If the financial elites (we're looking at you Fed Governors, ECB ministers, central bankers worldwide) needed a rationale for triggering a cataclysmic collapse of global finance, they may have found their huckleberry in the British vote to leave the European Union, the Brexit, as it has become known.
Since Thursday's astonishing vote by the populace of Great Britain to exit what was once known as the European Common Merket and has morphed into a Hobbesian nightmare of Leviathan proportions known as the European Union, European Commission, European Central Bank and an amalgam of overlapping bureaucratic rules, regulations, guidelines, laws and edicts, a suddenly disunited Europe is making life miserable for masters of finance.
Stocks have been selling off at frantic paces since the verdict of the Brits, with uncertainty the keynote of the ongoing dialogue.
While the NIKKEI responded in heroic fashion on Monday, gaining 357 points, stock indices in Europe and the US were dragged down through the week's opening session, with more on the plate.
Whether Brexit is the absolute catalyst for systemic financial collapse is too early to tell, though it has certainly - to this point - served as an adequate warning shot.
Worth knowing is that the general financial condition of the world's developed and emerging economies has not been right since the first great financial shock of 2008, and efforts to repair what was broken then were akin to bandages applies to a severed artery, with the same result. The bleeding continued, and the patient never really recovered.
For eight years the global financial elites have tried to piece together a working economic narrative, to little avail and now they are faced with disintegration of their seminal project, the EU and the funny money known as euros.
Markets today were trembled by rabid selling, pushing the Dow well below its established range between 17,500 and 18,000, with the bottom falling out in dramatic fashion. All-time highs reached just over a year ago are now being viewed as unattainable, setting in motion the potential for first, a 10% correction, followed by the certainty of a full-blown bear market, which has been a long time coming.
Defining those two terms would be a matter of simplicity, if not for the vagaries of the financial lexicon. A correction may be said to be 10% of "recent" highs, and the same could be said of the bear market reading, but, if losses continue to mount, percentages may be the smallest of worries, since real dollars, euros, yen and yuan will be at stake.
With an already turbulent presidential election already underway, caution would be the preferred method of approaching finances over the following six to eight months. While many ordinary people will no doubt practice frugality and thrift in their affairs, there's some considerable doubt as to how governments and central bankers react to what are, no doubt, challenging times ahead.
Bad Bad Brits and Brexit:
S&P 500: 2,000.54, -36.87 (1.81%)
Dow: 17,140.24, -260.51 (1.50%)
NASDAQ: 4,594.44, -113.54 (2.41%)
Crude Oil 46.71 -1.95% Gold 1,329.90 +0.57% EUR/USD 1.1021 -0.19% 10-Yr Bond 1.46 -7.54% Corn 393.50 -0.19% Copper 2.13 +0.71% Silver 17.78 -0.02% Natural Gas 2.76 +2.41% Russell 2000 1,089.65 -3.36% VIX 23.43 -9.05% BATS 1000 20,677.17 0.00% GBP/USD 1.3218 -1.51% USD/JPY 102.0450 +0.25%