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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 Hollowing Out of America

Here is hollowed-out America, an economy of ever-greater financial wealth piling up in the hands of the few while tens of millions of wage-earners can't afford what was available to everyone, even the working class, in previous eras. America is being hollowed out, but since we don't measure what actually matters, the decline has been deep-sixed by the government and media. As I explain in my new book Will You Be Richer or Poorer?, there are a number of reasons why what's important...

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What’s Been Normalized? Nothing Good or Positive

What's been normalized are policies and cultural norms that seek to enrich and protect the few at the expense of the many. When the initially extraordinary fades into the unremarkable background of everyday life, we say it's been normalized. Put another way, we quickly habituate to new conditions, and rationalize our ready acceptance of what was previously unacceptable. Technology offers many examples of extraordinary advances quickly becoming normalized as we habituate to new devices...

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Political and Social Conflict Is Accelerating: Here’s Why

All the status quo "fixes" only hasten the collapse of the status quo. That economic, social and political conflict is accelerating is self-evident. What's open to debate are the core drivers of conflict / disorder /unraveling. Here's the core self-reinforcing dynamic in my view: 1. The status quo elites can no longer mask soaring costs of essentials nor soaring wealth / income inequality between the top .01% (Oligarchs), the top 9.99% who enrich the Oligarchs with their discretionary...

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If Not-QE Is QE, then is Not-a-Blowoff-Top a Blowoff Top?

Can $300 billion, or $600 billion, or even $1 trillion continue to prop up an increasingly risk-riddled, fragile $330 trillion global bubble in overvalued assets? When is "Not-QE" QE? When Federal Reserve Chairperson Jerome Powell declares QE is not QE. We can constructively recall the story that Abraham Lincoln famously recounted in 1862: 'If I should call a sheep's tail a leg, how many legs would it have?' 'No, only four; for my calling the tail a leg would not make it so.' Calling...

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Medicare-for-All “Socialism” Is Just Another Racket

The entire system of health needs to be re-organized from the ground up, and funding the rackets will only speed the collapse of the system. The core problem with "socialist" proposals such as Medicare-for-All is that they don't actually fix what's broken--they just expand existing rackets such as the healthcare/sickcare racket, the higher education racket, and so on. Let's start by separating "real socialism" (state ownership of the means of production) from "faux socialism" (the...

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Corporate America Is an Anti-Social Black Plague: Negative Network Effects Run Amok

The anti-social carnage unleashed by Corporate America's "lock-in" / negative network effects has no real limits. Here's the U.S.economy in a nutshell: Corporate America is an anti-social Black Plague, gorging on cartel-monopoly profits reaped from negative network effects running amok, enriching the few at the expense of the many and concentrating political power in the hands of the most rapacious, anti-democratic corporate sociopaths. Let's start with network effects: the...

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Stock Market Cheerleading: Why Do We Celebrate the Super-Rich Getting Richer?

It's not too difficult to predict a political rebellion against the machinery of soaring wealth and income inequality. The one constant across the media-political spectrum is an unblinking focus on the stock market as a barometer of the national economy: every major media outlet from the New York Times to Fox News prominently displays stock market action, and TV news anchors' expressions reflect the media's emotional promotion of the market as the end all to be all: if stocks rose, the...

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Now That We’ve Incentivized Sociopaths–Guess What Happens Next

As long as central banks create and distribute trillions in conscience-free credit to conscience-free financiers and corporations, the incentives for sociopathy only increase. "Sociopath" is a word we now encounter regularly in the mainstream media, but what does it mean? Here is a list of 16 traits, many of which are visible in lionized corporate and political leaders and entrepreneurs. One key trait is a lack of moral responsibility or conscience; the sociopath feels no remorse if...

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No Recession Ever Again? The Yellowstone Analogy

Just as forestry management's policy of suppressing forest fires insured uncontrollable conflagrations, so central banks' attempts to eliminate recessions insure a financial conflagration that will burn down the entire global financial system. The first task of those at the levers of neoliberal global capitalism is to deny that global capitalism is in crisis. One manifestation of this is the no recession ever again policy that is the implicit goal of central banks and governments...

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The Middle Class Is Now The Muddle Class

The net result is the muddle class has the signifiers but not the wealth, power, capital or agency that once defined the middle class. The first use of the phrase The Muddle Class appears to be The rise of the muddle classes (Becky Pugh, telegraph.co.uk) in January 2007. The "muddle" described the complex nature of defining "the middle class," which includes education, class origins, accents, and many other financial, social and cultural signifiers. Comedian Jason Manford claimed to...

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