Monday , December 6 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

The Long Cycles Have All Turned: Look Out Below

But alas, humans do not possess god-like powers, they only possess hubris, and so all bubbles pop: the more extreme the bubble, the more devastating the pop. Long cycles operate at such a glacial pace they're easily dismissed as either figments of fevered imagination or this time it's different. But since Nature and human nature remain stubbornly grounded by the same old dynamics, cycles eventually turn and the world changes dramatically. Nobody thinks the cyclical turn is possible until...

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Why Inflation Is a Runaway Freight Train

The value of these super-abundant follies will trend rapidly to zero once margin calls and other bits of reality drastically reduce demand. Inflation, deflation, stagflation--they've all got proponents. But who's going to be right? The difficulty here is that supply and demand are dynamic and so there are always things going up in price that haven't changed materially (and are therefore not worth the higher cost) and other things dropping in price even though they haven't changed...

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We Don’t Talk About Collapse To Revel In It, We Talk About Collapse to Prevent It

If one possible result of the current system is collapse, realizing the system itself must be changed isn't doom-and-gloom, it's problem-solving. Those of us who discuss collapse are generally dismissed as doom-and-gloomers, the equivalent of people who watch dash-cam videos of vehicle crashes all day, reveling in disaster. Why would we spend so much effort discussing collapse if we didn't long for it? Those dismissing us all as doom-and-gloomers hoping for collapse have it backward:...

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Two Things to be Thankful For

Now on to the good things to eat--yowzah! Giving thanks for bits of beauty and good things to eat. Wishing you a multitude of both. As you'll see from this selection of recent photos, I find good things to eat beautiful. But let's start with a fiery sort of beauty: And a Pacific sort of beauty: Now on to the good things to eat--yowzah! First the sweetbread dough has to rise... Don't let the dessert cart on the Titanic go by.... Colors most amazing.... And whatever else happens, if we...

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When Risk and Opportunity Become Personal

The opportunity to lower our exposure to risk is always present in some fashion, but embracing this opportunity becomes critical when precarity and change-points rise like restless seas. The Chinese characters that comprise the equivalent of "crisis" are famously--and incorrectly-- translated as "danger" and "opportunity." This mis-translation has reached the peculiar prominence of being repeated often enough to be taken as accurate, but according to Wikipedia and other sources, the...

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When Everything Is Artifice and PR, Collapse Beckons

The notion that consequence can be as easily managed as PR is the ultimate artifice and the ultimate delusion. The consequences of the drip-drip-drip of moral decay is difficult to discern in day-to-day life. It's easy to dismiss the ubiquity of artifice, PR, spin, corruption, racketeering, fraud, collusion and narrative manipulation (a.k.a. propaganda) as nothing more than human nature, but this dismissal of moral decay is nothing more than rationalizing the rot to protect insiders from...

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I’m Looking for Ten Readers Willing to Pony Up $1 for the Crazy-Valuable Content Here

I only rattle the begging bowl once a calendar year, and this is it. Beneath the Photoshopped complacency, the level of uncertainty about the future is pegged to 11 (recall that 10 is the conventional max on the guitar amp volume knob). It's times like this when the crazy-valuable content on Of Two Minds becomes even more crazy-valuable. Yes, many people reckon it's simply crazy, but look how many times what was dismissed as crazy by the mainstream turns out to be right. For example,...

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The Fed’s Moral Hazard Monster Is About to Lay Waste to “Wealth”

If the Fed set out to destroy the financial system, they're very close to finishing the job. If you set out to destroy markets and the financial system, your most important weapon is moral hazard, the disconnection of risk and consequence. You disconnect risk from consequence by rewarding those making the riskiest bets and bailing out gamblers whose bets went bad. You reward those making the riskiest bets by pushing markets higher regardless of any other factors. Nothing matters except...

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Top 1% Gains More Wealth Than the Combined GDPs of Japan, Germany, UK, France, India and Italy, Bottom 50%–You Get Nothing

Given that political power in America is a pay-to-play auction in which the highest bidder wins, how this incomprehensibly lopsided ownership of wealth plays out is an open question. Wealth inequality easily falls into an abstraction unless we contextualize it in meaningful ways. I've annotated two St. Louis Federal Reserve (FRED) charts--the net worth of America's top 1% and the net worth of America's bottom 50% of households, roughly 66 million households--to show their net worth and...

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Paging Isaac Newton: Time to Buy the Top of This Bubble

Despite Newton's tremendous intelligence and experience, he fell victim to the bubble along with the vast herd of credulous greedy punters. One of the most famous examples of smart people being sucked into a bubble and losing a packet as a result is Isaac Newton's forays in and out of the 1720 South Seas Bubble that is estimated to have sucked in between 80% and 90% of the entire pool of investors in England. Some have claimed that Newton did not buy early in 1711, sell in April 1720...

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