Monday, June 28, 2021

By 2030 You’ll Own Nothing And You’ll Be Happy

The title of this article projects an ominous future where the masses are controlled by a few. Over the years I have written several articles covering the elite gathering in Davos. The global elites see the World Economic Forum (WEF) as an opportunity to promote their views and various causes. These people often fail to see that many of us have come to view Davos, as a notorious rendezvous for the world's elite that grant us the honor of paying for their schemes in some way or form.

Such gatherings are not for our sake but more for the benefit of plutocrats like Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg and Amazon's Jeff Bezos. The Global Reset they are pushing often reeks of their desire to "break the world" with their ruthless corporate agendas that continue to move political power into the hands of the globalist elite. To counter this attitude reassuring words are cast out over the airwaves to us, the minions of the world, to encourage faith in their wisdom. Oh, what a tangled web those in charge of our fate have woven for us as they rush to sell and bargain away our freedom for power and wealth

When the WEF revealed its Davos 2021 Agenda, it confirmed the event this year would be digital and herald the public unveiling of its Great Reset Initiative. Angel GurrĂ­a and Klaus Schwab have outlined how governments and businesses can shape a new labor market that supports workers to thrive in the future. This underlines how the covid-19 pandemic has accelerated systemic changes that were apparent before its inception.

The Covid-19 pandemic has been used as confirmation that no institution or individual alone can address the economic, environmental, social, and technological challenges of our complex, interdependent world. It is also being touted as a reason to support the "The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development." One hundred and ninety-three UN member states adopted this 15-year global framework and its ambitious set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in September 2015.

With 169 targets and over 230 indicators, the 2030 Agenda envisions a secure world free of poverty and hunger, with full and productive employment, access to quality education, and universal health coverage. Thrown into the mix is the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls, and an end to environmental degradation.

The 2030 Agenda is a global framework of action for people, the planet, prosperity, peace, and partnership. It integrates social, economic, and environmental dimensions of sustainable development, as well as peace, governance, and justice elements. It makes clear that developing and developed countries alike will implement the Agenda. This is important in ensuring that no one is left behind in the achievement of the SDGs.

A great deal of attention has been given to some of the ideas and vision the WEF has floated. A powerful one became visible when WEF public relations released a video entitled: “8 Predictions for the World in 2030. Its 2030 agenda offers a telling glimpse into what the technocratic elite has in store for the rest of us. It promotes the idea that  by 2030 "You will own nothing. And you'll be happy. The UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is a comprehensive plan that outlines how we can abolish poverty and transform the world into a peaceful, sustainable environment for all. 

When persuasive speakers cloak an agenda in flowery rhetoric, it is often difficult to determine what is noble or separate something altruistic from a sinister plot. Nor, can we be certain that events will unfold more favorably if simply left to develop on their own rather than being manipulated. Still, the ideas flowing out of the World Economic Forum and those seeking a reset and a New One World Order reek of self-serving bias. 

Not all of what the world economic forum predicts will happen but events are being shaped to unfold in that way. Examining what is being called for, sheds a bit of light on how we might expect our future to look. The ideas and predictions of the WEF do not seem so farfetched when you consider,

  • Many people are already comfortable and busy renting things like cars, tools, apartments, so this has become a normal way to live. It is easy to argue that shared commodities save resources.  
  • Many people think the US will be unable to keep its position as the world leader. In fact, in many ways, the US has already abdicated this role.
  • When it comes to things such as organ printing we tend to jump the gun in predicting it is just around the corner but research is continuing and huge progress is being made.
  • The argument you simply can’t feed 10 billion people with meat and move these people into heavy consumer-based lifestyles has merit. At some point, the population must stop expanding or we will create a nightmare of food shortages and cause more damage to the planet. 
  • Down the road, billions of people will be displaced, especially at the shore, because of rising sea levels. Others because of droughts. This means we will have to learn how to deal better with migration or we will have huge cultural wars.   
  • Western values are already being tested because of globalization and migration. The fact that change and the future might scare us does not mean we can simply deny reality and call everything we don’t like or understand a conspiracy. Life is impermanent and nothing stays the way it is. We all die eventually and history shows even big civilizations vanish. 

The agenda to change the world includes things such as controlling people through things such as social credit scores. Expect these to be linked to those you associate with including family members you seldom agree with. Sadly, the people that drew up this plan forgot that what they are proposing is the abolition of private property or communism a theory that has failed to ever bring prosperity to any country. 

Another key part of this plan focuses on controlling the masses, this is also problematic and reeks of totalitarianism. While many people view big tech as the great enabler, a very dark side of it exists, surrendering to its allure gives big tech and those in charge of it the power to enslave the human race. When mankind turns its future over to technology and no longer takes responsibility for learning the most basic lessons that have brought us so far it gives up its soul. The idea we will move in the direction of creating a benevolent form of artificial intelligence that will protect and watch over us is far-fetched. It is frightening to entrust that in the future machines will value the contributions humans make to the overall scheme of things.

Intertwined and masked within the WEF plan are a lot of factors that will negatively impact people. These include a total lack of privacy, the loss of control to move about freely, or the ability to purchase anything you want with your money and controlling how that property is used. Of course, this is all for the greater good, but is it?  History shows that in a society where private ownership is banned or not encouraged people lack skin in the game. This tends to result in people failing to shoulder responsibility for much of what happens.

When society has a problem rather than rely on education, the natural impulse of totalitarians is to limit the choices or speech of others.  The instinct to compel rather than to persuade is evident in many politicians across the world. In the past, each year as the highfalutin Davos extravaganza unfolded I seem to get a pain in my stomach that some might consider envy, but having attended my share of events I consider it more of a sickening feeling related to the over the top self-importance of many attending. Much of my angst is directed at the politicians and such that have their travel expenses picked up by governments. 

How ironic that we pay the same clowns that create so many of our problems to gather in luxury to discuss how they might further their deeds. I find it so interesting that someone flying across the globe on a private aircraft can sit down and discuss their environmental concerns and how each of us must do more to save the planet. In some ways, a person might even go so far as to describe such a gathering as downright evil.

In his writings, George Orwell pointed out that when society has a problem rather than rely on education, the natural impulse of totalitarians is to limit the choices or speech of others.  The instinct to compel rather than to persuade is evident in many politicians across the world. As big businesses and big tech have grown to where the rival or control governments, it is not surprising to see their leaders adopt this attitude. While growing inequality makes the prediction you will own nothing more likely, it does little to guarantee we will be happy. 

Footnote; The three articles below are related to this post.

 (Republishing of this article welcomed with reference to Bruce Wilds/AdvancingTime Blog)

Sunday, June 20, 2021

Economic Evolution Turns Many Comparisons Obsolete

The financial system has entered uncharted waters and it would be wise to take nothing for granted. To assume the economy will move forward without a glitch in such an environment is  extremely optimistic. With time, things change and evolve, this transformation can be seen in both society and the economy. We are constantly bombarded with charts showing where things are going based on historical references but a question we must ask is just how relevant today's comparisons are with prior economic cycles?

Over the decades we have moved from an agricultural-based society to an industrial-centered economy where manufacturing and services have become the dominant way of making a living. Now, we are rapidly moving in the direction of technology becoming the main driver of the economy and it is creating a huge cultural change. The economy is again undergoing a metamorphosis. Over time, we tend to forget or minimize in our minds that throughout history the growing pains flowing from such a change tend to batter society from every direction. These transformations also create a great deal of noise making it difficult to understand what is happening.

Please consider the possibility the important adjustments the economy must make are lagging far behind our current "financial culture" or that the economy has evolved in a way that simply no longer works. Much of this has yet to become apparent to the masses and is masked by institutions papering over problems. A tradition of optimism has served mankind well, however, it has become clear something seems to be broken or out of kilter. It does not help that things like stock buybacks and outright fraud are creating a situation that could at any minute spin out of control. Making matters worse is that the general population is oblivious to this, and conditioned to accept whatever they are told. To many people, this is the new normal.

The Titanic Was Herald As "Unsinkable"
When we look behind the curtain it is difficult to ignore the numbers simply do not work going forward. Ignoring the warning signs on the horizon can only delay the inevitable for so long. Many of the comments I read concerning the current stock market and companies such as Tesla and Amazon remind me of the following statement, "Not even God himself could sink this ship," that an employee of the White Star Line made during the launch of the Titanic on May 31, 1911. The truth is as we move forward we are in uncharted waters and at any time a surprise event might shock us into reality.

Much of the economic distortions we are experiencing today harken back to President Richard Nixon's decision on August 15, 1971, to close the gold window. It is a factor that changed everything. While US citizens had been forbidden from owning gold or from redeeming their gold certificates for gold coins since the early 1930s, foreign governments still had the privilege of redeeming their dollars for gold. Nixon's decision untethering the dollar from gold and releasing it from the promise dollars could be redeemed in gold, this resulted in opening the floodgates and allowed credit to explode from $1.7 trillion to $65.5 trillion at the end of 2015.
Exploding Credit Will Have Massive Ramifications

More recently due to Covid-19, we have built on breaking the financial system's ties with the past by casting away all budgetary and money supply restraints. A question we must ask is just how relevant today's comparisons are with prior economic cycles? The situation today is in many ways "historically unique" due to the rampant expansion of credit in recent decades. How do you even begin to compare or factor in the amount of stimulus America's "trillion-dollar-plus" deficits have added to the economy? These amounts boggle the mind and are hundreds of times larger than what we were seeing before 2008.

It could be argued that much of what we are witnessing today is rooted in Nixon's decision to close the gold window. That move unleashed many forces that are greatly responsible for the rising income inequality that has occurred in recent decades. After inflation soared in the late 70s America found the cost inflation in goods could be reduced by buying these things from low-cost producers located in other countries. This means imports soared. IT has not helped that America has adopted a de facto policy of placing no restraints on trade deficits. 

Nixon's actions coupled with America's decision decades ago to make China into a formidable ally that would act as a  counterbalance against Russia and the Kremlin have shaped the world. Back then, we offered economic incentives to help China's economy, looking back this was a watershed event that changed the way American companies conducted business. It has resulted in American companies outsourcing production and the mass exodus of manufacturing jobs from America to distant lands where labor was both cheap and abundant. 

Our free trade policy was sold to America's middle-class as a "win-win situation" and we were told the American worker would move up the economic food chain towards better-paying jobs that would be more fulfilling and require less toil. This did not happen, the large companies that shape legislation have indeed benefited to a great extent while the average American has not.

Many Comparisons With The Past Now Obsolete

Returning to the main theme of this article, the massive expansion of the financial system has rendered many comparisons with the past obsolete. It has also resulted in the economy embarking on a roller-coaster-like experience where it encountered a series of events such as the dot-com bubble, which burst in 2001. In reaction, the Greenspan Fed stepped on the gas blowing the biggest housing bubble on record. In response to that asset bubble popping, we saw the Fed bail out the banks, the asset holders, and the wealthy. 

The sorry fact is that in the end, this chain of events left the average American worse off than before. During all this time debt has grown, and to service that growing pile of debt the Fed had to keep slashing interest rates. This means that instead of allowing consumers to benefit from technological advances that tend to be inherently deflationary, the Fed has sought to increase inflation by declaring inflation in the range of  2% to be in our best interest. This has benefited the banks and those already wealthy while at the same time massively increased inequality.

Today Is "Historically Unique"
The situation today is in many ways "historically unique" due to the rampant expansion of credit in recent decades and just over the last 16 months due to the pandemic. Recently  I found myself pondering the line, "outwit and outlast" that is often used during the popular hit television show Survivor. It occurred to me the winners in both life and investing often reflect these qualities and that this game is far from over. 

While investors are often urged to be cautious the excesses of today are in many ways not as "sector" oriented as those experienced during certain periods we have seen in the past and this makes staying anchored more difficult. It seems everything is encouraging and causing both savers and investors to take far more risk than they should in the quest for higher returns and yields. The "fear of missing" out is again running rampant and with the strategy of buying the dip having proven successful over almost a decade investors have become complacent to the risk they face.

Republishing this article is permitted with reference to Bruce Wilds/AdvancingTime Blog

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

"That's Just The Way It worked out" Another Tale Of Woe

A very interesting phrase that screams true reality is, "That's Just The Way It worked out." While we often think the world is directed by those given the task to make decisions and guide our direction, in truth much of our direction is made up by stumbling along accompanied by missteps and misunderstandings.

In our individual lives, certain minor events can become watershed moments and the slightest variation in the outcome can have a massive impact on our futures. Events such as losing a job, sickness, a failed marriage, or being called upon to support a struggling family member can turn life upside down. These are just a few of the reasons so many people enter their "golden years" with little in the way of savings. This does not mean that they planned to do so only that along the way, something happened.

An older couple I know furnished me with some real-life numbers and they were not pretty.

He gets a social security check of $980 and she receives $792 that leaves them with a meager $1,772   to live on, this is not the kind of retirement income most people want to be forced to exist on. Fortunately for them they have over the years cobbled together around one hundred thousand dollars in savings to supplement this, however, today's interest rates have turned their expected 5 percent stream of interest from $5,000 a year into a mere trickle.  

Playing into this is the reality that even though they planed ahead, this is just the way things worked out. This couple reminded me that others in the same boat but without the saving from which they will have to draw upon are in a real pickle.

A Revolting Development For Her
Whether a person believes in fate or that each of us has control over their life, is something we must each decide. When asked, most people will concede life seldom plays out the way we plan it. An older friend of mine often used the term, "This is a revolting development" to describe some of the events that unfolded during the day as things slid off course. The picture of a girl in a white dress trying to push a car stuck in the mud stands as an example of this.

Still, we can look forward to when things do go our way, this is sometimes known as serendipity. This means the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way: The term was coined by Horace Walpole in 1754, Serendipity means a "fortunate happenstance" or "pleasant surprise." Most people would agree we could use a lot more of these events.

The lack of total control over our lives is something all of us face. It is clear that many people feel pressured by the trade-offs we face by living in a free market-consumer-based society and it wears away at them. The fact is economic growth is accompanied by wheel-spinning, inefficiencies, and waste.  While the benefits of our system often outweigh the negatives we find society is paying a toll through increased rates of addiction, depression, and economic inequality. 

Our modern consumer-based society has made us slaves to material objects and producers of waste.  Many economists urge us to consume, even when we must borrow to do so, saying it creates more jobs. We follow Governments and leaders that we often neither like nor trust.  Today’s youth growing up besieged by marketers are now vilified for being materialistic, marred by too little perspective, they find themselves angry and disappointed. With this in mind, it is little wonder many people are not achieving the degree of being content or happy they had hoped for and are left with feelings of insecurity.

It is fair to say that on occasion, more than one of us has felt they "could have been a contender" or accomplished more had things gone just a little more the way we had wished. This can leave us wondering whether it the fickle finger of fate or something more internal and basic  that caused some of the opportunities life offered to simply slip away.

Interestingly, many people particularly those that are younger seem to think that one big or lucky break is what it takes to achieve a life of happiness and this is the way life works. Much of the responsibility for this falls on big tech and social media, they have a lot to gain by promoting such myths. The idea they empower individuals is a biggie. 

The illusion big tech can transform our lives is invaluable to many average people struggling to get through the day. The thought that at any time we might become famous or rich gives a false impression of reality that is harmful in cultivating positive work ethics and makes a mockery of those who toil to produce a better life. The simple fact is, often our choices are limited by things we cannot control so we should just try to make lemonade out of lemons when that is all your given. 

Abraham Lincoln is credited with saying, “folks are usually about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” Much of this may center around being able to accept what we cannot change or simply focusing on the good things in life. People that see themselves as victims often lack this trait.

For"He Went To Paris" On YouTube click here
In a song titled, He Went To Paris, songwriter-singer Jimmy Buffet highlights just how fast life goes by. In the song, he used the line, "the summers, and winters scattered like splinters, and four or five years slipped away." Buffet then goes on to sing about how another twenty years slipped away. In the end, the old man moved to an island to live out his days and sums up his life by saying, "Some it's magic, some of it's tragic, but I've had a good life all the way." Had Papa Hemingway heard this story, I suspect there would have been a book and a movie. 

In some ways, you could describe the world as quirky. In truth, I'm not keen on how I expect the future to unfold. While I realize that doom porn gets a lot of hits, this article has been written more in the spirit of reflection and because I enjoy pointing out some of life's idiosyncrasies. Looking across the places where I go for news, currently, I see little that makes me feel optimistic. Much of what I see bodes poorly for our children and their children. Hype and spin can only mask reality for so long. In many ways, it seems like the world is again suffering from the bad news is good news syndrome, and that is not a good thing.

(Republishing of this article welcomed with reference to Bruce Wilds/AdvancingTime Blog)

Monday, June 7, 2021

Investments In Intangible Assets Have Minimized Inflation

Damn near every economist and analyst seem oblivious to the point being made in this article. The Fed should be ecstatic so many people are willing to invest in intangible assets. By not buying  tangible and real items they help to minimize inflation. In our bullshit world where media outlets like Bloomberg tout the message if you are not in this rising market, you are missing out, it is understandable that people want in. With this in mind, it is no wonder the investment world has become a minefield that is often compared to a casino. 

An intangible asset is a useful resource that lacks physical substance. Examples are patents, copyrights, trademarks, and goodwill. Such assets produce economic benefits but you can’t touch them and their value can be very difficult to determine. These intangible assets are often in sharp contrast to physical assets like machinery, vehicles, and buildings. 

This Does Not Tell The Whole Story
The term tangible assets, in this case, could be used to describe shorter-term assets, such as inventory since these items are intended for sale or conversion to cash. Most tangible assets can be easily converted to cash, this is why most people include as "tangible" the amount of money in a bank account. Even though money held by a bank is a paper promise, it falls into a "grey area" in that it holds the characteristic of being rapidly converted to something real like property such as cars, houses, or boats. Some of these accounts can also be used as collateral in case you want a loan. 

Another example of quasi-intangibles is stock, when you buy stock what do you really have? You no longer get a certificate as in days of old, this should send the fear of God into those that worry about hackers. What you get is a glorified memo in a computer base somewhere, good luck proving what you have if things go bad. Most likely even getting a government official to listen will be a huge task. If you do get action most likely it would be years before you get any of your money back.

This Chart Is Proof It Is All "Bullshit"!

For a long time, I have taken the view that many "financial assets" have slipped into the intangible class. Assets such as stocks, pensions, and annuities harbor many of these qualities.
These are things we can not touch and often live in the land of future promises. Today many are recorded on a computer somewhere and paper records of them are having a difficult time remaining current and in good order. Simply put, many people are not even sure where they have stored their wealth.

The theory that investments in intangible assets minimize inflation may be a chief reason government savings and wealth-building programs are centered on driving money into such assets. Over time, this has the potential to result in the collapse of the financial system. In our complex interdependent world, this would most likely hit the economy extremely hard, and the contagion from such an event could easily spill over and tear apart society. 

To divert criticism of the fact no bona fide program exists which allows people to truly protect their wealth or preserve their purchasing power from inflation the U.S. government issues a type of Treasury security known as TIPS. This stands for, Treasury inflation-protected securities, these are indexed to inflation in order to protect investors from a decline in the purchasing power of their money. Sadly, even TIPS fail to hold up under scrutiny in that they are tied to the CPI which understates the true rate of inflation. 

To be clear, I view the dollar as the best of the four fiat currencies, however, I expect all of them to come under attack in the near future. Circling back to the growing danger resulting in policies encouraging people to invest in intangibles to lessen inflation. When money is created or printed it has to go somewhere, this has been fueling the "everything bubble." This is not the key driver of inflation. The main reason this newly created money has not resulted in massive inflation is rooted in the fact it is being diverted from goods everyone needs to live and into the intangible assets described above.

When you consider the amount of interest in cryptocurrencies and other inflation hedges it is easy to argue many investors are losing faith in the central banks and fiat currencies. A monetary crisis and the chaos that comes with it may very likely be coming down the road. The fact that over the decades, growth in intangible assets and the money supply has vastly exceeded the growth in real and tangible assets is problematic.  

There has been little resistance to moving investors into intangible or quasi-intangible assets because it is easier to own intangibles than deal with taking care of "real things." This could account for part of the mismatch in growth between these two kinds of assets. Currently, the gap is so large that even if you allow for a great deal of the wealth stored in intangible assets to be washed away there will still be enough cash and credit available to create inflation. Ironically a huge washout in the value of this type of asset could be become a driver of inflation by igniting a shift into hard assets.

All this can be a difficult concept to grasp. When looking at soaring house prices, we should view the cause as more driven by inflation than because of a falling dollar. The important point is that everything is relevant and values and prices change. With this in mind, the one thing we as individuals should try to avoid is putting our wealth into something intangible that could vanish during the night.   


 (Republishing of this article welcomed with reference to Bruce Wilds/AdvancingTime Blog)