by John Ward
Everyone from every focus that follows The Slog – 1950s-born women, the politically aware, financial market investors, economists, media villagers, Brexiteers, cultural philosophers and satire lovers – should give the content that follows some thought. You may agree with very little or only some of it; and you may think it alarmist and probably heretically maverick. But to ignore it is to stand a good chance of losing everything. The general outcome is hard to doubt: a steady recruitment by Alt States everywhere (led by the United States) means that central bankers, ISPs, large media combines, debt holders, bourse deregulators, diplomats, civil police forces, energy marketeers, politicians and vast percentages of the upper bureaucratic pyramid are batting for Them, not You.
This weekend I bought the Financial Times for the first time in ages. It cost €4.70, and two days on I’m still wondering why I did. Nostalgia, probably.
Apart from one item, nothing in there – about the culture generally or finance in particular – held any kind of relevant surprise. Nobody questioned any form of received wisdom, and no column demonstrated anything beyond puerile analysis. A piece on Grenfell Tower offered a stream of resident horror stories, but nothing about the fraud arrests. The Oped told us that Macron is neither Thatcher nor Blair, but didn’t interrogate any of the clues about the real purpose of his policies. In Life & Arts, Jo Ellison said the big new trend is being community-social, but she prefers being at home. And in the main section, the Pink ‘un reported how investors had “welcomed” the Argentina/IMF $50billion “deal”, without suggesting what form of mental derangement might be gripping investor brains.
But while there was nothing to be deduced from the content about the disaster that lies ahead, there were plenty of signals conflicting with the general “steady as she goes” editorial tone. The Argentinian mess is a good starting point: it is but eighteen months since Buenos Aires issued high-yield 100 year bonds and found the offer massively oversubscribed. Everyone who bought them stands to lose the lot. This suggests yield-chasing for the sake of it by kids who don’t believe Götterdammerung ever happens. But the same profession welcomes the deal that spells disaster. A staggering $4trillion around the world is now “invested” in such high-yield desperation. And with the US Fed raising rates, the debtors issuing them sink deeper into the doodoo.
The sole FT item that did both surprise and interest me was that a proper grown-up behavioural research study has been conducted over time among Bitcoin owners. It shows that just 1,600 wiseguys own a third of the total market value. So the great “bypass the central banks” philanthropic metal is, as always, hogged by the few.
This is what they did last year: the price rose 1,000% to $20,000 by November, and then plummetted to its current level around $7,500 now. The change in the structure of ownership shows that directionalising money upped the ante and then took profit. The research company described it as “an exceptional transfer of wealth”. Don’t expect to see it trickling down any time soon.
The people who own the Big Media now reflect the interests of market-milkers going all out to squeeze every last drop out of the udder before the cow dies. In truth, the cow has been on artificial life-support for some time, but you won’t find any “old media” channel pointing that out. In 1998, media ownership in the First World was in the hands of 170 moguls. Today, that number has shrunk to just six. None of the Six Shills is in the business of reminding you of the following facts:
- The amount invested in financial “assets” today globally is $230 trillion. That is three times the gross domestic product of Planet Earth. Think about that: how can the gdp it’s supposed to reflect ever live up to the longterm expectations of somebody (or a big institution) saving for that person’s old age?
- Some of the people investing in that Tardis in Reverse are earning quite well in a senior professional role. Most of them have, in real terms, 30% less disposable income than their peers enjoyed in 1990. How can folks earning less and less be expected to consume more and more?
- The answer is debt. But maxing out debt is the biggest can-hoof in history. And it is the biggest single factor that will, either directly or indirectly, trigger Crash2. The potential triggers get closer to the hair and greater in number every year.
- All the major Italian banks now attract the term “Zombie” in the markets. That is to say, their non-performing debts (aka write-offs) would sink the euro like a giant, rocket-propelled iceberg. Draghi will, of course, find a way to print them out of trouble. That will lead to hyper-inflation, destroy the EU’s monetarist strategy, and render the eurozone completely uncompetitive.
- The Trump decision to call a trade-war can only exacerbate that euro-problem. The same goes for South America, facing a tariff issue on top of Fed rate rises. (The next one, by the way, is imminent)
- What we’re about to see is a world returning to protectionism and higher rates as form of self-defence against both imports and National Debt. It will bring about the inevitable “normalisation” of interest rates, but the response to it will be anything but normal. Without very low credit costs, the globalist mercantile economy will slump, and almost every South American nation go broke. The USA itself has a debt so mountainous, at just 7% interest rates it will be spending three tax dollars in five on debt management. Not repayment – just management.
These stark realities are what makes me ask you – regardless of status, age or interest – to grasp how Nation States will respond to the corporate, sovereign and personal ruination the Crash will cause. We shall see, without doubt, many or all of the following:
- The end of all pensions (including private) and the bailing-in of all savings held in a financial institution. Welfare will cease, along with public health provision and aged care
- The use of both privatised and politicised police to stifle any and all demonstrations, riots or marches
- Total control of ALL offline and online media comment, and the creation of internment camps for rebels as the prisons overflow with criminal elements and householders unable to pay rents, taxes or mortgage
- Incalculable strife across Europe involving (variously) riot police, Hard Right/Left street fighters and religious violence
- Hugely raised geopolitical tensions with unknown consequences
- Massive migration towards relatively safe havens
- Pandemic as the result of drastically cut public health and medical research budgets
- The wholesale suspension of elections, civil rights and free speech.
The Krakatoa of released pressure will lead, eventually, to a world in which everything is completely unrecognisable from what we know today.
This outcome has been brewing since 2003. I would be surprised if it happens before 2020, or after 2023. But after 15-20 years of trying to cap the volcano, the impact is going to be at least 20 times worse than it would’ve been if Greenspan and his cronies had faced the music at the turn of the Century.
The message for everyone whoever you are is this: if you seek redress, compensation or any other kind of help and support from Government, press very hard for it right now. The window will be closed, at the latest, within half a decade.
I bloody hate Mondays, don’t you?