Sunday, October 12, 2008

That Flushing Sound is the Global Economy

The press is reporting that the Royal Bank of Scotland and the Holding Bank of Scotland PLC (HBOS PLC) are both being seized and nationalized by the British government tonight. As Mish notes in his Royal Bank of Scotland, HBOS Nationalized, these actions do nothing to correct the underlying problems - insolvent financial institutions. As I write this, Asian markets for Monday October 14th, are showing some gains. But US institutions are closed tomorrow and Europe may involuntarily close their markets in an effort to calm the situation. I'm not sure what they expect that to do because that also doesn't address the underlying problem. However, reviewing the October 1929 crash, there was a multi-phase collapse. The biggest part occurred on October 29, 1929 but there were serious precursor drops and rallies along the way as well.

Because of this and because of various other observations, many people are expecting a short term rally in the market at this point. People really do want to believe that governments globally can solve this, whether they really can solve it or not. That belief will help fuel some form of rally, perhaps into the 10,000 range. Trying to outguess the crowds when we don't have any sort of reasonably accurate model is a difficult thing to do but my best guess is that this rally will last somewhere between a few days to a few months, ending not later than sometime in January of 2009.

A key point to take home from all these "rescue" attempts is to ask whether the action in question actually helps resolve the underlying problem of insolvency for a particular financial institution. If the answer is no, then it cannot succeed longer term. Given that zero actions thus far have addressed underlying insolvency issues, that means that somewhere ahead of us is a further fall downwards, perhaps below 5000 and perhaps even much lower. If we get very far below 5000 though, I fully expect the wheels to come off industrial society in Europe and the United States. Whether you do anything about preparing for that eventuality is your choice. But if you choose to not prepare, please don't knock on my door because I did choose to prepare.

1 comment:

Dan Weintraub said...

Wondrous Stories

I sit here at my desk at work---for now---and gawk wide-eyed in utter amazement at the depths to which human beings will go in order to satiate their lust for power and their Midasian greed. Paulson, Bush, Bernanke: soucndrels, one and all. Scumbags of the highest order. Liars who would sell their souls to the devil, who would swear on the lives of their families, that they are telling the truth. But no amount of dissembling or obfuscation can change the laws of nature: reality, in the end, always wins out.

Toxic “assets” in the tens of TRILLIONS of dollars fill the casks and vaults and safes and basements of the world’s major financial institutions. Worthless pieces of paper that, when exposed to the light of day, will bring the global economy as we know it to its knees. There is no escaping this reality. None. The laws of nature will eventually pull the curtain back on the Oz-like charade that is being played out in Washington and Paris and London and Berlin, and the global economy will shatter.

And so in the intervening days/weeks/months, Paulson and Bush and all of their minions pump trillions of dollars of “money” into these so-called “healthy” institutions in order to loosen the credit market so that, at least for the time being, things regain the appearance of a recovery. And an election takes place next month, and the DOW “rebounds” to about 10,400 give or take, and a few of the largest banks begin easing credit restrictions and reluctance to take on risk, and all seems to be moving in the direction of eventual better times. And yes, recession exists, and the economy is tight, and jobs are lost, but the new President goes on TV and tells the people that, while times are tough, we are a strong people, and we will recover. (Meanwhile Bush and Paulson and their minions have moved to a small island off of the coats of Costa Rica and hired Blackwater to protect them from the rest of the world.)

But soon thereafter, at some unknown moment in time, all of the fake money, the supposed assets and capital that the Bushies have pumped into the system---all of the trillions of dollars in guarantees promised by the countries of the EU to their financial institutions---all of these monies become exposed for what they really are---MORE DEBT. More lies, falsehoods, specters. Trillions of dollars THAT DO NOT IN FACT EXIST, loaned to banks and insurance companies and auto makers in “hopes” that they, somehow, will be able to make some money and build capital that, at this point, is simply a wraith in the night. But of course this plan fails. It must fail. It is just another layer of the grand ponzy scheme of the millennium, perpetrated on the people of the Earth by a handful of greed-mongering bastards and sons-of-bitches.

By way of metaphor, this situation is akin to building a tower on unsteady ground, and instead of deconstructing the tower and starting again, you simply make the tower taller and claim to the people that this truly is the most wonderous tower in the world, a monument to the strength and resolve of the people. But it must fall. The laws of physics demand it. And the same is true of our current economic joke.

And so I sit here and watch economist after economist, legislator after legislator, president after prime minister after finance minister, claim that the plan “will” work. And they are all lying.

But it cannot work. It cannot. The laws of nature will win out…because they always do. Always.