The U.S. Is At The Center Of The Global Economic Meltdown

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By Brandon Smith

Source: Alt-Market.com

While the economic implosion progresses this year, there will be considerable misdirection and disinformation as to the true nature of what is taking place. As I have outlined in the past, the masses were so ill informed by the mainstream media during the Great Depression that most people had no idea they were actually in the midst of an “official” depression until years after it began. The chorus of economic journalists of the day made sure to argue consistently that recovery was “right around the corner.” Our current depression has been no different, but something is about to change.

Unlike the Great Depression, social crisis will eventually eclipse economic crisis in the U.S. That is to say, our society today is so unequipped to deal with a financial collapse that the event will inevitably trigger cultural upheaval and violent internal conflict. In the 1930s, nearly 50% of the American population was rural. Farmers made up 21% of the labor force. Today, only 20% of the population is rural. Less than 2% work in farming and agriculture. That’s a rather dramatic shift from a more independent and knowledgeable land-utilizing society to a far more helpless and hapless consumer-based system.

What’s the bottom line? About 80% of the current population in the U.S. is more than likely inexperienced in any meaningful form of food production and self-reliance.

The rationale for lying to the public is certainly there. Economic and political officials could argue that to reveal the truth of our fiscal situation would result in utter panic and immediate social breakdown. When 80% of the citizenry is completely unprepared for a decline in the mainstream grid, a loss of savings through falling equities and a loss of buying power through currency destruction, their first response to such dangers would be predictably uncivilized.

Of course, the powers-that-be are not really interested in protecting the American people from themselves. They are interested only in positioning their own finances and resources in the most advantageous investments while using our loss and fear to extract more centralization, more control and more consent. Thus, the hiding of economic decline is enacted because the decline itself is useful to the elites.

And just to be clear for those who buy into the propaganda, the U.S. is indeed in a speedy decline.

In ‘Lies You Will Hear As The Economic Collapse Progresses’, published in summer of last year, I predicted that “Chinese contagion” would be used as the scapegoat for the downturn in order to hide the true source: American wealth destruction. Today, as the Dow and other markets plummet and oil markets tank due to falling demand and glut inventories, all we seem to hear from the mainstream talking heads and the people who parrot them in various forums is that the U.S. is the “only stable economy by comparison” and the rest of the world (mainly China) is a poison to our otherwise exemplary financial health. This is delusional fiction.

The U.S. is the No. 1 consumer market in the world with a 29% overall share and a 21% share in energy usage, despite having only 5 percent of the world’s total population. If there is a global slowdown in consumption, manufacturing, exports and imports, then the first place to look should be America.

Trucking freight in the U.S. is in steep decline, with freight companies pointing to a “glut in inventories” and a fall in demand as the culprit.

Morgan Stanley’s freight transportation update indicates a collapse in freight demand worse than that seen during 2009.

The Baltic Dry Index, a measure of global freight rates and thus a measure of global demand for shipping of raw materials, has collapsed to even more dismal historic lows. Hucksters in the mainstream continue to push the lie that the fall in the BDI is due to an “overabundance of new ships.” However, the CEO of A.P. Moeller-Maersk, the world’s largest shipping line, put that nonsense to rest when he admitted in November that “global growth is slowing down” and “[t]rade is currently significantly weaker than it normally would be under the growth forecasts we see.”

Maersk ties the decline in global shipping to a FALL IN DEMAND, not an increase in shipping fleets.

This point is driven home when one examines the real-time MarineTraffic map, which tracks all cargo ships around the world. For the past few weeks, the map has remained almost completely inactive with the vast majority of the world’s cargo ships sitting idle in port, not traveling across oceans to deliver goods. The reality is, global demand has fallen down a black hole, and the U.S. is at the top of the list in terms of crashing consumer markets.

To drive the point home even further, the U.S. is by far the world’s largest petroleum consumer. Therefore, any sizable collapse in global oil demand would have to be predicated in large part on a fall in American consumption. Oil inventories are now overflowing, indicating an unheard-of crash in energy use and purchasing.

U.S. petroleum consumption was actually lower in 2014 than it was in 1997 and 25% lower than earlier projections predicted. A large part of this reduction in gas use has been attributed to fewer vehicle miles traveled. Though oil markets have seen massive price cuts, the lack of demand continued through 2015.

This collapse in consumption is reflected partially in newly adjusted 4th quarter GDP forecasts by the Federal Reserve, which are now slashed down to 0.7%.  And remember, Fed and government calculate GDP stats by counting government spending of taxpayer money as “production” or “commerce”.  They also count parasitic programs like Obamacare towards GDP as well.  If one were to remove government spending of taxpayer funds from the equation, real GDP would be far in the negative.  That is to say, if the fake numbers are this bad, then the real numbers must be horrendous.

And finally, let’s talk about Wal-Mart. There is a good reason why mainstream pundits are attempting to marginalize Wal-Mart’s sudden announcement of 269 store closures, 154 of them within the U.S. with at least 10,000 employees being laid off. Admitting weakness in Wal-Mart means admitting weakness in the U.S. economy, and they don’t want to do that.

Wal-Mart is America’s largest retailer and largest employer. In 2014, Wal-Mart announced a sweeping plan to essentially crush neighborhood grocery markets with its Wal-Mart Express stores, building hundreds within months. Today, those Wal-Mart Express stores are being shut down in droves, along with some supercenters. Their top business model lasted around a year before it was abandoned.

Some in the mainstream argue that this is not necessarily a sign of economic decline because Wal-Mart claims it will be building 200 to 240 new stores worldwide by 2017. This is interesting to me because Wal-Mart just suffered its steepest stock drop in 27 years on reports that projected sales will fall by 6% to 12% for the next two years.

It would seem to me highly unlikely that Wal-Mart would close 154 stores in the U.S. (269 stores worldwide) and then open 240 other stores during a projected steep crash in sales that caused the worst stock trend in the company’s history. I think it far more likely that Wal-Mart executives are attempting to appease shareholders with expansion promises they do not plan to keep.

I am going to call it here and now and predict that most of these store sites will never see construction and that Wal-Mart will continue to make cuts, either with store closings, employee layoffs or both.

As the above data indicates, global demand is disintegrating; and the U.S. is a core driver.

The best way to sweep all these negative indicators under the rug is to fabricate some grand idea of outside threats and fiscal dominoes. It is much easier for Americans to believe our country is being battered from without rather than destroyed from within.

Does China have considerable fiscal issues including debt bubble issues? Absolutely. Is this a catalyst for global collapse? No. China’s problems are many but if there is a first “domino” in the chain, then the U.S. economy claims that distinction.

China is the largest exporter in the world, not the largest consumer. If anything, a crash in China’s economy is only a REFLECTION of an underlying collapse in U.S. demand for Chinese goods (among others). That is to say, the mainstream dullards have it backward; a crash in China is a herald of a larger collapse in U.S. markets. A crash in China is a symptom of the greater fiscal disease in America. The U.S. is the primary cause; it is not the victim of Chinese contagion. And the crisis in the U.S. will ultimately be far worse by comparison.

I wrote in ‘What Fresh Horror Awaits The Economy After Fed Rate Hike?’, published before Christmas:

“Market turmoil is a guarantee given the fact that banks and corporations have been utterly reliant on near-zero interest rates and free overnight lending from the Fed. They have been using these no-cost and low-cost loans primarily for stock buybacks, purchasing back their own stocks and reducing the number of shares on the market, thereby artificially elevating the value of the remaining shares and driving up the market as a whole. Now that near-zero lending is over, these banks and corporations will not be able to afford constant overnight borrowing, and the buybacks will cease. Thus, stock markets will crash in the near term.

This process has already begun with increased volatility leading up to and after the Fed rate hike. Watch for far more erratic stock movements (300 to 500 points or more) up and down taking place more frequently, with the overall trend leading down into the 15,000-point range for the Dow in the first two quarters of 2016. Extraordinary but short lived positive increases in the markets will occur at times (Christmas and New Year’s tend to result in positive rallies), but shock rallies are just as much a sign of volatility and instability as shock crashes.”

Markets moved immediately into crash territory after the new year began. This was an easy prediction to make and one that I have been reiterating for months — just as the timing of the Fed rate hike was an easy prediction to make, based on the Fed’s history of deliberately increasing instability through bad policy as the economy moves into deflationary spirals. The Fed did it during the Great Depression and is doing it again today.

It is no coincidence that global markets began to tank after the first Fed rate hike; no-cost overnight lending to banks and corporations was the key to maintaining equities in a relatively static position.  As the U.S. loses momentum, the world loses momentum.  As the Fed ends outright stimulation and manipulation, the house of cards falls.

I have said it many times and I’ll say it yet again: If you think the Fed’s motivation is to prolong or protect the U.S. economy and currency, then you will never understand why it takes the policy actions it does. If you understand and accept the fact that the Fed is a saboteur working carefully and incrementally toward the destruction of the U.S. to make way for a new globally centralized system, everything falls into place.

To summarize, the U.S. economy as we know it is not slated to survive the next few years. Read my article ‘The Economic Endgame Explained’ for more in-depth information on why a collapse is being engineered and what the openly admitted goal is, including the referenced 1988 article from The Economist titled “Get Ready A World Currency In 2018,” which outlines the plan for a reduction of the dollar and the U.S. system in order to make way for a global basket reserve currency (Special Drawing Rights).

It is astonishingly foolish to assume that even though the U.S. has held the title of king of global consumption share for decades, that our economy is somehow not a primary faulty part in the sputtering global economic engine.  Economies are falling because demand is falling.   Demand is falling because Americans are not buying.  Americans are not buying because Americans are broke. Americans are broke because central bank policy has created an environment of wealth destruction. This wealth destruction in the U.S. has been ongoing, but only now is it becoming truly visible.  The volatility we see in developing nations is paltry compared to the financial chaos we now face.  Anyone who attempts to dismiss the dangers of a U.S. breakdown or the threat to the unprepared public is either an idiot, or they are trying to divert and distract you from reality. The coming months will undoubtedly verify this.

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3 Responses to The U.S. Is At The Center Of The Global Economic Meltdown

  1. Heather Awen says:

    I love when you post things that verify what I thought LOL . Seriously, I think it’s really strange that people are not aware that we now are in the peak oil everyone was waiting for , fracking is a junky spoon wash , all of these things that revolutionaries wanted to accomplish are already being accomplished just by the logical outcome of events . This just proves more and more that we have to focus on bioregional self-sustaining communities and be prepared for the crazy violence which the people who have money will resort to keep that money . If you have a self-sufficient community you won’t be rioting for bread and you probably won’t be attacked . Also, a community that is stable is much less likely to be overtaken by a warlord . So it’s all about really preparing for the present , not the future . It’s already here . It seems like most people are preparing for the future but that future is already happened and they don’t know it . It’s as if most activists are two steps behind where they need to be .

    • As important as it may be to try to prevent problems, sometimes it devolves into its own solution. There’s only so much most of us can do to prepare given limited resources, but we can all develop psychological and spiritual resiliance which is good to have for any hardship whether personal or societal.

      • Heather Awen says:

        I agree. At the same time it’s not really about preventing problems it’s about engaging mindfully in the world that is today . The articles that you post constantly shell the disparity between what people think could be a problem between what really is the problem today . It’s really important that people know the reality of now which most media will not tell anyone . That’s why this is my favorite blog because you make sure to post articles about what is actually happening behind the scenes as opposed to the puppet show we are told is happening which makes it seem like there is so much more time for us to adjust to possibilities that are actually realities and are here right now . Just by being aware of what is currently happening and changing your life to meet that gives everyone such an advantage as far as survival will go . No matter what someone’s limited resources are there are many many creative things that they can be doing right now that engage with where the world really is . But most people still have this false hope about things that could be averted which have already come true . Does that make sense? I figure you would know that more than most people sense almost every article is about what’s actually happening . There is so much smoke and mirrors magic being done to make us feel a sense of anxiety and despair plus hope about the future , except it hides the actual reality . There is a lot of freedom from the anxiety and despair when you can basically do radical acceptance and be really self compassionate and mindful allowing the reality to be real . Once you can move over to the other side of acceptance about’s how we can never go back end there is very little we can prevent , to learn to live with the ambiguity but at least it’s ambiguity about what is currently happening , emotionally there is so much more strength . It’s like living with alcoholics end having anxiety and despair plus some hope because you can’t admit to yourself that they are alcoholics you keep focusing on what if they are alcoholics . Until you can accept completely that they are alcoholics and move through all of the pain you cannot actually make any changes . Whenever people are stuck there’s usually something they’re not accepting about the situation . Something that is incredibly painful and excepting how things are today is horrendously painful but only through going through that horrific dark night of the soul and engaging in what is can we do anything that will free us from the things that we do that don’t work because of living in denial . If there’s one thing that having multiple chemical sensitivity has taught me there is far more that we all can do no matter what her circumstances than we thought because human beings are capable of handling horrific truths . I don’t know of any activist to us effective that does not have a very strong religious practice to keep them grounded in truth and compassion and also courage . The collective state of denial is what worries me the most . Things that people worry will happen have already happened to many of us . I have to do all of the prepper stuff about medical care because a hospital is where most likely to die so I could never go to an emergency room . I already live in the future . What you shared about Joni Mitchell very Science Fiction type illness is another example of the future already being here . There’s no real time to prepare . For the 200 species that went extinct today we have no time to prepare to save them . Without radically excepting that the world really is as bad as we fear we can’t get to the other side where we find the strength and the creativity which allows us to do so much more . There is no way that I ever would’ve thought that I could’ve lived a lifestyle this non-toxic considering how very little money I have until I had to do it or die . I think that this is really where it starts to go down to the wire . Everyone every day is making what I call Sophie’s choices , we are not given the choices that we would like so we are constantly having to choose between evils . Nobody lives a pure lifestyle whatever that means , we are all in the system . However to me it’s really important that people are able to say without shame the atrocities that they are part of , the privileges that they have . If we hide from our involvement in things which we cannot control that is again more denial . I know very well that my electricity comes from fracking and mountaintop removal and that I now need to live electricity because of my illnesses . I am very aware of all of the things that I contribute to like big Pharma which I am against . Because I can accept that without hating myself like I used to it makes it much easier to be aware of the bigger picture . When it comes to things that are not essential , that’s where we have the most power to decide what to do with our resources . If someone has children then I would expect them to put their children first , far too many activists have given their children terrible childhoods because of having principles about equality that do not somehow apply to their own kids . Generally activists tend to make bad parents because they are so focused on saving the world so I would say 20 activist with children put your resources into those kids because they are inheriting a world we probably can’t even imagine and they need to be prepared . It’s about being mindful . My problem is that most activists seem to think that there are all these horrible things that could happen which we need to prevent without understanding that even worse things have already happened that we must engage with today in everyday life . This means that everyone will be much more effective with what limited resources they have . I think that if someone with severe disabilities unable to leave a room living in poverty knowing she will be in solitary confinement forever if she is lucky and doesn’t have neighbors moving to use chemical air fresheners all the time , can do the few things that I do on top of all the lifestyle changes I had to do , it’s not impossible. I’ve noticed in the disability rights community how amazed most of us are with how much wasted time and energy able-bodied people have and it’s amazing to see how it is squandered . I think when activism directly affects your life because you are part of a marginalized oppressed group you take it far more seriously because it is life or death . That’s one reason why outsiders of any community like that are never fully trusted because white people can always use their privilege when the shit hits the fan in a way that Native Americans or African-Americans cannot , men can do the same and leave the female allies in the lurch , heterosexuals can get out when it gets too hard while those who are gay cannot , people who are living in Superfund sites cannot move but their allies can get emotionally drained and give up . I’ve always compared what I have two with someone in Haiti has . It shows me how lucky I am all the time and the responsibility I have two use my privilege in a way that levels the playing field . The easiest activism to do is to focus on what the things are that are limiting you from doing what you really wish you could be . Your own oppression is right in front of you and it unites you to so many others . Whether or not people choose to engage with the reality of their oppression is a private matter but it’s also political because it directly affects every single one of us . So the fact that I have a telephone and I have a computer are major luxuries and resources that most people in the world do not have . That I am not malnourished, I really see myself as having a lot of freedom as opposed to limitation . The limitation often is just set by emotionally having to suppress the feelings of fear or powerlessness or rage because of things that are so hard to live with being real . So I agree that spiritual resistance is really important as is the emotional resistance because we have far too many activists killing themselves and I easily could’ve been one of them . That’s one reason I really expect to have season to activist step up to the plate and speak realistically about how hard it is and how they were able to do it even after they had been stabbed in the back , had countless failures , horrible depressions , because any activist that any of us might admire is a human being just like us . And if they can do it we can do it to . The difference is that we will probably be called to do something differently because we are each different with different gifts and we are all in different parts of massive oppression . But I don’t know of any activist who was born into circumstances that gave them more resources than anyone else . The only thing that links all of them is a very deep face in goodness in spite of how twisted the world is around us and being able to see very clearly how evil things have been warped into while still holding onto their spiritual belief in goodness . After what I’ve been through I definitely had periods of not believing in any goodness . But you just have to keep going because there’s nothing behind you that you can return to . There must be a personal reason why you choose to highlight both atrocities and possibilities in the world . There must be some sort of goal that you have for doing that . The interesting thing about your blog is that nothing about you is known , but obviously you care very deeply although we will never know the reasons , and obviously you want there to be change even though none of us know what you are living with yourself . Since there are so forms of oppression , you obviously face at least one and you obviously have some privileges like access to a computer which probably means you have a place to live although what you have to do to have a place to live and a computer could make you miserable . It’s exactly those sort of situations that I think give people an opportunity to do something exactly where they are . We don’t have to go live in a tree or move to Portland and have everything be easy to do because other people have been doing it there for 25 years and we don’t have to lie in front of a bulldozer in Israel or Brazil . It’s the everyday oppression that we all face which is where we can take our stand . Rosa Parks is a really good example of refusing every day oppression . Because we are all trapped in a system we can’t stand we will be part of things that we hate but it’s important not to hate ourselves for not having the choice . Meanwhile it’s important to always look at the choices which we can make end every time we do even the smallest thing that changes the world because we did something on our own terms , like we can choose how we are going to interact with strangers , we can choose what to eat , we can choose how we handle hearing about the pain someone we know is going through , we can choose to pick up trash when we’re on a walk , these are all just everyday things that we can choose which are not controlled by the state and they are little acts of liberation . To write a letter to a prisoner takes half of an hour . You can do it while watching television . All of the things that I have found that I can do took a lot of research because I’m in a really unusual situation in some ways . But there are always little things that we can do which if enough of us to build into bigger things and I’ve noticed definitely that when people do little things that challenge the status quo like being nice to a bank teller gives people more courage and creativity to find other ways that they can live outside of the system that they still are trapped within . I think people make their expectations too high a lot of the time and none of us can live like that . I remember crying five years ago that basically I just would have to eat my toenails and where twigs that it fallen off trees . The person I was talking to was laughing but they understood what I meant . Everything can seem very overwhelming but once you actually just start by going for your everyday walk and picking up the trash your sense of empowerment grows and grows . And it definitely helps with depression and anxiety . Just engaging with where you are with what you have you can do so much but most of the time we Siker selves out thinking it’s not enough . One of the cool parts is that people remember the person who walks by their house every day picking up trash and suddenly you are forming a neighborhood community! In the lingo for permaculture you could say your stacking functions . It turns out that one action connects to a lot of other benefits which you never would’ve thought of . Picking up trash is also great exercise . It also gives you an idea of where to get things that you need for free , because you tend to find a dumping place . Ifound so many things for art, for shrines, and for building things that we needed . So that’s just one example and when I started doing it I had no idea about all the benefits . I don’t know if our limitations are as physical as they are intellectual or emotional .

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