Thursday, August 13, 2020

The "New Normal" Is De-Normalization

Here's what denormalization means: there was no "New Normal" for the dinosaurs.
Everyone talks about the "New Normal," as if there's a guarantee that life will return to normal. But the "New Normal" is De-Normalization, which I define as everything that was normal is gone and will not be replaced with some new normal. In other words, normal is gone, done, over: old normal, new normal, doesn't matter: normal is history.
Denormalization is currently used to describe a database optimization process, but it's too valuable a concept to be limited to a narrow geekspeak term.
What I mean by Denormalization is the complete dismantling of what was taken for granted as normal and the loss of any future version of normal. Consider sports as an example. We all know the Old Normal that millions hope will magically return: $100 million player contracts, millions in TV ad revenues, pro franchises worth billions of dollars, NCAA playoffs, etc.: a dominant kingdom in the nation's media and mindshare.
The dirty little secret that troubled the kingdom long before Covid-19 was a steady erosion in attendance at live games and in the viewing audience. Younger generations have relatively little interest in all the trappings and habits of Boomer sports manias. They'd rather watch the 3-minute highlight video on their phones than blow half a day watching games that are generally lacking in drama and are largely replaceable with some other game.
What few seem to notice is that the Old Normal had become insanely expensive, irksome and boring, activities that were habits coasting on momentum. Those embedded in the Old Normal acclimatized to the absurdly overpriced seats, snacks, beer, parking, etc. of live events and the insanely long commutes required to get to the venue and then back home, as their happy memories of $5 seats decades ago is the anchor of their lifelong devotion and habits.
The old fans coasting on ritual habituated to the cookie-cutter nature of the games, while those who never acquired the habit look with amazement at the seemingly endless dull progression of hundreds of interchangeable sporting events.
Advertisers will eventually notice that younger generations never acquired the habit of worshipping sports and so there is nothing to stem the collapse of the Old Normal but older fans, some percentage of whom will find they don't miss it once they fall out of the habit.
Some other percentage will find they can no longer afford to attend live games, or they'll realize they no longer feel it's worth it to grind through traffic or public transit just to sit for additional hours and then repeat the entire slog back home.
Another percentage will suddenly awaken to the artifice of the whole thing; they will simply lose interest. Others will finally realize the corporate machine (which includes college sports) has long since lost any connection to the era that they remember so fondly.
This same Denormalization will dismantle fast food, dining out, air travel, healthcare, higher education and innumerable other iterations of normal that have become unaffordable even as the returns on the lavish investments of time and money required diminish sharply.
How many of you deeply miss air travel? You're joking, right? Only certifiably insane people would miss the irksome hassle and discomfort, from the endless delays due to mechanical problems (don't you people keep any spare parts, or is it all just in time like every other broken system in America?), the seats that keep getting smaller as the passengers keep getting larger, the fetid terminals, and so on.
Like all the other iterations of normal, the entire experience has been going downhill for decades, but we all habituated to the decline because we were stuck with it.
What few seem to understand is all the Old Normal systems can't restabilize at some modestly lower level of diminishing returns; their only possible future is collapse. Just as fine-dining restaurants cannot survive at 50% capacity because their cost structure is so astronomical, the same is true of sports, airports, airlines, cruise lines, fast food, movie theaters, healthcare, higher education, local government services and all the rest of the incredibly fragile and unaffordable Old Normal.
None of these systems can operate at anything less than about 80% of full capacity and customers paying 80% of full pop, i.e. full retail. Since their fixed cost structures are so high, and their buffers so thin, there's nothing below the 80% level but air, i.e. a quick plummet to extinction.
Here's what denormalization means: there was no New Normal for the dinosaurs. A few winged species survived and evolved into the birds of today, but that is by no stretch of the imagination a New Normal that included all the other dinosaur species. For them, denormalization meant extinction.
De-Normalizationeverything that was normal is gone and will not be replaced with some new normal. Normal is gone, done, over: goodbye to all that.
Recent Podcasts:
Money and Work Unchained $6.95 (Kindle), $15 (print) Read the first section for free (PDF).


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.

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, Tazio ($10/month), for your outrageously generous pledge to this site -- I am greatly honored by your support and readership.
 
Thank you, Steve F. ($5/month), for your magnificently generous pledge to this site -- I am greatly honored by your support and readership.

Read more...

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Could Wall Street Lose the Election?

Two simple regulations would drive a stake through Wall Street's corrupt, evil heart.
While the corporate media is focused on the presidential election, perhaps the more interesting question is: could Wall Street Lose the election? That is, could Wall Street face potentially fatal restrictions regardless of who wins?
If this seems farfetched, consider the history of abrupt social-political-financial turn-arounds that surprised the mainstream. Off the top of my head I would point to Big Tobacco and environmental controls on Big Industry.
For decades, Big Tobacco was politically invulnerable. Big Tobacco greased the political machinery with huge contributions to politicos and massive lobbying campaigns to deny the self-evident reality that smoking was hazardous to human health.
Every effort to change this political dominance was thwarted with ease--and then suddenly, Big Tobacco fell out of favor. Politicians who had collected millions of dollars in Big Tobacco bribes--oops, I mean campaign contributions--without any blowback were suddenly in the spotlight as enablers of an industry that had remorselessly killed millions of its customers while claiming that tobacco's health effects were still a matter of debate and/or choice.
Practically overnight the political walls protecting Big Tobacco crumbled as all the lies and political complicity that had long been accepted as "normal" were denormalized.
Big Industry encountered little political resistance to its decades-long dumping of industrial waste into the nation's waterways and air until 1970. Images of American rivers catching fire changed public perceptions and eventually even Big-Business-friendly Republicans supported environmental regulations that cost Big Industry tens of billions of dollars in new costs.
Turning our attention to hitherto invulnerable Wall Street: the masses are awakening to what insiders have known all along: Wall Street is nothing but a skimming machine for insiders, and this is generating a fulsome hatred of Wall Street, Big Tech monopolies and the billionaires who've added half a trillion dollars in wealth in the current stock market rally while the rest of America crumbles.
When the political winds shift decisively, both parties quickly sense the change in weather. When social-economic tides change, politicos understand they face a binary choice--either get on board or cling to the past and lose elections.
If the cultural tides have shifted against Wall Street and its politically protected skims and scams, every politico will have to get on board in one way or another, or they'll be left behind. When the social tide shifted, politicos threw Big Tobacco and Big Industry overboard without hesitation.
Two simple regulations would drive a stake through Wall Street's corrupt, evil heart:
1. A substantial tax on every single transaction of any kind, whether it's on an exchange or off-exchange, and most importantly, whether the bid for a transaction was executed or not. This would kill high-frequency trading (HFT) and various other front-running games (spoofing the system with bids that are withdrawn in milliseconds, etc.).
A transaction tax wouldn't affect Mom-and-Pop investors or mutual funds, as they trade infrequently. It would only kill the parasitic Wall Street predators.
2. A ban or even limit on corporate share buybacks would kill the stock market's primary engine of relentless insider gains: corporations buying back their own shares to goose their stocks higher even as their sales and profits stagnate. It's estimated that up to 75% of all stock market gains can be traced back to the hundreds of billions of dollars corporations have borrowed to buy back their own shares.
It's worth recalling that share buybacks were illegal not that long ago, so banning share buybacks would simply be a return to common sense limits on Wall Street's skims and scams.
Two simple regulations would end Wall Street's most blatant insider scams. These regulations have now entered the mainstream and are poised to become actionable.
When the social tides shift, politicos have to do something. To do nothing is no longer an option, and there is no creature on Earth more willing to jettison sacred cows than a politico fearful of being left behind as social trends abruptly change.
The rising hatred of Wall Street, Big Tech monopolies and insider scams is not yet visible to the mainstream, but that doesn't mean the tides aren't shifting. It just means the corporate mainstream is as clueless as the politicos basking in the billionaires' bribes.

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


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.

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, Kyle S. ($5/month), for your wondrously generous pledge to this site -- I am greatly honored by your support and readership.
 
Thank you, David J. ($5/month), for your magnificently generous pledge to this site -- I am greatly honored by your support and readership.

Read more...

Sunday, August 09, 2020

The Economy Is Mortally Wounded

A fully financialized, totally debt and speculation-dependent economy is terminal once leverage and debt stop expanding exponentially.
We all know the movie scene in which the character is wounded but dismisses it as no big deal, and then lurches into the closing sequence where we discover the wound was not inconsequential, it was mortal, and the character expires.
That's a fair depiction of the economy--both the U.S. and the global economy. The rapt audience is assured it's just a flesh wound and the character will soldier on, teeth nobly gritted, and that sets up our surprise when he/she tragically expires in the climatic scene.
Financial-political authorities and their paid cheerleaders are sparing no expense in assuring us the pandemic-triggered Greater Depression is a mere bump in the road and the recovery will be record-breaking, and they lavish excessive optimism on the triggers of this astounding recovery that's just waiting in the wings: a covid-19 vaccine, a covid-19 treatment, herd immunity, etc.
What the cheerleaders and authorities cannot dare acknowledge is the extreme fragility and vulnerability of the pre-pandemic economy: the unprecedentedly excessive leverage, debt, speculation, wealth and income inequality, asset bubbles, etc. that had all started to roll over as gravity finally took hold in Q4 of 2019.
Also missing from the astounding recovery that's just waiting in the wings narrative is the recognition of second-order effects as the dominoes of fragility and vulnerability continue toppling.
Even super-duper covid-curing space rays beamed at our planet by helpful Martians couldn't stop the financial conflagration that is now raging, a conflagration that was inevitable given the monetary deadwood that was piled ever higher for 12 long years, a mountain of dry tinder awaiting a random lightning strike or careless match.
As a example of second-order effects, consider a sector we are all familiar with as customers: dining out: restaurants, cafes, bistros, brew-pubs, etc. We all understand that when these establishments close, the owners, managers and employees all lose their livelihoods.
But this isn't the full extent of the losses. Behind the visible facade of any industry is a long line of dominoes behind what the customer sees.
When 50% of all dining-out establishments close, that immediately causes equivalent losses in sectors that supplied those establishments with clean linens and uniforms, meats, vegetables, culinary supplies, accounting, advertising, marketing, consulting, specialty magazines, etc., in a nearly endless profusion of businesses dependent on the dining-out sector.
And then there's all the retail real estate landlords that depended on these establishments to pay high rents on costly commercial spaces, and those nearby businesses that depended on the foot traffic generated by concentrations of dining-out establishments.
The cheerleaders don't dare acknowledge the absence of any sectors that can absorb the 32 million workers drawing unemployment, or those who aren't in the unemployment system, for example sole proprietors who closed and those in the informal cash economy.
The dining-out sector was a haven for marginalized workers seeking the higher compensation of tips, and a major entry point for new workers entering the workforce. There is no substitute sector to absorb the millions of workers who lost their livelihood in the dining-out sector and all those whose jobs were dependent on providing the dining-out sector with goods and services.
A less financialized, less debt and speculation-dependent economy would be more resilient, but a fully financialized, totally debt and speculation-dependent economy is terminal once leverage and debt stop expanding exponentially.

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


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.

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, Kristin D. ($10/month), for your outrageously generous pledge to this site -- I am greatly honored by your support and readership.
 
Thank you, Albert N. ($5/month), for your magnificently generous pledge to this site -- I am greatly honored by your support and readership.

Read more...

Thursday, August 06, 2020

If the "Market" Never Goes Down, The System Is Doomed

The reliance on "good news" narratives dooms our financial system and economy to a death spiral once reality breaks through the induced euphoria.
"Markets" that never go down aren't markets, they're signaling mechanisms of the Powers That Be. Markets are fundamentally clearing houses of information on price, demand, sentiment, expectations and so on--factual data on supply and demand, shipping costs, cost of credit, etc.--and reflections of trader and consumer emotions and psychology.
If markets are never allowed to go down, the information clearing house has been effectively shut down. Whatever information leaks out has been edited to fit the prevailing narrative, which in this moment is "central banks will never let markets go down ever again, so jump in and ride the guaranteed Bull to easy gains."
The past 12 years offer ample evidence for this narrative: every dip draws a near-instantaneous monetary-policy response that reverse the dip and gooses markets higher.
That permanent monetary intervention distorts markets doesn't matter to participants. Who cares if markets have become "markets," simulacra of real markets that are now nothing but signaling mechanisms that all is well so buy, buy, buy? If gains are essentially guaranteed, who cares that markets are not longer information clearing houses?
Indeed. There's no reason to care until the fatal spiral downward surprises us all. Here's an analogy of what happens when real information gets edited to fit a convenient narrative.
Unfortunately, the patient has cancer which is starting to metastasize, i.e. spread to other organs in the body. But unbeknownst to the patient, this accurate information is considered "bad news," so the test results and other information is carefully edited to show the cancer is actually shrinking--the exact opposite of what the actual facts reflect.
The patient is naturally delighted with this false data because it appears he's on the mend and doesn't need any surgery or other drastic treatments.
If participants don't have information that reflects actual conditions, they cannot help but make disastrous decisions. Falsified or heavily edited information is misleading, and so all decisions made on the assumption this information is accurate will be fatally skewed.
Symptoms of the fatal spread of the disease are masked by stimulants that not only mask the spread but give the patient a sense of euphoric power and supreme confidence.
Imagine the patient's terrible dismay when symptoms break through the euphoria and he learns his cancer is now terminal. Increasing the tragedy is his awareness that had the authorities in charge of his care given him the real-world data instead of the carefully edited "happy story" version, treatments could have been undertaken that might have extended his life. Now those options have been lost forever.
That's the situation in our economy and financial system. The information cleared in markets has been suppressed, distorted and edited for 12 long years of permanent and ever-increasing monetary interventions, as the "doses" of intervention required to maintain the cocaine-like euphoria and supreme confidence in central bank manipulation of "markets" so they always signal the "good news" of guaranteed gains ratchets higher on every intrusion of reality.
The reliance on "good news" narratives dooms our financial system and economy to a death spiral once reality breaks through the induced euphoria. Our last chances to clear the financial cancers eating away at our economy are slipping away forever, masked by the "market's" cocaine-like euphoria and supreme confidence in central-bank guaranteed gains.
If the stock market is never allowed to go down, this is the equivalent of telling the cancer-riddled patient that their cancer has disappeared, even as the disease is leading inexorably to the patient's needless demise.
Recent Podcasts:
Money and Work Unchained $6.95 (Kindle), $15 (print) Read the first section for free (PDF).


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.

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, Richard M. ($5/month), for your marvelously generous pledge to this site -- I am greatly honored by your support and readership.
 
Thank you, Mark C. ($5/month), for your magnificently generous pledge 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