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The Ugly And Difficult Hunt For The True Economy

The Ugly And Difficult Hunt For The True Economy

Good luck with acquiring a clear view of our economic future. It is shrouded and cloaked under an ocean of often irrelevant facts and figures. Somewhere between what we are told is occurring in the economy and what we see happening on Main Streets across America is the real and true authentic economy. It is ironic that every sign the economy is not getting better only reinforces the idea that the Fed needs to goose things and pour even more fuel on the fire. This is exactly what many of us oppose and consider pure insanity.

A false economy of fraud is created by seizing on a few positive numbers that can be spun and hyped to convince people all is well. Even as I’m writing this, a MarketWatch article just came out saying the U.S. stock-index futures were trading higher after a report on June retail sales came in stronger than expected. To that, I say, what do you expect, people are busy spending what they see as “free money.” Sadly, people buying goods made in China from Amazon does little to enrich our communities or the American economy.
The justification for continued Fed intervention is often attributed to the idea inflation is not a threat and further action poses little risk. Those behind increased and continued easing say more action is needed or a loop will develop that feeds on itself and ends in a deflationary depression.
Most of us are familiar with former President Bill Clinton’s infamous line; “It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.”

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We Are Entering The Age Of “Full John Galt”

We Are Entering The Age Of “Full John Galt”

We are entering the age of “Full John Galt.” This is a time where society and politicians are rapidly dismantling the rights of ownership. This transfer of rights constitutes a transfer of wealth whether we wish to call it by that name or not. This is a time when people can just walk into a small privately-owned convenience store, then, without paying walk out with an arm full of merchandise with little or no ramifications. This is a time when government deficits have lost all meaning and people are being paid not to work. This is a time when saying what you feel can garner you massive negative attention and ruin your life.The idea the economy can be planned by a central force has yet to succeed anywhere. The failings and ills of such programs are rooted in the fact that central planning tends to produce enormous unintended malign effects owing to erroneous incentives and price signals. The new mechanisms of socialist control often created to guide the economy are generally not up to the task of maintaining control. In the old Soviet Union, for instance, nail factory managers got measured and rewarded by the tonnage produced. The story goes that one enterprising factory started massively exceeding its quota by producing only ten-ton nails.

Social Unrest May Be Unavoidable

A slew of news headlines give the impression we as a society are on the verge of becoming unhinged and totally dysfunctional. We, as a population have become polarized and poisoned by the decisive messages flowing from those with self-serving agendas. With governments and various agencies busy issuing mandates and ordering things like a halt on evictions while they lock down cities, it is difficult to argue this is business as usual…

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By 2030 You’ll Own Nothing And You’ll Be Happy

By 2030 You’ll Own Nothing And You’ll Be Happy

The title of this article projects an ominous future where the masses are controlled by a few. Over the years I have written several articles covering the elite gathering in Davos. The global elites see the World Economic Forum (WEF) as an opportunity to promote their views and various causes. These people often fail to see that many of us have come to view Davos, as a notorious rendezvous for the world’s elite that grant us the honor of paying for their schemes in some way or form.Such gatherings are not for our sake but more for the benefit of plutocrats like Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. The Global Reset they are pushing often reeks of their desire to “break the world” with their ruthless corporate agendas that continue to move political power into the hands of the globalist elite. To counter this attitude reassuring words are cast out over the airwaves to us, the minions of the world, to encourage faith in their wisdom. Oh, what a tangled web those in charge of our fate have woven for us as they rush to sell and bargain away our freedom for power and wealth.

When the WEF revealed its Davos 2021 Agenda, it confirmed the event this year would be digital and herald the public unveiling of its Great Reset Initiative. Angel Gurría and Klaus Schwab have outlined how governments and businesses can shape a new labor market that supports workers to thrive in the future. This underlines how the covid-19 pandemic has accelerated systemic changes that were apparent before its inception.

The Covid-19 pandemic has been used as confirmation that no institution or individual alone can address the economic, environmental, social, and technological challenges of our complex, interdependent world…

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Economic Evolution Turns Many Comparisons Obsolete

Economic Evolution Turns Many Comparisons Obsolete

The financial system has entered uncharted waters and it would be wise to take nothing for granted. To assume the economy will move forward without a glitch in such an environment is  extremely optimistic. With time, things change and evolve, this transformation can be seen in both society and the economy. We are constantly bombarded with charts showing where things are going based on historical references but a question we must ask is just how relevant today’s comparisons are with prior economic cycles?Over the decades we have moved from an agricultural-based society to an industrial-centered economy where manufacturing and services have become the dominant way of making a living. Now, we are rapidly moving in the direction of technology becoming the main driver of the economy and it is creating a huge cultural change. The economy is again undergoing a metamorphosis. Over time, we tend to forget or minimize in our minds that throughout history the growing pains flowing from such a change tend to batter society from every direction. These transformations also create a great deal of noise making it difficult to understand what is happening.

Please consider the possibility the important adjustments the economy must make are lagging far behind our current “financial culture” or that the economy has evolved in a way that simply no longer works. Much of this has yet to become apparent to the masses and is masked by institutions papering over problems. A tradition of optimism has served mankind well, however, it has become clear something seems to be broken or out of kilter. It does not help that things like stock buybacks and outright fraud are creating a situation that could at any minute spin out of control. Making matters worse is that the general population is oblivious to this, and conditioned to accept whatever they are told. To many people, this is the new normal.

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Investments In Intangible Assets Have Minimized Inflation

Investments In Intangible Assets Have Minimized Inflation

Damn near every economist and analyst seem oblivious to the point being made in this article. The Fed should be ecstatic so many people are willing to invest in intangible assets. By not buying  tangible and real items they help to minimize inflation. In our bullshit world where media outlets like Bloomberg tout the message if you are not in this rising market, you are missing out, it is understandable that people want in. With this in mind, it is no wonder the investment world has become a minefield that is often compared to a casino.An intangible asset is a useful resource that lacks physical substance. Examples are patents, copyrights, trademarks, and goodwill. Such assets produce economic benefits but you can’t touch them and their value can be very difficult to determine. These intangible assets are often in sharp contrast to physical assets like machinery, vehicles, and buildings.

This Does Not Tell The Whole Story

The term tangible assets, in this case, could be used to describe shorter-term assets, such as inventory since these items are intended for sale or conversion to cash. Most tangible assets can be easily converted to cash, this is why most people include as “tangible” the amount of money in a bank account. Even though money held by a bank is a paper promise, it falls into a “grey area” in that it holds the characteristic of being rapidly converted to something real like property such as cars, houses, or boats. Some of these accounts can also be used as collateral in case you want a loan. 
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The CPI Revisited And Its Failure To Reflect True Inflation

The CPI Revisited And Its Failure To Reflect True Inflation

The cost of living numbers prepared by the Bureau of Labor Statistics are highly misleading. Currently, the government understates inflation by using a formula based on the concept of a “constant level of satisfaction” that evolved during the first half of the 20th century in academia. This extended into the BLS re-weightings sales outlets such as discount or mass merchandisers with Main Street shops. Those promoting this change claimed it was simply another way to measure inflation and it still reflected the true cost of living.  

 
The fact is, politicians and those behind this system created it as a way to reduce the cost of living adjustments for government payments to Social Security recipients, etc. By moving to a substitution-based index and weakening other constant-standard-of-living ties those reporting inflation have muddied the water as to just how much we are being impacted by inflation. The general argument used to promote this change was that changing relative costs of goods results in consumers substituting less-expensive goods for more expensive goods.
Allowing for a substitution of goods within the formerly “fixed-basket” supposedly allows the consumer flexibility in obtaining a “constant level of satisfaction.” This adjustment to the inflation measure was touted as more appropriate for the GDP concept in measuring shifting demand and weighting actual consumption. Other tricks were also used to give the illusion of less inflation. In cases where the quality of the product are deemed by the government to be “improved” prices in the CPI, calculations are now adjusted lower to offset the higher quality. Extending this idea the Baskin Commission Report, December 4, 1996, actually used steak and chicken for its substitution example.

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Dollar’s Demise And Doom Predictions Are “Over Hyped”

Dollar’s Demise And Doom Predictions Are “Over Hyped”

A lot of people including Americans have come to the conclusion the dollar is about to collapse. Predictions of the dollar’s demise are likely premature and overblown. Recently a combination of factors has caused people to become concerned about storing their wealth in the dollar. This has created huge interest in both precious metals and cryptocurrencies. Several things are driving the trend to diminish the dollar and other fiat currencies. One is the idea governments have targeted cash and wish to move us towards a “cashless” society where they control our every move. Another is rooted in the idea inflation is about to raise its ugly head as currencies are debased. The Sounding Line recently ran an article about how Stanley Druckenmiller, who made his name on highly successful currency trades including ‘breaking’ the Bank of England, says that he expects the U.S. Dollar to lose reserve currency status within 15 years due to a “totally inappropriate” combination of radical monetary and fiscal stimulus. Many people agree with him, the big question is how soon a major adjustment will take place. Clearly, 15 years is not tomorrow and it is difficult to look out that far. 

I contend that currencies have been trading in a hyper-manipulated state for several years. Fiat money tends to create a shelter from volatility. This is because once wealth is placed into this rather closed system, it tends to remain there. After all, laws and rules discourage it from breaking free. It is the coordinated collusion of the major central banks that have allowed this charade to exist. The fact it has not been recognized or acknowledged does not alter or guarantee the system will continue. The failure or major repricing of any of the world’s four major reserve currencies will destroy the myth that major currencies are immune to the fate that has haunted fiat money throughout history. 

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The Inflation Monster Has Been Unleashed

The Inflation Monster Has Been Unleashed

The monster known as inflation has been unleashed upon the world and will not easily retreat into the night. This is reflected in soaring commodity and housing prices. Due to the stupid and self-serving policies of the Fed, we are about to experience a massive shift in the way we live. Bubbling up to the surface is also the recognition the Fed has played a major role in pushing inequality higher. This means that inflation is about to devour the purchasing power of our income and the savings of those that have worked hard and saved over the years.

Over the months we have watched Fed Chairman Jerome Powell time and time again cut rates and increase the Fed’s balance sheet. This has hurt savers, forced investors into risky investments in search of yield, damaged the dollar, encouraged politicians to spend like drunken sailors, and increased inequality. The greatest wealth transfer in history has already begun and the next crisis will only accelerate the process. Sadly, the same policies that dump huge money into larger businesses because it is an easier and faster way to bolster the economy give these concerns a huge advantage over their smaller competitors.For decades the American people have watched their incomes lag behind the cost of living. To make matters worse, the official numbers of the so-called Consumer Price Index (CPI) have been rigged to understate inflation and not to reflect the true impact it was having on our lives. Want to know where the real cost of things is going, just look at the replacement cost from recent storms and natural disasters. Currently, the government understates inflation by using a formula based on the concept of a “constant level of satisfaction” that evolved during the first half of the 20th century in academia..

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Placing Energy In A Battery Results In A Loss Of Power

Placing Energy In A Battery Results In A Loss Of Power

Anyone that thinks we can simply store huge amounts of energy in large banks of batteries to use at any time has lost touch with reality. The brave new world of energy storage may not prove to be all it is cracked up to be. At this point, and for the foreseeable future storing the power we need in batteries is just another part of the “green delusion” that has infected society.  We seldom think about it but the energy we put into a battery is not what we get out. There is a loss of energy in the transfer and during the time it is stored.

An article published on the naked scientists.com years ago states, not all of the energy which you use to charge a battery will come out of the battery in the end. That remains true today. If you look at the efficiency of charging standard, nickel cadmium, or nickel metal hydride battery, the efficiency is about 60 to 70%, so you’re wasting 30 or 40% of the energy you’re putting into the battery itself.

If you feel that a battery while it is being charged you will find it gets warm. This indicates energy is being wasted. You’re also wasting some more energy in the charger because the “transfer” is not 100% efficient either. So, you might be talking about half the energy you’re using actually ending up in that battery. While 60% efficiency doesn’t sound very good, it’s far, far better than what is achieved in a throw-away battery, they are often said to be only 1 or 2% efficient. That’s because you’ve got to get materials to make the battery, you’ve got to refine them, and you’ve got to put them all into a case.

Battery Charge/Discharge Efficiency
Li-ion 80% – 90%
Pb-Acid 50% – 92%
NiMH 66%
Table 1: Battery efficiencies [1-3]

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Trade Deficit Again Growing, Now It’s Bigger Than Ever

Trade Deficit Again Growing, Now It’s Bigger Than Ever

The trade deficit with China continues to weaken America and strengthen our rival. For all the ruckus it created, the trade war failed to bring down the trade deficit. Even while unusual circumstances continue to cloud the picture it appears that America’s trade picture is in worse shape today than when it started. This is evidenced by the number of container ships from Asia lined up at American ports. The trade talks started in early 2017 and have dragged on with promises of a deal always around the corner. Looking back, we were told, they were always moving forward or nearing completion but such announcements generally proved premature.Today, the trade deficit is growing and is bigger than ever. Those familiar with China and how it negotiates knew the Chinese would never agree to, or more importantly, honor any deal not strongly tilted in their favor. The events that unfolded and overshadowed the trade talks not only surrounded Covid-19 but more importantly how governments and central banks reacted to the pandemic. Here in America, a tsunami of freshly printed money was unleashed upon the masses creating the oddest recession in history. To be blunt, Americans saw their incomes soar while locked away in their homes and unable to attend work.

This of course resulted in consumers buying goods, many of them imported from China, rather than doing the right thing and paying obligations such as rent or mortgage payments. In fact, our government with little thought to the long-term ramifications, added fuel to this buying binge when it rapidly imposed a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures. This means we should expect the controversy over just how much trade contributes to America’s economic growth to again rise as growth slows…

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Stock Buybacks A Piece Of “Financial Engineering Game”

Stock Buybacks A Piece Of “Financial Engineering Game”

In today’s market far too much has become based on financial engineering rather than making money. Prior to the Great Depression share buybacks and margin lending was a huge factor in lifting stocks to an unsustainable level. We must remember this today because for years we have seen a slew of stories and articles about how companies buying back their own stock are driving the market higher. I would be amiss not to comment on this and point out the impact and importance of stock buybacks and how they add to both low volatility and at the same time support “crazy high” valuations.

 
For decades stock buybacks were illegal because they were considered to be a form of stock market manipulation. They were legalized in 1982 by the SEC and since then have become a tool for companies and management to boost share prices. Buybacks have been described as “smoke and mirrors,” because when a company buys back shares of their own stock they reduce the “share float” and increase earning per share.

Stock Buybacks Just Keep Coming


Buybacks should be viewed as a double-edged sword with great power in that they reduce the number of shares over which earnings are divided at the same time they add to market demand. Buybacks can give the impression the companies earnings are increasing while in reality, overall earnings may be flat or even on the decline. The deregulation of buybacks years ago has returned to haunt us because it tends to create a dangerous illusion that draws less sophisticated investors into a market that is not nearly as strong as it appears. 
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America’s Political System Leaves Libertarians Homeless

America’s Political System Leaves Libertarians Homeless

Sadly, in America’s two-party political system Libertarians are left Homeless. The libertarian philosophy or ideology has many facets. Running through all of them is the idea that less government is generally a good thing. This reminds me of what President Ronald Reagan, famously said: The nine most terrifying words in the English language are “I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.” Such words resonate with most libertarians.While the government may claim it has good intentions history shows it often finds a way to muck things up. This is due to the fact that “government” is comprised of both corrupt and fallible human beings. This is a toxic combination that tends to create policies that screw things up. This takes a variety of shapes, including costly or unintended consequences.

While some people write a blog for financial gain, others of us do so seeking as wide a base of readership as possible in order to have our opinions heard and share ideas. It is fair to say that on occasion some readers, with opposing opinions refuse to agree to disagree. Below is a comment from one of those fellas taking issue with my claim libertarian views do not align with those of the right, part of what he is saying reflects the confusion surrounding libertarian philosophy.

Libertarian, or far-right, what’s the difference? So many times in the past, I’ve read blogs and websites from the far-right, in which they love to cloak themselves in the term of “libertarian,” but the rest of the Rational world understands your dog-whistle politics and misanthropic social ideals. Do your criticisms flow both ways? Where’s your hard-and-fast criticism of the political ideologues on the far right?

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The Next Economic Crisis – Will Your Wealth Survive?

The Next Economic Crisis – Will Your Wealth Survive?

The greatest wealth transfer in history has already begun and the next crisis will only accelerate the process. As the printing presses continue cranking out more and more money, looking forward to a time when the markets pause or another economic crisis consumes the world is an issue we all should think about. How much wealth will escape the next large financial reset is very important because it will set the bar that determines the rate of inflation or deflation in coming years. If you believe we did not solve many of our financial problems after 2008 but merely masked them with a huge amount of newly printed money you are likely to embrace this concept.

The Shell Game Of Wealth Transfer

Much like a shell game where wealth is transferred about, in our modern society wealth is always on the move. Wealth and how things are valued is far from constant, it is fungible and constantly changing. While we may try to deny it, wealth is in a constant state of flux and constantly moving. Wealth comes in many forms, it can be held in the form of paper, promises, or as something more tangible and real such as property or goods.

Some items such as a tool hold “utility value” and its value may be based on how much work it can perform or the revenue it can produce. Replacement cost, supply and demand, and factors such as whether something can spoil or might grow obsolete over time also help determine its value as a place wealth can be safely stored. The term, safely stored in this case also includes placing it out of the reach of governments’ ability to tax it or make it illegal to own.
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Biden’s Ukrainian “Putin Push” May Lead To World War III

Biden’s Ukrainian “Putin Push” May Lead To World War III

NATO Has Slowly Expanded Towards Russia

Biden was in charge of much of the “Ukraine project” during Obama’s time in office. In recent weeks President Biden has been saying some rather mean-spirited things about Russia’s President Vladimir Putin. Now Russian state sources are alleging that Washington under the Biden administration is ramping up military aid to Ukraine. This comes after the media observed the Ocean Glory, a US cargo ship, began delivering 350 tonnes of military equipment, including tactical vehicles, at Ukraine’s Odessa port. Ukraine’s Dumskaya news agency said the American vessel carried at least 35 US military humvees for Ukrainian national forces.

Adding Ukraine to NATO and the EU is a long-held dream of neocons like Victoria Nuland and neoliberals like Biden. This is also important to those supporting the World Economic Forum’s desire to expand the EU and encircle Russia. They feel such an action would disrupt any dreams of Eurasian integration which could resist their strategy to reshape the way the world is governed. Putin’s foreign policy, coupled with efforts to rebuild the Russian military, has been part of an effort by the former KGB officer to boost Russia’s standing on the world stage. This has helped make him popular with his people even as Nato has slowly been expanding in the direction of Russia, but also makes him a thorn in the side of the NWO gang.

Interestingly, this delivery of military equipment occurred near the time Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, was signing Decree No. 117/2021. The decree activates the Ukraine Army to recapture and re-unify with Ukraine, the autonomous region of Crimea, and the city of Sevastopol. The military has been instructed to use “hybrid warfare” to re-conquer these former parts of Ukraine...

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bruce wilds, advancing time blog, joe biden, ukraine, world war 3, world war, war, united states, us government

Japan’s Economy Is Again Struggling

Japan’s Economy Is Again Struggling

Japan. the world’s third-largest economy is highly dependent on exports and the reality it is still struggling even after a great deal of America’s stimulus money leaked into buying imported goods speaks volumes. While it feels a bit like ancient history, Japan’s GDP contracted at an annualized rate of 28.8 percent in Q2 of 2020, the biggest decline on record. Even after bouncing back 21.4 percent quarter-on-quarter in Q3 and 12.7 percent in Q4 Japanese national accounts are still lagging behind mid-2019 levels. For all of 2020, spending by households with at least two people fell 5.3% due to the hit from the pandemic. It was down 6.5% for all households, the worst drop since comparable data became available in 2001.

https://cdn.statcdn.com/Infographic/images/normal/22583.jpeg

All in all, this means the country is still playing catch up, partly because Japan also experienced two additional quarters of negative growth in Q1 of 2020 and Q4 of 2019. Adding to the problem is Japan’s household spending fell for the first time in three months in December, in a sign consumer sentiment was weakening even before the government called a state of emergency to control a new wave of the coronavirus. Lower demand for services such as travel tours also weighed, as the pandemic forced the cancellation of domestic tourism promotions. Last year, spending on accommodations fell 43.7%, while overseas and domestic tour travel expenditure slumped 85.8% and 61.9%, respectively.Not only is Japan again struggling to stay out of recession, but it also faces a wall of debt that can only be addressed by printing more money and debasing its currency. This means they will be paying off their debt with worthless yen where possible and in many cases defaulting on the promises they have made. Japan currently has a debt/GDP ratio of about  240% which is the highest in the industrialized world. With the government financing almost 40 percent of its annual budget through debt it becomes easy to draw comparisons between Greece and Japan.

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japan, bruce wilds, advancing time blog, exports, recession, currency debasement, debt,

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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