Political Risk 2 – Reflections

We reported (04/06/2017) prior to the UK General Election 2017:

There is a minor risk of a hung parliament where, like 2010, the new government may have to collaborate to hold office. This would make managing the Brexit process untenable. The loss of political and economic confidence that would ensue would bring chaos to the UK. Should there be an outright victory to Labor, we would see a reversion to the 1950/70’s style politics that would also be a disaster.

Little did we realize how close to the mark we would be. PM May’s electoral disaster has profound repercussions for the UK. Firstly Brexit becomes a challenge at the negotiation table because of the weakened hand PM May presents to the EU. Secondly, Jeremy Corbyn’s success at the polls will force the Conservatives to move to the centre-left of UK politics to capture Corbyn’s new found friends – the 18-34 year demographic that has recently discovered politics and utopian self-interest.

This is a disaster for the UK and will not end well. May’s leadership will be under constant challenge for the next 5 years. One of her few chances of success depends on being able to negotiate a quick exit from the EU. This is unlikely.

As has happened in Australia in 2016, the UK and with a 9% confidence level in US Congress reflecting the rising distrust voters have for politicians. This is a trend that will continue around the world for the foreseeable future. The unintended consequence of voter distrust however is that political confidence begins to fail and economic confidence collapses soon after.

In the United States the Democratic – Republican flash point continues to escalate. President Trump is beginning to claw back a few points against the “Deep State” influence working inside government. Investigations are building cases on leaks and corruption. Trump is slowly gaining momentum with his agenda despite the continual challenge of the left agenda.

Unfortunately the first directly attributable acts of violence have occurred with a Republican Congressman and two police officers wounded at an annual practice baseball session for Congress politicians. The use of violence in political discourse is inherently evil itself and not in keeping with the liberal-democratic tradition that has benefited humanity. Since 2015 we have witnessed an increasing breakdown of civil discourse – a cornerstone of a free society. This marks the first violence of the civil strife we predict emerging in the US. We anticipate this will continue to escalate over the next few years. It will not end well and directly reflects the internal divisions that continue to rent US civil society.

At the same time we move slowly towards The End of the Long Game, the last gasp of the “Industrial Revolution Cycle” that commenced in 1783. We still view the September 2017 – March 2018 time window as the time for that final top, to be followed by the downward phase of the cycle. As always rebirth follows endings and the advance of humanity continues.

This worsening political discord in the US and other liberal democratic countries merely reflect the changing cycle mentioned previously. Given the magnitude of the cycle involved – one that builds and destroys empires, we can glimpse directly at the political and economic forces shaping events and the changes to come.

Australian Housing Affordability

Housing affordability is attracting the attention of politicians as concern rises that a housing bubble has made homes too expensive. So far, none of the discussions have really addressed the problems. Several key points can be made here from a futurist perspective.

The housing problem…..

Sitting on the left wing agenda is the view that negative gearing of investment properties is a necessary step to making housing more affordable. Government is short of cash. You can see this happening in most liberal democratic countries around the world and should merely be seen as another tax grab. For this reason alone politicians will close the negative gearing window.

Cancelling negative gearing will have the long term effect of driving up rents causing a severe shortage of rental properties. That wont affect the politicians however who vote for the negative gearing “reform” as they will have disappeared into retirement.

Pre-2016 election talk suggested a grandfather clause to existing investment property holders. The time between initiating the legislation to when it goes into effect creates a window for people to grab up properties for investment purposes. The short and sharp buying frenzy in conjunction with this kind of policy or news would be typical of a major long term top for Australian property markets. This kind of event is common in financial markets when changes of trend occur at the end of a long term market. Policy or news has caught up too late. It always results in a major reversal. We might anticipate the peak of the Australian property market would last decades.

Other proposed measures include first home owners being allowed to access superannuation to form a deposit. When first home owner grants were introduced in 2000, property prices for new homes jumped by multiples of the $7000 grant. This reflected the increased purchasing power an extra $7000 had on loan to valuation ratios. If super is allowed into the equation we’ll see property prices once again jump higher as builders respond to improved loan ratios.

Part of the affordability solution……..

One issue that never gets discussed is the supply related issues created by government themselves. In many capital cities around the world, including Australia, housing affordability is often the unintended consequence of regulatory bottlenecks where zoning, building regulations and permits choke the flow of new supply and drive up the cost of housing. Clearly this needs to be addressed and would go a long way towards addressing the affordability issue.Another issue under the microscope where investors hold a property seeking only capital gains by leaving the property untenanted. If governments must be seen to be doing something, a tax on properties untenanted for longer than say 3 months would take the heat off buyers as they realize the benefits renting over buying bring in an overheated property market.

Suffice to say the long term direction of Australian property values are coming to a head in conjunction with other Australian and global social, political and economic issues. Housing affordability is just another issue along with many others whose origins lie decades in the past and whose solution cannot be answered by politicians or central planners

 

Pendulum of Government Overreach has Peaked

The pendulum of government overreach has peaked in most liberal democratic countries around the world (for now). The major political events of 2016 have shown increasing resistance to government given the rising number of breaches in civil liberties and failure of government to identify and respond to the disenfranchised members of their societies.

Many segments of society have felt themselves becoming impoverishment. At the same time they have watched the hubris, greed and failure of politicians to deliver solutions to resolve the various politically made crises. One of the recurring questions that will emerge is the role of government in the lives of people.

By the time politicians’ hubris has completely evaporated, the nature of liberal democratic countries will have changed. We see major risk of political, economic and social upheaval occurring between now and 2028-2033 This phase may extend before social, political and economic stability becomes the norm. As always the pendulum will one day swing again towards increasing government involvement in the lives and affairs of ordinary people.

US Presidential Election Prediction

Its clear we are in a cycle of increasing political chaos and uncertainty. This is continuing to escalate. Its happening in liberal democratic countries. National elections are due in these countries (Germandonald-trumpy, France 2017), UK (2018). We can anticipate major upheavals along with the US. We are seeing the death throes of the liberal democratic tradition. Worsening economic inequality, the self interest of political elites, political coverups, politicians unable to deliver on their promises, vote rigging, dodgy economics, disenfranchised voters, unaccountable rogue police are just some of the issues to be seen in newspapers and television. Democracy, a human system, like all systems before, is failing.

Next US President

Given the increasing political chaos we anticipate Donald Trump will be elected as the 45th US President of the United States of America. Between now and November we should see a marked swing towards Trump. Viewing the US situation through the lens of cycles analysis we step beyond the character and reputation of US Presidential nominees to see the fabric of a society and economy being eroded through self interest.This process has been underway for over 5 decades.TruHillary Clinton imagesmp’s election should be seen as the response to a disenfranchised electorate. That’s both within the parties and without. Its an  increasingly angry social mood. Voters are angry and one of their few options is to respond at the ballot. Electoral horror at the status quo has emerged with a dual society – the haves and have nots, cronyism, hidden interests, corporatism, the endless wars, spurious economics, indebtedness………..

Like Brexit and many of the problems we are witnessing nightly in the news (EU refugee crisis, police and citizen shootings, etc), many crises have been manufactured by governments themselves.

We witness the unfolding political, social and economic drama of the USA and by extension the global stage since the US ascended to become the global hegemon after WWII. Most people acknowledge things have gone terribly wrong over the last 20 years but nobody knows what to do. There is little or no confidence in the political class, or their technocrat advisors, government institutions, the economy and society at large. We anticipate the continuing breakdown of the status quo an Trump’s election to the presidency is merely a reflection of the zeitgeist of our time. Yet this is perfectly understandable when you step back from the noise of daily media and observe the cycles of history evolving before our eyes.

History Repeating

An historical example of a time when a large scale breakdown of society occurred on this scale was during the phase 1740-1792 leading to the French Revolution. This time however, with globalization, it spans over many countries. At that time we saw increasing political instability with its attendant corruption, economic decay and the polarization of the people against the political elites (king and government). It’s happened many times before as any student of history will testify, is happening now and will happen again as humans consistently fail to learn from their past.

Understanding Cyclic History

We are witnessing in our lifetime the completion of large scale cycles of human endeavor and activity with the attendant dislocation and reallocation of social, economic and political activity and resources. An understanding of the broad brush strokes economically, socially and politically may serve to enhance your perspective on what emerges next. The scale of forces at work in liberal and democratic societies and economies is so huge that the current drama is taking decades to unfold.

This is the topping and completion process of an economic cycle that has been going on for around 224 years. By the time this top and the ensuing drama is finished, it may well have spanned generations of people. On a historical note, we are witnessing the completion of the growth phase of the industrial revolution cycle that began around 1783-5.

And so what does Trump have to do with economic cycles?

The current political chaos will continue to intensify and this will give way eventually into economic chaos. The impending signs  for that economic chaos are clearly to be seen and once again it centers on the incapacity of central planners and bureaucrats to perceive the unintended consequences of their mischief. Trump has nothing to do with these economic cycles. He merely reflects the zeitgeist of the times. Like someone surfing a wave, they ride the wave for a period of time then disappear into the footnotes of history. Trump has often appeared at major tops of economic cycles in the last 30 years in US history. Its not surprising then he has reappeared surfing the zeitgeist wave as the US completes the topping phase of this huge cycle of human endeavor.

Trump’s ability to ride the social mood of the time we believe will help him to take the presidency. Whether he will have the power to change the status quo, like Obama who promised major change yet found himself caught in the entrenched self interest of Congress, Wall Street, Big Pharma and the military. Trump may well ride the last vestiges of prosperity in this cycle. Given the growing political and economic storm Trump may well find himself the target of assassination attempts in the next four years. He will be remembered as the President that reigned at the time the US and world peaked in economic activity for many decades to come.

Whether we have a few more months or years of twilight before the downside comes home to roost, suffice to say, from now on we can expect increasingly tough times punctuated by phases of optimism. The current political chaos will continue to intensify and this will give way into economic chaos. The impending signs  for that economic chaos are already clearly seen and once again it the focus centers on the incapacity of central planners and bureaucrats to perceive the unintended consequences of their mischief. Will people in future times learn from our mistakes and mistakes of the past? We think not.

The Great Sovereign Debt Crisis Coming Soon

Starting in Europe and reaching public consciousness when Japan implodes before engulfing the USA and remaining Liberal-Democratic nations.

The Great Sovereign Debt Crisis of the 21st Century is steadily gaining momentum. The forces of deflation have been steadily building since 2000 and the stage is set over the next 6-12 months where the reality of public plundering of the means of production comes home to roost. The weight of public and private debt, government regulation and leverage, fraudulent economics and fallacious political thinking that assumes that if you keep taking and spending other people’s money you will never ever run out!

Yet this is exactly what is happening. The politicians have borrowed to deliver on promises they were never going to be around to see delivered. They’ve debased the their currency and now we have reached the problem that there is so much debt in the world that the world does not have enough income to service that debt.

Historically its happened many times before of course and yet we never seem to learn. Empires grow and prosper, politicians make promises, governments and people borrow and everyone takes for granted the wealth that has been achieved until finally, it all collapses. History records the rise and fall of civilizations on exactly this premise. It’s always government and the self-seeking of leaders that cause civilizations to self-destruct.

While we observe the rise and fall of empires due to reasons of currency debasement or war, we can also observe that these are merely the mechanisms that cause the problems. Behind them lies the cyclic nature of humanity. Deep in the limbic system of the human brain reside deep impulses that play out at individual and aggregate levels.

We might look back at the Tulip Mania Bubble of the Dutch Golden Age (1634-1637) and wonder how people might have been so crazy as to invest in tulips. The Tulip Mania occurred on the back of a Europe-wide debasement of coins (1619-1622) used to finance war. Yet they did and future historians will look back at early 21st century share, commodity, real estate prices and wonder “how could they have been so blind?”TulipPricesDebasement of the currency has occurred this time by closing the link between gold and paper money and the massive printing of money that subsequently occurred. Each era brings the usual excuse “this time its different”. But the same debasing of money, the same political hubris, the same grasp for political power create the same drivers that cause the boom and the bust.

We watch at the moment the European debt drama playing out in Greece. Other nations sit on the edge of potential debt crises including Spain, Portugal, Italy, Puerto Rica and various cities of the US. This is just the beginning. Soon we shall see the debt crisis spreading to northern Europe, Japan, China and the US. Its about sovereign debt of course, the debt accumulated by generations of politicians spending other people’s money.SouthSeaIn Japan they experienced this in the early 1930’s when massive money printing operations inflated their economy. It resulted in the assassination of the Finance Minister and Prime Minister, the establishment of the military as the power brokers of Japanese politics and the beginnings of the build up for for WWII. That didn’t end well for the Japanese people.

Between 1740 and 1783, the French experienced it with the massive indebtedness of the monarchy, high taxes, high levels of regulation and cronyism led to the French Revolution, Napoleon and a final defeat in 1815.

Pax Romana followed a similar path where eventually the debasement of the currency and accumulated debt caused the empire to implode. To look at Pax Americana is to see an identical script unfolding. Massively unsustainable debt levels, vast militarization, endless monetary debasement, constitutional decay and subjugation of citizens by taxation, regulation and blatant spying signal, as it has in many previous civilizations, the demise of this short lived empire.

Using financial markets as a barometer we observe markets in major topping patterns, working out of main trends. The next 3-6 months will prove critical in determining if the Great Sovereign Debt Crisis has truly arrived or if there is still enough gas in the tank for one last sprint before the weight of debt, regulation and political hubris bring down the liberal – democratic nations of the world. dow-jones-100-year-historical-chart-2015-08-07Once again the cyclic nature of human egress and regress is playing out at individual and aggregate levels and from where we stand, major and minor cycles of human endeavor are changing direction. Crisis bring danger and opportunity for those so prepared.

Canada Legalizes Physician-Assisted Dying

In February 2015, Canada legalized physician-assisted dying — a first among countries with common-law systems, in which law is often developed by judges through case decisions and precedent. The Supreme Court of Canada issued the decision in Carter v. Canada

Read the full article here: http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp1502442

The judgment portends changes outside Canada. Imitation is a feature of the common-law world, and if physician-assisted dying is litigated in England, India, or South Africa, for example, odds are high that judges would draw on the Canadian Court’s reasoning. Societies are also changing, and in coming decades aging populations with growing affluence and incidence of chronic illness will increasingly question the medical and legal orthodoxies regarding the end of life. Given the flow of legal ideas and shifting demographics, change and convergence around physician-assisted dying as a standard of care seem inevitable.

These developments will trouble people who instinctively find legalized physician-assisted dying repellent. But increasingly, society is acknowledging that denying people the right to die with dignity and safety is even more repellent.

Editor’s Note: This is in line with our prediction that euthanasia will become commonplace in liberal-democratic nations around the world. Our prediction remains on track and we should see euthanasia being mainstream by 2025.

Of greater concern is the risk that failing governments will cause a rise in “iatrogenic-induced deaths” as the continued breakdown of societies accelerates.

Small is beautiful. The Nano future is coming

Advances in nanotechnology will be a key enabler of technological advance in the next decade. The integration of information technology, biotechnology, materials sciences, and nanotechnology will generate a dramatic increase in innovation. Read this Alert to see how your personal and business life might be affected pretty soon.
What is changing?

Innovation

  • Older technologies will continue lateral ‘sidewise development’ into new markets and applications .
  • Current high-visibility investments and technology breakthroughs will be needed to realize the full potential of nanotechnology.
  • Technologies like nanotechnology will be used to establish a maintenance free environment (i.e. self -cleansing glass, self-repairing concrete).
  • Nanotechnology will produce new goods with new properties at a smaller scale that may use far less resources.

Health

  • Future uses of genetic data, software, and nanotechnology will help detect and treat disease at the genetic or molecular level.
  • Modern healthcare technologies and prevention strategies will have the potential to extend the life expectancy of people.
  • Molecular ‘robots’ could be designed to enter the body and eat plaque.
  • Nanotechnology will enable lives to be saved by digestible cameras and machines made from particles 50,000 times as small as a human hair.
  • Smart nano-materials will facilitate the development of textiles that detect biotoxins.

Business

  • The global market for nanotechnologies will reach $1 trillion or more within 20 years.
  • Progress in nanotechnology will depend heavily on R&D investments.
  • Robotics, synthetic biology, nanotechnology, and molecular manufacturing really will lead to an explosion of wealth and resource availability.
  • Printed electronics and electrics will be a $335 billion business in twenty years i.e. 2029
  • Bioscience, information technology, and nanotechnology will be applied to meet agricultural and food challenges.
  • There will be 400,000 jobs in the nanotech sector across the European Union this year.
  • Nanotechnology, 3D printing, smart materials and a new generation of composites will be a $1.3trn (£805.8bn) global manufacturing battleground this year.
  • In the coming future nanotechnology will certainly have a colossal effect on the ceramics, metals, polymers, and biomaterials industries.
Implications

Transformations

  • As personalized medicine becomes more affordable expect to see the coming of age for genomics, nanotechnology, robotics, and other innovations.
  • The use of nanotechnology could herald an ‘exciting’ breakthrough for patients with heart disease.
  • Nanotechnology could completely transform conventional economic activity from healthcare and renewable energy technology to food production.
  • Applications that are likely to be widely diffused in 2025 will combine different technologies such as biotechnology, nanotechnology, materials technology and information technology.
  • New applications and reinventions will trigger market take-off and shape further development of collaborative technologies for governance and policy modelling.
  • Nanotechnology is expected to have a major impact on sustainability in the near future.

Electronics

  • Nano- technology will enable different types of electronics.
  • Nanotechnology will allow chip manufacturers to continue upholding Moore’s Law.
  • Nanoscale piezoelectric materials could provide the lowest possible power consumption for on/off switches in MEMS and other types of electronic computing systems.
  • Relying on nano-sized robotics will eventually become commonplace.

Development

  • Advances in nanotechnology will require long time horizons and continued investments in materials, platforms, and applications across manufacturingindustries.
  • Expect the greater use of new materials with an emphasis on not just boosting performance but also improving efficiency.
  • Materials and nanotechnology will enable the development of new devices with unforeseen capabilities.
  • Nanotechnology will replace most current wearable technology.
  • Discoveries in nanotechnology will lead to unprecedented understanding and control over the fundamental building blocks of all physical things.
  • Nanotechnology could be used to help reduce battery weight and lighten other products.
  • The U.S. Air Force believes that nanotechnology will have a direct application for both flight and space travel.
  • Nanotechnologies will pave the way for developing hybrid energy solutions.
  • Nanotechnology could provide solutions for sensing.
  • Nanotechnology will also spawn new technologies for manipulating DNA.

Risks             

  • Biotechnology and nanotechnology will provide greater potential for destruction.

Learn more
To find the sources and more resources on Shaping Tomorrow about ‘The Future of Your Workplace’ some of which were used in this Trend Alert, Small is beautiful – Nano futures surround you, or ask us for a customised, in-depth GIST report on this or any other topic of interest to you.  Also, click here to find out how Shaping Tomorrow can help your organization rapidly assess and respond to these and other key issues affecting your business.

Source: http://www.shapingtomorrow.com/summary/insights/423760

Australian Stock Market Direction

The failure of the ASX SP200 to make new all time highs at 6851.5 whilst US stocks are at all time highs is highlighting problems for the Australian economy and may even be the ‘canary in the coalmine’ for all stocks. This divergence reflects Australia’s national issues including lack of diversity in its production base. It reflects the ending of the mining boom along with the high demand for US dollars sucking cash from peripheral nations to the centre.

Currently battling resistance at 5900-6000 it would appear that any international downturn at this time will bring the ASX S&P 200 down towards our initial long term target of 2295 – 3075. We’ll reassess from there. However, for now there is a long way to get back to all time high territory. And this reveals the major weaknesses and restructuring needed in our economy. We can anticipate the ASX S&P 200 moving to the 6000 level over the next several weeks finishing the final stages of it’s upmove since 2009.

A case can be argued that the Reserve bank of Australia over extended its mandate to control inflation and unemployment during the commodity boom that came to an end in 2012-2014. By maintaining higher than needed interest rates the RBA at that time, funds were redirected to higher yielding investment opportunities in the mining sector at the expense of other, lower performing sectors such as housing. This put stress on banks, the mining industry and its supporting industrial base as oil and iron ore prices have fallen through the floor.calling into question the viability of many of the projects initiated in the last 7 years. This is the hubris of central bankers and politicians alike and what Nobel Prize winning economist FA Hayek called ‘the pretense of knowledge’.

Shortly we will see global stock markets completing their major tops. We believe our prediction for a major cyclical top spanning over 200 years is on target. We had projected this top occurring between 2015 – 2018. Indicators are now warning that this top is completing now. By late October we shall see front page headlines as financial markets capture people’s attention once again.

The End of the Long Game 2009-2018

Updated as at 24th December 2014

Just when we thought the climate had cleared the scenario ahead, once again it has polarised, again presenting two clearly different scenarios. The question is whether we are, like the Titanic, about to experience the final plunge or will our economic boat remain afloat for a few more months or years to come? This article does not attempt to make trading or investment recommendations. Let’s look at both scenarios in two parts ….. Continue reading

Consumer Inflation Verging on Breaking Out in the US

The October Producer Price Index in the US released yesterday showed a 0.2% increase over the previous month. This increase comes despite a massive decline in energy prices over the last 2 months. Most indices contained within the PPI moved higher showing broad increases.

Examining the energy markets we see in the improvement in oil prospects for the US has caused OPEC nations such as Saudia Arabia to hold high production levels hence causing oil prices to soften. At between US$65- $80 per barrel oil and gas fracking becomes unprofitable and we see new equilibrium prices occurring around this US$70-80 level occurring in the near term. Longer term pricing remains dependent on global economic activity. we remain wary of the potential for slowing global economic growth. Continue reading

US Stockmarket Correction Update

Further to our US stock market post of the 9th June 2014 (US Stock Market Correction Now Due) we see the stock market having entered that correction and anticipate it lasting 4-8 months into early 2015.

So repeating:

DJIA to pullback but NOT below 12875 with a likely low point around 14750.

S&P500 to pullback but NOT below 1600 with likely lows around 1737. Continue reading

US Stock Market Correction Now Due

An interim high in the US stock market is now due. The pullback should last several months at least before the markets move to new highs towards the end of this year.

The pullback is occurring because of the over-extended nature of the market – it has performed powerfully since early February 2014 and so a modest pullback is warranted. It also presents an excellent buying opportunity. Continue reading

India About to Hit the Sweet Spot

A combination of factors is bringing India to the “Sweet Spot’.url

A population of workers with an average age of around 35 combined with the arrival of a new government may be pulling Incredible India to where, at last, its population and vigor may carry it aloft. Like China in the early 80’s and 90’s, India has the potential to achieve rapid growth. But due to lack of political will, religious divisions, corruption, poverty, a massive overhang of the post-colonial era when Marxist-socialist solutions were the fashion and lack of capital, India’s progress has been slow.

The analogy is of an aircraft taking off. The back wheels are still on the ground but the nose has lifted up. This has been the case for some time with the deadweight of the various factors holding her back. This is about to change. Continue reading

The End Long Game? 2009-2018

We have updated the main theme of the Emerging Events website. Click on the title to read how larger trends and cycles are moving to complete within the next few years and the implications this brings to to people and nations ……… Find it here: http://www.emergingevents.com/?p=2761 Continue reading

That Which Is Incapable Of Reforming Itself Disappears

By Charles Hugh-Smith of OfTwoMinds blog,
When organizations are incapable of reforming themselves, breakdown is the only possible endpoint.
Every failing organization, from empires to school districts, responds to its embarrassingly visible failure by proclaiming one reform after another. To take but a few from a long list, China is “reforming” its hopelessly corrupt, debt-based central-planning economy, President Obama is “reforming” the Global Surveillance State (into a presumably kinder, gentler machine gun hand?), The European Union is “reforming” its banking sector and the overly complex U.S. Sickcare system is being reformed with 2,300 pages of additional complexity under the Orwellian title of Affordable Care Act (ACA), a.k.a. ObamaCare.
The one dynamic that matters is of course left unsaid: the inability of the Status Quo to reform itself, i.e. undertake fundamental, systemic reforms. This inability has many facets but only one root: political sclerosis caused by entrenched, vested interests seeking to protect their perquisites and power.

Continue reading