• Tag Archives Society
  • The Public’s Revocation of Legitimacy

    There is a famous phrase in American politics: “the consent of the governed.” It is an important phrase. It is the essence of political legitimacy.
    Throughout most of history, the consent of the governed has been grudging. People put up with the political system they live in. They think it is not worth their time to fool around with politics. The overwhelming number of people throughout history have ignored politics except its special election times. This has been a wise attitude. Salvation is not by politics.
    The only society in history that has enjoyed nearly full-time interest in politics by the masses was classical Athens. It was a society that rested economically on slavery. Athens committed suicide through its empire and war. Alexander “the Great” had no trouble defeating Athens and Sparta. He was not a democrat. He had studied democracy under Aristotle, and he had contempt for it.
    Classical Athens believed in salvation by politics. That religion did not last a century.
    What most people want most of the time is to be left alone by civil government. They do not want to be bothered by the technical details of civil government. This always benefits political insiders and the small fraction of the population that is actively involved in politics.
    CONSENT IS NOT GUARANTEED
    We forget what should be obvious: grudging consent is nevertheless consent. People grouse about the government, but they rarely get involved in politics except to vote in major elections.
    People groused about the government in the Soviet Union. The government even had a humor magazine that allowed a certain amount of criticism of local bureaucrats. It was titled Krokodil. People went into slave labor camps for open criticism of the Communist Party, but the Party allowed a certain latitude of criticism of the bureaucracy. Bureaucracies are always a problem for politicians. They can successfully resist political change. Politicians never trust bureaucrats, any more than the general public does. This is one of those rare examples of the shared wisdom of the general public and politicians.

    This post was published at Gary North on June 16, 2017.


  • “Lynching Epidemic” Breaks Out In Venezuela

    The public-safety infrastructure in Venezuela has been degraded to such a degree that citizens now take justice into their own hands. Agence France Presse reported that lynchings have risen sharply over the last year and a half as political and economic instability in the crumbling socialist republic has worsened. Witnesses who spoke to AFP said a 22-year-old man who was set on fire at an anti-government demonstration in May was actually lynched after being accused of stealing by the crowd – not because he was a government sympathizer, as President Nicolas Maduro had suggested at the time.
    As AFP alleges, “it is not just the country’s economy and political system that are sick, but society itself, experts say. An epidemic of lynchings is one of the most gruesome symptoms.“


    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 16, 2017.


  • China’s “Bubble Prophet” Sees Unprecedented Surge In Home Prices

    Beijing’s ability and eagerness, to create and roll from one bubble, whether it is in housing, equities, commodities, cars, bitcoin and so on, into the next has been extensively documented, however, of all recurring bubbles to impact the Chinese economy, housing is by far the most important. The reason for that is that housing provides Chinese society with a dramatic wealth effect, far greater than the stock market, and as Deutsche Bank calculated in March, in 2016 the rise of property prices boosted household wealth in 37 tier 1 and tier 2 cities by CNY 24 trillion, almost twice their total disposable income of RMB12.9 trillion (fig.11).

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 11, 2017.


  • Debt-Based Money Corrodes Society

    This is a syndicated repost courtesy of The Daily Reckoning. To view original, click here. Reposted with permission.
    We open today’s reckoning with a hypothesis:
    The current monetary system debauches the culture.
    Long-suffering readers are familiar with our… diminished regard for paper money.
    Paper money – or digital money nowadays – is the great bogeyman of the boom/bust cycle. It inflates bubbles of every model and make.
    Meanwhile, paper money fuels big government… as oxygen fuels fire.
    But paper money’s effects on the culture?
    ‘It has a very important impact on our culture,’ writes economist Jorg Guido Hulsmann.
    Under ‘natural money’ like gold Hulsmann explains, prices tend to fall over time.

    This post was published at Wall Street Examiner by Brian Maher ‘ June 10, 2017.


  • China’s gold imports seen jumping 50% as haven demand booms

    China, the world’s biggest gold market, may boost imports through Hong Kong by about half this year as local investors seek to protect their wealth from currency risks, a slowing property market, and volatile stocks, according to the Chinese Gold & Silver Exchange Society.
    Mainland China is set to import about 1,000 metric tons from the territory in 2017, said Haywood Cheung, president of the century-old exchange in Hong Kong which trades physical gold and silver. That compares with net purchases of 647 tons last year and would be the biggest since 2013, data from the Hong Kong Census and Statistics Department compiled by Bloomberg show.
    Demand is rising on concerns over property, share and bond markets and the outlook for the yuan, amid a government drive to reduce leverage in the financial system. Local consumption was up 15 percent in the first quarter, with sales of bars for investment climbing more than 60 percent and dwarfing a 1.4 percent rise in jewelry buying, according to data from the China Gold Association. China also imports gold from Switzerland.

    This post was published at bloomberg


  • Operation Temperer – U.K. Will Likely Institute Martial Law Measures Within A Year

    After the Manchester suicide bombing only two weeks ago I warned my readers that the repetition of terror attacks is breeding complacency within the public, in Europe most acutely. It is not uncommon now for attacks killing dozens to be forgotten within a week of the event. The news feeds are awash in distraction, and of course, sometimes these events themselves act as distractions.
    In a recent newscast of MSNBC’s ‘Morning Joe’, BBC anchor Katty Kay stated:
    ‘Europe is getting used to attacks like this, Mika. They have to, because we are never going to be able to totally wipe this out…’
    To me, this attitude is rather indicative of the European victim-culture mindset. Many in Europe (not all, but many) seem to enjoy a steady routine of self-flagellation. Countless centuries of the feudal serf system will do that to a society. The British still pay taxes to maintain a royal family, after all. I also think that the results of the Brexit vote in the UK might mislead those of us in America into thinking that the the British are turning over a new leaf in terms of liberty and conservative-like values. While I do think there is a fierce underlying drive to protect sovereignty of the British nation, the British individual has all but abandoned any hope of their own personal sovereignty and self determination.

    This post was published at Alt-Market on Wednesday, 07 June 2017.


  • One more tremendous benefit to studying abroad

    It’s that time of year again.
    Countless high school students across the northern hemisphere are ceremoniously gliding their tassels from one side of their caps to the other and accepting a rolled-up piece of paper to commemorate the past four years of their lives.
    Many of them will be thrust off to university in a few short months, where, at least in the Land of the Free, they’ll be loaded down with tens of thousands of dollars in student debt.
    This strikes me as an incredibly cruel (and unnecessary) burden to place on a young person.
    For whatever reason, modern society still highly values a university degree, even though they’re ubiquitous.
    In 1940, only 4.5% of the US population had a Bachelor’s degree. It was truly something special.

    This post was published at Sovereign Man on June 5, 2017.


  • May Vows “Enough Is Enough”, Slams “Evil Islamist Extremism” As “One Of Great Challenges Of Our Time”

    After the third deadly terrorist attack on UK soil in less than three months (and one which paradoxically took place just days after the UK lowered its “imminent attack” terror alert), Prime Minister Theresa May – facing a crucial election on Thursday – vowed to (finally?) step up Britain’s fight against Islamist extremism, saying ‘enough is enough’ after Saturday night’s terrorist attacks left seven dead and 48 injured.
    ***
    Calling for the country to unite, which incidentally is what she did after the last two terror attacks in a well-meaning gesture that achieved nothing, the British Prime Minister said in a Sunday statement that “it is time to say enough is enough, everybody needs to go about their lives as they normally would. Our society should continue to function in accordance with our values. But when it comes to taking on extremism and terrorism, things need to change.” It was not immediately clear just what #hashtag campaign on Twitter would embody this particular vow.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 4, 2017.


  • JPMorgan: “Large Parts Of Society Are Not Seeing Any Growth In Income And Job Opportunities At All”

    Last week, BofA’s HY credit strategist Michael Contopoulos, laid out a list of the four things that keep him up at night, which included:
    1. Zombie Companies And Massive, Rising Student Debt Loads
    2. Sliding Used Car Prices, Rising Delinquencies And Subprime Defaults
    3. Declining Loan Growth, Lack of commodity rebound and tighter balance sheet
    4. Lack of Investment, No Small Business Creation And No Earnings growth
    Having let the genie out of the bottle, just 24 hours later it was JPM’s turn to unveil its own answer to this same question, and in his weekly Froday note, JPM’s Jan Loeys said that when it comes to what “keeps the bank up at night” in the context of the bank’s economic outlook “regime change is the main risk.”

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on May 28, 2017.


  • After 47 Years, Stephen Lewis Calls It Quits In A Scathing Critique Of Modern Markets

    For decades, portfolio managers around the WORLD would receive the periodic “Economics & Policy” newsletter, full of original insights on everything from the markets, to the economy, to geopolitics, as penned by Stephen Lewis, chief economist at ADM (if best known for his tenure at Monument Securities which was eventually absorbed by ADM). Sadly, on Friday Lewis sent out his “Valediction” – the last ever Economic Insights report. Instead of commenting on it, we present his full thoughts in their original form as this particular career epilogue, a scathing critique of capital markets, modern economists, central bankers, and everything else that is broken in today’s society, is a must read for all market participants, as well as economists, politicians and central bankers.
    Economics & Policy
    Valediction
    By Stephen Lewis of ADM Investor Services International
    After more than forty-seven years spent observing and commenting on economies and financial markets, I shall be retiring this week to eke out my remaining days, as is fitting, in contemplation of the eternal verities.
    When I set out in the markets, on 5 January 1970, the yields on sterling bonds, including those issued by the UK government (gilt-edged), were expressed in pounds, shillings and pence. One of the first tasks to which I was put, when I joined the stockbroking firm of Phillips & Drew, was to convert these yields into the decimal form with which our computer, fully occupying the building on the opposite side of the street, could cope. Back then, the London clearing banks were required to hold in cash an amount equivalent to at least 8% of their deposits and 28% in liquid assets (cash, money at call and Treasury and commercial bills). There was not much risk of a bank liquidity crisis in those days. International asset diversification for UK-based investors was impeded by capital controls, with returns subject to variations in the premium on scarce investment currency as much as in the underlying prices of the assets held. For all the restrictions, though, octogenarians commonly travelled into their offices in the City each working day primarily for the fun of it. It was a different world, unimaginable to those too young to have known it. When told that we worked at our desks in candlelight during the power cuts of the three-day week in 1973-74, they naturally find it hard to comprehend what it was that we could possibly have been doing, so dependent have we lately become on electricity.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on May 28, 2017.


  • Free Money: Potential Presidential Candidate Mark Zuckerberg Suggests That All Americans Should Get A ‘Universal Basic Income’

    Should everyone in America receive a ‘basic income’ directly from the federal government? Considering the fact that we are already 20 trillion dollars in debt, such a concept may sound quite foolish to many of you, but this is an idea that is really starting to gain traction in leftist circles. In fact, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg suggested that this was something that we should ‘explore’ during the commencement speech that he just delivered at Harvard. For quite a while it has been obvious that Zuckerberg is very strongly considering a run for the presidency in 2020, but up until just recently we haven’t had many clues about where he would stand on particular issues. If he is serious about proposing a universal basic income for all Americans, that would make Zuckerberg very appealing to the far left voters that flocked to the Bernie Sanders campaign.
    Yesterday, I discussed the fact that the number of Americans that are receiving money from the government each month has reached an all-time high, but Zuckerberg would take things much farther. According to Zuckerberg, society would be far better off if everyone got an income from the government…
    ‘Every generation expands its definition of equality. Now it’s time for our generation to define a new social contract,’ Zuckerberg said during his speech. ‘We should have a society that measures progress not by economic metrics like GDP but by how many of us have a role we find meaningful. We should explore ideas like universal basic income to make sure everyone has a cushion to try new ideas.’

    This post was published at The Economic Collapse Blog on May 25th, 2017.


  • Is Your Cost of Living Rising? Why the Elites Aren’t Worried About Inflation

    If you want to understand why we’re fragmenting as a society, start by looking at the asymmetric burdens imposed by inflation.
    In our household, we measure real-world inflation with the Burrito Index: How much has the cost of a regular burrito at our favorite taco truck gone up? The cost of a regular burrito from our local taco truck has gone up from $2.50 in 2001 to $5 in 2010 to $6.50 in 2016. That’s a $160% increase since 2001: 15 years in which the official inflation rate reports that what $1 bought in 2001 can supposedly be bought with $1.35 today. My Burrito Index is a rough-and-ready index of real-world inflation. To insure its measure isn’t an outlying aberration, we also need to track the real-world costs of big-ticket items such as college tuition and healthcare insurance. When we do, we observe results of similar magnitude.

    This post was published at Charles Hugh Smith on THURSDAY, MAY 25, 2017.


  • 22/5/17: Eurogroup and Greece: Wrestling Defeat from the Claws of Victory

    Today’s Eurogroup meeting on Greece ended in no agreement and extends the current tranche negotiations into June 15, the date of the next Eurogroup meeting.
    For the background:
    Greece is an economy brought to its knees by the Eurogroup and the ESM, as detailed in a range of facts well-summed up here: and Greece is now back in a recession, with dire consequences for both, the economy and the Greek society, and for fiscal targets and programs previously agreed by the Eurogroup: The key sticking point so far is the scheduling of future primary surpluses (budgetary surplus before the debt servicing costs are factored in). The Eurogroup insists on these surpluses running at 3.5% of Greek GDP for the first 5 years following 2018, declining to 2% or 2.2% (depending on the version of the draft agreement) for 2023-2060.

    This post was published at True Economics on Tuesday, May 23, 2017.


  • GEFIRA Responds To Soros’ Senior Officer’s “Fake News” Allegations

    An answer to Constanza Hermanin of Huffington Post and formerly of Open Society
    Huffington Post recently posted in its blogging section an article, by Constanza Hermanin, professor at Science Po and the College of Europe and former Open Society’s senior officer, one of George Soros’s NGOs.
    The Gefira Foundation was accused in the article of being ‘Eurosceptic, pro-Russian’ and that the activities of NGOs in the Mediterranean as reported by Gefira was ”fake news”.
    We are taking the time to address the accusations:
    1. Euroscepticism: If Constanza Hermanin, whose curriculum boasts researching skills refined at Columbia University, UC Berkeley, Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, the European Commission among the others, had actually bothered making a quality research, she would have found out that the Gefira Foundation was set up by Franck Biancheri to promote European integration. Franck Biancheri himself, now deceased, was a champion of European integration and collaborator in the creation of the Erasmus Project.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on May 22, 2017.


  • TINA’s Legacy: Free Money, Bread and Circuses and Collapse

    TINA’s legacy is revealed in this chart of the Venezuelan Bolivar, which has plummeted from 10 to the US dollar to 5,800 to the USD in a few years of rampant money-emission. Every conventional “solution” to the systemic ills of our economy and society boils down to some version of free money: Universal Basic Income (UBI) schemes– free money for everyone, funded by borrowing from future taxpayers (robots, people, Martians, any fantasy will do); debt jubilees funded by central banks creating trillions out of thin air, a.k.a. free money, and so on. Free money is compelling because, well, it’s free, and it solves all the problems created by burdensome debt and declining incomes for the bottom 95%. Just give every household $100,000 of free money that must be devoted to reducing interest, then give every household $20,000 annually for being among the living, and hey, a lot of problems go away. But is creating money out of thin air really truly free? There are two appealing answers: yes and yes. If the Treasury literally prints money, it’s almost “free,” and if the Federal Reserve creates money and buys bonds paying near-zero yields, the money that is borrowed into existence is almost free because the interest due is so minimal.

    This post was published at Charles Hugh Smith on SUNDAY, MAY 21, 2017.


  • Gold and Silver Bullion Coins See Sales ‘Explosion’ In UK On ‘Wave Of Political Turmoil’

    Gold and Silver Bullion Coins See Sales ‘Explosion’ In UK On ‘Wave Of Political Turmoil’
    by Jan Harvey of Reuters
    In a warehouse a dozen miles to the northwest of Cardiff, the Royal Mint is running its machines through the night to keep up with demand for one of the big beneficiaries of the last year’s political turmoil – gold and silver bullion.
    ***
    The 1,100-year-old Mint, based here since the 1960s, is producing 50 percent more gold bullion coins and bars than it was this time last year, director of bullion Chris Howard says, while its sales in January rose by a third.
    With growth prospects for its core minting business limited by the advent of the cashless society, the Mint has focused heavily on growing its bullion arm in the last few years.

    This post was published at Gold Core on May 19, 2017.


  • Sweden Inches Closer To Cashless Society As Churches And Homeless Now Accept Plastic

    The citizens of Sweden are perhaps closer to completely giving up a component of their individual sovereignty than any other country on earth. In a world where government’s abuse of power and intrusion into the personal lives of its blissfully ignorant enablers grows more disturbing by the day, at least for now, cash offers the one opportunity to transact in a truly anonymous way.
    That said, Swedes are ditching their physical currency at a breakneck pace with notes and coins in circulation dropping consistently for the past 6 years and down over 15% in 2016 alone.
    According to the following chart from Bloomberg, notes and coins in public circulation dropped to an average of 56.8 billion kronor, just $6.4 billion, in the first quarter of this year, the lowest level since 1990 and more than 40% below its 2007 peak with the pace of the decline accelerating to its fastest ever in 2016.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on May 18, 2017.


  • The Soft Underbelly of Scandinavian “High-Tax Happy-Capitalism”

    Central planning based on central-bank inflated debt-asset bubbles works until it doesn’t. A media mini-industry touts Scandinavia’s “happiness” as the result of its high-tax, generous welfare state-capitalism. This mini-industry conveniently fails to report the soft underbelly of Scandinavia’s “High-Tax Happy-Capitalism”: The high-tax, generous welfare model is just as dependent on unsustainable credit bubbles as every other version of state-capitalism. The glossy surface story goes like this: state-capitalism creates a happy, secure society if taxes are high enough to fund generous social welfare benefits for everyone. People are happy to pay the higher taxes because they value the generous benefits they receive. The story has an implicit message: every state-capitalist society could become happy if only taxes were raised high enough to fund generous social welfare for all. There are many versions of this narrative, for example, the appealing (but financially impractical) “tax the robots” funded Universal Basic Income (UBI) that I have repeatedly debunked. Put another way: state-managed capitalism works just great if high earners and companies pay high enough taxes to fund a rebalancing of wealth and income via social welfare transfers.

    This post was published at Charles Hugh Smith on WEDNESDAY, MAY 17, 2017.


  • Stocks and Precious Metals Charts – Mind the Gap

    “Starting around 1980, American society began to undergo a series of deep shifts. Deregulation, weakened antitrust enforcement, and technological changes led to increasing concentration of industry and finance. Money began to play a larger and more corrupting role in politics. America fell behind other nations in education, in infrastructure, and in the performance of many of its major industries. Inequality increased.
    As a result of these and other changes, America was turning into a rigged game – a society that denies opportunity to those who are not born into wealthy families, one that resembles a third-world dictatorship more than an advanced democracy.”
    Charles H. Ferguson, Predator Nation
    ‘When the system is rigged, when ordinary citizens are powerless, and when whistle-blowers are pariahs at best, three things happen:
    First, the worst people rise to the top. They behave appallingly, and they wreak havoc.
    Second, people who could make productive contributions to society are incented to become destructive, because corruption is far more lucrative than honest work.
    And third, everyone else pays, both economically and emotionally; people become cynical, selfish, and fatalistic. Often they go along with the system, but they hate themselves for it. They play the game to survive and feed their families, but both they and society suffer.’
    Charles H. Ferguson, Inside Job
    It was a risk off day in the markets. No doubt about it.
    The purported reason was the disclosure by the ex-FBI Director Comey that President Trump apparently asked him to forego the investigation of the ex-Security Advisor Flynn.

    This post was published at Jesses Crossroads Cafe on 17 MAY 2017.


  • Really Bad Ideas, Part 1: Modern Monetary Theory

    The past century has been an orgy of experimentation. We tried fascism, which initially looked good to some before (literally) crashing and burning. We tried communism, which looked great to many before killing millions and withering away. Fiat currency and fractional reserve banking, meanwhile, still make sense to most economists and politicians but seem to be heading for a fiery end.
    And we’re not done. Lots of new ways of organizing society are competing to be the next big thing. This series will consider some of the really bad ones, starting with Modern Monetary Theory (MMT).
    MMT’s basic premise is that governments don’t really need to finance themselves through taxing and borrowing when they can just create money and spend it, thus simplifying their operations and satisfying everyone’s needs. Here’s an excerpt from a long panegyric from the Nation magazine:
    The Rock-Star Appeal of Modern Monetary Theory In early 2013, Congress entered a death struggle – or a debt struggle, if you will – over the future of the US economy. A spate of old tax cuts and spending programs were due to expire almost simultaneously, and Congress couldn’t agree on a budget, nor on how much the government could borrow to keep its engines running. Cue the predictable partisan chaos: House Republicans were staunchly opposed to raising the debt ceiling without corresponding cuts to spending, and Democrats, while plenty weary of running up debt, too, wouldn’t sign on to the Republicans’ proposed austerity.

    This post was published at DollarCollapse on MAY 11, 2017.