Posts Tagged ‘INEQUALITY’

The Overlapping Crises of Neoliberal Global Capitalism

The Overlapping Crises of Neoliberal Global Capitalism

Courtesy of Charles Hugh Smith, Of Two Minds

Conventional wisdom holds that today's global financial crises are political rather than systemic to Neoliberal Global State Capitalism.

It is tempting to place the blame for the U.S. economy's deep woes at the feet of our corrupt, captured political system of governance and those who captured it via concentrated wealth and power. But that would avoid looking at the crises unfolding in global capitalism itself.

From the "progressive" ideology, the "problem" is inequality of income and wealth, and the "solution" is to take more of the wealth and income away from "the rich" (i.e. those who make more than I do) and redistribute to the "have-less" citizenry.

From the "conservative" ideology, the "problem" is that the Central State, in cahoots with public unions and Corporate Overlords, grabs an ever-larger share of the national income to redistribute to reward its cronies and favorites. In so doing, it mis-allocates the nation's capital away from productive investments and strangles free enterprise, the only real engine of wealth.

There is of course a grain of truth in each point of view. As I describe in Survival+, there is a positive feedback in the process of concentrating wealth and thus political power: the more wealth one acquires, themore political influence one can purchase, which then enables the accumulation of even more wealth as the State/Elite partnership showers benefits and monoplies on those who fund elections, i.e. the wealthy.

This process eventually leads to over-reach, when the nation's capital and income are so concentrated that the economy become precariously imbalanced and thus vulernerable to devolution and collapse. Returns on favoritism and capital become marginal, and it take more complexity and capital to wring ever-smaller profits and power from ever-greater investments.

It is also true that the State and the Power Elites mask their massive redistribution to the wealthy and powerful behind politically popular redistributions to the lower-income and/or unproductive citizenry, garnering their loyalty and complicity.

It is also true that as the State and its private-sector Elites channel an ever-larger percentage of the national income to the Central State and its fiefdoms, both public and private, then the productive…
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The Perils of Prediction

The Perils of Prediction 

Courtesy of Charles Hugh Smith, Of Two Minds 

Fortune teller wheel

Nobody knows the future, so the best we can do is strive for an open mind and flexibility in our thinking and responses. 

In 1904, the "fact-based" consensus was that rising prosperity would stretch into the future as far as imagination allowed. The prosperity was so widespread that war, it seemed, had been abolished as bad for business.

In 1904, Imperial Tsarist Russia, though suffering from the usual spot of bother now and again, was stable and enduring. In 1904, Great Britain viewed France as its continental rival.

Ten years later, advanced, peaceful, hopeful Europe stumbled into the Great War, and three years into that war Tsarist Russia fell to revolution.

In 1928, permanent prosperity was again the consensus. Two years later, that hope was reduced to ashes.

In 1930, Germany and Japan were economically troubled, as were the other great nations of the world, but neither were seen as threatening. Less than ten years later, the two nations had declared war on the world.

In 1980, fear of a sudden massive Soviet tank attack on West Germany sparked a series of "what if" books and a push for short-range nuclear-armed missiles in Germany--a U.S. plan which galvanized the Western European peace movement.

Ten years later, the Soviet Empire had crumbled into dust and abandoned gulags.

In 1975, scholars and pundits confidently declared that the "cult of Mao" which fueled China’s Culutral Revolution was so entrenched, so pervasive and so central to China’s Communist regime that would outlast Mao the mortal and thus into the next century.

Three years later, Mao was dead and the Gang of Four lost power. Ten years after 1975, when the Cult of Mao was universally viewed as a permanent feature of China, that nation was four years into the state-controlled, limited-capitalist model of engaging the world that created its present-day pre-eminence.

I think you see my point: consensus predictions of what the future holds are generally wrong. The consensus in the U.S. about the world of 2020 is that it won’t be much different from the world of 2010. All the actuarial tables of Social Security run to 2040 and beyond, as if the road ahead will be an extension of the past sixty years of American global dominance and credit-based prosperity.

That alone tells me 2020 will…
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The Root of Economic Fragility and Political Anger

The Root of Economic Fragility and Political Anger

Courtesy of Robert Reich 

a road sign saying career change ahead

Missing from almost all discussion of America’s dizzying rate of unemployment is the brute fact that hourly wages of people with jobs have been dropping, adjusted for inflation. Average weekly earnings rose a bit this spring only because the typical worker put in more hours, but June’s decline in average hours pushed weekly paychecks down at an annualized rate of 4.5 percent.

In other words, Americans are keeping their jobs or finding new ones only by accepting lower wages.

Meanwhile, a much smaller group of Americans’ earnings are back in the stratosphere: Wall Street traders and executives, hedge-fund and private-equity fund managers, and top corporate executives. As hiring has picked up on the Street, fat salaries are reappearing. Richard Stein, president of Global Sage, an executive search firm, tells the New York Times corporate clients have offered compensation packages of more than $1 million annually to a dozen candidates in just the last few weeks.

We’re back to the same ominous trend as before the Great Recession: a larger and larger share of total income going to the very top while the vast middle class continues to lose ground.

And as long as this trend continues, we can’t get out of the shadow of the Great Recession. When most of the gains from economic growth go to a small sliver of Americans at the top, the rest don’t have enough purchasing power to buy what the economy is capable of producing.

Newly Unemployed Man

America’s median wage, adjusted for inflation, has barely budged for decades. Between 2000 and 2007 it actually dropped. Under these circumstances the only way the middle class could boost its purchasing power was to borrow, as it did with gusto. As housing prices rose, Americans turned their homes into ATMs. But such borrowing has its limits. When the debt bubble finally burst, vast numbers of people couldn’t pay their bills, and banks couldn’t collect. 

Each of America’s two biggest economic downturns over the last century has followed the same pattern. Consider: in 1928 the richest 1 percent of Americans received 23.9 percent of the nation’s total income. After that, the share going to the richest 1 percent steadily declined. New Deal reforms, followed by World War II, the GI Bill and the Great Society expanded the…
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GDP Deflator at a Five Decades Low While Income Inequality Is at Record Highs

GDP Deflator at a Five Decades Low While Income Inequality Is at Record Highs

Courtesy of JESSE’S CAFÉ AMÉRICAIN

From this chart sent out this morning by David Rosenberg, we can see that the GDP deflator is at a five decades low.

I tend to believe that the modifications to the inflation measures, including the deflator, that have accumulated by the federal bureaucracy over the past ten years are greatly understating the actual inflation in the economy.

There are very positive benefits for the government to do this. The lower the deflator, the better and higher the real GDP figures will appear. And a low measure of official inflation reduces increases in payments in Social Security and other programs with Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA), including official debt payments on the bonds and the TIPS.

Gold gives the lie to this, which is why it is so hated by financial engineers and statists.

On the other hand, the inequality of income distribution in the US is at level not seen since the 1920′s.

There is some good reason to think that government tax and fiscal policies, as well as the monopolistic makeup and subsidized growth of the Banking sector facilitates this wealth transfer and concentration, which has a highly negative impact on real economic growth.

There will be a change, and the trends will be reversed. How they are reversed and what changes will accompany those reversals are very much open to debate, and divergent historical examples. But these changes almost invariably involve a shift from individualism to statism.

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible make violent revolution inevitable."

John F. Kennedy

Change will come if the system remains as unsustainable as it is now. And what gives me a somewhat pessimistic view is that people never seem to learn the lessons of history. 

 


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Wealth Dispersion and General Thoughts on the Future of Economics on a Saturday Afternoon

Wealth Dispersion and General Thoughts on the Future of Economics on a Saturday Afternoon

Courtesy of Jesse’s Americain Cafe

Image Of Thinking Man's Brain Through Bowler Hat

Here is an interesting graph of wealth distribution, or dispersion, as I call it from Cherchez La Verite.

I am not sure I agree with his conclusions or even his premise, not because I disagree but because it requires some thinking and leisure to digest it. But the data is most interesting.

I wonder if any of the quant economists have performed simulations on virtual populations, and then examined the results of varying different tax rates, and concentrations of wealth because of fiscal policy and regulatory structure, among other things.

I have an hypothesis that great concentrations of wealth lead to economic stagnation, but I am afraid that I have not the means or the talent anymore to conduct that type of research.

The difficulty in a study like this is that the assumptions are greatly magnified into the results. If you assume certain buying, spending, and savings behaviours, the downstream impact can greatly alter, and even distort, the outcomes.

And when people reason through this verbally, rather than perform a structured simulation based on transactions, the distortions increase by an order of magnitude or more based on their own biases.

I used to create simulations like this all the time, for industrial and commercial purposes, and also did a decent amount of econometric modeling. So I am sure someone is doing it somewhere. But I suspect they are doing it in think tanks and places where the outcome is predetermined by the basis of their grant.

Concentrated wealth magnifies the needs and predispositions of the holder. Since the amount they require for basic necessities can only consume so much, one would think that the amount spent on the aggregate of necessities will eventually be reduced. And what they do with their excess of necessity wealth is going to be greatly influenced by their character. Are they a gambler, who inherited the wealth? Are they productive and beneficent? Are they dissolute and venal?

And what about government? Taxation can concentrate enormous wealth in the government. What sort of government does one have, or does one assume? Are they warlike, productive, redistributive, and how corrupt? What about corporations? They can be like small governments, and levy taxes through monopoly…
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Zero Hedge

Elemetal Gold Tries to Cover its Tracks, and Why Isn't Gold higher - Update 1

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

What Does Elemetal Imply for Precious Metals?
  • Gold smuggling accounts for up to 75% of all LATAM Gold imported in the US
  • Disruption of this augmented Gold supply is Bullish for Gold
  • Elemetal is running for corporate cover
  • No-one cares

UPDATE 1 - DGSE a publicly traded retailer, just signed an LOI to buy Elemetal, LLC. It gets better. DGSE is #2 on the S&P list of likely retailers to default. Wait, there's more.  Elemetal is actually majority shareholder in DGSE.  Essentially, Elemetal, which controls DGSE would rather ...



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Phil's Favorites

World Bank Maintains Oil Price Forecast At $55

 

World Bank Maintains Oil Price Forecast At $55

Courtesy of Irina Slav, OilPrice.com

In its latest Commodity Markets Outlook, the World Bank maintained its Q1 forecast for oil prices at $55 a barrel, saying, however, that overall energy prices will increase 26 percent in 2017.

The WB is overall optimistic for oil, expecting supply to tighten in the current quarter as OPEC and non-OPEC production cuts start to affect global supply. In that, the institution differs from some energy analysts who are markedly bearish on oil prices. ...



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ValueWalk

Charlie Munger On The "Thrift" Crisis

By Rupert Hargreaves. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Charlie Munger is known for speaking the truth. Indeed, some might say he has built his reputation on it. By speaking the truth and trusting his instincts, Munger has not only built a reputation for himself, but he has also helped Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway avoid a number of disasters, which they may have otherwise been dragged into. One such disaster was the mutual savings and loan association crisis of the 1980s and 1990s, which Berkshire Hathaway and Wesco Financial managed to avoid with Munger and Buffett at the helm.

]]> Get The Full Series i...

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Digital Currencies

Bitcoin Spikes To Record Highs

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

US dollar prices for virtual currencies are soaring. Both Bitcoin ($1343 highs) and Ethereum (as we described previously) are at new record highs as China regulators/exchanges appear to have 'stabilized', fears over the so-called 'hard fork' have abated, and hopes for an ETF have been revived by an SEC review.

Back above the price of gold and at record highs, Bitcoin rallied notably overnight after China's largest bitcoin exchanges introduced a flat 0.2% fee on eac...



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Market News

News You Can Use From Phil's Stock World

 

Financial Markets and Economy

Euro-Area Economic Confidence Surges to Highest in a Decade (Bloomberg)

Euro-area economic confidence jumped to the highest in almost a decade this month, a testament to a continued improvement that may soon prompt a policy shift at the European Central Bank.

European Bank Bulls Seek ECB Tapering Hints as France Risk Fades (Bloomberg)

Investors are waiting to see whether Mario Draghi joins in the optimism that has engulfed the region&r...



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Chart School

Markets Consolidate

Courtesy of Declan.

After two days of gains it was time for consolidation in markets. The Russell 2000 didn't get this memo and added a third day of gains managing a new closing high.


The S&P finished with a doji which tagged all-time high resistance. Technicals haven't changed from yesterday and relative performance has continued to weaken. The index just has to survive profit-taking and perhaps aggressive shorts looking to take advantage of the resistance tag.

...

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Kimble Charting Solutions

S&P 500; Dangerous place to run out of gas!

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

Could the “Weekly Closing Highs and Lows” of last year, be impacting stock prices in 2017? The Power of the Pattern thinks so! Below looks at the S&P 500 over the past couple of years. where we applied Fibonacci to the “Weekly Closing Highs and Lows” of last year.

CLICK ON CHART TO ENLARGE

The S&P 500 ran into the 161% extension level at (2) and it stopped on a dime, at the end of February. Following a small decline the rally the past two weeks has it testi...



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of April 24th, 2017

Reminder: OpTrader is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

 

This post is for all our live virtual trade ideas and daily comments. Please click on "comments" below to follow our live discussion. All of our current  trades are listed in the spreadsheet below, with entry price (1/2 in and All in), and exit prices (1/3 out, 2/3 out, and All out).

We also indicate our stop, which is most of the time the "5 day moving average". All trades, unless indicated, are front-month ATM options. 

Please feel free to participate in the discussion and ask any questions you might have about this virtual portfolio, by clicking on the "comments" link right below.

To learn more about the swing trading virtual portfolio (strategy, performance, FAQ, etc.), please click here ...



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Members' Corner

Should I buy that stock?

Courtesy of Phil Stasukaitis (pstas)

I was asked by my local investment club to do a presentation on "how to buy a stock?" As I pondered the question, I began by noting all the elements that I monitor regularly and which come in to play as part of my decision process. As the group is comprised novices to experts, I tried to gear my discussion to cover both basics and more advanced concepts.

Four Part Discussion

  1. Macro Economic Indicators
  2. Market Indexes
  3. Fundamental Analysis
  4. Technical Analysis

1. Macro Economic Indicators

We'll start with reviewing some basic concepts and measurements that have direct effects on the stock market. 

A. Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

...

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Mapping The Market

Bombing - Right or Wrong?

Courtesy of Jean-Luc

I am telling you Angel – makes no sense… BTW:

Republicans Love Bombing, But Only When a Republican Does It

By Kevin Drum, Mother Jones

A few days ago I noted that Republican views of the economy changed dramatically when Donald Trump was elected, but Democratic views stayed pretty stable. Apparently Republicans view the economy through a partisan lens but Democrats don't.

Are there other examples of this? Yes indeed. Jeff Stein points to polling data about air strikes against Syria:

Democr...



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Biotech

CAR-T & CRISPR - the Future is Now

Reminder: Pharmboy is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

PSW Members....it has been a while since my last post, but since many have all been on the board following the chat, it is time for a scientific lesson in a few of the companies we are long.  In addition, another revolution is coming in the medical field, and it will be touched upon as well.

CAR-T - stands for Chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) and the T is for T-cell.  

From the picture above, T-cells are one cell type of our immune system that fight off infection as well as they are one player at keeping rogue cells from becoming cancerous. Unfortunately, cancer somehow evades the immune system and so it begins.

CAR-T came along in the late1980s via a brilliant scientist, Zelig Eshhar...



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Promotions

Free eBook - "My Top Strategies for 2017"

 

 

Here's a free ebook for you to check out! 

Phil has a chapter in a newly-released eBook that we think you’ll enjoy.

In My Top Strategies for 2017, Phil's chapter is Secret Santa’s Inflation Hedges for 2017.

This chapter isn’t about risk or leverage. Phil present a few smart, practical ideas you can use as a hedge against inflation as well as hedging strategies designed to assist you in staying ahead of the markets.

Some other great content in this free eBook includes:

 

·       How 2017 Will Affect Oil, the US Dollar and the European Union

...

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All About Trends

Mid-Day Update

Reminder: Harlan is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

Click here for the full report.




To learn more, sign up for David's free newsletter and receive the free report from All About Trends - "How To Outperform 90% Of Wall Street With Just $500 A Week." Tell David PSW sent you. - Ilene...

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About Phil:

Philip R. Davis is a founder Phil's Stock World, a stock and options trading site that teaches the art of options trading to newcomers and devises advanced strategies for expert traders...

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