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Total Planetary Collapse: The World’s Vertebrate Population Has Fallen By An Average Of 60 Percent Since 1970

Total Planetary Collapse: The World’s Vertebrate Population Has Fallen By An Average Of 60 Percent Since 1970

The clock is ticking for humanity, and it is not just because our financial system is heading for the biggest implosion that any of us have ever seen.  The truth is that we are literally running out of everything.  We will not have enough oil to meet our energy needs long before we get to the end of this century.  The lack of fresh water is already a major crisis in many parts of the world.  Our air and our soil are more polluted than they have ever been before.  And at this point we can barely feed the entire planet, but global demand for food is expected to escalate dramatically in the years ahead.  If we continue doing things the way that we have been doing them, a future filled with famine, civil unrest, environmental chaos and war appears to be inevitable.  We are literally on the verge of total planetary collapse, but because this is happening in slow-motion most people don’t feel an urgency to do anything about it.

And to a certain extent, the damage has already been done.  This week, the WWF released a report which found that the vertebrate population of the world has fallen by an average of 60 percent since 1970.  the following comes from NBC News

The population of the planet’s vertebrates has dropped an average of 60 percent since 1970, according to a report by the WWF conservation organization.

The most striking decline in vertebrate population was in the tropics in South and Central America, with an 89 percent loss compared to 1970. Freshwater species have also significantly fallen — down 83 percent in that period.

You may be thinking that you are not a big fan of the WWF, and I certainly am not either.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

America Is Committing Suicide: Over The Past 12 Months, The U.S. National Debt Has Increased By 1.271 Trillion Dollars

America Is Committing Suicide: Over The Past 12 Months, The U.S. National Debt Has Increased By 1.271 Trillion Dollars

If we do not change course, our once great nation will be destroyed by a debt that has grown wildly out of control.  We are facing an unprecedented debt crisis that literally threatens to bring our country to an end, and yet our politicians are almost entirely silent on this issue in 2018.  In fact, Republicans and Democrats just worked together to pass another big, fat spending bill through Congress that is actually going to increase the pace at which we are going into debt.  What the Republicrats are doing is not just wrong.  To be honest, the truth is that they are committing crimes against humanity, and they are completely wiping out the very bright future that our children and our grandchildren were supposed to have.  How in the world is America supposed to be “great again” when we are buried in so much debt that future generations can never have any possible hope of getting free from it?

The fiscal year of the federal government goes from October 1st to September 30th.  During the fiscal year that just ended, the U.S. national debt increased by 1.271 trillion dollars

The federal debt increased by $1,271,158,167,126.72 in fiscal 2018, according to data released today by the Treasury.

The total federal debt started the fiscal year at $20,244,900,016,053.51 according to the Treasury, and finished the fiscal year at $21,516,058,183,180.23.

This is one of the reasons why I wanted to go to Washington.  Our current “representatives” are completely and utterly failing us.

Once upon a time, at least members of the Tea Party would stand up and say something, but these days nobody seems to care that America’s future is being systematically destroyed.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Free-Riding Investors Set up Markets for a Major Collapse

Free-Riding Investors Set up Markets for a Major Collapse

Free riding is one of the oldest problems in economics and in society in general. Simply put, free riding describes a situation where one party takes the benefits of an economic condition without contributing anything to sustain that condition.

The best example is a parasite on an elephant. The parasite sucks the elephant’s blood to survive but contributes nothing to the elephant’s well-being.

A few parasites on an elephant are a harmless annoyance. But sooner or later the word spreads and more parasites arrive. After a while, the parasites begin to weaken the host elephant’s stamina, but the elephant carries on.

Eventually a tipping point arrives when there are so many parasites that the elephant dies. At that point, the parasites die too. It’s a question of short-run benefit versus long-run sustainability. Parasites only think about the short run.

A driver who uses a highway without paying tolls or taxes is a free rider. An investor who snaps up brokerage research without opening an account or paying advisory fees is another example.

Actually, free-riding problems appear in almost every form of human endeavor. The trick is to keep the free riders to a minimum so they do not overwhelm the service being provided and ruin that service for those paying their fair share.

The biggest free riders in the financial system are bank executives such as Jamie Dimon, the CEO of J.P. Morgan. Bank liabilities are guaranteed by the FDIC up to $250,000 per account.

Liabilities in excess of that are implicitly guaranteed by the “too big to fail” policy of the Federal Reserve. The big banks can engage in swap and other derivative contracts “off the books” without providing adequate capital for the market risk involved.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Destroying America: It Is Being Projected That The U.S. National Debt Will Hit 99 Trillion Dollars By 2048

Destroying America: It Is Being Projected That The U.S. National Debt Will Hit 99 Trillion Dollars By 2048

Temporary prosperity that is created by exploding levels of debt is not actually prosperity at all.  At this moment, the U.S. government is 21.4 trillion dollars in debt, and we have been adding an average of more than a trillion dollars a year to that debt since 2009.  And if we stay on the path that we are currently on, the trajectory of our debt will soon accelerate dramatically.  In fact, as you will see below, the Congressional Budget Office is now projecting that the U.S. national debt will reach 99 trillion dollars by 2048 if nothing changes.  Congressional Budget Office projections always tend to be overly optimistic, and so the reality will probably be much worse than that.  Of course we will never actually see the day when our national debt reaches 99 trillion dollars.  Our government (and our entire society along with it) will collapse long before we ever get to that point.  In our endless greed, we are literally destroying America, and emergency action must be taken immediately if we are to survive.

Debt always makes things seem better in the short-term, and it is always destructive in the long-term.

When we go into debt as a nation, we are literally stealing from the bright future that our children and our grandchildren were supposed to have.  Through the first 11 months of this fiscal year, the official U.S. budget deficit was $895,000,000,000, which means that we continue to steal more than 100 million dollars from future generations of Americans every single hour of every single day.

And it is important to remember that not all additions to the national debt are included in the official budget deficit.  One year ago, our national debt was sitting at 20.1 trillion dollars, and that means that we have added an astounding 1.3 trillion dollars to the debt over the past 12 months.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Kass: “Downside Risk Dwarfs Upside Reward”

‘The boldness of asking deep questions may require unforeseen flexibility if we are to accept the answers.’ – Brian Greene

* A pivot in monetary policy, a further rise in the risk free rate of return, policy and profit uncertainty and a softening in soft and hard high frequency economic data are some of the reasons that point to a lower and destabilized stock market

Following The Great Recession of 2007-09 and a near collapse of the world financial system, the US and other developed as well as emerging economies embarked upon a near decade long expansion and global bull market. In large measure the recoveries were abetted by a worldwide coordinated monetary easing which took interest rates to generational lows and provided an unprecedented amount of excess liquidity.

Though US economic growth from 2009 to present remained substandard compared to previous recoveries, that excess liquidity provided a tailwind to higher stock prices. Corporate capital was increasingly allocated to buybacks rather than the more traditional capital spending outlays reflecting modest real growth in the domestic economy. Going back, since 1999 there were over 7500 listed securities on the NYSE and Nasdaq – today there are under 4000 listed securities (reflecting mergers, delistings offset by the proliferation of ETFs). And of the remaining listed companies nearly 20% of the outstanding shares have been repurchased.

Stocks clearly have benefited from this positive demand v. supply proposition.

If that was not enough, passive investing (ETFs) grew in popularity as did quantitative strategies — all at the expense of active investing. More than ever, investors worshipped at the altar of price momentum at a time in which the excess liquidity promoted optimism. Even central bankers (in Switzerland and Japan and elsewhere) joined in on the party – buying up equities with all that excess liquidity their central banks delivered as fear and doubt left Wall Street.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Why America Is Heading Straight Toward The Worst Debt Crisis In History

Why America Is Heading Straight Toward The Worst Debt Crisis In History

Today, America is nearly 70 trillion dollars in debt, and that debt is shooting higher at an exponential rate.  Usually most of the focus in on the national debt, which is now 21 trillion dollars and rising, but when you total all forms of debt in our society together it comes to a grand total just short of 70 trillion dollars.  Many people seem to believe that the debt imbalances that existed prior to the great financial crisis of 2008 have been solved, but that is not the case at all.  We are living in the terminal phase of the greatest debt bubble in history, and with each passing day that mountain of debt just keeps on getting bigger and bigger.  It simply is not mathematically possible for debt to keep on growing at a pace that is many times greater than GDP growth, and at some point this absurd bubble will come to an abrupt end.  So those that are forecasting many years of prosperity to come are simply being delusional.  Our current standard of living is very heavily fueled by debt, and at some point we are going to hit a wall.

Let’s talk about consumer debt first.  Excluding mortgage debt, consumer debt is projected to hit the 4 trillion dollar mark by the end of the year

Americans are in a borrowing mood, and their total tab for consumer debt could reach a record $4 trillion by the end of 2018.

That’s according to LendingTree, a loan comparison website, which analyzed data from the Federal Reserve on nonmortgage debts including credit cards, and auto, personal and student loans.

Americans owe more than 26 percent of their annual income to this debt. That’s up from 22 percent in 2010. It’s also higher than debt levels during the mid-2000s when credit availability soared.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Road to 2025 (Part 3) – USD Dominated Financial System Will Fall Apart

The Road to 2025 (Part 3) – USD Dominated Financial System Will Fall Apart

It’s our currency, but it’s your problem.

– U.S. Treasury Secretary John Connelly to European Finance Ministers, 1971

Today’s post will cover a topic that consumed my thoughts for many years, but one I haven’t discussed much lately. Namely, the terminal nature of a global financial system being propped up artificially by central bank shenanigans.

First, it’s crucial to understand that at the very core of our global economy is a financial system dominated by the U.S. dollar. The USD is a fiat currency directly backed by nothing, the supply of which can be arbitrarily altered and manipulated by a group of unelected bureaucrats in charge of the Federal Reserve. This money system represents the most powerful tool of centralized power on planet earth.

The USD is unique in that it grants the U.S. the “exorbitant privilege” of having a national currency which at the same time serves as the global reserve currency. This was solidified toward the end of World War 2 with the Bretton Woods agreement, and was accepted because the U.S. agreed to offer sovereign nations holding dollars a right to exchange these dollars for gold at a fixed price. This fell apart in 1971, but was shortly replaced with an unofficial “petrodollar” system, which allowed the USD to remain the world reserve currency despite no longer being redeemable in gold.

Before moving on, I want to share a few excerpts from an article I read yesterday titled, The De-Dollarization in China:

Petrodollars emerged when Henry Kissinger dealt with King Fahd of Saudi Arabia, after “Black September” in Jordan.

The agreement was simple. Saudi Arabia had to accept only dollars as payments for the oil it sold, but was forced to invest that huge amount of US currency only in the US financial channels while, in return, the United States placed Saudi Arabia and the other OPEC neighbouring countries under its own military protection.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Is Washington Nuts? Increasing Spending AND Cutting Taxes Will EXPLODE The Size Of The National Debt

Is Washington Nuts? Increasing Spending AND Cutting Taxes Will EXPLODE The Size Of The National Debt

Our national debt is rapidly approaching 21 trillion dollars, and yet Congress wants to follow up a large tax cut bill with a massive increase in federal spending.  This is absolute madness, and it is going to make our long-term financial problems as a nation far worse.  After passing the tax bill, the appropriate thing to do would have been to cut federal spending.  Yes, that would have not been a positive thing for the economy in the short-term, but we must start addressing our long-term priorities.  If we do not do something about this exploding national debt, it could potentially destroy our republic all by itself.

Earlier today, I was absolutely horrified when I learned of a budget deal in the Senate that would increase federal spending by about 200 billion dollars in each of the next two years…

The Senate’s Republican and Democratic leaders unveiled a sweeping two-year budget agreement on Wednesday that would increase federal spending by hundreds of billions of dollars on domestic and defense programs alike.

That deal would eliminate strict budget caps, set in 2011 to reduce the federal deficit, and would allow Congress to spend about $200 billion more in the current fiscal year and in fiscal year 2019.

Seriously?

Our federal debt is going to hit 21 trillion dollars some time this year, and they want to throw hundreds of billions of dollars more spending on top of what we are already doing?

This alone is why we need true conservatives all over the nation to run for Congress.  Our endless greed is literally destroying the bright future that our children and our grandchildren were supposed to have.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Economic Collapse: Will Cryptocurrency Save the Financial System?

Economic Collapse: Will Cryptocurrency Save the Financial System?

Economic Collapse: Will Cryptocurrency Save the Financial System?

In the second article of my three part series, I addressed how we got to the current state of this financial chaos. In this last article, I explain where we are heading and how cryptocurrency could be the last chance to create a sustainable economic system.

Where to go from here?

If trust and sustainability were the two conditions that allowed for the transition from physical gold to paper currency, it is from this basis that we must start to analyze where we are going and what effects the next economic crisis could have.

In 2008, confidence in central banks saved the global economy. But as Mario Draghi said, the bazooka of quantitative easing was fired and a second hit during a crisis would have proved ineffective. The reason is complex and must be clearly explained. Most people are paid in a currency deposited in the bank, because that is where one keeps one’s currency, able to withdraw it at any time. But in the event of an economic crisis, priority is given to the banks, whatever remaining liquidity being for the customers. The reason why there was no bank run in 2008, which would have led to the collapse of the global banking system, lies in the trust that ordinary people continued to place in the financial system, courtesy of what the corporate-controlled media told them.

The problem concerns the next financial crisis and how the world population will react. The path already seems to be traced, especially in geopolitical terms. Countries like China and Russia have created their own alternative banking and financial system to escape dollar sanctions; but they have also begun to de-dollarize by accumulating gold and using different payment methods to the US currency.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Social Change Will Upend the Status Quo

Social Change Will Upend the Status Quo

The nation is fragmenting because the Status Quo is failing the majority of the citizenry.

The core narrative of the Status Quo is that nothing fundamental needs to be changed: all the problems can be solved with more “free money” (borrowed from the future at low rates of interest) and a few policy tweaks such as Universal Basic Income (UBI) (the topic of my new book Money and Work Unchained).

This core narrative is false: everything needs to change, from the bottom up.And that of course terrifies those gorging at the trough of status quo wealth and power.

The power structure can manipulate financial metrics, but it can’t manipulate rising wealth/power inequality or social discord. Whatever you think of President Trump, his election is a symptom of profound social discord–discord which author Peter Turchin explains is cyclical and cannot be squashed with phony reforms like UBI or police-state repression.

The nation is fragmenting because the Status Quo is failing the majority of the citizenry. The protected few are reaping all the benefits of the Status Quo, at the expense of the unprotected many.

As I have outlined many times, this unsustainable asymmetry is the only possible outcome of our socio-economic system, which is dominated by these forces:

1. Globalization–free flow of capital, labor arbitrage (workers must compete with the lowest-cost labor around the world).

2. Nearly free money from central banks for bankers, financiers and corporations.

3. Pay-to-play “democracy”– wealth casts the only votes that count.

4. State protected cartels that privatize gains and socialize losses.

5. A political system stripped of self-correcting feedback and accountability.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Bitcoin isn’t the bubble — the global financial system is

Bitcoin isn’t the bubble — the global financial system is

Bitcoin isn't the bubble — the global financial system is
© Getty Images

Pretty much every article you read about bitcoin in the mainstream press ends up in the same place. You may not hear it until the seventh or eighth paragraph, but eventually you’ll be told that the whole thing is nothing more than a modern day “tulip bubble.” The more creative types will also throw around the South Sea or Mississippi Bubble. You get the point. The consensus among the very smart experts is unanimous: bitcoin is clearly and indisputably a gigantic bubble that’s set to burst. I’ve been hearing this since the early days of getting involved in the space back in 2012. But I’m not convinced.

For one thing, bubbles don’t do what bitcoin has done since its inception in 2009. During my 10-year tenure on Wall Street, I saw several bubbles grow and then burst, and one thing you learn is that an actual bubble rises like crazy and then totally pops. It doesn’t come right back a couple of years later and soar again to a new price 10 times greater than the previous bubble’s high, which is what bitcoin has done after each one of its three or four previous “bubbles” burst.

That’s not a bubble, but something else entirely.

Let’s take the oil price in the middle of the last decade as an example of a real bubble. The price went on a historic and seemingly unstoppable run all the way to $150 per barrel in 2008. It then proceeded to burst in spectacular fashion just ahead of the financial crisis, plunging all the way back to $30 before rebounding. Ten years later and the price is still nowhere near that prior high, with it currently trading around $60. That’s what happens when a real bonafide bubble bursts. It stays below the prior high for decade at least, sometimes forever. The behavior of bitcoin since the “genesis block” has been completely different.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Why the Financial System Will Break: You Can’t “Normalize” Markets that Depend on Extreme Monetary Stimulus

Why the Financial System Will Break: You Can’t “Normalize” Markets that Depend on Extreme Monetary Stimulus

Central banks are now trapped.

In a nutshell, central banks are promising to “normalize” their monetary policy extremes in 2018. Nice, but there’s a problem: you can’t “normalize” markets that are now entirely dependent on extremes of monetary stimulus. Attempts to “normalize” will break the markets and the financial system.

Let’s start with the core dynamic of the global economy and nosebleed-valuation markets: credit.

Modern finance has many complex moving parts, and this complexity masks its inner simplicity.

Let’s break down the core dynamics of the current financial system.

The Core Dynamic of the “Recovery” and Asset Bubbles: Credit

Credit is the foundation of the current financial system, for credit enables consumers to bring consumption forward, that is, buy more stuff today than they could buy with the cash they have on hand, in exchange for promising to pay principal and interest with their future income.

Credit also enables speculators to buy more assets than they otherwise could were they limited to cash on hand.

Buying goods, services and assets with credit appears to be a good thing: consumers get to enjoy more stuff without having to scrimp and save up income, and investors/speculators can reap more income from owning more assets.

But all goods/services and assets are not equal, and all credit is not equal.

There is an opportunity cost to any loan (i.e. credit), as the income that will be devoted to paying principal and interest in the future could have been devoted to some other use or investment.

So borrowing money to purchase a product or an asset now means foregoing some future purchase.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

A Gold Guys View of Crypto, Bitcoin, and Blockchain

A Gold Guys View of Crypto, Bitcoin, and Blockchain

Bitcoin was on my radar far back as 2011, but for years, I didn’t think much of it.

It was a curiosity. Nothing more.

Sort of like the virtual money you use in World of Warcraft or something. In 2015, looking deeper, I slowly (not the sharpest tool in the shed) arrived at that “aha” inflection point that most advocates of honest money arrive at. I realized that a distributed public ledger has the power to change, well, everything.

Changing All The Things

One aspect of crypto that appealed to me was that this technology had the potential to bring “un-banked” people from around the world into the modern financial system. It potentially granted access to digital transactions without the use of banks for billions of people that were formerly excluded from transacting in the modern economy. People could be rewarded for their labor and have access to opportunities in ways which would not exist otherwise.

In places like Afghanistan, the local people do not go to their neighborhood super-mall to buy laptops and ipads. Much of the developing world has ever growing access to smart phones, with market penetration reaching into the billions. Developing countries are skipping the entire computer-laptop-tablet phase and moving straight into much more affordable smart/feature devices with internet access. In the Middle East and Africa, nearly all internet users are on mobile devices. Combined with crypto, all of these devices making up the internet of things grants access to a new global financial paradigm that is potentially owned by the people themselves.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Expect Desperate and Insane Behavior From Government in 2018 – Part 2 (Bitcoin)

Expect Desperate and Insane Behavior From Government in 2018 – Part 2 (Bitcoin)

The financial crisis of 2008/09 was the most significant event to happen in my lifetime. That episode, coupled with the deeply unethical and corrupt response to it, led to a direct delegitimization of governments and institutions worldwide. It’s precisely this self-inflicted destruction of credibility which opened up the window for the birthing of a new monetary and financial system in the wake of Bitcoin’s emergence in early 2009.

Bitcoin is a system designed to be everything the status quo isn’t. Decentralized, transparent, permissionless, with a well-defined and restricted monetary supply curve. Given the backdrop upon which it emerged, it’s unsurprising that as more time passes, the more popular it becomes.

Humanity is desperate for a major reboot and an entirely different way of doing things. Bitcoin and other crypto assets offer exactly that opportunity in the realm of finance and money, thus capturing the imagination of millions of the most brilliant and passionate people around the world. Since the status quo stubbornly refused to reform and change the system after the financial crisis, humanity had no choice but to take charge and do it independently at the grassroots level.

One thing that’s become increasingly clear to me as I’ve added years and experiences to my life, is that governments, generally speaking, hate freedom. It’s why something as beneficial and benign as cannabis remains illegal throughout the world, and why people like Jeff Sessions still want to criminalize it even in states where the actual people living there voted to make it legal (see Part 1 of this series). While the fairytale we’re conditioned to believe tells us government exists to protect us and create an environment in which humans can thrive, the reality is quite clearly the opposite. The crooked response to the financial crisis demonstrated this in spades to anyone paying even the slightest amount of attention.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Will America’s Prosperity Be Completely Wiped Out By Our Growing Debt?

Will America’s Prosperity Be Completely Wiped Out By Our Growing Debt?

The federal government is now 20.4 trillion dollars in debt, and most Americans don’t seem to care that the economic prosperity that we are enjoying today could be completely destroyed by our exploding national debt.  Over the past decade, the national debt has been growing at a rate of more than 100 million dollars an hour, and this is a debt that all of us owe.  When you break it down, each American citizen’s share of the debt is more than $60,000, and so if you have a family of five your share is more than $300,000.  And when you throw in more than 6 trillion dollars of corporate debt and nearly 13 trillion dollars of consumer debt, it is not inaccurate to say that we are facing a crisis of unprecedented magnitude.

Debt cannot grow much faster than GDP indefinitely.  At some point the bubble bursts, and when it does the pain that the middle class is going to experience is going to be off the charts.  Back in 2015, the middle class in the U.S. became a minority of the population for the first time ever.  Never before in our history has the middle class accounted for less than 50 percent of the population, and all over the country formerly middle class families are under a great deal of stress as they attempt to make ends meet.  The following comes from an absolutely outstanding piece that was just put out by Charles Hugh Smith

If you talk to young people struggling to make ends meet and raise children, or read articles about retirees who can’t afford to retire, you can’t help but detect the fading scent of prosperity.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
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