Fast Company reports:
Internet freedom is in decline across much of the globe as various governments crack down on dissent and so-called fake news, according to an annual report from Freedom House, a nonprofit that receives much of its funding from the U.S. government.
China is not only continuing to restrict online speech within its own borders, but also providing seminars and tours to delegations from other countries, where it promotes its restrictive techniques and tools. “While it is not always clear what transpires during such seminars, a training for Vietnamese officials in April 2017 was followed in 2018 by the introduction of a cybersecurity law that closely mimics China’s own law,” according to the report.
PARIS – A new, modern form of slavery is coming.
We are calm. We are patient.
We await developments with zen-like resignation. Que sera, sera. Let it be. Amor fati… and all that.
We will soon be turned into a slave by algorithms and Big Data. But so what? Maybe we’ll like it.
Galaxy of Lies
Meanwhile, we continue to examine the whole cluster of dots… the galaxy of lies, misapprehensions, and myths that entertain us so much.
Then, we will take our telescope and look more closely at why new technology may mean that Mr. Trump is not the imbecile most people take him for.
Here, in no particular order, are the main themes we are following:
There are two opposing forces – or controlling motifs – in public life: cooperation and violence. The former dominates the private sector and our personal relations. We go along to get along. In marriage, employment, and commerce, we seek win-win deals – if we don’t, no one will want to deal with us at all.
Violence, on the other hand, is for crooks, psychopaths, and governments. Dress it up with whatever honeyed myths you want; at the end of the day, government uses a big stick to get what it wants.
Civilization and progress depend on patient, considerate, and honest win-win deals. Allowing win-win deals is the only way to know what people want… and the only way for them to get it. Win-lose deals imposed by governments are a drag on growth and progress.
Fake money is a form of fake news. It tells you something that isn’t true. The classical economists – Adam Smith, Frédéric Bastiat, and David Ricardo – and the later Austrians – Friedrich Hayek, Ludwig von Mises, etc. – were right. Money that is not anchored in the real world of time and resources is unreliable. Like all forms of fake information, it leads to mistakes and frauds – bad investments, wrong decisions, and corrupt behavior that destroy wealth and disrupt the basic fairness of our financial transactions.
Every boom founded on fake money ends in a bust of equal and opposite proportions. Coming, sooner or later, is a historic reckoning… accompanied by a 90% or more loss in stocks and bonds and a major depression… This sucker is going down!
And then… the authorities will make the situation worse, with their Full-Retard Finance: Bigger deficits… unfunded tax cuts… deeply negative real interest rates… and inflation!
Every stable society is eventually controlled by an elite. In the U.S., it is called the Deep State – a fluid collection of elected and unelected insiders. Some are “liberal.” Some are “conservative.” But all benefit from the shift of power, money, and status from the common man to themselves.
The American Empire is a project of the Deep State that is funded by fake money – borrowed money that never existed. Never debated publicly, nor approved by the voters, the empire now borrows more than $1 trillion per year. Along with open-ended entitlement programs, it dooms the U.S. to national bankruptcy.
No innovation was ever developed that wasn’t put into service by the Deep State, sooner or later. The Info Tech/Big Data revolution is no different. An economic bust, it did not increase GDP growth rates or incomes. But now, because it reduces the cost of controlling people, it is a threat to liberty.
The best way to protect yourself is with honest money, clear thinking, and independent living solutions.
Well, that’s enough to start with!
And let’s begin by returning to a guess: Maybe Mr. Trump is not such an imbecile after all.
Mr. MN Gordon, writing in Economic Prism, explains why:
Over the last 30 years, as the Fed and the Treasury colluded to rig the financial system in earnest, wealth has become ever-more concentrated in fewer and fewer insider hands. The effect over this latest period of expansion has been a disparity that’s so magnified, few can ignore it.
This trend will be further intensified by the forthcoming depression. What’s more, bitterness and contempt for wealthy insiders is already much higher than it was during prior business cycles. Without question, this bitterness and contempt will increase to a fever pitch when this business cycle turns down.
Discontent throughout the broad population will take a financial crash and an economic collapse, and transform it into a complete societal breakdown. Then, the central government will fail the test of its making.
But, alas, the discord will provide the perfect cover for a much larger central authority. They’ll offer promises to fix things while delivering a much wider range of wealth inequality.
They won’t stop. They’ll push it to the breaking point… and then, they’ll push it some more.
See our point #7. Every society has an elite. Sometimes, it is a conquering elite – like the Norman conquest of England or the Spartan conquest of Lacedaemon.
And sometimes, is it home-grown, as described by Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, when the “foxes” take over leading institutions, especially the government.
Societies need their elites. Many of the challenges they face – even something as simple as maintaining a city sewage system – require special expertise.
This puts the expert in a position of relative strength compared to the common man; he is the one who keeps the drains unclogged. This gives him a power advantage; it is as if the expert has a handgun and the common citizen only has a pointed stick. Don’t be surprised that the expert sometimes starts shooting.
Yes, Dear Reader, it is a wicked world we live in.
People take advantage of one another from time to time – when they can get away with it. Elites are prone to corruption, simply because they tend to have the money, the power… and the guns. They take control of the government, and then control both the police and the army.
And they control central banks… and fiscal policies, too.
Come a crisis, they are either discredited and booted out or they take more power.
Tomorrow, we’ll see how they will use new technology to create a modern slave-state… and why most people will like it.
RESOURCE INSIGHT: SHALE MARCHES HIGHER
By Joe Withrow, Head of Research, Bonner & Partners
Today, something a bit different for our insight.
The shale oil revolution is still going strong…
That’s the story of today’s chart, which maps U.S. daily oil production in the top-five shale oil regions from 2013 to today… and projects production to 2025. The five regions are: Permian (Delaware), Permian (Midland), Eagle Ford (in Texas), Bakken (in parts of Montana), and Niobrara (in parts of Colorado and Nebraska).
This data comes from a study produced by independent energy consulting firm Rystad Energy.
As you can see, U.S. shale oil production has more than doubled since 2013 – hitting 5.8 million barrels per day this year.
For context, total crude oil production in the United States is roughly 10.7 million barrels per day. That means shale oil makes up 35% of total oil production.
And according to Rystad Energy, shale oil production will grow to 12.6 million barrels per day by 2025.
Why share this insight today?
Earlier this year, we conducted a thorough study of America’s 3,141 counties. Using a proprietary scoring method, we found that more than 70% of American counties are worse off economically now than they were 10 years ago [subscribers of The Bill Bonner Letter can catch up here].
Of the American counties that had improved in our study, many of them were in regions where the shale oil revolution is underway, such as Wyoming, Texas, and the Dakotas. This suggests that fracking has been a boon for those parts of the American heartland.
If shale oil production continues to trend upwards, it should continue to elevate the counties around these top-five shale oil regions.
– Joe Withrow
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In the mailbag, Bill’s Diary, “A Memento Mori for the Bull Market,” gets readers talking…
Bill, you must have been in a really gloomy, or at least in a melancholy, mood when you penned your Memento Mori piece, but it was a very insightful read. Your quote of the “Tout passe, tout casse…” analogy of the market was woven brilliantly into the point you were making about our current economic cycle. (Put another way, “Non semper erit aestas,” or “Winter is coming!”)
But as you alluded to, actuarially, the market may be dead, but some codgers (and cycles) do exceed their allotted time. So, until the market meets the reaper, I plan to remain a stoic and just be prepared to deal with the fallout when, and in whatever form, it comes. Thanks for reminding me to maintain perspective in this very unsettled and volatile world.
– Doug L.
Bill, in today’s Diary, you wrote, “We had the same thought. ‘Tout passe, tout casse…’ as the French say. Everything breaks down and goes away. Mountains, men, and markets. But not all at the same rate.”
As I’m sure you’re aware, the full French proverb reads, “Tout passe, tout lasse, tout casse et tout se remplace,” or “Everything passes, everything weary, everything breaks and everything replaced.” I find that more hopeful than your abridged version, because although everything passes, grows weary, and breaks, it is ultimately replaced with something. Maybe something better!
– Jack J.
Hello Bill, as usual, I enjoyed your column today concerning Toussaint. Vous habitez two of my three favorite areas outside North America: Ireland, France (south of the Loire), and Southern Tuscany (Val D’Orcia). Ireland is the only area we visit in summer. The other areas we visit mid-April to mid-June or mid-September to early November. My favorite area of France is the valley of the River Lot (Cahors wine area).
– Rich F.
Meanwhile, a recent comment in the mailbag sparks a response…
“He is the most reprehensible man to ever hold the office” – Chester T. These types of statements I’ve come in recent years to find amusing. That may actually be true, for all I know (yeah, history says it’s almost certainly not), but the humorous part is that this statement assumes the people giving such an opinion have researched in great detail everyone that has held that position. I believe that may not be the case…
Personally, from what I’ve read, the office of POTUS wasn’t intended to have any grandeur associated with it. You can call him Mud or anything else you like, and our founders would be just fine with it (as am I). After all, POTUS is not a king – and that’s sort of the point.
– Doug L.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT…
Jeff Brown just came back from North Carolina…
In a small town there, a nondescript building houses a little-known American company.
Most people in the town probably don’t even know the business is there. But the technology that’s being developed there will help usher in the biggest tech revolution since the dawn of the internet. And Jeff suspects the company’s stock price will soar 10 times from here.
To get all the details, tune in to hear from Jeff this Wednesday at 8 pm ET.
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