$1.5 Quadrillion Time Bomb

When investing becomes gambling, bad endings follow. The next credit crunch could make 2008-09 look mild by comparison. Bank of International Settlements(BIS) data show around $700 trillion in global derivatives. Along with credit default swaps and other exotic instruments, the total notional derivatives value is about $1.5 quadrillion – about 20% more than in 2008, beyond what anyone can conceive, let alone control if unexpected turmoil strikes. The late Bob Chapman predicted it. So does Paul Craig Roberts. It could “destroy Western civilization,” he believes. Financial deregulation turned Wall Street into a casino with no rules except unrestrained making money. Catastrophic failure awaits. It’s just a matter of time. Ellen Brown calls the “derivatives casino…a last-ditch attempt to prop up a private pyramid scheme” – slowly crumbling under its own weight. For years, Warren Buffett called derivatives “financial time bombs” – for economies and ordinary people. Unless collateralized or […] Read More

Obama Issues Statement On The Death Of Saudi King Abdullah, Praises “Vision”, US-Saudi Relationship

Just released by the White House: Statement by the President on the Death of King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz It is with deep respect that I express my personal condolences and the sympathies of the American people to the family of King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz and to the people of Saudi Arabia. King Abdullah’s life spanned from before the birth of modern Saudi Arabia through its emergence as a critical force within the global economy and a leader among Arab and Islamic nations.  He took bold steps in advancing the Arab Peace Initiative, an endeavor that will outlive him as an enduring contribution to the search for peace in the region.  At home, King Abdullah’s vision was dedicated to the education of his people and to greater engagement with the world. As our countries worked together to confront many challenges, I always valued King Abdullah’s perspective and appreciated our genuine […] Read More

The Truth About The Monetary Stimulus Illusion

Authored by Tadashi Nakamae of Nakamae International Economic Research, Perhaps economic policymakers, including Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen and the Bank for International Settlements, should take a closer look at Japan, China, and yes, the United States, when debating the limits of monetary stimulus and the dangerous nature of financial bubbles. The discussion is happening too late to be anything more than an intellectual exercise. Since its inception in 2008, easy monetary policy has created very few positive effects for the real economy—and has created considerable (and in some cases unforeseen) negative effects as well. The BIS warns of financial bubbles. Quantitative easing has already created asset price bubbles in the United States and elsewhere, and an investment bubble (this includes capital expenditure and real estate) in China and other emerging markets. Meanwhile, this policy has failed to have a positive impact on the real economy partly because central […] Read More

If Quantitative Easing Works, Why Has It Failed to Kick-Start Inflation?

Illustration by William Banzai QE Has Failed to Spark Inflation Quantitative easing (QE) was supposed to stimulate the economy and pull us out of deflation. But the third round of quantitative easing (“QE3″) in the U.S. failed to raise inflation expectations. And QE hasn’t worked in Japan, either. The Wall Street Journal noted in 2010: Nearly a decade after Japan’s central bank first experimented with the policy, the country remains mired in deflation, a general decline in wages and prices that has crippled its economy. The BOJ began doing quantitative easing in 2001. It had become clear that pushing interest rates down near zero for an extended period had failed to get the economy moving. After five years of gradually expanding its bond purchases, the bank dropped the effort in 2006. At first, it appeared the program had succeeded in stabilizing the economy and halting the slide in prices. […] Read More

The Price Of Oil Exposes The True State Of The Economy

Submitted by Raul Ilargi Meijer via The Automatice Earth blog, Jack Delano Cafe at truck drivers’ service station on U.S. 1, Washington DC Jun 1940 We should be glad the price of oil has fallen the way it has (losing another 6% today as we write this). Not because it makes the gas in our cars a bit cheaper, that’s nothing compared to the other service the price slump provides. That is, it allows us to see how the economy is really doing, without the multilayered veil of propaganda, spin, fixed data and bailouts and handouts for the banking system. It shows us the huge extent to which consumer spending is falling, how much poorer people have become as stock markets set records. It also shows us how desperate producing nations have become, who have seen a third of their often principal source of revenue fall away in a […] Read More

Keynesian Shangri-La From Myth To Reality

Authored by Mark St.Cyr, In less than the time it takes for a chrysalis to release one of life’s remarkable transformations, many once called “capitalists” woke to find the world they once new changed into something only dreamed or told in folklore. Where business models resembling unicorns abounded along with rainbows in their resembling equivalent of over-arching ETF’s. All available in a multitude of hues and proportions so plentiful: It was hard for one not to well up when contemplating. For in this new fairytale land there must certainly be a pot of gold at the end of every “rainbow.” However, one would be mistaken. For one must remember this is a “Keynesian Shangri-la” and gold here is useless. (insert choir music here) Today, at the end of these self propagated rainbows lies a Central Bank ready and willing to print as much money as one needs to see […] Read More

85 Super Wealthy People Have More Money Than The Poorest 3.5 Billion Combined

The global economy is structured to systematically funnel wealth to the very top of the pyramid, and this centralization of global wealth is accelerating with each passing year.  According to the United Nations, 85 super wealthy people have more money than the poorest 3.5 billion people on the planet combined.  And 1.2 billion of those poor people live on less than $1.25 a day.  There is something deeply, deeply broken about a system that produces these kinds of results.  Seven out of every ten people on the planet live in countries where the gap between the wealthy and the poor has increased in the last 30 years.  Despite our technological advances, somewhere around a billion people go to bed hungry every single night.  And when our fundamentally flawed financial system finally does collapse, it will be the poor that will suffer the worst. Now, let me make one thing […] Read More

The Size Of The Derivatives Bubble Hanging Over The Global Economy Hits A Record High

The global derivatives bubble is now 20 percent bigger than it was just before the last great financial crisis struck in 2008.  It is a financial bubble far larger than anything the world has ever seen, and when it finally bursts it is going to be a complete and utter nightmare for the financial system of the planet.  According to the Bank for International Settlements, the total notional value of derivatives contracts around the world has ballooned to an astounding 710 trillion dollars ($710,000,000,000,000).  Other estimates put the grand total well over a quadrillion dollars.  If that sounds like a lot of money, that is because it is.  For example, U.S. GDP is projected to be in the neighborhood of around 17 trillion dollars for 2014.  So 710 trillion dollars is an amount of money that is almost incomprehensible.  Instead of actually doing something about the insanely reckless behavior […] Read More

The Decline Of Small Business And The Middle Class

Submitted by Charles Hugh-Smith of OfTwoMinds blog, The only way to not just survive but thrive as an entrepreneurial enterprise is to destroy fixed costs and labor overhead. It is not coincidental that the middle class and small business are both in decline. Entrepreneurial enterprise and small business have long been stepping stones to middle class incomes and generational wealth, i.e. wealth that is passed down to future generations rather than consumed. As the headwinds to entrepreneurial enterprise and small business rise, the pathway to middle class prosperity narrows. The Washington Post published a study that found U.S. businesses are being destroyed faster than they’re being created. While not exactly a surprise, it was sobering evidence that small enterprise is in structural decline: The decline of small business also hurts employment. Successful small businesses expand and hire employees. As small businesses close, jobs vanish en masse. I have addressed this systemic decline many […] Read More

2014: Who Gets Thrown Under The Bus In The Next Financial Crisis?

Submitted by Charles Hugh-Smith of OfTwoMinds blog, The speculative excesses and political power of Wall Street pose a strategic threat to the Deep State, and as a result a showdown between the Deep State and the surface machinery of governance that has been captured by Wall Street is looming. The basic idea of the Deep State is that the visible machinery of governance–electoral politics and the Federal Reserve–doesn’t set strategic policy, it ratifies and implements decisions made behind closed doors. In Mike Lofgren‘s definition, the Deep State is “effectively able to govern the United States without reference to the consent of the governed as expressed through the formal political process.” In my analysis, the Deep State is the National Security State which enables a vast Imperial structure that incorporates hard and soft power–military, diplomatic, intelligence, finance, commercial, energy, media, higher education–in a system of global domination and influence. The Dollar and […] Read More