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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Phil's Favorites

Climate change may scuttle Caribbean's post-hurricane plans for a renewable energy boom

 

Climate change may scuttle Caribbean's post-hurricane plans for a renewable energy boom

Courtesy of Masao Ashtine, University of the West Indies, Mona Campus

Puerto Rico lost electricity again on April 18, seven months after Hurricane Maria first knocked out the island’s power grid. For people in some remote rural areas, the blackout was more of the same. Their power had yet to be restored.

The dangerous fragility of Puerto Rico’s energy systems has put other Caribbean ...



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Zero Hedge

The War Between Public Pensioners And Tax Donkeys Is Heating Up

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Authored by Charles Hugh Smith via OfTwoMinds blog,

The migration is only beginning, but that's only half the story.

You know it's serious when the newspaper of record finally reports it: A $76,000 Monthly Pension: Why States and Cities Are Short on Cash (New York Times).

It's a long article but the summary is brief: corru...



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Insider Scoop

Cowen Says The Big Sell-Off In Skechers Is A Buying Opportunity

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Related SKX 25 Stocks Moving In Friday's Mid-Day Session Mid-Day Market Update: Skechers USA Falls After Weak Q2 Guidance; Ericsson Shares Climb...

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Chart School

Short Opportunity II

Courtesy of Declan.

The first chance for a short play got burned but there is a second one on offer for the S&P.

The S&P tagged channel resistance and while today's reversal off resistance didn't amount to a big percentage loss it did register as a distribution day. There wasn't any significant technical change so if this short does evolve it will do so with risk measured on a move above 2,717.


The Nasdaq may match a 'bearish evening star' but if this is the case there has to be a significant move lower tomor...

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Digital Currencies

Only 0.04% Of Taxpayers Are Reporting Any Bitcoin Gains To The IRS

Courtesy of Zero Hedge

With the US tax deadline just one day away, crypto investors who traded actively during the market's run-up and inevitable meltdown should have a lot of activity to report to the IRS.

But according to a survey conducted by Credit Karma, only a handful of people who have filed their taxes using Credit Karma's tools have reported bitcoin holdings or holdings of some other cryptocurrency - fewer than 100 out of a total of 250,000 filers, or a whopping 0.04% in total.

In all likelihood, this means that (tens of) thousands of bitcoin traders are refusing to pay the IRS, either betting on the anonymity of the blockchain to conceal th...



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ValueWalk

Buffett At His Best

By csinvesting. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Bear with me as I share a bit of my history that helped me create SkyVu and the Battle Bears games. The University of Nebraska gave me my first job after college. I mostly pushed TV carts around, edited videos for professors or the occasional speaker event. One day, Warren Buffet came to campus to speak to the College of Business. I didn’t think much of this speech at the time but I saved it for some reason. 15 years later, as a founder of my own company, I watch and listen to this particular speech every year to remind myself of the fundamentals and values Mr. Buffett looks for. He’s addressing business students at his alma mater, so I think his style here is a bit more ‘close to home’ than in his other speeches. Hopefully many of you find great value in this video like I have. Sorry for the VHS...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

The Stock Bull Market Stops Here!

 

The Stock Bull Market Stops Here!

Courtesy of Kimble Charting

 

The definition of a bull market or bull trends widely vary. One of the more common criteria for bull markets is determined by the asset being above or below its 200 day moving average.

In my humble opinion, each index above remains in a bull trend, as triple support (200-day moving averages, 2-year rising support lines, and February lows) are still in play ...



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Members' Corner

Cambridge Analytica and the 2016 Election: What you need to know (updated)

 

"If you want to fundamentally reshape society, you first have to break it." ~ Christopher Wylie

[Interview: Cambridge Analytica whistleblower: 'We spent $1m harvesting millions of Facebook profiles' – video]

"You’ve probably heard by now that Cambridge Analytica, which is backed by the borderline-psychotic Mercer family and was formerly chaired by Steve Bannon, had a decisive role in manipulating voters on a one-by-one basis – using their own personal data to push them toward voting ...



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Biotech

How your brain is wired to just say 'yes' to opioids

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

 

How your brain is wired to just say ‘yes’ to opioids

A Philadelphia man, who struggles with opioid addiction, in 2017. AP Photo/Matt Rourke

Courtesy of Paul R. Sanberg, University of South Florida and Samantha Portis, University of South Florida

...

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Mapping The Market

The tricks propagandists use to beat science

Via Jean-Luc

How propagandist beat science – they did it for the tobacco industry and now it's in favor of the energy companies:

The tricks propagandists use to beat science

The original tobacco strategy involved several lines of attack. One of these was to fund research that supported the industry and then publish only the results that fit the required narrative. “For instance, in 1954 the TIRC distributed a pamphlet entitled ‘A Scientific Perspective on the Cigarette Controversy’ to nearly 200,000 doctors, journalists, and policy-makers, in which they emphasized favorable research and questioned results supporting the contrary view,” say Weatherall and co, who call this approach biased production.

A second approach promoted independent research that happened to support ...



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of September 11th, 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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Promotions

NewsWare: Watch Today's Webinar!

 

We have a great guest at today's webinar!

Bill Olsen from NewsWare will be giving us a fun and lively demonstration of the advantages that real-time news provides. NewsWare is a market intelligence tool for news. In today's data driven markets, it is truly beneficial to have a tool that delivers access to the professional sources where you can obtain the facts in real time.

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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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