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Fourth Turning Economics

Fourth Turning Economics

“In retrospect, the spark might seem as ominous as a financial crash, as ordinary as a national election, or as trivial as a Tea Party. The catalyst will unfold according to a basic Crisis dynamic that underlies all of these scenarios: An initial spark will trigger a chain reaction of unyielding responses and further emergencies. The core elements of these scenarios (debt, civic decay, global disorder) will matter more than the details, which the catalyst will juxtapose and connect in some unknowable way. If foreign societies are also entering a Fourth Turning, this could accelerate the chain reaction. At home and abroad, these events will reflect the tearing of the civic fabric at points of extreme vulnerability – problem areas where America will have neglected, denied, or delayed needed action.” – The Fourth Turning – Strauss & Howe 

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The quote above captures the current Fourth Turning perfectly, even though it was written more than a decade before the 2008 financial tsunami struck. With global debt now exceeding $250 trillion, up 60% since the Crisis began, and $13 trillion of sovereign debt with negative yields, it is clear to all rational thinking individuals the next financial crisis will make 2008 look like a walk in the park. We are approaching the eleventh anniversary of this crisis period, with possibly a decade to go before a resolution.

As I was thinking about what confluence of economic factors might ignite the next bloody phase of this Fourth Turning, I realized economic factors have been the underlying cause of all four Crisis periods in American history.

Debt levels in eurozone, G7, US and Germany

The specific details of each crisis change, but economic catalysts have initiated all previous Fourth Turnings and led ultimately to bloody conflict. There is nothing in the current dynamic of this Fourth Turning which argues against a similar outcome. The immense debt, stock and real estate bubbles, created by feckless central bankers, corrupt politicians, and spineless government apparatchiks, have set the stage for the greatest financial calamity in world history.

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

The Fourth Turning & War of the Worlds

THE FOURTH TURNING & WAR OF THE WORLDS

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“In retrospect, the spark might seem as ominous as a financial crash, as ordinary as a national election, or as trivial as a Tea Party. The catalyst will unfold according to a basic Crisis dynamic that underlies all of these scenarios: An initial spark will trigger a chain reaction of unyielding responses and further emergencies. The core elements of these scenarios (debt, civic decay, global disorder) will matter more than the details, which the catalyst will juxtapose and connect in some unknowable way. If foreign societies are also entering a Fourth Turning, this could accelerate the chain reaction. At home and abroad, these events will reflect the tearing of the civic fabric at points of extreme vulnerability – problem areas where America will have neglected, denied, or delayed needed action.” – The Fourth Turning – Strauss & Howe

The paragraph above captures everything that has happened, is happening, and will happen during this Fourth Turning. It was written over two decades ago, but no one can deny its accuracy regarding our present situation. The spark was a financial crash. The response to the financial crash by the financial and governmental entities, along with their Deep State co-conspirators who created the financial collapse due to their greed and malfeasance, led to the incomprehensible election of Donald Trump, as the deplorables in flyover country evoked revenge upon the corrupt establishment.

The chain reaction of unyielding responses by the left and the right accelerates at a breakneck pace, with absolutely no possibility of compromise. A new emergency or winner take all battle seems to be occurring on a weekly basis, with the mid-term elections as the likely trigger for the next phase of this Fourth Turning.

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Winter is Coming

WINTER IS COMING

“Summer will end soon enough, and childhood as well.” – George R.R. Martin, Game of Thrones

Image result for winter is coming game of thrones

“Reflect on what happens when a terrible winter blizzard strikes. You hear the weather warning but probably fail to act on it. The sky darkens. Then the storm hits with full fury, and the air is a howling whiteness. One by one, your links to the machine age break down. Electricity flickers out, cutting off the TV. Batteries fade, cutting off the radio. Phones go dead. Roads become impassible, and cars get stuck. Food supplies dwindle. Day to day vestiges of modern civilization – bank machines, mutual funds, mass retailers, computers, satellites, airplanes, governments – all recede into irrelevance.

Picture yourself and your loved ones in the midst of a howling blizzard that lasts several years. Think about what you would need, who could help you, and why your fate might matter to anybody other than yourself. That is how to plan for a saecular winter. Don’t think you can escape the Fourth Turning. History warns that a Crisis will reshape the basic social and economic environment that you now take for granted.” – Strauss & Howe The Fourth Turning

I’m always a little behind when it comes to popular TV, especially when the shows are on premium cable channels. Being cheap, I’ve refused to pay for any premium cable channels, plus I’ve spent much of my life on baseball fields and in hockey rinks, rather than watching TV. When my kids recently signed up for HBO Now, I finally got to watch The Sopranos, eleven years after its final episode aired. Now I’m finally able to watch Game of Thrones, after it has been on the air for seven seasons. In the opening episodes I was impressed by the theme which permeates the series. Numerous characters stated “Winter is Coming”. I was immediately struck by the parallels with the Fourth Turning theory about the cyclical nature of our world.

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One More Casualty Of The 9/11 Farce – The Petrodollar

One More Casualty Of The 9/11 Farce – The Petrodollar

It’s been about 15 years now since passenger airliners struck the World Trade Center towers on 9/11, and we are still suffering the consequences of that day, though perhaps not in the ways many Americans might believe.

The 9/11 attacks were billed by the Bush Administration as a “wake-up call” for the U.S., and neocons called it the new Pearl Harbor. But instead of it being an awaking, the American public was led further into blind ignorance. The event launched wars throughout the Middle East, energized by a strike-first doctrine which was supposed to bring unprecedented “democracy” to the region. Instead, the Middle East has now become as unstable as it was during WWII.

The penchant for Western governments to fund and train terrorist groups is now verifiable mainstream fact rather than being considered “conspiracy theory” as was the common accusation back in 2001. Pentagon papers outlining support for the formation of ISIS are available for anyone to read. The only disconnect that the public still seems to suffer from is that orthodox Republicans fail to recognize that the support for Islamic terrorism has been just as prevalent under Republican presidents (al-Qaeda) as it has been under Barack Obama. And, Democrats refuse to recognize that Barack Obama has been guilty of all the same criminal foreign policies they used to protest under George W. Bush.

There have been substantial economic consequences as well. The Iraq War alone is estimated to have cost around $2 trillion, with billions more in veteran benefits forthcoming. These numbers, of course, stop accounting for costs after 2010, when the war was deemed officially “over.” Costs continue to this day as the U.S. maintains its military presence in the region along with thousands of private contractors we rarely ever hear about.

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The Biggest Short

THE BIGGEST SHORT

Some reversals of financial trends prove so momentous they define the generation in which they occur. The stock market crash in 1929 kicked off the Great Depression, which ushered in the welfare and then the warfare state and redefined the relationship between government and citizens.

Bonds and stocks began their bull market runs in the early 1980s. Now, those markets are fonts of optimism increasingly unhinged from reality. The US has come full circle. The New Deal and World War II marked a massive shift of resources and power to the federal government. Conversely, financial reversal will fuel a virulent backlash against the government and its central bank.

Such epochal reversals are usually foreseeable. However, they are long in the making and involve such a confluence of powerful forces that usually only a handful get the timing right. Calling the end of the current bull markets has been difficult because of governments and central banks are desperate to keep them alive. Central bankers prattle on about the wealth effects of elevated stock markets and how low interest rates promote debt and consumption, supposedly the fountainhead of economic progress. Those emissions are noxious nonsense. Central banks promote rising markets because they are under the thumbs of their governments; independent central banker is an oxymoron. High stock prices are a popular barometer of social mood, while high bond prices keep interest rates low, benefitting the largest borrowers, governments.

Consider the absurdity of loaning money to any of today’s welfare state governments, including the most indebted of them all, the US government. Most of them haven’t run an honest, GAAP budget surplus in decades. They have compiled staggering amounts of debt relative to their economies’ GDPs.

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Fourth Turning: Crisis of Trust

Fourth Turning: Crisis of Trust

“Imagine some national (and probably global) volcanic eruption, initially flowing along channels of distress that were created during the Unraveling era and further widened by the catalyst. Trying to foresee where the eruption will go once it bursts free of the channels is like trying to predict the exact fault line of an earthquake. All you know in advance is something about the molten ingredients of the climax, which could include the following:

  • Economic distress, with public debt in default, entitlement trust funds in bankruptcy, mounting poverty and unemployment, trade wars, collapsing financial markets, and hyperinflation (or deflation)
  • Social distress, with violence fueled by class, race, nativism, or religion and abetted by armed gangs, underground militias, and mercenaries hired by walled communities
  • Cultural distress, with the media plunging into a dizzying decay, and a decency backlash in favor of state censorship
  • Technological distress, with cryptoanarchy, high-tech oligarchy, and biogenetic chaos
  • Ecological distress, with atmospheric damage, energy or water shortages, and new diseases
  • Political distress, with institutional collapse, open tax revolts, one-party hegemony, major constitutional change, secessionism, authoritarianism, and altered national borders
  • Military distress, with war against terrorists or foreign regimes equipped with weapons of mass destruction” 

 The Fourth Turning – Strauss & Howe – 1997

September 2015 marks the seventh anniversary of this Fourth Turning Crisis. The economic, social, cultural, ecological, political, and military distress propagates by the minute as the globe is besieged by economic turmoil, increased human suffering, and endemic corruption of the political and ruling classes. The Federal Reserve/Wall Street created global economic implosion was the spark which catalyzed this fourth Crisis period in U.S. history in September 2008. Neil Howe in a 2012 essay assessed the beginning of this Fourth Turning and why 9/11 was not the catalyst:

“Pending stunning new developments, I believe the catalyst occurred in 2008.  It’s a date that is looking better and better as time goes by.  The year 2008 marked the onset of the most serious U.S. economic crisis since the Great Depression.  

 

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Confronting a Very Dark Chapter

Confronting a Very Dark Chapter


August 6, 2015, is the 70th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima, a civilian city that had minimal military value despite the claims of President Harry Truman when he announced the event to the American people.

An estimated 80,000 innocent civilians plus 20,000 weaponless young Japanese conscripts died instantly in the Hiroshima bombing raid. Hundreds of thousands more suffered slow deaths and disabilities from agonizing burns, radiation sickness, leukemia, anemia, thrombocytopenia and untreatable infections. Another shameful reality was the fact that 12 American Navy pilot POWs, their existence well known to the U.S. command prior to the bombing, were instantly incinerated in the Hiroshima jail on that fateful day.

The mushroom cloud from the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, on Aug. 6, 1945.

The Japanese survivors and their progeny suffered a fate similar to the survivors and progeny of America’s “Atomic Soldiers,” who were exposed in the line of duty to the hundreds of nuclear tests in the 1950s and 1960s or to the depleted uranium that the U.S. military has used in the two Gulf Wars. These groups were afflicted with horrible radiation-induced illnesses, congenital anomalies, genetic mutations, immune deficiencies, cancers and premature deaths.

The whole truth about the Hiroshima slaughter – the first of only two cases of nuclear bombs being dropped in wartime, with the second coming only three days later at Nagasaki – has been heavily censored and mythologized ever since. In 1945, war-weary Americans accepted the propaganda that the bombings were necessary to shorten the war and prevent what U.S. officials claimed could be the loss of a million U.S. soldiers during a November 1945 invasion of Japan.

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The Pope’s Letter: Neoliberalism and Fukushima

The Pope’s Letter: Neoliberalism and Fukushima

Japanese sociologist and Tokyo Metropolitan University professor, Shinji Miyadai argues that European nations progressed from the communal self-governance of food to the communal self-governance of energy after World War II. Miyadai compares Europe’s post-war developments with those of post-war Japan in his article entitled ‘Pitfalls of the Nuclear Power Reduction Movement’. His contention is simple: As opposed to Europe, Japan had actually “accelerated its dependence on the market through trade liberalization and deregulation…”

Post-war economic indenture was exactly what the United States wanted from Japan. Moreover, the US was able to procure Japanese market dependence through discussions on the trade liberalization of agricultural goods (and later, the US-Japan Structural Impediments Initiative talks). Miyadai claims that the hollowing effects of these US-sponsored neoliberal adjustments would exact their toll on Japanese communities in the 1980s and 1990s.

Neoliberalism’s averse effects climaxed when the 1997 recession – induced by the Asian currency crisis – washed over Japan. Miyadai recalls the serious outcomes of a barely functioning Japanese economy, which then finally ceased to function. Among the consequences were: Japan’s heightened rate of suicide (four times that of the UK and twice that of the US); the scandal of the missing or long-dead elderly; ubiquitous infant and child abuse or neglect; and a third of Japan’s dead, cremated without funeral.

Indeed, as Miyadai laments, “Well before the Great East Japan Earthquake, Japanese society had already begun to disintegrate.”

Distorting Japan’s Foreign Policy

After WWII, the US meddled in Japan’s foreign policy. Miyadai offers the Kuril Islands dispute as evidence of this. The dispute actually begins with something Miyadai labels as Japan’s “castration experience.” This “castration” entails America’s dropping of atomic bombs, Japan’s US-written post-war constitution, and the US-Japan Security Treaty signed under Washington’s persistence.

 

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Do You Want Total War?

Do You Want Total War?

70 Years Since the End of WW2

Last week Russia celebrated the 70th anniversary of “V Day” over Nazi Germany with a traditional huge military parade in Moscow.

 

resized_99265-russia-victory-parade_will_61-19595_t630Military parade in Moscow on May 9, celebrating the victory over Nazi Germany

Photo credit: RT

 

However, this year the celebrations were marred by the fact that many Western political leaders decided to stay away from Moscow in protest over the Ukraine situation. As Eric Margolis remarks, this snub seems quite churlish, especially if one considers that Russia made the biggest sacrifices by far in WW2 (Margolis’ article has all the grisly details, the most striking of which is the fact roughly 27 million Russians lost their lives between 1941 and 1945. Russia accounted for nearly 80% of all allied war casualties). Moreover, without Russia’s participation in the war, Hitler may well have ended up winning it. Eventually the political and economic system the Nazis had erected would have crashed and burned anyway, but without the expansion of the war to a second front, it would have been very difficult and costly to dislodge the Germans from the territories they had conquered.

To be sure, Hitler and Stalin – the dictators leading two of the most bloodthirsty and murderous governments in the history of the world – were allies before Hitler decided to unilaterally call the alliance off by invading Russia. When Hitler’s Wehrmacht began to attack Russia, Stalin at first simply couldn’t believe it. He allegedlyliterally denied that the reports of Hitler’s invasion were true. Hitler’s armies were already closing in on Moscow, when the other members of the Soviet Politburo arrived at Stalin’s dacha one day, in which he had hidden himself away for two weeks, refusing to communicate with anyone.

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The Grisly Truth About How World War II Was Won

The Grisly Truth About How World War II Was Won

It was churlish for western leaders to boycott this week’s Victory Parade in Moscow that commemorated the Soviet Union’s defeat of Nazi Germany 70 years ago.

Historic events are facts that should not be manipulated according to the latest political fashions. Being angry at Moscow for mucking about in Ukraine does not in any way lessen the glory, admiration and thanks owed to the Russian people for their heroism during World War II.

Americans and Canadians like to believe they won the war in Europe and give insufficient recognition to the decisive Soviet role. Most Europeans would rather not think about the matter. By contrast, Russians know that it was their soldiers who really won the war. They remain angry that their military achievements are ignored by American triumphalists and myth -makers.

Not only did Stalin’s Soviet Union play the key role in crushing Nazi Germany, its huge sacrifices saved the lives of countless American, British and Canadian soldiers. Were it not for the USSR’s victory, Nazi Germany might be alive and well today.

Let’s do the numbers. The Soviet armed forces destroyed 507 German division and 100 allied Axis divisions (according to Soviet figures). These latter included the pan-European Waffen SS whose largest numbers came from Belgium, Holland and Scandinavia, Italy, Romania, Hungary, Finland and a division from Spain.

Soviet military historians claim their forces destroyed 77,000 enemy planes, 48,000 enemy tanks and armored vehicles. The Red Army accounted for 75-80% of Axis casualties in World war II.

In the process,  1,710 Russian cities, 70,000 towns and villages, 31,850 factories or and 1,974 collective farms were destroyed. Add 84,000 schools, 43,000 libraries and 65,000 km of railway.

 

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For Nazi Industrialists And Hitler’s Banker “All Was Forgiven”

For Nazi Industrialists And Hitler’s Banker “All Was Forgiven”

In recent years, there has been much shock and stunned reactions among the general public as one after another banker avoided any prison time, despite perpetrating (and benefiting from the subsequent bailout) the biggest financial crisis know to mankind.

But is this shock warranted? The simple answer: no.

Consider the case of countless Nazi financiers and even Hitler’s personal banker, Hjalmar Schacht. What do they all have in common? Aside from (or perhaps due to) practically all having walked through the secretive corridors of the Bank of International Settlements, the one truly disturbing common theme is that virtually all avoided any significant prosecution for their participation in the Third Reich. In fact, as the following excerpt clearly reveals, the basis of Germany’s Fourth Reich, which in Adam LeBor’s words, “would be a financial, rather than a military imperium” was the work almost exclusively of Nazi financiers and bankers. And, of course, America’s backing and support of said Nazi bankers and industrialists.

Because when it comes to political winners and losers, the bankers will gladly support them all, and as such, no matter their prior actions, global financiers – who can and will bring down with them the entire financial system – have a perpetual immunity from the law, even if it means trillions in taxpayer bailouts, or hundreds of millions of casualties.

So the next time anyone is outraged that Lloyd or Jamie or Jon are not only walking free but have hundreds of millions in their bank accounts, advise them that if “all is forgiven” to Hitler’s personal banker, then there is clearly no hope that the judicial system will ever bring those criminals known elsewhere as “bankers” to justice.

 

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Superpower Blunders: Czechoslovakia in 1938

Superpower Blunders: Czechoslovakia in 1938

The Czechoslovakia crisis of 1938 marked a pivotal shift in the balance of power in Central Europe, putting the major world superpowers in a collision course. The policies of one superpower in particular made inevitable what was to come less than a year later – World War II.

This episode provides important historical insights on geopolitics, appeasement strategies, buffer zones, ethnic tensions – and unintended consequences.

Background

Czechoslovakia was formed as a sovereign state in October 1918, and eventually became one of the most democratic, prosperous and best administered of all the nations that emerged out of the collapse of the Habsburg Empire after World War I.

In 1930, the country had a population of 15 million, consisting of 6 million Czechs (40% of total), 4 million Slovaks (27%), 3.2 million Germans (21%), and the balance (12%) split between Hungarians, Polish, Ruthenians and foreigners. The large number of minorities arose from the need to give Czechoslovakia defensible and viable frontiers. This was a sensitive issue for the sizeable German speaking population, which had previously attempted to unite with German Austria.

There were four main regions in the country (listed from west to east): Bohemia, Moravia, Slovakia and Ruthenia. The western regions were wealthier. The border districts of Bohemia and Moravia and the domestic portion of Silesia were inhabited primarily by German speakers, a region known as the Sudetenland (a name derived from the Sudetes Mountains, which run along the northern border).

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Olduvai IV: Courage
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