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by Adam Taggart

On a long solo car trip this past weekend, I downloaded several podcasts to listen to as the miles passed. One was a classic: The Invention of Money, originally released by NPR's Planet Money team back in January of 2011. I highly recommend listening (or re-listening) to it in full.

The podcast is a great reminder of how any currency in a monetary system is a fabricated construct. A simpler way to explain this is to say it has value simply because we believe it does.

Say Goodbye to the Purchasing Power of the Dollar
by Adam Taggart

On a long solo car trip this past weekend, I downloaded several podcasts to listen to as the miles passed. One was a classic: The Invention of Money, originally released by NPR's Planet Money team back in January of 2011. I highly recommend listening (or re-listening) to it in full.

The podcast is a great reminder of how any currency in a monetary system is a fabricated construct. A simpler way to explain this is to say it has value simply because we believe it does.

by charleshughsmith

Executive Summary

  • Intervention in the housing market by central planners is experiencing diminishing returns
  • The four major trend reversals most likely to depress housing prices in the coming future
  • The power deflationary force of reversion to (or perhaps below?) the mean
  • Why demographics do not support rising prices

If you have not yet read Part I: The Unsafe Foundation of Our Housing 'Recovery', available free to all readers, please click here to read it first.

In Part I, we sketched out the larger context of the housing market: the dramatic rise of mortgage debt, the stagnation of income for 90% of households and the unprecedented scope of Central Planning intervention in the housing and mortgage markets.

In Part II, examine what will likely cause this nascent rise in housing prices to reverse, and to resume the decline Central Planning halted in 2009.

Intervention Has Only One Way to Go: Diminishing Returns

As noted in Part I, every Central Planning support of the mortgage and housing markets has already been pushed to the maximum, so there is nowhere left to go. Interest rates are already negative, over 90% of the mortgage market is backed by Federal agencies, the Fed has already pledged to buy trillions of dollars in mortgages, etc.

Four years of this massive intervention has stripped the mortgage and housing markets of the ability to price risk, capital, and assets. This has created a culture of supreme complacency, as participants have come to believe interest rates will stay near-zero for the foreseeable future and Central Planning intervention is permanent.

But nothing is permanent in life. And the current extremes of intervention and complacency have set the stage for some important reversals:

The Forces That Will Reverse Housing’s Recent Gains
PREVIEW by charleshughsmith

Executive Summary

  • Intervention in the housing market by central planners is experiencing diminishing returns
  • The four major trend reversals most likely to depress housing prices in the coming future
  • The power deflationary force of reversion to (or perhaps below?) the mean
  • Why demographics do not support rising prices

If you have not yet read Part I: The Unsafe Foundation of Our Housing 'Recovery', available free to all readers, please click here to read it first.

In Part I, we sketched out the larger context of the housing market: the dramatic rise of mortgage debt, the stagnation of income for 90% of households and the unprecedented scope of Central Planning intervention in the housing and mortgage markets.

In Part II, examine what will likely cause this nascent rise in housing prices to reverse, and to resume the decline Central Planning halted in 2009.

Intervention Has Only One Way to Go: Diminishing Returns

As noted in Part I, every Central Planning support of the mortgage and housing markets has already been pushed to the maximum, so there is nowhere left to go. Interest rates are already negative, over 90% of the mortgage market is backed by Federal agencies, the Fed has already pledged to buy trillions of dollars in mortgages, etc.

Four years of this massive intervention has stripped the mortgage and housing markets of the ability to price risk, capital, and assets. This has created a culture of supreme complacency, as participants have come to believe interest rates will stay near-zero for the foreseeable future and Central Planning intervention is permanent.

But nothing is permanent in life. And the current extremes of intervention and complacency have set the stage for some important reversals:

by Gregor Macdonald

Once a year the very chic and exclusive TED conference takes place in Southern California, bringing together entrepreneurs, inventors, and thought leaders from every corner of the world.

There, gathered around a stage, a kind of hive mind begins to unfold in which the most cutting edge ideas in healthcare, energy, social development, and behavioral psychology are shared from a very plugged-in, big-screen podium. It’s extremely well done.

And despite the reflexive criticism from outside the conference — that the gathering is inward-looking and elitist — TED usually does manage to disturb the zeitgeist, a little, with its unveilings in technology and innovation. It is plainly good that next-step advances in solar technology, data collection, and developing world health initiatives are explained and broadcasted from TED. Especially given that policy makers, or those who have the ear of policy makers, are also often in attendance.

A better charge to level against the TED conference, however, is that it’s routinely, if not unfailingly, optimistic.

 

‘Cornucopians in Space’ Deliver a Dangerously Misguided Message
by Gregor Macdonald

Once a year the very chic and exclusive TED conference takes place in Southern California, bringing together entrepreneurs, inventors, and thought leaders from every corner of the world.

There, gathered around a stage, a kind of hive mind begins to unfold in which the most cutting edge ideas in healthcare, energy, social development, and behavioral psychology are shared from a very plugged-in, big-screen podium. It’s extremely well done.

And despite the reflexive criticism from outside the conference — that the gathering is inward-looking and elitist — TED usually does manage to disturb the zeitgeist, a little, with its unveilings in technology and innovation. It is plainly good that next-step advances in solar technology, data collection, and developing world health initiatives are explained and broadcasted from TED. Especially given that policy makers, or those who have the ear of policy makers, are also often in attendance.

A better charge to level against the TED conference, however, is that it’s routinely, if not unfailingly, optimistic.

 

by charleshughsmith

The Future of Work

by Charles Hugh Smith, contributing editor
Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Executive Summary

  • Many of today’s current job positions will vanish as the debt that has made them possible retraces
  • Future demand for work will come from non-financial sectors
  • Cost management will re-assert it’s importance on par with income growth
  • Non-market and hybrid work models will grow to employ many more people than they do now
  • Participation in social and capital networks (both physical and virtual) will become increasingly valuable

Part I

If you have not yet read Part I, available free to all readers, please click here to read it first.

Part II

The Vulnerability of Our Debt-Dependent Workforce

In Part I of The Future of Work, we examined the future trend of the US economy and found that ever-expanding debt has been the “engine” that has powered growth (as measured by GDP, gross domestic product) over the past 30 years. The productivity of debt has now fallen to zero, or perhaps even less than zero, which means that increasing debt no longer adds to GDP.

The structural weakness of this model is reflected by the diminishing number of jobs, and the declining ratio of payroll and employment to population and per capita measures of the economy.

Simply put, an economy that has become increasingly dependent on debt for its growth no longer creates jobs. Rather, the cost of servicing all that debt acts as unproductive friction.

The Future of Work
PREVIEW by charleshughsmith

The Future of Work

by Charles Hugh Smith, contributing editor
Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Executive Summary

  • Many of today’s current job positions will vanish as the debt that has made them possible retraces
  • Future demand for work will come from non-financial sectors
  • Cost management will re-assert it’s importance on par with income growth
  • Non-market and hybrid work models will grow to employ many more people than they do now
  • Participation in social and capital networks (both physical and virtual) will become increasingly valuable

Part I

If you have not yet read Part I, available free to all readers, please click here to read it first.

Part II

The Vulnerability of Our Debt-Dependent Workforce

In Part I of The Future of Work, we examined the future trend of the US economy and found that ever-expanding debt has been the “engine” that has powered growth (as measured by GDP, gross domestic product) over the past 30 years. The productivity of debt has now fallen to zero, or perhaps even less than zero, which means that increasing debt no longer adds to GDP.

The structural weakness of this model is reflected by the diminishing number of jobs, and the declining ratio of payroll and employment to population and per capita measures of the economy.

Simply put, an economy that has become increasingly dependent on debt for its growth no longer creates jobs. Rather, the cost of servicing all that debt acts as unproductive friction.

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