This Looks Like a Bubble


But they can’t even cleanly win Iraq or Afghanistan? Clearly, there is more to military success than spending alone. Not overcommitting would seem to be one aspect.

There is no instance of a nation benefitting from prolonged warfare.

Sun Tzu


Further Reading:

The Uniting States of Eurasia
The Decline and Fall of the American Empire
The Changing World

27 thoughts on “This Looks Like a Bubble

    • I wonder if the dollar’s continued reserve currency status has anything to do with this?

      Pretend inferiority and encourage his arrogance.

      Sun Tzu

  1. Aziz,

    Found this site from zerohedge and must say: I’m supremely impressed.

    I have read most articles and must say; one can learn more about economics here than from a bone headed keynesian shill economics department.


  2. “There is no instance of a nation benefitting from prolonged warfare”

    Except for Britian in the 18th and 19th centuries. And Rome in the 2nd and 1st BC. And the Mongols in the 13th. And the US in WW2. There are other examples.
    “The art of giving orders is not to try to rectify the minor blunders and not to be swayed by petty doubts”
    Krugmans the smartest economist alive, while the Chicago school caused the great recession.

    • It depends how you define prolonged warfare. WW2 wasn’t really prolonged warfare; war was declared and concluded upon the defeat of one side. And none of the civilisations you mention were really sustainable. They flourished for a while, and were sucked under usually by high debt, bread and circuses, imperial overstretch etc. And now the United States is going the same way. I admire the Swiss system far more than any of those empires. Switzerland has been continually prosperous, with a high standard of living, and continually low in debt, all without ever engaging in any kind of imperialism or military-Keynesianism.

      I’ll tell you something that may not be popular with certain readers:

      Krugman > the Chicago School.
      IS/LM > DGSE

      My problems with Krugman’s interpretation of Keynesianism (a less good one, in my view, than that of say Michael Hudson) are nothing like my problems with the various schools of monetarism, from Friedman all the way up to and including market monetarism & NGDP targeting.

      As for the great recession, I’d wanna know what specific aspect of the Chicago school thought you blame. Unrestrained free trade for loss of jobs? See, I don’t see much free trade in that period at all: I see a lot of subsidised trade — subsidised by colossal American military spending. That’s what you get when the world is flat — agglomeration of industry where the labour is cheapest (Krugman’s idea, by the way).

      • None of those empires were brought down by bread and circuses, debt or imperial overstrech. ( although the US may be)
        They each declined and fell for a variety of reasons, but theres no doubt they were strengthened by a culture of warlike expansion.

        And if any one, single economist is responsible for the great reccession, it’s Eugene Fama with his fetishization of the rational market theory. It defies human nature, but crucially it gave Wall Street the academic backing to do what they wanted to do, without having to reflect on their dot-com idiocy.

        • My understanding is Rome was a case of all three, Britain was imperial overstretch and debt, and the Mongols were simply imperial overstretch as well as a loss of momentum, and the U.S. is all three again. I suppose that’s all a matter of opinion. We shall see.

          Yeah Eugene Fama’s reputation is in tatters, though I never really gave him much credit. My personal blame for the GFC & GR goes more to Black-Scholes-Merton, the LTCM quants and Blythe Masters than anyone else. Personally, I don’t think pricing algorithms or portfolio theory are really “economics” at all but some strange field of non-reality-based mathematical masturbation. Certainly Alan Greenspan’s easy money nonsense was extremely problematic too, but it didn’t have quite the same problem of magnifying crises as the derivatives “innovators” did.

  3. Firstly many people love the Bubble because they can only make lots of money during Bubble that is blowing up or burst.

    2nd, “There is no instance of a nation benefitting from prolonged warfare. ” – Sun Tsu

    Well it isn’t about the nation. It’s about the profit making of the interest group warmonger which happen to think they are the nation. Or they own the nation. When the bombs are dropping gold and silver rain down on them.

    Lastly, the U.S military complex industry is about defending the dollar and it’s oil trade. Nothing is as important as the U.S Dollar and the treasure bond market because they are the U.S national security. Now no one dare to dump the Dollar just yet.

    p.s. they are always looking for a way to let the foreigners to foot the bills at the end. At least they want to.

    • Well it isn’t about the nation. It’s about the profit making of the interest group warmonger which happen to think they are the nation. Or they own the nation. When the bombs are dropping gold and silver rain down on them.

      When empires fall, the elite of that empire have more to lose than anybody else.

      • The true elites are usually the ones that lurk in the shadows. When an empire falls, the aristocracy has alot to loose, but somehow I think the elites always find a way to propser…. funny how you don’t see the name Rothchild in the forbe’s richest men list – yet, they DO own Versailles in france … amongst other things i’m sure.

        • Forbes’ list is a nonsense list based more on the DJIA & SPX (i.e. only financial assets) than reality. Qadaffi was richer than them all; so was Hosni Mubarak.

          The Queen of England is the richest woman on Earth by far based on her claims to real estate alone. As the sovereign, she legally owns most of Canada, much of the U.S.A, most of Australia, etc. The Rothschild family’s old money net worth is probably far in excess of most individuals listed by Forbes, but small next to sovereigns like the Queen or the House of Saud.

        • … and those are the ones we know about.

          my point was that for the real elites, the breakdown of an empire has little bearing. In fact, you have to wonder why they meet every year and what is planned in those meeting… odd how the last meeting was in greece what was it… 2 years ago or so? 3? you know what meeting im referring to im sure.

        • Where are Augustus Caesar’s progeny today? They were once the elite, but their empire was destroyed by military overstretch and bread and circuses. The elite usually have most to lose from imperial collapse. Often they hedge their bets. But just as often that is not enough. New elites will often seek to rout out the old elite, which is what I believe happened to many of the elite Roman families.

          Times change; where once the Rothschild family were the premier nobility of Europe, today they cannot even win a libel case against the lowly proletarian Daily Mail?

          Lots of groups throughout history have envisaged themselves controlling world events. No group thus far has ever really succeeded without experiencing massive blowback and that blowback never comes quite as it is expected. Everything has hidden consequences. The big trend today for predictive technologies is still algorithmic modelling (e.g. Facebook, Google and various other DARPA-related systems), but no matter how complex the algorithm there is always unpredictable blowback and black swans. The beautiful and subtle nonlinearity of reality never really allows any one group or ideology to really take full control. I cannot prove this, but I would argue that power creates fragility.

          Let’s take that key decision related to our friends from Oosterbeek, particularly Dr. Kissinger — U.S. trade with China and globalisation. Yes the free lunch made the West rich and fat and happy. But also lazy, sloppy and tardy. And now the Western productive, industrial and commercial infrastructure is dependent on a nation (China) controlled by a gang of Chinese communists who are still deeply annoyed with the Anglo-American empire for dumping opium on them. The new elite in China, I believe hate the Anglo-American elite fiercely. The Anglo-Americans have recently begun trying to reach out, understanding the huge historical shift currently underway. Will it do them any good? Maybe. Maybe not. In the end, neither group is really fully in control. But right now, Charlemagne’s children are coming off worse.

          So while many groups have plans, no group can ever fully realise them. We are all at the mercy of events beyond our control. There is one think tank that has had a greater influence than any others in recent years and that is the highly interventionist neo-con Project for a New American Century. The reality is that events have made a mockery of their agenda. Dr. Brzezinski, who was once an arch-interventionist now cautions against intervening in Syria and Iran, and praises Occupy Wall Street.

          And sometimes over a period of years a group’s makeup can change. Look at Peter Thiel a member of our friends who met in Greece’s steering committee (not just a one-off invitee) and yet also an avowed libertarian and Ron Paul’s biggest donor?

  4. Russia = 3.3%

    Just shows how far countries can fall.

    I second the above the post by terwilld, good job and keep it up!

  5. Considering the state of our economy and fiscal system, the vast resource commitment to “defense” is surely folly. I think, since the WW2 of no conflict in which the US has been engaged that it has “won.” We “won” in Vietnam not through military means (that we lost) but through the superiority of the open market system which has brought communism to join it. High expenditures on war brought the French state to ruin in the late 18th century, with interest rates on government loans above 60%, and brought down the Roman Empire before. I have not seen any real strategic thnking in US government for decades. On the contrary the US lets Isreal set its foreign policy and millitary objectives, another folly, since small states are wreckless when backed by great powers.and great powers thereby ruined, e.g., Russia backing Serbia in 1914.

    • Excellent points.

      There is some real strategic thinking in some parts of the Pentagon. Fox Fallon stopped Bush and Cheney bombing Iran for the reasons I cite today. The executive branch, on the other hand, and Congress are dominated by politicians, whose idea of strategic thinking is campaign strategy and cuddling up to special interests.

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  7. Everybody forgets the USA plays by the Geneva convention.

    When a Nation is backed into a corner, it uses its superior technology to full effect.

    Ask the Nazi led Germans, when they felt Russia was going to launch a first strike. It is arguable Hitler attacked Russia because of intelligence received that Russia planned to attack.

    When real war is unleashed it is the survival of the fittest.

    This spending may be a great insurance policy. Look at Russia, what live practice training have its soldiers received? The USA’s soldiers are so battle hardened thet flip and kill civilians. Wait till their Generals order full attack!

    • Whilst I respect Putin’s wisdom, I feel he is either wrong (You need to have an army with combat experience) or giving the impression he is stronger than what he is. He would not reveal this strategy, but I do believe he relished the USA occupation of Afghanistan. He was so willing to assist the USA it surprised them. A real friend would have stopped their friend from making a mistake, even if it upset the friend. In time the friend would come to their senses and thank them for their brutal honesty.

      The Russians are a fierce nation. Physically stronger by genetics (Stocky), and they have a grass roots fighting culture.

      They also groom their soldiers from an early age.

      But nothing beats shear man power to break an opposing army even if they are not trained.

      This is why China has the millitary advantage, if someone emerges from 1.2 Billion people with a Han background, when China collapses economically.

      • Actually in the very long-run I am most bullish about the Anglo-American culture. Even though we have grown to love nation building, and central planning and technocracy we still have a concept of liberty, and an intellectual climate that can produce figures like me and Tyler Durden, and criticism as fierce and brutal as Max Keiser and Peter Schiff. I am free (thus far) to brutally criticise the government and economic system without arrest or hassle, and that is ultimately the West’s greatest strength, and Obama’s most-recent executive order does seem to have taken some of my concerns into account (even though I feel like Obama’s remedies to the problems I am identifying are weak and possibly even iatrogenic).

        China may have Sun Tzu and Confucius, but they are not alive today, and if they were I think perhaps they might have been destroyed working in a FoxConn plant making rubbish for consumers in the West.

        • After spent so much money and lost so many lives, the U.S will never withdraw from Afghanistan which sits on the top of all that tones and tones of the earth \s’ precious minerals and other natural resources. Besides it’s the vital geopolitical location in the global map. If the U.S want to contain China Afghanistan is one of the most import standpoint to be in. Wait and see American government no matter who’s in charge will find excuses to stay put.

          Some may consider Afghan war is a form of the U.S investment.

        • John, I agree with you that the USA is a free thinking environment, innovative etc. Thius drives growth. But I have lost faith in society as a whole (Democratic influence at the Ballot Box) to promote positive philosophical change.

          You need to step back from your world and look at it through the eyes of Sheeple/Muppets and realise people just want free things.

          This is why Benevolent Dictators alway rise up. People need assurances.

          The enlightenment movement is now being relegated to cybespace. We talk amongst ourselves. It is our hobby. We don’t exist in reality because we are not in the consciousness of the Sheeple/Muppets. We have no Political influence.

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