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2022: Energy limits are likely to push the world economy into recessionIn my view, there are three ways a growing economy can be sustained:

2022: Energy limits are likely to push the world economy into recessionIn my view, there are three ways a growing economy can be sustained:

  1. With a growing supply of cheap-to-produce energy products, matched to the economy’s energy needs.
  2. With growing debt and other indirect promises of future goods and services, such as rising asset prices.
  3. With growing complexity, such as greater mechanization of processes and supply lines that extend around the world.

All three of these approaches are reaching limits. The empty shelves some of us have been seeing recently are testimony to the fact that complexity is reaching a limit. And the growth in debt looks increasingly like a bubble that can easily be popped, perhaps by rising interest rates.

In my view, the first item listed is critical at this time: Is the supply of cheap-to-produce energy products growing fast enough to keep the world economy operating and the debt bubble inflated? My analysis suggests that it is not. There are two parts to this problem:

[a] The cost of producing fossil fuels and delivering them to where they are needed is rising rapidly because of the effects of depletion. This higher cost cannot be passed on to customers, without causing recession. Politicians will act to keep prices low for the benefit of consumers. Ultimately, these low prices will lead to falling production because of inadequate reinvestment to offset depletion.

[b] Non-fossil fuel energy products are not living up to the expectations of their developers. They are not available when they are needed, where they are needed, at a low enough cost for customers. Electricity prices don’t rise high enough to cover their true cost of production. Subsidies for wind and solar tend to drive nuclear electricity out of business, leaving an electricity situation that is worse, rather than better. Rolling blackouts can be expected to become an increasing problem.

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

Sri Lanka economists tell government to default on bond, buy food

Sri Lanka economists tell government to default on bond, buy food

$500m should be redirected to pay for fuel, medicine and other essentials, experts say

Sri Lankan rupee banknotes sit in a bucket at a fruit stall in Colombo. The country is running out of imported food, fuel, medicine and a key ingredient of milk tea.   © Reuters

COLOMBO — Sri Lanka’s top economists and business leaders are urging President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s government to default on a debt repayment next week and to use the nation’s foreign currency reserves to buy fuel, food, medicine and other essentials.

Ajith Nivard Cabraal, governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, on Jan. 5 tweeted that the CBSL has allocated $500 million for an International Sovereign Bond maturing on Tuesday. Since the announcement, many experts have come out against the allocation.

Shanta Devarajan, a former World Bank chief economist from Sri Lanka, suggested that the island’s acute shortage of foreign currency reserves is exacerbating everyday problems like long lines to buy cooking gas, rapidly rising food prices, more frequent power outages and a lack of powdered milk, a staple in a hot, tropical country where many homes do not have refrigerators and millions of people thirst for milk tea.

“This $500 million could enable people, especially poor people, to buy and cook food for themselves and their children,” Devarajan wrote in the DailyFT, a Sri Lankan newspaper. “Instead, the government is choosing to reimburse bondholders, who are hardly poor.”

Following a $1.5 billion currency swap with China, Sri Lanka in December managed to boost its reserves to $ 3.1 billion. According to Fitch Ratings, that’s just enough. The agency says Sri Lanka has $3 billion worth of foreign currency debt repayments coming due during the first quarter of this year.

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

Coming Market Madness Could Take 70 Years to Recover

COMING MARKET MADNESS COULD TAKE 70 YEARS TO RECOVER

Cervantes famous classic novel Don Quixote can in simple terms be described as a fight for liberty and freedom against oppression and against the state. This book is from 1605 and considered to be one of the best books ever written.

In the midst of market madness, risk doesn’t exist because lunatics neither see, nor worry about risk. And still, 2022 will be more about risk and survival than anything else. So I will obviously talk more about The Triumph of Survival” which I discussed in a recent piece.

“When life itself seems lunatic, who knows where madness lies.” – Don Quixote

The year 2022 will most likely be the culmination of risk. An epic risk moment in history  that very few investors will see until it is too late as they expect to be saved yet another time by the Fed and other central banks.

And why should anyone believe that 2022 will be different from any year since 2009 when this bull market started? Few investors are superstitious and therefore won’t see that 13 spectacular years in stocks and other asset markets might signify an end to the epic super bubble.

The Great Financial Crisis (GFC) in 2006-9 was never repaired. Central bankers and governments patched Humpty up with glue and tape in the form of printed trillions of dollars, euro, yen etc. But poor Humpty Dumpty was fatally injured and the intensive care he received would only give him a temporary reprieve.

When the GFC started in 2006, global debt was $120 trillion. Today we are at $300t, rising to potentially $3 quadrillion when the debt and derivative bubble finally first explodes and then implodes as I explained in my previous article.

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

Fourth Turning 2022 — Bad Moon Rising

FOURTH TURNING 2022 – BAD MOON RISING

“Try to unlearn the obsessive fear of death (and the anxious quest for death avoidance) that pervades linear thinking in nearly every modern society. The ancients knew that, without periodic decay and death, nature cannot complete its full round of biological and social change. Without plant death, weeds would strangle the forest. Without human death, memories would never die, and unbroken habits and customs would strangle civilization. Social institutions require no less. Just as floods replenish soil and fires rejuvenate forests, a Fourth Turning clears out society’s exhausted elements and creates an opportunity.” – Strauss & Howe – The Fourth Turning

Coronavirus: Is Germany doing enough to slow the outbreak? | Germany | News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 14.03.2020

“Institutions will be increasingly bossy, limiting personal freedoms, chastising bad manners, and cleansing the culture. Powerful new civic organizations will make judgments about which individual rights deserve respect and which do not. Criminal justice will become swift and rough, trampling on some innocents to protect an endangered and desperate society from those feared to be guilty. Expect a loss of personal privacy. Fourth Turnings can be dark times for the free spirit: Just as one kind of official may have new authority to do something for you, another kind—some hastily deputized magistrate—may have new authority to do something to you.” – Strauss & Howe – The Fourth Turning

It’s been almost a year since my annual look ahead at the upcoming year. Last year’s article FOURTH TURNING DETONATION was a big picture overview of where we stood during the thirteenth year of this ongoing Fourth Turning Crisis. I had given up trying to make specific predictions because the twenty-year length of a Crisis period does not lend itself to specificity within a given year. My comment at the beginning of the article was:

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

What Will Surprise Us in 2022

What Will Surprise Us in 2022

What seemed so permanent for 13 long years will be revealed as shifting sand and what seemed so real for 13 long years will be revealed as illusion. Magical thinking isn’t optimism, it is folly.

Predictions are hard, especially about the future, but let’s look at what we already know about 2022. Viewed from Earth orbit, 2022 is Year 14 of extend and pretend and too big to fail, too big to jail and Year 2 of global supply chains break and energy shortages.

The essence of extend and pretend is to substitute income earned from increases in productivity–real prosperity–with debt–a simulation of prosperity –that doesn’t solve the real problems, it simply adds a new and fatal problem: since productivity hasn’t expanded across the spectrum, neither has income or prosperity.

All that happened over the past 13 years is that debt–money borrowed against future productivity gains and energy consumption–funded illusions of prosperity in all three sectors: households, enterprise and government.

The explosion of debt and interest due on that debt could not occur if interest rates still topped 10% as they did 40 years ago in the early to mid-1980s. We couldn’t add tens of trillions of dollars, yen, yuan and euros in new debt unless interest rates were pushed down to near-zero (for the government, the wealthy and corporations only, of course–debt-serfs still pay 7%, 10%, 15%, 19%, etc.)

This monetary trick was accomplished by making central banks the linchpin of the entire global economy as central banks created “money” out of thin air and used the currency to buy trillions in government and corporate bonds, artificially creating near-infinite demand which then drove the rate of interest into the ground.

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

The Coming Retirement Crisis Will Affect Everyone

The Coming Retirement Crisis Will Affect Everyone

We are on the cusp of a retirement crisis that will affect everyone. Far too many promises have been made and the demographics we face do not bode well for a bright future. The answer that some people tout is we should have more children or open the borders. This is based on the idea we need more workers and ignores many other factors feeding into this issue. There is simply no way “more children” or workers can ever pay enough into the system to fulfill the promises that have been made.The competition for programs from the government to support the needs of different generations is about to explode as young and old Americans reach out for more help. Much of our problems stem from a slew of bad policies either driven by stupidity, corruption, or an unwillingness to accept the reality you can postpone a reckoning for only so long. Investors and the public at large suffer from a “recency bias of hope” that tends to blind them from unpleasant long-term realities. 

The coming together of surging investment risk, an interrupted business cycle, and demographics are coming together to form the perfect storm. To clarify, much of the wealth in America is held in the hands of the baby boomers that have just or are about to retire, and over the years, many have moved into risky investment in search of yield. It has been years since we have had a major recession so sooner or later, it is logical one will arrive. Last, but not least, we are now seeing demographics play a larger role in the economy as boomers downsize (sell assets) and cut spending.

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

Is the Crack-up Boom Here?

Is the Crack-up Boom Here?

Bloomberg News recently solicited advice from Argentinians who lived through that country’s high inflation on how Americans should cope with rising inflation. The Argentinians suggested Americans spend their paychecks as fast as possible to avoid future price increases. They also suggested taking out loans that can be paid back later in devalued currency.

These strategies may make sense for individuals. However, encouraging debt and discouraging savings is disastrous for the country. Relying on debt and spending one’s paycheck immediately encourages people to seek instant gratification instead of planning for the future. This depletes both economic and moral capital.

November’s 9.6 percent increase in the producer price index, combined with the consumer price index’s increase to levels not seen since the early 1980s, shows why fears of inflation have become the public’s number one concern. Even the Federal Reserve has acknowledged that inflation is not just “transitory.”

The Fed recently announced it is accelerating the timetable to reduce its monthly purchases of Treasury and mortgage-backed securities. The Fed also announced it is planning three interest rate increases next year. However, the Fed plans to increase rates by no more than one percent. So even if the Fed does follow through on its promise to hike rates, it will do little if anything to combat rising prices. If the Fed allowed interest rates to rise to anything approaching market levels, it would make the federal government’s debt servicing costs unsustainable. This puts tremendous pressure on the Fed to maintain low rates.

The biggest victims of the Federal Reserve’s erosion of the dollar are lower- and middle-class Americans whose paychecks do not keep pace with the Fed-caused price increases. Yet many progressives still cling to the fallacy that average workers somehow benefit from continued dollar devaluation.

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

Peter Schiff: There Is No Ceiling on Inflation

Peter Schiff: There Is No Ceiling on Inflation

Gold closed out the week before Christmas above $1,800 an ounce, despite rising bond yields. The $1,800 level has been viewed as a ceiling for the price of gold. In his podcast, Peter Schiff said people need to start thinking of $1,800 as a floor. And he said they will once they realize there is no ceiling on inflation.

We got the personal income and spending data for November last week. Incomes grew at a slower pace than projected — 0.4%. Meanwhile, spending was up 0.6%. Obviously, if spending is outpacing income, the difference has to come from somewhere. It appears Americans are dipping into their savings to cope with rising prices. The savings rate declined to 6.9%. That is the lowest level since December 2017.

We also know that consumers are turning to debt to make ends meet, with credit card balances growing at a fast pace.

The savings rate shot up and Americans paid down their credit cards when the government showered them with stimulus. Peter said it appears the stimulus has run out.

Obviously, Americans have now exhausted that windfall. They’ve depleted that savings war-chest that was built up with stimulus money, and now it’s gone. And so, they’re having to go into debt.”

Consumers have a double problem. They’ve run out of savings and consumer prices keep going up. That is robbing people of their purchasing power.

That robber is the government, because it’s the government that’s creating the inflation that is causing the cost of living to go up. But the cost of living is going up, yet consumers have even less savings to afford that increase in the cost of living.”

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

War Drums Are Beating

War Drums Are Beating

A RISK NOT DISCUSSED

It was around 2017 when I began seeing the ridiculous climate hysteria being pushed not just by dreadlocked physics deniers chaining themselves to trees but at an institutional level.

This, I thought to myself, was something very, very dangerous and which — if taken to any greater level — would ultimately bring about war.

The past two decades have seen Russia sanctioned and repeatedly threatened by Western powers. One of the many threats and arguably the most fierce has been eliminating Russia from the international payments system SWIFT.

Prepare a swift response to Russia invading Ukraine, Latvia tells west

From the article:

A swift reprisal package against Russia – including US troops and Patriot missiles stationed in the Baltics, the cutting off of Russia from the Swift banking payments system and reinstated sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline – must be prepared now in case it invades Ukraine, the Latvian foreign minister has said.

And this:

“If Nato fails to protect its member states or its territories,” he warned, “then it will not just be a military and political failure but a complete mental collapse of the system of values that have been built since the end of world war two. It will mean the whole transatlantic community will be in complete disarray and the glue that keeps us together has failed”.

This horse has already bolted. The “glue” holding this ball of wax together is more like slime and “isht” is falling through the cracks in every direction, while the bureaucrats desperately try to hold it all together. It won’t work.

Now, this isn’t solely an EU-Russia issue. This is a West vs East issue.

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

The Sovereign Debt Crisis Arrives

The Sovereign Debt Crisis Arrives

While the world is turning, the economic crisis emanating from the SovereignDebt Crisis in Europe is propelling a very serious outlook as we head into 2022. I have been warning for the past 10 years that the situation would become critical. I have attended meetings with many central banks over this period warning that governments cannot continue to borrow perpetually with no intention of repaying what they borrow.

The Day of reckoning is arriving. They have been using this COVID-19 whipping it up into a panic for the sheet purpose to bring us to the point where their solution will be to default disguised as a solution for the poeple. I will report on the real state of the world financial system and it may be shocking for most. This is not a question of simple hyperinflation for that even implies that the currency survives, The real outlook is far from the claims of the pundits that keep pitching the same story for decades since the collapse of Bretton Woods. Those in power are already running stories that there will be an armed revolution if Trump does not win in 2024, It would be nice if we even have that long before political chaos upsets the financial system.

There will NEVER be a return to normal. These people have divided the people on race and politics and the key to civilization has always been that people come together when they ALL benefit. Civilization collapses when you divide the people, and turn one group against the other.

Chaos and the Triumph of Survival

CHAOS AND THE TRIUMPH OF SURVIVAL

One of the most horrifying works of art is Bruegel’s “The Triumph of Death” painted in 1562. The painting depicts the end of life on earth.

I sincerely hope that this is not what the world will literally look like in the next decade or two but metaphorically this is not an unlikely depiction of the chaos that could hit us all.

For a detailed description of the grim painting see here

Triumph of death

The Black Death plague of the 14th century, which killed up to half of the world’s population, clearly had a major influence on the painter.

The moral message is that when chaos hits, the destruction will affect everyone, rich and poor, young and old. No one will escape by power or devotion.

The financial, economic and moral devastation which is about to hit the world will for more than 99.5% of the people come out of the blue like a flash from a clear sky.

For most people, coming events will thus be like the definition of the word CHAOS: “A state of total confusion and disorder”.

CHAOS NUMBER 1: COVID

Talking about disorder, just like the Black Death that inspired Bruegel’s painting, the world is now facing a global pandemic. But rather than the nearer 50% of global population that perished in the mid 1300s, today we are looking at total deaths from the current pandemic of 0.06% of the world population! And even that figure might be overestimated due to the classification rules applied.

For that minuscule percentage the world has now been paralysed for the third year soon.

There are lockdowns, quarantines, compulsory vaccines with unlined boosters, covid passports, closed schools, closed offices, major industries like leisure haemorrhaging, airlines going bankrupt, shortages of labour, components, products, closed borders, and for the few people who dare to and can travel across borders, more bureaucracy, paperwork and tests than in a police state…

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

Our $29 Trillion Deficit, Interest Rates, Inflation, And Debt

Our $29 Trillion Deficit, Interest Rates, Inflation, And Debt

 

The emergence and acceptance of Modern Monetary Theory has turned our economic system upside down. Skeptics of its substance and sustainability have been brushed aside temporarily but expect the MMT experiment to collapse and end in ruin. To us that believe in old school economics, debt matters and is tied directly to interest rates and inflation. Central banks across the world claim the lack of inflation is the key force driving their QE policy and permitting it to continue, however, the moment inflation begins to take root much of their flexibility will be lost. This translates into governments being forced to pay higher interest rates on their debt.

With America’s national debt now blowing past 29 trillion dollars, it is important to keep the numbers in perspective. Nothing is as sobering as looking at future budgets. Those of us rooted in the tried and true economics relied upon in the past are worried.  For years the argument that “This Time Is Different” has flourished but history shows that periods of rapid credit expansion always end the same way and that is in default. This also underlines the reality that any claims Washington makes about the budget deficit being under control is a total lie.
Click (Here) To View National Debt Clock
America is not alone in spending far more than it takes in and running a deficit. This does not make it right or mean that it is sustainable. Much of our so-called economic growth is the result of government spending feeding into the GDP. This has created a false economic script and like a Ponzi scheme, it has a deep relationship to fraud.
…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Janet Yellen Admits The “Net Zero” Grand Reset Price Tag Will Be $150 Trillion

Janet Yellen Admits The “Net Zero” Grand Reset Price Tag Will Be $150 Trillion

For years, the climate change lobby was laser-focused on just one aspect of the “climate change” crusade: the end – which supposedly is some world where the temperatures no longer rise due to fossil fuel emissions (because we now live in a world of global warming as scientists agree, not to be confused with the global cooling hypothesis that emerged in the 1970s, when many were even warning of a new ice age) justifying the means. Meanwhile the “means”, or the final cost to taxpayers of all that endless, tedious virtual signaling, was almost never touched upon for a reason – as we first explained three weeks ago, the bill for getting the world from point A to that mythical, utopic point B, was so high, it would be double global GDP.

For those who missed it, here is an excerpt of what we wrote back on October 14, shortly after Bank of America published the definitive compendium on climate change and the coming Net Zero (i.e., great reset) world, and which we discussed in depth:

“while it is handy to have a centralized compendium of the data, a 5 minute google search can provide all the answers that are “accepted” dogma by the green lobby. But while we don’t care about the charts, that cheat sheets, or the propaganda, what we were interested in was the bottom line – how much would this green utopia cost, because if the “net zero”, “ESG”, “green” narrative is pushed so hard 24/7, you know it will cost a lot.

Turns out it does. A lot, lot.

Responding rhetorically to the key question, “how much will it cost?”, BofA cuts to the chase and writes $150 trillion over 30 years – some $5 trillion in annual investments – amounting to twice current global GDP!

Why the Troubled U.S. Empire Could Quickly Fall Apart

Why the Troubled U.S. Empire Could Quickly Fall Apart

Photograph by Nathaniel St. Clair

The U.S. wars lost in Iraq and Afghanistan showed imperial overreach beyond what even 20 years of war could manage. That the defeats were drawn out for so many years shows that domestic politics and the funding of the domestic military-industrial complex were, more than geopolitics, the key drivers of these wars. Empires can die from overreach and sacrificing broadly social goals for the narrow interests of political and economic minorities.

The United States has 4.25 percent of the world’s population yet accounts for about 20 percent of global deaths from COVID-19. A rich global superpower with a highly developed medical industry proved to be badly unprepared for and unable to cope with a viral pandemic. It now wrestles with a huge segment of its population that seems so alienated from major economic and political institutions that it risks self-destruction and demands the “right” to infect others. Refusing to accept lifesaving COVID-19 vaccine and mask mandates in the name of “freedom” mixes a frightening stew of ideological confusion, social division, and bitterly rising hostility within the population. The January 6 events in Washington, D.C., showed merely the tip of that iceberg.

Levels of debt—government, corporate, and household—are all at or near historical records and rising. Feeding and thereby supporting the rising debts is the Federal Reserve with its years of quantitative easing. Officials at the highest levels are now discussing the possible issuance of a trillion-dollar platinum coin to have the Fed give that sum in new credit to the U.S. Treasury to enable more U.S. government spending. The purpose goes far beyond political squabbling over the cap on the national debt…

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

Will China Pop the Global Everything Bubble? Yes

Will China Pop the Global Everything Bubble? Yes

The line of dominoes that is already toppling extends around the entire global economy and financial system. Plan accordingly.

That China faces structural problems is well-recognized. The list of articles in the August issue of Foreign Affairs dedicated to China reflects this:

Xi’s Gamble: the Race to Consolidate Power and Stave Off Disaster

China’s Economic Reckoning: The Price of Failed Reforms

The Robber Barons of Beijing: Can China Survive its Gilded Age?

Life of the Party: How Secure Is the CCP? (Chinese Communist Party)

These are thorny, difficult issues: a demographic cliff resulting from the one-child policy, soaring wealth-income inequality, pervasive corruption, public health issues (diabesity, etc.), environmental damage and a slowing economy.

What the conventional analysts do not fully grasp, in my view, are 1) the existential threat to the CCP and China’s economy posed by its unprecedented, metastasizing credit-asset bubble and 2) its incipient energy crisis.

As I explained in a recent blog post, What’s Really Going On in China?, the CCP and the government informally institutionalized moral hazard (the disconnection of risk and consequence) as a core economic policy.

Every financial loss, no matter how risky or debt-ridden, was covered by the state (via bail-out, refinancing debt, new loans, etc.) as a “cost of rapid development,” a reflection of the view that some inefficiency and waste was inevitable in the rapid development of industry, housing, infrastructure and a consumer economy.

What China’s leaders did not fully understand was this implicit guarantee of bail-outs–the equivalent of “The Fed has our backs”–incentivized debt-funded speculation as the lowest-risk, highest-return “investment,” especially when compared to low-profit, risky investments in low-margin export industries. (Recall the average profit margins of Chinese exporting enterprises is 1% to 3%.)

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

Olduvai IV: Courage
In progress...

Olduvai II: Exodus
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