Views of “Current Economic Conditions” in Germany Drop to Euro Debt-Crisis Level

But expectations & hopes for the next 6 months rise to less negative.

The economic indicator of the Center for European Economic Research (ZEW) in Germany, like other business and financial indicators, has two parts: One for the “Current Economic Situation,” meaning current reality as it is now unfolding, and one for economic expectations or perhaps hopes, called “Economic Sentiment,” meaning what these business and finance insiders are seeing over the next six months. They’re now diverging sharply: The “Current Economic Situation” is heading straight down into the dumpster, while “Economic Sentiment” for the next six months is still in the dumpster, where it had plunged over the past 11 months, but is now trying hard to climb out of it.

The good news first: Hopes are rising again. The ZEW Indicator of Economic Sentiment for Germany, which tracks expectations for the next six months and which turned negative in April 2018, rose to a still negative level of -3.6, but that’s way higher than the level of -24 that it had hit three times in the second half last year. Note the long-run average of the indicator (green line):

“The significant increase in the ZEW Indicator of Economic Sentiment shows that major economic risks are considered to be less dramatic than before,” commented ZEW President Professor Achim Wambach in the report.

Here is the list of reasons for those renewed hopes:

“The possible delay in the Brexit process as well as the renewed hope for a deal on the UK’s withdrawal from the EU seem to have given rise to more optimism among financial market experts. Progress made in the negotiations between China and the US to end the trade war between the two nations may also have contributed,” he said.

“Nevertheless, the ZEW Indicator of Economic Sentiment for Germany points to relatively weak growth in the first half of 2019,” he said.

So it’s all going to work out somehow, hopefully. But wait…

The Current Economic Situation Indicator, which serves as a barometer of the reality on the ground and which was at an exalted level of 95.2 in January 2018, has plunged month after month since then, and in March dropped to 11.1, the lowest level since the bottom of the Russia Sanctions Panic in November 2014 along with the bottom of the Euro Debt Crisis in February 2013:

To get this data, the ZEW surveys about 350 analysts from finance, research, and economic departments at banks, insurance companies, and large industrial enterprises, along with traders, fund managers, and investment consultants (methodology). The ZEW indicators are a reflection of what these insiders see happening currently, and what they expect, or hope, might happen over the next six months.

It is interesting to note that this situation is happening despite the ECB’s negative-interest-rate policy and years of scorched-earth QE, which have pushed down long-term interest rates and therefore the costs of borrowing to ludicrously low levels, even for risky corporate borrowers, with the average euro-denominated junk-bond yield currently at 3.5%.

With this sort of heavy-handed stimulus, along with stimulus in other parts of the world, the German economy should be swimming in nirvana. The fact that all this stimulus isn’t helping, and maybe hurting the real economy is of course something that would never occur to the ECB.

What’s really causing the gigantic US trade deficit? It’s not China…  THE WOLF STREET REPORT

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  69 comments for “Views of “Current Economic Conditions” in Germany Drop to Euro Debt-Crisis Level

  1. Laughing Eagled
    Mar 19, 2019 at 3:39 pm

    The American consumer has $1.70 dollars for every $1 dollar of disposable income. This explains why lowering interest rates will not create any GDP growth.
    If in America, it is also happening throughout the world. Easily explains why even with negative rates in the Euro areas, GDP growth cannot oocur.

    • sunny129
      Mar 19, 2019 at 4:08 pm

      Does ZRP or even NRP cure INSOLVENCY?

      Would any bank give a homeless person at 0%?

      2008 was both liquidity and insolvency crisis but with insane credit expansion, CBers were able provide liquidity, so that even Zombies were kept alive, at a cost to productive economy. The Can got kicked for 10+ years.

      Now, how does again providing more liquidity can solvency, unless toilet tissue is worth more than treasury bills, to be deposited at Fed?

      Bottom line: How long this charade can go on? Another 2 decades like Japan? Just wondering!

      • Justme
        Mar 19, 2019 at 4:47 pm

        $1.70 dollars OF DEBT, do you mean?

        • Laughing Eagle
          Mar 19, 2019 at 5:58 pm

          Yes, $1.70 of debt to $1 to disposable income. Sorry for the oversight.

      • MrSolvency
        Mar 19, 2019 at 8:27 pm

        First markets will waterfall, then we get 2 decades or more like japan lol

        • yngso
          Mar 20, 2019 at 6:21 am

          Yes, Harry Dent and I agree.

      • andy
        Mar 19, 2019 at 8:29 pm

        Another two decades we can do standing on our collective head.

        • Malthus
          Mar 19, 2019 at 10:31 pm

          But as Keynes said in the long run we are all dead anyway😁

      • Cynic
        Mar 20, 2019 at 3:47 am

        ZRP and NRP? no.

        But UBI will, it seems, cure everything and anything!

        If only they could work out exactly what it is……

        • yngso
          Mar 20, 2019 at 6:31 am

          UBI will become very universal indeed, because automation will create many milions of unemployables. If you look to Steve Keen and concepts like QE for the people and other visions for the economy in the future, some possible answers can be found.

      • fajensen
        Mar 20, 2019 at 4:34 am

        Bottom line: How long this charade can go on? Another 2 decades like Japan? Just wondering!
        Potentially, if politicians are smart and flexible about it, a very Long Time.

        One can live quite nicely in Japan doing make-work jobs and having other interests in life than work. As long as one can do that, things will be stable.

        ZIRP combined with the current political fetish for purity, morality and personal responsibility, which means: Austerity for the many and lenience for the few, now, that experiment will not end well at all.

        But this is not entirely the fault of the CB’s. They are trying to keep the wheels on the overloaded, creaking shit-show-wagon that any advanced civilisation always was, for long enough for the politicians to act and pick a better road to drive on.

        • yngso
          Mar 20, 2019 at 6:46 am

          Automation will make it imperative that we – generations coming after us – find other interests in life, bacause ther won’t be much work to do.

      • RD Blakeslee
        Mar 20, 2019 at 7:22 am

        “… toilet tissue is worth more than treasury bills … ”

        The citizenry’s trust erodes along with worth’s erosion. These QE (X) policies are literally destroying money and I think the citizenry will seek recourse. Historically, that has a corollary of Gresmam’s law: “Good money (PMs) reemerge to replace bad”.

      • Mar 20, 2019 at 11:07 am

        A bank would give a homeless person money at $0 interest in a world of punitive negative interest and government guarantees.

        Kind of parallels our situation with student loans.

    • Justme
      Mar 19, 2019 at 4:48 pm

      $1.70 dollars OF DEBT or every $1 dollar of disposable income., do you mean?

    • Dale
      Mar 20, 2019 at 12:07 am

      Another interesting metric: US households have $15 in debt for every $1 in personal savings. This is an indicator of how much additional debt can be brought on without affecting other personal consumption (using savings as a buffer).

      This isn’t terrible: in Q3 2005, that metric peaked at nearly $50 in debt for every $1 in personal savings. But (a) it is 3x the historical level (before financialization), and (b) last year’s revision doubled personal savings, based on income that the IRS could not detect– so it could be imaginary, and we could be at $50 / $1 again.

      • Dale
        Mar 20, 2019 at 12:08 am

        The last sentence should read “… we could *actually* be at $50 / $1 again, without knowing it!”

      • yngso
        Mar 20, 2019 at 6:53 am

        I think we can’t make a direct comparison to 2005, because the economy has been so manipulated and dstorted and become so fragile, that maybe 15/1 now is worse than 50/1 then?

        • Dale
          Mar 20, 2019 at 9:45 am

          It’s always tricky comparing pre- and post-QE. Clearly, things are far worse than pre-financialization. 2005 was notable because the personal savings rate was low yet debt was high– this was because homeowners were taking $100s of billions per year out of their home equity (as a replacement for savings).

          Incidentally, I was tired last night, so everywhere you see ‘personal savings’ replace with ‘personal savings rate (per year)’. Thanks.

  2. James Levy
    Mar 19, 2019 at 4:13 pm

    I think this is the practical downside of massive income and wealth inequality: it takes a huge amount of debt to produce even a small uptick in GDP. This is because the gains are hoovered up by such a small percentage of the population whose marginal propensity to spend is very low. Bottom line: the political economy is having a tough time getting money into the hands of those who would spend it and stimulate growth. Germany has been suppressing its wages going right back to reunification 25 years ago. White male Americans with a high school diploma hit the height of their purchasing power somewhere between 1968 and 1973. Even if you ignore the moral and social issues involved, gross inequality has significant negative consequences on a macroeconomic level.

    • Rory
      Mar 19, 2019 at 4:51 pm

      Very good point re propensity to spend. If you’re rich you don’t have to cut back other than maybe on ultra luxury houses, etc. so there’s no pent up demand that gets released with easing of credit at the upper rungs of the economy including corporate tax cuts.

      • andy
        Mar 19, 2019 at 8:33 pm

        Please. People sending their used cars into space. How many billionaires are into space travel now?

    • Just Some Random Guy
      Mar 19, 2019 at 5:05 pm

      Ugh not this inequality nonsense again.

      This is basically what happened

      Then: You have $10, I have $20

      Now: You have $50 you have $500

      So we are less equal but we are both better off. However in the AOC/Bernie insanity you’d be happier if we both had $15. We’d be worse off, but we’d be equally worse off.

      That’s what socialism is. Every one is equally poor and miserable. No socialist has or ever will explain how making rich people poor leads to poor people becoming rich.

      • Mar 19, 2019 at 8:50 pm

        If you’re going to do political math, at least do it correctly: 50 + 500 = 550. Divided by 2 = 275 each, not $15 each.

        • GP
          Mar 20, 2019 at 1:00 am

          fwiw, I think ‘random guy’ meant ($10 + $20) / 2.

          James Levy, retail sales seem still going strong: https://tradingeconomics.com/united-states/retail-sales

          How will income equality help if no one has disposable income?

        • Bankers
          Mar 20, 2019 at 10:07 am

          @GP yeah but JSRG is just counting that the $50 and $500 is same as $10 and $20 in real terms after monetary inflation and adjusted for a small bias towards rich guy that is fair because the sort of property he is used to has gone up in price much faster than the poor guys shack.

      • Bobber
        Mar 19, 2019 at 9:26 pm

        Who said anything about being equal? Why does reducing the wealth gap equate to “socialism” in your mind. The real issue here is that a more broader distribution of wealth is necessary to sustain capitalism, or capitalism will die.

        Let me give you an analogy. Texas holdum. The most efficient player gets all the chips in the end, which you may think is fair but, nonetheless, the game ends because nobody else has any money to play. Unbridled capitalism is no different. You need progressive tax rates and somewhat distributed prosperity for it to work in the long term. Distributed prosperity is absolutely necessary because otherwise wealth concentrates and the customers disappear.

        • yngso
          Mar 20, 2019 at 7:07 am

          Yes, one doesn’t need a very high IQ to get that, though it’s a unknown concept for too many. The really big question is how to create a world where that occurs.
          We pig-headed humans do what we need to do voluntarily, so the generations after us will have to figure it out, after several rounds more of hard knocks.

        • RD Blakeslee
          Mar 20, 2019 at 7:30 am

          ” …somewhat distributed prosperity …”

          Historically, this has only happened after a social upheaval, i.e. a revolution. I see no reason to believe it will be different, this time.

          Neither, I think, do the wealthy who are buying refuges in New Zealand.

        • GP
          Mar 20, 2019 at 10:45 am

          It’s a common misconception that total wealth is a fixed amount (like number of chips in your analogy). Hence the tendency to re-distribute wealth.

          In reality however capitalism improves quality of life for everyone and increases wealth, so there is more for everyone.

        • Bobber
          Mar 20, 2019 at 11:36 am

          GP,

          Growth is a concept that has been abused for political purposes, to the point where some manipulators say tax cuts to the wealthy pay for themselves. This is a ridiculous concept when the wealthy corporations and individuals have so much capital they don’t know what to do with it. Rather than invest in business expansion, they buy back stock and bid up the price of passive financial instruments, which doesn’t create any real growth or economic activity.

          Yes, there is about 2% real GDP growth per year, but the efficient players (and those who benefit from a rigged system) take all that growth as their own. For the average guy, there is no growth, no extra pie. In fact, the small piece of the pie that Average Joe called his own is not really there because his debt per capita has been increasing faster than his income.

          Average Joe has been fed a boatload of BS by those who take his pie. Where are the benefits of trickle down policy, which has been sold and implemented relentlessly over recent decades? Average Joe has seen none of the pie increase even though he’s working harder than ever before.

          We just saw the corporate tax rate by reduced by 40% while Average Joe’s rate decreased by only 5% reduction. Any rational person, aside from a trickle down con buried in money past his ears, would realize that Average Joe’s total tax burden has actually INCREASED once you consider future tax increases necessary to service the debt.

          So, let’s not blow smoke in Average Joe’s face with this talk about “growth”. He’s seen none of it. All he’s been getting from the system are stagnant wages, inflation, higher debt, bogus tax reductions that are really tax increases, and all the salesman’s BS that comes with it.

        • A Citizen
          Mar 20, 2019 at 2:25 pm

          Your analogy is flawed on its face. Economics isn’t a closed, winner take all, environment.

          In fact, your “progressive rates” and “‘somewhat’ distributed prosperity” have already been quite effective at achieving the very wealth “inequality” you lament. Of course, this is to be expected when we empower the most corruptible of all Earth’s inhabitants (e.g. the power hungry drawn to “public service”) to pick winners and losers via government policies promulgated to “more efficiently” “distribute wealth”.

          This is exactly why wealth distribution by fiat conceptually brings socialism to mind.

          Further, we haven’t seen anything approaching “unbridled capitalism” in over a century, your hand-wringing notwithstanding. Meanwhile, we still haven’t gotten a final tally on the multiple tens of millions of corpses produced by myriad socialist experiments in the same time frame.

        • Bobber
          Mar 20, 2019 at 5:42 pm

          A Citizen,

          Apparently you don’t appreciate basic facts that are right in front of you. Wealth concentration around the world and especially in the US is at an all-time high, like right before the Great Depression. Something like .1% of population owns 40% of the world’s wealth. Get it? That’s pretty close to “winner take all”.

          I am a big supporter of the capitalist system, and it will not survive in the face of these statistics. Why do you think talk of socialism and massive government spending is brewing right now? It’s a strong response to a system that has allowed too much wealth to concentrate. It’s the “winner take all” proponents that prompt socialism to flourish.

          Did you know that FDR’s programs of Social Security, Medicare, etc. came into force in response to the massive wealth concentration that brought us the Great Depression? When wealth becomes too concentrated as it is now, the public response is more government spending and permanent programs, and these really would not be necessary if the prosperity brought by capitalism were reasonably shared with those who gave effort and participated.

        • GP
          Mar 21, 2019 at 6:48 pm

          @Bobber,

          Can you fit in any more fallacies here? groan…

          RE: 0.1% controlling 40% of wealth. There are about 34m millionaires in USA (net worth). That’s about 10% of US population (including kids). Moreover $1 in US buys a lot less than it does in most other countries. And as a continuation, a person earning minimum wage ($15/hour) would be a super rich person in another country.

          RE: tax cuts. You might be interested in knowing that due to tax cuts, GDP growth increased and tax revenues actually increased (not decreased as is the popular belief)

          RE: corporate tax reduction is evil. Taxes on corporations are ultimately paid by a combination of consumers (higher prices), employees (lost hours/reduced jobs) and shareholders (reduced profits/ closed shops). Tax cuts increased spurred growth, increased total wages. Hence the personal income taxes more than offset reduction in corporate taxes.

          I can go on, but I doubt it will have much effect on your beliefs.

        • sierra7
          Mar 21, 2019 at 11:19 pm

          Bobber:
          Yes, it is not very complicated at all……..Some just don’t get it!
          So many are so afraid of a “planned economy” and claim it won’t work. I say it is working marvelously for the .1%……..They planned it and are continuing their destructive work. What we have now for the masses is all the detritus left over. Not complicated at all.

    • polecat
      Mar 19, 2019 at 8:24 pm

      Consequences : A sea of pitchforks !!

      Everyone, get your F#cking Bastard files out and start sharpening those tines !

  3. NZ Gal
    Mar 19, 2019 at 4:54 pm

    Gee wiz, it’s almost as if it were by design that world CB’s used QE to blow up a asset bubbles, creating a world of very few owners of financial wealth and a huge percentage of debt slaves…

    • yngso
      Mar 20, 2019 at 7:19 am

      Well it is the stated goal of the central banksters to boost asset prices, not caring abut real people and the real economy. Very systematic bubble blowing indeed…

      • RD Blakeslee
        Mar 20, 2019 at 7:43 am

        The financial oligarchy gives lip service to trickle-down economic theory as sufficient justification for their greed:

        “… higher stock prices will boost consumer wealth and help increase confidence, which can also spur spending. Increased spending will lead to higher incomes and profits that, in a virtuous circle, will further support economic expansion.” – Ben Bernanke, Fed Chairman

        http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/11/03/AR2010110307372.html?noredirect=on

  4. Bankers
    Mar 19, 2019 at 5:31 pm

    The bundesbank walked back on its previous view that the large drop in auto exports were a momentary technical, and are now saying housing and consumer spending will support the economy for now. I seem to have heard that recipe somewhere before? Somewhere else mentioned something of an increase in government spending too. The ifo series are not quite as less negative than ZEW,

    https://www.cesifo-group.de/ifoHome/facts/Survey-Results/Business-Climate/Geschaeftsklima-Archiv/2019/Geschaeftsklima-20190222.html

    but this months is not surveyed yet, and I would not know really how to start comparing them.

    • yngso
      Mar 20, 2019 at 7:26 am

      That’s a huuuge fallacy, that one part of the economy should support another. There are cycles and swings of course. but if things go really bad somewhere, dominoes fall.

  5. TrojanMan
    Mar 19, 2019 at 6:05 pm

    I can’t speak to Germany, but I can tell you that SF real estate market is pretty much in a frenzy right now according realturds I actually believe. A lot of people are coming in off the sidelines to snatch up the increased inventory and take advantage of rock bottom interest rates. At least two high earning couples I know are jumping into the market to beat the IPOs before being priced out forever. One got out bid on a property with 15 offers for a $1.3m fixer. These are couples making over $500K a year base. Everyone seems to want to jump the market before the IPO frenzy hits the city. I feel like this is going to be the one huge blowout leg up before the 2020 election. Once the election is over, that is when I think we could really start to see the massive crash coming. Have to pay the piper for the enormous debt loads, 10+ years of QE ZIRP/NIRP, tax cuts, stimulus, outrageous multi-multi billion dollar IPOs for companies that literally lose billions of private investor capital every year. Today there were articles about there being no real danger of a rate cut and only holding steady. Really, we are talking about rate cuts? Ultra-dove Powell sees no risks anywhere. He is happy being patient. Until he’s not and raises rates to crash the market after his buddies have cashed out. This “market” is so fundamentally unfair and unpredictable, it’s f’n disgusting and the Fed is to blame. Put rates at 5% and leave them there. Getting sick of this perverted socialist BS.

    • Bankers
      Mar 19, 2019 at 6:21 pm

      You’re not the only one. In Europe the feeling is that they won’t be satisfied until they gather everyone into the same boat and have them just where they want them. I watch how it changes how people are, their despair frustrations and illusions and so on, it is very demeaning as a whole. Not that that is any consolation :-( .

      • Lion
        Mar 19, 2019 at 8:30 pm

        Maybe a good time to invest in Yellow Vests. Could see huge demand soon ?

        • Bankers
          Mar 19, 2019 at 9:55 pm

          It depends which country. Yellow vests is pretty much a non partisan movement of those fed up (maybe mildly traditional values though not nescessarily left or right)) , but it belongs better in more northern countries… maybe because the south already has its protest forms (m5s, indignados, catalan etc.) as well as a more potent nationalism – so yellow vests seem either a bit lame, foreign, or just out of place further south…except west north Africa where there is some ability to relate in a way only the French would know. However all these different “factions” in different countries are sort of the ground level result of the overall loss of direction, of one size fits all policies, and whatever other experiments at social management that are being tried out. One day there will be a lot of trouble somewhere or other I think, not sure if people will be wearing yellow vests or what for it though, probably be quite spontaneous as that usually catches everyone offguard enough to allow a fast momentum to build … or possibly a continuous low level sabotage might start and without any obvious aims. It’s not possible to say what will happen.

    • Mar 19, 2019 at 8:45 pm

      TrojanMan,

      Quit posting this fake hype here. Too many people are already believing it. And start looking at the data:

      Median price of condos in SF in February was $1.12 million, down 5% from February TWO years ago ($1.18 million).

      Median price of single-family houses in SF in February at $1.5 million was down $200k from February a year ago.

      Granted, this median price data is volatile. And the market isn’t collapsing. But there is no frenzy. The only frenzy is the media hype about the IPO money. But I don’t know how many times I have to repeat this: The Uber millionaires and billionaires bought big-fat houses years ago. Their shares and options have had a lot of value for a long time and they can be used as collateral, and they can be sold, and they have been sold. They already plowed this value into real estate years ago – which is in part why prices have soared over the past few years.

      The same hype was around in 1999 and early 2000, and in 2001, the SF housing market tanked. And the same hype was round in 2005 and 2006, and in 2007, the SF housing began to tank. People have no memory whatsoever. Hype is just so much fun – and so much easier to believe in.

      • Bankers
        Mar 19, 2019 at 11:02 pm

        I’m no part of that market whatsoever, and I’m not here to argue either, and certainly not to suggest purchase in this kind of circumstance – I think Trojan is being honest with what he witnesses but that does not make it fully representative. The only recent figures I have access to are from Zillow

        https://www.zillow.com/research/data/

        where number of sales seasonally adjusted ticks up at last date (feb I think), as well as price sqft (jan I think), for SF. Maybe those stats are dud, and I am not going to argue stats either, but simply say uncertainty is what this all is. It makes people uptight to be pulled around continually and not know what direction is going on.

      • yngso
        Mar 20, 2019 at 8:22 am

        Buying in a falling market is cathing a falling knife.

      • TrojanMan
        Mar 20, 2019 at 12:36 pm

        Wolf,

        I read all the data on this site and I don’t deny it. But I have said for the past month on here that the Fed’s u-turn and the IPO was going to lead to a bump. I know several rank and file who have not leveraged their shares or sold back to the Company, and there is no denying that there is going to be liquidity in the market. We will see what the February numbers look like. I would be happy to be wrong but I keep a close watch on the market and have seen properties I liked go for $100K over asking at absurd prices.

        I am also not sure how my post disagrees with yours. I already said I think this BS is going to come crashing down after the election next year, so why can’t 2020 be the equivalent of 2001 and we’re still living through the 1999/2000 of our era? I am just calling it like I see it.

        Since I am not sure what you want posted in your comments and what you don’t, I’ll just refrain from posting, although some of your readers might appreciate the different viewpoints in an open forum.

    • Bobber
      Mar 19, 2019 at 9:38 pm

      This “perverted socialist BS” you speak of is being served at the request of Wall Street, which touts capitalism but receives the biggest welfare check out there, by far, in the form of subsidized speculation.

    • yngso
      Mar 20, 2019 at 8:17 am

      2020 and reelection, for sure they want to keep things going until then.

    • Mar 20, 2019 at 5:32 pm

      The Fed ends balance sheet reduction in September, same as lowering rates. The effect is supposed to steepen the yield curve but it fell today, IEF and Corporate bonds HYG caught a bid. YC [lately] tends to flatten when rates are falling. JP was flat out wrong about two things: The dollar is his business, BB got caught making that mistake, and fiscal policy is a secondary consideration. I don’t know how he gets away with such naive statements.

    • sierra7
      Mar 21, 2019 at 11:25 pm

      Trojan Man:
      You were batting “1,000” until your last line….what does all this mess have to do with “socialism”? This is the markets designed by the most fervent capitalists within the guidelines of “competition”. It’s just that the hoi paloi have uncompetivized the whole economy for their own ends. Nothing to do with “socialism”. Jeeeeezzzzz!

  6. Tony
    Mar 19, 2019 at 6:34 pm

    ZeroHedge has been blocked in Australia and New Zealand. Puff – there goes free speech.

    Hopefully they do not ban you Wolf!

    • ZeroBrain
      Mar 19, 2019 at 11:14 pm

      No need to worry about Wolf being censored – they don’t ban the smart guys, they co-opt them. I used to pay attention to calculatedriskblog.com, run by by Bill McBride. My recollection is hazy, but as I recall he started getting invited to official events / press briefings and at about that time all critical analysis of Fed policy stopped and the comments section got shut down.

      • Cynic
        Mar 20, 2019 at 4:00 am

        Wolf also keeps this comment area delightfully free of the retarded and gratuitously racist, unlike Zero Hedge.

        Also, no partisan – and sterile – politics.

        • yngso
          Mar 20, 2019 at 8:28 am

          The level is delightfully and unusually high here. I got thrown out of the ZH comments, but that was ok, because it was a 45-swamp.

    • fajensen
      Mar 20, 2019 at 5:04 am

      ZeroHedge had it coming to them. They figured what kind of content and people drives page views the best and then went totally nutso in pursuit of all that juicy add-revenue, that totally exists.

      As a result, the site went from being a relatively low-traffic Bear-hugger site mostly about Gold Buggery and Chart Pr0n, with the odd loon article in to spice the forums up, to instead being all out, full-on, straight up conspiracy- and loon- content, with now only a few charts and some gold buggery.

      The forums are now a seething cauldron of anti-feminism, anti-semitism and pretty much anti-humanity at this point, the latter probably because bot-farms does most of the posting. And, on top of all that, they also borked the article search, so it is not even fun to troll there any more.

      There is nothing left on ZeroHedge that will in any way contribute positively to the life of anyone reading the site; Every single byte is driving hate, fear, doom and outrage. Because that drives the adds!

      They are, I.O.W, a perfect example to be making an example with.

      • yngso
        Mar 20, 2019 at 8:31 am

        I used to read ZH daily but got bored, for the reasons you’ve stated.

      • Bankers
        Mar 20, 2019 at 8:54 am

        I could never figure this out, and have seen it on various sites – is it the owner purposefully cashing in / selling out or is it kind of like a sidestream of influence that gets incorporated and that takes over the show in a more insidious way? I know a lot of these people are no way stupid, and whatever own agendas they might have (had) are/were generally sincere. I see it on mainstream sites also, where presentation changes the whole feel to a site, and as a user you start interacting differently and with different mindset. Good thing I am not paranoid or I would say there is some purposeful heavy manipulation and mind control going on. Now I have to go and paint esoteric symbols on the walls to keep Google out, so you’ll excuse this comment being shorter than usual.

        • Marcel
          Mar 20, 2019 at 10:37 am

          Simple anonymous human behavior. If the comments are not moderated with a firm hand (that’s a sh*t-ton of work, Thank you, WOLF!) then it will descend into ideologically driven invective and ad hominem attack. Need more evidence? Look at how people behave behind the steering wheel. Add to that, bots designed to inflame readers and presto: you have created an outrage machine with strong ad revenues driven off of traffic reinforcing bad faith arguments. Free speech has come to mean “free” of consequence to too many people. The 1st Amendment was not written for people to avoid the consequences of speech but from retribution by the GOVERNMENT for said speech. We are engaged in a war of ideas, whether you know it or not, and it can only be won in hand-to-hand combat. Wolf (and others) have found a way to conduct this struggle of ideas with many simultaneously. I expect this site to come under increasing pressure as the next election draws near.

          All I can say is that I will remain a faithful reader until this chaos is allowed to reign here. Thank you, Wolf.

      • Nat
        Mar 20, 2019 at 10:31 am

        I actually still find ZH useful to read. It has about as much reasonable chart analysis and the like as it used to, it just represents a much much smaller % of the whole. But scrolling through the articles to “pan for the gold” doesn’t take much time so I am not bothered by the change in the % of useful articles given that the total number seems to have remained relatively consistent.

        The comment section does indeed represent the worst of humanity, but it is easy just to not go there. This is especially true as they updated the site such that thankfully now you have to click to view the comments so you don’t even see all the ugly ignorant bile there unless you are purposefully seeking it out. It is especially easy to avoid getting mired into the comment section as one tends to get banned or shadow-banned from the comments section for trying to participate with reasonable discourse. For instance I got shadow banned from the comments section about two years ago for trying to explain to someone in a very flat-toned non-insulting manor that no, in fact Pinochet was not a universally beloved positive influence on South America and he was not a saintly figure as he did do some very very bad things. At first I was miffed for being banned for being reasonable, but then I realized its just not intended for me to be there. It is a containment facility for the dregs of humanity, and now that it is default hidden it doesn’t bother anyone not looking for it. The dregs flock there and wallow in their crapulents undisturbed both out of view and not interacting with anyone else. While they are there spewing their garbage they aren’t out and about anywhere or doing anything to actually act upon their derangement nor are they exposing anyone to it who isn’t explicitly looking for it. It is a perfect voluntary containment for filth, its a socially beneficial service ZH provides to the world and by locking that off in NZ now the deranged of NZ will be out and about acting upon all this garbage.

        As for their conspiracy and doom-porn stories: 1. easy to avoid when scrolling through for the good stuff as mentioned above, and 2. I actually find them kind of fun when I am looking for some good fiction short-stories. Honestly they are a better and more thrilling read then a lot of the fiction short stories I find on sites meant for fiction short stories.

        As for the weird radicle far-right opinions (as well as some of the conspiracy theories), I have actually found these very informative. Not in taking their content as fact, but in helping me understand how this segment of the population feels and thinks about things. Understanding how they feel and think about things has been very useful and informative to me in understanding key sentiment for the political process and other major social events.

        My only major complaint with ZH are the ads. Ads are a thing I accept on the internet as they help pay for things, but they come in different levels. For instance the Ads on Wolfstreet are for the most part very reasonable (though there is now a car commercial which if on mobile puts a border around the whole screen making the article hard to read and scroll for a few seconds here and there that does cross a line IMHO). But by contrast the ZH ads cross way over beyond merely highly obnoxious and distracting deep into the maleware territory. Simple solution: ZH gets my ad blockers unlike the sites with reasonable ads. Now the sites with reasonable ads get the ad revinue from my eyeballs while sites like ZH have rot under the creeping STD-like disease of their maleware ads and not even derive any money from it.

        If one is bared from reading ZH like in NZ, that certainly isn’t a major setback, but I am still opposed to it being censored on a free speech ground and that would be true even if I didn’t find it useful/amusing for the reasons listed above. I get very worried about the concept of “thought policing” even when applied to particularly ugly and bad thoughts.

  7. Anon
    Mar 20, 2019 at 6:42 am

    Income inequality is a symptom. Designing systems, convincing people, training people, financing, … require skills in short supply. We all have ideas that would work if we communicate them effectively and motivate people to follow them. Tower of Babel. German strategy doesn’t have an easily expressed goal (mercantilism?) , worked well in the past for Germany but has hit limits. Exceptional leaders are required to change to something new painlessly. How do you get the best-and-brightest working on automating farms instead of enforcing their version of justice on social media?

    • Mar 20, 2019 at 12:01 pm

      Could be the Germans see all this leading to socialism, which is not historically acceptable. Automation = Socialism, and artificially boosting GDP with low interest rates supports more automation. That’s the only surprise I see when Fed gives it minutes today, that they address the issue of tighter credit. At some point in the future, they will hike again.

  8. RD Blakeslee
    Mar 20, 2019 at 7:53 am

    A lot of cynicism expressed here today. It’s justified, I think. I’m one of you in that regard, but I differ with most of you about how best to cope with it, on a personal level.

  9. yngso
    Mar 20, 2019 at 8:36 am

    Right now I wish this space was more interactive, so that you could tell us how you deal with things on a personal level and we get notified and reply.

    • Bankers
      Mar 20, 2019 at 9:27 am

      If you are saying that to Wolf I don’t think he has time, nor wants to be, everyone’s personal advisor, he is presenting a view and chipping in to correct or elucidate where needed. Also running a comments section is a lot of work, and we are fortunate just to have somewhere we can hold a reasonable but diverse discussion. Without being unkind, I think the reply to your request would be to go and start and run your own site, incorporating material from various sources and then spending your time moderating the flow of conversation afterwards. I think you would find though that people are generally best left to their own as long as they are behaving. The one point that is difficult here is the ability to hold extended conversations – it eats up page space and means a lot of work for anyone to keep as moderate so that is understood. I’m as guilty there as any :-l . We can’t expect Wolf to be running a chat or social media site, the only solution I can think of is to have main comments section, and then an outlink to an open forum where multiple entries, or long discussions get mirrored and left open, but main page stays clean and varied by limiting it to a degree; Or comment threads that are expandable works too but are distracting (by hand of user no less) once you start having an adjustable page layout full of expanded comments. The problem with any of these ideas is that they can end up messy, confusing, and hard or time consuming to supervise – so I think Wolf has managed to balance it out well in fact…don’t need to change what isn’t broken.

    • RD Blakeslee
      Mar 20, 2019 at 11:08 am

      yngso, do you mean me, or Wolf, when you say “you”?

      If you mean me, I can give you the essence without interaction and notification; the details would be up to you to work out, depending on your circumstances.

      Simply: Establish your homestead as far away from populated areas as is practical for you and produce a good many of the things you need for yourself on your place. For example, heat with firewood (backup, at least). I guess you could call it “limited prepper”; I suspect neither you nor I would care to live in a bunker with a sod roof …

  10. Cyclops
    Mar 20, 2019 at 11:48 pm

    Actually, we near the end of American Empire!

    Corporate capitalism was great until they start to corrupt our government with 10,000 lobbyists working for them in D.C.

    Them are the 1% and our middle class shrinking to the point they are working three jobs to maintain the American dream!

    Central banks have to flood the market with zillions prevent a revolution!

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