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Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Guest Post: Last Forty Neocon Years - Kaput!

Mark Blyth’s Incisive Post-Crisis Takedown: “A Brief History of How We Got Here and Why”

Posted on August 5, 2019 by Yves Smith

Mark Blyth, the Brown political scientist of “The Hamptons are not a defensible position” fame, has a must-watch video of a presentation, A Brief History of How We Got Here and Why, which we’ve embedded below. We’re featuring it despite the lack of a transcript. Even though Blyth presents a fair bit of detail that is familiar to readers, he manages the difficult task of synthesizing it in a way that generates novel observations. It doesn’t hurt that Blyth is also colorful and a high bit rate transmitter. This video is a fantastic way to get people you know who’ve started to develop doubts about orthodox stories about how the economy works to see thing in a different light.

Blyth argues that the world has been through three policy regimes, using computers as an analogy and arguing that like computers, capitalist systems all have the same major components and economic ideology is the “software”. The regime first was the gold standard, which allowed for international capital mobility without inflation, favoring capital over workers. That regime worked from roughly 1870 to World War I. As academics like Peter Temin described in detail, after the Great War, European economies tried to restore the gold standard, and Temin argues that those efforts produced the Depression. The Depression ushered in policy changes which eventually produced the next era, which started after World War II. The policy objective of this era was full employment. Cross-border capital flows were restricted, countries were more autarky-like than now, and governments were economic activists. Blyth quips that no one knew who central bankers were back then.

This era broke down with the 1970s inflation. But Blyth argues that the trigger was that the share of GDP going to labor had become intolerably high to businesses and investors. Inflation also favors labor over capital by eroding the real value of debt. The answer to that was the capital-favoring, globalist, inflation-hostile neoliberal era.

Blyth stresses that what happened after the 2008 financial crisis, which resulted from the failings of the neoliberal regime, the effort to restore the old system, is an unnatural response which will only lead to intensification of the underlying stressors, like rising levels of private debt, greater income inequality, and even more financialization.

Only an economist could see climate change as hopeful. Blyth sees climate change as discrediting the populist right, which has no answers for this problem, and libertarians, who are allergic to state action, when that will not only become necessary but desperately sought after.
I don’t want to diminish your appetite for watching this talk by saying more, particularly since a lot of the fun of a Blyth talk is in his asides where he present things as obvious, and even if you kinda-sorta knew that particular factoid, you probably didn’t have as pithy a formulation as he does.

The video!

Principal K Kristian Siva's of FPM addendum chart:
 

Friday, 21 June 2019

Is Farage The New Soros For The Euro?

George Soros famed from a multi-billion dollar hedge fund as "the man who broke the Bank of England" is a popular narrative of the mainstream financial media.

Frage: the Face of Brexit - An Anti-Hero or Man of The People? (Source: Twitter)

Yet I have not heard the context of the man who broke the British Parliament! Witness the political impasse over Brexit to Easter 2019 and one can deduce that Nigel Farage, the figurehead of the "Leave European Union" movement, did indeed break the House of Commons. He did not make money to the tune of a billion dollars, but gained an ardent reputation against status quo (of which he is admittedly low on the scale).

The Betrayal Of Britain By Incumbent Politicians June 2016-19 (Source: Twitter)

Fund Portfolio Management's principals feel they do not need to deliberate further about the above statement. As an open-minded read of mainstream media - msm - background to "Brexit" clearly indicates. Mr Farage like Mr Soros, believed in fundamental macro tenets, and stuck to his guns when others were merely interested in the ideas that prevailed. What was this fundamental belief? As most financial pundits will know, Mr Soros believed that the exchange rate of the Pound Sterling versus the benchmark German DeutscheMark was fundamentally too high in the Exchange Rate Mechanism. ERM was the fore-runner mechanism which decided the exchange-rates between member states; before the fully-fledged Euro currency that we know today. Equally, whether by design or accident, the EU is an assembly expanding from six equal-wealth member states to what is now a twenty-seven member states (excluding Britain pending Brexit), is and was fundamentally a flawed crrangement.

The flaws of the EU are VISIBLE in its current dysfunction, as well as the benefits accrued to the newer member states in "sweetners. The single pointed flaw is conceptual. Without having a tiered system, how can one-rulebook be applied to 27 disparate countries? Then if there is discretion, like France and most members exceeding the national debt to GDP limit of 60%, then what's the raison d'etre of EU bureaucracy. The much called for reforms of the EU have not happened, which was a reason for UK calling for an EU referendum on leaving or staying. And consequent Brexit, which is still pending at time of writing, voted by the British people.

[Article originally started on 2-May-2019 NOW continued 14-June-2019]

The culmination of Brexit issue is the single most important policy decision of western globalisation of the past 40-50 years and the next 30 years. This is especially important when considered in connection with climate-change. In order to reduce environment damage and the climate damage it seems obvious that we have to put the brakes on economic activity. Implicit or explicity stated. Or what we at FPM suspect, the global economy has to or is shifting or transitioning towards a "green economy". Some are vanguard pioneers in this. Others are in slow realisation while fronting a total denial of the potentially devastating problem: FPM cite the current POTUS and leader of the Western world Donald Trump and his administration. However, politics being by nature a two-faced profession, maybe Mr Trump is slowing the two giant global growth engines via his trade-wars and sanctions spat with China. As much as Brexit-deliverance will disrupt free movement and of goods and people, and thereby reduce carbon-footprint and CO2 emissions.

Another important but seemingly overlooked concern about Brexit deliverance, or mired by propagandists narratives, is "democracy". Defined as the organisation of society decided by the people. Whereas "aristocracy" meant society organised by the elite or best people. Or as FPM believes, we live in an actual society organised for "wealth", known as "plutocracy" but parading as deluded-democracy. FPM know we are right: just look at the scale of the wealth inequality in societies globally. As vividly described in book by Thomas Piketty in "Capital in The Twenty-First Century", or simply searched on internet; example from 2018 passive-article in Guardian newspaper.

The Book Describing Wealth Inequality


The Book Describing Big Government and Big Business Collusion

But democracy or people need to be heard and will indeed be heard on matters of personal and wider passions of mind. That was description of a typical Brexit mentality. Don't interpret FPM's assertion as an opinion, just look at the voting statement of the people of Britain and the EU in the European elections results of May 2019 (more in next paragreph). Again, don't forget that, and start to view or read the shameless manipulation of the voting-results by "propagandist pratts". Who interpret the facts as "win for Green parties" or "win Liberal Democratic". No, no and no! Anyone can interpret facts, for instance, one can justifiably postulate whether we really need another tier of trans-national government for Europe, or elsewhere. While most people do not want more Government, and fed up with existing structures of managing society in the interest of the rich and powerful, we are concerned about the rise of institutional fascism. Not to be confused with populism and acts of democracy like the Brexit or Arab Spring or Gilet Jaunes; but actual instituional people in governments and multi-national corporations, as well as global investors or financiers. Hence why FPM referenced the 1980s book "Friendly Fascism - The New Face of Power in America" by Bertram Gross above.

People voted clearly, at least in England, for the 3-weeks-in-existence, Brexit Party and its figurehead from former UKIP party Nigel Farage. And the dumb-founded establishment are still scratching their monkey-brains and fighting against this populist uprising and revolt by the "demos" vote. "Demos" is the Greek word for people in society. As if further evidence of voting motives, and how Tory MPs in House of Parliament view the issue of Brexit (leaving it or remaining), witness who won the first and subsequent round of voting for the new Conservative leader or would be Prime Minister. At time of writing, Conservative members vote for the final two of Boris Johnson and Jeremy "Msprint" Hunt!

The Outright Brexit Supporter Leads Tory Leadership Race (Source: Twitter)
Yes you got it, a Euro-sceptic and figurehead of the Leave EU campaign Boris Johnson is leading the race.FPM actually rated and follow the diary of a true Brit and Brexit-man John Redwood, Conservative MP for Wokingham since 1987.

While it is true Fund Portfolio Management is about financial perspectives, and less about politicial upheavals, we have been pushing the idea of the fundamental long-term value of the British Sterling Pound versus that of the start-up new-millenia currency the Euro. The procrastination and swaying about clean-cut breakaway from the EU via Brexit, after nearly 3-years to the month (remember 23rd of June 2016 EU Referendum day), has only made the resolve of that vote more impudent and ardent, rather than losing its distinct drive of anti-establishment anti-corporation populist ambition.

Of course the globalist capitalist cabal with the dollar-firepower have been driving down the value of the breakaway nation's currency. The Sterling has de-valued against the US Dollar from $1.50 plus to now being worth only $1.26 to the Pound. It is a similar story versus the Euro: at the Pound's peak-value against the Euro was £1.50 (in early 2004, and even a year before the "#EUref" the value was £1.40 plus), but now the Pound drifting at £1.12 to the Euro. It should be noted that the low for the Pound valuation versus the Euro was during the financial-crisis when on 1-Dec-08 the Pound reached near parity to the Euro, of £1.02 for GBP/EUR. This low for Sterling was way before Brexit was even a word in the lexicon! Therfore Mark Carney, Bank of England  governor and other so-called experts of "Project Fear", are only influencing democratic-concensus towards their global and capitalist agenda, as per their "useful idiot" office in the bigger picture. Mr Carney even apologised for stoking-up fears of Brexit  before the EU referendum in 2016. Having BOTH the leave and remain campaigns lying is material but not unheard of in political pledging.

The Convenient Lies of The So-called Experts About Brexit (Source: Twitter)
FPM's fundamental deep-insight is that the current devaluation of the Pound, in its natural up-down policy-paved-path, may have significant downside to UK tourists to America and Europe. Impact on business is mixed. UK imports become expensive, while exports from UK cheaper. The net effect is determined by whether UK has more exports than imports - our perpetual current-account deficit suggests we have more imports, in terms of goods and services. When most countries pursue the ambition of driving down their currencies to compete internationally on exports, the devaluation-rounds are partially neutralised. As coined in the phrase "the race to the bottom". Only the stand-alone countries with their own currencies, like Switzerland Sweden Norway Denmark and UK in Europe, can eventually buck that trend of raising interest rates and allow their currencies to rise. Hence FPM's medium-term curency-play thesis, which is now a long-term play due to delays in Brexit deliverance. WARNING is that anyone following this forex trade should have long-term warehousing costs for maintaing or rolloing-over position with views about being long Sterling GBP and short Euro EUR. 

In concluding FPM recommendations and remarks, we re-affirm our strong belief that Britain's manner of exit from the European Union is more relevant for the federal European project than domestic impact. FPM feel this is especially true in a world of de-weaponising economic growth objectives in light of climate change emergency. Dont's take our world for it! Read excerpt from story by Politico.EU which cites Mr Carney's apology:


"Leading Euroskeptic backbencher John Redwood, a close ally of Brexit Secretary David Davis, said Carney was right to warn European leaders that Brexit posed a greater threat to their financial stability than to the U.K.’s. Reflecting the increasingly bullish mood among Tory MPs, Redwood said: 'I’m very glad he’s come round to the logic of it. The difficult hand in these negotiations is the EU’s, not ours. We meet all of our objectives simply by leaving.'" [By Silvia Sciorilli Borrelli and Tom McTague via Politico.EU on 1-Nov-2017]