Home » Posts tagged 'assets' (Page 3)

Tag Archives: assets

Olduvai
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai III: Catacylsm
Click on image to purchase

Post categories

Which Assets Are Most Likely to Survive the Inevitable “System Re-Set”?

Which Assets Are Most Likely to Survive the Inevitable “System Re-Set”? 

Your skills, knowledge and social capital will emerge unscathed on the other side of the re-set wormhole. Your financial assets held in centrally controlled institutions will not.

Longtime correspondent C.A. recently asked a question every American household should be asking: which assets are most likely to survive the “system re-set” that is now inevitable? It’s a question of great import because not all assets are equal in terms of survivability in crisis, when the rules change without advance notice.

If you doubt the inevitability of a system implosion/re-set, please read Is America In A Bubble (And Can It Ever Return To “Normal”)? This brief essay presents charts that reveal a sobering economic reality: America is now dependent on multiple asset bubbles never popping–something history suggests is not possible.

It isn’t just a financial re-set that’s inevitable–it’s a political and social re-set as well. For more on why this is so, please consult my short book Why Our Status Quo Failed and Is Beyond Reform.

The charts below describe the key dynamics driving a system re-set. Earned income (wages) as a share of GDP has been falling for decades: this means labor is receiving a diminishing share of economic growth. Since costs and debt continue rising while incomes are declining or stagnating, this asymmetry eventually leads to insolvency.

The “fix” for insolvency has been higher debt and debt-based spending–in essence, borrowing from future income to fund more consumption today. But each unit of new debt is generating less economic activity/growth. This is called diminishing returns: eventually the costs of servicing the additional debt exceed the increasingly trivial gains.

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

When Assets (Such as Real Estate) Become Liabilities

When Assets (Such as Real Estate) Become Liabilities

December 27, 2016

It will be the middle class that accepted the notion that “real estate is the foundation of family wealth” that will be stripmined by higher taxes on immobile assets such as real estate.

Correspondent Joel M. submitted an article that struck me as a harbinger of the future: In Greece, Property Is Debt:

“At law courts throughout Greece, people are lining up to file papers renouncing their inheritance. Not necessarily because some feckless uncle left them with a pile of debt at the end of his revels; they are turning their backs on what used to be a pillar of Greece’s economy and society: real estate. 

Growing personal debt, declining incomes and ever higher taxes as Greece’s depression grinds on have turned property and the dream of easy money into dread of a catastrophic burden.

After many years in which only very valuable properties were taxed, many Greeks went from paying almost no taxes on real estate to not having enough money to pay. 

In 2010, property taxes accounted for 0.26 percent of gross domestic product, while this year they are around 2 percent, according to state budget figures. ‘Suddenly, the state treated the Greeks as if they were rich, at the precise moment that they ceased to be rich.’

Among the many disruptions of the past few years, this one shows how traditional conceptions — and a sense of security — can be shattered. With a history full of wars, bankruptcies and rampant inflation, Greeks had always seen land as a haven.

But it is private debt — at 222 billion euros last year — that may prove an even greater danger. This shows in government revenues. With the unified tax, ownership of every kind of property is now subject to taxation.

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

The Coming Breakdown of U.S. & Global Markets Explained… What Most Analysts Miss

THE COMING BREAKDOWN OF U.S. & GLOBAL MARKETS EXPLAINED… What Most Analysts Miss

The U.S. and world are heading toward an accelerated breakdown of their economic and financial markets.  Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of analysts fail to understand the root cause of this impending calamity.  This is also true for the majority of precious metals analysts.

The reason for this upcoming systemic collapse of the U.S. and Global markets is quite simple when you understand the information and are able to CONNECT THE DOTS.  While it has taken me years of research to be able to finally put it all together, new information really put it all into perspective.

Yes… a HUGE LIGHT BULB went off, but unfortunately the realization is much worse than anything I imagined before.  I briefly discussed this in my last article, The Coming Global Silver Production Collapse & Skyrocketing Silver Value.

The information discussed in this article makes it abundantly clear that the precious metals will be the GO TO ASSETS in the future.  The standard financial practice of investing most of one’s assets in stocks, bonds and real estate will no longer be true.  What little investment strategies are left in the future will turn to PROTECTING WEALTH, rather than building wealth.  The days of acquiring wealth are coming to and end… and fast.

So, now I will try to lay out all the details in a way that will make this easy to understand.  However, I have a word of warning.  Those who are able to connect the dots… it’s like taking the RED PILL, you can’t unlearn what you now realize.

The Collapsing EROI Is Destroying Everything In Its Path & Quickly

Americans used to enjoy a much better standard of living when it only took one person in the family to provide the income.  This was during the late 1940’s, 1950’s and early 1960’s.  However, the situation started to change in the 1970’s.

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

If Geography and Demographics Are Destiny, Who Will Be the Winners and Losers in 2025?

If Geography and Demographics Are Destiny, Who Will Be the Winners and Losers in 2025?

Owning any asset in poorly positioned nations is an inherently risky bet going forward.

The dictum “demographics is destiny” proposes that all the complexities of finance, society and politics are ultimately guided by demographics: the relative size of each generation, birth rates, death rates, etc.

For example, an oversized generation of retirees and an undersized generation of workers to support them has far-reaching consequences that can’t be legislated away.

The influence of demographics isn’t limited to pension costs. Some analysts have made the case that oversized generations of young men align all too well with the launching of wars.

The point is that birth/death rates—low and high–have consequences that impact national destinies for decades.

Another school holds that geography is destiny: if a nation’s geography is favorable, the barriers to prosperity and stability are low, while the barrier is high for nations with unfavorable geography.

Peter Zeihan, author of the 2014 book, The Accidental Superpower: The Next Generation of American Preeminence and the Coming Global Disorder, lists the core geographic attributes that are either favorable or unfavorable in ways that influence a nation’s long-term prosperity and built-in geopolitical challenges.

What does geography have to do with prosperity, stability and geopolitical risks?

Navigable rivers that reach deep into productive interior regions lower costs of transport dramatically, while natural harbors enable low-cost access to international markets via ships.

Natural barriers to invasion such as oceans, deserts and mountain ranges dictate whether a nation must spend heavily on military defense of the homeland or whether the cost of defense is lightened by favorable geography.

Zeihan extends geography into the political realm, noting that nations with difficult-to-defend borders require a strong central government to organize taxation and defense, while nations with few contiguous threats (for example,  the U.S.) can be governed in a more decentralized fashion.

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

Monopoly’s New Era

Monopoly’s New Era

NEW YORK – For 200 years, there have been two schools of thought about what determines the distribution of income – and how the economy functions. One, emanating from Adam Smith and nineteenth-century liberal economists, focuses on competitive markets. The other, cognizant of how Smith’s brand of liberalism leads to rapid concentration of wealth and income, takes as its starting point unfettered markets’ tendency toward monopoly. It is important to understand both, because our views about government policies and existing inequalities are shaped by which of the two schools of thought one believes provides a better description of reality.

For the nineteenth-century liberals and their latter-day acolytes, because markets are competitive, individuals’ returns are related to their social contributions – their “marginal product,” in the language of economists. Capitalists are rewarded for saving rather than consuming – for their abstinence, in the words of Nassau Senior, one of my predecessors in the Drummond Professorship of Political Economy at Oxford. Differences in income were then related to their ownership of “assets” – human and financial capital. Scholars of inequality thus focused on the determinants of the distribution of assets, including how they are passed on across generations.

minting money

The second school of thought takes as its starting point “power,” including the ability to exercise monopoly control or, in labor markets, to assert authority over workers. Scholars in this area have focused on what gives rise to power, how it is maintained and strengthened, and other features that may prevent markets from being competitive. Work on exploitation arising from asymmetries of information is an important example.

In the West in the post-World War II era, the liberal school of thought has dominated. Yet, as inequality has widened and concerns about it have grown, the competitive school, viewing individual returns in terms of marginal product, has become increasingly unable to explain how the economy works. So, today, the second school of thought is ascendant.

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

Making the Chicken Run

Making the Chicken Run

I’ve written many times about the importance of internationalizing your assets, your mode of living, and your way of thinking. I suspect most readers have treated those articles as they might a travelogue to some distant and exotic land: interesting fodder for cocktail party chatter, but basically academic and of little immediate personal relevance.

I’m directing these comments toward the U.S. mainly because that’s where the problem is most acute, but they’re applicable to most countries.

Now, in 2016, the U.S. is in real trouble. Not as bad as Rhodesia 40 years ago—and definitely a different kind of trouble—but plenty serious. For many years, it’s been obvious that the country was eventually going to hit the wall, and now the inevitable is rapidly becoming imminent.

What do I mean by that? There’s plenty of reason to be concerned about things financial and economic. But I personally believe we haven’t been bearish enough on the eventual social and political fallout from the Greater Depression. Nothing is certain, but the odds are high that the U.S. is going into a time of troubles at least as bad as any experienced in any advanced country in the last century.

I hate saying things like that, if only because it sounds outrageous and inflammatory and can create a credibility gap. It invites arguments with people, and although I enjoy discussion, I dislike arguing.

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

 

Helicopter Money “Not on the Table,” ECB Swears Furiously

Helicopter Money “Not on the Table,” ECB Swears Furiously

But it’s already here!

It has finally sunk in: what everyone really wants is helicopter money. Central banks, instead of transferring trillions of newly created dollars or euros or whatever to the banks should just hand them directly to the people, like dropping bank notes from a helicopter, so that these people can grab them and spend them all in one fell swoop, thereby creating sudden artificial demand, driving up inflation, and solving all economic problems of our times.

Instead of creating asset price inflation, as QE had done, it would create consumer price inflation. Wages would still remain stuck, and workers would soon not be able to buy the normal things at these inflated prices, but that wouldn’t matter because now they’re getting helicopter money, and companies could increase their sales, margins, and profits simply by raising prices without having to sell a single extra item.

Among economists, it’s the hottest idea of the century. But the ECB will have none of it. Or so it said today, on two different occasions, by two different officials, curiously using the same words.

“It’s not on the table,” ECB Executive Board member Peter Praet told a bunch of economists today who’d been pushing for an answer at a conference organized by the Center for Financial Studies in Frankfurt.

He hadn’t come to discuss helicopter money. His speech was all about rationalizing monetary policy measures that have become absurd to everyone except to those who’ve been drinking the Kool-Aid.

He was explaining how these measures — the negative interest rates, the more-than-free money where lenders pay borrowers, the purchases of bonds, including securities backed by Italian non-performing corporate debt, the whole schmear — would “ward off the risk of a too prolonged period of low inflation,” although low inflation benefits every worker in the Eurozone.

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

Triffin’s Paradox Revisited: Crunch-Time for the U.S. Dollar and the Global Economy

Triffin’s Paradox Revisited: Crunch-Time for the U.S. Dollar and the Global Economy

The reality is that we’re one panic away from foreign-exchange markets ripping free of central bank manipulation.

While all eyes on fixated on global stock markets as the measure of “prosperity” and “growth” (or is it hubris?), the larger force at work beneath the dovish cooing of central bankers is foreign exchange: the relative value of nations’ currencies, which are influenced (like everything else) by supply and demand, which is in turn influenced by interest rates, perceived risk, asset purchases and sales by central banks and capital flows seeking the lowest possible risk and the highest possible return.

Which brings us to Triffin’s Paradox, a topic I’ve covered for many years:

Understanding the “Exorbitant Privilege” of the U.S. Dollar (November 19, 2012)

The Federal Reserve, Interest Rates and Triffin’s Paradox (November 19, 2015)

The core of Triffin’s Paradox is that the issuer of a reserve currency must serve two entirely different sets of users: the domestic economy, and the international economy.

The U.S. dollar (USD) is the global economy’s primary reserve currency. When the Federal Reserve lowered interest rates to zero (Zero Interest Rate Policy, ZIRP), it weakened the dollar relative to other currencies. In this ZIRP environment, it made sense to borrow dollars for next to nothing and use this free money to buy bonds and other assets in other currencies that paid higher yields. Many of these assets were in emerging market economies such as Brazil.

As a result of this enormous carry trade, an estimated $7 trillion was borrowed in USD and invested in other currencies/nations.

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

Intelligence Insider: How To Protect Your Assets From Critical Infrastructure Failure: “Power Grid, Banking System, Cyber Financial Warfare”

Intelligence Insider: How To Protect Your Assets From Critical Infrastructure Failure: “Power Grid, Banking System, Cyber Financial Warfare”

cyber-warfare

Intelligence insider Jim Rickards has previously warned of asymmetric attacks using cyber warfare, financial warfare and domestic disasters involving chemical, biological or radiologicial events. The threat is multi-faceted and the consequences of such an attack, whether it takes the the form of state-sponsored cyber financial warfare or a rogue terrorist group detonating a dirty bomb, could act as a destabilizing event that wipes out everything from our power grid to the wealth stored in your digital financial profiles.

Having worked directly with intelligence agencies simulating and war-gaming the potential fall-out that could result, in his latest interview with Crush The Street Rickards explains the distinct Doomsday scenarios that could instantly collapse life as we know it in America today… and how to prepare for them.

These things are actually happening and your digital wealth is vulnerable to a number of calamities… critical infrastructure failures… whether it’s power grid, banking system, cyber financial warfare, etc.


(Watch At Youtube)

Last month cyber thieves figured out a way to steal $100 million from the central bank account of Bangladesh via the U.S. Federal Reserve. They could have gotten away with $900 million more had it not been for a small typo. The point, as Rickards notes, is that there is a realistic possibility of a much larger-scale attack that targets not a central bank, but the direct holdings of every bank account in America.

The only tool you have at your disposal to protect from such an attack, says Rickards, is gold:

You never want to go all in… I am saying that 10% of your wealth… put it into physical gold… put it in a safe place and that will be immune from power grid outages, exchange closures, digital asset seizures and cyber financial warfare.

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

BREAKING: US government releases its 2015 financial statements

BREAKING: US government releases its 2015 financial statements

Hot off the presses, the US government just published its audited financial statements this morning, signed and sealed by Treasury Secretary Jack Lew.

These reports are intended provide an accurate accounting of government finances, just like any big corporation would do.

And once again, the US government’s financial condition has declined significantly from the previous year.

For 2015, the government reports $3.2 trillion in total assets.

This includes everything from financial assets like bank balances to physical assets like tanks, bullets, aircraft carriers, and the federal highway system.

Curiously, the single biggest line item amongst these listed assets is the $1.2 trillion in student loans that are owed to the government by the young people of America.

This is pretty extraordinary when you think about it.

37% of the government’s total reported assets are student loans, which is now considered one of the most precarious bubbles in finance.

$1.2 trillion is similar to the size of the subprime mortgage market back in 2008. And delinquency rates are rising, now at 11.5% according to Federal Reserve data.

Plus, it’s simply astonishing that so much of the federal government’s asset base is tantamount to indentured servitude as young people pay off expensive university degrees that barely land them jobs making coffee at Starbucks.

On the other side of the equation are a reported $21.5 trillion in liabilities, giving the government an official net worth of negative $18.2 trillion.

This is down from last year’s negative $17.7 trillion and $16.9 trillion the year prior. It just keeps getting worse.

But there’s one thing that’s even more incredible about all of this.

You see, each year these financial statements are audited by the government’s in-house agency known as the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

All big companies do this. They publish financial statements, which are then reviewed by an independent audit firm.

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

Is Any Asset Safe?

SilverCoins

QUESTION: Hi Marty, I have been following your blog for several years and attended your “Cycles of War” presentation in Philadelphia. It has been rewarding and very educational. My question, is there any one investment that is a safe haven in the chaos that approaches? I recently sold my company and placed the proceeds into “Certificates of Deposits” at several large FDIC banks laddering over several years. Are these safe or will it all be for naught? Meanwhile, I look forward to utilizing Socrates “traders” software when it comes available.

Thanks,

RZ

ANSWER: Certificates of deposits are ok for now.  Keep in mind this will change probably in 2017, but by 2018 for sure. The risk is government paper where they can by decree convert short-term to long-term. The USA is probably less likely to do that compared to Europe. But with people like Larry Summers shooting off his mouth, all bets on that are a 50/50 game.

There is no investment that survives. If you look at the Great Depression, absolutely EVERY asset class was hit. Nothing survived intact. This means we will have to stay on top of this more closely than ever before because liquidity is also declining and that means volatility will increase, which is often what hurts people. The vast majority assume whatever trend in motion will stay in motion. They are incapable of seeing the turns.

We still show that equities will probably be the safest place moving forward insofar as they are recognizable and liquid. Cash is still king, but the war on cash itself is disturbing. Silver coins will be useful, perhaps even more so than gold, since they are tracking gold but not old, common date, silver coins. This may replace cash, which they are desperately trying to destroy.

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

Gold price over $1,200 has bullion buyers sure rally will continue

Gold price over $1,200 has bullion buyers sure rally will continue

Price of bullion is rising fast, especially when converted into Canadian currency

Gold has outperformed almost every single other asset class as an investment this year. Many backers of the precious metal say the rally is just getting started.

Gold has outperformed almost every single other asset class as an investment this year. Many backers of the precious metal say the rally is just getting started. (Frantzesco Kangaris/Bloomberg)

Bad news for stock markets is often a good time for one of the world’s oldest commodities, and this year is no exception as gold has rallied almost 20 per cent since the start of 2016.

The price of an ounce of gold bullion has risen from a little over $1,000 US an ounce in late December to above $1,200 US Thursday, through a period when every single major stock index has fallen.

That’s part of a widespread flight to safety that has seen investors dump anything perceived as risky — stocks, oil and currencies like the Canadian dollar — and put their money into investments that are perceived to be safer.

That’s leading them right to gold, which is gaining ground after a multi-year slide.

“Investors are suddenly waking up to the risks in the market, pretty much like what happened in 2008,” said Robert Cohen, a portfolio manager at Scotiabank’s Dynamic Funds.

Mini-rally underway

“This time it’s more of a slower motion train wreck out there, so people are slowly digesting that information and systematically moving to safe havens like gold.”

Part of gold`s rally is due to a relative dearth of better options. That’s because central banks have cut interest rates so low that non-risky assets now can`t outperform inflation.

Bloomberg recently reported that almost a third of all the sovereign debt held by developed economies is negative yielding. That`s more than $7 trillion worth of assets guaranteed to lose money if held to maturity. Against a backdrop like that, it’s not hard to see gold’s appeal.

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

The West Is Reduced To Looting Itself

The West Is Reduced To Looting Itself

Myself, Michael Hudson, John Perkins, and a few others have reported the multi-pronged looting of peoples by Western economic institutions, principally the big New York Banks with the aid of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Third World countries were and are looted by being inticed into development plans for electrification or some such purpose. The gullible and trusting governments are told that they can make their countries rich by taking out foreign loans to implement a Western-presented development plan, with the result being sufficient tax revenues from economic development to service the foreign loan.

Seldom, if ever, does this happen. What happens is that the plan results in the country becoming indebted to the limit and beyond of its foreign currency earnings. When the country is unable to service the development loan, the creditors send the IMF to tell the indebted government that the IMF will protect the government’s credit rating by lending it the money to pay its bank creditors. However, the conditions are that the government take necessary austerity measures so that the government can repay the IMF. These measures are to curtail public services and the government sector, reduce public pensions, and sell national resources to foreigners. The money saved by reduced social benefits and raised by selling off the country’s assets to foreigners serves to repay the IMF.

This is the way the West has historically looted Third World countries. If a country’s president is reluctant to enter into such a deal, he is simply paid bribes, as the Greek governments were, to go along with the looting of the country the president pretends to represent.

When this method of looting became exhausted, the West bought up agricultural lands and pushed a policy on Third World countries of abandoning food self-sufficiency and producing one or two crops for export earnings.

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

Davos, Dalio, and a Depression?!

Davos, Dalio, and a Depression?!

When Ray Dalio, founder of the world’s largest hedge fund, Bridgewater Associates, referred to a possible economic depression as he was being interviewed at the World Economic Forum at Davos, it does not mean what most people think it means.

Most of us think about recessions and depressions in a linear way. That is, a depression is a really, really bad recession featuring even higher levels of unemployment and lower overall levels of economic activity.

But for Mr. Dalio, recessions are kind of normal, business-cycle related economic events that regularly occur every 5-10 years or so. The economy begins to overheat, the Fed raises rates in response (the removal of the “punch bowl”), business activity slows perhaps a bit too much in response, and voila! A recession results.

Depressions on the other hand are secular or long term, occurring much less frequently. That’s because according to Mr. Dalio, it takes a long time (perhaps decades) to accumulate the excess levels of corporate and government debt that end up triggering this type of economic event. A depression is a condition where more debt cannot be added to the system and instead it must be reduced, or as we say, deleveraging must occur. A depression always threatens systemic solvency.

There are several hallmarks of a systemic deleveraging or depression if you will:

  1. Various asset classes begin to be sold (like oil and gas wells today for example)
  2. As a result of these widespread asset sales, prices decline
  3. Equity levels decline as a result
  4. This triggers more selling of assets
  5. Since there is less worthwhile collateral available credit levels contract
  6. Overall economic activity declines. In short, there isn’t enough cash flow being generated to service all the accumulated debt. As a result assets have to be sold, bankruptcies become more common.

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

Central Banks Are Out of Tricks

Central Banks Are Out of Tricks

Once the power to manage expectations has been lost, the central bank bag of tricks is empty.

No one knows precisely how and when the global unraveling will impact their corner of the planet, but we do know one thing with absolute certainty: central banks are out of tricks. 

Like all good conjurers, the major central banks will claim that their magical powers to inflate asset valuations and inspire the animal spirits of risk, borrowing and spending are unimpaired, but this time the audience knows the truth: their magic is threadbare and their trick-bag is empty.

Obfuscation and doublespeak are primary components of central bank magic.The magic is largely semantic: if the Federal Reserve claims it can restore the economy and the stock market with reverse repos and other financial legerdemain, the corporate media is always ready to repeat this dubious claim until it is accepted as self-evident.

The central bank magic is fundamentally a mind-trick of managing expectations. If the Fed (or other central bank) announces a quantitative easing or market-goosing program, punters buy assets anticipating the success of the bank’s program, effectively creating the very push higher the bank intended.

This rise draws in other traders, and the program is declared a success as the market generates a self-reinforcing logic: the market’s response is evidence the central bank’s program is a success, which then inspires more risk-on buying and further market gains.

Once a central bank program fails to generate a self-reinforcing rally, the mind-trick’s power is broken. Once expectations of a sustained rally are crushed by the failure of the rally to achieve virtuous-cycle lift-off, the magic no longer works: once traders take a wait and see stance rather than rush to place panic-buy orders, the initial rally soon fizzles, and the expectations of effortless gain are replaced by gnawing fear of more losses.

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

Olduvai IV: Courage
In progress...

Olduvai II: Exodus
Click on image to purchase