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  • in reply to: Perverse Incentives, China And You #10319


    By Charles Hugh Smith:

    “The first thing to understand about China is there is always a front door and a back door to everything. The front door is what’s presented to the outside world; the back door is for everything that doesn’t fit the PR image created by the front door.

    The front door presents positive “face,” the back door is for everything that would “lose face,” so it’s hidden and never discussed, except in private, and only with trusted family or friends.

    A friend who once worked for the Chinese government recently returned home after several years absence, and found that all her bosses had moved to the West: Australia, Canada, etc. These were typical officials: their base salary was low but they managed to buy multiple homes, support mistresses, have upscale autos, and so on.

    In a word, ill-gotten wealth. There are tens of thousands of these beneficiaries of China’s boom in credit and corruption, and they have all either fled (with their ill-gotten wealth) to the West or “safe-haven” East (Singapore, for example). Those who haven’t fled yet have passports to a safe haven, and cash and homes overseas awaiting their arrival.

    It is common knowledge that the offspring of top officials all have passports and homes awaiting them in the West.

    That every one of your political bosses has left China is an astounding revelation into the mindset of those who have benefited most from China’s boom: they obviously fear that some upheaval could strip away their ill-gotten wealth, otherwise, why not simply move to some wealthy enclave in China?

    The front door is covered with official pronouncements of the China Dream and blustery demands of hegemony, but the back door is choked with members of the financial/political Elite fleeing China and taking their wealth with them. All of this is well-known, yet it is spoken of in hushed tones, lest China lose face from this wholesale exodus of those who stripmined the nation with credit and corruption.

    If the Elites had any faith in China’s future, and in the security of their wealth, why would they be fleeing China in perhaps the greatest peacetime exodus of wealth the world has ever seen? Estimates of the money flowing out of China are merely guesses, of course, but the numbers run into the tens or even hundreds of billions of dollars.

    Those in the political/financial Elites have the best information about conditions in China. What speaks louder, actions, or empty words? Actions, without a doubt. It’s difficult to see how China can be as stable as advertised when its monied Elites all have back doors out of the country and homes awaiting them in the West. The most fearful (or guilty) aren’t waiting around to risk the future in China; they’re already long gone. What does that say about the front door pronouncements of hegemony and dreams? The inconvenient truth is the Chinese Dream is to live in Palo Alto…”


    in reply to: Smart Choices for the Coming Bust – Part 2 #10275


    The Global 1%: Exposing the Transnational Ruling Class

    “Even deeper inside the 1 percent of wealthy elites is what David Rothkopf calls the superclass. David Rothkopf, former managing director of Kissinger Associates and deputy undersecretary of commerce for international trade policies, published his book Superclass: the Global Power Elite and the World They Are Making, in 2008.[xxxii] According to Rothkopf, the superclass constitutes approximately 0.0001 percent of the world’s population, comprised of 6,000 to 7,000 people—some say 6,660. They are the Davos-attending, Gulfstream/private jet–flying, money-incrusted, megacorporation-interlocked, policy-building elites of the world, people at the absolute peak of the global power pyramid. They are 94 percent male, predominantly white, and mostly from North America and Europe. These are the people setting the agendas at the Trilateral Commission, Bilderberg Group, G-8, G-20, NATO, the World Bank, and the World Trade Organization. They are from the highest levels of finance capital, transnational corporations, the government, the military, the academy, nongovernmental organizations, spiritual leaders, and other shadow elites. Shadow elites include, for instance, the deep politics of national security organizations in connection with international drug cartels, who extract 8,000 tons of opium from US war zones annually, then launder $500 billion through transnational banks, half of which are US-based.[xxxiii]

    Rothkoft’s understanding of the superclass is one based on influence and power. Although there are over 1,000 billionaires in the world, not all are necessarily part of the superclass in terms of influencing global policies. Yet these 1,000 billionaires have twice as much wealth as the 2.5 billion least wealthy people, and they are fully aware of the vast inequalities in the world. The billionaires and the global 1 percent are similar to colonial plantation owners. They know they are a small minority with vast resources and power, yet they must continually worry about the unruly exploited masses rising in rebellion. As a result of these class insecurities, the superclass works hard to protect this structure of concentrated wealth. Protection of capital is the prime reason that NATO countries now account for 85 percent of the world’s defense spending, with the US spending more on military than the rest of the world combined.[xxxiv] Fears of inequality rebellions and other forms of unrest motivate NATO’s global agenda in the war on terror.”

    Good article.

    The Global 1%: Exposing the Transnational Ruling Class

    in reply to: Smart Choices for the Coming Bust – Part 2 #10274


    And make sure to turn off your idiot box:

    “Increasingly the news that has the most impact is the news satirizing the news. In many ways the Comedy Channel has become the most respected news channel, offering a hard hitting take or a parody of a parody.

    Saturday Night Live’s take-offs get as much attention as the events and personalities they satirize. Attitude seems to trump information in a culture with a “context of no context.” No wonder so many young people laugh at the news. Mockumentaries may be making more money than documentaries.

    And now, even big budget movies compete with characters that make fun of a news media than many feel deserves it, Hilarious and punchy films like Anchorman and Anchorman 2 lampoon news practices in a way that resonates with audiences. In the end of his latest send up on the news, fictional news anchor. “Ron Burgundy“ gets his highest ratings when he denounces his own newscast on the air and then walks off the set.”

    ‘Happy News Year’: Looking Beyond Top Stories to Examine Our News System

    in reply to: Debt Rattle Jan 3 2014 – Dr. Doom Is On Xanax #10198


    Here is the article Karl wrote on September 24, 2008:

    “Note that this is an intentional drain of “slosh”, or liquidity, from the banking system. $125 billion in the last four days drained?

    You wouldn’t be trying to intentionally cause a bank failure or two to bolster your call for the $700 billion “bailout” plan, or perhaps intentionally lock the short-term credit markets, would you, Ben?

    If the market has a liquidity crisis, why would you be intentionally draining reserves from the banking system? Don’t you think you ought to explain that to Congress?”


    in reply to: Debt Rattle Jan 3 2014 – Dr. Doom Is On Xanax #10197


    Greenpa – that was an excellent article. Last year I compiled a bunch of articles re commodities speculation and how it was forcing prices up. It was eye-opening, but I’m sure barely scratched the surface: warehouses full of aluminum (filled to the rafters) in Detroit and New Orleans by Goldman Sachs, copper stockpiled in China and Hong Kong, oil just sitting in tankers. No, no driving prices up here (sarc)! And all the same familiar thieves, just different markets. The academics who protect and defend these scum deserve some real jail time too.

    This is an interesting article that Karl Denninger wrote re Bernanke’s last lies. He goes over how Bernanke drained $125 billion out of the banking system from September 19 and 24, 2008:

    “In the year leading up to the crash you watched while the economy built seven dollars of debt for every dollar of advancement in GDP. That very same year when you pronounced that subprime was likely to be contained you knew damn well what was going on because this is your data, not mine and you had it before I or anyone else did.

    You in fact knew, factually that the American consumer had been falling behind since 1980 on a continual basis, with only a quarter or two (in the early 1990s) where income from all sources, including government transfers, kept pace. You knew damn well that this was all a game of pulling forward tomorrow’s demand into today and that like all exponential functions it had to eventually end.

    You may not have known exactly when it would end, but you were utterly certain that it would, because mathematically it had to. You did not lift a finger to stop it before the crash, you did not take one regulatory action to uncover and stop the fraudulent issuance of credit to people who could never have paid back what was lent to them and you did exactly nothing to shut down the securitization fraud machine upon which all of this exponential increase in credit issuance rested.

    Then when things got dicey you claimed to be providing liquidity to the system while in fact you were draining it. You factually drained $125 billion out of the banking system over the space of four business days from 9-19-2008 to 9-24-2008.

    What happened during those days Ben — and in the days that followed?


    These are facts published by your own institution and not subject to dispute.”

    Karl said, “The media’s unwillingness to hold you to account for this crap, up and down the line, along with the government, leaves them all standing as willing and intentional co-conspirators in these lies.”


    in reply to: Debt Rattle Jan 3 2014 – Dr. Doom Is On Xanax #10195


    Professorlocknload – “Beside, to who’s advantage are drawn out deflationary depressions? Wouldn’t we think the general psychology would lean to digging out of the negative and moving toward the positive?”

    Karl Denninger would argue there has already been a tremendous “positive” realized by the top 10%, especially the top 1%. Shakespeare said, “Heavy hangs the head that wears the crown.” I’d add: Heavy hangs their robes, yachts, and offshore bank accounts as well. These guys are dripping in positives; it’s a wonder they can stand upright.

    “[See chart at link below]. That’s across the entire economy. And it tells you that across the entire economy for 30 years there has been no net economic benefit in real terms for the people in this economy.

    Now you might look at that chart and note that the slope is downward from 1980 to the present in the light blue. But if your prescription is to raise that blue area, you have a problem because in order to do so at a rate sufficient to recover what was lost over that 30 year time period you’d have to roughly double it and then hold it there for 30 years. That is, you’d have to double wages and yet not produce any more monetary inflation in doing so.

    Do you think that’s possible? I don’t.

    So what’s the other alternative? Reversal of the previous inflation. Of course “economists” call this “deflation” and claim it’s bad, but it’s not. You only want things to be expensive if you’re a seller, and sellers are in the minority. They do, however, happen to be that same 10% and 1% quoted above.

    There is no “answer” to be found in redistribution of wealth or any such nonsense so long as you allow those very same someone’s (that top 1% and 10%) to issue all the monetary inflation they want in the form of unbacked credit. They can — and have — simply used that to steal back any attempt to tax away or “redistribute” their income.”

    He goes on to blast J. Bradford Delong, Professor of Economics, Berkeley:

    “In other words, he’s very familiar with the data presented in that chart.

    But he doesn’t discuss it — not once. There is no reference to the quantity of credit (and thus the “supply of money-like things”) in the economy, because as soon as you bring that into the discussion what has gone wrong becomes immediately apparent, the people responsible are also immediately apparent, and the solution is likewise immediately apparent.

    And if the people were to understand this widely they might come to the (very-justified) conclusion that all of the above was and is an intentional act of fraud, not an accident or some “random” event.

    They might call for indictments and prosecutions, they might be willing to back that demand up, and they might include those who have been dishonest with them in those Administrations, including Mr. DeLong, in the list of people to be tossed in the dock.”


    in reply to: The Taper And The China Credit Power Struggle Squeeze #10130


    No Yuan for Growth

    “China’s investment binge of 2009-10 is dragging down its economy.

    While net exports contributed roughly 25 per cent of China’s GDP growth between 2001 and 2008, their contribution to GDP growth has been negative since. In other words, in the last four years, the Chinese economy has relied almost exclusively on domestic investment and consumption for growth.

    That is where the main causes of the economic slowdown lie. In the fast-growth period, China depended on three engines to power its economy: exports, investment and consumption. Exports and investment contributed roughly 60 per cent of the growth, with 40 per cent coming from consumption. But as the share of contribution to GDP growth from exports becomes negative, investment and consumption must make up the shortfall.

    China’s policymakers obviously recognised this challenge in 2008. Unfortunately, they botched their policy response. Instead of channelling resources to boost domestic consumption and the private sector, Beijing splurged roughly $2 trillion on fixed investments, most of them undertaken by local governments and state-owned enterprises. Predictably, such investments, financed largely by bank debt, were doomed to be unproductive. […]

    Little did they know that a significant portion of the Chinese stimulus went into useless projects. Local governments went on a spending spree, building shining office buildings, shopping malls, highways, bridges and power plants. Real estate developers erected pricey apartment buildings to capitalise on sky-rocketing property prices. State-owned enterprises expanded their production capacity indiscriminately.

    Today, the investment binge of 2009-2010 is dragging down economic growth through two channels. The financial leveraging in this period, during which Chinese banks issued new loans worth $3.6 trillion (about 43 per cent of the Chinese GDP in 2011), led to a massive build-up of debt accumulated by Chinese cities and corporations. […] Chinese banks have not recognised these loans as non-performing, mainly because Beijing has not pushed them to do so. However, the highly indebted local governments and corporations have become huge credit risks and, as a consequence, are finding it harder to draw new loans to survive. That is the reason why China’s shadow banking system has grown explosively in the past few years. […]

    This leads us to the second channel through which the stimulus of 2009-2010 is holding back growth. The massive investments in manufacturing capacity, which began earlier last decade but got a boost during this period, produced enormous overcapacity in many industries in China. As a result, profit margins have been squeezed, if not destroyed. Heavily indebted Chinese corporations, even when they get new credit, can only use it to service old loans, instead of producing for profit. Such “zombie companies” now dot the Chinese industrial landscape.

    Without addressing the two interconnected problems of over-leveraging and excess capacity, the Chinese economy is likely to stagnate and face its own version of a debt crisis at some point in the near future.”


    in reply to: The Taper And The China Credit Power Struggle Squeeze #10129


    Chart of the Day: How China’s Stunning $15 Trillion in New Liquidity Blew Bernanke’s QE Out of the Water

    “Much less has been said that of the roughly $2 trillion increase in US bank assets, $2.5 trillion of this has come from the Fed’s reserve injections as absent the Fed, US banks have delevered by just under half a trillion dollars in the past 5 years. Because after all, all QE really is, is an attempt to inject money into a deleveraging system and to offset the resulting deflationary effects. […]

    You read that right: in the past five years the total assets on US bank books have risen by a paltry $2.1 trillion while over the same period, Chinese bank assets have exploded by an unprecedented $15.4 trillion hitting a gargantuan CNY147 trillion or an epic $24 trillion – some two and a half times the GDP of China!

    Putting the rate of change in perspective, while the Fed was actively pumping $85 billion per month into US banks for a total of $1 trillion each year, in just the trailing 12 months ended September 30, Chinese bank assets grew by a mind-blowing $3.6 trillion! […]

    But more importantly, as with all communicating vessels, global liquidity is now in a constant state of laminar flow – out of central banks: either unadulterated as in the US, Japan, Europe and the UK, or implicit, when Chinese government-backstopped banks create nearly $4 trillion in loans every year. If one issuer of liquidity “tapers”, others have to step in. Indeed, as we suggested a few weeks ago, any possibility of a Fed taper would likely involve incremental QE by the Bank of Japan, and vice versa.

    However, the biggest workhorse behind the scenes, is neither: it is China. And if something happens to the great Chinese credit-creation dynamo, then we see no way that the rest of the world’s central banks will be able to step in with low-powered money creation, to offset the loss of China’s liquidity momentum.

    Finally, when you lose out on that purchase of a home to a Chinese buyer who bid 50% over asking sight unseen, with no intentions to ever move in, you will finally know why this is happening.”


    Ilargi – “Moreover, instead of fighting that development, most of the leaders will opt to jockey for position, to wiggle and scheme all they can in order to build and improve their own personal positions in this “new” world.”

    Looks like they’re doing just that.

    in reply to: The Taper And The China Credit Power Struggle Squeeze #10128


    More Capitalism for the Chinese:

    “China’s role in global capitalism, despite its impressive growth figures, has been an assembly platform for foreign multi-national corporations. This system has brought wealth to a minuscule layer of Chinese capitalists while enormously profiting Western and Japanese companies, and their East Asian contractors.

    Two-thirds of China’s exports are shipped from factories wholly or partially owned by non-Chinese companies. In high-technology industries, the ratio is higher: Wholly owned non-Chinese corporations account for 68 percent of high-tech exports and, if firms partially owned by foreign companies are included, the total is 83 percent.

    And in contrast to misleading trade statistics, most of the money captured by this Chinese production is taken by Western and East Asian multi-national corporations, not by China. The world’s multi-national corporations profit immensely from China’s low wages and like the current Chinese system just as it is. […]

    The dramatic increase in Chinese manufacturing is driven by multi-national corporations from the U.S., East Asia and Western Europe. State-owned enterprises account for 25 percent of China’s industrial output, down from 75 percent in the mid-1980s.

    Exploitable workers are needed in those factories, and China’s supply of labor comes from rural wages being consistently 40 percent or less that of urban wages and that local and regional officials continually take and sell off farming land to developers, partly for their own enrichment but also to generate revenue to fund local government. According to a Reuters report, about four million farmers lose their land annually — and those farmers receive an average of $17,850 an acre from local governments, which resell it for an average of $740,000 an acre.”

    More Capitalism for the Chinese

    in reply to: The Taper And The China Credit Power Struggle Squeeze #10125


    “China Local Government Debt Soars”

    “In a long-awaited report, the National Audit Office (NAO) said that China’s local government debt rose 70% from three years ago to 17.9tn yuan ($2.9tn, €2.1tn, £1.8tn). According to China’s last local debt audit, the figure stood at 10.7tn yuan as of end-2010.

    Beijing had ordered the NAO in July to submit an accurate report on government debts after available figures failed to show the exact debt situation.

    According to the NAO report, about 57% of the local debt was borrowed from commercial banks. In addition, 22% of the local debt matured before the end of this year, and about 40% will mature in the next two years.

    Meanwhile, total government debt including both central and local governments amounted to 20.7tn yuan as of June, representing 40% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). Including contingent liabilities, total government debt stood at 30tn yuan, equivalent to 55% of the GDP.

    “This national debt audit result could indicate that China’s local government debt almost doubled in about two-and-a-half years,” said Liu Li Gang, economist at ANZ Research.”


    in reply to: Facing the Future – Mitigating a Liquidity Crunch #10045


    Nicole – I just scanned the article; will give it a proper read tonight. Just wanted to comment that you look lovely in your picture. Good for you for being able to drop carbs. I’ll be right behind you. Thanks.

    in reply to: Debt Rattle Dec 23 2013 – How Do We Define Value? #10009


    And just for your Christmas reading enjoyment, here are two articles that compare our current system to The Hunger Games, just to catch a glimpse where we’re going if we don’t wake up.

    May the Odds Ever Be in Your Favor – The Reaping:


    May the Odds Ever Be in Your Favor – Hope and Defiance:


    These are two really good articles from someone who I believe sees (as do Ilargi and Nicole) what’s really going on.

    in reply to: Debt Rattle Dec 23 2013 – How Do We Define Value? #10008


    Here’s a good article on the astronomical rise in prices due to the Fed’s handiwork. Take a look at some of the numbers!

    “The financialization of America; where Wall Street con artists, shysters and swindlers rake in billions for shuffling paper and making risky casino bets; mega-corporations ship blue collar middle class jobs to Asia in an all out effort to increase quarterly profits; politicians spend future generations into the poor house in order to get re-elected; and the Federal Reserve purposefully creates monetary inflation to prop up the corrupt system; has systematically destroyed the working middle class and created generations of debt slaves. The American people have been foolish, infantile, and easily duped. But it is clear to me who the real culprits in our long downward spiral have been. Lord Acton stated the obvious, many years ago:

    ‘The issue which has swept down the centuries and which will have to be fought sooner or later is the people versus the banks.’ ― John Emerich Edward Dalberg-Acton”


    If you’re keeping ahead of inflation, then good for you, but there are many who are not. Personally, I’m tired of running on the Fed’s treadmill. How about you? The Fed is supposed to be providing “stable” prices. “Stable” means “not likely to change or fail; firmly established”. Is that what we’ve had?

    in reply to: Debt Rattle Dec 23 2013 – How Do We Define Value? #10007


    ted – “The FED has to keep the stock market up.” Why is that? Is it for the same reasons they kept interest rates down for so long under Greenspan? A wizard behind the scenes manipulating dials, steering the masses, all the while espousing the “free market”?

    I liked Karl Denninger’s piece entitled, “Everything in Economics is a Balance Sheet”. What you add to one side, you take away from the other side. So, ted, who is getting helped and who is getting hurt, because it’s a certainty that someone is.


    in reply to: Debt Rattle Dec 23 2013 – How Do We Define Value? #10002


    rapier – “We are in a phase where corporations and government are fighting out what powers each will have.”

    Do you think there’s a fight going on? I don’t. I think what we’re only just catching glimpses of (collusion between government and corporations) has existed for a very, very long time, perhaps since the founding of the country, but most certainly since Reagan’s time. “Some animals are more equal than others” is working well behind the scenes.

    If a congressman goes into government with little money, he certainly doesn’t come out that way. Who’s fighting? More like cashing in, then retiring to a cushy corporate job as payment for all their hard work on the corporation’s behalf.

    I don’t see a fight, but a very successful symbiotic relationship.

    in reply to: The Ben Bernanke Balance Sheet #9974


    Same fraud going on in Japan. The power structure is trying desperately to hang on.

    “Just look at the data. Abenomics is a fraud. Japan’s economy is in a state of near-terminal sluggishness bordering on complete inertia. In fact, the only reason GDP rose to nearly 4 percent in Q2 was because Abe frontloaded his program with a sizable chunk of fiscal stimulus ($100 bil) which generated some much-needed activity via government spending. Unfortunately, the fiscal component was a one-shot deal that will run out sometime in 2014 clearing the way for another bout of severe stagnation. […]

    Businesses aren’t borrowing, because there’s nothing to invest in. And there’s nothing to invest in because there’s no demand. And there’s no demand because people’s wages are dropping, they have to set aside more money for their daily expenses and retirement, and because the outlook for the future has never been more bleak. So they’re not borrowing, the economy is not growing and the prospects for a strong recovery–or even an end to deflation–are minimal to none.

    And on top of it all, Japan’s fiscal situation continues to deteriorate. The debts are piling up, “the trade balance has turned into a deficit and the current account surplus has shrunk.”

    No matter. Shifty Shinzo would rather shower his crony carpetbagging friends with filthy profits than worry about anything so incidental as the economy, the people or the nation.

    What difference do they make?”

    Boosting Profits While Wages Sag

    in reply to: The Ben Bernanke Balance Sheet #9973


    Karl Denninger calls out Barry Ritholtz as well:

    “I’ve given up on Mr. Ritholtz; he’s become nothing more than a screaming shill for banksters and broad-based theft. When the time of reckoning comes his ass deserves to go in the dock along with the rest. […] And finally, what really*****es me off in regard to the outrageous hackery that passes for “journalism” these days is that nobody calls people like Barry out on this sort of outrageous and intentional distortion — presenting only the half of the impact of a given policy that shows whatever he wants to say, intentionally ignoring the other half that would refute the very point he is promoting.

    How in the hell are we supposed to have an honest policy debate and reach valid conclusions about economic matters that impact everyone in the country when half of the information necessary to do so is intentionally withheld by the people hosting and debating same?”


    Karl was criticizing Barry Ritholtz’ piece entitled, “Why Do So Many People Hate Q.E.” Barry is loving it, and he says:

    “A huge swath of market participants have not been properly positioned to profit from market upside. Hence, the relentless bubble talk, crash warnings, end of days chatter. You should have no doubt that this rally will end someday. In the meantime, find a better source of criticism than the sour grapes of those folks who missed most of a generational 170 percent (and counting) U.S. equity rally.”


    It made me sick just reading it, but he did get blasted for it in his “Comments” section.
    Maudlin and Ritholtz both know better, but the money they’re making is keeping their mouths sealed shut. Even Hugh Hendry changed his stance recently (probably had too many investors pulling out of his hedge fund, so had to change).

    To say nothing when you know the truth, to stay neutral, means you are really siding with the bully. And we all know what happens when we align ourselves with a bully – it is only a matter of time before they come for us. I agree with Denninger about what should happen to their asses.

    Thank you for telling the truth, Ilargi and Nicole.

Viewing 17 posts - 801 through 817 (of 817 total)