Category Archives: The new global crisis

The bubble and the reckoning

Benjamin A Smith writes: This is the “everything bubble,” where a broad-based collection of stocks are just plain expensive. In most cases, not eye-poppingly expensive like we saw in internet stocks two decades ago. However, it’s expensive enough that collectively, the market is the second priciest on record.

A widely-followed indicator confirms as such. The “CAPE” ratio is an acronym for “Cyclically Adjusted P/E” ratio. It compares a stock’s price performance relative to earnings over a 10-year period. It’s highly regarded because it smooths out earnings volatility and adjusts for inflation. Right now, it’s screaming “sell.”

In the history of the stock market, the CAPE ratio has only been more expensive between June 1997 to September 2001. It’s topped over 30 now, breaking even the gaga days of the 1920’s mania. Along with it, the “Panic-Euphoria Model,” which is the S&P 500 forward P/E-to-volatility ratio, is also at its second highest point in history, showing how euphoric investors are really feeling. By almost any measure, the market is historically expensive. (Source: “Probably Nothing,” Zero Hedge, June 18, 2017.)

Yet, investors seem to be sleepwalking their way into unreality. Record inflows into U.S. equities keep occurring, allowing this magic levitation ride to push forward. Sell-inducing volatility surges only last a session or two, then die off. U.S. stock have climbed the biggest wall of worry in history, and show no signs of quitting. Equity overvaluation, the threat of trade wars, tepid growth, record public debt…the list goes on. Read full article here

Putting Democracy above the Bottom Line

Kelle Louaillier writes

This month, we will have a chance to chart a course toward a stronger, safer global society, where power belongs to the many, not to the few, and where those who have run roughshod over our environment, human rights, and public health will be held accountable. I am not talking about the United States’ presidential election.

To be sure, the US election will be immensely consequential; but endless punditry and horserace politics have obscured two groundbreaking events that begin on November 7: meetings of the parties to the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).Global corporations are enormous, and their influence affects almost every aspect of our lives. To understand the reach of their power, one must look no further than the billions of dollars they spend on elections; their lobbying to gut worker and environmental protections in trade agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership; and fossil-fuel corporations’ relentless drive to derail climate-change policy.

Global corporations have disproportionate power because they can operate across national borders, which means that no single local or national government can effectively regulate them. The crucial function of international frameworks such as the FCTC and UNFCCC is to provide concrete tools for governments to set national policies on issues ranging from public health to climate change and global inequality.

Read full article here

The end of the Atlantic project. Slamming the brakes on the neoliberal order.

Britain isn’t leaving the EU any time soon as confusion grips parliament. Angela Merkel will see to that. Make no mistake though, Britain voting to ‘leave’ on a high 72% turnout in the Brexit referendum is a devastating blow to the current international order, the entire structure of which will have to change. The British public has Molotov cocktailed the Westminster and Washington élites.

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Brexit and the Zeitgeist

Tom Ewing writes

Brexit is insular but not wholly British. You hardly have to try and see parallels, across the Channel or the Atlantic. Better thinkers than me have addressed this crisis, the arrogance of neoliberal elites in constructing a politics designed to sideline and work around democracy while leaving democracy formally intact. Democracy becomes a potential weapon, a trigger you can vote to pull. But weapons don’t fire themselves, and the genius of Farage and Johnson and Gove (and Trump, potentially) is to get people to focus on the target, not on the one holding the gun.

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Why Janet Ain’t Yellin’ “Higher Interest” Anymore: Jobs Worse than Expected and Far Worse than Reported

David Haggith writes

The Fed’s plane called Recovery is disintegrating slowly, rather than in one huge blow-up. Six months out from lift off, it is clear that the forces against another rate increase are growing worse month by month.

The Fed’s chances of pulling up any higher are getting rapidly smaller. Globally, there is talk of Brexit and Grexit, and China is looking like a mountainside that could slide any day now. Japan’s one-hundredth attempt at economic recovery through quantitative easing has failed completely. Much of the world had descended into Alice’s Wonderland of negative interest rates for the first time in world history, as a last-ditch attempt to recover from the Great Recession (and to recover from their central banks’ failed recovery attempts). Two major European banks are failing, and Venezuela and Brazil have collapsed into economic chaos. (And those are just a few current headlines.)

Yet, the worst news for the Fed is right at home. The Fed’s plane never made it more than a few feet above the runway, when this week the illusory jobs recovery flew like a goose into the Fed’s left engine just as Captain Yellen was hoping to pull back on the stick for one more attempt to gain some interest altitude….

Why Janet Ain’t Yellin’ “Higher Interest” Anymore: Jobs Worse than Expected and Far Worse than Reported