Ricks Picks

How Will It All End?


How do you see the economic endgame playing out for the U.S. and the world? That’s this week’s discussion topic, and although some in this forum will undoubtedly lean toward the Armageddon scenario, we should always leave room to imagine a far sunnier outcome, such as a Second Great Depression deeper than the Mindanao Trench.  I want you to have fun with this one, so set your minds free before you put pen to paper.  My own outlook falls somewhere in-between, tempered by the perhaps misplaced hope that the inevitable collapse of the financial system will not bring in its wake famine, disease, earthquakes, floods, endless global wars and the die-off of three billion human beings. All of these events have been prophesied in the Bible and by Nostradamus, but whether you choose to believe them or not is a personal matter.

A Puny Bank Will Fail

Whatever happens, there is no avoiding a ruinous day of reckoning for the shaky, quadrillion dollar derivatives edifice built by the feather merchants. The super leveraged financial instruments they’ve conjured into existence are manifestly without value even now, and the world will find itself quite broke the instant these digital “assets” get marked to market.  How might this happen?  My guess is that some outwardly niggling problem will surface in the banking system one day, triggering a global panic and an extended bank holiday. The catalyst is unknowable, although we were reminded only recently that it could be as seemingly innocuous as the failure of a puny Portuguese bank to make good on its obligations.  Another possibility is that the stock market will go into steep, prolonged dive for reasons that will not be clear till months or even years later. (Did the Smoot-Hawley Tariff cause the 1929 Crash?  The jury is still out.)

Were the banks to close for more than a few days, it would deflate the financial system in mere hours, pushing the global economy instantly into a state of barter. For better or worse, there would be no way to inject bazillions of new dollars into the economy to “save” it.  For one, branch banks don’t keep enough cash on hand to bail out more than a few depositors demanding the return of their savings in the form of tens, twenties and hundreds. And for two, the mere hint of such a disruption would destroy the credit-card system, since it functions entirely on misplaced trust to begin with.

A Second Great Depression

When these crippling events come to pass, tipping the U.S. economy into a state of chaos, I doubt that the ensuing Depression will be as mild, relatively speaking,  as the one in the 1930s .  Here are just a few of the reasons why: 1) Americans were not soft and doughy back then, nor were they obsessed with an Orwellian newsfeed that titillated and maliciously divided them over such made-up issues as “homophobia,” “racism” and “sexism”; 2)  30% of the working population was connected to agriculture, literally living off the land; 3) the dollar was as good as gold; 4) the food-and-products distribution system was far more robust than today’s fragile, just-in-time infrastructure; 5) a disastrously inept, narcissistic ideologue did not occupy the most powerful political office in the world; 6) jihadi psychopaths did not yet possess the means to poison the world with biological and/or radiological weapons; 7) mortgages and credit cards did not exist, and households had little or no debt; 8a) good medical care was affordable; 9) Americans were not hooked on government handouts; 10) jobs were far less specialized, and people knew how to fix things when they broke; and, 11) schools taught useful skills.

Dear readers, what is your vision, dark or otherwise, when a rampaging stock market is no longer there to distract, comfort and mislead us?  Remember, I want you to have fun with this topic and to let your imaginations run free.

Comments on this entry are closed.

paul July 30, 2014, 10:19 pm

Im late to this thread but I welcome any non-believers to answer the questions from this article:

I submit much is unknown to man and would welcome straight forward answers.

ty paul

L fry July 27, 2014, 4:26 am

Hi Folks, Great article Rick. Years ago , I posted a comment on Seeking Alpha That more or less said, ” see Japan, this is our future “. This is indeed happening ie the baltic dry index collapsing to historical lows. Folks aren’t buying ” stuff ” anymore. What did George Bush say end of his term ? ” This sucker’s going down. So many here where I live now in multi-generation households, up to 3. If the Fed didn’t drop rates to zip, it would’ve tanked already. I was banned from seeking Alpha, I guess observing + stating what’s obviously going down is NOT wanted now. Folks are carefully watching their spending, no more shopping carts stacked with food. times are tuff, +I feel” we haven’t seen the worst yet”. 10:4

Redwilldanaher July 26, 2014, 9:27 pm

NY Slimes even gets in on the spanking of El Garo:


Tune in next time to see if El Garo goes full on ignore or writes several hundred words all of which avoid answering the charge.

Let’s hear more of the wonders of the Fed and how our handlers are only doing what’s best for us…

gary leibowitz July 27, 2014, 4:52 am

Red how obtuse you are. I have always posted about the inequality. ALWAYS. I just saw it coming from the 1980’s on. Please don’t give me nonsense about the decline from 2001. credit expansion was huge from 1982 on. Crashes have a habit of amplifying the problems. What a shock! The last 5 years was not faked, not meant to accelerate this process, not a scheme to destroy our way of life. It was the ONLY course left. Please show me ONE country that did differently since that time. Just ONE. Perhaps it’s not a conspiracy after all? You love to whine and place blame. Label someone or something as evil. Take the easy way out. Feel good about yourself. But in truth we all were responsible for this mess. All politicians in the same environment reacted the exact same way throughout history and throughout the world. This is not something new. The new part is the ingenious way we managed to allow economic expansion go way beyond normal cycles with the advent of easy credit. Why not blame the governments endorsement of revolving credit back in the 80’s? Please verify my statement and get back to me.

If you are a betting man then the odds for all governments throughout history to react the exact same way, with evil intent, must be a million to one. Me, I’ll stick to common sense that there was no evil intent. Have you found another system that frees us from this trap? Another system that does away with corruption? No, the easy answer is to become a survivalist, live off the land, and fend for yourself. How absolutely silly and naïve. You people have watched to many fantasy movies.

In all my specific questions I never get any real answers or even a starting point for one. Just those one liners. you are famous for those. Deal in logic and the true meaning of debate. I don’t need to be converted to your religion based on faith. I am a scientist, not a theologian.

Imagine evil intent to destroy the people they represent while they spend money on everyone? Why if I had evil intent I certainly wouldn’t spend trillions on social programs. So which is it, evil intent to screw the wealthy or the poor? Too high taxes, and too many giveaways. Why you would have to be mentally insane to carry out a program like that. Isn’t the logical reason why they did these things is to receive perks from the elite and elections from the masses. A no-brainer. A win-win situation. think about it and get back to me.

Anthony July 26, 2014, 3:43 pm
Jackson July 26, 2014, 3:19 am

Hi Rick. When you get a chance will you please email me and let me know why my post was deleted? I said nothing offensive IMO. Thanks.


A single post recalling the hula thingie was intended to wheedle me. But when you went on for two more posts, egregiously misrepresenting my ideas and showing your lurker-steeped ignorance of my daily trade recommendations and forecasts, that was too much. What we do NOT need around here is another Gary. RA

Jackson July 26, 2014, 7:57 pm

Fair enough. I’ll stop back in 2020.

gary leibowitz July 27, 2014, 4:19 am

I am tolerated because I can see the same end game. My calm and complacent analytical view is too bizarre for most here. They assumed the market must be fixed since creditors haven’t left the playing field yet. They have little tolerance for me.

I do hope your view wins out. When I look at history along with the massive 30 year buildup of credit it seems inevitable that we hit another depression. Nothing has been resolved over the last 5 years. Instead we have replaced additional corporate and individual debt burden onto the federal government.

Jackson July 25, 2014, 12:42 am

Oh well. Maybe you should make another one then. How about you put an expiration date on the collapse that is coming? Surely, if it doesn’t happen by a certain date then any thinking person would rethink their economic theory. How about 2020? Or if you are really brave 2018? That’s being very liberal considering how you preach “its right at the door”.


My economic theories have been spot-on, Jackson. Check the periodicials guide and you’ll see that I was the only person in the entire English-speaking world who was writing about the threat of deflation in big-circulation newspapers in 1995. Sticking to my guns since then has served me well.

If you are unpersuaded that the global economy is a house of cards, you’ll pay a steep price for being unprepared. RA

VILER VLAD July 25, 2014, 4:43 am

‘ I was the only person in the entire English-speaking world who was writing about the threat of deflation in big-circulation newspapers in 1995.’

for there were a few others, you were not the only one.
a few. yet there were a few others.
usual suspects. prechter, russell, davidson, a few others. few. but you were not alone.


I was in fact alone on the deflationist lunatic fringe back then — a matter of record if you check the periodicals guide. Forbes columnist Ashby Bladen used the word once or twice in passing, and an agricultural forecaster named Bill Helming wrote a think-piece about the possibility of deflation in the farm belt, but that was about it. It was only after the collapse of the Thai baht in 1997 that one or two others started to pick up on the concept, opening the floodgates, as it were. Keep in mind that I was not writing back then that a deflationary bust was merely a threat, but that it was inevitable.

My understanding of deflation came from C.V. Myers, whose book, The Coming Deflation, had a 1976 copyright. I interviewed Myers for Barron’s in the early 1990s but had taken a keen interest in his work long before then.

Bob Prechter later came to write on the subject and quickly became — and still is — the indisputable master of it. No one has done more to increase our understanding of deflation than he, although Myers said it most simply when he wrote that “Ultimately every penny of every debt would have to be repaid, if not by the borrower, then by the lender. RA

mario July 25, 2014, 12:43 pm

I’ll argue that all theoretical observations on deflation, inflation and money are relative macro nonsense. Why?

Ok, I do agree with views that world GDP is continuing to expand; expected to hit $200T by 2040-50 from today’s $70T. And Gary says that millenials have more cash and will have $9 trillion by then. And author Mario (that’s me) wrote a book that says Chinese have $6-$10 T in cash off the books in a separate economy outside of GDP. Rick argues that a deflationary meltdown is in the cards.

I say, its all silly musings because its all relative to price. Who gives a sh*t if world GDP is $70 T or $200T without also discussing what a currency buys at that time in a given country? Millenials may have $9 T down the line but what will their salaries be, how much will a quart of OJ and a gallon of gas cost? What will it cost to buy or rent a house and pay for monthly internet or cable? What will corporate earnings be and a barrel of oil and a cubic meter of natural gas cost? And whether borrowers or lenders repay their debt or default on it, what will interest rates be and what will a currency buy at that time? The pieces to the puzzle are all relative and can only be looked at in context, almost impossible to do.

And for heaven’s sake, let’s not forget extra virgin olive oil. I don’t care what it costs, its a must in my kitchen. 🙂 Enjoy the weekend all…

Cheers, Mario


Why does a world that produces no more than $70 trillion in goods and services need a quadrillion dollar derivatives market?

gary leibowitz July 25, 2014, 9:55 pm

Deflation is definitely going to hit big in the next few years. The Asian markets will not be able to prop up the world economies for much longer. Once they experience a true recession, watch out! China can’t prevent one no matter how tight they control their monetary policy. They too have extended their spending to a point where there will be a contraction. Just a matter of time. The EU and USA are fighting deflation with credit expansion. It is obvious that very low rates haven’t boosted the economy much, but rather held it in place. There will be GDP swings from negative to positive 3 percent but that too will fizzle once Wall Street has squeezed all the profits it can.

The most likely outcome will be a deflationary crash. In the end though government’s ability to re-inflate will once again win out. There is always a point where bargains become obvious. The housing market for example has produced some nice bargains these last 5 years on a relative basis. the problem I see is that the next round of deflationary forces will drive those price points below the previous lows. From there it will be slow but eventually bargains will be seen again.

A simplified view. Deflation has always been quick but short lived. The steepness of the drop is more important than the time frame involved.

mario Cavolo July 26, 2014, 1:39 am

Hi Rick,

Would we call derivatives really nothing more than “bets”? Of course that must be an oversimplification. I mean, a derivative is an option. I don’t buy the asset, I just pay a single sum binary bet that it will be higher or lower later and hope I’m right. Hell, we could setup OTB lounges to bet on the future price of lots of assets.

In the end, all bets are two party transactions, yes? Then its net neutral on the books? The winner keeps the money. And of course the house always gets it spread fee.

So now , rather than owning the assets themselves, we have trillions in increasingly bets and hedges, a separate market unto itself. How does this threaten the stability of the underlying markets themselves?

Cheers, Mario


They’re not mere ‘bets’, Mario. Where do you think those eight-figure bonuses on Wall Street come from?

mario Cavolo July 26, 2014, 1:53 am

Right, there are winners and losers in asset classes. Deflation = bargain hunting time. U.S. real estate debacle is a great example. Here overseas, the rest of the world has been salivating at fabulously cheap US real estate, amazing to buy a Florida condo for $50k easily rented for $1200/month. And bingo, the bargain hunters started coming in, lead this time by the Chinese. And bingo, the housing market has stabilized. Its just market supply and demand forces relative to price, the market moves from an extreme high to an extreme low, those who bought high got hurt as usual, bargain hunters appeared and have moves the market back up a bit and stabilized it. Keeping in mind that todays world is capable of global,transactions, not just domestic, that adds overall stability in my view because any market isn’t relying only on its own domestic market.

Cheers, Mario

EVER EVIL VLAD July 26, 2014, 4:10 am

ackerman, you finally wrote me something cogent, so I will answer, likewise.

thanks for 90’s financial ussa minuteau history lesson, so, I’ll tell you what I know.
in 90’s, you were not alone. davidson was also deflationary. just read his books.
and as to prechter, all I know, that of 2002, he wrote ‘on the crest of the tidal wave.’
and also, that he measured true ‘market worth’ by gold, and not fiats; and as such,
he has been chart tracking true market asset prices, from it’s true crest, in year 2000.
ergo–according to prechter, the ussa market, has already been in a MAJOR bear,
since year 2000.
based on gold price. vs. ussa stockmarket price.
and yet,
he says, repeatedly says, through infinite multi-decade, centurial charts,
that— as sinatra sang— ‘the best is yet to come…’
and I mean this, mega-negatively.
because 2008, was just a rehearsal.
for the —real— event.

so what’s happening now, is just a sucker’s game. and the end all be all, of all games.
so, after that, there’s- death, slavery, or to bigtime deep kiss, 1%er arse. no other choice.

you like this 70’s dude myers. personally, I prefer 40’s hayek dude, ‘road to serfdom.’
because I think that, is the real future. for mostly all.

and here is what wiki has to say about hayek, in 40’s—
“..warned of the danger of tyranny that inevitably results from government control of economic decision-making through central planning.”
He further argues that the abandonment of individualism and classical liberalism inevitably leads to a loss of freedom, the creation of an oppressive society, the tyranny of a dictator, and the serfdom of the individual.”

nothing else to say.


It was Jim Davidson who encouraged me to return to my roots in journalism, in a series of letters we exchanged following the early-1990s publication of The Great Reckoning, which he co-wrote with Lord Rees-Mogg. I was in a professional funk at the time, working as a headhunter after having left the PSE floor in the wake of a three-year trading slump. I had written Jim initially concerning my own theories about deflation, since TGR had addressed the hyperinflation v. deflation conundrum in greater detail than any book before it. I thought TGR had made an airtight case for a deflationary bust. Surprisingly, though, when I spoke with Jim at length about this, he said he was persuaded by his own logic to believe that hyperinflation was more likely than deflation. Whatever his doubts, his book helped clarify my own thoughts, and I subsequently seized on deflation as “my” topic in the years that followed, writing about it for the San Francisco Examiner and Barron’s, among other publications. I can assure you that I was quite alone at the time in sounding the alarm about the coming deflation in newspapers and magazines, if not in a book.

Concerning Hayek, economists associated with the Austrian School always had difficulty envisioning a deflationary climax to the massive credit blowout that began in 1992 with the S&L bailout. I had the good fortune to correspond with the foremost Austrian of the day, Kurt Richebächer, whom I interviewed for the Sunday San Francisco Examiner. Although “doomsday” came through loud and clear in that interview, it was a hyperinflationary doomsday that he imagined. This was logical and natural for an Austrian, since it followed from the idea that great credit inflations produce inflation, not deflation. The fact that things were not playing out that way obviously vexed Richebächer, who, even when he was recalling Hyman Minsky, could not choke out the word “deflation”. The paradox remained unresolved for him at the time of his death in 2007. The January 2007 issue of The Richebacher Letter (#403) bore the headline “Inflate or Die”. And yet, nowhere in the 12 pages that followed did the word “deflation” appear.

The hyperinflation versus deflation debate continues to this day, although the inflationists’ case has been weakened considerably by Europe’s inexorable slide into outright deflation. For my part, I remain steadfast in my belief that a deflationary collapse is far more likely than hyperinflation. To believe otherwise is to infer that all who owe will someday skip free at the expense of the bankers who hold their loans. Meanwhile, to understand why hyperinflation via fiat-money-printing is not possible, you should read Adam Fergusson’s account of the Weimar hyperinflation in his classic work, When Money Dies.

I am willing to concede that hyperinflation could occur in an instant with the global epiphany that the dollar is in fact worthless. If this happens, however, it will only be after deflation has ground debtors into dust, as is slowly occurring. To me, at least, that process seems likely to culminate in a thunderclap with the ultimate deflationary (and not exactly farfetched) event: the failure of banks to open on a given Monday. There will be no inflating our way out of that hole, since “plastic” money will have ceased to function. RA

gary leibowitz July 26, 2014, 3:52 pm

Oversimplifying the affects of deflation caused by a credit crunch. The top tier will lose disproportionally from everyone else. Real Estate, Stock Market, Cars, Boats, Toys, will see their value shrink. Ability to receive credit will be gone for everyone except those that have the assets to offset that loan.

So where were the buyers in the global depression of the 30’s? How many people took advantage of the discount? What do you suppose happens when masses of people can’t pay for their loans? I can assure you that no rule or regulation change will wipe out that obligation. Not going to be a free pass.

Lets just look back 5 years. If home prices were such a bargain why were Americans not purchasing? You mention overseas. Now imagine this depression being world wide. If you don’t have people insulated from this problem they all fall into the same black hole. It will affect everyone. All peoples intrinsic asset values will diminish at the same time.

No, deflation is the absolutely worse scenario for everyone. With the world now built on credit it will not be easy for governments to re-inflate. Even governments credit will be questioned if they refuse to trim their debt. Creditors, like bond holders, will not accept the terms. This time around it will take a very long time to absorb the massive defaults and build confidence. The most likely outcome of the next debacle would be consumer contraction, halting discretionary spending, reducing credit exposure. Fear will quickly result in a bunker mentality. It will accelerate the deflation process.

The next crisis will be very different from the recent one. World governments would have already doubled their ante with massive floated money. They will have absolutely no ammo left. No rate reduction, no ability to stimulate by issuing more debt, no confidence to purchase these notes. Societal change from a credit economy to one of cash. It will be very painful.

Jackson July 24, 2014, 3:49 am

Rick, by the way, did you ever dance the hula in the middle of Times Square?


I wish. I had emergency surgery that week instead. I’d already hired two lovely hula girls and a ukelele player for the occasion. Not that I’ve given up entirely on GS shares going below $40 eventually. Let’s wait and see.

Farmer July 23, 2014, 9:13 pm

I just came across a fascinating brief talk about the end of credit expansion that was published yesterday. The speaker is Richard Duncan and he covers the critical points with clarity in just three minutes. Well worth watching in my opinion.

Richard Duncan – The Threat of a New Depression

redwilldanaher July 24, 2014, 12:49 am

Great video. Will be completely lost on the obtuse wonder…

gary leibowitz July 24, 2014, 5:27 pm

Hey look, I agree with both Farmer and Red. Credit expansion has started in the early 80’s and we are still living off the plastic. The fabulous economic expansion was all due to the replacement of cash with credit. Looking at the data it is clear we are heading for a train wreck. The only question is how high can this go. The student loan mess is now starting to be addressed with congress. They will likely change the rules to extend the terms and reduce the payments.

I wish there was some formula to determine the critical level. I still maintain that we have a couple of years to go before we see another economic collapse. The huge shift of money all through the 1920’s would have had people guessing the end was near way before the final drop. I know the game will be over relatively soon, but still insist we have higher peaks to conquer still. As for getting real GDP at a sustained 3 plus level, I would have to concede that task might be too great. In fact its quite possible the stock market has risen so high exactly because of the drag of debt on economic expansion. Expansion means over heating and inflation which has always killed the stock market advances. Corporations have hit an optimal level of profit growth in this environment. After 5 years that can’t be denied. That in itself has lifted complacency to a new level. Only when corporate profits turn a dramatic corner will we run for cover. Enjoy the show while it lasts, and when it is all over double down on those puts.

gary leibowitz July 22, 2014, 9:28 pm

Every article I read states the Millennials are as financially conservative as the generation born during the Great Depression. They also state that in 2013 they spent 1 trillion and is expected to increase spending exponentially in the years ahead. They don’t own homes and a good percentage live with their families. College debt is the biggest problem they face.

If you know of any article that contradicts this please post it. I continue to hear denials on any possible reason why we are not already in a great depression and why we might avoid one in the future. I only bring up the stats and extrapolate the possible future outcomes.
They will have a major force in the next 20 years economically speaking. Will they never receive raises and move up in the work ladder? Is this something that shouldn’t be expected?

Is it always just a black outcome? No shades of grey?

mario July 23, 2014, 12:18 pm

Hey Gary, its not necessarily a good or bad thing, but your post touched on a societal trend that very much has to happen in America, that of families having to move back in with each other just to be able to be financially stable. I’ve noted this trend here over many years. “Si Dai Tong Tang” is a hallmark of Chinese culture, meaning “four generations of family all living under the same roof.” That’s a troublesome idea in the U.S. since the marriage/family value system has been decimated, so for a lot of families, that is going to work out too well, then individuals will be finding themselves more and more having room mates to keep costs down. Its all a natural and inevitable response to the underlying problem in the society for that lower/middle class group; their situations sucks worse than ever.

Cheers, Mario

gary leibowitz July 23, 2014, 5:12 pm

I guess no one looks at the CEO global survey. In the USA they are the most optimistic in 5 years. 62 percent plan on increasing hiring this year. 78 percent believe that 2016 or 2017 will be the greatest profit period in their history. That fits in with my proposition that the top of this bull run would hit that landmark. A decent leg down is needed to accomplish that target.

I still hear the same argument made 5 years ago. The only constant in all this is the way the world governments have prevented a global catastrophe. The additional government debt is truly historic. it has provided both corporations and individuals the means to rebalance their books. The cost however will most likely be insurmountable. Time is the great arbitrator in all this. Will it be enough to slowly reduce our dependence on government subsidies? So far politicians have not taken the lead and I suspect it might already be too late.

As for your notion of family I will argue that the complete opposite is true. We have had the highest divorce rate, most dysfunctional family structure over the past 20 years. The idea that having a multi-generational family structure is bad goes counter to history. The norm used to be a tight binding relationship with family based on economics and culture. The current extended nuclear family has both pluses and minuses. I would not consider a degradation of family values as one of them. To the contrary, it reinforces cultural values.

redwilldanaher July 24, 2014, 12:27 am
mario July 24, 2014, 1:36 am

Gary, why are you referencing the CEO global survey to my comment?… I was talking about the 150-200 million lower/middle class who have been summarily and completely marginalized and can’t make ends meet in American society. I’ve always maintained the view that the we have entered American’s historic schism; where the top 150 million or so in the U.S. are doing better than ever and most of them have strong incomes and stable lives. Whereas the top 20% (and we won’t bother talking about the top 1%) are doing extremely well. Other’s on the board here like JJ aren’t as optimistic on my stats, but no matter what, the bottom 150-200 million are well and truly screwed, look around. A doesn’t negate B, they’re both true….

Cheers, Mario

mario July 24, 2014, 1:43 am

On divorce and marriage, you’re a liberal on divorce and busted families? Your comments couldn’t be more contradictory, I don’t even know what you’re saying. You think busting up families has plusses and minuses? The minuses far outweigh the plusses. American society is a wreck primarily because of busted up families and marriages, who DOESN”T know that?. “A degradation of family values” , you wouldn’t regard it as a plus? or as a minus? …How the F8CK can it be regarded as a plus?

gary leibowitz July 24, 2014, 4:42 am

Mario, you forgot your own argument. You stated that the Millennials have to live with the extended family. I stated that is not necessarily a bad thing. The trend of living on our own has produced divorces, and dysfunctional family settings these last 20 or so years. I merely state that when we weren’t so rich to afford our own homes there was more a sense of family structure. Moral degradation seems to follow our economic freedoms from family obligation. Sorry if you find it puzzling or contradictory. I point out that your assumptions can be turned on its head just by using history and how family unity seemed to work better when we had to live together.

As for your argument about the lower and middle class that has absolutely nothing to do with the stock market. It should be obvious by now that the stock market is holding up the economy. Every single segment of the economy has improved over the last 5 years. Every one. It might be built on unsound foundation but that doesn’t negate the affect it had over the last 5 years. CEO’s are the economy. they determine the future. Just because you are angry over the very long standing trend doesn’t mean the market will crash just because of your indignation. Please show me why the market will fall tomorrow? The divide between the elite and everyone else is well known. the most logical outcome from that divide is also well known. I deal in “the moment” and how to determine when it all falls down. If you think your statement about the elite is going to trump the CEO’s optimism you are mistaken.

I have had hundreds of arguments over the many years relating to moral indignation and how it should affect the market. Clearly the two have not worked hand in hand. I am pointing out that the CEO’s are the front line in determining jobs, spending, and expectations for earnings. if they become optimistic I listen. You want to ignore their feelings on the subject, be my guest.

gary leibowitz July 24, 2014, 5:11 am

Years have gone by with shock over the magical levitation act the stock market seems to have performed. I try to point out the incongruity over moral indignation and corporate profits. My liberal label should make everyone aware of my stand on the disparity between classes. That doesn’t mean I can’t understand why the economy is holding up. that doesn’t mean I can’t expect many more years of profits. Why everyone has a problem with that view is something I will never understand. In fact I can easily declare I am the most sympathetic and outraged over the class divide. I embrace socialist programs and feel its more important to have a level sense of community than to allow pure entrepreneurial capitalism. My outrage stems from the inability of the meek and defenseless to get a fair shake, while many here believe we shouldn’t coddle this group. A good number believe the mess we are in stems from wasteful spending on the “lazy”. So, if you want to label me a bleeding heart liberal, go ahead. I can believe the market can flourish despite my distaste from social inequality.

mario July 24, 2014, 10:09 am

much clearer thanks and you’re right, the availability of money did break up the family units, its happening in this modern Chinese generation, along with a massive growth in the next wave of real estate in China, which is retirement real estate/assisted living communities…perfect and much needed in this country….so there’s plenty to keep the economy humming along here for a couple more decades…

Cheers, Mario

Redwilldanaher July 26, 2014, 12:43 am

The economy is holding up? They’ve been injecting speed into it nearly continuously for 5 years.

It’s been held up not holding up. Don’t trot out that this is business as usual absurdity. The links I have provided again and again prove otherwise. Stop being such an intellectually dishonest tool. Price this rise in 2008 gas prices, tell us how great it all is then.

Andy Gutterman July 22, 2014, 2:17 pm

Gary wrote:

“The labor force is still dominated by the above 50 crowd. Their retirement will also fit in nicely with the younger generation filling the gap.”

Except the people retiring are at their maximum income and spending, while the younger generation filling the gap are the opposite. Low income, low spending.

Net result: Less income, less spending.


gary leibowitz July 22, 2014, 9:37 pm

Please tell me what generation started out with low paying white collar jobs (educated) and earned no perks as they matured? Are you stating that these “nerds” will never enjoy their higher education status? You have determined there will be no advancement from here on out? Want to present me with some evidence of that?

In 30 years time I will hear the same argument except that the new generation will be burdened by the Millennials. Life goes on and so does the generational changes. One dies, the others take over. Am I missing something?

TMM July 23, 2014, 5:31 am

Thirty years ago, I worked part-time at a grocery store to put myself through university. Because it was a union-labor store, the wage rate was an incredible-at-the-time $14.26/hr for my job as a cashier/bagger/stocker. Those 20 hour work weeks meant a monthly take-home pay of around $1000, which was sufficient to cover room & board, books AND EVEN TUITION at the public university.

Fast forward 30 years and a similar job at a big box store will pay minimum wage, while room & board, books and especially tuition have skyrocketed. While those of my generation came out with a degree and no debt, the graduate today will most likely have five to six-figure debt for the remainder of their lives.

The current generation of entry-level white collar workers first have to dig themselves out of a deep pit of debt before they even reach par status. So no, it is likely that few will ever achieve financial independence in their lifetimes. And that does not bode well for this final generation.

Andy Gutterman July 23, 2014, 2:39 pm


The difference is the size of the retiring population vs the size of the incoming labor force. 80 million people trying to retire and definitely cutting back on spending during their peak income years vs low wage, in debt to their eyeballs younger generations. This is a recipe for a drastic cut in spending over time.

Add that the number of retirees that have to continue working just to pay the bills, thus NOT opening up a position for younger folks to come in.

This is a slow motion disaster in the making.

For the next 18 years an average of 10,000 seniors reach the age of 65.


This is not going to be pretty. Especially when so many of the would-be retirees are also in debt to their eyeballs, with houses worth less than the mortgage.

No matter how you cut it we are facing years of reduced income and spending.

You can explain it any way you want, the net effect will be a stagnant economy for a long time.

And at some point those with money who are now speculating with it will do something really stupid and bring the house down upon themselves very fast.

Whether that destroys civilization is unknown. I don’t think so but others disagree with me.


gary leibowitz July 23, 2014, 5:28 pm

Andy, the articles I read are economic based. No point of view or opinion related to the author. The amount of money that this generation will have in cash is very impressive.

Lets go over your argument. The number of workers to fill the baby boomers is just not there. that means a greater chance of employment for the ones that have the skills, not less. the current generation is as conservative as it gets. that means less dependence on credit, with a true understanding of the meaning of a dollar earned. As for the retirees they have the greatest means to retire, with their pensions and 401K. In fact I suspect travel, restaurants and entertainment industry will do very well. granted this all presupposes that we don’t fall into another great depression. If the debt load magically went away I would declare this generation as having the best opportunity to make the most with the least competition. The math speaks for itself. Supply and demand. Supply will be short and demand much higher. Have I gotten the demographics wrong?

Traveler July 21, 2014, 9:35 pm

Will just note here that the Smoot Hawley Act actually followed the 1929 Crash. But can definitely agree that it played a major role in the deflation that wreaked havoc on the country in the 1930’s. Throw in the Dust Bowl conditions and there’s your triple whammy.

I think the current conditions can hold within the financial system for a long time. We will just be bled slowly, drip by drip. For the real crash to happen, it’s going to take an event outside the system. Another Dust Bowl. A massive earthquake in California (or elsewhere. New Madrid, anybody?). A nuke. A Carrington-style solar event. A war arising from a spark (Could MH17 be that spark?).

There’s already a good sized drought out West; California is deeply affected. So far it isn’t out of the norm for my lifetime. But if it lasts just two more years, that might be enough to really tip things over badly. There was a 25 year drought before Columbus came; imagine if we experienced another one of those now … that would be an unmitigateable national disaster resulting in civil disorder and chaos if not outright civil war.

At the moment, I vote for the slow bleeding. As the public still has tons of assets and retirement savings waiting to be bled out, this can go on for many years.

To them that think hyperinflation is still the logical outcome, that’s not how empires die. They die through deflation. The bankers will not allow hyperinflation to happen because it kills them too, but they (and the feds) are fine with inflation as it is because that allows them to allot to themselves more of the economic surplus generated by the population. Of course there is an end to this when the government and the banks run out of other people’s assets to steal. But that can take a long time from now. And will, absent outside events that shake the system to its boots.


I recall seeing an analysis perhaps 30 years ago that showed the Dow precisely tracking the ups and downs of the Smoot Hawley bill as it worked its way through Congress. In weeks when it appeared the bill would die, stock rallied; and when the drive to enact it picked up steam, stocks fell.

I didn’t buy the premise then, or now; but it’s still the kind of thing tenured eggheads bat around to keep themselves busy until they retire. RA

Jason S July 21, 2014, 10:46 pm

I love the “There’s already a good sized drought out West; California is deeply affected.” statement. The press and politicians have been pumping this one hard.

News Flash: The American South-West is a desert! It has been one for tens of thousands of years. We may have had a short-time frame where it was a bit wetter than normal but what we are suffering from is human hubris, thinking we can bring 20 million plus people into a desert, make it and keep it green. Man’s folly.

dk July 22, 2014, 12:47 am

“News Flash: The American South-West is a desert! It has been one for tens of thousands of years. We may have had a short-time frame where it was a bit wetter than normal but what we are suffering from is human hubris, thinking we can bring 20 million plus people into a desert, make it and keep it green. Man’s folly.”

Absolutely! I wonder why the Colorado River/Lake Mead is drying up? Try 4 trillion gallons of water misused because of our ineptitude. The water line is dropping 20 feet a year!
Let’s go seed some clouds, re-route a river, or tow an iceberg to change that….

mario July 22, 2014, 2:51 am

I love the irony of concerns about water supply in the desert while they build greenbelts and rich man’s golf courses to make them more “livable” thus shooting zillions of gallons of water for the grass, 30% of which evaporates before it even hits the grass.

REVOLTED VLAD July 21, 2014, 9:11 pm


so here is my primary repost to you, and the flaws I found, in your article above.
because before I grab your thrown glove, to postulate freely on trigger of world’s demise,
I want to address, a few points in your current weekly article, that I do NOT agree with.

ackerman says–“assets” get marked to market.”

assets will NEVER get ‘marked to market’ again in current environment, as it is too ‘rigorous.’
so that’s NOT, how extinction, will play out. for there will NEVER be ‘mark to market’ again.

ackerman says–“(Did the Smoot-Hawley Tariff cause the 1929 Crash? The jury is still out.)”

the jury is NOT “still out” on what caused the 1929 crash. for even though, maybe,
that S-M tariff MAY have triggered 1929 crash, but it is NOT what CAUSED it.
for it’s SIMPLE what caused it. and it was–ANYONE could get 90% margin, to buy stocks.
that’s right. e.g.– if a shoeshine boy put in 1 dollar, he could buy 10 dollars’ worth of stocks.

(and exactly that current mega-leverage, 21st century style,
is what will cause new crash yet again)

ackerman says–“Were the banks to close for more than a few days, it would deflate the financial system in mere hours, pushing the global economy instantly into a state of barter. For better or worse, there would be no way to inject bazillions of new dollars into the economy to “save” it. For one, branch banks don’t keep enough cash on hand to bail out more than a few depositors demanding the return of their savings in the form of tens, twenties and hundreds. And for two, the mere hint of such a disruption would destroy the credit-card system, since it functions entirely on misplaced trust to begin with.”

interesting generic commentary you write above.
since I carefully read the bottom ‘fine print’ on ussa bank forms, that you ALL signed,
to allowed to become, their bank’s ‘depositors.’ and you’ll get a chuckle on this one.
question– are you all aware, of 2 things, that you are LEGALLY, just bank ‘investors’?
that your act of ‘depositing’, does not secure your funds, but rather, make you an ‘investor’?
and as such, if your bank goes ‘under,’ so do you?
also, that the supposed ‘ussa gov. insured’ surety, is utterly worthless?
or that, your bank can declare a ONE WEEK long ‘holiday’, anytime THEY want,
if they ‘feel’, their overall ‘assets’ are potentially at ‘risk’, of causing them to ‘fail’?
(ergo–not open, no atm, no debit card, no credit cards, etc.–zero from them, 100% CLOSED)
think about it.
and if you’ve kept a copy of your initial depositor’s agreement,
do read the TINY ‘fine print,’ at the bottom. carefully.
it’s all there.

ackerman says–(during the 1930’s depression) “the dollar was as good as gold”

wrong. how could you forget that commie pres. roosevelt made it illegal in 1933,
that ANY amerikain, could own ANY gold?
(even though, THEORETICALLY, 35 dollars–diluted from 20– were still worth, 1 oz of gold).
however, LITERALLY, that was not possible. because otherwise, it was 10 years of jailtime,
if you were caught with any gold on hand. j-a-i-l. amerikain suckers, could not own gold.
(until late 70’s were sucker-game was reversed, and your gov. sold all that gold, 2000% profit! ha.)

ackerman says–“a disastrously inept, narcissistic ideologue did not occupy the most powerful political office in the world”

huh? despite my loathing of the current ussa homo erectus in charge,
commie roosevelt was much more destructive, of individualistic freedoms,
by creating and instilling, more socialistic programs, you can shake a stick at–
worst being, IMO, the ‘social security’ bullcrap, which was a ponzi-scheme, from start.
bottomline—crippled freak roosevelt destroyed america. and current homo erectus, just ending it.
(personally, I give the nod of the hypocrisy of roosevelt couple, to only the clinton couple).

ackerman says–“jihadi psychopaths did not yet possess the means to poison the world with biological and/or radiological weapons”

huh? so, which do you think are worse, current jihadi, or the rise of hitlermania in the 1930’s?

ackerman says–“Americans were not hooked on government handouts”

huh? roosevelt created more ‘handout’ programs, percentage-wise, that even current homo erectus.

I have no problem idealizing the past, but facts are facts– roosevelt was most destructive of all.
and IMO, #2, were the clintons.
and #3, current homo erectus.
damn, just think about it. homo sapiens giving themselves over to homo erectus, to lead.
maybe that’s what eliot meant, when he wrote, world ends with whimper, and ne’er 1 bang.

but hey, you ain’t seen nothing yet. for madame macbeth hitllary, awaits in the wings.
and she’ll end the ussa constitution, asap. since she’s been alinsky-training
her whole life for it.
so you are all gonna be her ‘it takes a village’ socialist experiment.
you betcha. ha.


bottomline–who cares what specific small event, will implode, this greatest bubble of all.


because it does not matter. since only sci-fi writer-types, can possibly foretell, what’s to come.
since it ain’t very pretty, what a 1%er planned-town without pity, can do.
to you.


This post sucks the royal wad, Vlad. Virtually every point you’ve made is wrong, wrong, wrong. You evidently can’t resist starting gratuitous arguments, even when they make you seem even more like a horse’s ass than you actually are. Anyway, I’ll save you from further embarrassing yourself by trashing any additional comments you attempt to post on this topic. And ps: clean up your language or you’ll be permanently 86’d. RA

EVER CENSORED FEARED VLAD July 23, 2014, 11:52 am

you are such a wonderful guy, ackerman, it never ceases to amaze me, how smart you are.

but here is a gift for you, Mr. Colorado: your hated obamascare is nearly gone.

funny, why, too. a legal technically. found by a smart caucasian jeffersonian, of course.

so stop sweating obamascare abortion. because it’s nearly gone— as I said it would.

[YOU said it would be gone? That was my Topic A for four months. But even now, the death of Obamacare is hardly a foregone conclusion. You should never count out our inept, ideologically warped, closet-Commie, not-so-bright President and his agenda, since he is willing to brazenly ignore or break the law to win. RA]


but hey………….. maybe that’s your trigger point.

to destroy current debt-laden stockmarket.
end of obamascare.


‘Appeals Court Strikes Down Federal Exchange Subsidies for Obamacare’

‘Court ruling on Halbig may ‘free’ millions from Obamacare’

‘A Lawsuit Could Destroy Obamacare In These 36 States’

‘Conservatives Are Hoping These 10 Words Will Finally Destroy Obamacare’
(warning—‘chimp in charge’ face included)

VILE VLAD July 24, 2014, 1:38 am

“you are such a wonderful guy, ackerman, it never ceases to amaze me, how smart you are.”

got to say, you got a sense of humor, to distort everything I write. ha. whatever.

and as to your ‘closet commie’ comment, I don’t think he’s ‘in the closet’ any more,
to even the prototypical middleclass brainwashed dumbo caucasian amerikan,
for I think almost anyone in ussa knows, that the pres. is an utter scumbag.

[Obama would still poll 37% “favorable” if he got caught torturing large, endangered mammals in the White House basement. A loyal base, for sure, although most of them wouldn’t qualify as smart enough for tickets to the Jerry Springer Show. RA]

but hey, it could have been worse, believe it or not. you all could have gotten hitllary.
now there would’ve been a real doozy for ya’ll.
for hitllary should be feared, even further.


have tons of pertinent news from around the world, but what’s the point, turkey breath?
whatever. you erase near all I write.

[…and make you seem like a much nicer person than you actually are. RA]

personally, I think it does not matter, the ‘specific’ that will trigger endgame crisis.
because, as you and I both know, all the ducks are waaay already, in a row.

all that is required is a sudden ‘correction’, of 5-10%, to trigger the avalanche down.
just because of the enormous leverage involved, in all ‘investment’ quarters.

hey, here’s another freebie, if you want to know what an ahole like me is thinking: the hft cold cellar computers were flying, in 2008.
and what does that mean? simple. 1%er insiders make money, up or down.
and a sharp 10% ‘correction’, will trigger hal9000’s. since ‘margin calls,’ will take over.

here’s link to hft trading volume over last 10 years, in proportion to overall volume.
hft trading works well (though robbery, of course). and both up, and downnnn. ha.
(this article, filled with charts, is meant to be bullish IMO, though I read it, otherwise)

(also, this is a damn good article on solid overbought facts about current ussa market)


and here’s funny one for you all, as site-regular Mario Cavolo may be right, after all–
because big money talks, and punk bullshit walks.


and finally, here’s your ‘defense,’ amerikain.
your top fighter jets, ain’t worth duke.
so, you are all pixie dust. you betcha.


More original thoughts of other people, VLad. Links aside, do you have anything new to say yourself? RA

VILER VLAD July 25, 2014, 4:29 am

‘More original thoughts of other people, VLad. Links aside, do you have anything new to say yourself? RA’

‘more original REPORTING from other people,’ you should say, and not ‘thoughts.’

as to myself, I still continue to think the tipping point, the stockmarket kill trigger
(not the reason, but the kill trigger)
is fullout war with russia in eastern (and afterwards, in southern) ukraine.
because, I am dead certain that putin will take both east and south, one way or another.

and the current incredible shoot-down of a civilian commercial flight, killing 300,
seems to matter nothing at all, to anyone in the ussa, since most of them were european.
even though downing of that flight was probably not on purpose, and just a mistake.
but that does not matter. because it occurred. however, be assured there will be repercussions.
especially from the wealthy dutch, that lost 150 of their kin, in that deadly flight.

on a side note, that flight was filled with the top a.i.d.s. researchers in the world.
heading to a top notch world a.i.d.s. conference in australia.
what does that mean? don’t know. maybe coincidence. yet I doubt it.
because in my experience, nothing of that import, happens by coincidence.
as result, a.i.d.s.research has been set back ten years. why? 1%ers want it that way.
why? don’t know. but I’m certain they have their reasons. it’s not a coincidence.
and also probably, even that fact, will have worldwide repercussions, of it’s own accord.

there are so many potential sources for a worldwide breakdown of mega-leveraged markets,
that to attempt to pick a tipping point, is an ackerman fool’s waste-of-time game.
I tried it for several years. 2010. 2012. 2013. and ended not only waste of my time,
but also all the capital I had left, to gamble. vamoose. gone.
since, in my opinion, what is occurring now, on financial world stage, is utter madness.
financial madness. even though those on socialist suppositories like super-lib leibowitz,
still don’t get it.
and I say ‘whatever,’ because I knew a girl once, that said ‘whatever,’ to anything.
and in retrospect, that was probably the wisest thing, I’ve ever heard.

VILE VLAD July 24, 2014, 12:42 am

ackermansky, I admit it, everything I said in that post was wrong — I was just disagreeing with you because I had nothing better to do, and because, in order to get attention in here, I have to say SOMETHING, right?


Vlad, are you sure you’re feeling okay? That post doesn’t sound like you, not at all. Ordinarily, you would use a lot of shits and fucks, and call me a bozo. RA

Jason S July 21, 2014, 8:01 pm

Due to unintended consequences we kill off the honey bee leading to a 70% mass extinction event. Scientology turns out to be true, L Ron Hubbard comes back from the spirit world and rules the earth with Aleister Crowley at his right hand. The vast majority of the remaining human population cannot accept this fate and ironically kill themselves. Those that remain live blissfully, making movies and fawning over Hubbard and Crowley until they all die of prion disease brought on by cannibalism (bee extinction leads to few if any food crops.)

VegasBob July 21, 2014, 6:32 pm

First there will be a trigger – maybe it will be oil shortages; maybe it will be demonstrations against the rampant inflation that the government claims does not exist; maybe Obama will finally start the nuclear war with Russia that the neocons so fervently desire.

Whatever the trigger, there will be a sudden loss of faith/confidence in government and Wall Street. A large bank will collapse. Stock and bond markets will collapse, quickly losing 90% of their value. Governments will be unable to borrow. The credit system will shut down. The predictable response, massive Federal Reserve money-printing, will engender ruinous inflation and riots will break out. Most retail stores will simply close. At that point, martial law will be imposed. It will not be a good time to live in an urban population center.

History, which most people studiously avoid learning, teaches that people quickly turn into animals when their survival is threatened. Those who survive will be the strong – those with weapons and ammunition. The rest will be progressively eliminated until the economy resets to a sustainable level.

gary leibowitz July 22, 2014, 2:20 am

Don’t believe it. The problem would have to be concrete. No fear or expected consequences. Real verifiable evidence on where the path leads. If anything we have lived thru so much sensationalized headlines that only the ones that show lasting destructive power will cause the next debacle. We are already anesthetized to the news of the day.

gary leibowitz July 21, 2014, 4:18 pm

The comparisons between the 1930’s and today is extremely striking. I would conclude that the outcome might be similar. In the decade of the 20’s there were on average 600 bank failures. Organized labor fell dramatically in that time frame. Corporate mergers created huge companies where only 200 companies controlled over half of the American industry. Bottom 80 percent of workers would be removed completely from the tax roll at the same time taxes on the rich kept falling throughout the decade. Top 1 percent owning 40 percent of nations wealth while everyone else lost 4 percent of their disposable income. Individual worker productivity surges over 43 percent leading up to the Great Depression. Federal child labor legislation is struck down and minimum wage for women also reversed.

As for us being a huge agricultural country that had a huge roll in contributing to the Great Depression. We over expanded and produced during WWI. During the war our farm industry boomed and we supplied food to Europe. When the war ended they became self sufficient in supplying themselves. One in four farms were lost. Government tariffs added to the problem. The south depended on cotton to a great degree. With the advent of man made material and the dust storms destroying their top soil it was a perfect scenario for a Great Depression.

I can’t imagine the next Great Depression being any worse than the last one. We will not make the same political mistakes of the past. China’s emergence into the modern world will not stop. Their huge population will expand throughout this next debacle and buffer the affect. The world debt will be slowly diminished and the result should be a long period of malaise.

redwilldanaher July 21, 2014, 6:19 pm

Right, if history has proven anything it is that humans never make the same mistakes…

redwilldanaher July 22, 2014, 3:47 am

You’ve managed to hone obtuseness to a sharp point. I hadn’t realized that was possible.

Rick Ackerman July 21, 2014, 9:10 pm

Even after adusting for inflation, the dollar size of mistakes “we” have already made is probably a hundred times as big as all of the mistakes committed in the years leading up to the 1929 Crash. Among those mistakes is the blowing of a quadrillion dollar derivatives bubble –nominally in service of global GDP amounting to no more than a piddling $70 trillion.

redwilldanaher July 22, 2014, 12:58 am


Supports your assertions Rick. Keep that music playing!

Variations of this can be found at many places. This one will work well enough. It’s unprecedented and the levitation trick fails instantly once the lighter fluid burns off. The amazing thing is that we still have a few tools that believe that “nothing new” or “extraordinary” has occurred here. “All is well…”, yada, yada, yada…

gary leibowitz July 22, 2014, 2:14 am

Just read the millennium generation will have 9 trillion in cash by 2018, and 4 times that amount by 2060. Sure sounds like a lot of money to me. Can we ignore the generation that will influence the economy the most in the near future? I don’t see a one-sided problem with a clear one-sided dilemma.

I try to look at the whole picture with all the confusing and messy conclusions. The generation I speak of has not invested in the market and is holding over 40 percent of their money in cash. Why everyone concludes they have no influence or money is beyond me. Proof is in the current state of affairs. Not many thought in 2014 we would still be contemplating when and how the next down turn happens.


The Millennials are broke (and underemployed), Gary, just like the Baby Boomers after you subtract out liabilities. The average Boomer does not have even $3000 of liquid net worth. Concerning 2060, only a rank imbecile would try to predict how much cash will be in the hands of the group in 45 years. The moron who made that prediction must have a PhD in economics.

redwilldanaher July 22, 2014, 3:53 am

Think of how many 59 oz. cartons of orange juice they’ll be able to buy at $10 per. Or better yet, think how all that loot can performance chase “protein plays”…

dk July 23, 2014, 4:12 am

and of course THAT is reportedly $2T more in derivative exposure than JPM.

John Jay July 21, 2014, 1:08 pm

How will it end?
We have been in the discovery process since the following milestones were passed:

The end of silver coins in the USA.

The end of a gold backed currency in the USA.

Relentless inflation as a result of the first two.

Relentless government growth as the productive economy has been replaced by the Dole paid out in an ever depreciating currency.
The Welfare/Warfare State economy arises.

The Powell Memorandum’s call to arms for the corporate takeover of the US Government. (google it!)

Which led to Open Borders and Free Trade to leverage the Corporate Wealth Transfer for decades.

Technology advancements that allow for the ever more efficient production of goods and services with an ever shrinking need for human input. ( jobs)

The abandonment of two thousand years of Judeo-Christian Morality.

A world population of seven billion people.

So, that, in brief, is what got us to where we are today.
The Democracy/Republic is is in a terminal decline.
The Corporate/Government (Fascist) State is in perennial ascendancy.

When and how will it end?
It will end when another , more sustainable system arises to replace it.
For Imperial Rome the replacement system was a barbarian led journey into the subsistence level existence of the Dark Ages which lasted about one thousand years.
I am not certain, but it seems to me that is the path we are on right now.
The Dark Ages, Beyond Thunderdome!

Farmer July 21, 2014, 3:58 pm

You forgot to mention the plague John!

John Jay July 21, 2014, 8:56 pm

The plague?
Oh yeah!
Obama is busy importing that right now.
What I really overlooked was the collapse of the food chain in the oceans of the world.
Over fishing and pollution worldwide means all that will remain are inedible, posionous jellyfish.
That should thin out the crowd

C.C. July 21, 2014, 8:57 am

In my opinion, one would be wise to step outside their U.S.-centric view the world to see the changes taking place, in real-time, right before your eyes. Geopolitical changes specifically, that are redrawing maps, alliances and ultimately, global power, influence and prestige. Changes that haven’t taken place since the end of World War II.

And of course, there are changes taking place here in the U.S. that are unprecedented in its short history, the monetary and fiscal side specifically and what outcome our profligacy portends vis-a-vis the aforementioned comments regarding geopolitics. Not that ‘hyperinflation’ lies around the corner, or any time soon, but neither does a Marc Chandler-esque cockiness regarding the $USD vs. the drive towards a world less dominated by it. The way I see it, events can happen faster today than most would care to confront. And they’re coming. What that means for the standard-of-living of the average American? In the quiet recesses of your mind, you Know where it’s going…

Jackson July 21, 2014, 6:30 am

I believe things are going to get better overall. Yes we will have market crashes, banking crisis, famine, pestilence, war, and so on. But this time is no different than the last. The wheel keeps on turning.

Every generation has thought they were the one to see the end of everything. People I know seem to think world events are accelerating at an exponential rate. Not true. News and internet have made the world smaller and information faster. One could actually argue that we are in very stable times overall.

As for the U.S. I don’t think we are going anywhere. It’s very likely we have passed our utopian peak, but common, that doesn’t mean scenes from a Mad Max movie either.

As for the bible, it’s so wrong on so many things it’s pathetic….IF you take it to be some prophetic code that is. It’s a book that has a few good moral teachings. I like to read it too but I don’t worship it as a god either. Just saying.

chris July 21, 2014, 5:13 am

Lessons from history:

1. Most dooomsdayers get it wrong because they are subject to their fear which clouds their forecast. They usually missout when the boom is on.

2. Most Euphoric Bulls fail to recognize when the party is over for the same reason – they are so drugged up on happy pills.

I used to play that game, but now I rely more on evidence. Sure have a forecast, but know thyself rather than worry too much about what everyone else is saying.

As for the Bible – I don’t see that any direct link to the markets can be supported. It is dangerous to try and draw links and act on it. You still got to liv your life and get on with it no matter what you believe.

le scott July 21, 2014, 4:44 am

Like all good counterfeiters, the Federal Reserve will continue to counterfeit until, and after, hyperinflation breaks out. They simply will not allow any important bank to fail–as the ECU will not allow bankrupt Greece or Portugal to renege, for if one domino goes down, they all will…This counterfeiting scenario may last longer than anyone may imagine–and it will be stuffed down the world’s throats by the US military…Ultimately, market forces, propagated by China and Russia, will intervene, halt this shibboleth and usher in the Ultimate World Depression–replete with the usual suspects ready to press a button for world annihilation.

wayne July 21, 2014, 3:16 am

I went to chruch today and listened to a message on Daniel 4. He talked about how King Nebuchadnezzar boasted about how great his city Babylon and his royal authority was.Then he ended up eating grass for 7 years and summiting to Gods authority in the end. If you think the state of the economy is bad, its nothing compared to the state of the north american church. Maybe we deserve whats coming…..

crusty July 21, 2014, 2:42 am

not so much as to how the end will come about, my recent experience is proving out the biblical prophets saying you wont be able to buy or sell without the beast’s mark ; buying a house now requires proof of your source of down payment funds. Removing from my 401k, I needed to provide documentation of the money in the 401k before withdrawl, as well as proof of withdrawl. Furnish a copy of the check with retirement acct identifiers and proof of deposit into a bank acct. Joking with the mortgage rep, I suggested we would bring out the 3x3x3 cardboard box of cash containing the funds and was told we couldn’t pay the down in cash. Buying food on the black market hopefully will be easier.

Farmer July 21, 2014, 10:27 am

So in other words you could not pay the down payment even in gold if you wanted to and had enough ingots to cover the cost. One guy was telling me his bank would not even accept gold as collateral to back a loan except at a small fraction of its value but even then there were storage costs and safety deposit boxes and the bank was just not interested in the hassle. They really only want to deal with stuff that can be managed by keyboards, computers and paper shuffles. Anything real is not their cup of tea.

mario July 21, 2014, 12:42 pm

This non-cash system is where I see the overlords being able to slowly, surely continue to manipulate and control the situation. I have little doubt fewer and fewer retailers/businesses will be accepting cash as payment as each day passes.

Its hysterical, I live in the fastest growing, hottest, fastest modernizing economy on the planet. Change is happening so fast here on all levels, govt/banking/private business/services/ trade/ import/export/investment, the MNC’s can’t keep up.

Yet, there’s a MASSIVE cash economy to this day. NORMAL protocol in China today is for the buyer to walk into the govt real estate transaction office with a bag of cash, typically 30 to 50% of the purchase price, to meet the seller & real estate agent, to then march together next door to deposit said funds into sellers bank account.

Amazing differences…Cheers, Mario

Farmer July 21, 2014, 2:40 pm

It is because there is so much corruption that the cash economy remains hot in China, Mario. How else are so many insiders spiriting money out of the country without a trace?

Basically we have been hearing they just bag up USD or Euro’s and fly to outside destinations where they make all cash deals on homes and estates. Billions are known to have taken flight despite stiff penalties for doing do.

At one point I had seen an article on Zerohedge stating the amount of money leaving China exceeded the foreign investment inflows! Unbelievable.

But corruption at that level is really reserved for insiders and government people so it is no surprise they would be loathe to go to cashless systems there. Not so easy when money is all traceable from source to destination. Cashless systems are like a cold shower on that kind of party.

As to how this will all end? I wish I knew. The massive credit expansion wee see is a global affair. Almost no country has been immune to the low rates and explosion in asset values that are witnessed simultaneously across the entire globe at this time. I burst out laughing when I saw that article from the NYT called the everything bubble everywhere. Could not be more true.

It begs to reason that an end to the multitude of central bank stimulants combined with rising interest rates will reverse the asset price growth trend as those are what lie at the heart of its creation. In theory the price declines in assets could stretch on for years before concluding.

In the same way that we are now learning that current high equity prices virtually guarantee there can be no reasonable stock returns for more than a decade in the future, we should also then know that pulling all the demand forward in housing also is a guarantee its deflation must take an equally long time.

And so we might conclude with similar reasoning that the consumption portion of the economy will whither for just as long (and likely with starker consequences) as the consumer himself finally attempts to repair his household balance sheet under the unfavorable conditions that most of us expect are coming.

That is to say that people don’t take action until they are forced too as a general rule. So it is under duress that spending shrinks and that is usually coincidental to the economy going into contraction. That is the self reinforcing effect of prices in decline and the jobs losses that follow. We here are all well versed on how people responded after the housing bubble burst.

How much more interesting will it get when the bond bubble bursts, when domestic stock markets take a belly flop and our overseas cottages get priced for the dustbin?

Well here we are again and the next leg down for domestic housing looks inevitable. The business cycle itself is dictating that a recession is on the horizon and the recent dismal GDP print might be our indicator it has arrived.

It seems that credit creation has almost run its course as this occurs though so we best be ready for the unhappy snap-back. In essence, most of the easy to pump sectors of the economy have already been pumped up.

How much more student loan debt can be pushed onto the backs of the unwary for example? How many more autos can be distributed with no money down? How many more homes will American’s buy even when credit has again been relaxed and scores of 650 are no barrier to entry?

In the US, income growth has stalled or is falling in real terms and thus disposable after tax dollars are in shorter supply even as health care and taxes are on the rise. That does not tell me that debt servicing is getting easier and it should alert us that the public may eventually become resistant to taking on increased debt loads.

Meanwhile we are utterly saturated with past credit already. How do I know that? Partly by the number of come-ons from the credit card companies that seem to be on the rise lately. Who cares about damaged credit scores anyway? It was never so easy to get tens and even tens of thousands in easy money from the teeming masses of banks handing out cards like candy.

But that is not the real giveaway. When I see car loans stretching out to eight and ten years and offers of zero down you just know that there is not enough new buyers in the market to absorb all the product. We are surely credit saturated when the automakers are essentially giving away product and hoping we all pay it off on time

We are debt saturated as well. So where does it end?

Well I suspect it is when we hit the next bump in the road and the defaults start mounting which in turn will put stress on the lenders (or a single lender). It may be triggered by the next tax hike or fuel spike or perhaps by stresses brought to bear on households paying increased health care premiums.

It may be when consumers themselves become reluctant to exploit the easy money at their disposal. Who the hell really knows? The economy is so complex not even the masters of Rubik’s Cubes can fathom the variables. All I know for sure is that there is not much room remaining for a fresh burst of credit creation nor the attendant debt that gets left in its wake. And keep in mind that I am discussing this without even having referenced the inevitability of sovereign defaults which are the real monster in the room.

So maybe one of those reasons above will be the straw that breaks the camels back or the snowflake that causes the avalanche. Something harmless like a little known company defaulting on a big debt that starts the process tumbling.

I know one other thing. I don’t want to be harnessed to the eyeballs in hock the day the curtain comes down. Someone has to have a little dry powder when all those assets come cheap again!


Great post, Cam! It nicely sums up many of the things I’ve been saying here for years. You’ve also put the emphasis properly on deflation, which is recognizable by its main symptom, an increase in the real burden of debt. RA

gary leibowitz July 21, 2014, 4:43 pm

Great take on the current situation and possible outcome. I will argue that GDP will expand by at least as much as it fell last quarter and credit expansion has not shown up in these last 5 years. Student loan surge was a given considering they had little choice but to continue their college for a better degree. The recent trend has show the largest group being employed is college grads. The labor force is still dominated by the above 50 crowd. Their retirement will also fit in nicely with the younger generation filling the gap. The tight policy on credit and reluctance to borrow has been the case these last 5 to 6 years. It is only now that we see real credit expansion. Discretionary income has risen thru this whole debacle. Low rates has helped all, especially the home owner. I state all this because I believe we still have years to go before the end becomes apparent.

On the whole though I find little to disagree with. The way we deal with the saturated debt will be interesting. I suspect terms will be extended, rules lowering costs, and a final reluctance by consumers to borrow will extend this problem for decades. Slow drawdown and a 20 year consolidation period might be a repeat of the last Great Depression. A long basing for the next cycle to begin.

mario July 21, 2014, 4:58 pm

Hi Farmer,

Nice post Farmer, but must jump in to perhaps clarify your perception on China, and when your main reference is what you’ve read in the media starting with ZH, that’s surely a red flag. Indeed, 75% of U.S. real estate bought by Chinese are paid in cash, and that’s because they are wealthy, not necessarily that the money came through corrupt means. My landlord isn’t corrupt, she however owned 2 apartments purchased for $100,000 ten years ago, that are now worth $650,000 and sold one of them, ergo is happily holding $650,000 in legitimate cash besides her 100% equity in the one she didn’t sell yet, the one we rent from her. You have made it sound like the idea of a “cash economy” goes hand in hand with and therefore “is” a corrupt economy. Yes, certainly true that a cash economy makes corruption easier, and that is a problem. But you can’t say the cash economy exists “because” of corruption, see what I mean? And the “corruption” is not by any means limited to insiders and govt people. For example, there are millions of street vendors across every Chinese city, selling their stuff on the street, its all part of the merchant economy, trying to attain a semblance of security. One could say that every single one of them is a “corrupt” criminal because every single one of them does business in cash? That’s quite an indictment of an entire society, and yes, in the U.S., where the babysitter who doesn’t report her $1500 of taxable income from babysitting is treated as a criminal, while of course the bankers get their billions and are magically free of the U.S. justice system….

Cheers, Mario

dk July 22, 2014, 12:17 am

Outstanding post!!! Cogent and comprehensive.

John Jay below, also touched on several great points.

That just about says it all, the rest is the minutiae.

The consequences of how we have lived, and how they came to be… that’s another story.
In other words, the dominoes fall in many potential directions, but we’ve had that discussion on this board several times. Perhaps another go-around soon?

Waiting for Vlad….

rickj July 21, 2014, 2:42 am

Will it end with a whimper or a bang?
Bang theory examples:
1. A huge contrived emergency causes the stock exchange to cease trading, either due to physical destruction or Declaration of Financial Emergency Act and all $ and Corporations assets will be used in the national interest, such as making good on as much of the derivative position as the state can cover to the Big Banks.
2. A real EMP or electronic takedown of the communications grid. (We lost everything,sort of like IRS on steroids)
3. We are stupid enough to poke the bear, or cause the middle east to burn down, nuclear war ensues.
1. TPTB continue to prescribe the medicine that caused the problem with the result that the middle class is liquidated over 10-20 years (am a born optimist here)
2. Manipulation and theft in the markets continues to the point of resistance. (Question:When has it and when will it be shown in terms of a meaningful consequence to the emboldened thieves?)
3. Cash money is declared illegal. Gold, silver too. You can only bank and own anything in digital form. A few years after that you will be told how much you can get back and when. Needless to say, your digital dollars will outlive you.
…………………and so on
Question? What will save my ownership position in stock certificates? Should save me from derivative holders claiming shares held in brokerage accounts.

John Jay July 22, 2014, 5:34 pm


“Cash money is declared illegal”
Great point.
The only reason this has not happened is that the Government wants the illegal drug trade to flourish.
Their “War on drugs” only serves to keep the prices up and turn recreational drug users into incarcerated felons.
As well as enabling government at all levels to circumvent due process with illegally constituted seizures of cash and property.
It is all part of the plan to turn America into a Police State, which is almost complete now.
Your “Whimper” end seems most likely to me.

rickj July 24, 2014, 8:55 pm

Yes, I notice “reasonable suspicion” as a phrase (oxymoron) that is used to put innocent people on terrorist lists.
Once your cash is in a bank it is legally no longer yours from a long time ago.

VILER VLAD July 25, 2014, 4:55 am

and if my post is thrice deleted, I will know for sure, that pretensious host is an insider,


You annoy me and others here with your over-the-top boorishness, your foul language, your insults and ad hominem attacks, your singlularly obsessed posts and your extensive use of links in place of your own thoughts. I have said I would ban you for good if you continued such behavior, and I apologize to the group for not having made good on this promise. So let me state once and for all that you will be permanently barred if any post from you henceforth contains even a single word that would offend the decency of this forum (and that means shhhht and fkkkkk too, dickhead).

As for your breathless excitement over the threat of a ban on money and gold, your point left me bored and unengaged. If you have something to say about it, as opposed to merely telling us how impressed you were with the post, then say it. No one in here cares what you think about them personally, and I will continue to delete posts from you that contain such sentiments, even if the language you’ve used is passable. RA

dan July 21, 2014, 1:42 am

@ andy

and the words of GOD …in the bible hold no sway with you, after your studies…..and YOU owe how much of your governments debt…..which I am sure you care to payback tomorrow…….and by the way, how do you control the ‘we’ in who remains after the ensuing chaos….something you read in the bible that ingrains you to the ‘ we’ group….just asking

Andy Gutterman July 21, 2014, 2:12 pm

You mean the words of MAN? The Bible is 100% a fabrication by man, based on some history. Extremely well written but still written by MAN.

Ever wonder why there are no examples of the old testament available prior to 150 BC, yet we have writing going back 4000 years everywhere:


You have to wonder why the OT did not survive intact until after a certain emperor got ahold of it and turned Christianity into the state religion.

I studied the bible and its implications for more years than I care to think about. Started out with 100% belief, but once I got done I ended up with 100% disbelief. Of course I studied a lot of other stuff along the way. Including all the previous religions the OT and NT were based on.

I have to give the writers of the bible a lot of credit for creating one of the most successful religions of all time. But in the end its still a creation od MAN.


mario July 21, 2014, 4:35 pm

Andy, Andy, Andy,

You’d make an excellent preacher, belying your intent here which is to tell us all that being a preacher is being a fool. I mean, you want us to believe you and agree with you, right?

You say, “I studied the bible and its implications for more years than I care to think about. Started out with 100% belief, but once I got done I ended up with 100% disbelief.”

But see the issue with that black/white position? For every intelligent, good man like you who experienced that result, there is another intelligent, reasonable, good man who experienced exactly the opposite result; they didn’t believe until after they read the Bible and then they found or felt called by “God” and in every fiber of their being they couldn’t explain it but they it was their as clear as it could be, undeniable to them.

So, who’s doing the preaching, what are you preaching and who’s right? You know me by now that those questions are mostly rhetorical, I’m not looking for a right answer, wouldn’t dare to ever tell anyone else that I “know” something that no single man ever in history actually does “know” but for many, they do actually experience as something called faith, a presence of spirit, a higher power and that something is as real to them as anything else they have ever experienced in their life experience, if not more so. I could write plenty more about the wisdom and will of “God” being interwoven into every aspect of existence, every breath we take, even if we don’t acknowledge that its there, but heavens, it must be millions of pages that have already been written on such matters. The Bible itself sure is a mess, one often finds much better discourse in other writings by the apologists; Augustine, the “dark night” by St. John, etc. Insanely arrogant to dismiss the depth of what they share…so let me wrap up by suggesting that your use of the word “MAN” is far too great a generalization as you are attempting to apply it.

Cheers, Mario

Edd July 22, 2014, 5:48 pm

Hi Andy,
Most fascinating dichotomy; you study the Bible in belief and end in disbelief. I study the Bible everyday as a part of my daily schedule and I find ever increasing belief and faith. You are in good company not holding in high regard the religion of man. The clear message in the Bible is God Himself rejecting the religion of man. The Bible has not continually called for Armageddon as you seem to indicate. Perhaps I have misunderstood your point, but you make it sound like the Bible is like a newsletter prognosticator continually calling for the market top, only to be proven wrong. The Bible says it will happen at a time in the future. It does not state exactly when, but clearly states that a precursor to the time would be a re-gathering of the Jews back into a re-constituted State of Israel. Against all odds, and history of man, that event has only now, in our lifetimes, come to pass. Rather remarkable I would say. You say the “religion” of the New Testament is based on? The New Testament is based on the promise, hope, meaning, history, life and teachings of Jesus Christ. For me as a believer, this Jesus is exactly who He said He is. I believe He is the very fulfillment of the prophesied savior in the Old Testament. His teachings were the very antithesis of mans religion. He clearly spent His time on earth embattled against those who had very much created a religious system that was a perversion. He strived to teach that a worship that God was seeking was one based in Spirit and Truth. I am amazed at how far apart we can be from the same studies. Perhaps we simply are looking for very different things? I will leave it there since this deviates from Rick`s requested topic. God Bless you friend on your journey. The Bible says iron sharpens iron. I am always glad to have my faith and my beliefs tested. Your comments have given me cause for introspection and for that I say thanks.

Bob Welch July 21, 2014, 1:27 am

I think it all starts when the general populous, especially the fundamentalist types, find out that what Joan Rivers
said is true. She recently tossed off her shoulder, as if to
throw morsels to the cooing pigeons hungrily awaiting
such, the comment that Michelle is a man; or was born
a man. Think of it, it was bad enough for a chunk of
Americans that a Black man became the President, but
now, on top of that, to find out that he’s gay and is living
‘in biblical abomination-al sin’ with a beautiful man !
All Hell is going to break out. How did this happen?
( accompanying song: “What Was I Thinking” ). This, I
believe, is what will trigger the American mini-armageddon. At the least, I see the re-playing of
the last part of Frankenstein, where the President and
his beloved are chased into – maybe the Pentagon with
it’s subsequent burning, torching, bombing, bulldozing
and crunching under the thousands of angrily stomping
feet with voices above declaring that, “No, this isn’t the
America I believe in. This didn’t happen.” There will be
no stopping this because the SWAT teams and police
will be right in the middle with their leather boots too.
The result will be military rule by Real men, and war
and prosperity will return to our beloved shores.
Hallelulah ( strike up Leonard Cohen, but I like the
Buckley version better ).

Andy Gutterman July 21, 2014, 12:17 am

The “Bible” has been prophesizing Armageddon for the last 2000 years according to whomever is doing the interpretation. It hasn’t happened. I spent years studying this, finally concluding that the guys who wrote the Bible we’re experts in Religion creation, and not much else.

With respect to how it will play out I think the next recession/depression has already started. My online book sales have now fallen for 6 months in a row. In my 22 years of online selling that has never happened.

How it plays out depends a great deal on how we deal with the massive debt overhang. We can liquidate slowly or very fast, or better yet, the government can declare that all debts are null and void, and we can start over. I don’t think that is going to happen.

I’m not one of those who is seeing the end of civilization this go round, as Rick so clearly is, and others like him. Its going to be painful, lots of people will get hurt, but in the end we will come out of so we can do it all over again in another 100 years or so.


Jason S July 21, 2014, 5:54 pm

Hey Andy, in your contacts, do any of them deal in other collectibles besides books? I would be interested to know if other collectibles (sports, toys, etc.) are seeing a consistent slow down in sales as well.

I dabble in sports memorabilia and I am seeing prices rise but don’t have a way of tracking volume.


Sherry July 28, 2014, 7:08 am

Andy, if others are like me they are balking at the cost of freight. Seems it was only a few years ago that the cost of freight was a fraction of what it costs now. Could be wrong, but the last few times I attempted to buy a book online the cost of freight was more than the cost of the book. Cheers!

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