Watching the slow-motion train wreck of an economic system collapse unfold

Watching the slow-motion train wreck of an economic system collapse unfold
click pic to reminisce

more october jeopardy  

Posted by howard in nyc

monday october 25--Who is John Philip Sousa?

monday october 18--What is the $0.05 coin, or the nickel? no mo $2 bills--too ghey

tuesday october 19--Who is Pope John Paul II?

wednesday october 20--Where is China?

thursday october 21--Who are Vincent Van Gogh (subject) and Paul Gauguin (artist)?

friday october 22--Who is Matt Damon? (and instead i was fucking the i-tallian stallion.)

monday october 11--what is the tower of london? (i know this much is true-- why would the kray brothers be in spandau prison in berlin?)

tuesday oct. 12--who are cordelia and the fool? shit, i've never read or seen lear. just know the evil sisters are an evil president and a std.

wednesday oct. 13--who is A. A. Milne? i almost guessed a. a. robin-pooh

thursday oct. 14--What are Luxembourg and Mexico?

friday oct. 15--who is william mckinley

it's all over now, baby blue  

Posted by howard in nyc in , ,

recently i read a great post (of many great posts) over at

please read it:

this helped me recognize that i have been thinking about the wrong things. i have indulged in the details of economic activity lately, while neglecting the more important bigger picture. the big truth that can be lost in the day-by-day.

the economic system as we knew it is over.

this takes time. it is easy to forget that what happened in 2007-08 was not a discrete event, with a beginning and end. that was the beginning of the fall. the first recognition that the system is kaput.

the american capitalist system of the 20th century was built on a foundation of unending growth. as domestic manufacturing growth approached its natural limits financial growth and consumption of imported goods took over.

that financial growth was founded upon factors with their own natural limits. ever increasing housing prices and demand (demand based on employment), and ever decreasing overseas labor costs for consumer goods.

those factors are done. housing prices hit the wall and fell sharply. more importantly, they are not going back up. period.

housing demand is based on increasing employment. but, employment is going down steadily.

both these factors have failed to abate despite government efforts.

other vast areas of financial 'growth' are precariously balanced upon housing prices. all those mortgage backed securities. all those derivatives. the true value of these 'assets' have been hidden by much greater government efforts. printing money to buy tons of them. suspension of accounting rules to lie about the value of other tons of them. fannie and freddie guarantee of most new mortages, and guarantee of those two entities themselves. and artifically cheap money/manipulated low rates from the fed.

trillions of dollars of future taxpayer liabilities, thrown at this system of financial growth and innovation that was itself a ten-year long mirage.

and it has failed. while the mirage has been maintained a bit longer, the actual value of all those instruments, in the absence of government printing, buying and hiding, is not growing at the very least.

the efforts of the american politicians, european politicians, and central banks here, there and in japan, have all been directed at 1) protecting and saving the big banks; and 2) going back to the way things were, with rising housing prices (and other asset prices) and ever increasing consumption.

#1 worked for a while; but all those banks are still insolvent by any objective measure. #2 is flat out impossible.

the actual path toward the inevitable endpoint makes little difference. the duration of that path is also not real important, if you believe as i do that they will not be able to stretch it out past my lifetime. five years maybe, ten years absolute tops, but more likely numbered in months.

and i have been hung up on the path, not the endpoint.

part of the reason is greed. i figure if i can discern the path accurately, i can snag some big bucks. and if i am clever, convert those big bucks into a lasting store of wealth (property, foreign currency, metals and gems). forgetting that, as long as i maintain my physical and mental health, i am lucky and blessed to be assurred of wealth and prosperity after the fall. i am honest, i am a good friend, and i have essential medical and healing skills that today are deeply discounted, but will be rewarded plenty in time.

part of the reason is entertainment. i love sports. because you don't know how things are going to turn out. not only the path to the finale, but the outcome itself is in doubt.

well, no matter how much i scramble, i have tremdous tools for security in the next phase future. and no matter how much i delve into the details, there is little drama and no doubt of how this economic story finishes.

the system reached the natural endpoint. it is over. they cannot put it back together.

some more stupid economics  

Posted by howard in nyc in ,

this foreclosure mess gives me some encouragement. because internal parts of the system are placed in conflict with one another.

as much as the media will try to paint this as freeloading defaulted mortgage holders vs the legal owners of those debts, or more simply portray the whole thing as some paperwork errors and shortcuts, the truth is otherwise.

this is bank vs judge. perjury vs members of the legal system who take their work seriously. mbs servicer vs mortgage originator. pension fund investor vs mbs packager.

the fraud and crimes are not just the big boys vs the people. it is fraud by some big boys perpetrated on other big boys. and if the lackey government favors one group over another, those unfavored will squawk and scream, and won't take it lying down.

not that it matters too much exactly how and when the house of cards comes down, this could be the trigger.

meanwhile, as the unavoidable process of debt deflation proceeds, the powers that be realize that everything they tried over the past two years to trigger inflation has miserably failed. so, rather than marshall resources to take care of the people, and to build a new, sustainable economic structure, what do they do?

more of the same. if it failed before, only because they did too little.

more monetary bullshit (dropping rates and devaluing the currency); more keynesian bullshit (government must spend more, more, more, be it from tax, print, borrow or all of the above).

yet, debt creation is not growing. debt destruction continues. wages fall, unemployment increases.

and weakening the currency, so the price of oil, wheat and rice rises, is mistaken for inflation. or, if you define deflation differently than do i, a weak dollar somehow counteracts the contraction of credit/debt.

our economic system is based on growing credit and debt. credit and debt is not increasing. the system ain't working no more.

destruction of the purchasing power of the dollar is not the same as counteracting debt deflation. and increasing government debt has very very limited positive effects on total credit expansion.

even if the folks in charge recognized this, they are intent on saving the banks and wall street first and foremost; the people take the hindmost.

while a few, trying to sound enlightened, speak of the evils of supersized government debt and deficit. and those clowns never even mention the wars, the waste of the military industrialist class. much less the promises of the most expenive health care on earth for everybody w/o limits (titanium hips and knees for every 80yo! half a million dollar cancer chemotherapy for two months of horrific quality of life!), and promises of lifelong government pensions and social security that cannot possibly all be kept.

deficits are dangerous. but don't talk about the only possible ways to cut them.

i stand in awe at how long things have held together. easy for me to say, i am not unemployed, or underemployed, working enough to not qualify for food and medical money from the government.

maybe they can hold it together another couple of years. i won't bet against it (well, i won't bet much), but i sure won't count on it.