China at the Crossroads

Watch where capital is flowing. That’s pretty much all you need to know to predict the future. The word “China” evokes strong emotions, so let’s set it aside in favor of a simple syllogism: 1. Certain things matter in all economies. 2. China is an economy. 3. Therefore these certain […]

Can We “Export Inflation?” Yes We Can, Yes We Are

A strong currency exports inflation to those nations which do not issue the currency. Though it’s difficult to be confident of anything in the current flux, I am pretty confident of three things: 1) price is set on the margins 2) currencies are the foundation of every economy 3) the […]

What Can The Beatles Teach Us about Management?

Own your work. Don’t give it away or let others profit at your expense. Leverage it when opportunities arise. What can The Beatles teach us about management?Young readers may wonder why The Beatles still matter 52 years after the band broke up. It’s a fair question. There are many answers, […]

How Much of “Inflation” Is the Price Being Jacked Up Under the Excuse of “Inflation”?

The problem for global corporations feasting on “Inflation” profiteering is that the vast majority of consumers can’t afford another lavish vacation, overpriced vehicle or specious subscription. A funny thing seems to be happening within “Inflation”: companies are using “inflation” as cover for outrageous price increases that have little to do […]

There Won’t Be Any Winners Because The Status Quo Is Corrupt Everywhere

Systemic corruption on this vast scale optimizes failure and collapse. Debating which nations will “win” as the global economy unravels is a popular but pointless parlor game.Since the status quo in every nation is deeply, profoundly, systemically corrupt, there won’t be any “winners,” there will only be losers. Apologists love […]

What’s Truly Important? The Global Revaluation Is Accelerating

How much gold will you trade for a few eggs? It depends on how hungry you are. Two ideas will help us understand the rest of this tumultuous decade: core-periphery and the revaluation of what’s truly important: systemic adaptability, transparency, accountability, risk, capital and resources. I recently discussed the core-periphery […]

When You Put Too Many Eggs in One Basket…

Greed is good until all the vulnerabilities and fragilities of systemic risk asymmetries manifest. When you put too many eggs in one basket, you create systemic fragility: if anything knocks that basket over, the loss is so overweighted that the entire system unravels. Why do we put too many eggs […]

Why the Labor Shortage Isn’t Going Away

It’s getting hard to fill toxic low-pay jobs, and that’s not going to change. The nature of work and the labor market are changing in ways few discern or perhaps are willing to discern because these changes are disrupting the exploitive system they want to remain unchanged. But refusing to […]

The Real Policy Error Is Expanding Debt and Calling It “Growth”

Waste is not growth, and neither are the unlimited expansion of debt and speculative bubbles. The financial punditry is whipping itself into a frenzy about a Federal Reserve “policy error,” which is code for “if the music finally stops, we’re doomed!” In other words, any policy which reduces the flow […]

The Only Real Solution Is Default

The destruction of ‘phantom wealth’ via default has always been the only way to clear the financial system of unpayable debt burdens and extremes of rentier / wealth dominance. The notion that the world could always borrow more money as long as interest rates were near-zero was never sustainable. It […]

US Dollar Strength: “Unintended Consequences” Or “The Empire Strikes Back”?

How unintended can these consequences be? My guess: not very. A great many people got the U.S. dollar trade wrong. The conventional view held that “printing money”, i.e. expanding the supply of money, would automatically devalue the currency. It isn’t quite so simple, it seems. It depends on where the […]

Calm Before the Tempest?

Is it beyond conception that the core actually strengthens for a length of time before the unraveling reaches it? Let’s start by stipulating the obvious: no one knows the future, and most of the guesses–oops, I mean forecasts–will be wrong. Arguing about the forecasts now won’t make any difference as […]

Why Nations Fail

The irony is that the suppression of dissent is the suppression of competing ideas that generate systemic stability via rapid adaptation. Nations that appear stable may fail once they’re under pressure.What do I mean by “under pressure”? Pressure can come from many sources: invasion, civil war, prolonged scarcities of essentials, […]

You Know What Would Be Really Irritating? A Crazy Rally to New Highs

It would be very irritating to have a rally suck in all the bears salivating for a crash from a bear-market rally peak and then decimate the shorts with a rally that soars rather than collapses to new lows. As a contrarian, I’m always squinting at the consensus and wondering […]

The One Solution to All Our Problems

Pick one, America: national security of the essential material foundation of everything, the industrial base, or “global markets,” maximizing greed / corporate profits. Sorry about the clickbait title. We all know there isn’t “one solution” to anything as complex as a socio-economic-cultural-political system. But this is based on looking at […]

The Most Valuable Form of Money Nobody’s Seen–Yet

What is “money”? “Money” is a claim on the essentials of life. Ration cards are claims on essentials. Many people expect “money” will soon be tied to commodities. Agreed. It’s called a ration cardthat grants the holder the right to buy a specific quantity of essential goods at a specified […]

Why the Housing Bubble Bust Is Baked In

Putting this all together, it’s clear that the source of the current housing bubble is the explosion of financial speculation fueled by central bank policies. Those benefiting from speculative bubbles have powerful incentives to deny the bubble can bust.Rationalizations abound as bubbles inflate, and the continued ascent of speculative bets […]

The Age of Discord

It’s very difficult to find common ground that supports cooperation in the disintegrative stage of scarcities, rising prices, catastrophically centralized power and social discord. Today’s topic echoes Peter Turchin’s 2016 book, Ages of Discord, which I have often referenced in blog posts. I’ll also discuss two other books I’ve often […]

The Global Power Shift Isn’t West to East–It’s Not That Simple

The mercantilist dependence on exports for growth, a winner for the past 70 years, has reached diminishing returns. Rather than be a source of growth, it’s a source of stagnation. Conventional wisdom holds that geopolitical power is inevitably shifting from West to East. It isn’t quite this simple. The real […]

Our No-Win “Kobayashi Maru” Economy

It’s time to reprogram the conditions of the economy to serve the many rather than the few. Star Trek’s Kobayashi Maru training exercise tests officer candidates’ response to a no-win scenario:any attempt to rescue the crippled ship’s crew results in the destruction of the candidate’s ship, while standing by and […]