Friday, January 22, 2021

How the Fed Fails

The Fed has a binary choice: preserve America's global hegemony or further enrich the billionaires. You can't have both.

The Fed will fail as a result of two dynamics: diminishing returns and the U.S. dollar's role as a global reserve currency. The Fed's reign as the godhead of financier-banker supremacy has been fun and games for the past 12 years of stock market euphoria, but that's about to change.

All those expecting the Fed to sink the USD to near-zero to "save the stock market" don't seem to realize that they're also expecting the U.S. to surrender its global hegemony, which rests entirely on the U.S. dollar. The USD is the world's dominant reserve currency--please examine the chart below. The USD dwarfs the next largest reserve currency, the euro. The Chinese yuan--due to its peg to the USD, essentially a proxy for the USD--is a tiny sliver of global reserves.

The owner of a reserve currency can create "money" out of thin air and trade it for autos, oil, semiconductors--real-world goods that were not created out of thin air. All these real-world goods required tremendous investment and significant costs to be produced and transported.

No wonder trading something for nothing--a remarkably good deal--is termed an exorbitant privilege.

It is not an exaggeration to say that the ability to create "money" out of thin air and trade it for real-world goods is the foundation of America's global power. If the Fed prints USD to near-infinity and the USD loses value relative other reserve currencies, the U.S. loses its exorbitant privilege of trading "money" created out of thin air for real-world goods.

So everyone expecting the Fed to "print" the USD to zero is claiming the Fed is consciously choosing to lay waste to the foundation of American power--just to boost Big Tech Robber Barons and zombie global stock markets.

Recall that the Fed is not the Empire, it is the handmaiden of the Empire. The Fed's dual mandate-- for PR purposes, stable employment and prices--is actually balancing the conflicting demands of a global and domestic currency--Triffin's Paradox writ large.

The inherent problem with a reserve currency is that it must meet global economic needs and domestic needs, and these are intrinsically in conflict. America's billionaires and pension funds want the US stock market to loft higher on the back of a declining USD, but that diminishes the global purchasing power of the USD--a trend spiraling down to economic ruin.

The Fed's balancing act has run out of runway. It's either destroy American hegemony by crushing the USD or secure hegemony and let the stock market function as a "market" rather than as a device to further enrich the top .01%. (Recall that "nearly half of the new income generated since the global financial crisis of 2008 has gone to the wealthiest one percent of U.S. citizens. The richest three Americans collectively have more wealth than the poorest 160 million Americans." The Dangerously Diminishing Returns on Monetary and Fiscal Stimulus)

As for diminishing returns: consider what the Fed "bought" by handing $1 trillion to financiers, banks and billionaires in 2008-09 and what it "bought" with $3 trillion last March. The Fed's balance sheet shot up from $925 billion on 9/9/08 to $2.08 trillion on 9/9/09-- an injection of $1.16 trillion to "save" the global financial system (and the U.S. stock and debt markets) from complete meltdown.

The Fed continued goosing markets higher, adding another $1 trillion by 2013 (balance sheet $2.96 trillion). So the Fed "bought" a five-year rally in global risk assets--a rally that sent wealth and income inequality into orbit--for a mere $2 trillion.

Last year the Fed had to print over $3 trillion in three months to "save the markets" from a reckoning with reality. Take a quick look at the chart below. Notice how the Fed's "saves" are tracking a near-parabolic curve. So will the next "save" require $5 trillion, or will it be $7 trillion? And what are the consequences for such insanity on the U.S. dollar's global hegemony?

So the Fed has a binary choice: preserve America's global hegemony or further enrich the billionaires. You can't have both. Hegemony requires a currency that's increasing its value relative to other currencies, not plummeting to near-zero.

If the Fed chooses to further enrich the billionaires and top .01%, then the skyrocketing wealth-income inequality will unravel the domestic social and political orders. There is no way that will be a "win" for the Fed, as the resulting backlash against the Fed's stripmining the nation to enrich the top .01% will have consequences for the Fed as well as the nation.

So the Fed will fail. If it spews endless trillions to further enrich the billionaires it will destroy the exorbitant privilege of the reserve currency and the global hegemony that privilege enables. If it preserves global dollar hegemony by not spewing endless trillions, global stock and debt markets will experience the equivalent of a financial tsunami, earthquake and hurricane hitting all at the same time.

It's either/or--there is no win-win. Choose wisely, Fed.





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Recent Podcasts:

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A Hacker's Teleology: Sharing the Wealth of Our Shrinking Planet (Kindle $8.95, print $20, audiobook $17.46) Read the first section for free (PDF).

Will You Be Richer or Poorer?: Profit, Power, and AI in a Traumatized World
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Pathfinding our Destiny: Preventing the Final Fall of Our Democratic Republic ($5 (Kindle), $10 (print), ( audiobook): Read the first section for free (PDF).

The Adventures of the Consulting Philosopher: The Disappearance of Drake $1.29 (Kindle), $8.95 (print); read the first chapters for free (PDF)

Money and Work Unchained $6.95 (Kindle), $15 (print) Read the first section for free (PDF).



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Wednesday, January 20, 2021

The Dangerously Diminishing Returns on Monetary and Fiscal Stimulus

Allow me to translate the risible claims of Jay Powell and Janet Yellen that their stimulus policies haven't boosted wealth inequality to the moon: "Let them eat cake."

The euphoria of ever greater monetary and fiscal stimulus overlooks the diminishing returns and higher risks generated by near-exponential increases in stimulus. I prepared a chart that graphically displays the extraordinary increases in stimulus and the declining results in the primary goals of economic policy: broad-based opportunity to get ahead and reducing systemically destabilizing wealth inequality.

Looking back on this era, the fatal irony that all this stimulus has rocket-boosted wealth and income inequality while gutting the bottom 90% will be glaringly obvious. It's actually glaringly obvious right now to those not blinded by euphoria. Consider this excerpt from the current issue of Foreign Affairs magazine, an article entitled Monopoly Versus Democracy (paywalled):

Like their forebears in the early twentieth century, today's Americans have experienced decades of growing inequality and increasing concentrations of wealth and power. The last decade alone witnessed nearly 500,000 corporate mergers worldwide. Ten percent of Americans now control 97 percent of all capital income in the country. Nearly half of the new income generated since the global financial crisis of 2008 has gone to the wealthiest one percent of U.S. citizens. The richest three Americans collectively have more wealth than the poorest 160 million Americans. (Editor's note: emphasis added.)

In most industries, a few companies control the field, dictating terms, squeezing out competitors, and using differential pricing to extract cash and power. Three companies control digital advertising, four companies dominate beef packing, and an ever-shrinking number own the country's hospitals.


While RobinHood stock traders may reckon their hot hand will boost them into the ranks of millionaires, it would take trillions of dollars of gains to even move the needle of our immense inequalities of capital and income: the top 10% skim 97% of capital income and own about 90% of all capital.

The ugly truth is all the monetary and fiscal stimulus of the past decade has only served to boost wealth and income inequality and reduce opportunity to gain a foothold in the New Gilded Age. In terms of offering those in the bottom 50% a stake in all this ballooning wealth, monetary and fiscal stimulus has failed completely: The richest three Americans collectively have more wealth than the poorest 160 million Americans.

The euphoric faithful also overlook the systemic risks created by exponential increases in stimulus that overwhelmingly benefit only the top 10%, top 1% and most especially the top .01%. The exponentially asymmetric benefits of ever greater stimulus generate social disorder that eventually breaks down the entire social order, while the exponential increases in debt, leverage and speculation increase the risks of a systemic financial collapse.

Allow me to translate the risible claims of Jay Powell and Janet Yellen that their stimulus policies haven't boosted wealth inequality to the moon: Let them eat cake. And we all know how that worked out.



If you found value in this content, please join me in seeking solutions by becoming a $1/month patron of my work via patreon.com.

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The Story Behind the Book and the Introduction.



Recent Podcasts:

Salon #35: The problem is that nobody knows what "Kuleana" means (58 minutes)


My COVID-19 Pandemic Posts


My recent books:

A Hacker's Teleology: Sharing the Wealth of Our Shrinking Planet (Kindle $8.95, print $20, audiobook $17.46) Read the first section for free (PDF).

Will You Be Richer or Poorer?: Profit, Power, and AI in a Traumatized World
(Kindle $5, print $10, audiobook) Read the first section for free (PDF).

Pathfinding our Destiny: Preventing the Final Fall of Our Democratic Republic ($5 (Kindle), $10 (print), ( audiobook): Read the first section for free (PDF).

The Adventures of the Consulting Philosopher: The Disappearance of Drake $1.29 (Kindle), $8.95 (print); read the first chapters for free (PDF)

Money and Work Unchained $6.95 (Kindle), $15 (print) Read the first section for free (PDF).



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Monday, January 18, 2021

A Few Notes on Deflation/Inflation

The consensus is that asset inflation is unstoppable and forever. History begs to differ.

Not unsurprisingly, people want a binary option: do we get deflation or inflation? Unfortunately, reality is messy.

Broadly speaking, globalization is deflationary as capital seeks the lowest cost labor, parts and materials, the least stringent environmental standards and the most corrupt governance to maximize profits by any means available (in this case, exploitation and corruption).

Wages lose purchasing power as every labor force competes with the cheapest available pool of global labor, and domestic companies must lower prices or face obliteration by the global corporations.

Broadly speaking, financialization is inflationary as the costs of services increase as financialization enables monopolies and cartels to dominate entire sectors. Once they control the sector, they increase prices while lowering quality to maximize profits by any means available (in this case, monopoly, cartels and political corruption). As the profits gush in, corporate monopolies and cartels can "invest in corruption" by using a sliver of their profits to buy political favors and protection.

Financialization lowers the cost of credit to corporations and financiers, giving the largest entities an unmatchable competitive advantage: they can borrow immense sums at near-zero cost and use this money (or newly issued stock) to buy competitors, insuring their monopoly won't be challenged by either regulations (since politicos and bureaucrats have been bought off) or competitors (all bought out with "free money".)

While many hold that inflation is always a monetary phenomenon, real-world scarcities are also inflationary. If you were waiting in a long line at a gas station in 1973, hoping to get a tank of gas at only double the price of a month earlier, you'll know that scarcity is absolutely marvelous at sending price soaring regardless of what's happening with the money supply.

So inflation can be driven by either or both monetary and scarcity dynamics.

Enter the pandemic. Needless to say, restrictions in travel and gatherings are deflationary in travel-leisure-dining sectors as airlines lower prices to compete for a shrinking pool of passengers and surviving restaurants suppress prices to attract scarce customers.

As millions of workers lose their jobs and depend on unemployment, the insecurity of future income weighs on overall consumption.

Lowering the cost of credit does little for these sectors while rocket-boosting speculation and financialization. The monetary "solution" to deflation is always the same: lower interest rates to zero and flood the financial sector with unlimited liquidity. The resulting stock market bubble and corporate orgy of borrowing and stock issuance are predictable results of unfettered, near-infinite financialization.

But lowering the cost of credit and incentivizing monopolies and cartels to expand their control doesn't actually help the economy. Enabling rapacious monopolies and cartels is systemically inflationary, while lowering the cost and availability of credit also increases the attractiveness of automation as a means of lowering labor costs, a dynamic that is deflationary as lower wages equals lower consumption.

The reality is relatively few gig economy workers earn a middle-class income working 40 hours a week. The large-scale reduction of wage and benefit security--i.e. the transition to a precariat work force--is highly deflationary in terms of wages and consumption, as precariats cannot count on future earnings being reliable or sufficient.

The political "solution" is Universal Basic Income (UBI) as a means of supporting consumption. But supporting the consumption of essentials doesn't magically incentivize innovation or the expansion of capacity and real-world production.

Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve will continue giving unlimited "free money" to corporations and financiers to increase the concentration of financial and political power in the hands of the few at the expense of the many. This fuels the dominance of corporations and financiers and increases the risks of monetary over-reach, which introduces the potential for a non-linear sudden and unpredictable explosion of monetary-driven inflation.

All of this sets the stage for both monetary and scarcity inflation. Monopolies and cartels are free to exploit their stranglehold on the nation by jacking up prices and reducing quality (while the bought-and-paid-for political class theatrically wrings their hands while skimming millions in campaign contributions). This is rabidly inflationary.

Since there are few incentives to expand real-world capacity and production, this sets the stage for scarcities in essentials and non-essentials alike. With Peak Globalization in the rearview mirror, the deflationary forces of globalization are ebbing.

The fly in the ointment is speculative bubbles always pop. All the inflation in the system has flowed into excessive speculation, which has inflated unprecedented bubbles across most asset classes. When these all pop, the results are deflationary as the wealth effect reverses and over-leveraged corporations default and/or go bankrupt.

I marked up this chart of the S&P 500 about a year ago, and since then the market crashed and then soared to new highs (SPX 3,826). The basic message here is extremes get more extreme until the rocket runs out of fuel--something the consensus now claims is "impossible." The consensus is that asset inflation is unstoppable and forever. History begs to differ.



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The Story Behind the Book and the Introduction.



Recent Podcasts:

Salon #35: The problem is that nobody knows what "Kuleana" means (58 minutes)


My COVID-19 Pandemic Posts


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A Hacker's Teleology: Sharing the Wealth of Our Shrinking Planet (Kindle $8.95, print $20, audiobook $17.46) Read the first section for free (PDF).

Will You Be Richer or Poorer?: Profit, Power, and AI in a Traumatized World
(Kindle $5, print $10, audiobook) Read the first section for free (PDF).

Pathfinding our Destiny: Preventing the Final Fall of Our Democratic Republic ($5 (Kindle), $10 (print), ( audiobook): Read the first section for free (PDF).

The Adventures of the Consulting Philosopher: The Disappearance of Drake $1.29 (Kindle), $8.95 (print); read the first chapters for free (PDF)

Money and Work Unchained $6.95 (Kindle), $15 (print) Read the first section for free (PDF).



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Friday, January 15, 2021

Designed To Fail, Failure Guaranteed

Yet it still comes as a great surprise to everyone when 'doing more of what's failed spectacularly' ends up collapsing the whole rotten structure.

Systems and nations are designed to fail without anyone even noticing: nobody set out to design the current broken system to fail at critical points, but now failure can't be avoided because the incentive structure has locked in embedded processes that enrich self-serving cartels and insiders at the expense of the nation and its populace.

Nobody chose America's insanely perverse healthcare system--it arose from a set of initial conditions that generated perverse incentives to do more of what's failing and protect the processes that benefit cartels and insiders at the expense of everyone else.

In other words, the system that was intended to benefit all ends up benefiting the few at the expense of the many.

The same question can be asked of America's broken higher education system: would any sane person choose a system that enriches insiders by indenturing students via massive student loans (i.e. forcing them to become debt serfs)?

Students and their parents certainly wouldn't choose the current broken system, but the lenders reaping billions of dollars in profits would choose to keep it, and so would the under-assistant deans earning a cool $200K+ for "administering" some embedded process that has effectively nothing to do with actual learning.

The academic ronin a.k.a. adjuncts earning $35,000 a year (with little in the way of benefits or security) for doing much of the actual teaching wouldn't choose the current broken system, either.

Now that the embedded processes are generating profits and wages, everyone benefiting from these processes will fight to the death to retain and expand them, even if they threaten the system with financial collapse and harm the people who the system was intended to serve.

How many student loan lenders and assistant deans resign in disgust at the parasitic system that higher education has become? The number of insiders who refuse to participate any longer is signal noise, while the number who plod along, either denying their complicity in a parasitic system of debt servitude and largely worthless diplomas (i.e. the system is failing the students it is supposedly educating at enormous expense) or rationalizing it is legion.

If I was raking in $200,000 annually from a system I knew was parasitic and counter-productive, I would find reasons to keep my head down and just "do my job," too.

At some point, the embedded processes become so odious and burdensome that those actually providing the services start bailing out of the broken system. We're seeing this in the number of doctors and nurses who retire early or simply quit to do something less stressful and more rewarding.

These embedded processes strip away autonomy, equating compliance with effectiveness even as the processes become increasingly counter-productive and wasteful. The typical mortgage documents package is now a half-inch thick, a stack of legal disclaimers and stipulations that no home buyer actually understands (unless they happen to be a real estate attorney).

How much value is actually added by these ever-expanding embedded processes?

By the time the teacher, professor or doctor complies with the curriculum / "standards of care", there's little room left for actually doing their job. But behind the scenes, armies of well-paid administrators will fight to the death to keep the processes as they are, no matter how destructive to the system as a whole.

This is how systems and the nations that depend on them fail. Meds skyrocket in price, student loans top $1 trillion, F-35 fighter aircraft are double the initial cost estimates and so on, and the insider solutions are always the same: just borrow another trillion to keep the broken system afloat for another quarter.

Yet it still comes as a great surprise to everyone when doing more of what's failed spectacularly ends up collapsing the whole rotten structure.

Consider a spacecraft as a metaphor for a system which is designed not to fail but that can fail anyway. There are two basic ways the spacecraft can fail: a single essential component can fail, or a single failure can trigger a domino-like cascade which leads to the entire craft failing.

If the craft's single oxygen tank ruptures, the crew dies. 99% of the spacecraft is still working perfectly, but the system failed in its primary purpose: keeping the crew alive.

If an electrical failure causes a cascade of subsystem failures, you end up with the same result: a powerless craft and a dead crew.

But 99% of the system is working just fine is little solace to the expired crew.



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My new book is available! A Hacker's Teleology: Sharing the Wealth of Our Shrinking Planet 20% and 15% discounts (Kindle $7, print $17, audiobook now available $17.46)

Read excerpts of the book for free (PDF).

The Story Behind the Book and the Introduction.



Recent Podcasts:

Salon #35: The problem is that nobody knows what "Kuleana" means (58 minutes)


My COVID-19 Pandemic Posts


My recent books:

A Hacker's Teleology: Sharing the Wealth of Our Shrinking Planet (Kindle $8.95, print $20, audiobook $17.46) Read the first section for free (PDF).

Will You Be Richer or Poorer?: Profit, Power, and AI in a Traumatized World
(Kindle $5, print $10, audiobook) Read the first section for free (PDF).

Pathfinding our Destiny: Preventing the Final Fall of Our Democratic Republic ($5 (Kindle), $10 (print), ( audiobook): Read the first section for free (PDF).

The Adventures of the Consulting Philosopher: The Disappearance of Drake $1.29 (Kindle), $8.95 (print); read the first chapters for free (PDF)

Money and Work Unchained $6.95 (Kindle), $15 (print) Read the first section for free (PDF).



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Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Is 2021 an Echo of 1641?

If you don't discern any of these dynamics in the present, what are you choosing not to see?

The reason why history rhymes is that humanity is still using Wetware 1.0 and so humans respond to scarcity, abundance and conflicts over them in the same manner.

I am struck by similarities between the conflict-torn mid-1600s and the present: global climate change (The Little Ice Age in the 1600s), political upheavals and wars which intertwined civil and imperial conflicts. Global Crisis: War, Climate Change and Catastrophe in the 17th Century is a fascinating overview of this complex era which disrupted regimes and empires from England to China.

Climate change (The Little Ice Age) generated scarcities of grain in a time of burgeoning human populations. As in the present day, everyone assumed ample harvests would continue forever--expanding abundance is the New Normal. Alas, Nature is not a steady-state system and cycles are not tamed by our desire for ever-expanding abundance.

Humans respond to scarcity by assessing who's getting the biggest pieces of the shrinking pie. When hunger begets desperation, various dynamics are set into motion as those without agency and capital, i.e. political and financial power do whatever they can to get enough to survive while those holding the majority of political and financial power, jockey to maintain or expand their power.

These dynamics are fluid and prone to non-linear flows in which relatively small actions unleash enormous consequences that are not predictable. If we squint, however, we can discern some repeating patterns in this chaotic swirl:

1. Private owners of capital (i.e. elites) seek to influence the state to protect / expand their holdings.

2. The dispossessed / disenfranchised masses seek redress / succor from the state.

3. The geopolitical balance of power becomes increasingly precarious as competition for control of resources and political power heats up.

4. The state's resources are diminished by famine, decline of trade, etc. as pressures from geopolitical rivals, elites and the masses are spiking, reducing the state's ability to respond to the multiple challenges / overlapping crises.

5. The overlapping crises reveal and exploit the weaknesses in the political, social and economic structures, and in the competing elites.

6. Leaders concentrate centralized power in the hands of the few as a coping strategy by reducing the influence of broad-based councils, assemblies, etc. This concentration of power at the expense of the many (including lower-level elites who were accustomed to holding some consequential power) increases resistance of those being cut out of the decision-making and increases the odds of catastrophic errors of judgment in the few at the top.

7. As the state falters or divides into warring factions, the most powerful elites take control of resources and power from the state, both as a defensive measure and as a means of exploiting the crisis to their own advantage.

8. Populist leaders arise demanding a fairer distribution of resources and power. The more repressed the masses, the greater the disorder created by this emergence of long-silenced voices.

9. Each node seeking to defend or expand its share of resources and power projects and amplifies persuasive rhetoric, symbols and beliefs to unify its supporters around deeply held values and aspirations.

10. With so many loyalties in play--local, regional, linguistic, political, social, religious and economic--each node / faction seeks to decisively cement loyalties by establishing all-or-nothing hard lines via ideologically "pure" rhetoric that demonizes competing factions, effectively dividing the populace into us-and-them camps that leave little middle ground for compromise or negotiation.

11. In this fevered competition for loyalty and trustworthy followers willing to sacrifice for the faction, leaders view every advance as evidence that compromise is unnecessary as total victory awaits the next "win."

12. Given the grievous losses and potentially devastating consequences of competing factions gaining ground, the victors of each battle hasten to take revenge on the losing faction, laying waste and inflicting cruelties that harden the hearts of the surviving losers and inciting their own determination to exact a full measure of revenge when fortunes turn their way.

13. Only when the land, people and treasure are all exhausted does the promise of total victory fade, and the factions seek some negotiated settlement that leaves whatever power they still have intact lest they lose everything.

14. The eventual settlement could have been reached in the initial stages of disorder, but the leaders of the factions were too myopic, too confident in their own judgment and power, too greedy for more and too hubris-soaked to appreciate their own weaknesses and the immense pitfalls ahead.

If you don't discern any of these dynamics in the present, what are you choosing not to see?



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Read excerpts of the book for free (PDF).

The Story Behind the Book and the Introduction.



Recent Podcasts:

https://youtu.be/9XRUyTGcBVM Jay Taylor: The Fourth Estate's Role in Thrusting America into Fascism (27 minutes)


My COVID-19 Pandemic Posts


My recent books:

A Hacker's Teleology: Sharing the Wealth of Our Shrinking Planet (Kindle $8.95, print $20, audiobook $17.46) Read the first section for free (PDF).

Will You Be Richer or Poorer?: Profit, Power, and AI in a Traumatized World
(Kindle $5, print $10, audiobook) Read the first section for free (PDF).

Pathfinding our Destiny: Preventing the Final Fall of Our Democratic Republic ($5 (Kindle), $10 (print), ( audiobook): Read the first section for free (PDF).

The Adventures of the Consulting Philosopher: The Disappearance of Drake $1.29 (Kindle), $8.95 (print); read the first chapters for free (PDF)

Money and Work Unchained $6.95 (Kindle), $15 (print) Read the first section for free (PDF).



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Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Five "Interesting" Financial Tidbits

Is that a red flashing light on the control panel of "the man behind the curtain"?

Among the many "interesting" (a safe word to use in perilous times) signs and portents swirling around us, here are five financial tidbits "of interest." What do they mean? The answer is of course nothing. There are many "interesting" things with no discernible meaning. Being "interesting" is enough.

1. 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 the Internet would continue growing was sound, but the prediction that this growth would drive stock valuations into a never-ending bubble was unsound.

Once again we hear reasonable-sounding claims being used to support predictions of a never-ending rise in stock valuations. Some observers find this "interesting."

2. Similarity in 2000/2021 stock charts. Technical analyst Sven Henrich posted charts of Cisco Systems in early 2000 and Tesla in early 2021: Clear and Present Danger. The similarity is, well, "interesting."

3. Similarity in 2000/2021 NASDAQ volume spikes. Technical analyst Tom McClellan posted a chart of NASDAQ volume in a ratio with New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) volume. Extreme Point for Nasdaq Volume. Notice the recent spike into dot-com era territory. Hmm, "interesting."

4. Financial assets as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) hit an all-time extreme. Note that in the "Glorious Thirty" postwar years (1946-1975) of broad-based prosperity, financial assets were around three times GDP. Now financial assets are over six time the GDP.

This ratio increased with every one of the three bubbles since the mid-1990s: the dot-com bubble in 1999-2000, the Global Financial Meltdown in 2008-09 and now the bubble of 2020-21. That financial assets are now six times the size of the "real economy" (GDP) is an "interesting" data point

5. Despite assurances that "this time it's different," all speculative bubbles pop because they are based in human emotions. We attempt to rationalize the bubble by invoking the real world, but bubbles are manifestations of human emotions and the feedback of being in a herd of social animals. I'm not sure if this even qualifies as "interesting" or not; perhaps it's too "obvious" to be "interesting."

Is that a red flashing light on the control panel of the man behind the curtain? Probably nothing, pay no attention....





If you found value in this content, please join me in seeking solutions by becoming a $1/month patron of my work via patreon.com.

My new book is available! A Hacker's Teleology: Sharing the Wealth of Our Shrinking Planet 20% and 15% discounts (Kindle $7, print $17, audiobook now available $17.46)

Read excerpts of the book for free (PDF).

The Story Behind the Book and the Introduction.



Recent Podcasts:

https://youtu.be/9XRUyTGcBVM Jay Taylor: The Fourth Estate's Role in Thrusting America into Fascism (27 minutes)


My COVID-19 Pandemic Posts


My recent books:

A Hacker's Teleology: Sharing the Wealth of Our Shrinking Planet (Kindle $8.95, print $20, audiobook $17.46) Read the first section for free (PDF).

Will You Be Richer or Poorer?: Profit, Power, and AI in a Traumatized World
(Kindle $5, print $10, audiobook) Read the first section for free (PDF).

Pathfinding our Destiny: Preventing the Final Fall of Our Democratic Republic ($5 (Kindle), $10 (print), ( audiobook): Read the first section for free (PDF).

The Adventures of the Consulting Philosopher: The Disappearance of Drake $1.29 (Kindle), $8.95 (print); read the first chapters for free (PDF)

Money and Work Unchained $6.95 (Kindle), $15 (print) Read the first section for free (PDF).



Become a $1/month patron of my work via patreon.com.




NOTE: Contributions/subscriptions are acknowledged in the order received. Your name and email remain confidential and will not be given to any other individual, company or agency.

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Sunday, January 10, 2021

2021: If It Wasn't For Bad Luck, We Wouldn't Have No Luck At All

If we have indeed begun a sustained "reversal of fortune", it might be prudent to consider the possibility we're only in the first inning of a sustained run of back luck.

In our self-deluded hubris, we reckon we've moved beyond the influence of fortune, a.k.a. Lady Luck: our technologies are so powerful and our monetary policies so godlike that nothing as random as luck could ever crush our limitless expansion.

Thus does hubris beg for a comeuppance: the greater the hubris, the greater the reversal of fortune, the greater the confidence in our godlike powers, the greater the collapse of our prideful faith in technology and economic policies.

So we've enshrined our hubris-soaked happy story: the virus will naturally weaken, vaccines will conquer the Covid virus in short order, and by opening the monetary spigots and flooding the global economy with trillions in newly created currencies, we'll unleash the greatest boom in history, because it's so righteously "green."

We seem to have forgotten that to elicit a laugh, tell God your plans. We confused a sustained run of good fortune with godlike powers that are impervious to mere luck.

Unfortunately for all the true believers in our vaunted technology and human agencies, luck still matters, and after 50+ years of under-appreciated, fabulously good fortune, we're in the first at-bat of a sustained reversal of fortune, for as noted here many times, the way of the Tao is reversal: good luck doesn't last forever, nor is it some birthright of technologically advanced civilizations.

Are we ill-prepared for seven lean years of increasingly bad luck? Absolutely. Whatever technology can't resolve, trillions in newly issued currency will: either the magic of technology will work miracles, or the magic of limitless free money will work whatever miracles are left after technology wipes up the spot of bother.

If you wanted to script an unprecedented collapse of faith in the false gods of technology and money-printing, you'd outline exactly what transpired in 2020: a reckless dismissal of the pandemic followed by a monumental financial crash that opened the floodgates of free money, which triggered a massive "recovery" rally in risk assets, driving gamblers' confidence to new heights of fantasy.

All hail our new secular gods, the Federal Reserve, the most powerful force in the Universe!

Then you'd release miraculous vaccines that promised a permanent resolution to the pandemic and a measured return to the carefree pre-pandemic orgy of debt-based consumption. (Never mind the doubts of some experts about the vaccine protocols: Covid-19 Vaccine Protocols Reveal That Trials Are Designed To Succeed (Forbes.com) by William A. Haseltine)

Then you'd script the opening inning of the tragi-comedy unfolding in 2021: rather than fading as so many were pleased to confidently predict, the Covid virus has made remarkable gains in function, becoming more contagious and more elusive as multiple variants emerge globally.

Rather than conquering the virus, we're unable to even keep pace. The variant ravaging Britain was finally identified in late December, and subsequent sequencing of previously collected samples indicates that it emerged (or arrived) in September. In the meantime, this variant (and other mutations with similar characteristics) have spread around the world with business travelers, tourists, etc. One or more of these variants may reduce the efficacy of the much-hyped vaccines. It's all in this report from the New York Times:

As Coronavirus Mutates, the World Stumbles Again to Respond (New York Times)

Everything that was supposed to work smoothly due to our oh-so-advanced technological and administrative prowess in now either in doubt or in shambles. Consider the potential for less than 95% efficacy in the vaccines due to the interactions and mutually reinforcing dynamics of 1) vaccine hesitancy in those who understand the conventional processes of testing vaccines best, i.e. healthcare professionals; 2) the potential for consequential numbers of those who receive the first shot of vaccine failing to come back for the second shot due to unpleasant experiences after the first shot or other conditions such as being overworked, evicted, etc., and 3) variants further reducing the efficacy of the vaccines in unpredictable ways.

So let's say the efficacy drops from the promised 95% to 65%. Are you in the 2/3 camp who are protected by the vaccine from serious illness (though you may be a carrier and infect others, a possibility that was not tested by the trials protocols), or are you in the 1/3 camp who for whatever reason is no longer protected by the vaccine?

Since we're chasing a fast-mutating virus, there may not be a fast, accurate way to identify who's fully protected and who isn't. Since this may be unknowable, everyone will have to continue the behavioral methods of limiting exposure and transmission of the virus. In which case the vaccines will have accomplished very little in terms of returning the world to the pre-pandemic glory days of 2019.

If we have indeed begun a sustained reversal of fortune, it might be prudent to consider the possibility we're only in the first inning of a sustained run of back luck. We might want to consider learning a new theme song for 2021, Albert King's Born Under a Bad Sign (composed by Booker T. Jones and William Bell): "If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all."

The cycles of human history are amenable to a reversal of fortune: please consider historian Peter Turchin's three indicators of systemic disorder: check, check and check.

Suppressing discussions about the potentially lavish banquet of consequences set by a reversal of fortune won't actually change the outcome of the next eight innings, it will only serve to increase the odds of catastrophically consequential decisions being made by those at the top of the hubris-heap.



If you found value in this content, please join me in seeking solutions by becoming a $1/month patron of my work via patreon.com.

My new book is available! A Hacker's Teleology: Sharing the Wealth of Our Shrinking Planet 20% and 15% discounts (Kindle $7, print $17, audiobook now available $17.46)

Read excerpts of the book for free (PDF).

The Story Behind the Book and the Introduction.



Recent Podcasts:

https://youtu.be/9XRUyTGcBVM Jay Taylor: The Fourth Estate's Role in Thrusting America into Fascism (27 minutes)


My COVID-19 Pandemic Posts


My recent books:

A Hacker's Teleology: Sharing the Wealth of Our Shrinking Planet (Kindle $8.95, print $20, audiobook $17.46) Read the first section for free (PDF).

Will You Be Richer or Poorer?: Profit, Power, and AI in a Traumatized World
(Kindle $5, print $10, audiobook) Read the first section for free (PDF).

Pathfinding our Destiny: Preventing the Final Fall of Our Democratic Republic ($5 (Kindle), $10 (print), ( audiobook): Read the first section for free (PDF).

The Adventures of the Consulting Philosopher: The Disappearance of Drake $1.29 (Kindle), $8.95 (print); read the first chapters for free (PDF)

Money and Work Unchained $6.95 (Kindle), $15 (print) Read the first section for free (PDF).



Become a $1/month patron of my work via patreon.com.




NOTE: Contributions/subscriptions are acknowledged in the order received. Your name and email remain confidential and will not be given to any other individual, company or agency.

Thank you, Gregory H. ($50), for another marvelously generous contribution to this site -- I am greatly honored by your support and readership.

 

Thank you, Gary M. ($5/month), for your superbly generous pledge to this site -- I am greatly honored by your support and readership.

Read more...

Thursday, January 07, 2021

The Tyranny Nobody Talks About

All the tricks to hide our unaffordable cost structure have reached marginal returns. Reality is about to intrude.

There is much talk of tyranny in the political realm, but little is said about the tyrannies in the economic realm, a primary one being the tyranny of high costs: high costs crush the economy from within and enslave those attempting to start enterprises or keep their businesses afloat.

Traditionally, costs are broken down into fixed costs such as rent and fees which don't change regardless of whether business is good or bad, and operating costs such as payrolls, fuel, etc. which rise and fall with revenues.

To some degree, this division no longer matters, because the entire cost structure of our economy is tyrannically high: if rent, insurance, taxes and general overhead don't eat you alive, then labor overhead (healthcare insurance, etc.) and other operating costs will.

The major players in the U.S. economy used four tricks to offset the ever-higher costs: globalization, financialization, reducing quality/quantity and turning the workforce into neofeudal gig economy precariats. By offshoring high-wage manufacturing to nations with lax environmental standards and enforcement, Corporate America scored a two-fer: drastically lower costs of production in both labor and environmental controls.

The feudal lords of our financial system, the Federal Reserve, cemented capital's complete dominance over labor by dropping interest rates to zero and flooding Corporate America with trillions of dollars of essentially free money. The 20-year decline in interest rates allowed Corporate America to refinance debt at absurdly low rates, and borrow trillions more at absurdly low rates to buy back stocks, enriching the managers and top 5% who own the vast majority of equities.

The Fed's free trillions also enabled Corporate America to leverage and arbitrage resources, staff and capital around the world at a nearly frictionless cost of capital. (Meanwhile, the precariat labor force was still being charged 18% and higher for credit. Nice spread if you can get it--thanks, Fed, for distorting the cost of credit and risk to benefit the few at the expense of the many.)

As for drastically reduced quality and quantity--all you have to do is open your eyes and look. Cold cereal boxes are now so tall and narrow (to maintain the illusion of quantity via the size of the box on the shelf) that they cannot even stand upright on their own any more. As for the contents-- barely half the box contains a product; the rest is air.

The list of products that fail by design or cost-cutting is essentially endless, as is the list of products whose ingredients have been cheapened and the list of manufactured goods stripped of quality so when the cheapest component (often a sensor or chip in today's digital-obsessed consumerist paradise) fails, the entire device must be tossed in the landfill because repair is now either impossible or too costly.

The Ultimate Heresy: Technology Can't Fix What's Broken (October 14, 2019)

This ceaseless reduction of quality and quantity has reached the end of the line: the cold cereal boxes are already falling over, the can of tuna has already shrunk to a few ounces, the paint is already peeling off the new appliance, the sensor has already failed in the new dryer--there's nothing left to cheapen or reduce. The game of fooling an oblivious or resigned consumer is over. The price will now have to rise with actual costs.

As for the stripmining of labors' security--there's still room to run here as permanent workforces become a thing of the past and everyone becomes a precariat. The problem here is precariats can no longer afford to consume or borrow more money at 18% interest and so what do we do now to support expanding consumption and debt?

We have the federal government borrow trillions and distribute the dough to the precariats, under-employed and unemployed, essentially forever. This will appear to be without consequence until it's too late to save the financial system and economy from imploding as the dollar loses another 95% of its already-diminished purchasing power.

So why don't we look at the sources of the high costs that are eroding the economy? Because every high-cost structure is someone's gravy train: some politically sacrosanct and untouchable special interest or class of insiders depends on ever-higher costs to fund their ever-higher wages, benefits, profits, etc., and they will not be denied their gravy train.

Since healthcare, higher education, local government, etc. is unaffordable, let's print money and give it away as the "solution" to unaffordability. This faux "solution" merely transfers the rising risk of collapse to the entire economy.

These charts of the remarkable rise in administrative staff and costs in healthcare are instructive, for they mirror the entire economy which is now staggering under the crushing weight of higher administrative costs in every level. This is how healthcare has gone from 5% of the economy to 20% of the economy.

As I have noted here many times, Sickcare Will Bankrupt the Nation (March 21, 2011) all by itself.





All the tricks to hide our unaffordable cost structure have reached marginal returns. Reality is about to intrude. The tyranny of ever-higher costs is about to crush the economy, and saying it isn't so doesn't make it so.

If you found value in this content, please join me in seeking solutions by becoming a $1/month patron of my work via patreon.com.

My new book is available! A Hacker's Teleology: Sharing the Wealth of Our Shrinking Planet 20% and 15% discounts (Kindle $7, print $17, audiobook now available $17.46)

Read excerpts of the book for free (PDF).

The Story Behind the Book and the Introduction.



Recent Podcasts:

https://youtu.be/9XRUyTGcBVM Jay Taylor: The Fourth Estate's Role in Thrusting America into Fascism (27 minutes)


My COVID-19 Pandemic Posts


My recent books:

A Hacker's Teleology: Sharing the Wealth of Our Shrinking Planet (Kindle $8.95, print $20, audiobook $17.46) Read the first section for free (PDF).

Will You Be Richer or Poorer?: Profit, Power, and AI in a Traumatized World
(Kindle $5, print $10, audiobook) Read the first section for free (PDF).

Pathfinding our Destiny: Preventing the Final Fall of Our Democratic Republic ($5 (Kindle), $10 (print), ( audiobook): Read the first section for free (PDF).

The Adventures of the Consulting Philosopher: The Disappearance of Drake $1.29 (Kindle), $8.95 (print); read the first chapters for free (PDF)

Money and Work Unchained $6.95 (Kindle), $15 (print) Read the first section for free (PDF).



Become a $1/month patron of my work via patreon.com.




NOTE: Contributions/subscriptions are acknowledged in the order received. Your name and email remain confidential and will not be given to any other individual, company or agency.

Thank you, Brian M. ($20), for another magnificently generous contribution to this site -- I am greatly honored by your steadfast support and readership.

 

Thank you, John N. ($100), for your outrageously generous contribution to this site -- I am greatly honored by your steadfast support and readership.

Read more...

Tuesday, January 05, 2021

The Coming War on Wealth and the Wealthy

Here's looking at you, Federal Reserve--thanks for perfecting 'legalized looting' and neofeudalism in America.

The problem with pushing a pendulum to its maximum extreme on one end is that it will swing back to the other extreme minus a tiny bit of friction.

America has pushed wealth/income inequality, unfairness and legalized looting to the maximum extreme. Now it will experience the swing back to the other extreme. This will manifest in a number of ways, one of which is a self-organizing populist war on wealth and the wealthy.

To say the system is rigged to benefit the already-wealthy and powerful is a gross understatement. Take the tax code as an example--thousands of pages of arcane tax breaks and giveaways passed by a thoroughly corrupted Congress and thousands more pages of arcane regulations and legal precedents.

How many pages apply to the bottom 95% of American taxpayers? Very few. There's the standard deductions for mortgage interest, healthcare costs, etc., but virtually no other tax breaks. Very few pages apply to even the 99%--go talk to a CPA and you'll find there are no more tax breaks for a sole proprietor making $500,000 in earned income than than there are for a sole proprietor making $50,000.

99.9% of the tax code benefits the top 0.1% and the corporations, LLCs and philanthro-capitalist foundations and trusts they own / control. Stripped of artifice and spin, America's tax code is nothing but legalized looting. This is only one small slice of the entire pie of legalized looting, of course, but it's one we can all understand.

A sole proprietor pays 15.3% in Social Security and Medicare taxes. Why don't America's billionaires pay 15.3% in Social Security and Medicare taxes? Aren't Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid the bedrock social safety net programs of the American people? Then why does a struggling sole proprietor pay 15.3% tax to support these essential programs and billionaires pay essentially zero?

There's a term for this disparity / injustice / unfairness: legalized looting. The super-wealthy pay essentially zero percent of their income and wealth to the programs that provide basic economic security for the disabled/elderly citizenry, while Jose the sole proprietor pays 15.3% of every dollar he earns.

So explain to us again why Mr. Buffett can't afford to pay 15.3% of every dollar of his income to help fund basic economic security for the disabled/elderly. In a system of even the most basic fairness, every dollar of income would be taxed at the same rate. In a system of even the most basic fairness, those with incomes of $100 million would pay the same 15.3% Social Security and Medicare tax as the sole proprietor earning $100,000.

Needless to say, if this most basic fairness was applied to America's wealthy and powerful, these programs would not be facing insolvency.

If Joe the sole proprietor hits the bigtime, he pays 32% federal tax over $165,000, 35% over $210,000 and 37% over $524,000. If we add 15.3% to 37%, we get 52.3%. How many of America's super-wealthy / billionaires pay 52% in Social Security-Medicare and income taxes? Zero.

Could America's super-wealthy / billionaires afford to pay 52%? Of course they could--they own the majority all financial assets and skim the majority of all income. But they won't, because the system is rigged to benefit the few at the expense of the many via legalized looting.

It isn't just the inequality of ownership of capital and power that enrages the oppressed; it's the blatant unfairness of our neofeudal / neocolonial system. As I explained in Neofeudalism and the Neocolonial-Financialization Model (May 24, 2012) and Welcome to Neocolonialism, Exploited Peasants! (October 21, 2016), the Financial Nobility have "come home" and applied the same rapacious exploitation they perfected in colonialism to the domestic populace.

Here's looking at you, Federal Reserve--thanks for perfecting legalized looting and neofeudalism in America.

The gulf between the lavishly praised American ideals and the putrid, corrupt reality of America's neofeudal system is wider than the Grand Canyon. As the pendulum accelerates to an extreme equal but opposite to the current extremes of unfairness, exploitation and legalized looting, those who have suffered the consequences of this systemic inequality will find expression in whatever ways are available.

Since it's difficult to get to the protected compounds of the super-wealthy, the signifiers of the merely wealthy will offer readily available targets. The new Tesla won't just get keyed; it will be "reworked," to the great satisfaction of the "workers."

Please note that I am not promoting a war on wealth and the wealthy, I am merely pointing out that it is as inevitable as the gravity pulling the pendulum.

The war on wealth and the wealthy will manifest politically, socially and economically. It won't be a tightly controlled, top-down movement. It will be spontaneous, self-organizing and unquenchable.

If you don't understand why a war on wealth and the wealthy is inevitable, please study this chart: the way of the Tao is reversal.



If you found value in this content, please join me in seeking solutions by becoming a $1/month patron of my work via patreon.com.

My new book is available! A Hacker's Teleology: Sharing the Wealth of Our Shrinking Planet 20% and 15% discounts (Kindle $7, print $17, audiobook now available $17.46)

Read excerpts of the book for free (PDF).

The Story Behind the Book and the Introduction.



Recent Podcasts:

https://youtu.be/9XRUyTGcBVM Jay Taylor: The Fourth Estate's Role in Thrusting America into Fascism (27 minutes)


My COVID-19 Pandemic Posts


My recent books:

A Hacker's Teleology: Sharing the Wealth of Our Shrinking Planet (Kindle $8.95, print $20, audiobook $17.46) Read the first section for free (PDF).

Will You Be Richer or Poorer?: Profit, Power, and AI in a Traumatized World
(Kindle $5, print $10, audiobook) Read the first section for free (PDF).

Pathfinding our Destiny: Preventing the Final Fall of Our Democratic Republic ($5 (Kindle), $10 (print), ( audiobook): Read the first section for free (PDF).

The Adventures of the Consulting Philosopher: The Disappearance of Drake $1.29 (Kindle), $8.95 (print); read the first chapters for free (PDF)

Money and Work Unchained $6.95 (Kindle), $15 (print) Read the first section for free (PDF).



Become a $1/month patron of my work via patreon.com.




NOTE: Contributions/subscriptions are acknowledged in the order received. Your name and email remain confidential and will not be given to any other individual, company or agency.

Thank you, Piotr P. ($5/month), for your magnificently generous pledge to this site -- I am greatly honored by your support and readership.

 

Thank you, Casey C. ($5/month), for your splendidly generous pledge to this site -- I am greatly honored by your support and readership.

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Sunday, January 03, 2021

2020 Was a Snack, 2021 Is the Main Course

One of the dishes at the banquet of consequences that will surprise a great many revelers is the systemic failure of the Federal Reserve's one-size-fits-all "solution" to every spot of bother: print another trillion dollars and give it to rapacious financiers and corporations.

Though 2020 is widely perceived as "the worst year ever," it was only a snack. The real banquet of consequences will be served in 2021. The reason 2020 was only a snack is that systems didn't break down in 2020. The reason 2021 is the main course is that systems will break down, and once broken, they cannot be restored.

I made the chart below to explain how systems fail and why they cannot be restored. Systems have numerous sources of potential fragility:

1. Systems can be tightly bound to other fragile systems, setting up the potential for a domino-like cascading collapse that starts with one system failure that then brings down every connected, interdependent system.

2. Systems can be hollowed out by self-interested insiders who mistakenly believe the system can survive endless looting.

3. Systems can be weakened by perverse incentives that provide strong incentives to under-invest in core functions and divert revenues to profiteering and extraction (stock buybacks, bonuses to managers, etc.)

4. Systems can appear robust to casual observers because insiders cloak the decay of function, accountability and transparency.

5. The decline of functionality / results can be hidden by bureaucratic obscurity (accounting statements in which all the important information is buried in footnotes starting on page 217, etc.) and by complexity thickets that reduce accountability to near-zero: no one is responsible for the decay of function, accountability and transparency.

6. Process replaces results as the Prime Directive of the system. Devoting resources to following processes rather than to getting results generates an illusion of functionality even as the ability to evolve and adapt is lost.

7. Buffers that enabled effective responses to crisis are stripped to the bone as redundancy and resilience are discounted as "hurting profits" or "needless expenses."

8. Insiders and the public / customers wrongly assume money can solve all of these systemic frailties. But money cannot buy trust, competence, institutional depth, productive incentives or anything else that is essential to robust, anti-fragile systems.

Americans are unprepared for the collapse of core systems. The secular faith holds that corporate ownership of core systems, centralized state control and the relentless pursuit of infinite greed will magically manifest the best of all possible worlds because self-enrichment by any means available is what perfects systems.

Unfortunately for America, this faith has it exactly backwards: self-enrichment by any means available is what hollows out and fatally weakens systems. The relentless pursuit of infinite greed ("investing" in stock buybacks, legalized looting, etc.) has destroyed the moral foundation of society and the economy: there is no civic virtue or public good left. These empty phrases cannot hide that America is a moral cesspool so corrupted by greed and self-interest that the nation can no longer even recognize its own moral dissolution.

The second graphic I prepared a decade ago depicts the lifecycle of bureaucracy which can be either private-sector or public: the initial purpose of the organization that inspired the innovators and initial managers is slowly replaced by self-interest, and those who were willing to sacrifice to serve this purpose quit in disgust or are marginalized as "threats" to self-serving insiders.

The competent leave or are forced out, leaving those of supreme incompetence in power, managers who've been selected for loyalty to the Prime Directive, protecting insider looting from outside interference via a mastery of public relations ("managing the narrative") and obfuscation.

The core function of the organization becomes masking dysfunction, ossification, sclerosis and the looting of insiders. The loss of function, accountability and transparency are hidden from prying eyes, and whistleblowers--the most dangerous threats to self-serving insiders--are hunted down and destroyed.

It is not coincidence that America's "growth sectors" are corruption and public relations ("managing the narrative") because the best way to cloak corruption and systemic failure is to manage the narrative by suppressing dissent and eradicating whistleblowers.

Unbeknownst to most Americans, many core systems are already in the first stages of collapse. No corporate sector does a better job of masking dysfunction and profiteering than healthcare, and so the collapse of healthcare systems will surprise everyone who swallowed the sector's glossy PR.

The entire financial system is hopelessly compromised, corrupt, self-serving and obsessed with maximizing personal gains by any means available. One of the dishes at the banquet of consequences that will surprise a great many revelers is the systemic failure of the Federal Reserve's one-size-fits-all "solution" to every spot of bother: print another trillion dollars and give it to rapacious financiers and corporations.

I suggest dining lightly on the feast of consequences because the courses of systemic failure will continue being served the entire year. So save some appetite for the really big systemic collapses that are only now being slid into the oven.





If you found value in this content, please join me in seeking solutions by becoming a $1/month patron of my work via patreon.com.

My new book is available! A Hacker's Teleology: Sharing the Wealth of Our Shrinking Planet 20% and 15% discounts (Kindle $7, print $17, audiobook now available $17.46)

Read excerpts of the book for free (PDF).

The Story Behind the Book and the Introduction.



Recent Podcasts:

https://youtu.be/9XRUyTGcBVM Jay Taylor: The Fourth Estate's Role in Thrusting America into Fascism (27 minutes)


My COVID-19 Pandemic Posts


My recent books:

A Hacker's Teleology: Sharing the Wealth of Our Shrinking Planet (Kindle $8.95, print $20, audiobook $17.46) Read the first section for free (PDF).

Will You Be Richer or Poorer?: Profit, Power, and AI in a Traumatized World
(Kindle $5, print $10, audiobook) Read the first section for free (PDF).

Pathfinding our Destiny: Preventing the Final Fall of Our Democratic Republic ($5 (Kindle), $10 (print), ( audiobook): Read the first section for free (PDF).

The Adventures of the Consulting Philosopher: The Disappearance of Drake $1.29 (Kindle), $8.95 (print); read the first chapters for free (PDF)

Money and Work Unchained $6.95 (Kindle), $15 (print) Read the first section for free (PDF).



Become a $1/month patron of my work via patreon.com.




NOTE: Contributions/subscriptions are acknowledged in the order received. Your name and email remain confidential and will not be given to any other individual, company or agency.

Thank you, Joseph K. ($50), for your massively generous contribution to this site -- I am greatly honored by your support and readership.

 

Thank you, Andrew R. ($10/month), for your outrageously generous pledge to this site -- I am greatly honored by your support and readership.

Read more...

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