Thursday, October 25, 2012

Oh! So close . . .

A really good piece by James C. Kennedy may be found here.

Where he goes astray is in believing that the "free market capitalism" envisioned by classical liberalism was any different than the "free market capitalism" envisioned by Milton Friedman.

I may write more about this later, but I doubt it.  I understand Kennedy's mistake because I once made it, too.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Any Sense of Superiority Is False

One of the hardest things to maintain is the recognition that no human being is inherently superior to any other.

This is not to say that we are all equal.

Then again, how many dimensions of social value do we actually measure?  I know plenty of people who are nowhere as "successful" as I am who are clearly superior in certain areas that are viewed as "intangibles" because we refuse to measure and pay for them.

But it can become quite tempting to forget what is not measured, what is not appreciated, and to convince ourselves that we are really as great as others hold us out to be.

Hint: that's just your ego.  Human beings from top to bottom are basically the same. While the distribution of sociopaths may be much higher at the upper rungs of society, that's only because the rules of society are sociopathic in that they were not designed to apply to the people who created them.

People like Jesse who want to believe that the Elite are sociopaths need to consider that the societal values were created and driven by the Elite, who created societal values to inhibit everybody but themselves.  So why do you continue to advocate those societal values, Jesse?

And I'm not saying that we should abandon these societal values, only that we should recognize that they control us, whatever they may be.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

And Yet You Perpetuate the Lies [Updated]

People like Jesse and Yves recognize the lies, but they can't help themselves in normalizing the evil the lies perpetuate.

Great headline from Jesse:

Propaganda and Perception Management, and the Process of Dehumanisation

Then he invariably pimps gold and silver, the Plutocrats' preferred control mechanism.

To be clear, the post in question does not perpetuate any lies, does not pimp gold and silver, but wait for that to happen in a later post.  He is like clockwork: he pimps gold and silver on a daily basis.

To be clear, I like Jesse and Yves a great deal.  I just think they are cowards.  They both have a following and the credibility to create movements, but they'll never do it.

UPDATE:  Yves Smith gives a much better example of what I say above.  She argues for a "tax to kill high frequency trading," essentially accepting that HFT is legitimate under current law.  A strong case can be made that HFT is, in fact, a form of securities fraud that is already outlawed under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.  No new laws are required.  Just apply the existing securities fraud laws against HFT.

But that won't happen.  There is no such thing as the US stock market any longer.  Between dark pools and internalization at large retail houses like TD Ameritrade, there is almost no real trading going on in the exchanges.  Without HFT to act as a proxy for price discovery, stock prices would plummet.  HFTers own the ball.  If you throw them out of the ball game, there is no game because the ball goes where the HFTers go.  Unless you freeze the markets, outlaw the dark pools (another form of securities fraud), outlaw retailers from front-running their customers (via internalization), and outlaw HFT -- all of which can be done by simply applying current law-- nothing will be done about HFT.

But just by arguing about HFT on the HFTers' terms, you have legitimized their right to play.  You have perpetuated their lies.

Monday, October 15, 2012

How Big a Lie is the "Big Lie"?

Golem XIV has the third part of his now four-part series on "Why Are We Bailing Out the Banks?"

There's some good observations here:
To tackle a big lie can feel as if you are weakening yourself more than those you oppose. You feel the branch you are sitting on starting to weaken. Which makes it all the harder to defend what you are doing and saying against those who cast doubt not just upon what you say but upon your motives and even your sanity.
For many people the feeling of self-inflicted unease becomes too great. And the bigger the lie the greater this effect. To oppose a really big lie, particularly one vocally supported by a network of mutually re-enforcing powerful people and institutions who all claim they have your best interests at heart, is hard because of the sheer scale of what your opposition entails. To oppose the well constructed, well supported, really big lie you are faced with having to question far more than you want to. Questioning is hard to do. It sets one apart. No one likes to be set apart.We are by instinct social animals. If we must set ourselves apart we at least want to feel confident of where we stand. The really big lie ups the ante. It forces us to feel the widening circles of disruption of our own beliefs.
One can oppose the small lie from the solid ground of the rest of your beliefs. The big lie’s strength and defense is that it forces you to question all the ground you thought was solid; the ground you thought you could stand upon to make your stand. To question the big lie is to feel that you are casting yourself out. It is not a great feeling.
Ultimately, I fear, Golem XIV will end his unraveling of the Big Lie at the fig leaf covering this instance of so-called "Capitalism," that he will not see Capitalism is itself the Biggest of Lies, offering slavery as liberty.

You see, the reason we are bailing out the banks is that they own us.  We serve them, they do not serve "Capitalism" or "society."  We serve them.  A better question is "Why do we think we have the right to question why we are bailing out the banks?"  Real people must die so capitalism's fictions may live.

An even better question is "Why should we accept being owned?"  FDR allegedly "saved Capitalism," but here we are, right back to the Gilded Age and the Great Depression.  Any "Golden Era" of Capitalism after FDR's reforms was short-lived, as the stagflation of the late 1960s and early 1970s was the direct result of a counter-attack by the FIRE sector.

To be clear, I am not proposing any alternative to Capitalism.  I don't feel qualified to do so, and I tend to believe that our conditioning under Capitalism will lead us to propose something too much like it, e.g., Communism.

It is hard to believe that I once believed, as Ian Fraser wrote today, that "neoliberalism perverted Adam Smith."  I came to that conclusion over three years ago, and wrote about it two years ago here.  While people I trust and who have read Adam Smith much more deeply than I have assure me that Smith was sincere in what he wrote, I fear that he was not.  The one thing that keeps me hopeful is that Smith was very much against usury, the corporate form, and financial speculators.  It may well be that he was the equivalent of a modern day "progressive" and inadvertently legitimized evil by attempting to engage it on its own terms.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Meaningful Concepts, Meaningless Phrases

Jesse has pointed us to a three part essay by Golem XIV, who asks the question "Why are we bailing out the banks?".  Here is part one and part two.  I am looking forward to part three.

I think Golem XIV dwells too much upon the current instance of self-serving behavior on the part of the ruling elite and ignores entirely the true state of reality implied by what is unfolding before our eyes in the context of two thousand years of history.  I'd argue there is no such thing as "equality," no such thing as "liberty," no such thing as "democracy," and no such thing as "virtue" and "ethics" EXCEPT to the extent required to enslave us.  All of these concepts, representative of the best instincts of humanity, have been perverted and turned against the masses for millenia, all thanks to the hard work of political philosophers like Plato and Aristotle, misanthropic, cynical bastards who turned the best instincts of humanity against it, all because they feared everybody else was as petty and conniving as they were.

The only hope for the ruling elite (who are very few in number) is to make the current crisis so bad that we fight each other over meaningful concepts that have been rendered meaningless phrases.  And when we are done killing each other to uphold an ideal that we killed with it, the ruling elite will return to rebuild a "brighter future" that will look just like the past.

Plato and Aristotle were really all about power.  Their works provide a Rosetta Stone for translating human spirituality and generosity into power for an elite few.  Those same works can provide the basis for reversing the flow and returning the power to its source: the individual.

The Roots of My Disdain for Plato and Aristotle

RE's recent post at the Doomstead Diner reminded me of something I wrote awhile ago.  So, I looked it up and found a trilogy of posts from June 2011 that laid the foundation of my disdain for Plato and Aristotle.  At the time I wrote these posts, I had not read much Plato or Aristotle, and I had yet to delve into the politics and morality of Athenian society and their response to it:

Why I See a New Dark Age and Not Merely A Greater Depression
To me, the Dark Ages are "dark" because of the knowledge that was lost, if not intentionally destroyed. In this sense, I do not view the coming new Dark Age as a return to subsistence farming or involving the complete loss of modern technology, but as the fulfillment of Neoliberalism's mission to engineer a "great forgetting" of classical liberalism and other fruits of the Age of Reason. The ideas of people like John Locke and Thomas Jefferson had a power beyond that which even those two intellectual giants could contain, and they must be destroyed in their raw form and viewed only through the Neoliberal prism. (Note: my thesis is that both Locke and Jefferson crafted their ideas with the aim of controlling the masses, not empowering them.)
The sociopathic dogma of Neoliberalism drives narcissistic institutional values that prevent the masses from thinking beyond themselves, encouraging them instead to embrace selfishness, or "self interest, wrongly understood." The purpose of the coming Dark Age is to forget the classical liberal ideas that resulted in self interest, rightly understood, i.e., self interest that recognizes the good of the community as part of self interest. Mix in the "now-opia" (or is that "now-opiate") of the modern consumer culture, and you have a perfect set of conditions for a new closing of the Western mind.
My next post explained my thesis that people like Locke and Jefferson were not truly on the side the common man or justice:
Explaining My Thesis Re: Locke and Jefferson 
In response to my last post, where I said "my thesis is that both Locke and Jefferson crafted their ideas with the aim of controlling the masses, not empowering them," I was asked to explain how I came to that conclusion. 
The journey to that conclusion has been a long one, but it ultimately comes back to Mark Twain's obervation "History doesn't repeat itself; it rhymes." This is an aspect of what my own half-formed theory on the fractal nature of human cognition, which is based on the basic comparative mechanism by which human beings decide. This mechanism is responsible for the fractal nature of markets observed by Mandelbrot, and for history rhyming with itself. 
In every era, somebody rediscovers the basic mechanism of human decision making and seeks to use it, and the ruling elite invariably seeks to it to its advantage. Knowledge of this mechanism, i.e., the comparing of what is experienced to what was expected (as filtered through cognitive bias), is something that predates cognitive science and behavioral economics by millenia. Plato certainly seemed to understand it . . .
Neoliberalism has been relatively open in its purpose and its means for achieving it. Its break from classical liberalism is marked by Walter Lippmann's The Good Society, which identifies and laments his perception of classical liberalism's shortfalls, which include the mistaken belief that educating the masses makes it easier to govern them. Under Neoliberalism (and its offshoot. neoconservatism), we've seen a concerted dumbing down of the populace. More importantly, however, we've seen the deliberate redefining and demeaning of important, visceral words such as "liberty," "freedom" and "democracy," all to the ends of securing the power of the elite that arose and flourished under classical liberalism. 
When I realized that Neoliberalism merely recasts feudal doctrines of control such as the divine right of kings (the market is God and winners are chosen by God to win) and excommunication (the poor and unemployed have been cast out by God, the market), I recognized the possibility that classical liberalism itself was merely an earlier recasting of the same doctrines of elite control to secure the place of the then elite: the educated oligarchs like Locke and Jefferson. The difference is that the transformation that took place in the Age of Reason was triggered by the Reformation and the realization that the Roman Catholic Church was corrupt, which resulted in classical liberalism focusing on God as man (i.e., Jesus) instead of the disembodied authority figure who will strike you dead if you do something wrong. 
Interestingly enough, however, Locke constructed his "natural law" to protect and preserve the "property" that a person already owned, regardless of how he came by that ownership, even though there is no such thing as property in nature. Locke and Hobbes were merely two sides of the same coin, which requires a state to hold society together. Both sought to achieve the same end of protecting the gains the elite had achieved under the prior system of feudalism. 
One of the reasons that I'm worried about a new Dark Age is the fact that we are moving to completely digital media, which means that documents can be disappeared or altered without anybody being aware of it. At least the Church of the Dark Ages had to go around burning books and killing people to purge the world of knowledge. In another century or so, there will be no permanent record of anything. All knowledge that is publicly available will be subject to censorship and manipulation that nobody can detect, even if they thought to look for it.
I realize that this post has been somewhat stream-of-consciousness, but I hope you get the giste of what I'm saying, which echoes and amplifies what people like Niebuhr and Myrdal have said: the ruling elite define the institutional values that set the baseline of decision making in a society. Those values are only changed consciously in response to a clear an present danger to the elite themselves. Marxism kicked classical liberalism in the head, which would have been fine but for the Great Depression. So the ruling elite kicked things into overdrive to define neoliberalism, and they documented what they did every step of the way.
Completing the trilogy of posts:
Responding to the most recent comment 
Blogger is puking on my attempt to provide a comment, so I'm responding to Mr. Falberg here.
I prefer to not resort to ideas like the "New World Order."
First, to the extent that a New World Order is actually contemplated, it is merely a new new New World Order (at least) meant to secure power in light of society evolving to a point where it wants to take that power away. 
Second, the current NWO theory infuses far too much lifelike detail into what is at best a thumbnail sketch. Indeed, the ruling elite would be stupid to insist on a "one world government" because a key aspect of maintaining control without responsibility is to be behind the scenes and out of sight. The more people there between you and the audience, the less likely they'll be able to see you. The current system is already far more effective than a one world government would ever be. 
And the worst part about it is that a lot of the people who believe in and push the NWO thesis love them their natural law, their John Locke, and their Thomas Jefferson, i.e., they just prefer the old NWO over the one they see coming. 
I care less about the conspiracies and more about the mechanisms that allow us to be duped by them. The only thing we can control is our own actions. I can't stop somebody from trying to dupe me, but I don't have to allow myself to be duped. The problem with the NWO theory is that it assumes its starting worldview is itself valid and true when, in fact, it appears to be just a prior version of the NWO, at least to me.
Based on my further study of the matter, as far as I can tell based on the historical record available to us, Plato and Aristotle were the first to focus on systematically legitimizing the illegitimate. Plato is to Aristotle what Hobbes was to Locke, what Hamilton was to Jefferson, what Romney is to Obama, i.e., two men who agree on the strategy but disagree on the tactics for achieving it.

I apologize for anyone who finds this post to be a shaggy dog story, but I have a day job, and this blog is primarily for jotting down thoughts that I might find useful later.  Still, I felt compelled to respond to some of the shock/concern over my disdain of Plato and Aristotle.  To be clear, my disdain is not a rejection of the truth of everything they wrote but of the falseness of what they wrote as a whole.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Irony 101

I find it both puzzling and interesting that my rejection of the Quantity Theory of Money is rejected by supporters of MMT.  MMTers, after all, choose to reject the Quantity Theory of Money when money is sovereign.  I simply go farther and reject the Quantity Theory of Money outright.

Where I seem to disagree with MMTers is in their blind spot: the private central bank's balance sheet.  I argue that the private central bank's balance sheet matters.  One MMTer seems to argue that if you pretend the private central bank's balance sheet doesn't exist, it doesn't matter.  He/she also makes numerous assertions about a couple of country's private central banks that he/she cannot substantiate because he/she does not seem to understand accounting rules and seems to assume that the numbers on an audited balance sheet can be made from whole cloth. That is not the case.

At the end of the day, this blog exists for me to write down my thoughts.  While I appreciate comments that help me think better and more critically, this really isn't a place for ideological arguments.  I just don't have the time or inclination to argue with people who don't know what they are talking about.  On the other hand, if you can show me that I am mistaken, that I don't know what I'm talking about, that would be a service much appreciated.

I live to learn.  This blog just logs what I believe I am discovering.  I am not invested in being right, but if you think I'm wrong, please prove it and be clear in your proof.  Thanks.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

When A Central Bank Is Private, Currency Collapse Is Caused By Insolvency Not Money-Printing

I've said before that the Quantity Theory of Money ("QToM") is hogwash.  Inflation, deflation, hyperinflation, stagflation, and any other -flation - none of these depend upon the quantity of money available in an economy.  From what I can tell, the QToM was invented do convince labor that increasing their wages did not improve their lot.

Credit drives everything.  When new credit is tight and old loans get called in, assets are sold below the current market price, giving the illusion that money is worth more.  Actually credit-inflated assets are worth less.

When a central bank is privately held and subject to the accounting rules of the private sector, the balance sheet drives everything.  If a central bank's liabilities should ever exceed its assets and the central bank's creditors gets wind of that fact, the central bank's liabilities will get called in, and it will sell off its assets to appease the secured creditors first.  The holders of central bank notes, e.g. Federal Reserve notes, are unsecured creditors who will be the last to know.  But once they know, the value of the central bank notes rapidly goes to zero.  When a bank is not a central bank, this phenomenon is called a bank run.  The elite have falsely labeled this phenomenon as "hyperinflation" and blamed it on excessive "money-printing" to mask the fact that a private central bank sometimes has to die so its owners may live.

If the Fed is purposefully buying toxic assets to insulate its owners from liabilities. the Fed is becoming a "bad bank" that will eventually be recognized as insolvent, rendering its bank notes valueless.  When this happens, all the Federal Reserve notes that the banks are sitting on as "excess reserves" will be released to give credence to the lie that "money-printing" caused the collapse of the dollar, but don't be fooled.  The Fed's insolvency will have preceded the release of those reserves by a substantial period of time.

When a central bank is privately owned, what appears to be hyperinflation is actually the fallout from a bank run that ended in the central bank's insolvency.

Capitalism Is Not Wasteful

Capitalism does to the common man what the Inuit do to whales.  No part of the common man goes to waste.  All of him is consumed.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Capturing A Thought

A comment that I posted at Naked Capitalism that may not make it past the filter:

We get it. Our former Great White Hope is now consigned to forever being just another Great White Hype.
So when do we stop talking about Schneiderman et al.? Why do he and other proven frauds deserve our continued consideration?
Could it be that we in the “reality-based community” merely follow the reality that is created for us? Could it be that we are irrelevant so long as that is all we do?
I fully understand that the kind of commentary we see above is what drives traffic to your site, that confirming what people already believe they know is easy money. While I am not accusing you of consciously “selling out”, I think your desire to run a “successful” web site has compromised your objectivity. Self interest is always unenlightened, no matter how hard we try to make it otherwise.
Being a progressive inherently means perpetuating today’s fraud with the hope of making it less fraudulent tomorrow. Perhaps what we need for real progress is subversives, not progressives.
Embrace your inner subversive.
Read more at 

UPDATE 1:  Yves' response:

Yves Smith says:October 2, 2012 at 1:50 am
With all due respect, you can go to hell.
I am sleep deprived while out of town at a conference getting this post out, which meant reading the filing and comparing it to past filings on relevant cases. This was substantive work that you just pissed on. I’ve been on the mortgage and securitzation beat consistently, and this is separately of interest because the Obama fans ARE treating this like the real deal and are putting out e-mails touting this case as significant.
And this is one of the major news stories tonight, which the WSJ regarded as important enough to send out as a news alert and the NY Times has as its #2 story on its business page. But no, I’m covering it not because it is one of the important news items tonight and the one that is logical for me to write about given my past coverage. Instead you use it as an excuse to attack me personally, which calls into question what your motives are, as opposed to mine.
Read more at 

 UPDATE 2: My Response to Yves (I'm assuming this will be censored, so I'm producing what I wrote before submission):

With all due respect, Yves, you are already there.  And I get that because I am there, too.
Take a step back and think on what I've said in the comment to which you responded as well as in the comment that you censored (it is your site, so I'm not complaining).
Being sleep deprived is no excuse for consciously perpetuating a system you seem to believe is wrong.  You are not sleep deprived every moment of every single day you blog.
The fact that the Schneiderman case is "major news" does not absolve you of anything that I have said.  Yes, major news drives traffic to your site, but does it make the subject matter at all relevant?  No.
You're covering the "major news" because doing so makes YOU relevant, not because it is actually major news.  And you hope by being relevant, you can make a difference.  Unfortunately, you're just putting lipstick on a pig.  And I feel for you.  I really do.  I think you are trying to fight the good fight.  I also think you are fooling yourself, and that saddens me.  No matter what you believe, I think very highly of you, and I only criticize you because I believe you can do better.
Be subversive, not progressive.

Capitalism Isn't a Failure, It's a Lie

I had jury duty today.  To pass the time waiting to be called by the judge, I decided to do a little light reading:  Karl Popper's The Open Society and Its Enemies, Vol. 1: The Spell of Plato.

I view everything that Popper has written as highly suspect due to his role as a founding father of neoliberalism.  My views of neoliberalism have morphed over time.  While I still abhor it, I no longer view it as a repudiation of classical liberalism and finally accept it for what Popper, Hayek, Friedman and Mises described it to be: the intellectual and moral successor to classical liberalism merely stripped of its communist fiction.  That is, neoliberalism is everything classical liberalism was designed to be without the alleged "flaw" of collectivism that gave rise to socialism, communism and fascism.

Neoliberalism, known in the US as "libertarianism," is not anti-State.  Indeed, Popper, Hayek, Friedman and Mises were all Statists, only their perfect state does not serve the collective, it only keeps the collective in check.  The purpose of the neoliberal State is to control the collective from which it draws its power so as to benefit the true elite.  The collective serves the neoliberal State, not the other way around.

So, I was pleasantly surprised when Popper rightly noted the Double Truth of Plato's Republic that arises from Plato's deliberate perversion of the word "justice" to mean something other than its common understanding.  Leaving aside the obvious anachronism of Popper's applying the modern day understanding of the word to a work written for the elite of Athens, who may have very well have understood the term exactly as Plato described it, it is remarkable that Popper felt comfortable in laying bear Plato's artifice, which has been duplicated in form by philosophers and theologians for millenia know.

Popper's discussion of Plato has forced me to question my assumption that-- like Friedman, Hayek and Mises-- Popper was a despicable man.  He may have had genuinely good intentions and not realized what he was creating in neoliberalism.

That being said, I note that Hayek did to "liberty" what Plato did to "justice," and yet I am unaware of Popper criticizing him for it.  On balance, I'm led to the conclusion that Popper's criticism of Plato was intended to deflect attention away from the fact that neoliberals were engaged in their own propaganda that relied upon using common words in an uncommon way to manufacture consent.  After all, the aim of Popper's book is not an end to Double Truth but an end to historicism, i.e., romanticizing the past as the ideal and justifying violence by one people against another.

Historicism, after all, is always and everywhere, the enemy of globalism.  The chosen people must rule, they cannot play on a level playing field with their inferiors.

Anyway, these thoughts ultimately led me to the thesis that is the title to this post: Capitalism Isn't a Failure, It's a Lie.

Elsewhere in the blogosphere today, a very earnest Mike Krieger accused Ben Bernanke of lying about Milton Friedman.  (NOTE: all Bernanke did was express an opinion, which may be wrong but cannot be a "lie" because it is not presented as a fact.)  Bernanke actually knew Friedman, and I tend to believe Bernanke's assessment over Krieger's or Anna Schwarz's, who Krieger relies upon to substantiate his argument that Bernanke lied.  The fact is that Krieger's reliance upon Friedman and Schwarz is misplaced because the seminal work they became known for was itself a subterfuge, a sleight of hand that played with numbers to make a fiction a fact.  Specifically, Friedman and Schwarz successfully used M1 data to argue that the Fed caused the Great Depression by not expanding the money supply.  However, what the Fed controlled was base money, i.e., M0, and M1 shrank during the "Great Contraction" even as M0 expanded.  If you think about it, Friedman and Schwarz lied to make a case for expanding the Fed's power to what it is today.

That still doesn't get us to the title of this post, though, does it?

I could not bring myself to respond to the substance of Krieger's post because I've done it too many times in too many places to too many unwitting neoliberals (who champion Hayek's vision of negative liberty without realizing it), but Krieger said something in comments that has been said many times by others:
How can the problem be capitalism when there is no captalism?
If you conclude that what we have today is not capitalism, the next question is when did we have capitalism? Most people, apparently including Krieger, assume a point in history where the ideal of capitalism as expressed in the literature was actually practiced.  However, if they were to actually investigate the reality of that historic era, they'd realize that "capitalism" then was the same as "capitalism" today.  "Capitalism" in reality has never looked much like the idealized capitalism that Krieger thinks he wants.

Okay, if true capitalism does not exist and has never existed, what is the basis for assuming that it will ever be allowed to exist?

What if the "capitalism" we have today is all the capitalism that the elite will allow us to have?  What if capitalism deliberately misdescribes reality to hide the truth from those far away from the machinery of power?  What if capitalism isn't a failure but a lie?

After much consideration, I've concluded that capitalism is indeed a lie.  Yes, it is a far more elaborate lie than what Plato did to "justice" and Hayek did to "liberty," but its nature and purpose is identical: control the masses by presenting fiction as fact.

Update 10/3/2012:  My October 1st comment to Krieger's post is still awaiting moderation.  In the comment, all I do is ask two simple questions.  Here is my comment in its entirety:
Have we ever had what you consider to be capitalism? If so, when was the last time we had it? Thanks.
I hope the wait means he is going to provide a lengthy post in response because I am really interested in what he has to say.

CHS Confirms His Stupidity (Ignorance, Really)

CHS incorrectly equates inflation with price increases, deflation with price decreases, to confirm the belief system of his personal cargo cult (Austrian-inspired pseudo-libertarianism).

I guess this basic misunderstanding of the concepts of inflation and deflation is what caused him to encourage deflation.  I mean, the guy actually argues that the price reduction of the PC over the last thirty years is an example of "deflation" when, in fact, the price reduction has nothing to do with the money supply (i.e., it is not a result of monetary phenomenon) and everything to do with wage arbitrage (aka offshoring), increased demand (you know, of that dynamic price setting duo of Supply and Demand), and reduced manufacturing cost due to technological innovation (aka, Moore's Law).

CHS still has a lot of worthwhile things to say regarding social policy, and I even continue to agree with some of his economic solutions, but I can no longer take him seriously as an economics pundit.

Poor People. Lots of Poor People.

That's what it takes to make one rich person: lots of poor people.

And the purpose of Western civiLIEzation is to scale globally to impoverish the world and benefit a select few.

Indeed, the alleged "Clash of Civilizations" between the West and Islam, at heart, is motivated by Islam's refusal to allow usury, the West's preferred means for creating poor people to sustain the few truly rich.  While religious differences and intolerance are often touted as the reason for the West's aggression against Islam, the only religious difference that matters is never discussed: Islam's ban on usury.  Only through conquest or usury can the West maintain the illusion of exponential growth required to sustain it.  Without more people to impoverish through usury, Western civiLIEzation will sputter and die.

Forget Peak Oil.  Peak Credit is what really matters to Western economies, and we have reached it.  Yes, oil is important, but oil's importance is secondary to the fact that almost 25% of the world's population is off-limits to the West's usury.

Western civiLIEzation is done.  This does not mean that any form of collapse is imminent, or even that collapse is inevitable.  CiviLIEzation is fueled by fictions to which we need not chain our fates.