Worthy Causes

LONDON – Whew! The Dow shot up on Wednesday morning and fell in the afternoon. Not a good sign [ed. note: indeed, it wasn’t]. We have to be careful not to say anything controversial today. Otherwise, we won’t be able to keep up with the mail. (Catch up on our controversial essays about the Oregon situation here and here.)

 

 

controversyAvoid!

 

What other people think matters. People get upset – even homicidal – over ideas and myths, not reality. Catholic, Protestant, Shiite, Sunni, Democrat, Republican, land rights in the West… captured U.S. soldiers… racial slurs… the master race…

Manifest Destiny… terrorism… global warming – there is no idea so bogus it can’t be the cause of a government program or a massacre. Thoughts – like viruses – enter the brains of humans and take control of them.

Then, acting as though they know what they are doing, people try to “improve” the world around them. They tax, kill, argue, torture, demonstrate, seize public land, write letters to the editor, and call up Rush Limbaugh. Ditto to that!

The cause is always a worthy one, of course. And there are always people to blame… people standing in the way of a better world. They must be forced to wear seat belts and sign up for health insurance – for their own good.

The Johnny Rebs must be kept in the Union. Incomes should be more “equitable.” Trade should be fair. Hey, what about the Declaration of Independence? And don’t forget to free the Holy Land!

What you think is what you get… no matter how absurd. And then, reality imposes itself, and you get something else altogether, often the exact opposite of what you wanted.

Reality doesn’t care what you think. Thoughts hardly matter. Reality happens whether you want it or not. Nobody threatens his weatherman when the temperature falls; everyone knows it’s not his fault. The sun shines. We grow old and die. Three aces beat two pair.

 

realityAn extra-careful look at uncaring reality …

 

So, what are markets? Myth? Or reality? Answer: They are both. In the short run, they are myth spinners. If everyone believes the economy is healthy and prices will rise, they probably will rise… at least for a while. But in the long run, reality sets in. No matter how many people expect – and want – prices to continue to go up, at some point, they will go down.

No amount of wishful thinking can erase debt, create profits, or stop markets from going up and down. There is always some truth that overrides delusions, myths, and group-think.

 

Poverty, Misery, and Quasi-Slavery

Think back to the all the 20th century experiments with socialism and central planning; Russia, China, and Venezuela come to mind readily. Did they lead to the workers’ paradise that the proles were promised?

Did they create the rational, productive, and fair economies that people expected? Nope! They led to poverty, misery, and quasi-slavery for millions of people. Even the most fantastical myths have real consequences.

 

socialist paradiseAn uplifting image from the world’s last remaining Stalinist paradise.

Photo credit: gregandcathsadventures

 

Pity the poor virgin; she dismissed a myth as “superstition.” Then, they tossed her in the volcano anyway. Then when the grumbling volcano grew silent: “Look, it worked,” they said, giving each other high fives until the hot ash fell on their heads and the burning lava covered their feet.

One of the most surprising and disturbing myths today is the myth of “terrorism.”

This is not to say that there aren’t real flesh-and-blood terrorists. But they are hardly a serious threat to the U.S. or to its people. And “going after terrorists” doesn’t necessarily make you safer… as the invasion of Iraq proved in spades.

But the power of the myth is so strong that every Republican presidential candidate believes it will take him to the White House. The politicos ride the myth; then the myth rides them.

 

From Dream to Nightmare

Take Hitler’s myth that Germany had to build up its army to wipe out enemies on all sides and gain “living space.” At first, it seemed to make sense. Then the myth began a trend. And the trend took on a life of its own. Soon, there was no stopping the Nazis’ “security industry” – led by Hitler himself. His Thousand-Year Reich stormed over Europe for six years.

Then it met its own horrific apocalypse. The dream had brought its own nightmare. Germany was bombed, defeated, destroyed. The supposedly invincible Wehrmacht had provoked the Red Army; once roused, the Reds were unstoppable.

 

nurembergWhat the 1,000-year Reich looked like after six years (Nuremberg, Egidienplatz) …

Photo via National Archives and Records Administration

 

Reality was grim. Roughly 1 out of every 10 Germans – more than 7 million of them – died in the war. The invading Soviet soldiers raped thousands of German women… and countless others committed suicide to avoid this fate. And Germany’s Jewish population was almost totally wiped out.

Investing in a myth can bring the same perverse results. Investors piled into stocks after 2009 because they believed a potent myth: The Fed had “saved the day.” Bernanke was a hero. We were on the road to recovery.

 

SPX, weeklySPX, weekly – a mirror of monetary inflation and irrational beliefs – click to enlarge.

 

The more widespread the belief became (and let’s not forget that it was supported by the Fed’s EZ money), the more stocks rose… apparently confirming the truth of it.

But the higher the stock market went… and the more debt increased… the more the whole shebang wobbled and lurched. Now, investors may get what they least want: a deep and extended bear market.

 

Chart by: BigCharts

 

Chart and image captions by PT

 

The above article originally appeared as “The Hidden Reason Why Stocks Are Tumbling…” at the Diary of a Rogue Economist, written for Bonner & Partners. Bill Bonner founded Agora, Inc in 1978. It has since grown into one of the largest independent newsletter publishing companies in the world. He has also written three New York Times bestselling books, Financial Reckoning Day, Empire of Debt and Mobs, Messiahs and Markets.

 

 
 

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: 1DRkVzUmkGaz9xAP81us86zzxh5VMEhNke

   
 

Your comment:

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Most read in the last 20 days:

  • How to Stick It to Your Banker, the Federal Reserve, and the Whole Doggone Fiat Money System
      Bernanke Redux Somehow, former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke found time from his busy hedge fund advisory duties last week to tell his ex-employer how to do its job.  Namely, he recommended to his former cohorts at the Fed how much they should reduce the Fed’s balance sheet by.  In other words, he told them how to go about cleaning up his mess.   Praise the Lord! The Hero is back to tell us what to do! Why, oh why have you ever left, oh greatest central planner of all...
  • India: Why its Attempt to Go Digital Will Fail
      India Reverts to its Irrational, Tribal Normal (Part XIII) Over the three years in which Narendra Modi has been in power, his support base has continued to increase. Indian institutions — including the courts and the media — now toe his line. The President, otherwise a ceremonial rubber-stamp post, but the last obstacle keeping Modi from implementing a police state, comes up for re-election by a vote of the legislative houses in July 2017.  No one should be surprised if a Hindu...
  • Moving Closer to the Precipice
      Money Supply and Credit Growth Continue to Falter The decline in the growth rate of the broad US money supply measure TMS-2 that started last November continues, but the momentum of the decline has slowed last month (TMS = “true money supply”).  The data were recently updated to the end of April, as of which the year-on-year growth rate of TMS-2 is clocking in at 6.05%, a slight decrease from the 6.12% growth rate recorded at the end of March. It remains the slowest y/y growth since...
  • What is the Buffet Indicator Saying About Gold?
      Chugging along in Nosebleed Territory Last Friday, both the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq composite indexes closed at record highs in the US, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average only a whisker away from its peak set in March. What has often been called the “most hated bull market in history” thus far continues  to chug along in defiance of its detractors.   Can current stock market valuations tell us something about the future trend in gold prices? Yes, they actually...
  • The 21st Century Has Been a Big, Fat Flop
      Seeming Contradiction CACHI, ARGENTINA – Here at the Diary we have fun ridiculing the pretensions, absurdities, and hypocrisies of the ruling classes. But there is a serious side to it, too. Mockery makes us laugh. And laughing helps us wiggle free from the kudzu of fake news.   Is it real? Is it real? Is it real? Above you can see what the problem with reality is, or potentially is, in a 6-phase research undertaking that has landed its protagonist in a very disagreeable...
  • A Cloud Hangs Over the Oil Sector
      Endangered Recovery As we noted in a recent corporate debt update on occasion of the troubles Neiman-Marcus finds itself in (see “Cracks in Ponzi Finance Land”), problems are set to emerge among high-yield borrowers in the US retail sector this year. This happens just as similar problems among low-rated borrowers in the oil sector were mitigated by the rally in oil prices since early 2016. The recovery in the oil sector seems increasingly endangered though.   Too many oil...
  • Will Gold or Silver Pay the Higher Interest Rate?
      The Wrong Approach This question is no longer moot. As the world moves inexorably towards the use of metallic money, interest on gold and silver will return with it. This raises an important question. Which interest rate will be higher?   It’s instructive to explore a wrong, but popular, view. I call it the purchasing power paradigm. In this view, the value of money — its purchasing power —is 1/P (where P is the price level). Inflation is the rate of decline of...
  • Rising Oil Prices Don't Cause Inflation
      Correlation vs. Causation A very good visual correlation between the yearly percentage change in the consumer price index (CPI) and the yearly percentage change in the price of oil seems to provide support to the popular thinking that future changes in price inflation in the US are likely to be set by the yearly growth rate in the price of oil (see first chart below).   Gushing forth... a Union Oil Co. oil well sometime early in the 20th century   But is it valid to...
  • Warnings from Mount Vesuvius
      When Mount Vesuvius Blew   “Injustice, swift, erect, and unconfin’d, Sweeps the wide earth, and tramples o’er mankind” – Homer, The Iliad   Everything was just the way it was supposed to be in Pompeii on August 24, 79 A.D.  The gods had bestowed wealth and abundance upon the inhabitants of this Roman trading town.  Things were near perfect.   Frescoes in the so-called “Villa of the Mysteries” in Pompeii, presumed to depict scenes from a...
  • A Bumper Under that Silver Elevator – Precious Metals Supply and Demand
      The Problem with Mining If you can believe the screaming headline, one of the gurus behind one of the gold newsletters is going all-in to gold, buying a million dollars of mining shares. If (1) gold is set to explode to the upside, and (2) mining shares are geared to the gold price, then he stands to get seriously rich(er).   As this book attests to, some people have a very cynical view of mining...  We would say there is a time for everything. For instance, when gold went ...
  • Silver Elevator Keeps Going Down – Precious Metals Supply and Demand
      Frexit Threat Macronized The dollar moved strongly, and is now over 25mg gold and 1.9g silver. This was a holiday-shortened week, due to the Early May bank holiday in the UK. The lateral entrant wakes up, preparing to march on, avenge the disinherited and let loose with fresh rounds of heavy philosophizing... we can't wait! [PT]   The big news as we write this, Macron beat Le Pen in the French election. We suppose this means markets can continue to do what they wanted...
  • The Knives Come Out for Trump
      A Minor Derailment GUALFIN, ARGENTINA – Yesterday, stocks fell. And volatility shot up.   When too many people have too many knives out at once, accidental cubism may result   Reports Bloomberg:   The Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbled more than 370 points, Treasuries rallied the most since July and volatility spiked higher as the turmoil surrounding the Trump administration roiled financial markets around the globe. Major U.S. stock indexes...

Support Acting Man

Austrian Theory and Investment

Own physical gold and silver outside a bank

Archive

j9TJzzN

350x200

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]

 

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

 
Buy Silver Now!
 
Buy Gold Now!
 

Oilprice.com