well as they once did. For example, the store’s online inventory says something is in stock and when you get to the store, it’s not on the shelf. A […]

Has Our Luck Finally Run Out?

We are woefully unprepared for a long run of bad luck. Long-term cycles escape our notice because they play out over many years or even decades; few noticed the decreasing rainfall in the Mediterranean region in 150 A.D. but this gradual decline in rainfall slowly but surely reduced the grain […]

A Hard Rain Is Going to Fall

The status quo is about to discover that it can’t stop the hard rain or protect its fragile sandcastles. You’ll recognize A Hard Rain Is Going to Fall as a cleaned-up rendition of Bob Dylan’s classic “A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall”. Since the world had just avoided a nuclear conflict […]

What Could Go Wrong? Plenty

Quite a lot of things can go wrong, especially if the mainstream’s rose-tinted sunglasses induce a delusional confidence in fantasy. The conventional assumptions are remarkably rosy: the “recovery” is V-shaped in all the ways that count (i.e. the top 10% are once again doing well), the Federal Reserve will never […]

Corruption Is Now Our Way of Life

Systemic corruption and the implosion of the social contract have consequences: It’s called collapse. Social and economic decay is so glacial that only those few who remember an earlier set-pointare equipped to even notice the decline. That’s the position we find ourselves in today. Many Americans will discount the systemic […]

Things Change

Things Change October 2, 2020 “Doing more of what’s hollowed out our economy and society” is a slippery path to ruin. Things change, supposedly immutable systems crumble and delusions die. That’s the lay of the land in the The Empire of Uncertainty I described yesterday. It’s difficult not to be […]

The Empire of Uncertainty

Anyone claiming they can project the trajectory of the U.S. and global economy is deluding themselves. Normalcy depends entirely on everyday life being predictable. To be predictable, life must be stable, which means that there is a high level of certainty in every aspect of life. The world has entered […]

The Urban Exodus and How Greatness Goes Bankrupt

The best-case scenario is those who love their “great city” will accept the daunting reality that even greatness can go bankrupt. Two recent essays pin each end of the “urban exodus” spectrum. James Altucher’s sensationalized NYC Is Dead Forever, Here’s Why focuses on the technological improvements in bandwidth that enable […]

Helicopter Money and the End of Taxes

Rather than right the ship, the “easy fix” is to distribute “free money”–not just to billionaires and corporations but to everyone. The system of collecting taxes and distributing the dough is a zero-sum game: each dollar of tax revenue paid by someone and given to someone else is one dollar […]

Goodbye To All That: Are Our Rituals of “Prosperity” Increasingly Meaningless?

The heretical truth is that many of the “consumption rituals” that signified “prosperity” for decades are either meaningless, unaffordable or require way more effort than the meager payoff is worth. Of all the economic heresies imaginable, perhaps the most heretical is to recognize what we label “prosperity” as increasingly meaningless […]

The Road to Nowhere: Whatever Can’t Be Politicized Ceases to Exist

Just as time is a one-way arrow, “the politicization of everything” is a one-way road to dissolution and collapse. The essence of any Totalitarian society is the politicization of everything, as everything must be either supporting the status quo or it’s a threat to the status quo. There is no […]

The Silent Exodus Nobody Sees: Leaving Work Forever

The “take this job and shove it” exodus is silently gathering momentum. The exodus out of cities is getting a lot of attention, but the exodus that will unravel our economic and social orders is getting zero attention: the exodus from work. Like the exodus from troubled urban cores, the […]

Inflation and “Socialism-Lite” Are Just What the Billionaires Want

After a bout of inflation and “socialism-light”, we could end up with even more extreme inequality when the whole rotten structure collapses. Imagine owning a Buffett-Bezos fortune of bilious billions, or even 10% of these mega-fortunes, i.e. between $5 billion and $20 billion. Heck, imagine owning 1% of these mega-fortunes, […]