06 October 2009

So Why Is the Stock Market Going HIgher?

Q: But Jesse, if things are so bad, why is the stock market going up?

A: There is no doubt that equity markets, when judged in nominal terms, can do amazing things when the Fed spikes the punch bowl with grain liquor. Especially when market regulation has been weakened by decades of mistaken ideology and corruption.

The German stock market during the Weimar Crack Up Boom showed some remarkable gains, and was actually a lifesaver for many investors, for a time.

Bull markets are generally corrosive of the average intellect. That is why statists with something to hide love them so much. No matter what era, people willingly surrender their common sense to the bubble, if only for pragmatic reasons.

Those actively playing the deflation trade, short stocks and commodities, are getting killed for now. They are obviously early. The real deflation in paper asset prices will eventually come as the bust follows boom, but more selectively than most imagine, except temporarily if there is a genuine crash and not a long slow decline. Some assets will soar even higher as the dollar devaluation gains momementum and not retrace significantly as the dollar collapses in slow motion.

As Ludwig von Mises noted:

"This first stage of the inflationary process may last for many years. While it lasts, the prices of many goods and services are not yet adjusted to their altered money relation

There are still people in the country who have not yet become aware of the fact that they are confronted with a price revolution which will finally result in a considerable rise of all prices, although the extent of this rise will not be the same in the various commodities and services.

These people still believe that prices one day will drop. Waiting for this day, they restrict their purchases and concomitantly increase their cash holdings. As long as such ideas are still held by public opinion, it is not yet too late for the government to abandon its inflationary policy...

But then, finally, the masses wake up. They become suddenly aware of the fact that inflation is a deliberate policy and will go on endlessly. A breakdown occurs. The crack-up boom appears. Everybody is anxious to swap his money against 'real' goods, no matter whether he needs them or not, no matter how much money he has to pay for them. Within a very short time, within a few weeks or even days, the things which were used as money are no longer used as media of exchange. They become scrap paper. Nobody wants to give away anything against them.

It was this that happened with the Continental currency in America in 1781, with the French mandats territoriaux in 1796, and with the German mark in 1923. It will happen again whenever the same conditions appear. If a thing has to be used as a medium of exchange, public opinion must not believe that the quantity of this thing will increase beyond all bounds. Inflation is a policy that cannot last."
Until then, be aware that the paper chase is on, backed by the full faith and credit, and desperate lies, of some very frightened, but still very powerful and increasingly ruthless, men. There is a good case to be made that the financial sector, led by Wall Street, hijacked the US productive economy and bought off the politicians and has been managing it for their own benefit most notabley since. This is not the first time, and it will most likely not be the last.

Try to stay out of their way as they thrash about, looking for something to fill the hollowness of their being, more fuel for the bonfires of the profane.