Author Archives: Charles Hugh Smith

Over-Regulation Has Criminalized the Practice of Medicine

The average person has little exposure to the criminalization of everyday enterprise in America via over-regulation and outsized penalties for even accidental violations of rules and regulations. One field that continues to be burdened with excessive/counter-productive regulations and outsized penalties … Continue reading

Posted in General | Tagged , | 1 Comment

There’s a Difference: Fake News and Junk News

The mainstream media continues peddling its “fake news” narrative like a desperate pusher whose junkies are dying from his toxic dope. It’s slowly dawning on the media-consuming public that the MSM is the primary purveyor of “fake news”– self-referential narratives … Continue reading

Posted in General | Tagged , | 4 Comments

This Is How the Status Quo Unravels

The politics of the past 70 years was all about horsetrading who got what share of the growing pie: the “pie” being cheap energy, government revenues and consumption, sales and profits. Horsetrading over a growing pie is basically fun. There’s … Continue reading

Posted in General | Tagged , , | 15 Comments

Political Consensus Is Splintering into Class Wars

In years past, we spoke of class war between the haves and the have-nots. It’s no longer that simple. Now the traditional political consensus is splintering into multiple class wars between overlapping camps of the protected and the unprotected, those … Continue reading

Posted in General | Tagged | 6 Comments

While Elites Played Empire, America Fell Apart

Our extraordinary misallocation of national treasure and political power has set a banquet of consequences that few are willing to face, much less address head-on. If we had to sum up this vast misallocation, we might start by characterizing it … Continue reading

Posted in General | Tagged | 11 Comments

Japan, Inc.: Optimized to 1960, Stumbling in the 21st Century

When everything’s going great, nobody questions the nation’s core institutions:they must be doing a great job because everything’s going great. The temptation to extend positive expansion to the moon is ever-present. Take Japan’s “boost phase” of credit, banking and corporate … Continue reading

Posted in General | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Loving Our Servitude in America’s Plantation Economy

One of the themes I’ve been addressing since 2008 is the neocolonial-plantation structure of the U.S. economy. The old models of colonial exploitation that optimized plantations worked by cheap imported labor (or situated in peripheral nations with plenty of cheap … Continue reading

Posted in General | Tagged , , , , , | 8 Comments

The Colonization of Local-Business Main Street by Corporate America

An insightful correspondent recently remarked on the striking transition of American neighborhoods from commercial districts dominated by locally owned businesses to streets lined with look-alike outlets of Corporate America. This transition is so obvious that few even comment on it, … Continue reading

Posted in General | Tagged , , | 9 Comments

The Nitty-Gritty of Financial Independence: The Self-Employed Mobile Creative

Pundits love to talk about entrepreneurism and community, but only in the abstract. Few if any actually explain how to become self-employed or build a community, because the conventional mainstream pundit has never hired a single person with his/her own … Continue reading

Posted in General | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

Expropriation and Impoverishment: “Capitalist” Greece and “Socialist” Venezuela

Yesterday I noted that not all assets will make it through the inevitable financial re-set. ( Which Assets Are Most Likely to Survive the Inevitable “System Re-Set”?) Those that are easy to expropriate will be expropriated, and those assets vulnerable … Continue reading

Posted in General | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Which Assets Are Most Likely to Survive the Inevitable “System Re-Set”?

Longtime correspondent C.A. recently asked a question every American household should be asking: which assets are most likely to survive the “system re-set” that is now inevitable? It’s a question of great import because not all assets are equal in … Continue reading

Posted in General | Tagged , , , | 10 Comments

The Central Banks Face Unwelcome Realities: Their Policies Boosted Wealth Inequality and Failed to Generate “Growth”

Take a quick glance at these charts of the Federal Reserve balance sheet and bank credit in the U.S. Notice what happened to bank credit after the Fed “tapered” and stopped expanding its balance sheet? Bank credit exploded higher: Now … Continue reading

Posted in General | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

The Central Banks Pull Back: Now It’s Up to Fiscal Policy to “Save the World”

Have you noticed that the breathless anticipation of the next central bank “save” has diminished? Remember when the financial media was in a tizzy of excitement, speculating on what new central bank expansion would send the global markets higher in … Continue reading

Posted in General | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Triumph of the Technocrats

Those who don’t yet understand our centrally-planned cartel-state system will benefit from reading How Democrats Killed Their Populist Soul (The Atlantic). I’ve presented related analyses in three recent essays: The Protected, Privileged Establishment vs. The Working Class The Collapse of … Continue reading

Posted in General | Tagged , , , | 27 Comments

The Fix-Nothing Farce of Symbolic Politics

Much of what passes for politics these days is symbolic. Anyone who studies the issue of illegal immigration concludes that the solution lies not in building $10 billion walls but in changing the incentive structure of citizenship, legal and illegal … Continue reading

Posted in General | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Why Our System Is Broken: Cheap Credit Is King

Cheap credit–newly issued money that can be borrowed at low rates of interest–is presented as the savior of our economic system, but in reality, it’s why our system is broken. The conventional economic pitch goes like this: cheap credit enables … Continue reading

Posted in General | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

What Would a Labor-Centered Economy Look Like?

Let’s spend a moment deconstructing the word “capitalism.” Note it contains the word Capital. So far so good. Obviously the key concept here is capital. So what is “capital”? It turns out there are multiple kinds of capital. The most … Continue reading

Posted in General | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

The Most Important Civil Rights Issue Trump Could Solve with an Executive Order: End the “War on Drugs” Gulag

President Trump has a golden opportunity to strike a major blow for civil rights with a single executive order: end the failed “War on Drugs” and shut down America’s drug-war gulag. None of the previous three presidents expended any political … Continue reading

Posted in General | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Want to Bring Back Jobs? It’s Impossible Unless We Fix these Four Things

If there is any goal that might attract support from across the political spectrum, it’s creating more fulltime jobs in the U.S. But this laudable goal is dead-on-arrival (DOA) unless we first fix these four things. Why is job growth … Continue reading

Posted in General | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

The Protected, Privileged Establishment vs. The Working Class

As noted yesterday in The Collapse of the Left, the working class has finally awakened to the Left’s betrayal and abandonment of labor in favor of the protected privileges of the elitist Establishment. I also described the Left’s Great Con: … Continue reading

Posted in General | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

The Collapse of the Left

The source of the angry angst rippling through the Democratic Party’s progressive camp is not President Trump–it’s the complete collapse of the Left globally. To understand this collapse, we turn (once again) to Marx’s profound understanding of the state and … Continue reading

Posted in General | Tagged | 6 Comments

25 Years of Neocon-Neoliberalism: Great for the Top 5%, A Disaster for Everyone Else

One unexamined narrative I keep hearing is: “OK, so neocon-neoliberalism was less than ideal, but Trump could be much worse.” Let’s start by asking: would Syrian civilians agree with this assessment? The basic idea in the “OK, so neocon-neoliberalism was … Continue reading

Posted in General | Tagged | 17 Comments

Does a Rogue Deep State Have Trump’s Back?

Suddenly everybody is referring to the Deep State, typically without offering much of a definition. The general definition is the unelected government that continues making and implementing policy regardless of who is in elected office. I have been writing about … Continue reading

Posted in General | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Trump as Lightning Rod–Not Just for Disaffected Progressives, But For Panicked Insiders

Political agnostics who are skeptical about Big Government “solutions,” left or right, view the current hullabaloo about the Trump presidency with some detachment. What’s remarkable to us is the extremism, not just of those bitter about Clinton’s loss, but by … Continue reading

Posted in General | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Will Our Grandchildren Wonder Why We Didn’t Build a Renewable Power Grid When It Was Still Affordable?

Anyone seeking clarity on the energy picture a decade or two out is to be forgiven for finding a thoroughly confusing divide. On the one hand, we have reassuring projections from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) that assume current … Continue reading

Posted in General | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

What’s Truly Progressive?

We know what fake-Progressives support: neocon-neoliberal policies and narratives that enable elite privilege, power and Imperial pretensions. So what’s truly progressive? We can start with four things: 1. Focus on developing skills that build capital, not on issuing costly credentials … Continue reading

Posted in General | Tagged | 1 Comment

The Path to $10,000 Bitcoin

As my colleague Davefairtex observed recently, the paint isn’t quite dry on bitcoin and the expanding host of other cryptocurrencies. Initial enthusiasm for the latest cryptocurrency that’s going to eat bitcoin’s lunch generates outsized returns for early investors, but as … Continue reading

Posted in General | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Dear Self-Proclaimed “Progressives”: as Apologists for the Neocon-Neoliberal Empire, You Are as Evil as the Empire You’ve Enabled

Dear Self-Proclaimed “Progressive”: I love you, man, but it has become necessary to intervene in your self-destruction. Your ideological blinders and apologies for the Establishment’s Neocon-Neoliberal Empire are not just destroying your credibility, they’re destroying the nation and everywhere the … Continue reading

Posted in General | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

We Can Only Afford One, So Choose Wisely: Social Security/Medicare, Cartel Cronyism or Inflation (Central Banking)

It’s easy to quantify the annual cost of Social Security/Medicare, and not so easy to calculate the cost of Cartel Cronyism and Central Bank-created inflation.Cartel cronyism is a hidden tax on the entire economy, as is Central Bank-created inflation. That … Continue reading

Posted in General | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

Trump Aims to Cut the Neocon Deep State Off at the Knees

I have long held that America’s Deep State–the unelected National Security State often referred to as the Shadow Government–is not a unified monolith but a deeply divided ecosystem in which the dominant Neocon-Neoliberal Oligarchy is being challenged by elements which … Continue reading

Posted in General | Tagged , , | 17 Comments

Why Profits Are Faltering

The bedrock assumption of the Bull market is that corporate profits will keep rising indefinitely. Hiccups are allowed, but current stock market valuations are implicitly based on profits expanding. The fly in the ointment here is corporate profits have been … Continue reading

Posted in General | Tagged | 4 Comments

Prosperity = Abundant Work + Low Cost of Living

If we seek a coherent context for the new year, we would do well to start with the foundations of widespread prosperity. While the economy is a vast, complex machine, the sources of widespread prosperity are not that complicated: abundant … Continue reading

Posted in General | Tagged | 1 Comment

Fragmentation and the De-Optimization of Centralization

Many observers decry the loss of national coherence and purpose, and the increasing fragmentation of the populace into “tribes” with their own loyalties, value systems and priorities. These observers look back on the national unity of World War II as … Continue reading

Posted in General | Tagged , , , , | 51 Comments

Fake News, Mass Hysteria and Induced Insanity

We’ve heard a lot about “fake news” from those whose master narratives are threatened by alternative sources and analyses. We’ve heard less about the master narratives being threatened: the fomenting of mass hysteria, which turns the populace into an easily … Continue reading

Posted in General | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

A Tale of Two Housing Markets: Hot and Not So Hot

Though housing statistics such as average sales price are typically lumped into one national number, this is extremely misleading: there are two completely different housing markets in the U.S. One is hot, one is not so hot. Just as importantly, … Continue reading

Posted in General | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Grab-Bag of Resolutions for 2017

Here’s a grab-bag of resolutions with something for just about every persuasion. 1. I resolve to never utter or write the word “Trump” in 2017. (Good luck with that…) 2. Having watched bitcoin rise from $250 (or perhaps from $25 … Continue reading

Posted in General | Tagged , | 1 Comment

When Assets (Such as Real Estate) Become Liabilities

Correspondent Joel M. submitted an article that struck me as a harbinger of the future: In Greece, Property Is Debt: “At law courts throughout Greece, people are lining up to file papers renouncing their inheritance. Not necessarily because some feckless … Continue reading

Posted in General | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Why I’m Hopeful

Why am I hopeful? the Status Quo is devolving, and a better way of living lies just beyond the corrupt, wasteful, ruinous consumerist debt/financial tyranny we now inhabit. Readers often ask me to post something hopeful, and I understand why: … Continue reading

Posted in General | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Crisis of Meaning = Crisis of Work

Allow me to connect two apparently unconnected dots. Dot #1: The last sugar plantation in Hawaii is closing down, ending more than a century of plantation life in the 50th state. Dot #2: a new study found that Nearly 95% … Continue reading

Posted in General | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

Why the Massive Expansion of “Money” Hasn’t Trickled Down to “The Rest of Us”

There are numerous debates about money: what it is, how we measure it, and so on. In recognition of these debates, I’m referring to “money” in quotes to designate that I’m using the Federal Reserve’s measure of money stock (MZM). … Continue reading

Posted in General | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Will Tax Cuts and More Federal Borrowing/Spending Fix What’s Broken?

Not to rain on the new administration’s parade, but one question needs to be asked of any new administration: will tax cuts and more federal borrowing/ spending fix what’s broken in the U.S./global economy? The short answer: if tax cuts … Continue reading

Posted in General | Tagged , | 5 Comments

What Have the “Experts” Gotten Right? In the Real Economy, They’re 0 for 5

The mainstream media continually hypes the authority of “experts,” i.e. people with a stack of credentials from top institutions. But does the mainstream media ever check on whether the “experts” got anything right? Let’s compare the “experts” (conventional PhD economists) … Continue reading

Posted in General | Tagged , | 7 Comments

Are You a Deplorable? Take This Quiz to Find Out

Are you a Deplorable? The answer might surprise you. Take this short quiz to find out. 1. If you agree with this characterization of American Elites: “The self-satisfied cosmopolitan culture that sprang up among the affluent 20% or so of … Continue reading

Posted in General | Tagged | 14 Comments

Recovering America’s History of Progressive Populism

There is only one narrative in the mainstream media about populism: it destroys democracy and leads straight to fascism. This is an ignorant and false narrative. Here’s a typical example of the mainstream anguish that the elites’ preferred narratives are … Continue reading

Posted in General | Tagged , , | 9 Comments

Why the Democrats Can’t Let Go of Losing

The Democratic Party has become everything it once was against. Let’s get one thing straight right at the start: criticizing the Democratic Party and its ruling elites is not the same as “supporting Trump.” The either-or accusation is a classic … Continue reading

Posted in General | Tagged | 1 Comment

U.S. Census Bureau, I.R.S. and St. Louis Federal Reserve Added to Washington Post’s list of “Russian Propaganda” Websites

In case you missed it, The Washington Post’s criminally careless publishing of “fake news” about purported “Russian propaganda” created a backlash–and the Post’s attorney-approved bleating to sidestep responsibility for publishing “fake news” failed to calm the waters. Here’s The Washington … Continue reading

Posted in General | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Populism in America: “Follow the Money”

One of the most disturbing failures of the mainstream media in this election cycle was its complete lack of historical context for Trump’s brand of populism.If you consumed the mainstream media’s coverage of the campaign and election, you noted their … Continue reading

Posted in General | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

Our “Gaslight” Financial System

The terms gaslight and gaslighting are entering the political media lexicon, with partisans of both parties accusing the other side’s candidate of gaslighting in the presidential election. The terms refers to the 1944 film Gaslight in which Charles Boyer subtly … Continue reading

Posted in General | Tagged , | 4 Comments

A Disintegrative Winter: The Debt and Anti-Status Quo Super-Cycle Has Turned

How would you describe the social mood of the nation and world? Would anti-Establishment, anti-status quo, and anti-globalization be a good start? How about choking on fast-rising debt? Would stagnant growth, stagnant wages be a fair description? Or how about … Continue reading

Posted in General | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Beyond Income Inequality

Judging by the mainstream media, the most pressing problems facing capitalism are 1) income inequality, the basis of Thomas Piketty’s bestsellerCapital in the Twenty First Century, and 2) the failure of laissez-faire markets to regulate their excesses, a common critique … Continue reading

Posted in General | Tagged , | 3 Comments