Posts Tagged ‘free markets’

Mass Delusion – American Style

Mass Delusion – American Style

Courtesy of Jim Quinn of The Burning Platform

“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one.” – Charles Mackay - Extraordinary Popular Delusions and The Madness of Crowds

 

The American public thinks they are rugged individualists, who come to conclusions based upon sound reason and a rational thought process. The truth is that the vast majority of Americans act like a herd of cattle or a horde of lemmings. Throughout history there have been many instances of mass delusion. They include the South Sea Company bubble, Mississippi Company bubble, Dutch Tulip bubble, and Salem witch trials. It appears that mass delusion has replaced baseball as the national past-time in America. In the space of the last 15 years the American public have fallen for the three whopper delusions:

  1. Buy stocks for the long run
  2. Homes are always a great investment
  3. Globalization will benefit all Americans

Bill Bonner and Lila Rajiva ponder why people have always acted in a herd like manner in their outstanding book Mobs, Messiahs, and Markets: Surviving the Public Spectacle in Finance and Politics:

“Of course, we doubt if many public prescriptions are really intended to solve problems. People certainly believe they are when they propose them. But, like so much of what goes on in a public spectacle, its favorite slogans, too, are delusional – more in the nature of placebos than propositions. People repeat them like Hail Marys because it makes them feel better. Most of our beliefs about the economy – and everything else – are of this nature. They are forms of self medication, superstitious lip service we pay to the powers of the dark, like touching wood….or throwing salt over your shoulder. “Stocks for the long run,” “Globalization is good.” We repeat slogans to ourselves, because everyone else does. It is not so much bad luck we want to avoid as being on our own. Why it is that losing your life savings should be less painful if you have lost it in the company of one million other losers, we don’t know. But mankind is first of all a herd animal and fears nothing more than not being part of the herd.”

Stocks for the


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Never Let the Threat of a Manufactured Crisis Go to Waste

Never Let the Threat of a Manufactured Crisis Go to Waste

Courtesy of Mark Thoma, Economist’s View 

There’s been a lot of speculation about the motives of the Austerians — those who want to begin balancing budgets now because they believe that’s what markets want. For example, Paul Krugman attributes it, in part, to

moralizing and posturing. Germans tend to think of running deficits as being morally wrong, while balancing budgets is considered virtuous, never mind the … economic logic. “The last few hours were a singular show of strength,” declared Angela Merkel … after a special cabinet meeting agreed on the austerity plan. And showing strength — or what is perceived as strength — is what it’s all about.

But there is another argument based upon the notion of "never let a crisis — or the manufactured threat of one — go to waste." This is an opportunity to "starve the European Beast" in the eyes of many European conservatives, and there are those who are using the "that’s what markets want" argument as cover for an ideological agenda:

The spectre of laissez-faire stalks Britain, by Jeremy Seabrook, CIF: The relish with which David Cameron announced that our whole way of life would be affected for years by impending cuts, and no one in the land would be exempt from the asperities about to be inflicted, suggested to many that he and his fellow cabinet-millionaires will probably weather the coming storm better than the rest of us.

His parade of Margaret Thatcher, who resembled nothing so much as a faded kabuki performer, outside 10 Downing Street, was also highly symbolic. It was a redemptive moment, the "ultimate" triumph of policies she advocated (but did not entirely follow) 30 years ago. It exhibited the qualities of purification ritual, reversion to a more severe form of capitalism; and in the process a transformation of nanny state into stepmother state.

Nick Clegg’s pious assertion that cuts would be fair and compassionate was at odds with Cameron’s gusto, which is familiar enough in Conservative rhetoric: Cameron confronting an overweening state, which will be shrunk so the private sector might flourish once more. When he said the effects of his policies would be felt for decades to come, he meant something more than a mere diminution of the structural deficit. He admitted as much… 

While cutting back big government may appear a


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DOJ Antitrust Division Considering Launching Investigation Into Silver Market Manipulation By JPM

Courtesy of Tyler Durden

Eric King reports the breaking news that in a letter obtained by Ted Butler, the DOJ’s Antitrust department is considering launching an investigation into silver market manipulation by JP Morgan. Should an announcement of a full formal probe of manipulation by JPM follow, it would be tantamount to a confirmation of what numerous individuals have been claiming over the years, that JP Morgan, the LBMA, the CFTC, various banks, and even that kindly old grandpa who was so much against derivatives except when he was about to lose money as a result of regulation that he is spending the whole weekend telling his investors in Omaha to run, not walk, to Borsheim’s, and buy all their massively overpriced trinkets (you can’t be a quadrillionaire without first being a trillionaire), are nothing but a borderline criminal cabal that traffics in wealth extraction courtesy of a few monopolist players. As Eric King discloses in its letter the Anti-Trust division announces that "it will carefully consider the issue of silver market manipulation by JP Morgan and other traders. Generally the CFTC investigates these types of market manipulations. However, the suggestion that JPMorgan Chase may be signaling other traders, warrants further analysis. The DOJ will carefully consider the issue you raise, and you can be assured that if we conclude that silver traders have engaged in anti-competitive conduct, we will take appropriate enforcement action."

Ted Butler, always cutting to the point, says: "It’s about time a major government organization stepped up to end what has been a very serious crime in progress that has basically covered two decades…[JP Morgan's] level of concentration only exists in the silver markets. Concentration is the hallmark of manipulation or a monopoly. Our markets are supposed to be free markets, they are not supposed to be controlled by anybody. Right now the silver market is a monopoly, the chief monopolist is JP Morgan, and the only entity that can step up to JPM is the Antitrust division of the DOJ…If you want to put it into perspective, more important and more serious than what is currently happening with Goldman Sachs. This is a crime in progress, this is an allegation of current market manipulation. This is as serious as you get. You don’t get bigger than market manipulation."

And, as a scheduled daily reminder to Christine Varney: if you are evaluating JP Morgan…
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The New Perspective

"At Davos, the Globalizers Are Gone," is an excellent article by Ian Bremmer, and in sharp contrast to another excellent article I posted yesterday by George F. Smith writing at Mises Daily, By the Way, Free Markets Are Free. I would submit that the ideals of a truly free market are an illusion because we do not have the political system and laws framed in such a way as to support a truly free market system. We cannot go straight to free market remedies because we cannot dispense with the need for a functional, non-corrupted, political and legal system – laws constraining freedom – to provide the framework in which a free market can operate.  And hence, "free" is not completely free and it can’t be. – Ilene

The New Perspective

Woman Standing on Globe Beach Ball

Courtesy of Michael Panzner at When Giants Fall

Say what you will, but one reason why globalization has had the traction it has up until recently, despite anecdotal and other evidence that it has not lived up to many of the promises of its proponents, is because of the support of the movers and the shakers. In America and elsewhere, corporate executives and other powerful interests have used their money and influence to ensure that policymakers were not swayed to move in a different direction. But the times are a-changin’. As foreign policy expert Ian Bremmer notes in a commentary for the Washington Post, "At Davos, the Globalizers Are Gone," some of the biggest supporters of unfettered cross-border trade and free markets, no doubt shaken by the events of the past two years, seem to have lost their mojo.

For 40 years there’s been a consensus view at the Davos World Economic Forum that globalization’s increasingly free cross-border flow of ideas, information, people, money, goods and services is both irreversible and a powerful force for prosperity. As with meetings of the G7 group of industrialized nations, there was broad agreement on the proper role for the state in the performance of markets. Sure, a French cabinet official and an American investment banker might spar over the relative merits of state paternalism and Anglo-Saxon labor laws, but the bargaining table was still reserved for champions of Western-style free market capitalism.

Davos has always had its critics. For those who believe globalization empowers the rich at


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Greed is not good

To make an analogy with the living body – growth is good. Nutrition and a healthy environment are vital for healthy cells growing in a healthy organism. Cancer – uncontrolled, excessive growth of a renegade line of cells – is not good.  One way or another, it kills the whole system.  Greed in an economic/political system is like cancer in a living being. – Ilene

Greed is not good

Courtesy of Edward Harrison at Credit Writedowns

gordon-gekko In the 1987 movie classic Wall Street, the sinister protagonist Gordon Gekko played by Michael Douglas gives this famous quote:

In the last seven deals that I’ve been involved with, there were 2.5 million stockholders who have made a pretax profit of 12 billion dollars. Thank you. I am not a destroyer of companies. I am a liberator of them! The point is, ladies and gentleman, that greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right, greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms; greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge has marked the upward surge of mankind.

Since that time, this quote has become famous as the “Greed is Good” philosophy of capitalism.  Gekko symbolizes an era in which it is believed that the free hand of market capitalism will steer the economy efficiently and effectively with little need for government intervention or regulatory oversight. Instead, so the theory goes, we are each allowed encouraged to pursue our manifest destiny of getting filthy rich. Screw everybody else.

Well, let me tell you something greed is not good.  Greed is corrosive and it is tearing at the very fabric of our democracy. A generation ago most people in America worked for a few institutions in their lifetimes.  Many had employer-paid healthcare and employer-financed defined benefit pension plans.

But, since the 1980s the moorings have come off and set us adrift in a world of economic insecurity.


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Phil's Favorites

Ensuring the minimum wage keeps up with economic growth would be the best way to help workers and preserve FDR's legacy

 

What is raising the federal minimum wage likely to accomplish and not likely to accomplish?

Ensuring the minimum wage keeps up with economic growth would be the best way to help workers and preserve FDR's legacy

It may seem like a lot, but it’s not the most important change in the bill. AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Courtesy of Felix Koenig, Carnegie Mellon University

The US$1.9 trillion pandemic relief bi...



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Zero Hedge

For Bonds, This Is Now The Second Worst Bear Market In 40 Years

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

Last December, we predicted that the US was heading for a "titanic taper tantrum" in 2021, to an extent as a result of a sharp drop in bond demand as a result of reduced bond purchases by the Fed but also due to a spike in inflation which would lead to a sharp drop in demand for duration.

So fast forward to this week when the crash in US Treasurys, and especially the belly of the curve led by a plunge in 5Y prices...

...

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ValueWalk

There's A "Chip" Shortage: And TSM Holds All The Cards

By Mauldin Economics. Originally published at ValueWalk.

“You drove 1,000 miles just for this game?” Christmas 1988 was a stressful time for many American parents. Nintendo’s Super Mario Bros. 2 was the must-have toy that year. But copies of the hit videogame were as scarce as hen’s teeth.

Q4 2020 hedge fund letters, conferences and more

ABC News ran a 20/20 special on the shortage called “Nuts for Nintendo.” They chatted to one dad who drove 1,000 miles from Indiana to NYC in the hopes of grabbing a copy.

“I’ve tried 7 stores a day for 3 weeks and sti...



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Politics

What is fascism?

 

What is fascism?

A Donald Trump supporter wears a gas mask and holds a bust of him after he and hundreds of others stormed the Capitol building on Jan. 6, 2021. Roberto Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images

Courtesy of John Broich, Case Western Reserve University

Since before Donald Trump took office, historians have debated whether he is a fascist.

As a teacher of World War II history...



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Biotech/COVID-19

How does the Johnson & Johnson vaccine compare to other coronavirus vaccines? 4 questions answered

 

How does the Johnson & Johnson vaccine compare to other coronavirus vaccines? 4 questions answered

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine only requires one dose. Phill Magoke/AFP via Getty Images

Courtesy of Maureen Ferran, Rochester Institute of Technology

Editor’s note: On Tuesday, Feb. 24, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration released the results of its trial of the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine. The FDA found the vaccine to be safe...



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Chart School

The Fastest Money

Courtesy of Read the Ticker

The fast money happens near the end of the long trend.

Securities which attract a popular following by both the public and professionals investors tend to repeat the same sentiment over their bull phase. The chart below is the map of said sentiment.







Video on the subject.







Charts in the video


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Digital Currencies

Bridgewater Explains When It Will Invest In Bitcoin

Courtesy of ZeroHedge

Two weeks ago, Bridgewater founder Ray Dalio called Bitcoin "one hell of an invention" adding that:

"I expect Bridgewater to soon offer an alt-cash fund and a storehold of wealth fund in order to better deal with the devaluation of money and credit that we consider to be a major risk and opportunity, and Bitcoin won’t escape our scrutiny.”

And now, after significant attention that his comments received, Senior Portfolio Strategist Jim Haskel sits dow...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Is Rising Inflation About To Hit U.S. Economy In Big Way?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

Inflation seems to be a thing of the past… but current trading in bond and commodity markets tell us that it could become a thing of the future!

Inflation hasn’t been an issue, or even on our radar, since the 1980s. Sure, the 2007 surge in oil prices offered some concern but the financial crisis killed any thoughts of inflation.

So what’s got us concerned about inflation in 2021?

Today we take a look at long-term charts of two potential inflation indicators: Crude Oil ...



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Mapping The Market

The Countries With The Most COVID-19 Cases

 

The Countries With The Most COVID-19 Cases

By Martin Armstrong, Statista, Jan 12, 2021

This regularly updated infographic keeps track of the countries with the most confirmed Covid-19 cases. The United States is still at the top of the list, with a total now exceeding the 22 million mark, according to Johns Hopkins University figures. The total global figure is now over 85 million, while there have been more than 1.9 million deaths.

You will find more infographics at ...



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The Technical Traders

Adaptive Fibonacci Price Modeling System Suggests Market Peak May Be Near

Courtesy of Technical Traders

Our Adaptive Fibonacci Price Modeling system is suggesting a moderate price peak may be already setting up in the NASDAQ while the Dow Jones, S&P500, and Transportation Index continue to rally beyond the projected Fibonacci Price Expansion Levels.  This indicates that capital may be shifting away from the already lofty Technology sector and into Basic Materials, Financials, Energy, Consumer Staples, Utilities, as well as other sectors.

This type of a structural market shift indicates a move away from speculation and towards Blue Chip returns. It suggests traders and investors are expecting the US consumer to come back strong (or at least hold up the market at...



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Lee's Free Thinking

Texas, Florida, Arizona, Georgia - The Branch COVIDIANS Are Still Burning Down the House

 

Texas, Florida, Arizona, Georgia – The Branch COVIDIANS Are Still Burning Down the House

Courtesy of Lee Adler, WallStreetExaminer 

The numbers of new cases in some of the hardest hit COVID19 states have started to plateau, or even decline, over the past few days. A few pundits have noted it and concluded that it was a hopeful sign. 

Is it real or is something else going on? Like a restriction in the numbers of tests, or simply the inability to test enough, or are some people simply giving up on getting tested? Because as we all know from our dear leader, the less testing, the less...



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Insider Scoop

Economic Data Scheduled For Friday

Courtesy of Benzinga

  • Data on nonfarm payrolls and unemployment rate for March will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET.
  • US Services Purchasing Managers' Index for March is scheduled for release at 9:45 a.m. ET.
  • The ISM's non-manufacturing index for March will be released at 10:00 a.m. ET.
  • The Baker Hughes North American rig count report for the latest week is scheduled for release at 1:00 p.m. ET.
...

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Promotions

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TODAY's LIVE webinar on stocks, options and trading strategy is open to all!

Feb. 26, 1pm EST

Click HERE to join the PSW weekly webinar at 1 pm EST.

Phil will discuss positions, COVID-19, market volatility -- the selloff -- and more! 

This week, we also have a special presentation from Mike Anton of TradeExchange.com. It's a new service that we're excited to be a part of! 

Mike will show off the TradeExchange's new platform which you can try for free.  

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