The Two Biggest Fears

Submitted by Peter Tchir of TF Market Advisors,

I have two major concerns right not that I think everyone should be nervous about.  Actually I have lots of concerns, but most aren’t about the markets, and discussing them in this forum isn’t appropriate, so I will stick to my market related fears.

These are two risks that I see taking this sell-off further and faster than anyone else expects.

The Death of the Normal Curve

I think algo’s in general have had changes the distribution of returns.  That seems particularly true around the big Moving Averages.  Maybe it is just me, but I see so many conversations about the 50 DMA and 100 DMA these days that it seems that everyone is looking at them.  It might just be my streams, or it might just be that everyone really is that bored, or is looking for an excuse not to sell.

In any case, I think there are many more “entities” trading the moving averages (and other technical levels).  I think that has shifted the return distribution over time.

Let’s say in the good old days, there was a “normal” return distribution around the 100 DMA.  Since I am graphically challenged I will work with a very simple binomial distribution that illustrates the point.

Say there was a 75% chance of a bounce with a 0.5% profit, then there should have been a 25% chance with a 1.5% loss.  That would have created an expected value of 0.

People still trade it because they felt they had some other “advantage” that let them pick the bounces with a higher success rate.  Or pick those bounces that would generate higher returns.

Over time as more and more algos try to trade the same phenomena the success rate actually increases.

It becomes to some degree, a self-fulfilling prophecy.  If I am buying at the 100 DMA because it bounces and you are buying at the same price (for the same reason) then it is likely to bounce.  So what happens over time is the “win rate” increases.

Now let’s say you win 90% of the time, and the average profit is still 0.5% then that loss, which only occurs 10% of the time, should be 4.5%.  Yikes.

You can see how it would happen.  The 100 DMA at one time represented the entire market which was not overly biased towards technicians.  Shorts maybe covered at those levels because it seemed appropriate.  Longs doubled down because they had liked it there once before, so why not now.  All these charts are just a graphical representation of human behavior.

But now that has changed.  A lot of the people sitting on long positions bought for no other reason than it should go higher.  It wasn’t a long only manager adding to a position at levels they had once liked.  It was a twitchy algo buying because it has to go up.  One feature all those algo’s have is relatively tight stop losses.  They may all need to exit at the same time.  That might push us further than anyone expected.

While real money might add at the 100 DMA, maybe once they break through it and have all their gains from the past few months wiped out, they don’t add, or even sell.  Maybe the algo’s that sniff out weakness short.  Maybe that is why we don’t get a small gap down, but instead hit an air pocket.

So I am nervous that the support we think we have has been eroded by the types of trading that goes on, and that what should be a small sell-off based on the data, becomes a larger sell-off base on the positioning and types of trading we see in the market.

Treasury Weakness

In case you missed it this morning, we recommended covering the long bond long position (I do love saying that).

Before getting into why we are nervous, I have to admit I still think TBT might be the most insane “investment” out there.  2 times the daily move in any treasury seems silly.  These leveraged ETF’s have serious path dependency problems as it stands.  The “churn” of daily bounces hurts their returns.  That is common enough in treasuries.  Then it is based on some index (Barclay’s 20+ year treasuries) that is completely affected by the Fed’s positions.  The Fed owns significant portions of a lot of the bonds that are in that index, making pricing less transparent.  But that is solved by being short through bilateral swaps.  Okay, I use the term “solved” very loosely.  So you have path dependent leveraged risk to an index that isn’t fungible through bilateral swaps.  Shoot me.  Please just shoot me.

But shares outstanding for TBT continue to grow.  If ever any investment should be destroyed on principle alone, this is it.  It makes me want to go long the long bond, again.

But I can’t.  Not every “consensus” trade loses every day and I am very nervous that “something” is going on in the treasury complex.

Here are our concerns:

We have hit some target levels 2.60% on the 10 year and 3.55% on the long bond (or close enough)

 

We aren’t rallying as much as we “should” be.  Completely subjective, but this morning when futures were down 4 (how quaint that seems) treasuries were also lower.  It feels like there is real resistance here, and I’m not sure how things like TBT aren’t causing a massive short squeeze, but it appears that they aren’t.  So cautious here.

 

The prices paid on ISM was very high today.  The CRB index is getting higher by the day.  The dollar is weak.  So there are signs of commodity inflation, if nothing else, but that should help put a floor on how low treasury yields go.

 

Finally, and possibly most important, is that we are annoying most of the rest of the world.  Bernanke often said that trade barriers established during the great depression made the problem worse.  He urged government not to repeat that act, and they haven’t.  But his policies are starting to have that same impact.  Countries blame QE for their mess.  Countries are starting to question the sense of having a single reserve currency.

So I don’t like what is going on here.

What is worse, is that I do believe that if treasuries crack at all, then retail will exit high yield and investment grade bonds and with spreads already leaking there will be no hedge fund demand.  In fact, hedge funds will become forced sellers.  Then the real final bid, the pension funds and insurance companies, who are already fairly long risk, will hold off using their capital until the pain grows.

It will be the drop in corporate bond prices that cause the real problem, but it will be precipitated by a treasury sell-off.  One that we haven’t seen yet.  Hopefully we won’t see.   Hopefully some perception of “safety” and concerns about how weak growth will be will hold down treasury yields, but I am extremely nervous.

Positioning/Model Portfolio

We are selling the remaining 5% of SPY March 180 puts.  We want to sell them before they become completely intrinsic value.

We should probably sell XOVER protection, but will hold on to it for now (in no small part because it is now after noon and London has shut).

We might take some IG off later today (we added a tiny bit more on Friday around lunchtime).

I am very close to going short treasuries.  Not the long bond.  Maybe the 10 year.  Maybe the 5 year.  Maybe we do via interest rate swaps.  I am looking to see what expresses my concern the most with the least amount of damage if I am wrong.  This is difficult to pull the trigger on since you know my feeling on TBT and since I am bearish enough stocks that it is hard to get too jazzed up about a treasury sell-off.


    



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Obamacare To Crush Workforce By 2.5 Million Workers In Next Decade, CBO Admits

When the “impartial” Congressional Budget Office first attempted to predict the impact on the US labor force as a result of the administration healthcare ponzi scheme, also known affectionately as Obamacare and less affectionately by other names, it estimated that 800,000 Americans would drop out of the labor force by 2021. Moments ago it just revised that projection, admitting that it was off by the usual 100% or so: the hit to the US labor force due to Obamacare is now estimated to soar to 2.3 million through 2021, and furthermore the CBO just admitted that the enrollment rate will be dramatically below the White House’s baseline estimates, with 2 million fewer people signing up this year than previously estimated.

In brief, as the CBO admits (before it is forced to adversely reduce the numbers once more) the law will lead to 2 million fewer workers in 2017, 2.3 million in 2021 and 2.5 million through 2024. This represents a 1.5% to 2.0% reduction in the numbers of hours worked. As the WSJ recalls, CBO last year projected 7 million people would enroll for health insurance through health care exchanges in 2014, but Tuesday it said technical problems that plagued the program’s rollout forced it to lower its estimate by 1 million people.

“Those changes primarily reflect the significant technical problems that have been encountered in the initial phases of implementing the [law],” the CBO said. It said it couldn’t yet revise estimates for future years. CBO also projected 8 million new people would qualify for Medicaid and other expanded coverage this year, down from a 2013 estimate of 9 million people.

The health care law’s open enrollment process began in October and runs through March, and CBO estimated “the number of [people who sign up [for coverage] will increase sharply toward the end of the period.” Or not.

And here it is straight from the horse’s mouth:

The ACA’s largest impact on labor markets will probably occur after 2016, once its major provisions have taken full effect and overall economic output nears its maximum sustainable level. CBO estimates that the ACA will reduce the total number of hours worked, on net, by about 1.5 percent to 2.0 percent during the period from 2017 to 2024, almost entirely because workers will choose to supply less labor—given the new taxes and other incentives they will face and the financial benefits some will receive.

What does that mean?It means this: “reduced incentives to work attributable to the Affordable Care Act (ACA)—with most of the impact arising from new subsidies for health insurance purchased through exchanges—will have a larger negative effect on participation toward the end of that period.” Just don’t call it a welfare program.

The above in numbers:

The reduction in CBO’s projections of hours worked represents a decline in the number of full-time-equivalent workers of about 2.0 million in 2017, rising to about 2.5  million in 2024. Although CBO projects that total employment (and compensation) will increase over the coming decade, that increase will be smaller than it would have been in the absence of the ACA.

The number of people who will receive exchange subsidies—and who thus will face an implicit tax from the phaseout of those subsidies that discourages them from working—will be smaller initially than it will be in later years. The number of enrollees (workers and their dependents) purchasing their own coverage through the exchanges is projected to rise from about 6 million in 2014 to about 25 million in 2017 and later years, and most of those enrollees will receive subsidies. Although the number of people who will be eligible for exchange subsidies is similar from year to year, workers who are eligible but do not enroll may either be unaware of their eligibility or be unaffected by it and thus are unlikely to change their supply of labor in response to the availability of those subsidies.

The CBO’s mea culpa:

CBO’s estimate that the ACA will reduce aggregate labor compensation in the economy by about 1 percent over the 2017–2024 period—compared with what would have occurred in the absence of the act—is substantially larger than the estimate the agency issued in August 2010. At that time, CBO estimated that, once it was fully implemented, the ACA would reduce the use of labor by about one-half of a percent. That measure of labor use was calculated in dollar terms, representing the change in aggregate labor compensation that would result. Thus it can be compared with the reduction in aggregate compensation that CBO now estimates to result from the act (rather than with the projected decline in the number of hours worked).

 

CBO’s updated estimate of the decrease in hours worked translates to a reduction in full-time-equivalent employment of about 2.0 million in 2017, rising to about 2.5 million in 2024, compared with what would have occurred in the absence of the ACA. Previously, the agency estimated that if the ACA did not affect the average number of hours worked per employed person, it would reduce household employment in 2021 by about 800,000.25 By way of comparison, CBO’s current estimate for 2021 is a reduction in full-time-equivalent employment of about 2.3 million.

If you like your horrible 2010 forecast, you can keep your horrible 2010 forecast.

As for the most recent one, which too will be the source of comedy in one year’s time, here it is (link).


    



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Treasury Bill Yields Are Surging As Debt-Ceiling X-Date Approaches

Whether Treasury Secretary Lew’s words were meant to calm and chaosify the markets yesterday, his comments on the debt ceiling have sparked a notable sell-off in ultra-short-dated Treasury Bills. As we noted previously the 2/28 ish date appears to be the market’s bogey for now with the yield more than tripling from 3bps to 11bps in the last 2 days. CDS on the USA has also risen notably in the last few days with the 5Y now trading inverted to the 1Y cost of protection once again.

 

Major jump in T-Bill yields in the last 2 days as Lew brings back memories of October…

 

And USA CDS is on the rise (and inverted) once again…

 

As we noted previously:

This is what the X-Date projection looks like depending on the best and worst cash in/out scenarios:

 

 

Charts: Bloomberg


    



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Citi: Stocks, Bonds, Gold, & JPY Levels To Watch

The 10Y yield closed below its 200-day moving average and should test down to 2.47% in the short-term; and Citi's FX Technicals believes the Dow will test its 55-week moving average at 15,214, S&P 500 at 1,707; and Gold's consolidation/correction is over – the uptrend has resumed.

 

Via Citi FX Technicals,

US 10Y yield: Closed below the 200 day moving average and should test 2.47% in the short term

US 30Y yield: Met the initial target at 3.56%. We need to wait for further developments before confirming additional breaks on the weekly chart

Dow Industrials: Closed below the 200 day moving average for the first time since late 2012 and is likely to test the 55 week moving average in the near term at 15,214.

S&P 500: Likely to continue lower towards the 200 day moving average at 1,707.

USDJPY: Breached support levels in the 101.50 area and should test the 200 day moving average at 100.09. Support levels below there are just below 99.00.

Nikkei 225: The next support area is 13,799-918 which needs to be watched on a weekly close basis. The overlay with USDJPY suggests the pair should probably be trading around 99.00 now.

Gold: The morning star pattern on the daily chart and hold of the 55 day moving average tells us the consolidation / correction down is over and the uptrend has resumed.+

US 10 year yield – closed below the 200 day moving average

The close below the 200 day moving average opens the way for a move to the double top neckline at 2.47%

Decent support levels come in just below there at 2.39%-2.41% which would have to be watched on a weekly close basis before confirming any medium term break (and in conjunction with US 30 year yields)

For now a test of 2.47% is expected in the short term

US 30 year yield – initial target met

The initial target of 3.56% which was the double top neckline has been met. Additional supports come in just below at 3.48%-3.49%

While there is a danger of lower yields still (following the monthly reversal seen in January), we would need to see a weekly close below 3.48% and weekly closed below the support levels on US 10 year yields at 2.39% before confirming another break.

Dow Jones Industrial average daily and weekly charts

Left chart: Closed below the 200 day moving average for the first time since late 2012

Right chart: Focus now turns to the 55 week moving average at 15,214. That is likely to be tested in the near term. A weekly close below there, if also seen on the S&P 500 (where the 55 week moving average comes in at 1,672) would amount to a more important medium term bearish break.

S&P 500 – likely to test the 200 day moving average

In the shorter term, the S&P 500 is still at risk of posting further losses down to 1,707 (200 day moving average) and parallel of the trend across the highs.

USDJPY – likely to test the 200 day moving average

Support levels at 101.53-102.12 have given way on a daily close basis

This now opens the way for a move to the 200 day moving average at 100.09

The weekly chart below highlights additional levels and the overlay with the Nikkei 225 highlights the danger of further losses on USDJPY…

USDJPY Weekly Chart

The 55 week moving average and parallel of the trend across the highs converge at 98.33-85

Only a weekly close below there would warrant serious concern over a more medium term horizon.

Nikkei 225 and USDJPY overlay – should USDJPY be lower? – watch the 55 week moving average

The weakness in the Nikkei 225 (which closed below the 200 day moving average today) would suggest USDJPY should be trading around 99.00

The next set of decent supports on the Nikkei 225 are at 13,799-918 where the 55 week moving average and parallel of the trend across the highs converge

We would need to see a weekly close below those levels before confirming any further bearish breaks

Gold – uptrend has likely resumed after consolidation

The negative divergence seen last week has now been unwound after the brief pullback / consolidation

Gold has remained above the 55 day moving average support at $1,235 and has posted a morning star like pattern on the daily candles

This now suggests the uptrend is ready to resume and higher highs are likely

As a reminder, the weekly chart showed another bullish outside week two weeks ago…

A rally above last week’s high at $1,279 opens the way for a move to $1,361-77 and then the more medium term double bottom neckline at $1,433.


    



via Zero Hedge http://ift.tt/1kMarRi Tyler Durden

Citi: Stocks, Bonds, Gold, & JPY Levels To Watch

The 10Y yield closed below its 200-day moving average and should test down to 2.47% in the short-term; and Citi's FX Technicals believes the Dow will test its 55-week moving average at 15,214, S&P 500 at 1,707; and Gold's consolidation/correction is over – the uptrend has resumed.

 

Via Citi FX Technicals,

US 10Y yield: Closed below the 200 day moving average and should test 2.47% in the short term

US 30Y yield: Met the initial target at 3.56%. We need to wait for further developments before confirming additional breaks on the weekly chart

Dow Industrials: Closed below the 200 day moving average for the first time since late 2012 and is likely to test the 55 week moving average in the near term at 15,214.

S&P 500: Likely to continue lower towards the 200 day moving average at 1,707.

USDJPY: Breached support levels in the 101.50 area and should test the 200 day moving average at 100.09. Support levels below there are just below 99.00.

Nikkei 225: The next support area is 13,799-918 which needs to be watched on a weekly close basis. The overlay with USDJPY suggests the pair should probably be trading around 99.00 now.

Gold: The morning star pattern on the daily chart and hold of the 55 day moving average tells us the consolidation / correction down is over and the uptrend has resumed.+

US 10 year yield – closed below the 200 day moving average

The close below the 200 day moving average opens the way for a move to the double top neckline at 2.47%

Decent support levels come in just below there at 2.39%-2.41% which would have to be watched on a weekly close basis before confirming any medium term break (and in conjunction with US 30 year yields)

For now a test of 2.47% is expected in the short term

US 30 year yield – initial target met

The initial target of 3.56% which was the double top neckline has been met. Additional supports come in just below at 3.48%-3.49%

While there is a danger of lower yields still (following the monthly reversal seen in January), we would need to see a weekly close below 3.48% and weekly closed below the support levels on US 10 year yields at 2.39% before confirming another break.

Dow Jones Industrial average daily and weekly charts

Left chart: Closed below the 200 day moving average for the first time since late 2012

Right chart: Focus now turns to the 55 week moving average at 15,214. That is likely to be tested in the near term. A weekly close below there, if also seen on the S&P 500 (where the 55 week moving average comes in at 1,672) would amount to a more important medium term bearish break.

S&P 500 – likely to test the 200 day moving average

In the shorter term, the S&P 500 is still at risk of posting further losses down to 1,707 (200 day moving average) and parallel of the trend across the highs.

USDJPY – likely to test the 200 day moving average

Support levels at 101.53-102.12 have given way on a daily close basis

This now opens the way for a move to the 200 day moving average at 100.09

The weekly chart below highlights additional levels and the overlay with the Nikkei 225 highlights the danger of further losses on USDJPY…

USDJPY Weekly Chart

The 55 week moving average and parallel of the trend across the highs converge at 98.33-85

Only a weekly close below there would warrant serious concern over a more medium term horizon.

Nikkei 225 and USDJPY overlay – should USDJPY be lower? – watch the 55 week moving average

The weakness in the Nikkei 225 (which closed below the 200 day moving average today) would suggest USDJPY should be trading around 99.00

The next set of decent supports on the Nikkei 225 are at 13,799-918 where the 55 week moving average and parallel of the trend across the highs converge

We would need to see a weekly close below those levels before confirming any further bearish breaks

Gold – uptrend has likely resumed after consolidation

The negative divergence seen last week has now been unwound after the brief pullback / consolidation

Gold has remained above the 55 day moving average support at $1,235 and has posted a morning star like pattern on the daily candles

This now suggests the uptrend is ready to resume and higher highs are likely

As a reminder, the weekly chart showed another bullish outside week two weeks ago…

A rally above last week’s high at $1,279 opens the way for a move to $1,361-77 and then the more medium term double bottom neckline at $1,433.


    



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How Putin Prepares For The Winter Olympics

Redefining “hands on” since the second coming of the USSR

Others, meanwhile, have different problems on their hands

… and backs.

Finally, breakfast in Sochi


    



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Factory Orders Drop Most In 5 Months, Inventories Rise Fastest Since June

Factory Orders dropped 1.5% in December – their biggest fall since July – but modestly beat weak expectations. This drop despite the fact that inventories of manufactured durable goods in December, up eight of the last nine months, increased $3.2 billion or 0.8 percent to $387.9 billion to the highest level since the series was first published. This is the fastest year-over-year inventory build in 6 months – and fastest month-over-month build in 15 months.

  • *U.S. DEC. DURABLES ORDERS DROP 4.2%; NON-DURABLES RISE 1.1%
  • *DECEMBER FACTORY INVENTORY-TO-SALES RATIO RISES TO 1.29 MONTHS

 

Biggest drop in factory orders in 5 months…

 

as Inventories surge to new record high and at the fastest pace in 6 months…


    



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“These Young Bankers Are Trying To Save The World”

Who says the only thing bankers are good at is relying on (then blaming) S&P and Moody’s research reports to justify their investments in worthless toxic subprime, then levering up beyond all known limits and putting on unbelievably risky trades in hopes of striking it rich or blowing up and getting bailed out by taxpayers. According to Bloomberg…

Huh? Bloomberg, luckily, explains.

The founders of the Resolution Project don’t dwell on generosity or charity when they describe why their nonprofit mentors and funds young leaders. They favor the language of finance. “We get good yield,” said Andrew Harris, the group’s 31-year-old vice chairman, who advises private-equity firms at Forum Capital Partners in New York. “We think it’s very different and, to use a Wall Street term, very differentiated.”

 

Without deserting careers, a new wave of young bankers is starting nonprofits to help orphans, immigrants, veterans and students. They say they’re moved to mend the world using capitalism’s wisdom, not because of its shortcomings, preaching the power of dividends, due diligence, leverage and efficient allocation of resources. Some see themselves setting a new mold for post-crisis Wall Street philanthropy by not waiting to give away their money or leaving for full-time charity work.

 

Among this generation — our generation — is a deep passion and interest in learning, earning and returning simultaneously,” said Andrew Klaber, 32, an analyst at hedge fund Paulson & Co. whose nonprofit Even Ground provides education and care to African children affected by AIDS. “You just see an unmet need in your research, and research is what we do on Wall Street.”

Uhm, what? Some pearls of explanation.

“I’m a starter of things,” said Oliver Libby, another co-founder of the Resolution Project, which will hold competitions for student social ventures at the United Nations Youth Assembly this month and the Clinton Global Initiative University in Phoenix in March. “I just have fun with it. So there’s a certain aspect of me that just is like, yeah, sure, let’s get that started, let’s go.”

 

“I’ve never run a hedge fund, and they’ve never run a not-for-profit,” said Lublin, 42, now chief executive officer of Do Something, an organization that runs national campaigns about bullying, the environment and other causes to engage teenagers. “I brush my teeth every day, twice a day, that doesn’t mean I’m ready to perform a root canal on somebody.”


 

“There’s been a cultural humility that’s come out of the financial crisis,” said Tim Kleiman, 30, an analyst for New York-based asset manager Golub Capital. He’s working on a project to fund higher education in Africa that may aim for profit. “When you’re confronted with these really humbling events, where you see the meltdown of these systems and the sad human costs of that — that were not necessarily the result of anyone’s intention — for me it galvanized my thinking.”

 

Kleiman, a Yale University graduate who worked for McKinsey & Co. and hedge fund D.E. Shaw & Co. before Golub, said he doesn’t want to wait for his career to hit its high point before undertaking meaningful projects.

 

That world that I’m imagining, where I’m a partner and I’ve made all my money, who knows what that world’s going to look like?” he said. “So why not try something now?”

Truly an utopia. As for this fluff piece: there are some things money can’t buy, for everything else there is Bloomberg PR.

Then again even the Catholic Church has a name for this: indulgence.


    



via Zero Hedge http://ift.tt/1nNOh3z Tyler Durden

"These Young Bankers Are Trying To Save The World"

Who says the only thing bankers are good at is relying on (then blaming) S&P and Moody’s research reports to justify their investments in worthless toxic subprime, then levering up beyond all known limits and putting on unbelievably risky trades in hopes of striking it rich or blowing up and getting bailed out by taxpayers. According to Bloomberg…

Huh? Bloomberg, luckily, explains.

The founders of the Resolution Project don’t dwell on generosity or charity when they describe why their nonprofit mentors and funds young leaders. They favor the language of finance. “We get good yield,” said Andrew Harris, the group’s 31-year-old vice chairman, who advises private-equity firms at Forum Capital Partners in New York. “We think it’s very different and, to use a Wall Street term, very differentiated.”

 

Without deserting careers, a new wave of young bankers is starting nonprofits to help orphans, immigrants, veterans and students. They say they’re moved to mend the world using capitalism’s wisdom, not because of its shortcomings, preaching the power of dividends, due diligence, leverage and efficient allocation of resources. Some see themselves setting a new mold for post-crisis Wall Street philanthropy by not waiting to give away their money or leaving for full-time charity work.

 

Among this generation — our generation — is a deep passion and interest in learning, earning and returning simultaneously,” said Andrew Klaber, 32, an analyst at hedge fund Paulson & Co. whose nonprofit Even Ground provides education and care to African children affected by AIDS. “You just see an unmet need in your research, and research is what we do on Wall Street.”

Uhm, what? Some pearls of explanation.

“I’m a starter of things,” said Oliver Libby, another co-founder of the Resolution Project, which will hold competitions for student social ventures at the United Nations Youth Assembly this month and the Clinton Global Initiative University in Phoenix in March. “I just have fun with it. So there’s a certain aspect of me that just is like, yeah, sure, let’s get that started, let’s go.”

 

“I’ve never run a hedge fund, and they’ve never run a not-for-profit,” said Lublin, 42, now chief executive officer of Do Something, an organization that runs national campaigns about bullying, the environment and other causes to engage teenagers. “I brush my teeth every day, twice a day, that doesn’t mean I’m ready to perform a root canal on somebody.”


 

“There’s been a cultural humility that’s come out of the financial crisis,” said Tim Kleiman, 30, an analyst for New York-based asset manager Golub Capital. He’s working on a project to fund higher education in Africa that may aim for profit. “When you’re confronted with these really humbling events, where you see the meltdown of these systems and the sad human costs of that — that were not necessarily the result of anyone’s intention — for me it galvanized my thinking.”

 

Kleiman, a Yale University graduate who worked for McKinsey & Co. and hedge fund D.E. Shaw & Co. before Golub, said he doesn’t want to wait for his career to hit its high point before undertaking meaningful projects.

 

That world that I’m imagining, where I’m a partner and I’ve made all my money, who knows what that world’s going to look like?” he said. “So why not try something now?”

Truly an utopia. As for this fluff piece: there are some things money can’t buy, for everything else there is Bloomberg PR.

Then again even the Catholic Church has a name for this: indulgence.


    



via Zero Hedge http://ift.tt/1nNOh3z Tyler Durden

It Doesn't Have To Be This Way

Submitted by Charles Hugh-Smith of OfTwoMinds blog,

"Induce people all to want the same thing, hate the same things, feel the same threat, then their behavior is already captive–you have acquired your consumers or your cannon-fodder."

The potential for transformation can be expressed in one simple phrase: it doesn't have to be this way.

The structures that benefit from dominating the current system maintain their dominance by convincing us that "the way it is" is inevitable and impervious to systemic change. That is the primary mythology that generates and maintains their dominance.

The second level of dominance is created by persuading us that not only is the current "way the world works" inevitable, it is the best way possible because it enables self-expression and convenience via consumption.

R.D. Laing described the essence of the hidden machinery of dominance in his bookThe Politics of Experience

“All those people who seek to control the behavior of large numbers of other people work on the experiences of those other people. Once people can be induced to experience a situation in a similar way, they can be expected to behave in similar ways. Induce people all to want the same thing, hate the same things, feel the same threat, then their behavior is already captive – you have acquired your consumers or your cannon-fodder.”

The essence of dominance is not force (which is only deployed when there is no other way to maintain dominance) but the molding and internalization of a specific set of beliefs about how the world works. These beliefs include a set of values and myths that guide our behavior and how we experience the world around us.

All the structures that dominate our society and economy (the central state, crony-capitalist cartels, the Federal Reserve, the financialization/banking sector, those benefiting from Empire) need do is persuade us that their dominance is not only inevitable and natural but ideal.

We can delineate the core beliefs that enable their dominance with a set of simple if-then statements. If we believe what they want us to believe, they have won and we have lost: their continued dominance is assured without force or even persuasion.

1. If we believe that debt is inevitable, they have won and we have lost.

2. If we believe that what we wear, buy, drive, display and consume defines our identity and place in the world, they have won and we have lost.

3. If we believe that we express ourselves through what we buy, consume, display and own, then we have entered a state of permanent insecurity and adolescence; they have won and we have lost.

4. If we believe that without its Empire, America would perish, they have won and we have lost.

5. If the "news" leaves us fearful, anxious, frustrated and angry, they have won and we have lost.

6. If we believe that being connected to and consuming digital media during every waking hour is not just necessary but desirable as a display of coolness and status, they have won and we have lost.

7. If we believe fast food and packaged food is cheap, tasty and convenient, they have won and we have lost.

8. If we believe we would perish without a payment from the Central State, they have won and we have lost.

9. If we believe that measures such as the unemployment rate and gross domestic product (GDP) are meaningful metrics, they have won and we have lost.

10. If we believe that our identity and self-expression flow from our membership in various "tribes" defined by signifiers such as sports team logos, corporate logos, tattoos, programs and music we consume, brands and other consumables, they have won and we have lost.

11. If we believe the America of today is the perfection of all that is good about America rather than the suppression of all that is good about America, they have won and we have lost.

12. If we believe that learning and intellectual accomplishment are to be scorned as "elitist," they have won and we have lost.

13. If we believe that health results from consuming handfuls of pills, they have won and we have lost.

14. If we believe it is normal to transfer the vast majority of our earnings to the state and a handful of crony-capitalist cartels, they have won and we have lost.

15. If we believe the world is controlled by secret cabals over which we have no power, they have won and we have lost.

16. If we don't know what to do with ourselves when shopping, buying, consuming and entertainment/news are unavailable, they have won and we have lost.

17. If we believe there is a meaningful difference between the two political parties, they have won and we have lost.

18. If we believe we are entitled to convenience, state support, etc. as a birthright, they have won and we have lost.

19. If we believe we are powerless to change anything other than our current mix of consumption, they have won and we have lost.

20. If we believe that lying, cheating, fudging the numbers, exaggerating our victimhood or accomplishments, gaming the system and being silently complicit in others' lies, fabrications, deceptions and embezzlements are required to get ahead, they have won and we have lost.

Here are some "it doesn't have to be this way"-related aphorisms:

"There is no security on this earth; there is only opportunity." (Douglas MacArthur)

"We are what we repeatedly do." (Aristotle)

"Do the thing and you shall have the power." (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction." (E.F. Schumacher)

"Do you know what amazes me more than anything else? The impotence of force to organize anything." (Napoleon Bonaparte)

"Whatever remains unconscious emerges later as fate." (Carl Jung)

"A healthy homecooked family meal and a home garden are revolutionary acts." (CHS)

"Any sufficiently advanced cartel's actions are indistinguishable from magic." (CHS)

"The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." (Marcus Aurelius, Meditations)

"Passive absorption of marketing-dominated media is the primary activity on the plantation of the mind, and that of course is the goal of the colonial overlords: distraction, passivity, confusion, divide and conquer, and the old stand-by, financial desperation." (CHS) 

 


    



via Zero Hedge http://ift.tt/1kLzZ0G Tyler Durden