While the world awaits an edict from the high halls of the Federal Reserve on Wednesday, when the FOMC concludes their two day meeting and announces no change in the federal funds rate, investors appear increasingly nervous, not over the expected nothingness dictum from the Fed, but from the overall malaise that has captured markets, otherwise known as stagnation.
What capitalists fear more than anything else is an economy going backwards. What we have today is an economy at stall speed, needing only the slightest of nudges to fall into recession. The US is not alone in these fears; most of Europe is teetering on the brink of a receding growth curve, and this time, there is not enough left of policy maneuvers by central bankers in the EU, Japan, China, or anywhere else in the developed or underdeveloped world, should a recession occur, to keep it from becoming a global depression.
Lessons learned from the near-collapse of the global economy in 2008-09 are that stimuli only is a short-term fix, QE is a waste of money, and lower interest rates do not stir a dormant economy. In essence, the world's central bankers are out of ideas and have been for some time. They are, and have been, pushing on a string, kicking a can down a road, keeping their fingers crossed, and hoping for an economic miracle all at the same time.
Nothing has worked. Nothing will work... until the economies of both the developed world and underdeveloped world purge themselves of debt, stop trying to implement policies that clearly do not work, go back to money backed by something other than empty promises, and stop allowing governments to run up enormous deficits serviced by ever-lower interest payments (debasing the currency all the way along).
Those are just for starters. The world finds itself on the cusp of economic, societal and philosophical revolution. Ordinary people are fed up with government, the media, and various other institutions supposedly in place to provide for the public weal. They are tired of lies, cheating at the highest levels, institutional regulatory strangulation, higher and higher taxes, and an endless stream of regulations that have stripped away their liberties and much of what some may have previously called the "good life."
The few people currently in power are only interested in keeping and maintaining their control over the populations and their power and positions. They are being seriously questioned by populations who feel betrayed, unappreciated and desperate for relief from the very governments and institutions which are supposed to improve their lives, not impoverish them.
Therefore, stocks continue to wallow. And though today's declines are not noteworthy in and of themselves, there's a growing chorus of discontent that continues to rise.
The policies and practices of the past 20 or 30 years cannot continue indefinitely.
The time is coming for major change.
S&P 500: 2,075.32, -3.74 (0.18%)
Dow: 17,674.82, -57.66 (0.33%)
NASDAQ: 4,843.55, -4.89 (0.10%)
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