Monday, July 20, 2015

Rant and Ramble

My. Look how time flies. I better post something. I hope my attitude is not too obvious.

Here is a rambling rant. Or maybe it is a ranting ramble. Whatever.

Financially, the world has become lopsided. There has been an historic concentration of wealth, as it is commonly defined financially, in relatively few hands. This has occurred because of the creation of debt. I do not believe it a simple correlation that the rise in debt mirrors the rise in wealth accumulation. I believe there is an argument to be made for causation. The debt has been issued, in one way another, by those that have accumulated wealth as it is (again) commonly defined. The problem that is occurring and looming at some point in time is due to where the accumulated wealth is stored. The money that represents wealth has been "stored" in stocks and bonds. Therefore a crisis or decline in any of these broad investment classes will be a decline in money. A decline in the value of "savings". Financial instruments are where people save. And I could really care less if the value of the 1%’s savings decline, but mine will too, and I need that money at some point in the not too distant future. And I am not alone. If there is a definable middle class in this country, that middle class saves the same way that I do. Think about what this does to a culture when the savings of all the people are tied to the profits of the corporations whose share prices define the value of the employees retirement savings. This is the definition of "company town". One of the ways this affects common belief, and culture in general is that people will have financial incentive to lean politically to the right, defined as more sympathetic to business and financial capitalism. They will tend to vote and demand that the economy remain in an expansion mode, that is ultimately needed, to pay off the debts accumulated in a consumer and service oriented society. The economy MUST remain in expansion to pay interest on the debts that fuel the economy. Any slow down in the economy threatens this house of cards that has been built.

Another thing that threatens this scheme of wealth creation is any fracture in the belief system that enables the scheme. If the public begins to question the need for credit and debt as needed for survival, then the flows will reverse, and credit, and therefore wealth, will be withdrawn or destroyed. A belief in the advantages of socialism, a socialism without government debt, is one way to provide, through common effort, an alternative to the provision of services (now paid for by debt, a fungible item). It is a crippling idea, if commonly adopted, for the definition of wealth. So the people, leaning to the right for very practical reasons will tend to believe in only those solutions that do not disrupt the status quo. This, as the status quo inexorably moves toward the wall of the physical boundaries of the earth. And then "growth" must stop. It must. There are other ways to slow down and coast to a stop before the wall. The wall is imaginary, of course. Unless people SEE the imaginary wall. Then it is real and can be managed. Are you able to get a glimmer of the wall?

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Chinese Currency Crisis?

The stock market in China has taken a terrible nosedive over the last couple of months and was down 30% the last I hear. The Chinese government is determined, if one can believe the reporting, to get the stock market going up again. It appears they have encouraged their citizens to invest in stocks and many are looking to retire on the stock gains. (Sound familiar?)
If the stock market, any market, is artificially inflated then the currency used to value the securities is deflated. That was the first thought.
Second thought. The Chinese have a cultural affinity for gold. And even priced in US dollars increased demand would benefit the gold producers.
Enough said. I've been wrong on that one for quite awhile....

control risk,