Popular Myths and a Shrinking Work Force

It’s not just voters who buy into popular myths. Many investors do too. Few have wider appeal than the myth that central banks can create economic growth via the printing press.

What central bankers and their supporters seem to forget is that growth comes from living, breathing human beings.

It often sounds a lot more complicated than it really is. But genuine economic growth comes from two things: the number of workers in the labor force and the productivity of those workers.

 

1124-MI-blog

 

That’s a problem for the US. Because according to a recent report in The Economist, its potential labor force is set to grow at less than one-third the 0.9% rate we saw between 2003 and 2013.

Making things worse, many of America’s boomers – the first of whom qualified for Social Security in 2008 – are opting out of the labor force. Instead of looking for jobs, they are choosing to live on benefits.

This helps explain why the percentage of working-age adults looking for jobs in the US has fallen to below 63% from about 66% when the global financial crisis struck.

And it’s not just Americans who are getting older on average.

 

From The Economist:

 

“[T]he ratio of workers to retirees is now plunging in most developed countries and soon will in many emerging markets. Japan is already liquidating the foreign assets its people acquired during their high-saving years; China and South Korea are starting to do so and Germany will soon.”

 

Fewer workers in the labor force. More retirees to support for those with jobs. Foreign retirees cashing out of their US stocks and bonds. Janet Yellen et al. better hope investors are gullible enough to believe the magic of QE can continue to levitate financial assets forever.

Otherwise, stock and bond investors will start to reconsider the prices they’re willing to pay to own their pieces of paper.

 

workers per retireePast and projected workers per retiree of selected countries – via macrobusiness.com.au.

 

 

Chris Hunter is Editorial Director at Bonner & Partners

 

 

 

Emigrate While You Can... Learn More

 


 

 
 

Dear Readers!

You may have noticed that our so-called “semiannual” funding drive, which started sometime in the summer if memory serves, has seamlessly segued into the winter. In fact, the year is almost over! We assure you this is not merely evidence of our chutzpa; rather, it is indicative of the fact that ad income still needs to be supplemented in order to support upkeep of the site. Naturally, the traditional benefits that can be spontaneously triggered by donations to this site remain operative regardless of the season - ranging from a boost to general well-being/happiness (inter alia featuring improved sleep & appetite), children including you in their songs, up to the likely allotment of privileges in the afterlife, etc., etc., but the Christmas season is probably an especially propitious time to cross our palms with silver. A special thank you to all readers who have already chipped in, your generosity is greatly appreciated. Regardless of that, we are honored by everybody's readership and hope we have managed to add a little value to your life.

   

Bitcoin address: 12vB2LeWQNjWh59tyfWw23ySqJ9kTfJifA

   
 

4 Responses to “Can QE Prop Up Asset Prices Forever?”

  • Mirk:

    the article does not answer the question if “QE will prob up asset prices forever”. If it is the question if it can prob up the sad answer is “yes it can”. You just have to look into the 1980 to 2000 where IWF and central bank made one monetary stimuly after the other. This time it is much bigger and it will go up even more.

    If the answer is “can it add value or make the world better” the answer is no.

  • kopavi:

    You write: “It’s not just voters who buy into popular myths. Many investors do too. Few have wider appeal than the myth that central banks can create economic growth via the printing press.

    What central bankers and their supporters seem to forget is that growth comes from living, breathing human beings.”

    True enough but investors of late aren’t all that worried about economic growth as they are in price action of the various indexes. On Wednesday last, we had 7 bad numbers yet markets all closed up. Investors are only thinking of markets going up and as long as we have the Fed talking sweet with threats of QE4 (or Draghi joining the QE club) along with ZIRP forever, investors feel covered.

    I agree that growth comes from living, breathing human beings. Alas, with something around 70+% of all stock transactions performed by HFTing, with positions held for on average about 11 seconds, the direct actions of human beings on market action is minimal. The economy is tanking but we are seeing daily all time highs with the indexes. I don’t see that changing until bond rates going up. I don’t see the rates going up without a sea change in the Fed or the administration and congress. Don’t hold your breath for that to happen any time soon.

    The economy is not the stock market, but the folks pulling the strings don’t give a rat’s butt about the economy as long as market action is making them buck$.

    • jimmyjames:

      On Wednesday last, we had 7 bad numbers yet markets all closed up. Investors are only thinking of markets going up and as long as we have the Fed talking sweet with threats of QE4 (or Draghi joining the QE club) along with ZIRP forever, investors feel covered.

      ***********
      Have to agree kopavi .. this thing looks like it has the makings of a runaway bull market .. good luck trying to find the top ..
      I have a badly bitten ass from trying to short this zombie ..

    • RedQueenRace:

      “Alas, with something around 70+% of all stock transactions performed by HFTing, with positions held for on average about 11 seconds, the direct actions of human beings on market action is minimal.”

      Given that these positions are held for an average of 11 seconds and involve both a purchase and a sale I don’t see how one can believe it is the dominant driver of prices.

      Markets have behaved like this long before HFT came around.

Your comment:

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Most read in the last 20 days:

  • America Goes Full Imbecile
      Credit has a wicked way of magnifying a person’s defects.  Even the most cautious man, with unlimited credit, can make mistakes that in retrospect seem absurd.  But an average man, with unlimited credit, is preeminently disposed to going full imbecile.   Let us not forget about this important skill...  [PT]   Several weeks ago we came across a woeful tale of Mike Meru.  Somehow, this special fellow, while of apparent sound mine and worthy intent, racked up...
  • Retail Capitulation – Precious Metals Supply and Demand
      Small Crowds, Shrinking Premiums The prices of gold and silver rose five bucks and 37 cents respectively last week. Is this the blast off to da moon for the silver rocket of halcyon days, in other words 2010-2011?   Various gold bars. Coin and bar premiums have been shrinking steadily (as have coin sales of the US Mint by the way), a sign that retail investors have lost interest in gold. There are even more signs of this actually, and this loss of interest stands in stark...
  • Credit Spreads: Polly is Twitching Again - in Europe
      Junk Bond Spread Breakout The famous dead parrot is coming back to life... in an unexpected place. With its QE operations, which included inter alia corporate bonds, the ECB has managed to suppress credit spreads in Europe to truly ludicrous levels. From there, the effect propagated through arbitrage to other developed markets. And yes, this does “support the economy” - mainly by triggering an avalanche of capital malinvestment and creating the associated boom conditions, while...
  • Gold Divergences Emerge
      Bad Hair Day Produces Positive Divergences On Friday the ongoing trade dispute between the US and China was apparently escalated by a notch to the next level, at least verbally. The Trump administration announced a list of tariffs that are supposed to come into force in three week's time and China clicked back by announcing retaliatory action. In effect, the US government said: take that China, we will now really hurt our own consumers!  - and China's mandarins replied: just you wait, we...
  • Industrial Commodities vs. Gold - Precious Metals Supply and Demand
      Oil is Different Last week, we showed a graph of rising open interest in crude oil futures. From this, we inferred — incorrectly as it turns out — that the basis must be rising. Why else, we asked, would market makers carry more and more oil?   Crude oil acts differently from gold – and so do all other industrial commodities. What makes them different is that the supply of industrial commodities held in storage as a rule suffices to satisfy industrial demand only for a...
  • Chasing the Wind
      Futility with Purpose Plebeians generally ignore the tact of their economic central planners.  They care more that their meatloaf is hot and their suds are cold, than about any plans being hatched in the capital city.  Nonetheless, the central planners know an angry mob, with torches and pitchforks, are only a few empty bellies away.  Hence, they must always stay on point.   Watch for those pitchfork bearers – they can get real nasty and then heads often roll quite literally....
  • Lift-Off Not (Yet) - Precious Metals Supply and Demand
      Wrong-Way Event Last week we said something that turned out to be prescient:   This is not an environment for a Lift Off Event.   An unfortunate technical mishap interrupted the latest moon-flight of the gold rocket. Fear not true believers, a few positive tracks were left behind. [PT]   The price of gold didn’t move much Mon-Thu last week, though the price of silver did seem to be blasting off. Then on Friday, it reversed hard. We will provide a forensic...
  • Merger Mania and the Kings of Debt
      Another Early Warning Siren Goes Off Our friend Jonathan Tepper of research house Variant Perception (check out their blog to see some of their excellent work) recently pointed out to us that the volume of mergers and acquisitions has increased rather noticeably lately. Some color on this was provided in an article published by Reuters in late May, “Global M&A hits record $2 trillion in the year to date”, which inter alia contained the following chart illustrating the...
  • Cryptocurrency Technicals – Navigating the Bear Market
      A Purely Technical Market Long time readers may recall that we regard Bitcoin and other liquid big cap cryptocurrencies as secondary media of exchange from a monetary theory perspective for the time being. The wave of speculative demand that has propelled them to astonishing heights was triggered by market participants realizing that they have the potential to become money. The process of achieving more widespread adoption of these currencies as a means of payment and establishing...
  • The Fed's “Inflation Target” is Impoverishing American Workers
      Redefined Terms and Absurd Targets At one time, the Federal Reserve's sole mandate was to maintain stable prices and to “fight inflation.”  To the Fed, the financial press, and most everyone else “inflation” means rising prices instead of its original and true definition as an increase in the money supply.  Rising prices are a consequence – a very painful consequence – of money printing.   Fed Chair Jerome Powell apparently does not see the pernicious effects...
  • A Walk on the Wild Side
      A Walk on the Wild Side   “Never play cards with a man called Doc.  Never eat at a place called Mom’s.  Never sleep with a woman whose troubles are worse than your own.” – Nelson Algren, A Walk on the Wild Side   Fresh Fruit or Rotting Vegetables? A subtle gas seems to always be vented into the atmosphere at the sunset of an extended bull market.  As the light fades, an odor that’s indiscernible from that of fresh fruit or rotting vegetables wafts down...

Support Acting Man

Item Guides

j9TJzzN

The Review Insider

Dog Blow

Austrian Theory and Investment

Archive

350x200

THE GOLD CARTEL: Government Intervention on Gold, the Mega Bubble in Paper and What This Means for Your Future

Realtime Charts

 

Gold in USD:

[Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com]

 


 

Gold in EUR:

[Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com]

 


 

Silver in USD:

[Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com]

 


 

Platinum in USD:

[Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com]

 


 

USD - Index:

[Most Recent USD from www.kitco.com]

 

Mish Talk

 
Buy Silver Now!
 
Buy Gold Now!
 

Oilprice.com