by Tom Luongo, Tom Luongo:
To say that current events are ‘messy’ today would be the height of understatement. Everyday the headlines blare at us some new set of contradictory data points convincing us of some lie that serves someone’s purpose.
No matter how hard we try to keep up with things, cutting out the extraneous to find the nuggets of signal from the jungle of noise is more than a full-time job.
Sometimes, however, it’s best to take a few steps back, fall back on first principles and remind ourselves who the players are, what they want and then ask the big question of each of them… are they succeeding?
But to even ask that question we have to ask ourselves honestly the following question:
“What will they be willing to do to survive under present circumstances?”
This is the most uncomfortable question you can ever ask anyone. What would you do to survive? To protect your family? Your position? Your conception of yourself?
Everyone’s morality has limits. Everyone. Everyone has a shadow, a dark side, a place where they retreat to their Hobbesian self and see the world purely in terms of ‘a war of all against all.’ Anyone who refuses to admit this to themselves is someone you should run screaming from.
Those that always claim the moral high ground, who are always “the goodies!” are those without limits on their behavior. As the great H.L. Mencken proclaimed nearly 70 years ago:
The urge to save humanity is almost always only a false-face for the urge to rule it. Power is what all messiahs really seek: not the chance to serve. This is true even of the pious brethren who carry the gospel to foreign parts.
This is the context in which we have to ask that question, “What will they do?”
Of course, the answer is, “Whatever they have to.”
This is why I never rule anything out in my analysis. It’s why I’m always willing to leap five or six steps ahead to the big move, because that’s the limit of the behavior of the group under study. Today it may be Davos, tomorrow it may be The Fed, the day after it’s Russia.
They all have a preferred end-state, a solution to their personal equation, with their own set of input variables. For me I see this as a set of differential equations to be solved. We all want them to reduce to a set of outcomes which will leave someone closer to their preferred outcome.
And the scary part for all of us should be realizing that not only is there no single set of outcomes here where everyone is maximized, there isn’t even a ‘win/lose,’ condition here.
There are only losers, us.
Because the first rule of any organization is self-survival. Throw the mission statements, corporate bloviating and HR virtue signaling into the dumpster fire. At the end of the day all that matters is survival. Only when that is as secure as it can be can an organization begin thinking beyond its collective lizard brain.
No different than you or me. And at this point every major faction has been reduced to this, their event horizon is just out of reach, striving for it almost half…. There!
But, like Xeno’s paradox never reaching it because it was never attainable in the first place.
What I fear more than anything else, what I see from too many people analyzing the intersection of geopolitics, markets and ideology, is complacency. There is a stunning amount of normalcy bias in the punditocracy, too much ‘cooler heads will prevail’ and not enough ‘everyone’s got a plan until they’re punched in the mouth.’
So when thinking about Davos and their stated goals for the Great Reset and saving the world from Climate Change do you really think there’s a limit to their behavior?
Do you really believe they wouldn’t start a nuclear war, unleash a virulent plague, engineer a cure that’s worse than the disease, create a false flag mass shooting at a school or leak a Supreme Court opinion?
When thinking about the Federal Reserve in the context of an unprecedented assault on its autonomy and the commercial banking interests it was created to protect, do you really think today, at this point in time, they wouldn’t engender an economic collapse to save themselves from another group (say Davos) from destroying it?
So, everyone pontificating about how the Fed only has one or two more rate hikes in them because that’s what the models say, that’s what the Fed’s past behavior supposedly tells them, what will you tell your clients when the Fed hikes that fourth time by 50 basis points. Or accelerates the run rate of QT to $125 billion per month and allows the US 10-year note to rise to 6%? 8%? 10%?
Are you going to shrug and say, “Uh, sorry my bad.”
When faced with the prospect of a nuclear re-armed Ukraine in bed with Neoconservative ideologues in Congress and the U.S. State Department committed to a singular vision of hegemony for the planet, would Russia not fight a vicious war of attrition using World War II artillery tactics to grind their adversaries into paste while grimly pledging itself to their eradication?
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