Wednesday, November 30, 2022

This Is of Course Insane

Greed is a powerful motivation to be an ardent believer in the central banking cult.

The ideal cult convinces its followers that it isn't a cult, it's simply the natural order of things. In current terms, this normalizes insane behaviors and beliefs. Sacrificing youth to appease the gods isn't a cult; it's simply the natural order of things. If we don't sacrifice youth, bad things will happen, so we have to follow the natural order of things.

Despite the lofty claims made by our rational mind, we want to hear and obey the voices of the gods. This non-rational desire is the root of cults and episodes of mass hysteria, i.e. the madness of crowds.

Humanity is in the grip of the secular cult of central banking. The cult's seers and prophets periodically emerge with arcane signs and readings, offering divinations to guide the followers.

The motivation to believe the cult is the natural order of things is powerful: greed. Those who heed the oracles of the cult enrich themselves, unbelievers impoverish themselves.

Rationalists outside the cult discern the structure of the cult and its core beliefs. The cult creates credit and "money" out of thin air and distributes it to the few extremely wealthy to further expand their wealth. These few do not improve productivity or the well-being of the many; they use the cult's gifts to exploit the cult's rigged casino of speculation to maximize their private gains.

In other words, the cult benefits the few at the expense of the many while proclaiming it benefits everyone. This is of course insane. The cult's core beliefs are: 1) enriching the already-rich magically trickles down benefits to the masses, and 2) this vast enrichment of the already-wealthy is cost-free. The economy prospers with no downside or consequences other than the glorious expansion of wealth at the top and the trickle-down of sweet goodness to the masses.

This is of course insane. The costs are borne by the masses and by the socio-economic system, which is now in thrall to a cult that has made the economy dependent on an ever-expanding credit bubble which feeds an ever-expanding asset bubble, which then enables a further expansion of credit which then fuels ever-higher assets prices.

And so on, forever, because the cult and its ever-expanding bubble are the natural order of things. If we don't sacrifice the many to benefit the few, the sun will stop rising and the Earth will be cast into endless shadow.

This is of course insane, but greed is a powerful motivation to be an ardent believer in the central banking cult. Expanding credit based on the expanding collateral of asset bubbles, each feeding the other, is held up not as insane but as a financial perpetual-motion machine, overseen and managed by the seers and prophets of the central bank cult. Followers heeding the cult's oracles become rich, non-believers and skeptics become impoverished.

Alas, cults and bubbles both come to an inglorious end. What seemed self-evidently true for the ages is revealed as a brief moment of self-serving delusion, supported by the immense powers of greed and the madness of crowds.

Do you hear the voices of the gods? Yes, yes, oh yes.



My new book is now available at a 10% discount ($8.95 ebook, $18 print): Self-Reliance in the 21st Century.

Read the first chapter for free (PDF)

Read excerpts of all three chapters

Podcast with Richard Bonugli: Self Reliance in the 21st Century (43 min)


My recent books:

The Asian Heroine Who Seduced Me (Novel) print $10.95, Kindle $6.95 Read an excerpt for free (PDF)

When You Can't Go On: Burnout, Reckoning and Renewal $18 print, $8.95 Kindle ebook; audiobook Read the first section for free (PDF)

Global Crisis, National Renewal: A (Revolutionary) Grand Strategy for the United States (Kindle $9.95, print $24, audiobook) Read Chapter One for free (PDF).

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).

The Adventures of the Consulting Philosopher: The Disappearance of Drake (Novel) $4.95 Kindle, $10.95 print); read the first chapters for free (PDF)

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


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, Roxanne F. ($54), for your marvelously generous contribution to this site -- I am greatly honored by your support and readership.

 

Thank you, Patrick I. ($54), for your splendidly generous contribution to this site -- I am greatly honored by your support and readership.

Read more...

Monday, November 28, 2022

The "Oil Curse" and Splashy PR Announcements of Oil Production Cuts

It's not just the price of oil that matters: how much disposable income consumers have left to buy more goods and services matters, too.

The Oil Curse (a.k.a. The Resource Curse) refers to the compelling ease of those blessed with an abundance of oil/resources to depend on that gift for the majority of state/national revenues. The risks and demands of developing a diverse, globally competitive economy don't seem worth the effort when the single-source wealth of oil offers such a low-risk bounty of revenues.

This dependence becomes a curse when the market value of the oil/resources plummets. Having come to depend on that seemingly inexhaustible source of massive revenues, even states that have set aside prudent reserves soon find their expenses cannot align down to diminished oil revenues without unbearable political/social pain.

The ideal solution to this problem is to jawbone oil prices higher by splashily announcing major cuts in oil production and then ignoring the proposed cuts to pump as much oil as possible to restore spending to politically viable levels.

The problem is every other oil producer is pursuing the same game plan and so production doesn't actually decline. As global demand continues sagging in a global recession, oil supply remains at high levels. Since oil and other commodities are priced on the margin, even modest misalignments of supply and demand can generate huge swings in price.

There is no real enforcement of heavily promoted production cuts. The pressure on every oil producer is to assure the world they're complying to cover the reality that they're not actually cutting production because they can't afford to lose any more revenues.

The price of oil appears to be reflecting the global recession that's baked into receding stimulus and liquidity and higher inflation. China's attempt to secure Zero Covid is also exerting downward pressure on oil demand. As consumers globally come to grips with layoffs, depleted savings and maxed-out credit cards, demand can be expected to drop further.

All those who treated themselves to high living (vacations, dining out, etc.) on credit will soon find the noose of interest payments tightening around their necks, and all goods and services priced on the margin may fall with weakening demand, decimating hours worked, employment and profits.

There's another twist to The Oil Curse story: now that the easy-to-get oil is gone, it now requires massive, permanent investments in future production to keep the oil flowing. Governments seeing their revenues decline will naturally slash investment to fund the politically essential welfare-graft that enables their grip on power.

Starved of essential investment, oil production inevitably declines, further reducing revenues of oil-dependent states. This feedback loop is unforgiving: less investment leads to less oil which leads to less revenues which further squeezes investment.

It's not just the price of oil that matters: how much disposable income consumers have left to buy more goods and services matters, too. Put another way: demand can fall below supply for longer than oil producers can remain solvent.



My new book is now available at a 10% discount ($8.95 ebook, $18 print): Self-Reliance in the 21st Century.

Read the first chapter for free (PDF)

Read excerpts of all three chapters

Podcast with Richard Bonugli: Self Reliance in the 21st Century (43 min)


My recent books:

The Asian Heroine Who Seduced Me (Novel) print $10.95, Kindle $6.95 Read an excerpt for free (PDF)

When You Can't Go On: Burnout, Reckoning and Renewal $18 print, $8.95 Kindle ebook; audiobook Read the first section for free (PDF)

Global Crisis, National Renewal: A (Revolutionary) Grand Strategy for the United States (Kindle $9.95, print $24, audiobook) Read Chapter One for free (PDF).

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).

The Adventures of the Consulting Philosopher: The Disappearance of Drake (Novel) $4.95 Kindle, $10.95 print); read the first chapters for free (PDF)

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


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, Roxanne F. ($54), for your marvelously generous contribution to this site -- I am greatly honored by your support and readership.

 

Thank you, Patrick I. ($54), for your splendidly generous contribution to this site -- I am greatly honored by your support and readership.

Read more...

Saturday, November 26, 2022

The Uncertainty in China Is Kryptonite to Global Markets

Few seem alive to the potentially consequential financial risks arising from uncertainties evolving in China.

One thing we know rather definitively is that markets don't like uncertainty: uncertainty is Kryptonite to markets.

Another thing we know is that the events unfolding in China are generating uncertainty on multiple levels. Whatever policy decisions are made, the potential consequences generate waves of profound uncertainty.

Should authorities respond to exploding Covid caseloads with heavy-handed lockdowns, that will trigger production and shipping consequences for global trade. If restrictions are relaxed, the healthcare consequences are also uncertain, as China lacks the facilities such as ICU beds in sufficient quantities to deal with a contagious virus spreading in a populace with very little immunity.

The reactions of both authorities and the people generate an entirely different level of uncertainty. Authoritarian regimes are trapped: if their response is increasingly brutal repression, punishment and lockdowns, this risks changing the populace's understanding of the social contract in a destabilizing dynamic.

But offering concessions opens the door to demands for further concessions, and this path is an equally destabilizing dynamic.

There are no positives for global markets in any of these developments, as each potential outcome has difficult-to-predict and control second order effects. Covid lockdowns have the potential to topple various supply-chain dominoes, and by weakening economic activity, they also have the potential to topple dominoes in the populace's understanding of the social contract between citizens and the state.

A great many commentators evince confidence that the protests will all blow over in a few days or weeks and everything will quickly go back to normal, but markets cannot afford to place much faith in such complacent forecasts, because risk rises asymmetrically in self-reinforcing uncertainty.

It's nice to dismiss low-probability long-tail risks as "nothing," but that's not prudent when it comes to risks with potentially severe financial consequences.

Indeed, from the point of view of asymmetric risks, the entire point of a market is to provide opportunities to limit risk by selling and/or hedging. The cost of waiting around is also asymmetric: only first-movers get high prices for at-risk assets and low prices for hedges.

Everyone who waits around because they dismissed uncertainties as "nothing" gets their head handed to them on a platter.

Few seem alive to the potentially consequential financial risks arising from uncertainties evolving in China. Those who complacently discount risk may regret it, as one of the few things we know is markets don't like uncertainty for a very good reason: uncertainty generates asymmetric risks that have the potential to deliver life-changing losses to the unwary and over-confident.





My new book is now available at a 10% discount ($8.95 ebook, $18 print): Self-Reliance in the 21st Century.

Read the first chapter for free (PDF)

Read excerpts of all three chapters

Podcast with Richard Bonugli: Self Reliance in the 21st Century (43 min)


My recent books:

The Asian Heroine Who Seduced Me (Novel) print $10.95, Kindle $6.95 Read an excerpt for free (PDF)

When You Can't Go On: Burnout, Reckoning and Renewal $18 print, $8.95 Kindle ebook; audiobook Read the first section for free (PDF)

Global Crisis, National Renewal: A (Revolutionary) Grand Strategy for the United States (Kindle $9.95, print $24, audiobook) Read Chapter One for free (PDF).

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).

The Adventures of the Consulting Philosopher: The Disappearance of Drake (Novel) $4.95 Kindle, $10.95 print); read the first chapters for free (PDF)

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


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, Roxanne F. ($54), for your marvelously generous contribution to this site -- I am greatly honored by your support and readership.

 

Thank you, Patrick I. ($54), for your splendidly generous contribution to this site -- I am greatly honored by your support and readership.

Read more...

Friday, November 25, 2022

FTX and the Corruption of America

What all the entrenched insiders in America's parasitic, predatory elites and institutions don't dare admit is that to protect themselves from consequence, we've had to sacrifice everything else.

Thanks to the FTX swindle, we now know the cost of a get out of jail free card in America: $40 million, paid to political elites. It seems even get out of jail free cards have suffered from inflation.

With hefty "donations" (heh) to elites, all wrong-doing is swept under a very capacious carpet. Jeffrey Epstein sprinkled a few million on the elites of Harvard, and he was ushered into this elite circle as an intimate pal. The fact that he was a rapacious predator of children was of no concern. A few million showered on the right people and causes makes evil and criminality disappear.

If a financier looter showers $40 million on "the right people," mouths the "correct" phrases and issues empty promises to give away his looted billions, he becomes an instant golden boy of the right elites who have the power to protect him from consequences.

This is how America works now: in-your-face corruption is not just accepted, it's glorified. Let's score America's wealth and power elites, regardless of party or political persuasion:

Integrity: zero.

Austerity: zero.

Restraint: zero.

Humility: zero.

Responsibility: zero.

Accountability: zero.

Sacrifice for the common good: zero.

Thrift: zero.

A society whose elites are so self-serving, corrupt, unaccountable and devoid of any sense of good and evil is doomed.
Consider the bleatings of America's power elite on the FTX swindle. Let's have congressional hearings on this remarkable "financial event" that caught everyone by surprise, etc.

Translation: let's stage some political theater to cloak the fact that the looters are being protected from consequences. We all know what happens if you're caught selling a nickel bag on the street: you get a tenner in a hellhole prison.

But if you bribed the right people, you can swindle billions of dollars and walk free as an insincerely apologetic victim of your own success. Golly gee, I don't understand what happened to all that money, even though I'm not exactly shy about declaring my own genius.

For reasons lost on the rest of us, investigations by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) always come up empty. Gee, the looting was complicated and we can't figure out who might have broken the laws against fraud, collusion, embezzlement, malfeasance, etc., so we're letting everyone off the hook.

Or some sleazy, unaccountable intelligence agency is referenced in whispers that the looters are "assets" and therefore untouchable. Where exactly is the rule of law in a society where bribes, political pressure and having knowledge of elites' skeletons in the closet melt away accountability and consequences?

The rule of law in America is an illusion, a useful myth promoted by PR hacks to cover the tracks of their employers. Corporate wrong-doing--swindles, collusion, fraud, embezzlement, malfeasance--is off the charts, but nobody is responsible. The criminal corporations are duly fined, a tiny clawback of their looting that's written off as a cost of doing business.

Consider this data base of 6,300 major corporate fines and settlements from the early 1990s to 2015 compiled by Jon Morse. Nobody paid any personal fines or served any prison time for any of these thousands of violations.

There are two systems of "justice" in America: one which grants elites freedom from consequences of their toxic criminality and another one for the rest of us that imprisons hundreds of thousands in the War on Drugs Gulag.

What all the entrenched insiders in America's parasitic, predatory elites and institutions don't dare admit is that to protect themselves from consequence, we've had to sacrifice everything else. Having stripped the nation of the essential foundation of a just, enduring social order--accountability, consequence, rule of law and a grasp of the difference between good and evil--there's nothing left but sound and fury, as if they're hoping the endless political circuses and trails of bread crumbs will forever distract us from their plunder and the injustices of the irredeemably corrupt America they've fashioned to protect their wealth and power.

To paraphrase Lao Tzu, if one insists on an extreme of corruption and injustice, that extreme will not dwell long.



My new book is now available at a 10% discount ($8.95 ebook, $18 print): Self-Reliance in the 21st Century.

Read the first chapter for free (PDF)

Read excerpts of all three chapters

Podcast with Richard Bonugli: Self Reliance in the 21st Century (43 min)


My recent books:

The Asian Heroine Who Seduced Me (Novel) print $10.95, Kindle $6.95 Read an excerpt for free (PDF)

When You Can't Go On: Burnout, Reckoning and Renewal $18 print, $8.95 Kindle ebook; audiobook Read the first section for free (PDF)

Global Crisis, National Renewal: A (Revolutionary) Grand Strategy for the United States (Kindle $9.95, print $24, audiobook) Read Chapter One for free (PDF).

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).

The Adventures of the Consulting Philosopher: The Disappearance of Drake (Novel) $4.95 Kindle, $10.95 print); read the first chapters for free (PDF)

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


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, Roxanne F. ($54), for your marvelously generous contribution to this site -- I am greatly honored by your support and readership.

 

Thank you, Patrick I. ($54), for your splendidly generous contribution to this site -- I am greatly honored by your support and readership.

Read more...

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

What Do You Value Most? Thanksgiving 2022

When these are no longer valued as essentials for the common good, society is lost.

I'm thankful for the eight things to aspire to listed at the bottom of the right-hand column of the main blog page:

integrity

austerity

restraint

humility

responsibility

patience

sacrifice

thrift

When these are no longer valued as essentials for the common good, society is lost.

These aspirations remind of Chapter 58 of the Tao Te Ching:

When the country is governed through simplicity and leniency,

The people are genuine and honest.

When the country is governed through harshness and sharp investigation,

The people are more deceitful and dishonest.


And Chapter 9:

To hold things and to be proud of them is not as good as not to have them,

Because if one insists on an extreme, that extreme will not dwell long.

When a room is full of precious things, one will never be able to preserve them.

When one is wealthy, high ranking, and proud of himself, he invites misfortune.




My new book is now available at a 10% discount ($8.95 ebook, $18 print): Self-Reliance in the 21st Century.

Read the first chapter for free (PDF)

Read excerpts of all three chapters

Podcast with Richard Bonugli: Self Reliance in the 21st Century (43 min)


My recent books:

The Asian Heroine Who Seduced Me (Novel) print $10.95, Kindle $6.95 Read an excerpt for free (PDF)

When You Can't Go On: Burnout, Reckoning and Renewal $18 print, $8.95 Kindle ebook; audiobook Read the first section for free (PDF)

Global Crisis, National Renewal: A (Revolutionary) Grand Strategy for the United States (Kindle $9.95, print $24, audiobook) Read Chapter One for free (PDF).

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).

The Adventures of the Consulting Philosopher: The Disappearance of Drake (Novel) $4.95 Kindle, $10.95 print); read the first chapters for free (PDF)

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


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, Peter P. (7.50/month), for your marvelously generous pledge to this site -- I am greatly honored by your support and readership.

 

Thank you, Tony J. ($54), for your splendidly generous contribution to this site -- I am greatly honored by your support and readership.

Read more...

Terms of Service

All content on this blog is provided by Trewe LLC for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information. These terms and conditions of use are subject to change at anytime and without notice.


Our Privacy Policy:


Correspondents' email is strictly confidential. This site does not collect digital data from visitors or distribute cookies. Advertisements served by a third-party advertising network (Investing Channel) may use cookies or collect information from visitors for the purpose of Interest-Based Advertising; if you wish to opt out of Interest-Based Advertising, please go to Opt out of interest-based advertising (The Network Advertising Initiative). If you have other privacy concerns relating to advertisements, please contact advertisers directly. Websites and blog links on the site's blog roll are posted at my discretion.


PRIVACY NOTICE FOR EEA INDIVIDUALS


This section covers disclosures on the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) for users residing within EEA only. GDPR replaces the existing Directive 95/46/ec, and aims at harmonizing data protection laws in the EU that are fit for purpose in the digital age. The primary objective of the GDPR is to give citizens back control of their personal data. Please follow the link below to access InvestingChannel’s General Data Protection Notice. https://stg.media.investingchannel.com/gdpr-notice/


Notice of Compliance with The California Consumer Protection Act


This site does not collect digital data from visitors or distribute cookies. Advertisements served by a third-party advertising network (Investing Channel) may use cookies or collect information from visitors for the purpose of Interest-Based Advertising. If you do not want any personal information that may be collected by third-party advertising to be sold, please follow the instructions on this page: Do Not Sell My Personal Information


Regarding Cookies:


This site does not collect digital data from visitors or distribute cookies. Advertisements served by third-party advertising networks such as Investing Channel may use cookies or collect information from visitors for the purpose of Interest-Based Advertising; if you wish to opt out of Interest-Based Advertising, please go to Opt out of interest-based advertising (The Network Advertising Initiative) If you have other privacy concerns relating to advertisements, please contact advertisers directly.


Our Commission Policy:

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. I also earn a commission on purchases of precious metals via BullionVault. I receive no fees or compensation for any other non-advertising links or content posted on my site.

  © Blogger templates Newspaper III by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP