Monday , May 17 2021
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Charles Hugh Smith
At readers' request, I've prepared a biography. I am not confident this is the right length or has the desired information; the whole project veers uncomfortably close to PR. On the other hand, who wants to read a boring bio? I am reminded of the "Peanuts" comic character Lucy, who once issued this terse biographical summary: "A man was born, he lived, he died." All undoubtedly true, but somewhat lacking in narrative.

Charles Hugh Smith

Why Wage Inflation Will Accelerate

The Fed has created trillions out of thin air to boost the speculative wealth of Wall Street, but it can't print experienced workers willing to work for low wages. The Federal Reserve is reassuring us daily that inflation is temporary, but allow me to assure you that wage inflation is just getting started and will accelerate rapidly. As I noted yesterday, the Fed can create currency out of thin and funnel it to financiers, but the Fed can't create experienced, motivated workers out of...

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The ‘Take This Job and Shove It’ Recession

So hey there Corporate America, the Fed and your neofeudal cronies: take this job and shove it. This time it really is different, but not in the way the Wall Street shucksters are claiming. Conventional economists, politicos and pundits are completely clueless about the unraveling that's gathering momentum beneath the superficial surface of "reflation" because they don't yet grasp we're entering an unprecedented new type of recession: a 'Take This Job and Shove It' recession which is...

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Here’s How ‘Everything Bubbles’ Pop

But weirdly, and irrationally, bubbles pop anyway. At long last, the moment you've been hoping for has arrived: you're pitching your screenplay to a producer. Your agent is cautious but you're confident nobody else has concocted a story as outlandish as yours. Your agent gives you the nod and you're off and running: Writer: Two guys start a cryptocurrency as a joke to parody the crypto craze, and they name it KittyCoin. It goes nowhere but then the greatest speculative bubble of all...

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Hey Fed, Explain Again How Making Billionaires Richer Creates Jobs

Despite their hollow bleatings about 'doing all we can to achieve full employment', the Fed's policies has been Kryptonite to employment, labor and the bottom 90%--and most especially to the bottom 50%, the working poor that one might imagine most deserve a leg up. As wealth and income inequality soar to new heights thanks to the Federal Reserve's policies of zero interest rates, money-printing and financial stimulus, the Fed says its goal is to create more jobs. Really? OK, let's look...

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Covid Has Triggered The Next Great Financial Crisis

What's left are the 'fatal synergies' of soaring debt and leverage, diminishing returns on stimulus, the substitution of credit for savings and the coming deflationary tsunami that pops all the speculative bubbles. Imagine a once modest but sturdy home built near a cliff to maximize the vistas. Over the decades, the foundation slowly degraded and the house moved imperceptibly closer to the unstable edge of the cliff. Those who observed the slippage and the potential for eventual disaster...

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Insights into Risk: Taleb and Tyson

Events that devastate the majority financially greatly enrich the few who bet on non-linear dynamics. I see the same question in forums, threads, articles and emails: what can I do to protect myself and my family from whatever lies ahead? Given the uncertainties and extremes that are so evident, recognizing risk is a useful first step, a recognition that is very much out of fashion. If we glance at the charts of margin debt (loans taken against one's stock portfolio) which is at record...

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Which Lifeboat Will You Choose?

I'm sure it's no surprise that the next five years will be risky and challenging; to the degree that we will be reliant on those closest to us, we are sharing a virtual lifeboat. Consider a scenario in which we're on a ship that's sinking, and the lifeboats have been launched. Being some of the last still on board the doomed vessel, we can scan who's in each lifeboat and choose which one we'll clamber into. It's a consequential decision because the currents and weather are already...

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America Is Exceptionally…Kleptocratic: Wealth/Power Inequality and the Slide Into Disorder

The sheer weight of this outlandish asymmetry of wealth and power is pulling the nation into disorder. The U.S. Constitution doesn't address a small elite owning most of the nation's private wealth and using a sliver of that wealth to influence the federal government so their wealth and political power increase in a self-reinforcing feedback: as a result of their campaign contributions and lobbying, the elites' wealth continues expanding, enhancing their political power to further...

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Warning Light Flashing Red

When the warning light is flashing red, it's prudent to have a capital preservation strategy in place. Not everyone has an IRA or 401K invested in the stock market, for those who do, the red warning light is flashing red: markets have reached historic extremes on numerous fronts. Just like in 2000, proponents claim "this time it's different." Back then, the claim was that since the Internet would be growing for decades, dot-com stocks could go to the moon and beyond. The claim the...

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What’s Yours Is Now Mine: America’s Era of Accelerating Expropriation

The takeaway here is obvious: earn as little money as possible and invest your surplus labor in assets that can't be expropriated. Expropriation: dispossessing the populace of property and property rights, via the legal and financial over-reach of monetary and political authorities. All expropriations are pernicious, but the most destructive is the expropriation of labor's value while the excessive gains of unproductive speculation accrue to the elite that owns most of the nation's...

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