One year ago, when looking at the 20 most popular stories of 2014, we were troubled by a recurring thread: “despite the just concluded 6th consecutive year of a rising S&P 500 – the longest such stretch since 1999 of what otherwise would be deemed optimism – despite what should be a steadily improving economy and improving social and economic conditions, what readers founds most fascinating, and troubling, was the increasing preponderance of social disobedience, of covert, proxy or outright wars, and of civil unrest: all phenomena that accompany a world sliding deeper into distress, not as most central banks and their puppet media would have us believe, a global recovery.”
We will be the first to admit that while it is more difficult to find a coherent theme unifying the most popular posts on Zero Hedge as determined by you, our readers, in the past year, several major domestic socio-economic tensions all came to a head in 2015: class warfare in the US approached unprecedented levels with antagonism between races, genders, ethnicities, ideologies, age groups and incomes all approaching peak levels, and spilling over, literally, on the street as the US public was inundated with daily reports of mass shootings, of trigger-happy policemen, of petulant students demanding conformity, of a president demanding the population hand over even more constitutional rights, of a nation torn in the most volatile presidential race yet.
All this took place as the median income across the US continued to decline: the rich got richer, the poor got poorer, and themiddle class was officially put on the endangered species list, although in 2015, for the first time since the financial crisis, the market closed red in no small part due to the action of the Fed, which after seven years of ZIRP, hiked rates for the first time in nine years despite all other central banks “giving it all they’ve got.”
For those trading, it was a year of rising, and in many cases, brutal intraday volatility, of ever more flash crashes across virtually all asset classes, of pain for anyone who was not invested in the five largest companies, and overall a year of change and losses for those hoping the Fed would “have their back” no matter what.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on 12/31/2015.