Levitation

The world economy is grinding down. The protracted trade war started by President Trump is sapping economic vitality. A recent demonstration of inter-bank mistrust forced federal intervention. American employment and consumer spending are slipping. The economy of Germany, the stronghold of Europe, is sputtering. Growth in China is slowing. Climate change is taking an increasing toll as a harbinger of self-extinction. Yet stock markets, especially America’s, generally remain buoyant. How?

Flight from Decency

In 2017 Boeing opened a museum for its employees dedicated to aviation safety. The artifacts intend to show how tragic accidents in the company’s history advanced airplane safety. Instead, they illustrate a pattern of cover-up.

Sleepwalking

Humanity is sleepwalking to its own demise. Worldwide, there is no decent political leadership; instead, daily doses of petty politics and slimy sloganeering as usual. On the economic front, English economist Mervyn King reminds that the sleepwalking is likely to catch up with us soon.

Tight Housing

Oligopoly is the natural state of a mature capitalist market. That state was attained by American home builders after the Great Recession of 2008, in the wake of the crunch caused by a housing financial free-for-all that went into free-fall.

Authoritarian Inequity

Capitalism is a system for unbridled evil: responsible for the rape of Earth and the financial enslavement of most of the members of societies which embrace the economic regime, which is practically the entire world. The gross inequity which is the invariable result of a mature capitalist state inspires the simpletons in the underclass to wish for a strongman in whom they can vest hope of some salvation.

Lemons

Financial instruments are like used cars in that the incentive to pass off inferior products is strong. Buyer lack of information represents a market failure with fraught consequence. The last financial collapse, and the one coming, are fruit from the same lemon tree.

Nothing Doing

The devastation of climate change is becoming more pronounced. This progression will accelerate during the 2020’s, with deaths from extreme weather, as well as water and food shortages, rising precipitously. Yet the trend of governments worldwide largely paying lip service to the growing crisis will also continue. Here’s why.

The Doom of Dumb Animals

The operational definition of intelligence is a consistent display of appropriate behavior. Behind the behavior is a mental construal of how the world works. Failing to comprehend the environment invariably has negative consequences. In the instance of humans on planet Earth, the diagnosis is clear and the outcome apparent. These creatures face impending extinction and are taking much other life out with them.

Free Enterprise

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) advocates “limited government and free markets.” They campaign against clean air and clean water, and favor legislation that allows routine animal cruelty.

Bankrupt

U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and the board of governors did not have a clue that the global financial crisis that started toward the end of 2007 was upon them. The reason is simple: their econometric model completely ignored banks as a profit-making enterprise.

Financial Fiction

$800 trillion of financial contracts worldwide are based upon a fiddled fiction: LIBOR (the London Interbank Offered Rate). For decades, rates were set by colluding bankers under the auspices of the British Banker’s Association, essentially without supervision. All scams are revealed in time, and LIBOR proved no exception.

Credit Due

Capitalism creates exploitation opportunities at every turn. Capitalism has excelled at grinding the great mass of humanity into indentured servitude better than feudalists could have dreamed, all the while placating by dangling the false hope that “you too can strike it rich.” On top of that, in less than 200 years since the onset of the Industrial Revolution, capitalists polluted the world at a pace to create a major mass extinction event, with zero prospect of reversal. That’s progress.

Certainty

Never mind the worldwide ecological disaster unleashed by economic exploitation. The human condition itself is unsustainable. Unrealistic optimism invariably gives way to paying the piper who holds the purse strings. The world is about to get a disgustingly good look at the genitals of a bloated European emperor who wears no clothes, and has no purse from which to pay.

The Illusion of Prosperity

The Wall Street Journal reveals its ignorance of history in remarking that “global troubles have revealed how closely nations and financial markets have become intertwined.” Sovereigns have long relied upon bankers to finance debts. Bankers expect favors in return. Plutocracy is a hallowed tradition, ultimately based upon fostering an illusion of prosperity.

Capital Flows Against Society

Profligate democracies in Western Europe continue to descend into economic turmoil over their sovereign debt loads. The United States, with its own stunning debt, may stumble into the same gulch. The root problem is plutocracy. Capital flows against society at large.