[KR840] Keiser Report: Struggle with old enemies of peace

We discuss Japan falling into recession as US businesses are stockpiling at recession era levels. In the second half, Max continues his interview with chartered accountant, tax justice campaigner, professor and definitely NOT Jeremy Corbyn’s paid adviser, Richard Murphy about QE, tax reform and property bubbles.

[KR839] Keiser Report: Balance of Payments Crisis

We discuss the balance of payments crisis on the horizon as share buybacks trump capital expenditure and the income stream from privatized industries heads overseas. In the second half, Max interviews chartered accountant, tax justice campaigner, professor and definitely not Jeremy Corbyn’s paid adviser, Richard Murphy, about a town in Wales going ‘offshore’ as part of a tax campaign to force the government to make multinationals pay their share of taxes.

Why Even a Modest Disruption Will Shatter the Status Quo

Consider this clipping from the August 1932 San Francisco Chronicle newspaper:

“Reduction of salaries of municipal employees and limitation of city positions to only one member of a household will be sought by (Supervisor) Adolph Uhl in two amendments to the San Francisco charter. The salary reductions would run from 2.5% for the lowest bracket to 25% on salaries of $500 a month or more.”

Thanks to the handy BLS Inflation Calculator we know that $500 a month in 1932 is the equivalent of $8,680 per month (about $104,000) a year.

Imagine the tempest of fury and outrage that would arise should this be proposed the next time local governments run short of funding. Nowadays, the calls would not be for sacrifices from the highly paid public servants but for tax increases of 25% to maintain public-servant wages and benefits while the private sector economy implodes.


This unwillingness to sacrifice for the greater good is now endemic. This is the result of two powerful social forces:

1. The loss of any shared sense of purpose or social good worthy of sacrifice.

2. The ascendancy of maximizing private gain by whatever means are available as the primary purpose and goal of the Status Quo.

The dominance of maximizing private gain by whatever means are available leaves the Status Quo brittle and fragile. Since everyone reckons any sacrifice should fall on someone else, the only possible result is disunity and bitter conflict over modest sacrifices that are too inconsequential to save the system from collapse.

Wishful thinking, mindless optimism and blind adherence to failed ideas also make the Status Quo brittle and fragile. As Michael Grant noted in his book The Fall of the Roman Empire:

There was no room at all, in these ways of thinking, for the novel, apocalyptic situation which had now arisen, a situation which needed solutions as radical as itself. (The Status Quo) attitude is a complacent acceptance of things as they are, without a single new idea.

This acceptance was accompanied by greatly excessive optimism about the present and future. Even when the end was only sixty years away, and the Empire was already crumbling fast, Rutilius continued to address the spirit of Rome with the same supreme assurance.

This blind adherence to the ideas of the past ranks high among the principal causes of the downfall of Rome. If you were sufficiently lulled by these traditional fictions, there was no call to take any practical first-aid measures at all.

A dependence on debt, low interest rates and financial legerdemain also render the Status Quo extremely fragile when the debt become unpayable and low interest rates no longer boost additional borrowing.

The wishful thinking is that we can borrow limitless sums and leave the debt burden on our children and grandchildren with no consequences. But once the system is dependent on massive borrowing, it becomes acutely sensitive to default, as consumption collapses once consumers can no longer borrow to consume, and asset bubbles engorged by debt-assets (bonds, student loans, mortgages, subprime auto loans, etc.) burst.

Lest you think this implosion from a modest decline in debt and new borrowing is preposterous, please examine this chart of total credit: that tiny wobble in 2008 very nearly collapsed the entire global financial system.

Any modest reduction in debt, tax revenues, consumption or new borrowing will bring the entire Status Quo crashing down. This is the bitter fruit of rampant financialization and the ascendancy of maximizing private gain by whatever means are available.

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Gold Market Goes Quiet – Do We Hear The Echo Of The Bottom?

Demand for gold is soaring according to the World Gold council’s latest report. The report shows that overall worldwide demand for gold rose by a very significant 33% with the US, Europe, China and Russia all stocking up and pushing demand. Central bankers, lead by Russia, are stocking up aggressively.

With fundamentals like these, why are gold prices not soaring? Crowd psychology might be one reason. Sol Palha of Technical Investor explains.

GoldCore: Year on Year Changes in Gold Demand, by Category
Year-on-Year Changes in Gold Demand, By Category (Source: WGC)

Read more ›

Protesters at Smith College Demand Journalists Swear Loyalty Oath Before Reporting on Them

In yesterday’s post, Not a Safe Space – Canadian University Suspends Yoga Class After Students Become Offended, I explained how those most responsible for the almost inconceivable authoritarian idiocy spreading across college campuses are not the students themselves, but their spineless and inept administrators.

These kids are more or less acting like Wall Street financiers after the bailouts. After the bankers were provided with trillions of dollars in backstops and no one went to jail for destroying the economy, they immediately paid themselves record bonuses a year after the worst of the crisis, and are now once again thieving and pillaging at will.

Why? Because no one is held accountable, the incentives are in place to steal. Similarly, no adults are holding these out of control child-fascists accountable for their despicable behavior. As such, these tyrants-in-training are getting more out of control every day, and getting away with it. Thank you college administrators

Read the rest here.

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Profound Political Disunity Is Now Pitting Rising Elites Against Fading Elites

As I have often noted, historian Michael Grant identified profound political disunity in the ruling class as a key cause of the dissolution of the Roman Empire. Grant described this dynamic in his excellent account The Fall of the Roman Empire, a book I have been recommending since 2009.

The chapter titles of the book provide a precis of the other causes Grant identifies:

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Global Bond Markets: Where Did All the Liquidity Go?

Why does the lack of liquidity in bond markets have many of the world’s top economic opinion-makers worried?  Ben Wright writing in the Telegraph reports on the voices in “the chorus of doom” and explains why the evaporation of this liquidity in the global fixed income market signals “a warning shot across the bow”.

GoldCore: Where has all the liquidity gone?
Where did all the liquidity go? Photo: Ryan Brennecke

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Richard Russell of Dow Theory Letters Passes Away at 91


The financial newsletter business lost one of its greats on November 21st.

Richard Russell, who founded the Dow Theory Letters in 1958 passed away amongst family in his home. Read more ›

Not a Safe Space – Canadian University Suspends Yoga Class After Students Become Offended

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Apparently yoga is no longer a safe space.

When I first saw this headline I dismissed it, thinking it had to be a joke. Unfortunately, the joke’s on us…

Read the rest here.

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Is Santa Poised to Fill Christmas Stockings with Coal?

If container shipping is any reflection of the upcoming Christmas season, Santa is poised to fill the nation’s Christmas stockings with coal. Let’s start by noting that Baltic Dry Index Falls Below 500 for First Time Ever (gcaptain.com) andContainer Freight Rates Plummet 70% In 3 Weeks (Zero Hedge).

Read more ›

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Soaring Global Debt – The Reality Check in Numbers

The fact that global debt is growing throughout the world is widely acknowledged and well documented. However, when faced with the numbers, the magnitude of the problem is still quite shocking to read. An article last week in Washington’s blog gives us a stark and timely reminder of those facts. The volatile geo-political environment we are entering into, coupled with this growth-stifling debt, makes for a dangerous economic combination. Read more ›

Actor Donald Sutherland Confirms Hunger Games is Allegory for the US


Here is a short clip featuring Donald Sutherland, who acted in The Hunger Games movie series, to learn in some detail what he thinks about them. He says flatly, it is an allegory pertaining to the United States, which is just what I wrote about a year ago. Read more ›

A Swiss bank is about to charge customers a negative interest rate!