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Walmart giveth, and Walmart taketh away…

Walmart just made two announcements that perfectly illustrate the dilemma facing the developed world.

First, the omnipresent retailer raised its minimum wage to a respectable-sounding $11/hour:

(WGNO) – Walmart is raising its minimum wage and handing out tax cut bonuses because of the new Republican tax law.The retail company said the wage hike to $11 an hour would roll out in February. Employees are also getting a one-time bonus of up to $1,000.

Walmart previously raised its minimum pay for most employees to $10 an hour in 2015. As of December, the average pay for full-time workers was $13 an hour.

“Today, we are building on investments we’ve been making in associates, in their wages and skills development,” Walmart president and CEO Doug McMillon said in a news release. “It’s our people who make the difference and we appreciate how they work hard to make every day easier for busy families.”

He added that “tax reform gives us the opportunity to be more competitive globally and to accelerate plans for the U.S.”
The bonus amount will be based on length of service, according to the company. Workers who’ve been there for at least 20 years will get the full $1,000.

Because of the tax reform law, Walmart says it’s also creating a new benefit to assist associates with adoption expenses. The benefit, which will be available to full-time hourly and salaried workers, will total $5,000 per child.

The company, which is the nation’s largest private-sector employer, said it’s also expanding its parental and maternity leave policy. Full-time hourly workers in the United States will get 10 weeks of paid maternity leave and six weeks of paid parental leave.

The changes affect more than one million hourly associates.

“Thanks to the passage of historic tax cuts, American workers and their families are winning!” tweeted Ivanka Trump, the White House senior adviser and daughter of President Trump.

McMillon also said the company is “early in the stages of assessing the opportunities” that tax reform creates for Walmart. The company said it will share further details when it releases quarterly results next month.

But then it announced the closing of a bunch of Sam’s Club warehouse stores, resulting in thousands of layoffs:

(UPI) – Walmart announced Thursday it is closing 63 Sam’s Club stores across the United States, leaving workers at the membership club without jobs.

Ten locations for the warehouse club spinoff of Walmart closed immediately and will become e-commerce distribution centers, according to Business Insider, which listed store closings it knows about. The remaining places will remain open for a few weeks.

“After a thorough review of our existing portfolio, we’ve decided to close a series of clubs and better align our locations with our strategy,” Sam’s Club posted on Twitter. “Closing clubs is never easy and we’re committed to working with impacted members and associates through this transition.”

Employees in some cases were informed of the closings while arriving to work Thursday, KHOU-TV in Houston and KENS-TV in San Antonio reported.

“Club is closed today so we could inform our associates so we gave them the day off and closed the club. We will reopen the club tomorrow,” Anne Hatfield, director of communications for Walmart’s public affairs, said in a statement to KENS.

At one Sam’s Club in San Antonio, employees told KENS the store will close for good on Jan. 26. On Friday, it will offer 25 percent off on everything except for alcohol, tobacco, batteries and tires.

Sam’s Club, which has 100,000 associates, operates more than 650 membership warehouse clubs in the United States, according to its website. The first Sam’s Club, founded by Sam Walton, opened on April 7, 1983, in Midwest, Okla.

There are two problems here: First, rising wages increase the “wage inflation” measure that the Federal Reserve watches to decide whether inflation is becoming a problem and needs to be smacked down with higher interest rates. (See Walmart wage hike may show wage pressures building for lowest paid. )  The eventual result of rising interest rates in the late stages of an expansion is a recession in which millions of people are thrown out of work, thus canceling the minimum wage boost.

The second, much bigger problem is that next-gen automation becomes more attractive when wages rise. Walmart converting Sam’s Clubs to regional e-commerce distribution centers is, in effect, replacing store clerks with warehouse robots and a relative handful of website designers. To the extent that wages rise, so do automation-related layoffs, once again cancelling out those higher paychecks.

Automation has of course been around since the start of the industrial revolution, but this latest phase is vastly more pervasive and powerful than anything that’s come before.

The result: Life gets better for those who own the robots and harder for those the robots replace. And government encourages the 99% to borrow to make up the difference…until that trend also hits the wall.


[From an article published by DOLLAR COLLAPSE .com]




As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis



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The pillars of our economic recovery are crumbling…

When historians sort out this era of once-a-decade financial bubbles, they’ll marvel at how dissimilar the drivers of each boom were. The junk bonds of the 1980s were essentially leveraged tools for extracting wealth from companies. The dot-coms of the 1990s were vehicles for exotic new technologies and untested business models. The sub-prime mortgages and credit default swaps of the 2000s were semi-fraudulent fee-generation schemes.

All, in retrospect, were strange, unsteady foundations on which to build a global economy. But they look positively sane compared to the pillars of the current expansion: China and fracking.

As the true extent of China’s debt binge becomes apparent, the only reasonable reaction is awe. To cook the story down to its essence, the world’s biggest developing country decided to become developed in the space of a few years, borrowing nearly as much money as the entire rest of the world and using the proceeds to buy up every conceivable kind of industrial commodity. The result was a natural resources boom that, for a little while, floated the global economy on a rising tide of leverage. For much more detail, see this long Zero Hedge analysis.

Then, as all debt binges eventually do, this one ended in a tangle of malinvestment and evaporating cash flows. China’s excess capacity in basic industries like steel and cement is now epic. Mass layoffs are being announced daily. Its velocity of money — a measure of the tempo of economic activity — is the lowest in the world. And external trade is collapsing, with February imports and exports falling 13.8% and 25.4%, respectively.

Now in damage control mode, China is spending its foreign exchange reserves in a probably-futile attempt to keep its currency from plunging, while capital is pouring out of the country in search of safe havens and hedge funds are placing billion-dollar bets on a big yuan devaluation.

China forex reserves March 16

China, in short, has become a drag on the global economy rather than its savior. And much, much worse is coming.

Now on to fracking, which involves pumping toxic industrial chemicals into the ground to free up hard-to-reach oil and gas reserves. For a while, this was the Internet of the energy business, captivating bankers and entrepreneurs and igniting a scramble for prime drilling rights.

Between 2006 and 2014, US natural gas production rose from 64 billion cubic feet a day to 90 billion while oil production rose from 5 million barrels a day 9 million. Along the way, fracking produced millions of well-paying jobs, lifting whole US regions from bust to boom and generating massive tax windfalls for favored states.

But this too was a leveraged mirage. The surge in supply swamped a global market that was already slowing due to China’s bursting credit bubble. The result was a crash in oil and gas prices and a bloodbath in the US oil patch.

Rig count March 16

All those now-idle rigs cost someone a lot of money, much of it borrowed from banks and junk bond investors. So unless oil and gas return to 2012 levels in short order, the year ahead will see a rolling wave of bankruptcies and huge write-offs for lenders, pension funds and yield-seeking retirees. All of which, like China, constitute a drag on growth.

In a system that seems incapable of functioning in the absence of bubbles, the question now becomes: What can the monetary authorities convert into the next bubble? And the answer is not at all clear. A case can be made that the rush into negative-coupon German and Japanese bonds is bubble-like. But this doesn’t seem to be generating jobs or income for anyone — just the opposite. Buying a negative interest rate bond is a bet on shrinking capital.

In the US, cars were hot for a while but subprime auto lending is already hitting a wall and will likely go the way of China and fracking in the year ahead. Solar power? Maybe, but growth there comes at the expense of coal and natural gas, so it’s a wash in the short run. Finance? Forget it. Negative interest rates are an existential threat to traditional lending, and the big banks are all retrenching. Government funded infrastructure? That’s a liberal politician’s dream, but it sounds a lot like what China just did, and bubbles tend not to repeat in this way.

The terrifying conclusion is that other than a major war, there’s nothing out there capable of generating another global bubble. And absent another bubble, there’s nothing between us and the abyss.


(by John Rubino, writing for DOLLARCOLLAPSE.COM)




As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis


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US manufacturing shrinks in November, now at lowest point since 2009

A strong U.S. dollar and a slowing global economy are hurting American manufacturing.


The U.S. manufacturing sector shrank in November for the first time in three years, according to the Institute for Supply Management (ISM). The ISM index hit 48.6% last month — anything below 50% means the sector contracted. The November reading is the lowest it’s been since 2009.

“Manufacturing is being pummeled by the stronger dollar and the weakness of global demand,” says Paul Ashworth, chief U.S. economist at Capital Economics, a research firm. But Ashworth says the news isn’t an indication of a looming U.S. recession.

The ISM index has declined for five straight months now.  Only five of the 18 manufacturing sectors in the U.S. actually grew.

It’s a grim confirmation that the headwinds of the global economic slowdown are hurting factories and plants across the country.

First, the U.S. dollar continues to get stronger against most of the world’s major currencies. A strong dollar means that products made in the U.S. and sold abroad are becoming more expensive, and less attractive, to international buyers.

As the dollar has gained value, U.S. exports have fallen 6% so far this year compared to the same time a year ago, according to the Census Bureau.

Second, the global economic slowdown centered around China’s economy has cut back economic growth in many countries that buy U.S. goods. Many of those countries export a lot of their raw material to China.

If emerging markets like Brazil, Malaysia and Turkey don’t have much of an appetite for American products, that hurts manufacturing here.

The manufacturing contraction comes at an interesting time for the U.S. economy. The Federal Reserve could likely raise interest rates in two weeks for the first time in almost a decade. But historically, the Fed has not raised rates when the manufacturing index has been in the red. The manufacturing news only complicates the picture for the Fed.

Other parts of the economy are showing signs of resiliency, and the latest pulse on the U.S. job market comes Friday with the November jobs report. Still, the manufacturing decline raises concerns.

“This report will add to fears that weakness in manufacturing will spread,” says Jim O’Sullivan, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics, a research firm.


[by Patrick Gillespie, writing for CNN MONEY]




As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis




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Important global economic perspective…

Introduction: Forecasting trends since 1980, Mr. Gerald Celente is publisher of the Trends Journal®, Founder/Director of the Trends Research Institute® and author of the highly acclaimed and best selling books, Trend Tracking and Trends 2000 (Warner Books). Using his unique perspectives on current events forming future trends, Gerald Celente developed the Globalnomic® methodology, which is used to identify, track, forecast and manage trends. His on-time trend forecasts, vibrant style, articulate delivery and vivid public presence makes him a favorite of major media. The Trends Research Institute has earned its reputation as “today’s most trusted name in trends” for accurate and timely predictions. On the geopolitical and economic fronts, Celente and The Trends Research Institute are credited with predicting the collapse of the Soviet Union, the last two economic recessions, the dot-com meltdown, the 1997 Asian currency crisis, the 1987 world stock market crash, increased terrorism against America, “Crusades 2000,” the quagmire in Iraq … before war began and much more. The Trends Journal is on YouTube here.  (Interviewed by Anthony Wile of The Daily Bell.)


Anthony Wile: Hello, Gerald. Thanks for speaking with us today. Let’s dig in. You sent out a Trend Alert this afternoon entitled “Broken China, Global Meltdown.” At The Daily Bell, we featured an article just this morning about China. Share with our readers the focus of your email and why you felt the issue was important enough to send an alert.

Gerald Celente: China is the canary in the global economy’s mineshaft and when you look at China and see the growth that it’s had, for example, their debt level just as they were joining the World Trade Organization in 2001/2000 it was about $2 trillion. Now we’re talking almost $30 trillion.

All China did is the same thing that the United States did, that Japan did, that Europe is doing. That is, they have a different name for quantitative easing and Ponzi schemes. They built a good part of their economy on borrowed money, leverage and speculation. As China built itself you saw the emerging markets, particularly the resource-rich ones, become richer as they were selling China natural resources because China gobbles up essentially 45 to 50 percent of a lot of the world’s raw materials. For example, look at iron ore. At the peak in 2011 iron ore was selling for almost $200 a ton; now it’s selling for around $50 a ton. If you look at the index of commodities, they’re hovering around 1999 levels.

China is really the country to look at, not that they’re the ones that are causing the decline but with so many countries dependent upon China for exports, for China to buy their product, whether its finished product or raw materials, you can see how the implications are going worldwide.

But as I said, China’s only part of it because you look at the United States, you look at Europe and you look at Japan, for example, with all their quantitative easing and record-low interest rates here in the States and in Europe – Europe has in some places negative interest rates – it has done nothing really to build the fundamentals of the economy; all it did was juice the equity markets.

What’s going on is very important, not only on a geopolitical scale but on a whole other level. China’s greatest fear beyond America’s pivot to Asia and the war talk is what’s going on among the people there. They used to report – they’ve stopped reporting now – they had about 30-, 40,000 incidents, public protests and strikes against the Chinese government, yearly. We’re still seeing some of those, particularly in the western provinces with, for instance, the Uyghurs who are looking to break away again. They killed 50 people there in one day and even the locals didn’t know about it, the people that were rebelling against the Chinese government. They have 1.2, 1.3 billion people – that’s their greatest concern, is citizen revolts. They have to do everything they can to keep their economy afloat.

Number two, in China with the weak numbers coming out, nobody believes their numbers. According to many economists and financiers, their growth rate is really more around the 4 to 5% range, if that high, rather than the 6.97% range.

Anthony Wile: I’d like to discuss a couple of the trends in focus in your Summer Trends Journal and then discuss how they fit into some areas of additional interest we’ve been pointing out to our readers. I’ll throw some phrases at you from the Journal and let you respond with a description of why such a trend might be important from a social and investing point of view.

The first is from, “Seven years of rigging the game,” an article that talks about banking and an “acceleration toward extreme market fallout” – worldwide. Can you elaborate on this, and talk about both the ramifications and the causation?

Gerald Celente: The ramifications are that we have a concentration of wealth because of record-low interest rates and quantitative easing, and when you look at all the numbers, the tens of trillions of dollars that the Federal Reserve and central banks have pumped into the system since the great recession at the worst levels of it in 2008, 2009, it’s really only gone to boost the equity markets. In the rest of the world, you have places like Greece austerity measures, Portugal austerity measures, Ireland austerity measures. “Austerity measures” is really just a word to fine people and tax them to pay off bad loans the banks made.

When you look at the numbers and why the equity markets are high it’s because they’ve been borrowing money for nothing. That’s why you see merger and acquisition activity now at record levels, going to surpass the hype back in 2007. They’re borrowing money for nothing. The same thing with stock buybacks. You’re borrowing money for nothing. It’s a carry trade. You buy back your stock, you drive up the prices and the people at the top get richer.

Is this speculation? No. The facts are all there. When you look at the implications it affects the everyday person because of the concentration of wealth. You’re looking at 85 people in the world – 85 people in the world – have more money … you ready? Than 3.5 billion. You’re looking at the gap between the rich and the poor now in the United States at levels that are worse than it was during the Gilded Age, with the concentration of wealth in the hands of so few.

That’s why, going back to China, this is a supply and demand issue. If the United States and Europe aren’t buying things, China’s not making them. If China’s not making them, resource-rich nations, particularly countries such as Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Russia, Niger, Nigeria, Ghana, are not selling their natural resources. If they’re not selling their natural resources, if American and European economies are flat and China’s not making things, you have a global recession/depression setting in.

With the money concentrated in the hands of a few, with production and exports and imports slowing down around the world, you have fewer people with money to buy product. It’s supply and demand. That’s why you’re seeing all of these commodity prices go so low.

Go back a year ago when oil prices started to decline, and now they’re down some 50% from essentially a year ago, this summer. What was the first reaction? “They’re doing it to punish the Russians.” Then you’d hear, “No, no, no, the Saudis want to control more of the market so they’re putting more money out there.” No. It’s supply and demand. It’s not only in oil; it’s in zinc, aluminum, copper, iron ore, across the board. It’s a supply and demand issue.

The last seven years have made the filthy rich filthy richer. I don’t blame them. I’m not saying they’re wrong. I’m saying they could go to the casino and gamble. The regular people can’t; they have to play Lotto.

Anthony Wile: Another trend that attracted my attention is “energy diversification.” Please explain the importance of this trend … especially from an investment standpoint.

Gerald Celente: Ironically, energy prices for fossil fuels are declining at the same time there are more advancements in what they call alternative energies. Go back 100 years ago and coal was the dominant energy. Then oil became the dominant energy. Before that, people rode around in horse and buggies. There was no such thing as refrigeration. It was the iceman.

What we’re looking at is that kind of change. We’re moving from fossil fuels, but beyond wind, solar, geothermal, biofuel. We’re going into a whole new era and this is just the beginning of it. Ironically, it’s happening at a time when commodity prices for fossil fuels are declining rapidly.

We believe that one of the big fields to look at, which we write about frequently, are the new breakthroughs, whether it’s in hydrogen or thorium, zero-point energy, whatever new fields are there. Everybody can laugh at these things but they laughed at the other inventions, too. We believe that we’re going to see some major breakthroughs. You’re also seeing price declines happen, too, as advancements in solar and other energies keep growing. Fossil fuels are going to become a very fossil thing in the past.

As for other implications of this, do you think the United States foreign policy in the Middle East will change? Do you think anybody will care about Saudi Arabia, the beheaders-in-chief worldwide? What is it, 175 people they’ve beheaded already this year? Do you think anybody will care about any of these Middle East countries, Qatar or Bahrain, if there’s no oil? Do you think the United States would have invaded Iraq and destroyed Libya if their major export was broccoli? Of course, Syria, too. It’s about pipelines running through, too. The whole Middle East program changes and so, too, do world economies. Really, it could be the wildcard that puts us back on a path to prosperity, actually.

Anthony Wile: That’s a hopeful assessment. Finally, there’s “Millennials and their fears.” My question: What are they afraid of and how are they coping?

Gerald Celente: Millennials are very interesting. It’s probably the most ego-inflated generation because when they were little kids they were told how amazing and special they were, like they were going to split the atom or something. They were kids!

Our CEO was just telling me a story. He grew up in Queens; I grew up in the Bronx and Yonkers. His mother was a dancer with the Ukrainian dancers back in the day. The great Ukrainian dancers escaped Stalinist Russia. They were performing at Carnegie Hall and one day they were practicing. Of course, the mother took him with her. He was a little kid, eight years old. All of a sudden this Ukrainian guy throws something at him and tells him to shut up as he’s carrying on. You could never do that today.

Anthony Wile: I bet he shut up, though.

Gerald Celente: Of course. He said he was scared out of his wits, this guy screaming at him. Of course, the mother didn’t say anything; the kid wasn’t behaving.

Now, we have this generation that grew up where everybody won. There were no losers at games. Everybody got trophies. Their egos were blown up with how amazing and special they were. Now they come out of college, those who went, and their debt level is greater than consumer debt, at about $1.3 trillion. They can’t get good jobs, many of them, and they don’t have a lot of dreams.

Again, I began with the mergers and acquisitions activity. There’s been a consolidation of industry that we’ve never seen before in this country. The mom-and-pops can’t compete. The entrepreneurs have difficulty competing because the playing field has been tilted in favor of the multinationals. From the NAFTA trade agreement to Obama’s new Trans-Pacific Partnership, it’s about the multinationals. They’re growing up in this time.

It’s very interesting that we find in our research that they don’t have great visions for hope in general. However, that’s in general. There’s still a leading edge among them that see the future very differently and understand that they can make it anything they want.

Every generation thinks they’ve discovered something that’s very old. My generation, the Baby Boomers, we discovered health food. This generation thinks that they’re discovering farm-to-table and buy local but it’s very big in the consciousness of a lot of them and they’re doing a lot to make that happen.

Look at the Occupy movement they put on. At first glance, it didn’t amount to much. But in fact, it accomplished a lot because it accomplished the understanding of the 1% that own so much. If that’s all it did, it did a lot. It’s actually not 1%; it’s .01%. They brought that consciousness out. If you talked about the 1% before, you would be considered a socialist and that you were against capitalism.

By the way, this isn’t capitalism. I mentioned it’s the merger of state and corporate power. It’s fascism. As a matter of fact, look at the so-called debates. Who are they sponsored by? Who runs them? Corporations. ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox. Oh, they’re “networks”? They’re not networks; they’re corporations. You can put a different name on it but it’s still corporations. If you call a whorehouse a brothel it’s still a whorehouse. In fact, I would call it a brothel because the people running them are presstitutes.

It’s a corporate controlled election. They decide how the game is going to be played and who’s going to play it. Democracy? Save it for the kids in high school and the stupid kids that are paying to hear it in college.

That’s the implications of the Millennials. And by the way, it’s not up to them to change things. It’s up to all of us. The Founding Fathers weren’t Millennials. They were seasoned. That’s what we need. We need a combination and integration if we’re going to have positive change. It’s about all of us.

It’s every generation, by the way. I remember generation Y. The marketers would say, “These are very savvy kids. You just can’t sell to them in the same way.” Yeah, right. They gulp down Red Bull. They’ll drink phosphorescent Slurpies, and you’re telling me how brilliant they are? Look at the crap they eat and how they look.

Again, they try to do this to every generation. There’s nothing special about people – sex, gender, race – It’s individuals, not generations.

Anthony Wile: It seems to us the Millennials do seem to have a generalized mistrust of government and generally a disbelief of what they’re told. Is that an accurate perception?

Gerald Celente: That’s accurate, but it’s accurate across the board. Look at the studies coming out. Nobody believes it. Only the people that work for it or believe it anymore or the people who are too stupid to think for themselves. That’s what I’m trying to say. They’re not alone. Join the club.

Anthony Wile: Another poll recently showed that, regarding the media. Are Millennials, then, opting out of participating in using the government to create change, looking to the state for change? Do you see them building an alternative way of making change?

Gerald Celente: Again, it’s not up to them. It’s up to all of us. You can’t do it on your own. Look at the Podemos Party in Spain. It began as a younger movement, and then it just faded out. It has to be a collaboration of all generations, a generation blending. What they do with all of this is try to separate the generations. These children who don’t believe what they’re hearing are no different than the rest of us in the sense of who believes this stuff? You’ve got to be an imbecile to believe it.

Anthony Wile: How much of that do you attribute to what we call the Internet Reformation, access to other-than-mainstream media?

Gerald Celente: Oh, it’s a big part of that. Oh, yeah. However, while it’s the information source and it’s opened up people to different ways of thinking, the corporate media – of which six companies own 90% of the mass media – is still the voice. They still set the tone. We can use the Internet for alternative information and to widen our perspectives, but the big corporations still call the shots.

They’ll throw out the buzzwords that people will buy. If you want to hate Putin, tune in any of the major media and they’ll throw out the buzzwords to hate them. If you want to hate Assad you could use the major media for that. Look how the major media sold the lie of the Iraq War. The major media still plays the major role. The Internet gives us the freedom to learn more about different things, but at this point it doesn’t have the power to drive elections. But that could change.

Anthony Wile: As part of this awakening or expanding consciousness, across the board, do more people now understand the value of gold and silver, buying land, participating in pre-public opportunities like cannabis that’s now opening up, these sorts of strategies? Are they looking at things differently enough that they’re moving toward these shifts?

Gerald Celente: A small minority. It’s always the minority, and it’s a very small percentage of the awake and the aware.

Anthony Wile: What about the growing numbers of people leaving the US and even renouncing their citizenship? What do you make of that?

Gerald Celente: When you look at the number, it’s not really that great a number. The problem becomes where do you go? Where do you go? That’s why I was looking to leave the country in 2010. I went down to Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, and I’ve been around a lot of the world. I realized, you can’t run away. There are freaks everywhere.

This is my country. I want to do what I can to make it the way it was when it was the land of opportunity. When people say, “Love it or leave it,” I say, “No, you leave it. I love it. You’re the guys who are changing it and screwing it up. ” That’s why I bought these historic buildings on the most historic four corners of the United States, the 1750, 1763, and 1774 Academy. I realized after being in Berlin and seeing the destruction there that happened during the reign of Hitler, why didn’t the people stop this? What took them so long? It was going to end. Why didn’t they end it before it was all destroyed?

I could never be me if I was born in Italy. I could have never had the freedom to be me. This is my country. Just because I’ve got a bunch of little freaks running the show doesn’t mean they’re going to either intimidate me or rule my life. As I say, my blood is Italian but my heart’s American.

Anthony Wile: That’s a dilemma many struggle with, whether to continue trying to make massive change or get themselves and their families out, or at least make preparations to do so, now. On that note, let’s wrap up with an update on your September Occupy Peace conference and rally, which we discussed in our last interview. How did it go? What came of it? What do you see carrying forward from the weekend?

Gerald Celente: Our speakers were Ralph Nader, Gary Null, Cindy Sheehan and Dr. Robert Thurman, Uma Thurman’s father who’s a big peace advocate. We closed down the streets with the mayor’s permission. Anyone can go to the website, OccupyPeace.us, and watch the video there. We’re making a documentary of it.

Ralph Nader’s very excited about this. He stayed around another an hour and a half after the rally and we spoke, then he invited me to Winsted, Connecticut for the opening of his new museum he’s opening there. Then he invited me again to another talk, recently. He’s very interested in keeping this going. So is Gary Null, who has progressive radio and is very well known in his work in nutrition, healing, alternative remedies and on and on, for a long, long time, and Cindy Sheehan, as well.

What makes OccupyPeace different is that it’s a program. There was no ommmming and praying for peace here. We have a program: Close the bases overseas, bring the troops home, secure the homeland, put them to work rebuilding our rotted infrastructure rather than highways in Afghanistan. By the way, we spent more money in Afghanistan “rebuilding” it than we did during the Marshall Plan, when adjusted for income.

The other one is to force Congress to vote to go to war. The United States right now is in violation of international law with the bombing of Syria. It’s a sovereign nation. We have not been invited in there. So we want to force Congress to vote to go to war with a little caveat: We want to get on each state ballot a referendum where we the people will tell Congress how to vote, because we pay for the war with our money and our lives.

Can you imagine? Listen to these clowns. Listen to that doughboy, Christie, or little Marco Rubio, or Teddy Cruz, these little kids. You put all these guys and women in a paper bag and they couldn’t fight their way out of it, and they’re talking about how we’ve got to get tough with this one and that one? Who are these little clowns? I’m offended by it.

And guess what? Donald Trump’s kid won’t go to war. He didn’t go to war. Hillary Clinton’s little girl won’t go to war. Obama’s girls won’t go to war. Marco Rubio’s kids won’t go to war. All these little people talk so tough while they send others to go do their fighting for them. They are traitors to this nation and disgusting individuals. OccupyPeace wants to change this, and this is just the beginning, and we need all the help we can get.

Anthony Wile: Well, we can certainly help by letting readers know. The website is at www.OccupyPeace.us. Thank you so much.


[posted on The Daily Bell 11.1.2015]




As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis


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World economy getting sicker…

World economy sick and getting sicker...

If you are looking for a “canary in a coal mine” type of warning for the entire global economy, you have a whole bunch to pick from right now.  “Dr. Copper” just hit a six year low, Morgan Stanley is warning that this could be the worst oil price crash in 45 years, the Chinese economy is suddenly stalling out, and world trade is falling at the fastest pace that we have seen since the last financial crisis.  In order not to see all of the signs that are pointing toward a global economic slowdown, you would have to be willingly blind.  In recent months, I have been writing article after article detailing how the exact same patterns that happened just before the stock market crash of 2008 are playing out once again.  We are watching a slow-motion train wreck unfold right before our eyes, and things are only going to get worse from here.

Copper is referred to as “Dr. Copper” because it does such an excellent job of indicating where economic conditions are heading next.  We saw this in 2008, when the price of copper started crashing big time in the months leading up to the stock market implosion.

Well, now copper is crashing again.  Just check out this chart.  The price of copper plunged again on Wednesday, and it is now the lowest that it has been since the last financial crisis.  Unfortunately, the forecast for the months ahead is not good.  The following is what Goldman Sachs is saying about copper…

“Though we have been bearish on copper on a 12-mo forward basis for the past two and a half years, we have maintained a more bullish medium to long-term stance on the assumption of Chinese copper demand growth of 4% per annum and a major slowing in supply growth around 2017/2018 … we substantially lower our short, medium, and long-term copper price forecasts, on the back of lower Chinese copper demand growth forecasts (we have been highlighting that the risk has been skewed to the downside for some time), increased conviction in copper supply growth over the next three years, and increased conviction in the outlook for mining cost deflation in dollar terms.”

It is funny that Goldman mentioned China so prominently.  Even though China’s fake GDP figures say that everything is fine over there, other numbers are painting a very dismal picture.

For instance, Chinese electrical consumption in June grew at the slowest pace that we have seen in 30 years, and capital outflows from China have reached a level that is “frightening”

Robin Brooks at Goldman Sachs estimates that capital outflows topped $224bn in the second quarter, a level “beyond anything seen historically”.

The Chinese central bank (PBOC) is being forced to run down the country’s foreign reserves to defend the yuan. This intervention is becoming chronic. The volume is rising. Mr Brooks calculates that the authorities sold $48bn of bonds between March and June.

Charles Dumas at Lombard Street Research says capital outflows – when will we start calling it capital flight? – have reached $800bn over the past year. These are frighteningly large sums of money.

Just last month, the Chinese stock market started to crash, but the crash was interrupted when the Chinese government essentially declared a form of financial martial law.

And I don’t think that “financial martial law” is too strong of a term to use in this case.  Just consider the following excerpt from a recent article in the Telegraph

Half the shares traded in Shanghai and Shenzhen were suspended. New floats were halted. Some 300 corporate bosses were strong-armed into buying back their own shares. Police state tactics were used hunt down short sellers.

We know from a vivid account in Caixin magazine that China’s top brokers were shut in a room and ordered to hand over money for an orchestrated buying blitz. A target of 4,500 was set for the Shanghai Composite by Communist Party officials.

So a stock market crash was halted, but in doing so Chinese officials have essentially destroyed the second largest stock market in the world.  China’s financial markets have lost all legitimacy, and foreigners are going to be extremely hesitant to put any money into Chinese stocks from now on.

Meanwhile, there is no hiding the fact that trade activity in China and in most of the rest of the planet is slowing down.  In fact, world trade volume has now dropped by the most that we have seen since the last global recession.  The following comes from Zero Hedge

As goes the world, so goes America (according to 30 years of historical data), and so when world trade volumes drop over 2% (the biggest drop since 2009) in the last six months to the weakest since June 2014, the “US recession imminent” canary in the coalmine is drawing her last breath

World Trade Volume - Zero Hedge

As Wolf Street’s Wolf Richter adds, this isn’t stagnation or sluggish growth. This is the steepest and longest decline in world trade since the Financial Crisis. Unless a miracle happened in June, and miracles are becoming exceedingly scarce in this sector, world trade will have experienced its first back-to-back quarterly contraction since 2009.

As you probably noted in the chart above, a decline in world trade is almost always associated with a recession.

That was certainly the case back in 2008 and 2009.

Another similarity between the last crisis and what is happening now is a crash in the price of oil.

According to Business Insider, we have just officially entered a brand new bear market for oil…

Oil is officially in a bear market.

On Thursday, West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures fell more than 1% to settle near $48.55 per barrel in New York.

A bear market is roughly defined as a 20% drop from highs. Crude has now fallen by about 20% in the last six weeks.

So what does all of this mean?

All of these signs are indicating that another great economic crisis is here, and that a global financial implosion is just around the corner.

At this point, even many of the “bulls” are sounding the alarm.  For example, just consider what Henry Blodget of Business Insider is saying…

As regular readers know, for the past ~21 months I have been worrying out loud about US stock prices. Specifically, I have suggested that a decline of 30% to 50% would not be a surprise.

I haven’t predicted a crash. But I have said clearly that I think stocks will deliver returns that are way below average for the next seven to 10 years. And I certainly won’t be surprised to see stocks crash. So don’t say no one warned you!

For those that don’t know, Henry Blodget is definitely not a bear.  In fact, he is one of Wall Street’s biggest cheerleaders.

So for Blodget to suggest that we could see the stock market drop by half is a really big deal.

The closer that we get to this next crisis, the clearer that everything is becoming.

[by Michael Snyder, writing for The Economic Collapse Blog]


As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis

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Very simple post today: You decide, and then take action…

Every single hour, of every single day, the U.S. government spends about $200 million that it doesn’t have.

Yes, that’s every hour of every single day… 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including Sundays, Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, and every other holiday.

For a point of reference, consider that in just two months, the government borrows more money than the combined annual profits of the 100 biggest publicly traded companies in America.

That’s absolutely incredible, isn’t it?

Again, every hour of every single day, we are spending $200 million we don’t have.

Does that sound sustainable to you?

Take a look at just one simple chart…

This will tell you all you need to know about the likelihood of massive changes in the very near future. This will tell you whether or not things are really “normal” in America today.

This chart shows that what has taken place is something straight out of Weimar Germany… or the last 20 years in Zimbabwe. This kind of gross, out-of-control experiment with our money has never happened before. No one can predict the exact outcome. No one. It sure isn’t “normal,” and it’s sure to be a disaster.

Here’s the chart:
We began the year 2014 with a net public debt that has more than doubled since the year BEFORE Barack Obama took office. These overwhelming public financial obligations are completely unprecedented in the history of our country, outside of the two major global wars we fought in the 20th century.

But even these incredible figures don’t tell the real story. Or even half of it.

Various other government agencies and private companies taken over by the government also have obligations of nearly another $5 trillion. We’ve already booked complete losses on $140 billion worth of these obligations. Yet they remain completely off the federal balance sheet.

When you add these other, genuine, federal obligations that exist right now, today, you come up with a total debt figure that’s much more than $20 trillion. Far more than half of these debts were assumed under President Obama.

We don’t know what the full burden of these new and existing debts will be in total, over time.

That’s because the Federal Reserves power to manipulate interest rates is unlimited—at least for now that’s the case.

We don’t know how much of Fannie’s and Freddie’s bad debts will eventually be covered by the U.S. Treasury. (We do know they have an unlimited line of credit… so it’s a safe bet that we haven’t seen the last of these charges.) Finally, we have no idea what the eventual costs of the Federal Reserve’s ongoing expansion of the monetary base will be over the long term.

There is one thing that’s certain, however: these debts will not be free. They will carry a burden.

Today, we have more government debt than any country in the history of the world. We have more debt than every country in the European Union… combined.

With each additional commitment we sink further and further into debt… closing in upon the moment that we can simply no longer afford even the interest payments on our obligations.

And here is the part that really matters… the costs of maintaining our debts are about to skyrocket.

Right now the Federal Reserve is manipulating interest rates down to almost zero. As a result, the interest rate at which our government can borrow money is at a record low level. In fact, the Federal Reserve has lowered its benchmark interest rate ten times since August 2007, from 5.25% to a zone between zero and 0.25%. Obviously, the current rate won’t last forever.

But what will happen if the average real interest rate ends up being just 4% annually, and we pay it off over 30 years like a mortgage?

Incredibly, we’ll spend $34.3 trillion to simply repay what we owe right now. If the rate ends up being 6%, we’ll spend $43.1 trillion.

Now, of course, our politicians believe that through policy and currency manipulation, they can simply avoid paying any of these costs. They can order the Federal Reserve to prevent interest rates from ever rising to a level that would cost the American people anything. They believe they can manage the economy, so the debts of Fannie and Freddie won’t go bad. They believe (without any proof whatsoever) that they can stimulate the economy by even more deficit spending, so that it grows faster, allowing tax revenues to produce a surplus. Repaying these debts, they say, will be easy and painless.

But you know better, my friend. You must know better. The wages of sin must be paid. And they will be paid.

Paul Krugman, one of the most widely read and respected “economists” in the country wrote about this incredibly naïve and ridiculous solution in a January 7th, 2013 New York Times column. He said:

“There’s a legal loophole allowing the Treasury to mint platinum coins in any denomination the secretary chooses. Yes, it was intended to allow commemorative collector’s items – but that’s not what the letter of the law says. And by minting a $1 trillion coin, then depositing it at the Fed, the Treasury could acquire enough cash to sidestep the debt ceiling – while doing no economic harm at all.”

Very few people, even our most influential economists, seem to remember that the utility of money and credit are based upon their soundness.

Money allows people to exchange goods and services widely, greatly increasing the specialization of labor and facilitating the economic magic of competitive advantage. Money also plays the critical function of facilitating communications between and among many disparate actors. Price changes guide producers and consumers.

But… when the money can’t be trusted… this entire system breaks down. The price signals can’t be relied upon. And it becomes harder and harder for people to exchange labor and capital.

Likewise, credit enables an economy to grow by facilitating the growth of savings and capital investment through real interest rates. But very few people are willing to delay consumption and trust their savings in an economy that refuses to pay savers any return above inflation for their savings.

And that’s exactly where we are today.

Although to most Americans everything seems calm… and that we are enjoying an economic recovery, here is the real and uncomfortable truth:

We are trapped. There is no way out.

And nobody in Washington – not Republicans, not Democrats, and not even Tea Partiers – want you to realize how precarious our government’s finances really are. They can’t afford for you to understand this dilemma… or what it means.

Because here’s the thing…

And this is the big secret the government hopes you never understand…

According to even the most conservative calculations (again, using numbers provided by the Congressional Budget Office) a debt default by the U.S. government would be inevitable – were it not for one simple anomaly…the one thing that has saved the United States so far: Our country’s unique ability to simply print more money.

You see, the U.S. government has one very important weapon to use in this crisis so far: We are the only debtor in the world that can legally print U.S. dollars. And the U.S. dollar is what’s known as “the world’s reserve currency.”

The dollar forms the basis of the world’s financial system. It is what banks around the world hold in reserve against their loans.

Again, that’s a secret most politicians don’t understand:

As things stand now, the U.S. government can’t go broke in any ordinary sense of the word because it can simply print dollars to pay for its bad debts. (It’s been doing so since March of 2009.)

That might sound pretty good at first. Since we can always just print more money, what is there to worry about…?

Take a look at this chart…
Even as late as the 1970s, America was the world’s largest creditor. But by the mid-1980s we’d become a debtor to the world. And since the late 1990s we’ve been the world’s LARGEST debtor.

Today, our government owes more money to more people than anyone else in the world.

With all of these bad debts piling up, we’ve had to begin repaying our debts by printing trillions of new dollars.

With QE3, the latest round of “quantitative easing,” the Fed is printing $65 billion a month. That’s nearly a trillion dollars a year.

And now, finally, the impact of this is being felt in a big way.

As our creditors figure out what’s happening, we are beginning to have very, very big problems.

Our creditors (which include foreign countries and other investors here and abroad) can either completely stop accepting dollars in repayment… or greatly discount the value of these new dollars. This is already happening.

In fact, Zha Xiaogang, a researcher at the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies, recently said:

The shortcomings of the current international monetary system pose a big threat to China’s economy.”

That’s why China is now actively taking steps to phase out the U.S. dollar because of its frustration with the U.S. government’s mismanagement of our currency. And how does our government respond? We have the audacity to label China a “currency manipulator!”

The U.S. dollar has been the world’s reserve currency for decades now… so most Americans don’t have a clue about what the repercussions are of losing this status.

And maybe you think it could never happen… but the truth is, this is exactly what happens when countries get too far in debt or when they consume too much or produce too little.

In fact, the same thing happened to Great Britain in the 1970s.

Most people don’t know this, but Britain’s sterling was the reserve currency for most of the world for nearly 200 years… for most of the 18th and 19th centuries.

It continued to play this role until after World War II, when America was forced to prop up Britain’s economy with foreign aid –remember the famous Marshall Plan, when we gave billions to help European countries rebuild?

Unfortunately though, Britain pursued a socialist national agenda. The government took over all of the major industries. Like Barack Obama, Britain’s leaders wanted to “spread the wealth around.” Pretty soon the country was flat broke.

The final straw for Britain came in 1967, when things got so bad the Labour Party (the socialists) decided to “devalue” the British currency by 14%, overnight. They believed this would make it easier for people to afford their debts.

In reality, what it did was make anyone holding British sterling 14% poorer, overnight, and it made everything in Britain, much, much more expensive in the coming years.

And for the country as a whole, it ushered in one of the worst decades in modern British history.

Most Americans don’t know about Britain’s “Winter of Discontent” in the late 1970s, when the government put a freeze on wages. There were continuous strikes in nearly every sector… grave diggers, trash collectors… even hospital workers. Things got so bad at one point that many hospitals were reduced to accepting only emergency patients. And mothers giving birth had to bring their own linens.

In 1975, inflation in Britain skyrocketed 26.9%… in a single year!

The government also imposed what was known as the “Three Day Week” in 1974. In short, businesses were limited to using electricity for only three specified consecutive days’ each week and they were prohibited from working longer hours on those days.

Television companies were required to cease broadcasting at 10:30pm… to save electricity.

Just how bad were things, exactly?

Well, here’s a photo of the garbage that piled up because they didn’t have enough money to pay trash collectors a fair wage…

Imagine… Britain was a global superpower for 150 years. But when they started intentionally devaluing their currency, things went straight downhill.

It’s now obviously clear that the same thing that happened to Britain’s sterling when it was the world’s reserve currency, is now happening to the U.S. dollar. In fact, the exchange value of the U.S. dollar has fallen nearly 20% since mid-2003, according to data from the Federal Reserve itself.

As the U.S. dollar continues to lose its position as the world’s currency, gas, oil, and other commodities will continue to skyrocket. Almost EVERYTHING we consume will get dramatically more expensive. All the clothing, furniture, and household goods we import from China. All the food we get from Central and South America… all the electronics, televisions, computers, and cars we get from Asia and Europe.

As we print more money, the price of the world’s most essential commodities have soared. This is NOT a coincidence.

Around the world, as we print, prices soar… citizens protest… governments get overthrown. And it’s only going to get worse…

Because here’s the important fact you simply must understand about the United States right now:

Our government can NOT stop printing money because there is no possible way for us to actually afford our existing debts. No one wants you to know this. No one.

That’s why, despite the obvious inflation going on all around the world, the Fed continues to say there’s no inflation at all.

Just like in a Third World country, the government is radically devaluing the dollar and simply lying to everyone about what is really happening.
[from a letter published by Stansberry Research]
As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by
NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis

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If economic analysts and cycle theorists are correct, 2015 to 2020 will be an extremely difficult period for the US…

Does the economy move in predictable waves, cycles or patterns?  There are many economists who believe it does, and if their projections are correct, the rest of this decade is going to be pure hell for the United States.

Many mainstream economists want nothing to do with economic cycle theorists, but it should be noted that economic cycle theories have enabled some analysts to correctly predict the timing of recessions, stock market peaks and stock market crashes over the past couple of decades.  Of course none of the theories discussed below is perfect, but it is very interesting to note that all of them seem to indicate that the U.S. economy is about to enter a major downturn.  So will the period of 2015 to 2020 turn out to be so difficult for the United States?  We will just have to wait and see.

Economic cycles...

One of the most prominent economic cycle theories is known as “the Kondratieff wave”.  It was developed by a Russian economist named Nikolai Kondratiev, and as Wikipedia has noted, his economic theories got him into so much trouble with the Russian government that he was eventually executed because of them…

The Soviet economist Nikolai Kondratiev (also written Kondratieff) was the first to bring these observations to international attention in his book The Major Economic Cycles (1925) alongside other works written in the same decade. Two Dutch economists, Jacob van Gelderen and Samuel de Wolff, had previously argued for the existence of 50 to 60 year cycles in 1913. However, the work of de Wolff and van Gelderen has only recently been translated from Dutch to reach a wider audience.

Kondratiev’s ideas were not supported by the Soviet government. Subsequently he was sent to the gulag and was executed in 1938.

In 1939, Joseph Schumpeter suggested naming the cycles “Kondratieff waves” in his honor.

In recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest in the Kondratieff wave.  The following is an excerpt from an article by Christopher Quigley that discussed how this theory works…

Kondratiev’s analysis described how international capitalism had gone through many such “great depressions” and as such were a normal part of the international mercantile credit system. The long term business cycles that he identified through meticulous research are now called “Kondratieff” cycles or “K” waves.

The K wave is a 60 year cycle (+/- a year or so) with internal phases that are sometimes characterized as seasons: spring, summer, autumn and winter:

  • Spring phase: a new factor of production, good economic times, rising inflation
  • Summer: hubristic ‘peak’ war followed by societal doubts and double digit inflation
  • Autumn: the financial fix of inflation leads to a credit boom which creates a false plateau of prosperity that ends in a speculative bubble
  • Winter: excess capacity worked off by massive debt repudiation, commodity deflation & economic depression. A ‘trough’ war breaks psychology of doom.

Increasingly economic academia has come to realize the brilliant insight of Nikolai Kondratiev and accordingly there have been many reports, articles, theses and books written on the subject of this “cyclical” phenomenon. An influential essay, written by Professor W. Thompson of Indiana University, has indicated that K waves have influenced world technological development since the 900’s. His thesis states that “modern” economic development commenced in 930AD in the Sung province of China and he propounds that since this date there have been 18 K waves lasting on average 60 years.

So what does the Kondratieff wave theory suggest is coming next for us?

Well, according to work done by Professor W. Thompson of Indiana University, we are heading into an economic depression that should last until about the year 2020

Based on Professor Thompson’s analysis long K cycles have nearly a thousand years of supporting evidence. If we accept the fact that most winters in K cycles last 20 years (as outlined in the chart above) this would indicate that we are about halfway through the Kondratieff winter that commenced in the year 2000. Thus in all probability we will be moving from a “recession” to a “depression” phase in the cycle about the year 2013 and it should last until approximately 2017-2020.

But of course the Kondratieff wave is far from the only economic cycle theory that indicates that we are heading for an economic depression.

The economic cycle theories of author Harry Dent also predict that we are on the verge of massive economic problems.  He mainly focuses on demographics, and the fact that our population is rapidly getting older is a major issue for him.  The following is an excerpt from a Business Insider article that summarizes the major points that Dent makes in his new book…

  • Young people cause inflation because they “cost everything and produce nothing.” But young people eventually “begin to pay off when they enter the workforce and become productive new workers (supply) and higher-spending consumers (demand).”
  • Unfortunately, the U.S. reached its demographic “peak spending” from 2003-2007 and is headed for the “demographic cliff.” Germany, England, Switzerland are all headed there too. Then China will be the first emerging market to fall off the cliff, albeit in a few decades. The world is getting older.
  • The U.S. stock market will crash. “Our best long-term and intermediate cycles suggest another slowdown and stock crash accelerating between very early 2014 and early 2015, and possibly lasting well into 2015 or even 2016. The worst economic trends due to demographics will hit between 2014 and 2019. The U.S. economy is likely to suffer a minor or major crash by early 2015 and another between late 2017 and late 2019 or early 2020 at the latest.”
  • “The everyday consumer never came out of the last recession.” The rich are the ones feeling great and spending money, as asset prices (not wages) are aided by monetary stimulus.
  • The U.S. and Europe are headed in the same direction as Japan, a country still in a “coma economy precisely because it never let its debt bubble deleverage,” Dent argues. “The only way we will not follow in Japan’s footsteps is if the Federal Reserve stops printing new money.”
  • “The reality is stark, when dyers start to outweigh buyers, the market changes.” It all comes down to an aging population, Dent writes. “Fewer spenders, borrowers, and investors will be around to participate in the next boom.”
  • The U.S. has a crazy amount of debt and “economists and politicians have acted like we can just wave a magic wand of endless monetary injections and bailouts and get over what they see as a short-term crisis.” But the problem, Dent says, is long-term and structural — demographics.
  • Businesses can “dominate the years to come” by focusing on cash and cash flow, being “lean and mean,” deferring major capital expenditures, selling nonstrategic real estate, and firing weak employees now.
  • The big four challenges in the years ahead will be 1) private and public debt 2) health care and retirement entitlements 3) authoritarian governance around the globe and 4) environmental pollution that threatens the global economy.

According to Dent, “You need to prepare for that crisis, which will occur between 2014 and 2023, with the worst likely starting in 2014 and continuing off and on into late 2019.”

So just like the Kondratieff wave, Dent’s work indicates that we are going to experience a major economic crisis by the end of this decade.

Another economic cycle theory that people are paying more attention to these days is the relationship between sun spot cycles and the stock market.  It turns out that market peaks often line up very closely with peaks in sun spot activity.  This is a theory that was first popularized by an English economist named William Stanley Jevons.

Sun spot activity appears to have peaked in early 2014 and is projected to decline for the rest of the decade.  If historical trends hold up, that is a very troubling sign for the stock market.

And of course there are many, many other economic cycle theories that seem to indicate that trouble is ahead for the United States as well.  The following is a summary of some of them from an article by GE Christenson and Taki Tsaklanos

Charles Nenner Research (source)
Stocks should peak in mid-2013 and fall until about 2020. Similarly, bonds should peak in the summer of 2013 and fall thereafter for 20 years. He bases his conclusions entirely on cycle research. He expects the Dow to fall to around 5,000 by 2018 – 2020.

Kress Cycles (Clif Droke) (source)
The major 120 year cycle plus all minor cycles trend down into late 2014. The stock market should decline hard into late 2014.

Elliott Wave (Robert Prechter) (source)
He believes that the stock market has peaked and has entered a generational bear-market. He anticipates a crash low in the market around 2016 – 2017.

Market Energy Waves (source)
He sees a 36 year cycle in stock markets that is peaking in mid-2013 and will cycle down for 2013 – 2016. “… the controlling energy wave is scheduled to flip back to negative on July 19 of this year.” Equity markets should drop 25 – 50%.

Armstrong Economics (source)
His economic confidence model projects a peak in confidence in August 2013, a bottom in September 2014, and another peak in October 2015. The decline into January 2020 should be severe. He expects a world-wide crash and contraction in economies from 2015 – 2020.

Cycles per Charles Hugh Smith (source)
He discusses four long-term cycles that bottom in the 2010 – 2020 period. They are: Credit expansion/contraction cycle, Price inflation/wage cycle, Generational cycle, and Peak oil extraction cycle.

So does history repeat itself?

Well, it should be disconcerting to a lot of people that 2014 is turning out to be eerily similar to 2007.  But we never learned the lessons that we should have learned from the last major economic crisis, and most Americans are way too apathetic to notice that we are making many of the very same mistakes all over again.

And in recent months there have been a whole host of indications that the next major economic downturn is just around the corner.  For example, just this week we learned that manufacturing job openings have declined for four months in a row.  For many more indicators like this, please see my previous article entitled “17 Facts To Show To Anyone That Believes That The U.S. Economy Is Just Fine“.

Let’s hope that all of the economic cycle theories discussed above are wrong this time, but we would be quite foolish to ignore their warnings.  Everything indicates that a great economic storm is rapidly approaching, and we should use this time of relative calm to get prepared while we still can.

[by Michael Snyder, writing for THE ECONOMIC COLLAPSE BLOG]


As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis


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