Which One Wins: Central Planning or Adaptive Networks?

Those who are betting on Central Planning do not understand the essential role of adaptation. The global economy is in the midst of a grand experiment pitting centralization (Central Planning) against the evolutionary model of adaptive, self-organizing networks. Centralization is the dominant dynamic of the Status Quo everywhere: the economies of […]

Credit Exhaustion Is Global

Europe is awash in credit exhaustion, and so is China. The signs are everywhere: credit exhaustion is global, and that means the global growth story is over: revenues and profits are all sliding as lending dries up and defaults pile up. What is credit exhaustion? Qualified buyers don’t want to […]

Sometimes the Best Solution Is To Leave Things As They Are

We must distinguish between the oft-lauded creative destruction of what is obsolete and destruction in pursuit of fleeting fashion. I recently received an insightful email from a reader who had come across my archives of free-lance articles and essays on home and urban design. I wrote dozens of articles for S.F. Bay […]

What Happens When More QE Fails to Reverse the Recession?

The smart money is liquidating assets, paying off debt and moving capital into collateral that isn’t impaired by debt or speculative valuations. The Federal Reserve’s sudden return to “accommodative” dovishness in response to the stock market’s swoon telegraphs its intent to fire up QE once the recession kicks into gear. QE […]

What Caused the Recession of 2019-2021?

The banquet of consequences is now being served, but the good seats have all been taken. As I discussed in We’re Overdue for a Sell-Everything/No-Fed-Rescue Recession, recessions have a proximate cause and a structural cause. The proximate cause is often a spike in energy costs (1973, 1990) or a financial crisis triggered […]

The Corporate Lemmings Who Rushed into Mobile/Social Media Ads Are Running off the Cliff

Now the corporate lemmings have rushed into mobile advertising. Given that corporations are run by people, and people are social animals that run in herds, it shouldn’t surprise us that corporations follow the herd, too.Take the herd move to forming conglomerates in the go-go late 1960s: corporations suddenly started buying […]

We’re Overdue for a Sell-Everything/No-Fed-Rescue Recession

We’re way overdue for a sell-everything recession, one that the Fed will only make worse by pursuing its usual policies of lowering interest rates and goosing easy money. As I noted last week, central banks, like generals, always fight the last war–until the war is lost. The global economy is careening […]

2019: The Three Trends That Matter

Look no further than Brexit in Britain, the yellow vests in France and the Deplorables in the U.S. for manifestations of a broken social contract and decaying social order. Among the many trends currently in play, Gordon Long and I discuss three that will matter as 2019 progresses: 2019 Themes (56 minutes) […]

Telltale Signs of Recession

I’m seeing lifestyles that are out of stock and no longer available, even in China. Though every recession is unique, all recessions manifest in similar ways in the real economy. By real economy, I mean the on-the-ground economy we observe with our own eyes, as opposed to the abstract statistical model reflected […]

Brace for Impact

As credit-asset bubbles pop, the dominoes start falling. The economy is far more precarious than the surface boom/bubble suggests. A great many households, enterprises and municipalities are in overloaded boats whose gunwales are just a few inches above the water; the slightest wave will swamp and sink them. The cost structure […]

China’s S-Curve of Expansion, Stagnation and Decline

All the policies that worked in the Boost Phase no longer work. Natural and human systems tend to go through stages of expansion, stagnation and decline that follow what’s known as the S-Curve. The dynamic isn’t difficult to understand: an unfilled ecological niche is suddenly open due to a new adaptation; […]

The Coming Global Financial Crisis: Debt Exhaustion

The global economy is way past the point of maximum debt saturation, and so the next stop is debt exhaustion. Just as generals fight the last war, central banks always fight the last financial crisis. The Global Financial Crisis (GFC) of 2008-09 was primarily one of liquidity as markets froze up […]

The Alt-Media Has Way More Fun than the Mainstream Media

The corporate-state media lives in terror that the truth will somehow leak out of the corporate-Imperial fortress, imperiling their jobs and perks. It’s not exactly news that the Alternative Media is under assault: skeptical inquiry and dissenting narratives are smeared as “fake news,” and new suspiciously corporate entities (NewsGuard et al.) […]

So If Half of Facebook Accounts Are Fake… What Is Facebook Worth?

The social media space is absolutely ripe for a new entrant who demands arduous verification and constantly monitors its user base to eliminate cloned and fake accounts. How many accounts on Facebook are fake? Recent estimates of half could be low. Here’s an experiment: open a Facebook account with a name […]

So You Want to Get Rich: Focus on Human Capital

Wealth is flowing to those who earn money from their human capital and enterprise. So you want to get rich: OK, what’s the plan? If you ask youngsters how to get rich, many will respond by listing the professions the media focuses on: entertainment, actors/actresses, pro athletes, and maybe a few […]

The “Working Rich” Are Not Like You and Me–or the Oligarchs

Rising income inequality may be a reflection of the changing nature of work. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s story The Rich Boy included this famous line: “Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me.” According to a recent paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER),Capitalists […]

A Recession Survival Guide

The funny thing about slashing your budget to survive a recessionary storm is that it works wonders whether the recession is deep or shallow. We know that after 10 years of expansion, a recession is baked in. Trees don’t grow to the moon, etc. We also know that some people will […]

The Ruling Elites Love How Easily We’re Distracted and Turned Against Each Other

No wonder the ruling elites love how easily we’re distracted and divided against ourselves: it’s so easy to dominate a distracted, divided, blinded-by-propaganda and negative emotions populace. Let’s say you’re one of the ruling elites operating the nation for the benefit of the oligarchy. What’s the best way to distract the […]

Gentrified Urban America Will Be Hit Hard by the Recession

Combine sky-high commercial rents in homogenized, gentrified urban areas and sharp declines in the incomes of the limited populace who can afford gentrified urban areas and what do you get? A number of macro dynamics have set up gentrified urban America for a big fall in the coming recession. What does […]

Want to Heal the Internet? Ban All Collection of User Data

The social media/search giants have mastered the dark arts of obfuscating how they’re reaping billions of dollars in profits from monetizing user data, and lobbying technologically naive politicos to leave their vast skimming operations untouched. I’ve been commenting on the cancerous disease that’s taken control of the Internet– what Shoshana […]