Thursday, October 30, 2014

How Long Can the Top 10% Households Prop Up the "Recovery"?

The question of "recovery" really boils down to this: how much longer can the top 10% prop up the expansion?


A flurry of recent media stories have addressed housing unaffordability, for example Why Middle-Class Americans Can't Afford to Live in Liberal Cities.

The topic of housing unaffordability crosses party lines: Housing Ownership Back to 1995 Levels (U.S. Census Bureau).

Other stories reflect an enduring interest in the questions, what is a living wage?and what is a middle-class income? These questions express the anxiety that naturally arises from the sense that we're sliding downhill in terms of our purchasing power--a reality that is confirmed by this chart:


Here's a recent story that delves into the question of "getting by" versus "middle class": How Much Money Does the Middle Class Need to Get By?

"Just getting by" in costly coastal cities requires an income in the top 20%: around $60,000 for individuals and $100,000 for households.

The article references MIT's Living Wage Calculator, which I found to be unrealistic in terms of the high-cost cities I know well (Honolulu and the San Francisco Bay Area). It appears the calculator data does not represent actual rents or food prices; the general estimates it uses woefully under-represent on-the-ground reality.

Current market rents in the S.F. Bay Area far exceed the estimated housing costs in this calculator, and that one line item pushes the living wage from $36,000 for two adults closer to $45,000 in my estimate--roughly the average wage in the U.S. (not the median wage, which is $28,000).

If you want to know where you stand income-wise, here is a handy calculator: What Is Your U.S. Income Percentile Ranking?

Here are the data sources:

Wage Statistics for 2013 (Social Security Administration)

2013 Household Income Data Tables (U.S. Census Bureau)

There are many complexities in these questions. For example, Social Security data does not include food stamps, housing and healthcare subsidies provided by the government, etc., so lower-income households' real (equivalent) income is much higher than the published data.

Then there are the regional differences, which are considerable; $50,000 in a Left or Right Coast city is "just getting by" but it buys much more in other less pricey regions.

As for what household income qualifies as "middle class"--it depends on your definition of middle class. In my view, the definition has been watered down to the point that "middle class" today is actually working class, if we list attributes of the "middle class" that were taken for granted in the postwar era of widespread prosperity circa the 1960s.

In What Does It Take To Be Middle Class? (December 5, 2013), I listed 10 basic "threshold" attributes and two higher qualifications for membership in the middle class. Please have a look if you're interested.

I came up with an annual income of $106,000 for two self-employed wage earners and the mid-$90,000 range for two employed wage earners, the difference being the self-employed couple have to pay 100% of their healthcare insurance, as there is no employer to cover that staggering expense.

$90,000 puts a household in the top 25%, and $101,000 places the household in the top 20%. $150,000 a year qualifies as a top 10% household income.

If we set aside income and consider net worth, net worth (i.e. ownership of assets and wealth) of most households is modest:


This shows the decline in household wealth since 2003:


Can an economy in which the majority of households are "just getting by" experience robust growth, i.e. "recovery"? If we discount the millions of households who are paying for today's consumption with tomorrow's earnings, i.e. credit cards, auto loans, student loans, etc., I think it's self-evident that only the top 20% (and perhaps really only the top 10%) have the income and net worth to expand a $16 trillion economy.

By definition, the top 10% cannot be "middle class." Yet it seems that these top 12 million households are propping up the "recovery"--dining out at pricey bistros, paying $200 a night for hotels, buying homes that cost $500,000 and up, paying slip fees for their boats, funding their children's college education with cash rather than loans, etc.

The question of "recovery" really boils down to this: how much longer can the increasing debt of the bottom 90% and the wealth of the top 10% prop up the expansion?



Get a Job, Build a Real Career and Defy a Bewildering Economy(Kindle, $9.95)(print, $20)
go to Kindle editionAre you like me? Ever since my first summer job decades ago, I've been chasing financial security. Not win-the-lottery, Bill Gates riches (although it would be nice!), but simply a feeling of financial control. I want my financial worries to if not disappear at least be manageable and comprehensible.


And like most of you, the way I've moved toward my goal has always hinged not just on having a job but a career.
You don't have to be a financial blogger to know that "having a job" and "having a career" do not mean the same thing today as they did when I first started swinging a hammer for a paycheck.

Even the basic concept "getting a job" has changed so radically that jobs--getting and keeping them, and the perceived lack of them--is the number one financial topic among friends, family and for that matter, complete strangers.

So I sat down and wrote this book: Get a Job, Build a Real Career and Defy a Bewildering Economy.

It details everything I've verified about employment and the economy, and lays out an action plan to get you employed.

I am proud of this book. It is the culmination of both my practical work experiences and my financial analysis, and it is a useful, practical, and clarifying read.

Test drive the first section and see for yourself.     Kindle, $9.95     print, $20

"I want to thank you for creating your book Get a Job, Build a Real Career and Defy a Bewildering Economy. It is rare to find a person with a mind like yours, who can take a holistic systems view of things without being captured by specific perspectives or agendas. Your contribution to humanity is much appreciated."
Laura Y.

Gordon Long and I discuss The New Nature of Work: Jobs, Occupations & Careers(25 minutes, YouTube) 



NOTE: Contributions/subscriptions are acknowledged in the order received. Your name and email remain confidential and will not be given to any other individual, company or agency.

Thank you, John S. ($100), for your outrageously generous contribution to this site-- I am greatly honored by your steadfast support and readership.

Read more...

Why We're Poorer: Inflation and Deflation Are Now Globalized

We're being hit with a double-whammy: Wages are under deflationary pressure, and almost everything else is exposed to inflationary pressure.


As correspondent Mark G. observed in Globalization = Permanent Instability, it's impossible to understand inflation and deflation now except in a global context.

Now that prices for commodities such as oil and grain are set on the global market, local surpluses don't push prices down. If North America has record harvests of grain, on a national basis we'd expect prices to fall as local supply exceeds local demand.

But since grain is tradable, i.e. it can be shipped to other markets where demand and thus prices are much higher, the price in North America reflects supply and demand everywhere on the planet, not just in North America.

If we put ourselves in the shoes of a farmer or grain wholesaler, this is a boon: why sell your product for 1X locally, when it fetches 2X in other countries? You'd be crazy not to put it on a boat and get double the price elsewhere.

As the share of the economy exposed to digitization increases, so does the share of work that can be done anywhere on the planet. When work is digitized, it is effectively commoditized, meaning that it no longer matters who performs the work or where they live.

If people in countries with low wages can perform the work, why on Earth would you pay double to have high-wage people do the work? It makes no sense. Taking advantage of the differences in local pay scales is called labor arbitrage, as the employer is trading on (i.e. arbitraging) two sets of prices.

It's not just labor that can be arbitraged: currency, interest rates, risk, environmental regulations, commodities--huge swaths of the global economy can be arbitraged.

The basic idea of the global carry trade is to borrow money cheaply in a currency that's weakening and use the money to buy low-risk, high-yield assets in currencies that are gaining in relative value.
It's a slam dunk arbitrage: not only does the trader earn an essentially free return (borrowing yen at 1%, for example, converting the yen to dollars and buying Treasury bonds paying 3%), but there is a bonus yield on the dollar strengthening against the yen: a two-fer return.

Global labor is in over-supply--one reason why wages in the U.S. have been declining in real terms, i.e. when inflation is factored in. The better description is purchasing power: how much can your paycheck buy?

Here is a chart reflecting the decline in purchasing power of U.S. earnings since 2006:


Courtesy of David Stockman, here is a chart of inflation (i.e. loss of purchasing power) since 2000:


Whatever isn't tradable can skyrocket in cost because, well, it can--since there's little competition in healthcare and school districts, both of which operate as quasi-monopolies, school administrators can skim $600,000 a year: Fired school leaders get big payouts:

A former Union City, CA superintendent took home more than $600,000 last year, making her the top earner on a new online database tracking salary and benefit information for California public school employees.

Since healthcare is only tradable at the margins, for example, medical tourism, where Americans travel abroad to take advantage of treatments that are 20% the cost of the same care in the U.S., healthcare costs can rise 500% when measured as a percentage of wages devoted to healthcare:


Note that this doesn't mean that healthcare costs rose along with wages--it means a larger share of our earnings is going to healthcare than ever before. Other than a brief period in the 1990s when productivity gains drove wages higher, healthcare costs have risen faster than earnings every decade. The consequence is simple: the more of our earnings that go to healthcare, the less there is for savings, investments and other spending.

In a way, we're being hit with a double-whammy: whatever can't be traded, such as the local school district and hospital, can charge outrageous fees and pay insiders outrageous sums for gross incompetence, while whatever can be traded can go up in price based on demand and currency fluctuations elsewhere.

Meanwhile, as labor is in over-supply virtually everywhere, wages are declining when measured in purchasing power. Wages are under deflationary pressure, and almost everything else is exposed to inflationary pressure. No wonder we feel poorer: most of us are poorer.



Get a Job, Build a Real Career and Defy a Bewildering Economy(Kindle, $9.95)(print, $20)
go to Kindle editionAre you like me? Ever since my first summer job decades ago, I've been chasing financial security. Not win-the-lottery, Bill Gates riches (although it would be nice!), but simply a feeling of financial control. I want my financial worries to if not disappear at least be manageable and comprehensible.


And like most of you, the way I've moved toward my goal has always hinged not just on having a job but a career.
You don't have to be a financial blogger to know that "having a job" and "having a career" do not mean the same thing today as they did when I first started swinging a hammer for a paycheck.

Even the basic concept "getting a job" has changed so radically that jobs--getting and keeping them, and the perceived lack of them--is the number one financial topic among friends, family and for that matter, complete strangers.

So I sat down and wrote this book: Get a Job, Build a Real Career and Defy a Bewildering Economy.

It details everything I've verified about employment and the economy, and lays out an action plan to get you employed.

I am proud of this book. It is the culmination of both my practical work experiences and my financial analysis, and it is a useful, practical, and clarifying read.

Test drive the first section and see for yourself.     Kindle, $9.95     print, $20

"I want to thank you for creating your book Get a Job, Build a Real Career and Defy a Bewildering Economy. It is rare to find a person with a mind like yours, who can take a holistic systems view of things without being captured by specific perspectives or agendas. Your contribution to humanity is much appreciated."
Laura Y.

Gordon Long and I discuss The New Nature of Work: Jobs, Occupations & Careers(25 minutes, YouTube) 





NOTE: Contributions/subscriptions are acknowledged in the order received. Your name and email remain confidential and will not be given to any other individual, company or agency.


Thank you, Brad S. ($5/month), for your monumentally generous subscription to this site-- I am greatly honored by your support and readership.

Read more...

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Globalization = Permanent Instability

Globalization continually creates imbalances that fuel a perpetual instability that gradually impoverishes every sector other than global capital.


Globalization has two guaranteed consequences: permanent instability and endless boom-and-bust cycles. As noted in Forget "Free Trade"--Focus on Capital Flows, the key engine of globalization is mobile capital: capital that can borrow money for next to nothing in one nation and then move that capital to other nations where yields are higher and opportunities for exploitation riper.

This mobility of capital is an enormous benefit to the owners of the capital, but it creates extraordinary instability for those who are not as mobile. When mobile capital encounters anything that reduces profits--higher taxes and rising labor costs, competition or restrictive regulations--it closes factories and fires its workers in that locale and shifts to another locale with greater opportunities for high returns.

The workers left behind have limited means to replace the lost wages, and the local government often has few resources to repair any damage left by the exploitation of resources. The advantage of mobility is reserved for capital, and to the relatively limited cohort of workers who can immigrate to other nations to find work.

This illustrates two key ontological characteristics of financialized globalization: perpetual instability and a never-ending cycle of boom and bust as capital sparks rapid development in one locale and then moves elsewhere once profits decline.

The scale of global capital is difficult to grasp; trillions of central bank-issued dollars, euros, yen and renminbi are sloshing around the global economy, seeking low-risk profits.

Capital has no loyalty to anything but its own expansion, and the damage it leaves in its wake is of no concern to the owners of capital.

There are even less visible consequences to the globalization of markets, capital and labor. Once goods and services are priced globally, local supply and demand no longer set the local price. As my colleague Mark G. has observed, consumer prices can rise even if there are deflationary surpluses in the local economy because price is set by global supply and demand. As a result, measuring inflation and deflation locally is meaningless in a globalized economy.

This financialized globalization of goods, services, credit and currencies continually creates imbalances that fuel a perpetual instability that gradually impoverishes every sector other than global capital, which being mobile, can exploit the imbalances for its own profit.

Correspondent Mark G. recommended a recent article by China-based economist Michael Pettis, How to link Australian iron with Marine le Pen:

"In a 'globalized' world, no country, not even the US, can protect itself from the consequences of imbalances elsewhere. The global economy is a system in which certain types of imbalances are impossible. I especially focus on the requirement that global savings and global investment always balance, but there are others. Because an imbalance at the global level is impossible. if there are imbalances in one country or region, there necessarily must be the opposite imbalances in another, and the more open an economy, the more likely it is to respond to imbalances elsewhere.

It is impossible, in other words, to understand any non-autarchic economy in the world except in the context of global imbalances.

As I say in my book, The Great Rebalancing: Trade, Conflict, and the Perilous Road Ahead for the World Economy, in a globalized world anything that affects the relationship between savings and investment in one country--and nearly everything affects that relationship -- must have the opposite effect on the rest of the world. There is no way of escaping the fact that imbalances generated in one country become a problem for everyone."

Here is Mark's commentary:

The logically following converse of Pettis' point is that only economies enjoying autarchy in any category of economic activity can ever hope to reach reasonable price stability in those activities, and then only if these activities are also made non-tradable by local practice. Restated, "free trade" between large central states is a prescription for perpetual instability at all levels.

Ricardo's theory of comparative advantage is only advantageous if you enjoy an advantage in a particular field. Otherwise it is merely a road map to rapid impoverishment. The only localized response--even at continental level--is to embark on a series of successive financial bubbles. This is pretty much what we've seen everywhere in the world for the last three decades.

Thank you, Mark, for summarizing the consequence of central bank-funded mobile capital and the imbalances and boom-bust cycles this free money for financiers generates globally.

Of related interest: A Thought Experiment in American Autarky (January 17, 2014)



Get a Job, Build a Real Career and Defy a Bewildering Economy(Kindle, $9.95)(print, $20)
go to Kindle editionAre you like me? Ever since my first summer job decades ago, I've been chasing financial security. Not win-the-lottery, Bill Gates riches (although it would be nice!), but simply a feeling of financial control. I want my financial worries to if not disappear at least be manageable and comprehensible.


And like most of you, the way I've moved toward my goal has always hinged not just on having a job but a career.
You don't have to be a financial blogger to know that "having a job" and "having a career" do not mean the same thing today as they did when I first started swinging a hammer for a paycheck.

Even the basic concept "getting a job" has changed so radically that jobs--getting and keeping them, and the perceived lack of them--is the number one financial topic among friends, family and for that matter, complete strangers.

So I sat down and wrote this book: Get a Job, Build a Real Career and Defy a Bewildering Economy.

It details everything I've verified about employment and the economy, and lays out an action plan to get you employed.

I am proud of this book. It is the culmination of both my practical work experiences and my financial analysis, and it is a useful, practical, and clarifying read.

Test drive the first section and see for yourself.     Kindle, $9.95     print, $20

"I want to thank you for creating your book Get a Job, Build a Real Career and Defy a Bewildering Economy. It is rare to find a person with a mind like yours, who can take a holistic systems view of things without being captured by specific perspectives or agendas. Your contribution to humanity is much appreciated."
Laura Y.

Gordon Long and I discuss The New Nature of Work: Jobs, Occupations & Careers(25 minutes, YouTube) 



NOTE: Contributions/subscriptions are acknowledged in the order received. Your name and email remain confidential and will not be given to any other individual, company or agency.

Thank you, Peter E. ($5/month), for your astonishingly generous re-subscription to this site-- I am greatly honored by your steadfast support and readership.

Read more...

Monday, October 27, 2014

Forget "Free Trade"--Focus on Capital Flows

In a world dominated by mobile capital, mobile capital is the comparative advantage.


Defenders and critics of "free trade" and globalization tend to present the issue as either/or: it's inherently good or bad. In the real world, it's not that simple. The confusion starts with defining free trade (and by extension, globalization).

In the classical definition of free trade espoused by 18th century British economist David Ricardo, trade is generally thought of as goods being shipped from one nation to another to take advantage of what Ricardo termed comparative advantage: nations would benefit by exporting whatever they produced efficiently and importing what they did not produce efficiently.

While Ricardo’s concept of free trade is intuitively appealing because it is win-win for importer and exporter, it doesn’t describe the consequences of the mobility of capital. Capital--cash, credit, tools and the intangible capital of expertise--moves freely around the globe seeking the highest possible return, pursuing the prime directive of capital: expand or die.

Capital that fails to expand will stagnate or shrink. If the contraction continues unchecked, the capital eventually vanishes.

The mobility of capital radically alters the simplistic 18th century view of free trade. In today's world, trade can not be coherently measured as goods moving between nations, because capital from the importing nation owns the productive assets in the exporting nation. If Apple owns a factory (or joint venture) in China and collects virtually all the profits from the iGadgets produced there, this reality cannot be captured by the models of simple trade described by Ricardo.

In today's globalized version of "free trade," mobile capital can arbitrage labor, currencies, interest rates, regulatory burdens and political favors by shifting between nations and assets. Trying to account for trade in the 18th century manner of goods shipped between nations is nonsensical when components come from a number of nations and profits flow not to the nation of origin but to the owners of capital.

This was recently described in a Foreign Affairs article, (Mis)leading Indicators:
If trade numbers more accurately accounted for how products are made, it is possible that the United States would not have any trade deficit at all with China. The problem, in short, is that trade figures are currently calculated based on the assumption that each product has a single country of origin and that the declared value of that product goes to that country.Thus, every time an iPhone or an iPad rolls off the factory floors of Foxconn (Apple's main contractor in China) and travels to the port of Long Beach, California, it is counted as an import from China, since that is where it undergoes its final "substantial transformation," which is the criterion the WTO uses to determine which goods to assign to which countries. 
Every iPhone that Apple sells in the United States adds roughly $200 to the U.S.-Chinese trade deficit, according to the calculations of three economists who looked at the issue in 2010. That means that by 2013, Apple's U.S. iPhone sales alone were adding $6-$8 billion to the trade deficit with China every year, if not more. 
A more reasonable standard, of course, would recognize that iPhones and iPads do not have a single country of origin. More than a dozen companies from at least five countries supply parts for them. Infineon Technologies, in Germany, makes the wireless chip; Toshiba, in Japan, manufactures the touchscreen; and Broadcom, in the United States, makes the Bluetooth chips that let the devices connect to wireless headsets or keyboards. 
Analysts differ over how much of the final price of an iPhone or an iPad should be assigned to what country, but no one disputes that the largest slice should go not to China but to the United States. That intellectual property, along with the marketing, is the largest source of the iPhone's value. 
Taking these facts into account would leave China, the supposed country of origin, with a paltry piece of the pie. Analysts estimate that as little as $10 of the value of every iPhone or iPad actually ends up in the Chinese economy, in the form of income paid directly to Foxconn or other contractors.
In a world dominated by mobile capital, mobile capital is the comparative advantage. Mobile capital can borrow billions of dollars (or equivalent) in one nation at low rates of interest and then use that money to outbid domestic capital for assets in another nation with few sources of credit.

Mobile capital can overwhelm the local political system, buying favors and cutting deals, all with cash borrowed at near-zero interest rates. Mobile capital can buy up and exploit resources and cheap labor until the resource is depleted or competition cuts profit margins. At that point, mobile capital closes the factories, fires the employees and moves on.

Where is the "free trade" in a world in which the comparative advantage is always held by mobile capital? And what gives mobile capital its essentially unlimited leverage? Central banks issuing trillions of dollars in nearly-free money to banks and other financial institutions that funnel the free cash to corporations and financiers, who can then roam the world snapping up assets and arbitraging global imbalances with nearly-free money.

There's nothing remotely "free" about trade based not on Ricardo's simple concept of comparative advantage but on capital flows unleashed by central bank liquidity.



Get a Job, Build a Real Career and Defy a Bewildering Economy(Kindle, $9.95)(print, $20)
go to Kindle editionAre you like me? Ever since my first summer job decades ago, I've been chasing financial security. Not win-the-lottery, Bill Gates riches (although it would be nice!), but simply a feeling of financial control. I want my financial worries to if not disappear at least be manageable and comprehensible.


And like most of you, the way I've moved toward my goal has always hinged not just on having a job but a career.
You don't have to be a financial blogger to know that "having a job" and "having a career" do not mean the same thing today as they did when I first started swinging a hammer for a paycheck.

Even the basic concept "getting a job" has changed so radically that jobs--getting and keeping them, and the perceived lack of them--is the number one financial topic among friends, family and for that matter, complete strangers.

So I sat down and wrote this book: Get a Job, Build a Real Career and Defy a Bewildering Economy.

It details everything I've verified about employment and the economy, and lays out an action plan to get you employed.

I am proud of this book. It is the culmination of both my practical work experiences and my financial analysis, and it is a useful, practical, and clarifying read.

Test drive the first section and see for yourself.     Kindle, $9.95     print, $20

"I want to thank you for creating your book Get a Job, Build a Real Career and Defy a Bewildering Economy. It is rare to find a person with a mind like yours, who can take a holistic systems view of things without being captured by specific perspectives or agendas. Your contribution to humanity is much appreciated."
Laura Y.

Gordon Long and I discuss The New Nature of Work: Jobs, Occupations & Careers(25 minutes, YouTube) 



NOTE: Contributions/subscriptions are acknowledged in the order received. Your name and email remain confidential and will not be given to any other individual, company or agency.

Thank you, Aaron W. ($10/month), for your superbly generous subscription to this site-- I am greatly honored by your support and readership.

Read more...

Sunday, October 26, 2014

We Don't Have One Problem--We Have Three Interlocking Sets of Problems

The additional sets of problems added as "solutions" only guarantee that the third and final crash of asset bubbles just ahead will be far more devastating than the crashes of 2000 and 2009.


The conventional view tacitly assumes the global economy is dealing with one problem: recovering from the Global Financial Meltdown of 2008-09. Stimulating a "recovery" has been the focus of central banks and states everywhere.

Short-sighted political expediency is a hallmark of the modern state's reaction to crisis, but political expediency isn't the only flaw in the central banks/states' obsessive focus on "recovery;" it's not even the primary flaw.

The real flaw is the central banks/states don't even recognize that we face three interlocking sets of problems, not one. Each set of problems is layered on top of the previous layer, and each sets reinforces the other two. In other words, the entire problem set is more than just the sum of the three problem sets.

1. Financialization of the economy. As the post-industrial funk of the 1970s dragged on, the neoliberal ideology of liberalizing credit markets and eliminating the regulatory wall between investment banking and commercial/mortgage banking was presented as the fundamental fix to post-industrial stagnation: free up credit, leverage and speculation, and the results would be an expansion of asset prices and growth.

The first wave of financialization in the 1980s did indeed boost asset valuations and growth, but it did so by eroding the productive economy and the middle class that arose from gains in productivity. Financialization substitutes finance for productive investments, such that financial games such as originating subprime home mortgages become far more profitable than non-financial capital investments.

I've covered the immense structural damage wrought by financialization for years. Here is a small sample of essays from the 10+ pages of links available in the archives:

Why have the central banks and central states allowed financialization to hollow out the real economy? Because they have no choice. As I explained in Why the State Has Failed to Reform Our Broken Financial System (October 16, 2014), extreme financialization is the last source of the monumental profits the state needs to fund itself, and the last source of economic "growth" in an economy gutted by previous rounds of financialization.

2. Extremes of credit, leverage, risk and speculation. As conventional financialization failed to reflate the asset bubbles of the late 1990s that crashed in 2000, central banks and states opened the doors to extremes of credit expansion, leverage and risk. Financial fraud and embezzlement became the models of choice as lenders and borrowers alike engaged in a monstrously profitable churning of securitized mortgages, liar loans, initial public offerings of companies with no hope of generating profits, and all the other tricks of the finance trade.

The inevitable result of these extremes of supposedly low-risk leverage and sleight of hand was the Global Financial Meltdown of 2008-09, when bubbles in credit, risk, stocks and real estate popped.


3. The central bank/state "solutions" to the Global Financial Meltdown are the third set of problems. The monetary/fiscal solutions--dropping interest rates to zero, printing trillions of dollars, yen, euros and yuan out of thin air and giving banks and financiers free access to all this loot, with the implicit promise that any bets that went bad would be backstopped by the taxpayers--have not only done nothing to repair the damage done by the first two problem sets but have unleashed even more destructive dynamics.

The analogy I have used is monetary heroin: the first hits of quantitative easing had an immediate effect on moribund assets. But each successive wave of monetary heroin has had diminishing effects as the addict became habituated to the endless stimulus.

The central bank solution to this habituation is to increase each new dose of stimulus. Unfortunately, at some point the dose becomes large enough to kill the addict: The Fed's Failure Complicates Its Endgame (July 30, 2014)

Each monetary/fiscal "fix" inflated a bubble that crashed. Rather than face the harsh consequences of financialization and successive waves of monetary extremes, central banks and states have elected to reflate the bubbles as the politically expedient solution that leaves the crony-cartel-state status quo intact.

But the additional sets of problems added as "solutions" only guarantee that the third and final crash of asset bubbles just ahead will be far more devastating than the crashes of 2000 and 2009.



Get a Job, Build a Real Career and Defy a Bewildering Economy(Kindle, $9.95)(print, $20)
go to Kindle editionAre you like me? Ever since my first summer job decades ago, I've been chasing financial security. Not win-the-lottery, Bill Gates riches (although it would be nice!), but simply a feeling of financial control. I want my financial worries to if not disappear at least be manageable and comprehensible.

And like most of you, the way I've moved toward my goal has always hinged not just on having a job but a career.
You don't have to be a financial blogger to know that "having a job" and "having a career" do not mean the same thing today as they did when I first started swinging a hammer for a paycheck.

Even the basic concept "getting a job" has changed so radically that jobs--getting and keeping them, and the perceived lack of them--is the number one financial topic among friends, family and for that matter, complete strangers.

So I sat down and wrote this book: Get a Job, Build a Real Career and Defy a Bewildering Economy.

It details everything I've verified about employment and the economy, and lays out an action plan to get you employed.

I am proud of this book. It is the culmination of both my practical work experiences and my financial analysis, and it is a useful, practical, and clarifying read.

Test drive the first section and see for yourself.     Kindle, $9.95     print, $20

"I want to thank you for creating your book Get a Job, Build a Real Career and Defy a Bewildering Economy. It is rare to find a person with a mind like yours, who can take a holistic systems view of things without being captured by specific perspectives or agendas. Your contribution to humanity is much appreciated."
Laura Y.

Gordon Long and I discuss The New Nature of Work: Jobs, Occupations & Careers(25 minutes, YouTube) 



NOTE: Contributions/subscriptions are acknowledged in the order received. Your name and email remain confidential and will not be given to any other individual, company or agency.

Thank you, Brenda W. ($60), for your superlatively generous contribution to this site-- I am greatly honored by your steadfast support and readership.

Read more...

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